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Marion Robert Goff: A Soldier’s Tale on D-Day

Marion Goff’s little sister, Mona, remembers her hero.

By:  |  June 6, 2020  |    642 Words
world war 2 d day

Film still from the D-Day landings showing commandos aboard a landing craft on their approach to Sword Beach, 6 June 1944. (Photo by Sgt. Wilkes/ Imperial War Museums via Getty Images)

Mona Goff was the younger sister of the only hero she had ever known: her brother. Marion Robert Goff was a young man who put on a military uniform in 1943 to go and fight in World War II. He was on the front lines on D-Day, the day that marked the beginning of the end of the war. The country boy from Farmington, New Mexico, dreamed of becoming a minister, but at the age of 23 he was driving a truck in Normandy.

On the anniversary of D-Day, we remember what he and so many others went through.

D-Day

Codenamed Operation Overlord, the D-Day invasion began on June 6, 1944. About 156,000 American, British, and Canadian troops landed on five beaches in Normandy, France – in areas heavily occupied by German troops. Goff drove a truck for the officers under the command of General Dwight D. Eisenhower and found himself in charge of transporting prisoners of war (POWs).

d-day landings

Normandy Landings. American troops arriving at Utah Beach (dunes of Madeleine). June 6th, 1944. (Photo by Roger Viollet via Getty Images)

On the way to the detention facility, Goff’s vehicle fell under heavy fire. His men advised him to “get rid” of the captured Germans as they were slowing the platoon’s progress. Goff refused and carried on delivering the prisoners to a nearby camp without a single life lost. He saved those prisoners, and later, one of them returned the favor – but more on that later.

The Battle of Normandy raged for two months, but it freed Western Europe from German control.

A Man of Faith

Goff was not the kind of man who glorified the battles of war. He was honest when talking about experiences, both good and bad.

The soldier was captured at the Battle of the Bulge, and the Germans took him as a prisoner of war. One of his captors was a former POW he had saved. The German told his fellow soldiers he was “returning the favor and was doing his part to get this honorable soldier back home.”

Goff was a man of great faith, and those convictions helped him survive the prisoners’ camp where he was nearly starved to death. He remembered when he was released, the image he saw in the mirror was shocking. He told his father, “I didn’t know who that person was. He was skin and bones.”

d-day soldier world war 2

Marion Robert Goff

A Changed Man

Goff earned many medals during his time in the U.S. armed forces but was most proud of the Purple Heart. It was a reminder that in the darkest hour he had served his country and his God. And he would need that faith after returning home to the small-town life he had left. He was a changed man from the shy boy who had left Farmington.

Mona and Marion’s father, the local postmaster, gave his daughter the job of picking up mail bags from the bus stop. She went each day, hoping to hear from her big brother. One day, her dreams came true: A thin man was the last passenger off the bus. Marion was home.

He battled the bad memories for the rest of his long life and suffered from nightmares. But he found that joyous laugh and generous spirit once again, offering everyone he met a hearty greeting.

Goff was an unsung American hero – one of millions who have dedicated their lives to serve our nation and the citizens of many other nations. Mona allowed Liberty Nation to tell of his service on D-Day. And she is still proud of her older brother. She said, “His time at war changed him. But during that time, he grew up, and became an even more loving, outgoing man, who was endeared by all who knew him.”

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