George Ronald Slighte

While I was pregnant with my first child, in 1983, at the Golden Gate National Cemetary, I first saw his name in stone:

Slighte, George Ronald,
b. 06/27/1915, d. 06/05/1949,

I had never seen his face, but he was my grandfather. My father was four years old when he passed. All my life I remember hearing that my brother would have been named “George,” but he wasn’t a man you would name a child after.

THIS, is my personal testimony to say that George was a man who many thought was a hero. Just the kind of man you name a child after.

George Ronald Slighte enlisted in the United State’s Army Infantry five days after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

He was born in Port Hope, Ontario, to Thomas and Margaret Slighte (Nana and Papa Slighte to me). The family moved to California when he and his two older brothers Thomas and Ray where children.
This “short little Canadian” was VERY passionate about his adopted country. 

He met my grandmother, Margaret Florence Clara Foley, while in high school. 

Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, was bombed on December 7, 1941. It took George only five days to get his affairs in order, and sign up to serve his country.

While he went to war, my grandmother awaited his return. 

The 32nd was his division in the Army. They are called the Red Arrows.

George was paralyzed from an injury incurred at the hands of a Japanese rifle butt to the back of his head in New Guinea. Four Natives carried him for 8 days over the Owen Stanley Mountains to safety.

He spent three months in a hospital in Australia before being returned to the states where he spent more time in a hospital in San Diego before being released to his wife.

My father, Ronald George Slighte was born February 8, 1945, his younger sister was born in February 1947.

By June 1949, the horrendous pain from his head injury and the horrors of PTSD finally got the better of him.

He gave his watch to my four-year old father, closed the door to his home office, and removed the offending object with his service revolver.

That last part was the only thing I had known about my grandfather when I was a child.
They could have left that part out, it was the part that has injured the delicate sensibilities of many in our family for generations.

George R. Slighte was a war hero. He was injured horribly, both physically and psychologically,  in World War II. Four New Guinea natives carried him for EIGHT days so that he may see his dear family again. When he returned to the states, my father then my aunt, were conceived.

Without those four men, who the records tell me were called “Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels” by our army, who carried my grandfather to safety, my grandchildren and so many people who I love, including me, wouldn’t be here.

Thank God for Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels.

Thank God also for distant cousins.
After I sent out an inquiring email to a distant cousin who had posted part of our family tree online; I was rewarded and blessed with emails and photos of the family I had never seen.

Thanks to my cousin Kathy, here is a photo of my grandfather, George Ronald Slighte, my grandmother, Margaret Florence Clara Slighte (nee Foley), his mother, my great-grandma “Nana” (“Maggie”) Margaret Thornhill Slighte (nee Walsh) and  his father, my great-grandfather, Thomas A. Slighte

8 thoughts on “George Ronald Slighte

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  1. From the 32nd Infantry article in Wikipedia:

    “Transport to New Guinea

    General Douglas MacArthur had repeatedly requested Washington D.C. to send him additional troops with which to initiate an offensive campaign and had been pointedly told he would have to make do with the troops on hand.[21] MacArthur had decided as soon as he had reached Australia that the key to its defense lay not on the mainland but in New Guinea.[21] On 13 September 1942 he ordered parts of the 32nd Division to Papua New Guinea even though they had less than two months of training. This would become part of the opening ground offensive against Japanese troops in the Southwest Pacific Area, and MacArthur expected the Americans to quickly and easily advance on and capture the Japanese forward base at Buna.[34]

    The U.S. Army typically required divisions to train as a unit for a full year before entering combat.[35] The 32nd had arrived in Australia in April 1942, spent several weeks building its first camp, was transported to a new camp ion July, and nearly one-third of its troops had been in boot camp only five months previously. Nonetheless U.S. officers decided it was the most combat-ready unit in Australia.”


  2. I am so Honored to help remove the stigma that sadly was placed there by relatives that could do nothing but point out the faults they found in lovedones they should have suppported. Its never too late to set the record straight! Yes, your Grandfather was a hero and was loved by people that mattered. I was told his sad story by my mother that had nothing but love and respect for her cousin see saw as a brother. She welcomed your grandmother, father & aunt into our home for many visits. Im proud to be your cousin, and know my mother & your grandfather are celebrating our reunion! God Bless You! Kathy


  3. In my life, I have been so blessed to have cousins on my mother's side who are as close as siblings, so I have a lot of empathy for what they must have felt.

    It feels so incredible to have made contact with you, I look forward to exchanging stories and pictures of our family past and present.

    It's wonderful for our family's future that we can begin to heal the wound his death left in our family, with our virtual reunion.

    God Bless you and your family as well!


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