Grant Timmerman, B. Co., 2nd Tank Batt
By Theodore Reginald Hayman
To know Grant Timmerman was to know the meaning and spirit of the United States Marine Corps. To me, Grant always epitomized the quintessential Marine. Whenever I was assigned to field training with Company B, Second Tank Battalion, the Marines made it a point to train me in the skills of a Marine Tanker, and this was more so with Grant Timmerman.
When the support for Company B landed on Saipan in the Marianas Islands on the afternoon of D-Day, June 15th, 1944, the 2nd and 6th Marine Regiments were under heavy attack from the Japanese garrison in Garapan. The tanks were returning from the battle line to refuel and take on more ammo of 75 mm shells and 30/50 caliber bullets. There was plenty of work to be done. It was hot, well over 110 degrees and dusty. The tanks pulverized the earth into a fine, ankle-deep powder. Everyone was exhausted, but the intensity of the battle with the Japanese trying to throw the Marine Forces back into the ocean kept us inexorably dedicated to getting the job done.
Grant and his crew in the tank "Bonita" came back to re-supply before returning to the battle. As the tank spun around, Grant showed me a deep laceration on his forearm. He had been hit by a piece of shrapnel.
"Reggie, patch this up."
"For God's sake, Grant, this needs suturing. I'll get a jeep and we'll make a quick run to the Division Field Hospital and get this properly treated."
"Reggie, I haven't got the time. FIX IT!"
We quickly washed the wound with water and a tincture of green soap. I doused it with Mercurochrome and sulfa power, dried it with a gauze pad, and then we cut several strips of adhesive tape and made butterfly stitches to close the wound. A bandage secured the area and Grant was ready to go. As he climbed toward the turret's hatch, I yelled at Grant, "I'm turning you in for a Purple Heart."
"I haven't got time Reggie, see you later." And off "Bonita" went, kicking up a cloud of dust into the heat of battle.
In 1987, I was reading the latest addition of the Bogey Wheel, and there was an account of Grant Timmerman's action on Saipan, where he gave his life to save his comrades. My daughter, Janet, came into the family room and saw that I had a few tears in my eyes. "What are you reading, Dad?" I told her about Grant Timmerman and his great sacrifice, and how all his "cobbers" admired his dedication to getting on with the war against the Japanese Empire, allowing him to get back to Shanghai and hopefully marring his White Russian girlfriend.
Janet was pregnant and there was the usual dialogue to determine the name of the newborn. What if it was a boy? The would-be parents, Janet and Mike, said the boy's name must be solidly masculine. When we were discussing the subject, Grandpa-to-be Hayman said it would be a great honor and recognition of a true war hero to select Grant as a first name, after Sergeant Grant F. Timmerman, Congressional Medal of Honor awardee: a Marine of Company "B", Second Tank Battalion, Second Marine Division, who gave his life to save the lives of his fellow tank crewmen in the Battle of Saipan, Marianas campaign, in the Central Pacific, June of 1944.
And so, on October 6th, 1987, Grant Hayman Sims was born.
In January of this year, the Sims traveled to Hawaii. Mike, a retired Major in the U.S. Army Reserves, daughter Janet, granddaughter Amy and Grant visited Pearl Harbor and the Punch Bowl Military Memorial Cemetery where Grant Timmerman is interred. Grant Timmerman's picture and the Congressional Medal of Honor citation are framed and displayed in the edifice hall of the Military Cemetery. The gravesite is a flat gravestone in the front cemetery rows of the edifice monument's ascending stairway. Through the visit, Grant Sims has a closer spiritual comradeship and a deeper appreciation for his namesake, Sergeant Grant F. Timmerman. He will always admire and honor Grant Timmerman's dedication and meritorious service toward his and our country.
SEMPER FIDELIS. May 1, 1999.
"Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friend." John 15:13.
copyright 2003 T.O.T.W.
Created 27 August 2003 - Updated 1 January 2004