Robert A. Williams

NO. 17795  •  20 Jul 1926 - 1 Oct 1952

Killed in Air Accident in South Korea - Remains not recovered

The small village of Celina, TX, located north of Dallas, had a population increase of one as Mr. and Mrs. Joe Lee Williams welcomed their second child, Robert Allen Williams, into their household. At an early age, Bob was entertained by riding in the family buggy, delivering food and cool drinks to the workers in the field. At the age of five, he learned to drive the buggy and then learned to ride the horse. He dreamed of becoming a cowboy when he grew up.

And grow up Bob did. His family moved to Malvern, AR, where his father operated a hardware store. Bob displayed his independence when he ran away from home to a nearby farm that had horses in pursuit of his desire to be a cowboy. He was returned to his family but his independent spirit remained with him throughout his life.

Bob attended Malvern High School, where he was active in student government and athletics, earning letters in track and gymnastics. While in high school, he developed an interest in attending West Point and with sought an opportunity to do so by attending Marion Institute. He eventually earned an appointment to the Academy in July 1945. After successfully completing "Beast Barracks," Bob was ready for the academic challenge and despite his best effort, was un-able to master the rules of analytic geometry and was and "turned back."

His indomitable spirit led him to try one more time for re-admission to the Academy by attending Sullivan’s Preparatory School in Washington, DC, for further academic tutoring. While there, he befriended two "ex" plebes, William G. Fuller and Gene A. Dennis, who experienced the same setback, and coincidently became his roommates during all four years at the Academy. Their friendship lasted throughout their careers.

As a cadet, Bob compiled an envious record. He achieved the rank of cadet lieutenant, became intercollegiate gymnastic champion in the "flying rings," and earned fourth place in that event in the National Gymnastic Championship, for which he was awarded his Major "A."

The future held much promise for Bob when he entered Basic Flight Training at Randolph AFB, TX. At the outset, flying seemed natural to him, almost like riding a horse. He was one of a few to solo early, a happy event. That accomplishment was overshadowed by another event, however, when he was introduced to Miss Peggy Jackson by Bill Fuller's fiance, Miss Lee Grebe. A wonderful courtship began, followed by marriage to Peggy. When assigned to advanced jet fighter training at Williams AFB, Bob joined both his roommates, who were taking the same training. His world now was perfect - Bob was with those he loved, embarking on a career he loved. He was even happier after experiencing the thrill of his first jet flight in the T-33 jet trainer. He knew he had made the correct career and life choices.

Bob soon learned that the T-33 aircraft was a different machine from the T-6 basic trainer. The transition proved to be a challenge, as he had difficulty staying abreast with the others in meeting the standards. Consequently, he was moved back to another group for additional training. Bob finally graduated from the advanced flight training and Peggy pinned the wings of an Air Force pilot on to his uniform.

After graduation, the Williams family traveled to Luke AFB, AZ, where Bob entered the F-84 Combat Crew Training Course and joined his two roommates who were nearing completion of their training. That reunion ended when they departed for their assignments to Johnson AFB in Japan. The additional flying time and experience Bob acquired at Williams AFB proved beneficial as he became the top student pilot in aerial gunnery. From there, he followed his roommates to Johnson AFB, arriving in time to bid them farewell as they departed to join F-84 units in Korea.

After completing indoctrination training at Johnson, Bob was assigned to the 474th Fighter Bomber Group, an F-84 unit in Korea, where he was reunited with Gene A. Dennis. His first few weeks in Korea were spent undergoing theatre indoctrination learning the rules of engagement, the procedure involved understanding the tactical air control system, plus training flights to the tactical gunnery range. All were necessary steps before flying combat missions. Bob was cleared to fly combat and scheduled to fly a combat familiarization flight in the number four aircraft in a flight of four aircraft.

Shortly after takeoff and during the climb to altitude, the flight experienced weather conditions. When the flight broke into the clear, Bob's aircraft was not sighted nor did he check in by radio. The other flight members never sighted his aircraft during the flight through weather or join up. Subsequent search flights over the area were unable to locate the downed aircraft or pilot.

It was assumed Bob experienced vertigo during the climb through the weather and was unable to stay with the flight during instrument conditions, lost control, and crashed. He was declared killed in air accident 1 Oct 1952. His widow, Peggy, survives Bob.

His will be done. "Be thou at peace."

- Classmate and wingman Bill Curry

Robert D. Willerford

NO. 17565 • 8 Mar 1925 - 24 Sep 1956  

Died in Tallahasee, FL.
Interred in West Point Cemetery, West Point NY


On 24 Sep 1956, a hurricane glanced off the Louisiana and Alabama gulf coasts and struck northwest Florida with full force, blasting Panama City and nearby coastal towns with 100 mile per hour winds. CPT Bob Willerford and his wingman were ordered to evacuate two training aircraft from Tyndall AFB near Panama City. Initial orders were to evacuate the aircraft to the Midwest. Orders then changed, and CPT Willerford and his colleague were diverted to West Palm Beach. Bob's wife Mary remembers his rushing home and then heading back to the flight line, leaving his wallet on the dresser. After driving to the runway and watching while a sergeant ran out to return the wallet to him, she saw Bob wave vigorously to her and take off. Tragically, Bob and the wingman collided in the severe weather and crashed near Tallahassee. His wingman ejected safely and survived. Bob died in the crash and was buried with honors at West Point on 28 Sep 1956, just 6 years and 3 months after his graduation.

Bob left behind his young wife and three young children, family he treasured. He also left behind a father, mother, two sisters, and a brother he cared for deeply. He left behind a profession he loved. Flying was his passion. He left behind classmates and colleagues who greatly valued his friendship. Though long years have dimmed memories, we remember a fine, ebullient man with a brilliant smile, who had been a friend to all.

Robert Dale Willerford was born to Fred and Lillian Willerford in Chicago, IL, on 8 Mar 1925. They soon moved to Van Nuys, CA. He grew up there, the oldest of four children, with siblings Ruth, Beverly, and Fred. He attended Van Nuys High School, participating in sports and other activities. Upon graduation in 1942, Bob attended a preparatory school and then went into the Army in September 1943. He was assigned to the Army Special Training Program for continued education at Lafayette College, PA, and, subsequently, Amherst College, MA. With his leadership qualities evident, Bob was selected for OCS in April 1945 and graduated in December 1945 as a second lieutenant of Infantry. He was ordered back to Amherst College, this time to the USMA Prep School. Future classmate Tyler Goodman, at Amherst, remembers that many of the enlisted men regarded Bob as a model officer, whom they one day hoped to emulate. A final brief tour at Ft. Benning was interrupted by orders to join the Class of 1950 at West Point in July 1946.

Bob successfully negotiated the rigors of Beast Barracks, helping many classmates along the way. Company mate Fred Hoham recalled that Bob won a prize during Beast Barracks for rapidly field stripping and reassembling his M 1 rifle. In September, he joined Company E 1, his home until graduation. During his years at West Point, Bob was an 'A' Squad fencer, a mainstay of the saber team. His skill and sheer determination earned him a place on the 1950 Eastern Intercollegiate Championship Saber Team. He also participated in several clubs and served as a baseball manager. Again, his excellent leadership qualities were recognized with his appointment as a cadet lieutenant and platoon leader during First Class year. He was remembered by company commander Bill Aman as having had a steadying influence on the company.

