April 29, 1925 (Fairfield, CT) – April 10, 1965 (Norwalk; CT); 39 years old
Married to Florence Hayes Marshall Bridgeforth on October 22, 1952 in Stamford CT
One daughter Carmen Denise Bridgeforth Clark (1953-1993), and one son Harold Jr. (1956-). Stepdaughters Beverly Marshall-Burrus (?-?) and Sharon Marshall Rouzier (1945-2008).
Local address: 100 Dry Hill Road, Norwalk and 3F 11 Roodner Court
Enlisted in 1943 into the Navy and 1951 into the Marine Corps.
Serial number 1223355
MOS: 6511; Marine Corps Aircraft Ordnance
Unit: USS Wisconsin in the Navy; 1st Marines, 7th Battalion in the Marine Corps
Born to Harold (1907-1950) and Genevieve Whalley (1912-1961). One brother Donald (1931-1958) and one sister, Evelyn Bridgeforth Balfour (1932-2009).
From The Norwalk Hour September 29, 1951
LOCAL YOUTH JOINS MARINES; BROTHER FIGHTING IN KOREA
A local 21-year-old man is in Parris Island, South Carolina, a private in the United States Marine Corps, his decision to enlist crystallized when his brother was wounded in action in Korea. The new Private is Harold William Bridgeforth, son of Genevieve L. Bridgeforth of 19 Park Street. He enlisted for a three year term. Harold’s final decision to enlist came when his mother received word that the brother, Marine,Sergeant Donald Bridgeforth had been wounded in action in Korea. Harold carried out his determination to follow his brother’s career to the extent of enlisting at the Bridgeport Recruiting office from where his brother departed May 11, 1943. Sergeant Bridgeforth was hit in the right arm during the latter part of July while he was a member of B Company, First Battalion of the Seventh Marine Regiment, Seventh Marine Division. He was evacuated to Japan to convalesce and now has returned to his original outfit. He was made sergeant the latter part of August. Private Bridgeforth, a graduate of Norwalk High School where he was active in baseball, basketball, and track, was a member of the New England Junior Track Team, was sworn in by Major John W. McLaughlin, officer in charge of the Hartford Marine Corps Recruiting Headquarters. Immediately following the ceremony, the young man, formerly employed by the Yale & Towne Company as a machine operator, left for Parris Island where he will undergo eight weeks of basic training. Before his first duty assignment he will be granted a 10-day leave to visit his family and friends.
From The Norwalk Hour May 26, 1960
MEMORIAL DAY SPEAKER NAMED
STATE MARINE CORPS OFFICIAL BRIDGEFORTH IS VET OF 2 WARS
Commandant Harold Bridgeforth of the Marine Corps League of the Department of Connecticut, native and resident of Norwalk, and a veteran of both World War II and the Korean War, was announced today as the main speaker for the Memorial Day services on Norwalk Green, to follow the parade. Chairman Andrew Kish of the Memorial Day Committee made the announcement. Commandant Bridgeforth holds the distinction of being the first Negro veteran in the country to hold state office in a veterans organization. He is also one of the very few men in the country, of any race, to hold three honorable discharges from the U.S. military service. He attended Norwalk schools. But before completing his education, he entered the Navy in 1943. He served aboard several destroyers, and then he was assigned to the USS Wisconsin. Aboard her, he served in the engagements of Tinian, Iwo Jima and Okinawa. At the end of the war, he was honorably discharged for the first time, in 1946. But after a few months ashore, he re-enlisted in the Navy for a four-year hitch. Before the finish of that service, he volunteered for the Marine Corps; and he received his second honorable discharge from the Navy, allowing the transfer. As a Marine, he was trained in aviation ordnance. He was eventually assigned to Marine Air Group 14, stationed at Cherry Point, North Carolina. Shortly afterward, in 1949, he marred the former Florence Marshall, of Stamford. A year later, he went into the Korean War, assigned to the 1st Marine Air Wing. In Korea, he was transferred to the 7th Battalion of the 1st Marine Division, with which he saw action in the Punchbowl area. He received the Purple Heart Medal for wounds received in the legs. He was returned to the United States in 1951l and for the next three years he served in the Marine bases in Opa Locka and Jacksonville, Florida and Cherry Point. He received his honorable discharge from the Marine Corps in December of 1954. Shortly afterward, he entered the employ of the Bridgeport Brass Company, in the Norwalk plant; and with that firm he has risen to the skilled assignment of a die sinker. In 1959, his activities in the Marine veterans’ organization resulted in him being elected Commandant of the Marine Corps League. He is also a member of the Disabled American Veterans, Jeremiah O’Brien Detachment. Commandant Bridgeforth resides at 113-F Samuel Roodner Court with his wife and four children: Beverly, Sharon, Carmen, and Harold Jr.
Burial information is unknown. Information pending.