On the Coast Guard’s 231st birthday, today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Robert Goldman, who earned a Bronze Star and Purple Heart during World War II.
Robert Goldman spent most of his childhood in Connecticut, and he studied agriculture at the University of Connecticut. Shortly after, in 1942, he enlisted in the Coast Guard.
Goldman trained as a pharmacist’s mate at Columbia University’s School of Pharmacy and then went on to serve as a third-class pharmacist’s mate in the Coast Guard New York District. During this time frame, Goldman married his wife, who he shared 63 years of marriage with.
In June 1944, Goldman left for the West Coast processing center in Alameda, California. One month later, Goldman reported for duty aboard the Coast Guard Landing Ship, Tank-66 (LST-66). The ship headed to the southwest Pacific, making its way to Leyte Island.
On October 20, 1944, the Battle of Leyte Gulf started. Goldman was aboard LST-66, helping land thousands of troops on the island and resupplying equipment throughout the battle.
After a long battle by air, on land and at sea, LST-66 returned to Leyte Island Nov. 12, 1944, to transfer cargo and onboard American troops. That evening, Goldman was on the deck with the crew and soldiers, when a Japanese kamikaze plane emerged from behind the mountains. The plane struck the deck of the LST-66, exploding and spraying fuel and wreckage before crashing into the sea.
The explosion wounded Goldman, setting fire to his back and wounding his leg with shrapnel. Despite these wounds and the shock of the sudden kamikaze, Goldman’s training prepared him for this as he rushed into action and provided medical assistance. With his medical aid, he quickly worked to treat the wounded service members by administering morphine and plasma. Goldman refused to receive treatment for himself until survivors moved all the wounded below deck for more comprehensive care. Once the immediate emergency had passed, Goldman received his medical attention. Goldman was then evacuated along with the other wounded to a different LST, which served as a makeshift hospital.
Goldman later received a Bronze Star Medal and Purple Heart.
He honorably discharged in September 1945. After the war, Goldman worked for the Connecticut Department of Agriculture. He retired in 1983 as the head of the marketing division.
Goldman passed away in 2006 at the age of 86. His memory lives on through his three children and will soon be honored by the Coast Guard, which announced they will be naming their Fast Response Cutter No. 42 after Goldman.
We honor his service.
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Editor: Julia Pack
Fact checker: Ileana Rodrigues/Scott Conway