While at West Point, Bob had the good fortune to meet his "OAO," Mary Bemis, of Spencer, MA. They were wed on 24 Jun 1950 during graduation leave and immediately went on to a first duty station at Randolph AFB, TX, with residence in New Braunfels. Upon completion of basic flight training, he and Mary moved on to Williams AFB, where he completed advanced training Over the next few years, their three children, Beth, Susie, and Bobbie, were born.
Following additional postings for continued training, Bob went to Korea in September 1952. After 23 combat missions in Korea with the 474th Fighter Bomber Wing, Bob was reassigned to the 9th Fighter Bomber Squadron in Nagoya, Japan, in December 1952. There, he joined a special group of about 30 pilots to train for a classified mission. It was some months later that Mary and the children joined him in Japan.

Bob was a tinkerer. For his family, every move was another chance to fiddle. He made furniture, painted, put up wallpaper, built shelves and cupboards, made folding patterns for linens, and created playrooms out of closets. While stationed in Nagoya, Mary remembers his stenciling balloons and children’s characters onto material he had found somewhere, making curtains for the children’s rooms. He tinkered sometimes with official permission, sometimes without.

More than his family benefited from his tinkering. In Korea, Bob and his colleagues underwent special mission training. It required careful weapon preparation, precise weapon settings, and intricate installation of devices on board the F84G aircraft. The procedure involved the use of several test instruments that were not particularly well arranged. Bob designed a consolidated configuration for the test instruments on a dolly, greatly contributing to the speed and efficiency of preflight operations. The training required dangerous long range flights over Korea in overloaded aircraft and a return to base with minimal fuel in reserve. Fortunately, the armistice in 1953 obviated the need for execution of the special weapons missions.

Upon return to the States in 1954, the family traveled to Tyndall AFB, FL, where Bob served as a flight instructor until the tragic day in September 1956 when his plane crashed in Florida. During his short but distinguished service, Bob was recognized with the Air Medal and Commendation Medal.

Bob Willerford is remembered by family, friends, classmates, and colleagues as a man who loved and cared for his family with great dedication, who was a stalwart friend, and who served his nation proudly and with distinction.

- His Family and Classmates

Warren Webster, III

NO. 18012  •  

Killed in Action, February 21, 1953 in Korea. Aged 25 Years.

The news of Warren Webster's death came as a shock to all who knew him as a cheerful friend and a superior soldier and officer. Just prior to the time of his death on 21 February 1953 he was Aide-de-Camp to Brigadier General Dewey at IX Corps and could have remained in this position of comparative safety except for his intense desire to lead troops on the line as he had done before receiving the position as aide. Early in February 1953 his wish was granted and he assumed command of a rifle company in the 3d Division. Shortly, thereafter, he was killed by a sniper's bullet while leading his company on patrol.

Throughout the six years that I knew Web he was always happy and easy going. If there was a piano nearby he was ready with a song. And, if times were hard and others were unhappy, Web was always ready with a joke. What he lacked in the classroom he made up for with common sense. It is no secret that he held the Academic Department in complete contempt, preferring to spend his time talking and dreaming of the time he would marry his high school sweetheart, Joan Gidley.

I shall never forget, nor will many others, the wonderful parties Joan and Web had during weekends in Philadelphia. Web would be at his best with all the Ivy League songs, while everybody else would try to sing louder than he.

There was never a thing Web could not or would not do for anybody. His generosity and friendliness were open to all. I have never heard a person who knew him say that he was not among his best of friends.

Just as he played hard so did he work hard. Upon graduation he went to Parachute School and served with the 82d Airborne Division for a year before departing for Korea. While in Korea he received the Silver Star for gallantry while leading a patrol, and the Bronze Star for meritorious service.  His sense of duty was as keen as his sense of humor.

Web realized his dream -  shortly after graduation when he married Joan at a beautiful ceremony in Philadelphia. After he went overseas she went back to her home in Drexel Park, Pennsylvania, where their son, Warren Webster IV, was born.

Little Web had a wonderful father who has fulfilled his duty to his country and family. 

- Charles R. Smith

John Lonergan Weaver

NO. 17694  •  

Died 6 September 1952 in Korea (KIA), aged 25 years.
Interment: West Point Cemetery, West Point, New York.

John Weaver and I were classmates at the Academy and in the same company (F­1); later, we roomed together as bachelors at Fort Bragg and Fort Benning, and I grew to know him even better - as a fellow officer and a true friend.

Twenty-five years were all that were given to John before he was killed in action in Korea on 6 September 1952. Such a brief lifespan does not provide opportunities for homeric achievements, but the promise of what might have been was evident to those who knew him.

How best to describe John? Whenever I hear West Point's motto proclaimed, John comes to mind. He truly lived by the words "Duty, Honor, Country." This image of John was evident to others as well. A friend who knew him in high school and at West Point wrote, "My strongest recollection of him is his sense of personal responsibility - his sense of duty. John didn't talk much; he just did, and did well, and without question." Other images are still vivid in my memory. John, the staunch Catholic, living his faith quietly but with conviction; his unwillingness to compromise his principies or cut corners, his absolute integrity. An incident from long ago comes to mind and was so characteristic of John. Soon after being assigned to our first platoons, we were to report 100% completion of certain mandatory training. Under the circumstances at that time, this was impossible to accomplish, so the accepted practice was to tender a false report. John's refusal to do so gave me the will to follow his lead.

It would be wrong, however, if one were to get the impression John was aloof and humorless or rigid and unbending, or overzealous and self-righteous. Not so. He was a spirited, funloving, personable fellow with a quick, dry wit. He was highly regarded not only by his friends but by his associates. A fellow officer who served with him remembered, "John was one of the few persons I have known who had the admiration of all his superiors, associates and subordinates. Everyone who knew him respected him for his adherence to his high standards and ideals."

John was destined for West Point and the Army. His father was a Regular Army officer. He grew up in a military environment. Just prior to entering the Military Academy, he lived in wartime San Antonio, Texas. A number of his friends there – “Army Brats” like himself – would later attend the Point with him. His older sister Mary Jo married a graduate of the Class of 1943. His older brother Bud preceded him at West Point, graduating in 1945, and his younger brother Tom graduated in 1955.

In San Antonio, John attended Central Catholic High School, where he was "Mr. Everything." He captained the varsity football team and was appointed cadet colonel of the ROTC unit his senior year. The school yearbook states, "Cadet Colonel John Weaver, military leader and outstanding athlete. As head of Central's military organization, he is in charge of four-fifths of the student body." His leadership was evident even at this stage of his life.

