An avid and highly talented baseball player in his youth, George Walter Harms (b. 1921) played baseball for the University of Michigan and served as captain of the team. Among the highlights of his career was playing on the 1936 American Legion national champion team, filling in as battery mate for Hal Newhouser, later a great professional player with the Detroit Tigers.
Harms was signed to join a professional team when he was called to serve in the Pacific with the Marine Corps in July, 1943. He joined the 4th Marine Raiders, which was reorganized as the 6th Division in April, 1944, and served exclusively in the brutal Pacific Theatre. Surviving the assault and capture of Guam, the Marianas Islands, and Okinawa, Harms served with distinction, earning the Bronze Star "for heroic achievement in connection with operations against the Japanese enemy on Okinawa, Shima, Ryukyu Islands... While serving as a sergeant guide of a rifle platoon of a Marine rifle company, Sergeant Harms, on 24 May 1945... led his platoon... to seize a ridge infested with enemy riflemen and mortars."
At Okinawa, Harms was wounded, abruptly terminating his plans to resume a baseball career upon his discharge. As a member of the reactivated 4th Marine Regiment, he participated in the initial occupation of Japan.