Captain Malcolm L. George, our father, was born on January 7, 1911 to H. John and Melda George in Vandergrift, PA. He was the youngest son and was instilled with strong values. Our mother said that he felt it was his duty to serve and it would end all wars.
When Malcolm was a junior in high school, he starred in plays, played football, the violin and French horn in the school orchestra. He was elected president of the class and voted the most popular student in school. During his senior year wood shop class, he hand-crafted a cedar chest and gave it to his mother.
He continued his education at State College which is now known as Pennsylvania State University. He married his high school sweetheart Nelle in 1930. During summers, he worked for his father at George’s Plumbing, Heating, and Electric with the understanding that he would work and own it after the war. He was like his father in many ways, following in his foot steps at work, at church by being Sunday School Superintendent, and by being a member of the Lions Club, and Independent Order of Odd Fellows.
While attending Pennsylvania State College, he took Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) curriculum and attended ROTC Infantry camp, held at Fort George G. Meade, MD. Malcolm did well in ROTC and in September of that year, was appointed Major in the Corps of Cadets of the Pennsylvania State College. After graduation, he continued to be part of the Officers’ Reserve Corps while working with his father.
In 1938, the President of the United States of America appointed him First Lieutenant of Infantry in The Army of the United States. Then in April of 1941, he received his appointment as 1st Lieutenant Infantry Antitank Co. in the 8th Infantry. In May of 1941, he was ordered to active duty.
As with ROTC, Malcolm seemed to thrive on Army life. In October, he received a Commendation from Headquarters 4th Motorized Division, Fort Benning, GA for his "demonstrated aptitude and ability" from J. A. Van Fleet, Colonel, 8th Infantry, Commanding. In December, the War Department ordered the transfer of the personnel of the 4th Motorized Division to Camp Gordon, Augusta, GA where he became commander of Company "M." Camp Gordon is now known as Fort Gordon.
In June of 1942, he was promoted from 1st Lieutenant to Captain, by order of the Secretary of War and signed by G. C. Marshall, Chief of Staff.
In April, 1943, he was sent to Fort Dix, NJ, which served as training and staging ground during both World War I and II. On May 1st, he signed a month-to-month lease for a house in Haddenfield, NJ as he had kept his family with him as they moved from camp to camp. Later that year, his two sons went back to live with his parents. In early 1944, his wife and daughter also went back, as his wife knew he was to be shipped overseas.
On June 6, 1944, the 1st, 29th, and 4th Infantry Divisions fought their way ashore on Omaha and Utah beaches. The mission of the 4th Infantry Division was to isolate and capture Cherbourg, France. Malcolm successfully landed and survived D-Day. However his luck ended the very next day, June 7th.
His wife received word from the U.S. Army headquarters in the European theater of operations that Captain Malcolm L. George was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross posthumously. The accompanying citation stated: "On the second day of the invasion, the battalion in which Captain George was planning and training officer, was engaged in a desperate battle. A powerful enemy force with a number of 88mm guns and automatic weapons was holding the high ground and impeding the advance of the battalion. Captain George observed that severe casualties were being inflicted by a hidden enemy machine gun which was firing into the rear and flanks of the advancing troops. Captain George immediately organized a group of volunteers and, with complete disregard for his own safety, personally led them in a successful assault upon the enemy machine gun positions. While leading the attack, Captain George lost his life. The extraordinary heroism, complete devotion to duty and valiant leadership displayed by Captain George reflect great credit upon himself and was in keeping with the highest traditions of the Armed Forces.”
The Secretary of War, Henry L. Stimson, offered his sympathy and stated that the Purple Heart had been awarded to Captain Malcolm L. George, Infantry, who sacrificed his life in defense of his country.
His wife was heart-broken as she lost her high school sweetheart and her future. Ever reminded that her husband was gone, it wasn't until March 8, 1946 (almost two years after he was KIA) that the War Department finally sent a letter notifying her of the burial location of her husband - and - it was a temporary location. The letter invited her to express her wishes as to the disposition of the remains of the deceased. A copy of the form shows that she checked the line "Be Interred in a permanent American Military Cemetery Overseas." The Army's Deceased Personnel File for Malcolm shows that the Flag over the casket was sent to her on March 7, 1949. Finally on May 11, 1949, which was almost five years after his death, H. Feldman, Major General, The Quartermaster General, sent a letter to inform her that "the remains of your loved one have been permanently interred in Plot F, Row 2, Grave 44 at St. Laurent (France) U.S. Military Cemetery." It further stated that he had been interred side by side with comrades who also gave their lives for their country and that customary military funeral services were conducted over the grave at the time of burial.
Of his three children, his oldest son, not yet 13, has the most memories. His second son, just turned 8, was confused and has little memories of him. His daughter, not yet 3, has no memory of him. We became 'War Orphans' without our father. As I write this, I remember what a loss it was to grow up without a father making us the odd family in town. No matter who you asked about him, everyone always said "He was a good man." It wasn’t until we uncovered his personal papers that we discovered what being a "good man" meant.
– Barbara George –