Following his graduation from high school and a year at Sullivan's Preparatory School, John gained a presidential appointment and entered West Point in July 1946. As a cadet, he was an achiever in all things that were important to him. He attained the rank of cadet sergeant in the Corps, was a faithful member of the Catholic Chapel squad and was active in athletics. He played plebe football and was a member of the varsity lacrosse squad.

John loved West Point. He gained much intellectually and professionalIy during his four years there. He was also strengthened and inspired by the tradition of the institution and those associated with it. Upon reflecting on his West Point experience, he wrote down his thoughts as he approached graduation. He made the point, with sincere eloquence, that he drew inspiration from the officers serving as instructors and staff. He had great respect for the example they set and the standards and ideals by which they lived.

Upon graduation, John went through the rigors of airborne training and was assigned as a platoon leader in the 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment. This regiment soon moved from Fort Bragg to Fort Benning to assume the role of "School Troops" when the Third Division departed for Korea. In the summer of 1951 he was assigned to the reactivated 508th Airborne Infantry Regiment. John arrived in Korea in July 1952 and was assigned as a platoon leader in Company, B, 27th Infantry, 25th Division. By the time he came on line with the regiment, the fighting had settled into attacks and counterattacks to seize key terrain. Typical of this fighting was the enemy's assault on an outpost called "Sandbag Castle" on the night of 6 September. The position was critical, as it provided clear observation for the occupier into the "Punch Bowl" area. The assault was preceded by a tremendous barrage of mortar and artillery fire into the 27th Infantry positions, particularly severe in the 1st Battalion sector. Company A, occupying the "Castle" was surprised and overrun during the night. For the remainder of the night and well into the next day, the battle continued for control of the ridge line where the “Castle” was situated. Every company in the 1st Battalion was engaged in the fight. It was into this inferno that John led his platoon in a counterattack. Later accounts of the battle described it as being vicious, savage and, at times, hand-to-hand. Casualities were high. A member of the staff later wrote, "The only thing that dulled the brunt of their (Chinese) assault and finally stopped it was men like John who bought time with their lives... his final actions were an inspiration to the men around him ......”

To close the final chapter of his life by writing "John made the supreme sacrifice" would overlook the significance of his life. Though he stayed the course but briefly, John epitomized all that is noble and good in mankind. His legacy is the inspiration gained from the exemplary way he lived his life day-­by-day  -  the influence for good that his memory exerts on all whose lives he touched. John, we salute you as you stand tall and straight in the ghostly ranks of the "Long Gray Line."

- A classmate and a brother

John Charles Trent

NO. 17938  •  11 October 1926 - 15 November 1950

Killed in Korea, November 15, 1950, near Wonsan. Aged 24 years.


"We are landing at the Port of Wonsan tomorrow; it has not yet been secured. Please don't worry about me." These were the last words heard from big, wide-smiling, gentle John Trent who met his death near Wonsan, November 15, 1950.

John, or Jack, as he was known to his family and friends in Memphis, was born on October 11, 1926 to Walter and Eleanor Trent. His parents still live in the house on Walker Avenue where he was born - a house filled with memories of his happy boyhood. The youngest of five children, John was born into a family, close-knit in love for one another, and one in which traditions, especially as to holidays and birthdays, are carried on from year to year - family gatherings at Thanksgiving and Christmas, trips to the country at Easter and on the Fourth of July, picnics in the summertime and circuses in the fall.

In his junior high school years, John became interested in sports, entering every one that was offered in the school. His capacity for leadership was shown by his being elected president of the senior class, captain of the football team, and most popular boy in his class. The newspapers selected him as one of the most promising football players entering high school that year.

His interest and skill in athletics continued to develop during his high school days. As a senior, he was a member of the Student Council, and received many honors in athletics. Immediately after graduation, John attended Louisiana State University, finishing one year's work before he was called to the Air Force. After fifteen months In the Air Force, he entered West Point.

Whenever John was at home, there was a gathering of the boys from high school days, for a spaghetti supper. These friendships did not lessen with the years, and each time John returned, it became a standing joke to say, as the phone rang and rang, "Jack is home again!"

John's years at West Point and the few months after graduation, are beautifully described in the following tribute written by "HIS ROOMMATES":

"On that warm Summer day In 1946, a strapping young man came to us from a loving Tennessee family who had moulded him in the family traditions of love and honor. With those inbred ties of closeness and courage, he lived and died a true All-American. These words are most fitting to John C. Trent, our dearest friend, who left us on the Korean field of battle on 15 November 1950.

"Our initial acquaintance with John took place on a field similar to that from which he left us . . . a Beast Barracks tactics problem on the mock battle grounds that circumscribe our Alma Mater. Here for the first time we met the broad-shouldered, rugged individual who was to be our roommate for three years. John arrived at West Point and we immediately accepted the modest and unassuming typical "Rebel" for the friend that he was. Despite the many laurels and kudos that he earned for his prowess and accomplishments, he departed from us unchanged as the quiet fellow he had been from the start. We remember him for that cool steadiness and amiable personality that depicted a man who lived for the enjoyment of life itself.

"John never lost sight of his eternal goal to return home to his cherished family in Memphis and spend his days with Mom, Dad, his sisters, brother Bud, relatives and friends. The love and ties that are often absent within the American family of today were ever so present with the wonderful Trents. John's return from every leave aIways found him bubbling over with the joys of having been HOME. Naturally, too, there was always "THE" girl in John's life which meant that Memphis was the garden spot of the world for him.

"If John's family and home were his first love, then we must call football his second. In the ALL-American game, John fulfilled his every ambition as he led our Black Knights of the Hudson through the difficult 1949 campaign . . . undefeated and untied. In each of his three years on the gridiron he held one moment to be more cherished than the others . . . 1947 . . . A pass interception against Navy that resulted in a touchdown and a 21-0 victory FOR THE TEAM . . . 1948 . . . His last-second grab of a Galiffa pass that proved the margin of victory FOR THE TEAM against Pennsylvania In a bitterly fought 26-20 battle . . . 1949 . . . Leading THE TEAM in the huge bowl at Philadelphia In defeating our great rivals, the Midshipmen of Annapolis, 38-0, the soundest trouncing in the history of that long series. The shy, reserved pride of this ALL-­American John Trent was ever at its highest in receiving from friend and foe alike the simple accolade of recognition, 'Hi, Big John.' For this kind of man, it was more than enough. It was this kind of man they called 'ALL-American,' the best our beloved country had to offer.

"It was during his graduation leave that the desperate cry came to us from Korea. John came to us again to join the new Team which again was the best we had to offer. Big John was there with his brief words, with a pat on the back from those big fists to bolster spirits that sagged momentarily, just as he had done in every football game he'd fought . . . keeping an eye on the score and the yardage. He was there, his platoon sergeant tells us, on that black Korean night as he started to check his position and see his Team, to give the pat on the back and the brief words to those who were fighting fatigue and sleep In their foxholes as they waited for the enemy. The sergeant had wanted to make the rounds, but as was the way of this ALL-American, Big John insisted on personally visiting his weary Team himself. It was during this necessary check of the perimeter that John received those fatal wounds. He was reverently laid to rest among others from the Team at the Marine Cemetery in Wonsan, Korea.

