Soldier remains in fast lane long after retirement


George Rosenfield defied the odds to reach age 93.


There are not enough hours in the day for George Rosenfield — soldier, volunteer, public speaker, ecologist and skier.

At age 93, you couldn’t blame the man for wanting to take things easy, but Rosenfield prefers life on the fast track and continues to be a popular speaker for civic groups and nonprofit organizations. And, he makes it a point to attend everything from County Commissioners’ meetings to the Marine Resources Council.

The Boston native has plenty to talk about. As a volunteer member of the U.S. Army Ski Troops, he cross-country skied his way through some pretty hairy situations with the 10th. Mountain Division in Italy.

“I was a Browning Automatic rifleman, which in Italy had a combat expectancy of 12 minutes,” the Suntree resident said.

Luck was on Rosenfield’s side, even when out of a platoon of 38 men, he was among the only 17 who walked out on their own power after a German attack. At the Brenner Pass to Austria, after a 50-minute barrage as Rosenfield and other soldiers jumped across a creek, the soldier next to him dropped dead, shot through the head.

“Why him, and not me, I cannot know,” he said.

Rosenfield did such a great job in Italy that ‘he was volunteered’ for the invasion of Japan. He continued with the Army through the Korean War. He later transferred to the Army Reserves and retired as a major.

The second chapter of his life literally took Rosenfield deep into the forest, for he earned both a bachelor’s and master’s degrees in forestry, focusing on photogrammetry and photo measurements with companies such as RCA and Raytheon. He retired in 1986 after 18 years with the U.S. Geological Survey in Reston, Virginia.

He first became acquainted with Brevard in 1957, when he took a job as a senior engineer with the RCA Missile Test Project at Patrick Air Force Base. When retirement time arrived, he headed straight to the Space Coast.

Until he was well into his 80s, Rosenfield remained an avid skier. A bad knee has sidelined him from cross-country skiing. While he can no longer take to the slopes, he still can take himself to the many presentations he gives and the meetings he attends. Not bad for someone who had been given a combat expectancy of 12 minutes back in World War II.