Taps – Malcolm Marsh, Jr.

On January 19, 2022 we lost two of our Company A veterans: Malcolm “Shorty” Marsh and Charlie “Hugh” Williamson.

Malcolm “Shorty” Marsh Obituary

Malcolm L. Marsh Jr., patriarch to a loving and close-knit family, died peacefully at home hospice on January 19. Buck, as he was known to all since infancy, was 98 years old and a resident of Auburn. A heart that fueled a life of joy, optimism, a 72 year marriage to his college sweetheart Wanda, success in his career and in personal relationships including the love of his children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and many friends and acquaintances, beat its last due to complications from atrial fibrillation.

Buck was born to Malcolm L. Marsh and Louise Bell Marsh in Florence, AL on May 16, 1923. Malcolm Sr. was a concrete engineer building dams for TVA within the Tennessee Valley Region. Buck and his two younger brothers grew up playing baseball and hunting (the) woods of the Tennessee Valley as their family moved from one project to the next.

While attending Tennessee Tech university, Buck was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1943 and served as an infantry rifleman in Company A, 36th Armored Infantry Regiment, 3rd Armored Division in WWII. Buck entered combat with this “Spearhead” unit in Belgium in December 1944 just as they engaged the German Wehrmacht’s massive counterattack, known as the Battle of the Bulge. The battle raged without ceasing from 12/16/1944 to 1/25/1945. U.S. forces suffered 19,000 KIA and 70,300 wounded or MIA. 

“Shorty’s” squad, 3-2, taken in Cologne, Germany (March 1945)

After repelling the Germans, the 3rd Armored Division, known as “Spearhead,” advanced through Cologne, Germany and liberated Nordhausen concentration camp. After serving 8 months in Occupation Forces, Buck sailed for home on the troop transport U.S.S. Wakefield in January 1946. He was discharged at Ft. McPherson, GA as a First Sergeant, his Eisenhower jacket adorned with a Combat Infantry Badge, 3 battle stars and a Purple Heart. Buck lived the rest of his life in honor and memory of the 88 men of Company A that were KIA.

After returning home, Buck met Wanda Mitchell on the tennis courts in Florence, they both attended Auburn and married in 1949. They began raising a family in Florence until their move to Auburn in 1970, where he joined BKW Construction as a project superintendent. 

From Your Editor

Malcolm Marsh, Jr. as Company A First Sergeant in Bartenstein, Germany (Summer 1945)

I met Malcolm “Shorty” Marsh at my first Company A reunion in Charleston, SC in 1985. For me that reunion was a life changing event. I met men who had served with my father during WWII, but more important was that I met a family of people. The family of Company A! This family included a man that I would become friends with till the last days of his life. That friend being Shorty. It’s hard to explain to many of my current friends how you can have so many friends your parents’ age, but I do. One was Shorty, a man who always could make you feel you were his most important friend when you were with him. 

We sat many times at the reunions and talked about not only Company A, but life. He was a wonderful storyteller and even though you may have heard it a hundred times, you still enjoyed hearing “HIM” tell it. Full of laughter and life. We talked on the phone many times and emailed working projects such as the Dance story from our newsletter.

We also sat and did a video interview in his home in Auburn, AL. That interview, along with others we did at reunions, will keep his memory alive for future generations of the Company A family. He wrote many of his stories down and published his stories in his book “Reflections of a World War II Infantryman.”

Most of all he shared himself with all he met. I saw this many times when someone new came to their first Company A reunion. He would take them in and make them feel so welcome by spending time with them. I know this as I was one of those people.

Farewell

I will miss my friend but I am blessed to meet him and Wanda. My last memory of him was at our last reunion in Maine. My wife Barb and I had taken Shorty and Wanda down to L.L. Bean. We had lunch together and I still can see him sitting in his chair telling me stories, I loved hearing them, as told by him. Goodbye my friend.

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