"That Big John had not changed to the very end is related by his platoon sergeant. His conversation throughout those last days was filled with his true loves . . . his family, his home and friends, 'the' girl, and . . . Football.

"Thus it was that we came to know and love and lose our ALL-American friend . . . Big John Trent."

In him seemed to dwell the promise of greatness the sort of personality that made people love, admire and respect him; he had within him a love of people, kindliness and a deep, abiding faith in God. He has left a heritage of which he, his family and his friends may be justly proud.

Why he was chosen to die is not understandable, but perhaps he and thousands of others have died so that the generations to come shall be able to walk without fear, to live and worship as they please, and to hold their heads high, as free men should.

His Junior High graduation Speech is a strangely prophetic one, entitled "I Am An American," and ends fittingly:

"I become a link in an unending, unbroken chain, welded together by the Spirit of Freedom, and shining with an undying purpose that will keep forever the principles of Democracy supreme in a turmoiled world."

- Louise Trent Ferguson

William S. Todd, Jr.

NO. 17797  •  9 Dec 1924 - 8 Feb 1955

Died near Frederick, MD
Interred in West Point Post Cemetery, West Point, NY

William Simmons Todd Jr., was born in Ossining, NY, and grew up in White Plains with his parents, William Simmons and Catherine Adams Todd; sisters Carol, Della, and Katy; and younger brother, Western. "Bill" was an Eagle Scout in Troop 17 in White Plains and, in September 1942, began his studies at Washington & Lee University. In February 1943, shortly after his 18th birthday, he joined the Army.

It took Bill three tries to get into West Point. On the first attempt, he came in second for a congressional appointment. Then, after spending eight months at the U.S. Military Academy Preparatory School, he again missed. He returned to duty with the Army Air Corps and served with the Thirteenth Air Force in the Pacific Theater, earning battle stars for the Luzon and Borneo campaigns. In October 1945, Bill received an Army nomination for the Academy and returned to the Preparatory School for another try, but a congressional appointment came through, and his Army appointment went to one of his fellow trainees.

Early in his cadet career, Bill's classmates, upperclassmen, and the Tactical Department realized he was a natural leader. His bearing, sharp appearance, and confident approach to getting things done resulted in his selection for high cadet leadership roles.

Bill was a "big brother" for younger classmates. His roommate for three years, Joe Griffin, was one of the many younger cadets who watched Bill meet the challenges of cadet life calmly and with humor. In fact, Joe feels he owes his graduation to Bill's positive influences and, in Bill's honor, named a son "Todd."

Bill was a solid student and stayed comfortably out of trouble. He was an excellent athlete, both on the corps squad lacrosse team all four years and in company intramural sports. A teammate said, "The team had confidence in him. He was a showman, yet he was a leader. He respected everyone and treated them as his equal."

During his First Class year, Bill was the second-ranking cadet, militarily, in the class and commanded the 2d Regiment of the Corps of Cadets. John "Jack' Murphy, Cadet First Captain and lacrosse teammate, adds: "Bill was a pleasure to work with. We never heard a negative word from him. He had a great sense of humor, a contagious laugh, and always good, open, helpful advice." William B. DeGraf, Bill's counterpart as commander of the 1st Regiment, comments: "He was a fine leader in the Corps and in athletics. He was universally liked and respected by his contemporaries and by the TACs."

Many of us tagged along with Bill on visits to his home in White Plains, where his family graciously hosted us. We remember his family as close-knit and fun-loving, with parents pestered, but undaunted, by two somewhat mischievous sons and three lovely daughters. His entire family spent many days at West Point during Bill's four-year stay.

Upon graduation, Bill was commissioned in the Air Force. He completed pilot training and, in 1951, joined the 126th Bombardment Wing, a National Guard unit activated to augment the air support for NATO during the tense Korean War years. Shortly after Bill's arrival, the Wing moved to Laon, France. With this unit, he flew the B26, a twin-engine, propeller driven, light bomber of WWII vintage.

Facilities available were primitive, but Bill kept his good humor and cheered his comrades. A fellow officer comments: "Living in a tent city was no picnic, but Bill always managed to lighten the load and our spirits by organizing athletic events and exciting trips. He volunteered for tough assignments like Korean TDY and ferrying aircraft to the States." Another classmate comments: "Bill was recognized as a fast burner. He was the quiet professional who did everything better than most people and, in leadership, was number one."

Along with Army classmates, Bill also "marched to the sound of the guns" by spending several months on temporary duty in Korea with the 17th Bombardment Wing flying combat missions, and was awarded the Air Medal.

As much as any cadet, Bill enjoyed the many weekend female visitors to West Point. Indeed, his good looks earned him more than his share of attention from them. He didn't find the right woman, however, until a few years after graduation. On 2 Jan 1954, CPT William Todd and Diana Burkett married in Miami Beach, FL. Their daughter, Daryln, was born just weeks before the accident that claimed Bill's life.

In 1955, while Bill was stationed at Hill Air Force Base near Ogden, UT, his unit was being re-equipped with the B-57 Canberra, a twin jet light bomber. On 8 Feb 1955, Bill was ferrying a brand new B-57 from the Glenn L. Martin factory in Baltimore, MD, to Tinker Air Force Base, OK. Only minutes after his takeoff from Baltimore, the plane crashed near Frederick, MD. Bill died instantly.

Bill's wife, Diana, now remarried, lives in Florida. Their daughter, Daryln Hoffstot, lives in Ligonier, PA, and has given Bill two grandchildren, Henry and Maeve. Daryln adds she would be happy to meet her father's old friends should they ever find themselves in western Pennsylvania.

Bill was a natural leader with an omnipresent positive attitude that turned the rigors of scholastic and military training programs into attainable challenges. Had he been spared that tragic accident, we know he would have achieved the great success we all expected. His family, classmates, friends, and colleagues remember him with affection and deep respect. William Simmons Todd, Jr., we salute you!

- His family and classmates

Henry Edward Tisdale, Jr

NO. 17362  •  

Died 14 September 1951 in Las Vegas, Nevada, aged 23 years. Interment: West Point Cemetery, West Point. New York.


IN THE SUMMER OF 1950, Henry Edward Tisdale. Jr. and I, newly commissioned second lieutenants in the United States Air Force, met as planned in Washington, D.C. Several weeks before, we had agreed to drive our brand new automobiles, in tandem, bound for San Antonio, Texas. to begin our careers in the Air Force. We were close friends, having spent four years together as classmates at La Salle Military Academy in Oakdale, New York, along with Henry's sibling, Patrick David Tisdale. From there. the three of us went on together to West Point, graduating in the USMA Class of 1950.

The family was an extraordinary one. The father, Colonel Henry E. Tisdale. Sr., as an artillery officer who designed firing systems, conducted the first airborne military operation, built the defense system for the Panama Canal, and facilitated the initial development of the Women's Army Corps in World War II. Young Henry’s older brothers Paul and Pierre (USMA 1944) were his role models: and he also valued the companionship of his younger brother Pat at West Point, especially during plebe year. A sister Julie, at IBM, and another younger brother John, an electronics engineer, completed the remarkably gifted progeny.

