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. On the anniversary of D-Day, we remember what he and so many others went through.
Codenamed Operation Overload, the D-Day invasion on June 6, 1944 began. About 156,000 American, British, and Canadian troops landed on five beaches in Normandy, France. Goff found himself in charge of transporting prisoners of war. 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.
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. He would shudder when retelling the march past concentration camps. That march was not as a liberating American soldier – it was as a prisoner of war (POW) after being captured by the Germans. One of his captors was a former POW he had saved. The guy told his fellow soldiers he was “returning the favor and was doing his part to get this honorable soldier back home.”
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, New Mexico.
Mona and Marion’s father, the local postmaster in Farmington, 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 Greyhound. Marion was home.
He battled Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome for the rest of his long life and suffered from nightmares. He also drove the perimeter of the small town nearly every night right before going to bed. 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.”