RETIREMENT -- AND TURMOIL
Eichelberger traveled by ship from Japan to San Francisco. In August 1948, he moved to Washington, D.C. From September to December 1948, he remained in the nation's capital, where he served his final months in the U.S. military. On 31 December 1948, Eichelberger officially retired from the U.S. Army, ending 39 years of continuous service.
After his retirement, Eichelberger lived quietly as a civilian for the next 13 years. He enjoyed a variety of benefits that insulated him from the hardships of old age. His wife received a sizable inheritance from her "bachelor brother," making them financially 1 independent. Although he willingly chose to remain employed for a number of years, Eichelberger enjoyed knowing that he did not have to work. He said that it was "a relief knowing that when I awake I do not have to go to some office and plow through a basket of papers." He added, "I [suddenly] have more time for thought and reading than I have ever had in my life." He also had time to pursue his favorite hobbies, including golf, bridge, canasta, going to football games, fishing, watching TV (including his favorite show, "Gunsmoke") and "generally doing nothing." He developed a passion for travel, and visited Africa, Europe, South America, the Bahamas, Hawaii, Australia, Panama, and every corner of the continental United States. 2
Despite these travels and his idyllic lifestyle, Eichelberger complained about a variety of frustrations during these years. Not the least was his inability to find satisfactory employment. The dissatisfaction began with his last job in the army, in which he served as an advisor at the Pentagon. Although Eichelberger was "treated wonderfully" and received a "beautiful office right near the Secretary of War," he had little to do in the new post; his only real responsibility was to make speeches for the army on the Far East. He was keenly disappointed, for he was aware that "this final position" did not allow him the authority to make a permanent mark on U.S. policy toward Japan. 3