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Grosvenor

Grosvenor Hamilton Letarte

Grosvenor Grove Hamilton LeTarte lived a life of 91 years that epitomized duty and commitment. Born in Fort Fairfield Maine in 1925, he grew up working with his parents and siblings during the Great Depression in the motion picture theater that his father, Grosvenor LeTarte senior, managed: the Paramount Theater – “Showplace of the North.” His memories of that time in his life were among his most cherished, working as an usher in a uniform custom tailored for a boy of his age, watching the most popular films of the era. His idyllic childhood ended after his fifteenth birthday when he watched his father died of a heart attack while installing improvements to the Paramount. Afterward, his mother Marjorie supported the family by working as the town librarian and Grosvenor helped to supplement the family income by picking potatoes. Not long afterward the nation entered into World War Two and Grosvenor was drafted into the United States Army as a private and sent to France shortly after the Allied invasion of Europe on D-Day. Grosvenor served as the first scout for his squad within the 44th Infantry Division. He saw combat during the Battle of the Bulge and Operation North Wind, which occured on New Year’s Eve of 1944 and was the last major German offensive of World War Two. During that battle, Grosvenor and the squads second scout were trapped in their foxhole by advancing German troops and effectively stalled the German advance by returning fire with expert marksmanship. Eventually the Germans laid in a mortar barrage on the foxhole that both men occupied and they were forced to retreat, but they slowed the Germans down enough to allow their infantry squad to take the offensive and drive back the German assault. Among his other achievements in World War Two, Grosvenor H. LeTarte single handedly captured three German soldiers in a machine gun nest by getting the drop on one who had wandered out of the nest and convincing him to drop his weapon. The other two Germans, who Grosvenor was unaware of, chose to surrender as well rather than take the life of the G. I. who had tried so hard to spare the life of their comrade. As a footnote, the 44th Infantry Division captured over 44, 000 Germans during their march through France, Germany and Austria. Grosvenor earned a Bronze Star for his actions as his squads first scout. After the war, Grosvenor used the G. I. Bill to earn an undergraduate degree from the University of Maine and then a law degree from Boston University. It was after Grosvenor’s graduation from Boston University that a classmate tipped him off to the fact that the United States Air Force was offering officer commissions to lawyers who would join their Judge Advocate General JAG corps, and a 30-year career in the United States Air Force was begun that saw Grosvenor serve as Chief Judge on the United States Air Force Court of Military Review, attain the rank of full Colonel and earn the Legion of Merit among his 17 other medals. Grosvenor married his hometown sweetheart, Joan Philbrick, after he was assigned to Loring Air Force Base outside of Fort Fairfield and was able to reunite with her. Their marriage lasted 52 years up until Joan’s passing in 2008. Their marriage produced one son, Grove LeTarte, and Grosvenor also raised Joan’s son Philip Thornton from her previous marriage. Grosvenor provided a college education for both, and Grove, a Navy veteran, is now retired from a senior management position in the United States Postal Service and Philip is a retired Lt. Colonel after a career as an Air Force Optometrist. Journalist Tom Brokaw has nicknamed Grosvenor LeTarte’s generation “The Greatest Generation” – and that noble title is certainly validated if the life of Grosvenor H. LeTarte is representative.

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Cunningham Turch Funeral Home

811 Cameron Street, Alexandria, VA 22314

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Arlington National Cemetery

, Arlington, VA

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