Retired Marine Corps Col. Robert D. Heinl Jr., 62, a decorated combat veteran of two wars, historian and journalist, died Saturday on the island of St. Barthelemy in the French West Indies after a heart attack.
He had been vacationing in the Caribbean.
From 1958 to 1963, Col. Heinl was commander of the U.S. Military Group and principal U.S. defence adviser to the Haitian government.
He was declared persona non grata as a result of policy differences between the United States and Haiti's president Francois Duvalier. Col. Heinl had been critical of Duvalier's increasing resort to terrorist tactics and noncoperation with American advisers.
In 1978, he and his wife, the former Nancy Gordon, published a book, "Written in Blood," a comprehensive history of Haiti
Col. Henil wrote several books while serving as a Marine Corp historian, including studies of Marine Corps operations in the Pacific during World War II, and "Soldiers of the Sea," a history of the Corps published in 1962.
Following his retirement from the Marines in 1963, he continued to write historical works and also was a Washington-based military analyst with the Detroit News for more than a decade before retiring in 1978. He wrote a nationally syndicated column on military affairs that was distributed by the North American Newspaper Alliance.
He was a member of the Institute for Strategic Studies and contributed articles to the Dictionary of American History and Encyclopaedia Britannica.
A native of New York City, Col. Heinl came to Washington at an early age. He was a graduate of St. Albans School and was a 1937 cum laude graduate of Yale University.
He entered the Marines following college, and was an artillery officer at Pearl Harbor at the time of the Japanese attack on Dec. 7, 1941. He was a member of the relief expedition to Wake Island in 1941, and saw action on both Guam and Iwo Jima.
During the Korean Conflict, he served with the 1st Marine division and participated at the Inchon landing.
His military decorations included the Legion of Merit with combat V, and two Bronze Star Medals.
Col. Heinl was a member of the Army and Navy Club and the National Press Club.
In addition to his wife, of the home in Washington, survivors include a daugther, Pamela Burdick, of Katmandu, Nepal; a son, Michael, of Los Angeles, and two grandchildren.
The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to the Heart Fund or Animal Rescue League.