By James C. Roberts

A long-time dream of the American Veterans Center was realized on March 9 when the newly refurbished Trimble Field was dedicated in Yona, Guam. The field is named in honor of Marine private James Trimble III for whom the Center’s youth scholarship is also named.

Trimble was an outstanding baseball pitcher at St. Albans School in Washington, DC. and Duke University. Offered a lucrative contract by the Washington Senators at age 17, Trimble turned it down to serve in the Marine Corps in 1944.

On Guam he was the leading pitcher for the 3rd Marine Division’s All-Star team, getting a win in the “Little World Series” game played on Saipan. Deployed to Iwo Jima with the 3rd Division, Trimble served as a personal guard for Gen. Graves Erskine, the Division commanding officer. Trimble left the relative safety of this position to volunteer as a scout on a dangerous scouting mission on the night of March 1, 1945, in which he was killed in fierce hand-to-hand combat. Following Iwo Jima, Erskine ordered the 3rd Division ball field be named Trimble Field in honor of the fallen hero.

Fittingly, the new Trimble Field is located less than a mile from the original. The American Veterans Center led the effort to raise funds for the new field, with approximately $70,000 collected to date. The New Trimble field includes an enlarged playing field, new fences, bleachers and scoreboard as well as a memorial featuring a life-size bust of Trimble fashioned by sculptor Terry Karselis, who has done numerous sculptures of Marine Corps heroes. The memorial features the inscription:

Private James Trimble II USMC
1925 – 1945
Pitcher for the 3rd Marine Division
All-Star Team
Killed on Iwo Jima March 1, 1945

Presiding over the ceremony was Yona Mayor Jose Terlaje. Also in attendance were numerous members of the Guam legislature, the Deputy Commander of U.S. Naval Forces Marianas and several hundred others, including a delegation of more than 100 from the U.S. as part of a tour organized by Military Historical Tours.

During the ceremony, letters were read by Congressman Darrel Issa, whose Issa Family Foundation provided much of the funding for the field, and by President George W. Bush. The legislature of Guam also adopted a resolution commemorating the dedication and a copy was presented to the American Veterans Center.

Following the dedication ceremony, a group of students from the Young Marines program in the U.S. played a game against a local team from Yona. The day’s events were capped off with a lavish fiesta featuring native foods and a demonstration of local dances.

In a happy coincidence, the U.S. Marine Corps has announced that the 3rd Marine Division (Trimble’s’ old division) will be relocated from Okinawa to Guam in the next few years, and thus Trimble Field will be an important resource for the families of the Division as well as the people of Guam.

The completion of the new Trimble Field is a proud accomplishment of many people, including Hall of Fame pitcher Bob Feller who served as chairman of the fund raising effort for the field. Despite being a decorated veteran of World War II, Feller says, “I’m no hero. Heroes don’t come home,” Jimmy Trimble certainly fits that description. Trimble’s story is as inspiring today as it was 60 years ago. In the words of Gen. Erskine (which will be inscribed on the memorial), “His name will not be forgotten and his brave spirit will strengthen and inspire us in the hard battles that still lie ahead.”

James C. Roberts is President of the American Veterans Center. Below is the text of the letter from President Bush read at the dedication ceremony.