The strong family influence produced in Henry an intellect which was multifaceted. A voracious reader, a star‑man every year at La Salle and at West Point, Henry was a happy, exuberant young man and a dedicated American patriot as well. He saw his mission in life to be that of a superior military role model, and he did strive continually toward that goal. His father’s success and his brothers' influence had much to do with Henry’s need to excel, but with all of that, his sense of humor and his gentility were always with him. At graduation ceremonies in 1950, Henry ranked sixteenth in a class of 670.

Now, I think back forty years ago to our drive to San Antonio, where our service in the Air Force was to begin. I had a brand new white Chevrolet ‑ a graduation gift bought at the A&C dealer in Highland Falls ‑ and Henry's car was a gun‑metal grey Nash, the right front seat of which turned down to form a bed. Whenever we decided to stop for the night, I chose a motel, and Henry slept in the Nash. He was probably just as comfortable in his car bed as I was in the motel, and the price didn't bother him either! During the day, we'd stock up on fruit, cookies and milk for the day's journey, and we'd have a decent meal when evening arrived. We drove southwestward furiously, taking turns in the lead, and we had a few close calls along the route. We’d settled on some signals: when to slow down. when to hit the brakes, traffic up ahead. etc. I'll never forget one particular heartthumper: Henry was in the lead on an uphill two-­lane road, I was in the left lane trying to overtake a van. Suddenly, at the crest of the hill, I saw Henry's left arm signaling furiously as a sedan appeared over the hill, racing in my direction. To pass the van was impossible; to get behind it was unreachable. My only chance was to veer to the left and go off the road, hoping the shoulder would hold. Fortunately, as the sedan passed, I quickly turned the wheel back to reach the right lane. At the top of the hill, Henry had pulled over to wait for me. It might have been a disaster, so we vowed never to take such a chance again. We did finally reach San Antonio safe and sound, only to learn that we were to be assigned to different air bases in Texas. After eight years as classmates and friends, we were separated.

Henry remained in San Antonio that year and married Sylvia Tower, daughter of Colonel Milton Tower, U.S. Army. Their son, Stephan Austin Tisdale, was born in 1951.

In September of that year, during a course at the Air Command and Staff School in Montgomery, Alabama, I was called out of class to the telephone. A disaster had occurred. Lieutenant Henry E. Tisdale, Jr. was killed in an air accident over Las Vegas, Nevada on 14 September 1951. Henry was a star man, a superior classmate, a fine, gentle man, and a friend forever.

Kenneth Arnold Tackus

NO. 17837  •  20 September 1927 – 1 December 1950

Killed in Action, December 1, 1950 North Korea, aged 23 Years.


KENNETH ARNOLD TACKUS  was born on the twentieth day of September 1927 in West Hartford, Connecticut. Throughout Ken's boyhood days, he manifested two desires. One was to graduate from West Point and the other was to be of service to his country. These two aims guided his every step throughout his early life. He patterned his living and education to these ends. He was always able to see the right path to take, not only for himself, but also for any who wished to follow him. Ken was always large for his age. This worked both to his advantage and to his disadvantage. Many times he was called upon to do tasks that were much beyond his years or his experience. He always responded and did the job to the best of his ability.

By the fact that he was called upon to do these things, he gained in consideration of others. Sometimes Ken was too considerate and did not seek aid from his friends when he should have done so.

Ken's prep school days were spent at Fishburne Military School in Virginia. There he prepared himself for entrance into the United States Military Academy. He was active in all phases of society there. He was very good in athletics, he worked on the school paper, and was always on the Honor Roll for academic achievement. He could play as hard as he could work and was the life of any party.

Ken entered the United States Military Academy on the first day of July 1946. The Academy served to solidify all of his beliefs and his thoughts on a way of life. Here Ken became a man. He consolidated his past training and learning with special emphasis to honor, duty and religion. While at West Point, Ken met his wife, Dorothy Dunn. They were married at the Catholic Chapel at West Point on the seventh day of June 1950.

Unfortunately, Ken and Dotty were soon parted by his call... duty in Korea. Ken joined the 57th Field Artillery Battalion in the 7th Division. He participated in the landing at Inchon and the subsequent fight­Ing in the Chiang-Jin Reservoir area, where he was listed missing in action.

In the closing chapter of Ken's life, there is one thing that all may remember and learn well from him. That is that Ken is one who loved his fellow man. Ken walks amongst us yet, for there is a little bit of Ken in all of those who knew him and loved him. Every time we laugh or see a beautiful sunset we are doing it with Ken as he enjoyed laughter and loved beauty.

- V. R. G.

James William Smyly, III

NO. 17611  •  22 June 1928 - 6 February 1951

Died February 6, 1951, as the result of an aircraft accident at Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas. Aged 22 Years.

The afternoon was warm with the smell of spring. The sun shone with a happy brilliance from the azure sky overhead. In the meadows, the grass was shaking off its winter brown, and the flowers in the woodlands peeked shyly through a carpet of dried pine needles. It was spring. The world was throwing away the dreariness of the recent winter and was seeking the happiness of life renewed. It was on this particular day that a sorrowful group of people gathered around a freshly dug grave under a grove of aged oak trees draped in the silver of Spanish moss. Before this group of people lay a casket covered with our nation's flag. In silent reverence they stood with bowed heads. Overhead in the massive oaks, one could hear the melodious songs of the birds, and from a distance drifted the happy chatter of playing children. But for this group of people and for all others who knew, there was no happiness in their hearts; Jim Smyly had come home for the last time.

On the 22d of June, 1928, a squalling baby boy was born to Lieutenant James W. Smyly, Jr., and Mrs. Mazie Padgett Smyly at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. The proud parents christened their first baby James W. Smyly, III, and immediately introduced him to the beginning of twenty-two years of service life. Consequently, as a youngster Jim saw many foreign lands and strange people which most children never have the opportunity to see - the Philippines, China, Puerto Rico, Trinidad, and Germany, in addition to many different sections of this country.

When Jim was only four years old, he used to tell his Chinese amah that there was no cost involved in buying one's daily needs, his Daddy could "just sign it up". The next year at Fort Benning, his father tells about visiting the kindergarten which Jim was attending: "I visited the school one bright morning and wondered about how young Jimmy was doing, whereupon the school mistress became excited, and Jimmy crawled out from under a table where he had been placed for punishment and announced: 'That's my Daddy'. Seeing that the situation was becoming more tense by the second, yours truly bowed out, but fast".

Early in his life, Jim began to surprise people with his ability to accomplish what might seem to be the impossible. One of the first to be surprised was his father. Colonel Smyly recalls that it was a couple of years later in Puerto Rico when this happened: "It was there that Jim got into trouble with an air rifle in violation of post regulations. ln addition to his one and only tanning (the rod), he was given what I thought was an impossible task for his school work.  At the time I had appointed, I checked him and could find scarcely any mistakes, whereupon I had him moved up to the next grade in order to give him something to do".

