MARTIN, W. Va. - Near the unincorporated community of Martin, in Grant County and across the road from the Knobley Church of the Brethren, is a country cemetery.

By Jean Braithwaite
Tribune Correspondent
MARTIN, W. Va. - Near the unincorporated community of Martin, in Grant County and across the road from the Knobley Church of the Brethren, is a country cemetery.
In that cemetery, one of the gravesites shows a flat stone that often has small American flags surrounding the memorial.
In the earth below the headstone at Knobley Memorial Gardens, however, there is no casket, because the person whose name is inscribed on the headstone is U.S. Army PFC Tracy V. Rohrbaugh, and he never returned home during World War II.
Recently, tribute was given to the soldier by having a bridge renamed in his honor. Formerly called the Maysville Bridge, it is now known as the U.S. Army PFC Tracy Victor Rohrbaugh Memorial Bridge.
The bridge is located on County Route 3 over Lunice Creek.
West Virginia Del. Allen Evans, of Grant County, was instrumental in gaining backing from his fellow delegates to request that the Division of Highways rename the bridge to honor Rohrbaugh.
Approval to proceed with the renaming came in March, and the dedication ceremony happened in early June, with many of Rohrbaugh’s family members in attendance.
Rohrbaugh is the first-born child and son of Victor Adam and Dovie Clara Rohrbaugh, and was born on Oct. 27, 1922, in Martin.
He left school at an early age to help his father on the family farm, and later was inducted into the U.S. Army in January 1942, receiving his military training at Camp Maxey and Camp Hood in Texas.
Rohrbaugh boarded a ship in January 1943 along with hundreds of other soldiers, and they were bound for the World War II European Theater, where he served with the 625th Ordnance Ammunition Company, assigned to receive, store, and issue ammunition.
Regular letters were received by his mother, and the last one sent home was in early 1944, when Rohrbaugh gave words to his family that all was well with him.
Rohrbaugh was part of what is known as Operation Tiger in early 1944, taking place on Slapton Sands, near Devon, in the English Channel, an exercise to prepare the soldiers for what was to happen on D-Day.
What began as a training session developed into a tragedy for American Army and Navy personnel, however, because German torpedo boats came upon the scene supposedly completing regular surveillance duties and fired upon the American ships.
At least two of the ships and part of the American fleet went down, with total loss of lives numbering 749. It was later reported that possibly one of those soldiers was Rohrbaugh.
Irene Leatherman, of Mineral County, recently shared the information she had learned about Rohrbaugh, who was the older brother of her mother, Kathleen Rohrbaugh Feaster.
The two were part of the nine children in the Rohrbaugh family.
Leatherman said of her grandmother, Dovie, who lived to be age 93, “She was never at peace with what might have happened to her son Tracy,” only informed that Tracy was buried at sea.
“I remember my grandmother always talking about Tracy,” Leatherman said, as she told about his photo hanging on Dovie’s wall, with his Purple Heart arranged in one corner of the frame.
That homeplace where the photo was hung is still standing, and one of Dovie’s grandchildren now lives in that residence.
Leatherman said the gravestone placed in the Martin cemetery was “so the family could remember and grieve” for their son, brother, and uncle.
Remembering what was always on the mind of her grandmother, Leatherman said Dovie often talked about Tracy, saying, “I hope he didn’t suffer.”
Sgt. Rohrbaugh was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart, American Campaign Medal, and WW II Victory Medal, and has his name inscribed on the Tablets of the Missing at the Cambridge American Cemetery in Cambridge, England.
His name is one of the original names placed on the West Virginia Veterans’ Memorial, Charleston.