The final memorial to my cousins who gave their lives in defense of liberty is for my fifth cousin once removed, a Kentucky boy, Charles Curtis Goff of Louisville.
Charles was born in Louisville on November 16, 1931. He graduated from duPont Manual High School and worked for two years for Henricks-Byrum Company, engravers, 307 W. Liberty, before joining the Marines in January, 1951. He was sent to Korea seven months later with Battery H, 3rd Battalion, 11th Marines, 1st Marine Division.
In March of 1952, the 1st Division Marines deployed to the area of Korea known as the “Western outposts.” It was there, on June 24, 1952, that Goff was killed, a victim of multiple fragmentation wounds.
U.S. Marine Operations in Korea: Operations in West Korea, by Lt. Col. Pat Meid and Maj. James M. Yingling, describes the situation this way:
Mention the Korean War and almost immediately it evokes the memory of Marines at Pusan, Inchon, Chosin Reservoir, or the Punchbowl. Americans everywhere remember the Marine Corps’ combat readiness, courage, and military skills that were largely responsible for the success of these early operations in 1950-1951. Not as dramatic or well-known are the important accomplishments of the Marines during the latter part of the Korean War.
In March 1952 the 1st Marine Division redeployed from the East-Central front to West Korea. This new sector, nearly 35 miles in length, anchored the far western end of I corps and was one of the most critical of the entire Eighth Army line. Here the marines blocked the enemy’s goal of penetrating to Seoul, the South Korean capital. Northwest of the Marine Main Line of Resistance, less than five miles distant, lay Panmunjom, site of the sporadic truce negotiations.
Defense of their strategic area exposed the Marines to continuous and deadly Communist probes and limited objective attacks. . . . For the ground Marines, supported by 1st Marine Aircraft Wing squadrons, the fighting continued until the last day of the war, 27 July 1953.
. . . [Before the troops moved to the Western outposts, there] had been little time for a thorough reconnaissance and selection of positions by any of the frontline regiments. When the 1st Marines moved into its assigned position on the MLR, the troops soon discovered many minefields, ‘some marked, some poorly marked, and some not marked at all.’ . . . As it was to turn out, during the first weeks in the I Corps sector, mines of all types caused 50 percent of total Marine casualties.
According to The Courier-Journal, on the same day that his parents were notified of their son’s death, they received two letters from him, saying that he expected to be home in August.
Pfc. Goff was awarded the Purple Heart, the Combat Service Ribbon, the Korean Service Medal, the United Nations Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal and the Korean War Service Medal. He is buried in Evergreen Cemetery in Louisville, Kentucky.