Jim attended a number of schools before he reached college age. Part of his high school days were spent at the Queens Royal College in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, where he was introduced to a system of grading and ranking of students which is very much like that at West Point. There was no differentiation between the students because of color, race, or religion, and it was at that time Jim began to accept each person accordIng to their merits rather than their backgrounds, as so many persons are inclined to do. Next came prep school at Carlisle where Jim was a cadet lieutenant and a member of the Honor Committee. When he had finished Carlisle Jim was too young to enter West Point, so he went to The Citadel to wait until he could secure an appointment and fulfill his childhood ambition. When the coveted appointment finally came through, Jim was a junior and a cadet lieutenant.

It may seem strange to some people why Jim almost finished one school of very strict discipline to go to another. Yet it would not seem so strange if one knew that Jim was one of the most determined people I have known. Throughout his life he was a competitor. When he knew what he wanted, he went after it with everything he had. It was that way with his future career in the Service. He wanted to prepare himself the best possible way in order to be of the greatest service to his country. Jim showed that part of his character with most force on the swimming team at West Point, but one could see the same traits in a more subtle way from day to day in his ordinary activities. It was with quiet humility and an easy going manner, but with a heart full of ideals, that Jim won a place of high esteem in the minds of his fellow cadets. It was they who ranked him high in military aptitude, which gave him the rank of cadet lieutentant during his last year at West Point.

Before Jim entered the Academy, he had never done any competitive swimming. Why Jim did not go out for swimming in plebe year is a question which the Coach and all of his teammates have asked themselves to this day. The answer can be found in Jim's humble way; he did not think he could make the team. Yet, when persuaded to try out the next year, Jim did so with the determination not only to stay on the team, but also to be one of Its regular starters. To those persons who followed the success of the swimming team for the next three years, the results are well known. During his first year, Jim became the star freestyler of the team. At the end of his second year on the team, Jim was one of the best in the East. His last year found Jim a feared competitor throughout the nation, captain of the team, and elected to the All-America Swimming Team by mutual agreement of the coaches of the nation. One only has to look at the record board hanging in the varsity pool at West Point to know how good Jim was. One had to watch but one tough race to know that Jim would swim until his heart burst to win for the team. That great heart of Jim's took him far, for though one can have faultless style, there is a limit to physical endurance. It was at that limit where Jim's heart took over to bring him to the finish ahead of the field. The members of the swimming team called him the greatest of all "firemen" because he pulled so many meets out of the blaze of defeat.

In his everyday life, Jim lived the same way he swam - ­determinedly, fearlessly, honorably, and humbly. He loved only one other woman besides his mother. The girl wrote: "I think the thing that won him my love so quickly was that he seemed to prize it so highly, and it always stayed that way. He was all the things that I would like to be - unselfish, even tempered, and charitable. I can't remember him saying anything unkind about a person. He  even avoided saying things that were true if they weren't favorable. . .

"Being quick tempered, I used to get furious with him when there was a chance for him to get ahead and he wouldn't push. Of course he was right. He had the brains and the ability that would get him there anyhow. Because he never ­pushed and was so patient, everyone liked him. . .

"It was funny, he would give in to me on all the little things, but he could be stubborn as a mule about the things that really mattered  to him, like flying and the Air Forces".

No, Jim would not give in on flying or the Air Forces. With the same self-sacrificing determination to serve his country as he felt when trying to win for the swimming team, he reported to Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, for hls basic training in August 1950. A few weeks later he wrote a letter which tells of the thrilling love he had for flying: "The big day finally arrived  - I  soloed this morning with twenty-one hours. It surely is a wonderful feeling when the instructor crawls out, gives you a final bit of hell, and says, 'You've got it.' Boy, I can't get over this elated feeling. I tried to keep a straight face as I walked back from the plane, but I just couldn't".

Yes, even now I can see the sheepish grin Jim had on his face as he walked back to the flight room. None of us needed to ask him if he had soloed. We just grabbed him before he could run, spread-eagled and tied him with chocks, and then tried to dampen some of his enthusiasm with a stream of water from a hose.

The other woman in his life was his mother. One of his roommates wrote that,  "He loved his mother, respected his father, and worshipped his little brother". In that short sentence is a lot of truth and deep meaning. Colonel Smyly said it this way, "Jim and his mother were about as close as mother and son ever get to be. He always told her about his troubles and love affairs, and she was always faithful to the trust".

For his father, Jim had all the respect and admiration in the world. Jim wanted to be like his father, and he never failed to defend his views that his duty to his country was in being in the Service regardless of the dangers involved. Jim went to school during his younger years with but one purpose - to prepare himself for West Point and his career afterwards.

Jim and his younger brother achieved a bond of devotion and companionship for each other which many brothers never feel. The two of them had many happy times together. When Jim would talk of home he never failed to mention something about duck hunting or swimming with Dune. Many times when I have been sitting in my room, Jim would pop in with an air of breathless pride to show me the latest clipping about Dune's success in swimming. Jim always wanted the best for Dune. He always wanted the best for all his friends.

When the news of Jim's death had spread, many of his friends wrote letters to pay him tribute. It is interesting to note that all the letters expressed essentially the same feeling of his genuine character. One of his roommates wrote from Germany: "Jim believed in a lot of things we all do, but he never spoke much about them. He was simply a straightforward character who inspired confidence, I think mostly because of his easy going attitude. He was not lackadaisical, be was certain and positive in every thing he did, and yet it was done in an affable manner that was almost disarmIng. . . I suppose that this makes him sound normal, almost mediocre, and yet there was something that 'Smirkie' had that caused others to look toward him. We all gained something from living with him, some intangible substance that I think will make us review almost every project we undertake in this life and say to ourselves, 'I wonder how Jim would have done this?'"

Just ten days before dying from wounds in Korea, Jim's other roommate wrote, "I will say that usually never does one person leave so many people with such a good impression and warm feeling for having known him".

Although Jim had many different homes in the Service, it seems remarkable that he always spoke of Ruffin, South Carolina, as the place he really called home. Ruffin is only a crossing of a railroad with an ordinary country road and two or three general stores, but to hear Jim speak of it, it was the crossroads of the world. Both Colonel and  Mrs. Smyly grew up there, and Jim spent a number of his boyhood days there.

That was Jim as we knew him - serious, but full of clean fun which made it nice to have him around. It is difficult to find the proper words to express what one person means to another. A stranger could never know the warmth of the feeling we held for Jim. On that day in February as we waited in the flight room for him to come back to the field, sorrow and fear tore at our hearts. Now I wonder whether that sorrow and fear was for Jim or more for ourselves in losing someone who meant so very much to us. Jim would have gone to the top of his profession in life. He was the type people want to follow., Our country has lost one of its better officers, our civilization has lost a potent leader, but we who knew Jim have not lost him at all. Although the memory of his physical presence will fade with the years, his spirit is with us always, for Jim is in the company of God, and God is with us all.

