George Martin Goforth

Commanding Officer 1st Battalion 22nd Infantry

4th Infantry Division

1944-1945

 

 

 

George Goforth was born in Rutherford County, North Carolina on August 12, 1918.
In 1940 as an ROTC graduate he received a Bachelor of Science degree from North Carolina State University,
and volunteered for active military duty in the United States Army. He was assigned to the 22nd Infantry Regiment,
4th Infantry Division on July 28, 1940. On D-Day, June 6, 1944 he landed on Utah Beach in the first wave,
as a Captain and Executive Officer of 3rd Battalion 22nd Infantry. On June 8 he is mentioned in the 22nd Infantry
Daily Action Journal as being in command of the ammo dump for the Regiment, being responsible for
getting ammunition to the Companies of the Regiment as they fought their way inland. By June 10 he is back
with 3rd Battalion as their Executive Officer, and, at one point, the Daily Action Journal relates that while he
is talking on the radio with the Regimental Command Post, CPT Goforth has to duck back into his foxhole
to avoid sniper fire which has singled him out as a valuable target.

CPT Goforth continues with 3rd Battalion until June 28, when Major John Dowdy, commanding 1st Battalion,
is wounded, and Goforth is assigned to take command of 1st Battalion. The date of Goforth's promotion to Major ,
is not known but it is quite likely that upon assuming command of 1st Battalion he received that promotion.

He continues in command of 1st Battalion through the bitter fighting in the hedgerow country of Normandy, and on July 8
leads the Battalion in seizing the high ground outside of Neuville, as part of the attack along the Carentan-Periers Road.
In the 22nd Infantry Daily Action Journal of July 9, Goforth is mentioned as Major Goforth, and is related orders by
the new Regimental Commander, Colonel Lanham, to press the attack toward the village of La Maugerie.

The battle for La Maugerie turns into an all-out brawl, with artillery and mortars from both sides firing deadly barrages
causing high casualties among Americans and Germans alike. Attacks by German Panther tanks push the 22nd Infantry
back, and lost ground is retaken at great cost. When 1st Battalion is 100 yards short of La Maugerie, Major Goforth
is wounded and relinquishes command of 1st Battalion to his executive officer, CPT Bruce Lattimer.

Major Goforth is hospitalized in England for 3 months to recover from his wounds. The date of his return to the Regiment
is unclear. On October 3, 1944 Major Hubert Drake takes command of 1st Battalion. On the second day of the attack
into the Hürtgen Forest, November 17, 1944, the Germans launch a devastating artillery barrage into the area occupied by
the 22nd Infantry, and a treeburst from a 170mm shell kills Drake. Colonel Lanham orders Major Goforth to take command
of 1st Battalion and Captain Clifford Henley becomes his Executive Officer. Because of the high loss of officers in the
first two days of the Hürtgen attack, Lanham also orders Goforth not to get in the same foxhole with Henley.

Major Goforth leads 1st Battalion through the hell that was the Hürtgen Forest battle, watching his Battalion sustain heavy
casualties and become more than 50% replacements, until, by December 3, 1st Battalion total fighting strength was down
to less than that authorized for a single Company.

 

Major George Goforth - France 1944

Photo from Major "Swede" Henley's
8mm film taken during the war.

Courtesy of John King

 

 

Sometime after the 22nd Infantry is withdrawn from the Hurtgen battle, Goforth is promoted to Lieutenant Colonel,
though the date of that promotion is unknown to this website. He commands 1st Battalion in the actions during the
Battle of the Bulge, in the second penetration of the Siegfried Line and the battle for Prum. He leads the Battalion
through the end of the war, the occupation of Germany, and returns with it to the US, where, at Camp Butner
he is still in command of 1st Battalion until his discharge in late 1945.

He marries Thelma Beam and they have four children: George Edward, Ann (Rosi), John, Jean (Peach)
and seven grandchildren. Goforth earns a Masters Degree from the University of South Carolina
and teaches agriculture at Blacksburg High School, where he serves as Principal until retirement in 1978.

On January 3, 1994 LTC George Goforth passed away and is buried in Beulah United Methodist Cemetery
in Cleveland County, North Carolina.

George Goforth was awarded the Silver Star Medal in 4th Division General Orders # 21 dated 21 February 1945.

He was awarded the Oak Leaf Cluster to the Bronze Star Medal in 4th Division General Orders # 33
dated 12 April 1945.

 

 

     

LTC George Goforth, in Europe during the war.
Photo taken after he assumed command of 1st Battalion,
exact location and date unknown.

Note 4th Infantry Division insignia
on his helmet liner.

 

Major George Goforth operating a captured German gun - France 1944

Photo from Major "Swede" Henley's
8mm film taken during the war.

Courtesy of John King

 

Major George Goforth - Luxembourg 1944

Photo from Major "Swede" Henley's
8mm film taken during the war.

Courtesy of John King

 

 

LTC George Goforth's decorations

He also was awarded the Belgian Fourragere.

 

 

 

 

 

Birth: August 12, 1918

Death: January 3, 1994

Burial:
Beulah United Methodist Cemetery
Waco
Cleveland County
North Carolina, USA

 

 

The grave monument for George Goforth

Photo by Elizabeth from Find A Grave Memorial# 11599566

 

 

 

LTC George Goforth's grave marker

Photo by Elizabeth from Find A Grave Memorial# 11599566

 

 

 

Top photo from:

4th Infantry "Ivy" Division Steadfast and Loyal

published by Turner Publishing Company 1987

 

 

 

 


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