24 James Goforth

James Goforth
Hometown (Last School)
Louisville, KY (Male)
1934-35, 1935-36, 1936-37
October 19, 1913

Biography – “K” Men Who Died in World War II, Kentucky Game Program (December 9, 1950)

GOFORTH, 1st Lt. James William, 30, A.B. in Ed. ’38, son of Mr. and Mrs. John Goforth of Louisville and husband of Mrs. Nancy Offut Goforth of San Bernardino, Calif. One of the University of Kentucky’s outstanding basketball stars, he went to Harlan county following his graduation and was teacher and coach at Alva.

Lt. Goforth served with the Fourth Marine Division in the Marshall Islands campaign. After leading his company for several days after his captain was wounded, he was killed June 22, 1944, by machine gun fire during the battle of Saipan. Decorations included the Bronze Star, the Presidential Citation, and the Silver Star.

North Vernon Plain Dealer (July 20, 1944)

Mr. and Mrs. John Goforth, of Louisville, Ky., received word Saturday that their son, First Lieutenant James Goforth, had been killed in action on Saipan. The family formerly resided at Butlerville where Lieutenant Goforth attended high school and was active in basketball. He was graduated from Butlerville high school.

He enlisted in the Marine Corps. On October 19, 1942 and had served overseas since October 1943. His wife, Nancy Offutt Goforth, formerly of Louisville, is a member of the high school faculty at a San Bernardino, California high school. Besides his wife and his parents, he is survived by two sisters.

Awarded for actions during the World War II General Orders: Commanding General, Fleet Marine Force Pacific: Serial 13002 (April 19, 1945)

The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Silver Star (Posthumously) to First Lieutenant James W. Goforth (MCSN: 0-17251), United States Marine Corps Reserve, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity while attached to the Third Battalion, Twenty-fifth Marines, FOURTH Marine Division, during action against enemy Japanese forces at Saipan, Marianas Islands, on 16, 20 and 23 June 1944.

With his commanding officer a casualty during a heavy fire fight with the Japanese on 16 June, First Lieutenant Goforth promptly assumed command and, immediately reorganized his men under the enemy’s concentrated barrages, skillfully led them in a brilliantly executed attack. Continuing his same daring tactics, he directed his company in pressing home a successful strike against Hill 500 on 20 June and, on 22 June again faced fierce hostile resistance to lead his assault units in wiping out a heavily fortified enemy pocket, killing a large number of Japanese troops before he himself was mortally wounded.

By his forceful and inspiring leadership, great personal valor and unrelenting devotion to the completion of each perilous mission, First Lieutenant Goforth contributed essentially to the success of our forces in capturing this vital hostile stronghold and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.