- D. L Rogers and J.J. Baughan

William Bonner Slade

NO. 17380  •  16 September 1927 - 12 May 1952

Killed in action May 12, 1952 in Korea, aged 24 years.

"Some keep their rendezvous with death 
Valiantly and soon; 
They pledge their youth and give their all 
And rest before their noon."

Within a brief two years after graduation from West Point, William Bonner Slade, First Lieutenant of the Air Force, went to his death while in line of duty on a bombing mission over North Korea. To those who knew him, his nobleness need not be told, but this memorial is written so that a generation to come may know the loveliness of his life.

"This was he, that every man of arms could wish to be."

He was born in Lake City, Florida, September 16, 1927. His father, John Ithodes Slade, and mother, Frances Louise Dunbar, were both of Georgia extraction. He was educated in the public schools of Florida, his native State, attending Columbia High School in Lake City, attaining honors. After preparation in Marion Military Institute, Marion, Alabama, where he distinguisbed himself in scholarship, he entered the United States Military Academy at West Point. Here he maintained the same high standing, graduating with the Class of 1950 as a Second Lieutenant of the Air Force.

He was trained for jet flying in Sherman, Texas, and Phoenix, Arizona; graduated from the Gunnery School in Las Vegas, Nevada, in October 1951; and was immediately ordered to Korea for combat flying. After two months combat training in the Philippines he was stationed at Suwon Air Base, Korea, in February 1952. His outfit contributed immeasurably to the disruption of enemy transportation facilities and installations. On May 12th he was leading a four-plane mission; had released his bombs and was pulling up from the target, when his plane was hit and burst into flames. Moments afterward he crashed to the ground fifteen miles southwest of Huichon, North Korea, deep in enemy territory.

Writing to his parents, his commanding officer said "His courage and ability, together with his devotion to duty, gained for him the respect of all and has been an inspiration to the squadron." General Mark W. Clark said of him, "His devotion to duty in defense of all that we, the free people of the world hold dear, has helped us on the long road by which alone we may hope some day to reach a just, an honorable, and an enduring peace."

To his friends, "Bill" was quiet and unassuming but with an uncompromising conscience and an inflexible purpose. From these qualities arose his nobleness as a man and his bravery as a soldier. Said one of his closest friends, "Bill was made of the stuff that all men admire and that knits the souls of men togother in enduring friendship" One of the men in his outfit said "He brought out the better in us all and we have been deprived of one of the best men that ever walked this earth."

While a teen-aged youth, he won the coveted medal of an Eagle Scout and the admiration of all the younger generation. He spent part of each summer as a counsellor for smaller boys in a boys' camp, and no doubt built into many hearts his own sense of truth and honor.

He was a loyal churchman and attended the Episcopal Church regularly. He was recognized for his spiritual leadership in the younger group at home. "He always carried his sword with honor and there never was one blot upon his shield." He faced life and death alike with steady eyes.

"We about you, whom you moved among, 
Would feel that grief for you were surely wrong. 
To you death came, no conqueror in the end. 
You merely smiled to greet another friend."

- Edwin F. Montgomery

Stanley P. Shankman

NO. 17940  •  5 Jun 1927– 19 Jan 1952

Died in Sandspit, British Columbia
Interred in Mt. Judah Cemetery, Brooklyn, NY

Stanley Paul Shankman, born in Brooklyn, NY, loved his hometown and all the great activities available to a growing boy in the metropolitan area. Stan and his brother, Herb, enjoyed a secure and happy childhood, adored by loving parents and encouraged in all their endeavors.

During his youth, Stan developed a love for baseball, with the Brooklyn Dodgers as his favorite team. He once concluded that a particular Dodger pitcher was the best in baseball, although, on the day the pitcher was suddenly traded, Stan commented, "He never could pitch, anyway." Stan’s loyalty was to the team.

Stan was an excellent student. He took academics in stride and graduated from Brooklyn Midwood High School in 1943 at age 16. As a high school student during WWII, Stan followed the war closely and deeply admired our armed forces. Those global national challenges throughout Stan’s formative years influenced his decision to join the military.

Following graduation from high school, Stan attended New York University for two years. During that time, his parents enjoyed the company of friends who had a son, Edwin Marks '49, at West Point. Those proud parents and Edwin had a positive impact upon Stan, and it cemented his desire to attend West Point.

In June 1945 Stan joined the Coast Guard with the intent of pursuing his ambition to become a cadet. Four months later, he transferred to the Army and quickly earned admission to the U.S. Military Academy Preparatory School at Amherst, MA. He attended the school from November 1945 until March 1946 and worked hard during this time to obtain an appointment from the 11th Congressional District of New York.

In March 1946, Stan took his physical and written entrance examinations for West Point. His successful completion of those challenging tests was a source of great joy for him. Stan reported to the Academy on 1 Jul 1946, a proud member of the Class of '50.

Stan adapted well to the rigor and discipline of Academy life and never seemed unduly stressed. He was particularly good at languages and studied German. He often studied it out loud, thereby exposing his unwilling roommates to the language. Years later, one of his roommates reported that, while stationed in Europe, he could easily regale German listeners with German poems without having the slightest idea what he was saying.

Stan was an excellent handball player. He preferred to keep this fact to himself, allowing his opponents to find out about his skills on the courts. He was a gracious winner and an accomplished post game kibitzer. He was a fun competitor.

His classmates also remember Stan as fastidious with his personal hygiene. After shaving at the hallway sink each morning, he always applied a generous amount of Yardley Shave Lotion, nearly asphyxiating fellow cadets in the vicinity. He was kidded about it, but it never deterred him.

Stan was a considerate and pleasant roommate. He enjoyed presenting a gruff exterior, but those who knew him found him to be soft of heart and delightfully witty. During Plebe year, when a roommate unexpectedly entered the hospital, Stan visited him within the hour and frequently thereafter. He brought the usual supplies and reading material. Occasionally, he would smuggle something delectable from the mess hall, a plebe triumph of no small significance.

Upon graduation on 6 Jun 1950, Stan was commissioned in the Signal Corps. Twelve days after graduation, Stan married his sweetheart, Naomi Mirkin, in a beautiful ceremony at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in New York City.

Stan’s and Naomi's first assignment was to the 51st Signal Operations Battalion at Ft. Meade, MD, and the couple enjoyed their brief time together there. In August 1950, the battalion departed for Korea, via Japan, to support I Corps, joining them at Taegu inside the Pusan Perimeter in September 1950. Stan was assigned as the communications liaison officer with Korean, British, Canadian, and U.S. combat units during some of the fiercest fighting of the war. He performed his duties with courage and was dedicated to his men.

One of his classmates recalled an incident involving Stan in Korea. One of Stan’s soldiers was running around with a carbine, threatening others. Stan just walked up to the soldier and calmly started talking to him. The agitated soldier finally handed the carbine to him. The classmate reported, "It was unbelievably brave of Stan."

