Born on July 18, 1924 to Estelle and Mack Roth and a native of Daytona Beach, Florida, Marvin Roth entered The Citadel in 1940 after graduating from Seabreeze High School. He was a member of the Class of 1944, known as “The Class That Never Was”. During his junior year, he was inducted into the US Army on November 12, 1942, and, together with his classmates, was immediately sent to Army basic training when the academic year ended, May 30, 1943.
Cadet Private Marvin Roth, Class of 1944
Source: 1943 Sphinx
While at The Citadel, Cadet Roth majored in English and was a member of Cadet Company C. In extracurricular activities, he was a member of the English Club and the boxing team, fighting in the 145-pound class.
“After all, I shall have to live with myself for a lifetime.”
In July 1943, Marvin Roth, along with another 61 members of The Citadel’s Class of 1944, underwent training at Fort McClellan in Alabama in lieu of the training normally given during the final Reserve Officer Training Corps year. At the end of this special training, and as soon as vacancies in officer candidate school at Fort Benning, in Georgia, opened, they would be sent for final training as second lieutenants in the officer’s reserve corps.
Having completed the special training, Marvin Roth declined officer candidate school in order to get to the action sooner. Specifically, he decided to forgo the opportunity to be commissioned as second lieutenant so that he could become a private in the paratroopers where, as his father would later explain, he felt the need was greater.
In March 1945, while serving with the armored infantry in combat in Germany, SSGT Roth’s name was entered into the Congressional Record when his congressman read aloud, on the floor of the House of Representatives, his letter explaining how he could not accept the congressman’s appointment to the US Naval Academy because his duty was with his men at the front. (The news article with the full account follows below.)
An account of his refusal of the appointment was also reported by a combat correspondent who wrote the action left his fellow soldiers bewildered and his platoon sergeant completely baffled as to why anyone would pass up the chance to return to the safety of the “Promised Land”. When asked about his decision, SSGT Roth told the reporter, “I’m over here now and have seen what it is all about. I realize that my job is here. After all, I shall have to live with myself for a lifetime.” (more…)