Borgstrom brothers

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The Borgstrom brothers were four siblings killed over a six-month period during World War II. They were the sons of Alben and Gunda Borgstrom of Thatcher, Utah. The brothers were:

  • LeRoy Elmer Borgstrom, 30 (born April 30, 1914, died June 22, 1944), U.S. Army
  • Clyde Eugene Borgstrom, 28 (born February 15, 1916, died March 17, 1944), U.S. Marine Corps
  • Rolon Day Borgstrom, 19 (born May 5, 1925, died August 8, 1944), U.S. Army Air Forces
  • Rulon Jay Borgstrom, 19 (born May 5, 1925, died August 26, 1944), U.S. Army Air Forces

History[edit]

Alben and Gunda Borgstrom were the parents of ten children, seven of whom were boys. Six of the boys graduated from Bear River High School in Garland, Utah. Years before the United States' involvement in World War II, the eldest son died from a ruptured appendix. When the U.S. entered the war, five of the remaining brothers enlisted or were drafted into the military: Boyd, LeRoy Elmer, Clyde, Rolon, and Rulon.

While clearing an air strip on Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands, Clyde was killed by a falling tree in March 1944. Three months later, LeRoy Elmer was killed in Italy. In August, Rolon died after a bombing raid over Germany. His twin brother, Rulon, who was initially reported missing, died 17 days later from wounds received in an attack on Le Dreff near Brest, France.

When Rulon went missing, the Borgstrom family, with help from neighbors and the Utah congressional delegation, successfully petitioned for Boyd, the last Borgstrom son in the military, to be released from service.[1] Shortly thereafter, he was transferred to the United States and discharged by special order of the Marine Corps commandant.[2] Eldon, sometimes spelled Elton, who was not yet of enlistment age in 1944, was also exempted from military service.

It took almost four years after the four brothers' deaths for their bodies to be returned to Utah by the American Graves Registration Service.[3] A funeral service for the four brothers was then held in the LDS Church's Garland Tabernacle in Garland, Utah on June 25, 1948. Clarence E. Smith, former principal of Bear River High School, Utah Governor Herbert B. Maw, LDS Church President George Albert Smith, and General Mark W. Clark spoke at the funeral. Rear Admiral John R. Redman, Major General LeRoy P. Hunt, and Brigadier General Ned Schramm were in attendance.[4] The brothers were then buried side-by-side in the Riverview Cemetery in Tremonton, Utah.[5]

During the funeral service, the brothers were posthumously awarded three Bronze Star Medals, one Air Medal, and one Good Conduct Medal.[6] According to Colonel Leonard R. Crews, "commanding officer of the Sixth Army escort detachment at Ogden," the Borgstrom family was the "only four-star Gold Star family on record in World War II."[2] (The Sullivan brothers—all of whom were killed in the same incident in World War II—were a five-star Gold Star family.)

The loss of four of the Borgstrom brothers, along with the loss of all five Sullivan brothers, led to the official adoption of the Sole Survivor Policy in 1948.

Legacy[edit]

The Salt Lake Tribune reported in November 1944 that the deaths of the four Borgstrom brothers resulted in "the armed services rul[ing] special consideration will be given any family in which two or more sons have been killed and only one member in service survives."[1] Even though the article was published a few years before the Sole Survivor Policy was enacted (1948), the deaths of the Borgstrom brothers, along with the deaths of the Sullivan brothers and others, may have contributed to the development of this policy.

In April 1959, the Army honored the Borgstrom brothers by naming a reserve training center in Ogden, Utah in their honor. In August 2001, a soldiers' memorial was dedicated in Tremonton, Utah, which had the images and names of the brothers in a place of prominence.[7]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Hope Dims to Grief As 'Lost' Status Takes Worst Turn," Salt Lake Tribune, November 4, 1944.
  2. ^ a b "4 Borgstrom Brothers Home," Deseret News, June 25, 1948.
  3. ^ "The Parents Wait," Life Magazine, July 19, 1948.
  4. ^ "Four Fallen Heroes Honored," Deseret News, June 26, 1948.
  5. ^ "U. S., State Set Borgstrom Honor Today." Salt Lake Tribune, June 26, 1984.
  6. ^ "Military, State, LDS Heads Pay Tribute to Borgstroms." Salt Lake Tribune, June 27, 1948.
  7. ^ "'Gratitude is our Feeling Today'," Church News, August 25, 2001.

External links[edit]