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George Sulliman


Date and Place of Birth: April 26, 1926 New Britain, CT
Date and Place of Death:    April 24, 1951 near Hill 435, Map'yong-ni, North Korea
Baseball Experience: Minor League
Position: Second Base
Rank: First Lieutenant
Military Unit: Company H, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines, 1st Marine Division (Reinforced)
Area Served: Korea

George S. Sulliman, the son of Mooshie and Alma Sulliman, was born in New Britain, Connecticut on Apri 26, 1926. His father worked as a locomotive engineer and young George went on to attend Yale University.

During 1946 and 1947, Sulliman played varsity baseball at Yale, alongside future President George H. W. Bush. Sulliman played second base in 1946 and batted .272 in 11 games. In 1948, he switched to the outfield and batted .172 in 18 games.

The 22-year-old signed with the St. Louis Cardinals organization in 1948, and played second base for the New Bern Bears of the Class D Coastal Plain League. He led the team in games (140), at-bats (527) and doubles (27) while batting a respectable .269. When the season finished in September, Sulliman went to Quantico, Virginia, to fulfill his obligation to the Marine Corps Reserve. In 1950, he was activated by the Marine Corps and sent to Korea.

First Lieutenant Sulliman had been in Korea three weeks when, as a Platoon Leader of Company H, Third Battalion, 1st Marines of the 1st Marine Division (Reinforced), he rallied his outnumbered Marines against approximately 125 enemy aggressors near Hill 435 at Map'yong-ni. Almost instantly the fanatical force approached to within twenty-five yards of the exposed flank, attacking with automatic weapons, mortars and devastating hand grenade barrages as First Lieutenant Sulliman crawled from position to position, controlling his men, pointing out targets and shouting words of encouragement, instilling in his men the will and determination to hold at all costs. When a heavy machine gun jammed and failed to fire at the height of the furious battle as the attackers advanced to within feet of the area, he ordered fixed bayonets, then charged toward the forward slope of the hill where the heavy gun was located and leaped into the exposed emplacement, manning the gun himself when the gunner was struck by enemy fire and seriously wounded. Fending off the attackers and attempting to clear the gun as the enemy advanced almost to the muzzle of the weapon, he was desperately trying to put the gun into action when he himself was fatally wounded. Two days short of his 25th birthday.

First Lieutenant Sulliman's indomitable courage, brilliant and forceful leadership and great personal valor maintained against tremendous odds, saw him posthumously awarded the Navy Cross.

"I remember him being a big burly guy that always wore a sweater," said Chuck Lyman, a corporal in Sulliman's platoon in Korea. "I always called him the gentle giant to myself."

"George Sulliman was a hero in the truest sense of the word and his courage and sacrifice reflect the Great Spirit of which General Macarthur spoke about at West Point. That of Duty, Honor and Country," wrote President George Bush in a letter to the Sulliman family.

Within months, a monument to the fallen hero was erected in his hometown. "We all knew Sully," said Ray Greene, a member of the Belvidere Reunion Group. "We had to honor him so he would never be forgotten."

"He was a man of great courage," said US Representative Nancy Johnson, R-6th District. "This was a young man of enormous potential, intellectually, athletically and character-wise, and we are privileged to remember him and the other men from Belvidere who gave their lives."

"I love, admire and respect my brother George," said his brother, Sam. "His heroism of 50-year's ago forever lingers in my mind and in my heart, directly affecting the way I tried to live my life in the ensuing years. Everyday as I look at the his portrait in a place of honor in my home, I am reminded of how proud he was of the Marine Corps uniform and it's legacy."

George Sulliman is buried at Fairview Cemetery in New Britain.

www.mcrc.marines.mil - Fifty Years Later, Remembering Sulliman by Sgt Matthew A. Butler | | April 24, 2001

Thanks to Patrick O'Donnell for bringing the sacrifice of George Sulliman to my attention.

Date Added July 22, 2019


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