- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 23, 2005

YONA, Guam — Washington baseball fever, revived by the pending arrival of the Nationals, also brushed the Pacific island of Guam when this picturesque town paused to dedicate the Trimble Baseball Field.

Its namesake, James Trimble III of Washington, was the Patrick Tillman of his generation.

Spc. Tillman gave up an NFL career to join the U.S. Army and died fighting in Afghanistan. Jimmy Trimble, a baseball phenomenon, passed up a career with the Senators to serve his nation in an earlier war.

Pvt. Trimble joined the Marines and died fighting on March 1, 1945, on Iwo Jima.

More than 1,000 people gathered on March 12 to keep Pvt. Trimble’s memory alive.

Pvt. Trimble’s baseball prowess placed him in good stead on Guam, where he became the leading pitcher for the 3rd Marine Division all-star team.

After his death on a hazardous scouting missing on Iwo Jima, Maj. Gen. Graves Erskine, the 3rd Marine Division commander, had the division’s baseball field named Trimble Field in tribute to the fallen hero.

“His name will not be forgotten and his brave spirit will continue to inspire us in the tough battles that lie ahead,” Gen. Erskine said at the time.

Actress and Washington resident Christine White, who was Pvt. Trimble’s fiancee, has long endeavored to keep his legacy alive. Through her efforts, the World War II Veterans Committee and the Young Marines program established a scholarship program in Pvt. Trimble’s name.

The organizations suggested dedicating a new Trimble Field to Yona Mayor Jose Terlaje, who made it happen.

The town council scheduled the dedication of the field — less than a mile from the original — to coincide with the Young Marines’ visit to Guam as part of the 60th anniversary commemoration of the Battle of Iwo Jima.

“Private Trimble did not have to serve,” Navy Secretary Gordon England said.

“Yet he chose to do so knowing the dangers that he would face. Because of a vision defect in one of his eyes, he was declared exempt from military service.

“Moreover, at age 17 he had signed a lucrative professional baseball contract with the Washington Senators.

“Undaunted, Private Trimble was determined to do his part for freedom and chose to delay his Major League Baseball career so he could serve in the United States Marine Corps,” Mr. England said.

President Bush said in remarks read at the dedication:

“As part of the Yona, Guam, community, this baseball field will serve as a lasting tribute to Private Trimble, a talented baseball player and outstanding Marine whose exemplary service in combat reflected how he lived his life with character and courage.

“The Trimble Baseball Field will encourage new generations of athletes to strive for excellence.”

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