Profiles of Valor: 1LT William Marshall Goree
“If you are going to do something, do it well!”
We just observed the 79th anniversary of D-Day — the largest amphibious assault in history, which was preceded by an enormous air assault. It was an epic opening battle that commenced in the early hours of June 6, 1944 – the beginning of the end for Adolf Hitler’s National Socialist German Workers’ (NAZI) Party and its reign of terror across Europe.
Today, the NAZI bunkers above Normandy’s beaches remain as solemn and silent reminders of tyranny, and the region is now marked with many fitting monument tributes to Europe’s liberators, most notably the vast American Cemetery in Colleville-sur-Mer, where 9,380 of our dead are interred and the names of 1,557 missing are memorialized. There were 20,668 Americans killed over the 54 days of Operation Overlord, and our nation would suffer 104,812 total deaths from D-Day until Germany’s surrender 11 months later, May 8th of 1945, VE Day.
If you know or knew a D-Day veteran, were blessed to have a D-Day vet in your family, or honor those who fought by knowing the history of this brutal military engagement, this profile will resonate with you on a more personal level.
In front of our East Tennessee mountain home, there is a 25-foot flag pole that our family dedicated on the 50th anniversary of D-Day in 1994. We installed this larger pole in recognition of our former next-door neighbor, World War II Army Veteran 1LT Marshall Goree.
Ahead of the Allied invasion, Marshall left the Citadel in Charleston in order to enlist in the Army. Many of his young Greatest Generation peers left high schools and colleges to do the same. Just before his deployment, he married his longtime sweetheart, Liza Allison.
From D-Day forward, Marshall and his machine gun platoon fought their way through Europe with the 276th Armored Field Artillery Battalion, XXII Corps, 3rd Army; 334th Field Artillery Battalion, until the war’s end. He received both Silver and Bronze Stars for his courageous actions on various combat fronts and a Purple Heart for injuries suffered.
His Silver Star citation notes he “distinguished himself by heroism” in actions on November 14, 1944, near the village of Landroff, France, where then-Sgt. Goree confronted and killed numerous NAZI combatants in three different engagements, at great risk to himself. The citation adds, “The courage, initiative, and leadership of Sgt. Goree reflect the highest credit on his character as a soldier.” His Bronze Star citation notes a single but similar engagement a month later near Emmersweiler, where he held his ground under heavy enemy fire in order to protect his men.
Marshall was a tall, strong man of equally strong presence and character who, even in the later years of his life, had a commanding presence. Conversations with him were often impeded by the butt of a cigar in the corner of his mouth. On rare occasions, he would disclose the most horrific of his enemy encounters — those that ended up in hand-to-hand combat in village streets. After the war, he suffered from occasional nightmares, the “battle fatigue” we now know is associated with post-traumatic stress (PTSD).
Marshall was more than a Patriot and neighbor. He was also the lifelong best friend of another WWII veteran, my father. In Southern culture, our parents’ best friends were sometimes honorary “uncles” and “aunts,” and so it was with “Uncle Marshall.”
He died 16 years after we dedicated our flag pole, and my father followed his friend home in 2015. We fly our flag every day in honor of these two men, and of the service and sacrifice of generations of American Patriots before and since. Their example of valor — defending American Liberty — is eternal.
Marshall is remembered by his family for the timeless advice he often repeated: “Start every day by making your bed.” “If you are going to do something, do it well!” “Leave everything better than you found it.” Marshall and Liza were lifelong faithful members of one Presbyterian church. They had four children and 14 grandchildren. Their legacy is carried forward now by 50 great-grandchildren and 12 great-great-grandchildren.
On the 40th D-Day anniversary in 1984, Ronald Reagan delivered his moving Boys of Pointe-du-Hoc address at Normandy, declaring: “Let us make a vow to our dead. Let us show them by our actions that we understand what they died for. Strengthened by their courage, heartened by their valor, and borne by their memory, let us continue to stand for the ideals for which they lived and died.”
And it is that vow we are charged to keep every day in honor of all Patriots gone before us — living our lives worthy of their sacrifice.
Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis
Pro Deo et Libertate — 1776
Join us in prayer for our nation’s Military Patriots standing in harm’s way, for our First Responders, and for their families.
The The Patriot Post and Patriot Foundation Trust, in keeping with our our Military Mission of Service to our uniformed service members and veterans, are proud to support and promote the National Medal of Honor Heritage Center, the Congressional Medal of Honor Society, both the Honoring Their Sacrifice Foundation and Warrior Freedom Service Dogs aiding wounded veterans, the National Veterans Entrepreneurship Program, the Folds of Honor outreach and Officer Christian Fellowship, the Air University Foundation and Naval War College Foundation, and the Naval Aviation Museum Foundation. “Greater love has no one than this, to lay down one’s life for his friends.” (John 15:13)
- Profiles of Valor
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