Early in 2018, the Los Angeles Counsel General of France contacted Tustin Post 227 member Donald Marsh. He was asked to complete and submit dates of his service during World War II. They also requested his discharge papers, dates of service and proof of service in France. After several months, the Los Angeles Counsel General notified him that the information he submitted was forwarded to Paris for merit consideration.
Mr. Marsh was a member of the Second Armor Division. His service included Normandy and the Battle of the Bulge.
Marsh served in the Second Armored Division, affectionately known as “Hell on Wheels” in the communications section of combat command “A,” It was comprised of a seven-man wire team, a four-man command radio half-track (armored carrier) and one commander.
Marsh left Tidworth Garrison on June 8, 1944 to join the D-Day attack that had begun June 6. He arrived in Normandy, France, landing at Omaha Red Beach on the morning of June 9, 1944, where the U.S. had suffered its heaviest casualties on the first and second day of the attack. The U.S. had stopped the small-arms fire from the Germans by the time Marsh hit the beach.
Marsh would go on to fight in the Battle of the Bulge and was among the very first U.S. troops to occupy Berlin once the war was won on July 4, 1945. He discharged from the Army shortly afterward, then enlisted in the new U.S. Air Force in 1947. He retired in November 1964, then served 10 years in the reserves, with his final armed services retirement on October 31, 1974.
In retirement, Marsh co-authored a book, "Major General Maurice Rose – World War II’s Forgotten Commander" with Steven L. Ossad (Taylor Trade Publishing, 2003). Marsh served under Rose in 1944. Rose was later promoted and killed-in-action on March 30, 1945.
About six months after submitting the requested data, Marsh was awarded France’s Legion Honor medal and certificate. The photograph shows Marsh in his “war room” with the framed certificate and medal in his Tustin, California home.