SGT George Marsh Broomfield - 283771
"C" Co. 1st Bn. 7th Reg.
1st. Div. F.M.F.
C/O F.P.O. San Francisco, CA
-- Don Sarton --
I take great pride in writing this brief tribute to my father, George M. Broomfield. George was killed, June, 1945 during a battle on Okinawa. Because of gallantry in action,
George received the Silver Star Medal posthumously. The citation states "For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity as a Squad Leader, serving with Company C, First Battalion,
Seventh Marines, First Marine Division, in action against enemy Japanese forces on Okinawa, Ryuku Islands, 11 June 1945."
Not only was George a gallant leader but a caring human being. In letters home he stated time and again he prayed for the end of the war so that he and his friends could come home
to their families. But, he also stated that he knew the Japanese soldiers would like to return home to their family and friends.
Mail and hearing from home was important for George, so much so that upon landing in Okinawa and proceeding inland, he discovered a post card in the rubble, written in Japanese.
He saved this card and protected it through the rain, mud and difficulties of war. It was sent home with his possessions. In June of 2005, my wife Bev and I took a trip to Okinawa.
I needed to touch the soil, meet the people and experience the culture on the island where George died. While on the trip, I located the man, who as a young solider had written the
post card to his own father. He was blind from a shrapnel wound he received during the war, and he had been instrumental in starting the school for the blind on Okinawa. His family
was delighted to receive the post card, for they had never seen their father's handwriting.
George left high school prior to graduation in 1941 and joined the Marines. According to his high school buddy, Don Hill, they joined the Marines because of the stunning uniforms
worn by the recruiters. George was on board the Maryland, at anchor in Pearl Harbor, in December 1941. Although severely hit by enemy aircraft fire, the Maryland survived and so did
Mail was the primary source of correspondence and he began a letter writing relationship with Alma Sarton, the sister of one of his close friends from La Junta, Colorado where he
grew up. After two years of courtship, primarily through the mail, George asked Alma to marry him, she accepted and they were married June, 1943.
George was initially stationed in Logan, UT and they were able to be together. They enjoyed hikes in Logan canyon, evening visits with friends and Utah in general. But this interlude
from war was not to last. The U.S. was facing the need for Marines in the Pacific Theater and in preparation for the invasion of Japan. George was sent to Camp Lejeune, North Carolina,
for training in explosives and demolition.
The trials and tribulations of war were difficult for many young couples and yet brought many together in support of one another. The need for specialized training separated the newly
weds as there wasn't sufficient married housing for Alma to accompany George to North Carolina. A friend from Georgia had managed to move up the list and gain housing in a mobile home
park nearby. When he told his wife that George would not be able to see his wife before shipping out to the Pacific she suggested that since they had a two bedroom trailer, they invite
Alma to join them. By taking several flights Alma arrived in North Carolina, able to spend the remaining weeks with her husband.
By the end of 1944 George was on his way to the South Pacific, never to see his young bride again. Even though he was on his way to war and at that time the possibility of invading
Japan was before him, he never lost his optimism, and in regular correspondence he was convinced that one day they would be reunited.
I was born in mid-April of 1945; Alma was struck with blood clots as a result of the delivery and died in May. George received news of the birth of his son and death of his wife within
a couple of weeks of one another. He was rotated back to a main camp for several days. During that time he wrote to his mother-in-law about his desire to raise his son and expressed his
deep grief over the death of Alma. He talked about the visits with the chaplain and the memorial service held attended by many of his friends. While the Red Cross was processing his papers
to return home, duty called him back to lead the men who had placed their trust in him.
George M. Broomfield, a man dedicated to his family, his friends, the security of his country and the well being of every human being, died attempting to neutralize the enemy and take a
small ridge, on a tiny island in the midst of the Pacific Ocean. This action was part of the events of securing a staging island for an eventual invasion of Japan that did not have to take
place because of the surrender of Japan following the devastation of two nuclear bombs. In military status a sergeant, in my eyes a great man!
George not only gallant in war, but in my estimation gallant as a humanitarian and wonderful example of a human being. I only pray that I can live up to the example this man displayed
as one who cared and prayed for all the people in our world.
In Loving Memory of my father . . .