Major Albert G. Maroscher
Educator – Military Officer
Major Albert G. Maroscher lived on this earth for 32 years. He spent only three years on the campus of Hardin-Simmons University, but left an indelible imprint on The Forty Acres, modeling drive, determination, academic achievement, service and patriotic devotion to our nation.
Maroscher was a Romanian native who later became a naturalized American citizen. As a young boy, his family fled their home during World War II. He walked over 600 miles across Romania, Hungary, Austria, and eventually into Bavaria, Germany in May 1945, where he and his family temporarily settled.
One day, Maroscher was rummaging through trash when an American soldier approached him. Maroscher stood his ground and was met with a kind smile and a piece of chocolate from the soldier. This brief encounter and act of kindness was a friendly introduction to an American that laid the foundation for Maroscher’s eagerness to become an American citizen. The Maroscher family later made their way to the United States, where they became citizens.
Albert Maroscher graduated from Ohio State in 1959 and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the army. After officer’s training at Fort Benning, Georgia, he was assigned to Germany as a platoon leader, public information officer, company executive officer, company commander, and battalion adjutant. In 1963, he returned to the U.S. as a captain and was assigned to HSU’s ROTC program to serve as an assistant professor of military science. While at HSU, Maroscher earned a master’s degree in history.
Upon his completion of his tour of duty at HSU and after completing jungle warfare training in Panama, Maroscher prepared to leave to serve his country in Southeast Asia. His wife, Betty, said that the young officer told her, “I love my country and if I die, I want it to be in service to my country. In August 1967, Maroscher reported to the First Infantry Division in Vietnam, where he was promoted to major. He was killed in an aircraft shot down by hostile fire on April 15, 1968.
Back home in Abilene, Col. Johnny Rice, HSU professor of military science and ROTC director said, Captain Maroscher was a professional military officer in all respects. His loss here is going to leave a major hole in our program.” Maroscher’s funeral service was held in Behrens Chapel.
HSU University President Dr. Elwin Skiles announced his desire for a memorial to be established to honor the memory of Major Maroscher that would direct the thoughts of students to God and their country. A special ceremony was held in 1969 to dedicate a new campus flagpole memorial that stands in the front lawn of the campus today.
His wife, Betty, was presented with several posthumous awards in her husband’s honor. Among those awards were the Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross, Soldier’s Medal, Bronze Star Medal, Air Medal, Army Commendation Medal, and Purple Heart.
The Silver Star, the nation’s third highest award, was presented for gallantry in action on January 31, 1968, while Maroscher was acting as the officer in charge of tactical operation for his battalion in the suburbs of Saigon. Portions of his unit became subjected to intense enemy machine gun and automatic weapons fire. Disregarding his own personal safety, he deployed elements of his command so as to neutralize many of the enemy positions and limiting American casualties.
Maroscher also received the Distinguished Flying Cross for heroism while participating in an aerial flight on February 21, 1968. While making an aerial reconnaissance, Maroscher learned that a company from his battalion was in heavy contact with a well-concealed enemy force. He and his pilot made numerous treetop passes in an effort to locate enemy positions and mark them with smoke grenades. His courageous efforts of coordinating both ground and aerial forces against enemy forces were greatly significant in the victory gained over the hostile force.
The Soldier’s Medal, the nation’s highest medal for heroism not involving actual conflict with an armed enemy was presented for his action on December 31, 1967. When an ammunition supply area caught fire, Maroscher entered the area in an armored vehicle to direct a search for personnel trapped in the area. His resourcefulness and concern for his fellow soldiers were instrumental in limiting the severity and number of casualties during the disaster.
Other decorations presented were the Bronze Star Medal, Air Medal, Army Commendation Medal, and Purple Heart. Service medals and badges included the National Defense Service Medal, Viet Nam Service Medal, Viet Nam Campaign Ribbon, Combat Infantry Badge, Marksmanship Badge and Parachute Badge.
Mrs. Betty Maroscher has described her late husband as “not only a wonderful officer and fantastic human being; but, he was the love of my life.” For his outstanding and patriotic service to his nation and for his courageous action in combat, Hardin-Simmons University proudly inducts Major Albert G. Maroscher into the HSU Hall of Leaders.