In January 1952, Stan’s father suffered a heart attack. While returning to the States from Korea on emergency leave, his DC 4 aircraft touched down at Sandspit Airport, British Columbia. The pilot saw the field was too short, and immediately took off for a new approach. He apparently circled too soon and the aircraft plunged into the frigid surf 400 yards off the end of the runway. Tragically, Stan perished in that crash.

Stan was with us for a very brief time. We remember him as a good man, gentle and compassionate. We also remember the "indomitable spirit" mentioned in his 50 Howitzer narrative. The military career he earnestly sought lasted only 18 months. He and his lovely wife, Naomi, were able to spend just two months together before being separated by the winds of war.

1LT Stanley Paul Shankman served honorably in a country he had never known, to protect the freedom of strangers he had never met. He did his duty. Yet the length of his life is not as important as its quality. Stan’s star burned briefly but brilliantly, and it lit the fires of all those who were fortunate enough to know him and to love him. The memory of him survives. Well done, Stan. Be thou at peace.

-- His roommates

Harry Eugene Rushing

NO. 17649  •  17 September 1927 – 3 March 1952

Killed in action 3 March 1952 in Korea, aged 24 years


0n 3 March 1952, less than two years after graduation, 2d Lieutenant Harry Eugene Rushing, United States Air Force, took off from his base in South Korea on another mission. As he crossed the Han River, going north, his plane lost its coolant and burst into flames. Athough he was able to return to friendly soil before jumping, the wind blew him back into the Han estuary. Harry's wingman, Tom Casserly, courageously crashlanded nearby to help if possible, but the icy waters had already taken their toll.

Harry was 24 years old when he died, an age when most men are still planning for a life of fulfillment. He had prepared well for a life of love and service and boldly lived it. No man led a more meaningful life or gave more. He wanted to become a cadet, and he did. He wanted to become a husband and father, and he did. He wanted to fly, and he did. He wanted to serve, and he did - to the fullest extent.

Harry was born on 17 September 1927 in Montgomery, Alabama. Born into an Army Air Corps family, he naturally moved from pillar to post, attending schools in Hawaii, Texas, Florida, Alabama, and elsewhere.

"Harry learned quite young to work hard for the valuable things in life," his father said.

Long before he was graduated with honors from Lanier High School in Alabama, in 1945, he had set his mind on a flying career. By this time he had also chosen Jean to share his future. Although he had already won an appointment to West Point, he enrolled in Marion Military Academy for further preparation. There he maintained the standard of excellence he had set for himself, excelling in academics, athletics, and leadership. Throughout these early years, the ordinary challenges of school were not enough to satisfy Harry's energy and curiosity. He found many other outlets in clubs, hobbies, and social life. By the time he reported to West Point in July 1946, Harry already knew what he stood for; what the valuable things in life were.

In 1946 we, his classmates at the Academy. soon fell under the spell of Cadet Rushing's infectious personality and his utter honesty. His parents say that he was a "quiet, serious-minded person." We w­ho wrestled, worked, worried, bantered, and stormed with him through four years in H-1 Company knew him to be an unusually warm and sincere friend who more than held his own in the give-and-take of cadet life. In athletics, win or lose, he made his enthusiasm and determination felt. He tried everything: football, wrestling, crew, lacrosse, handball, water polo, weight-lifting, track, and even skiing. His drive pushed each one of us to extend ourselves a little more. The issues resolved on these athletic fields were insignificant compared with those he would have to resolve later, but Harry knew only one way - always give your best.

With all of the camaraderie and games, Harry never lost sight of his main purpose - to prepare himself for a career in the Air Force. There was no compromising with this goal. He approached school assignments in the same manner as he later approached operational assignments. They were a part of his duty to which he would give nothing less than his maximum effort. The last time many of us saw Harry was at graduation in 1950. That flashing grin seemed to challenge life itself as he hurried down the ramp after receiving his diploma, confident that he had done his best.

Shortly after graduation Jean and Harry were married. The North Korean attack in June 1950 suddenly changed their carefree tempo of living to one of serious preparation. After Basic Flight School at Randolph AFB, Fighter School at Craig AFB, and Gunnery School at Luke AFB, he went to Korea, leaving Jean and Harry Jr., in Montgomery, Alabama. Three months later he took off on what was to be his last mission.

The citation accompanying Harry's posthumous award of the Air Medal reads:

Despite the hazards of marginal weather conditions, aerial interception, and intense antiaircraft artillery fire, his exceptional airmanship in combat operations contributed immeasurably to the successful execution of the United Nations mission. The technical skill, personal courage, and selfless devotion to duty which he displayed reflect the highest credit upon himself, his organization, and the United States Air Force.

That was 13 years ago. But the image of his penetrating dark eyes and flashing smile is just as vivid in our minds today as it was in 1950 when we parted at graduation. Today, we, his classmates, feel a particular pride and gratitude in identifying him as one of us. He gave us the warmth of friendship, the inspiration of example, and the benefit of his sacrifice. When he was finally called away, he left the world a better place.

-His Classmates

Robert Webb Robinson

NO. 17804  •  24 June 1927 – 21 September 1950

Died 21 September 1950 in Japan, aged 23 years
Interment: Battle Creek, Michigan


THE TERSE OFFICIAL caption behind the name of First Lieutenant Robert W. Robinson reads, "Died Japan, (wds. Korea) 21 September 1950." Nothing particularly unusual in announcements such as this during the late summer of 1950 as the Korean War intensified. And all too frequently did comparable releases seem to refer to members of the just graduated Class of 1950. That abbreviated heading quoted above tells us only about the conclusion, or the final chapter, of a life's story: it speaks nothing of the beginning nor does it describe anything that went beforehand. And much went on in the earlier pages even though the book of Robby's life is short.

Only slightly more than 100 days previous was it when Robby and the rest of the Class of 1950 flung hats in joy and pride for having graduated from the United States Military Academy. In that 100 plus days before he was to be killed in combat Robby had enjoyed graduation leave - including a fishing excursion in Michigan ‑ been shipped to Korea to join his unit as an infantry officer, engaged in combat, received a promotion to first lieutenant and been mortally wounded.

One of four children in the family of John and Helen Robinson, Robert Webb Robinson was born in Chester, Pennsylvania, on 24 June 1927. Later his family moved to Michigan and in 1945 Robby graduated from Battle Creek High School where he earned varsity letters in basketball and football. An Army brat, his father, USMA '15, became a general ‑ it was inevitable that he would attend West Point. Doing so was the fulfillment of a goal long sought, and he followed the footsteps of his brother as well. It was equally certain that upon graduation he would choose the branch of his distinguished father ‑ the Infantry. Oftentimes during his days as a cadet could Robby be overheard referring to that branch as "the Queen of Battle."

Barely a few months passed following graduation from high school before Robby enlisted in the US Army. In those days he was but a private and he served on active duty until a few days prior to entering the Academy. During much of that time he attended the USMA Prep School where his appetite for West Point was further stimulated. He was sworn in a new cadet at West Point in July of 1946 with an at‑large presidential appointment, and anxiously joined the Class of 1950.

As a cadet, Robby was active in the 100th Night Show each of his years at West Point. He also was vice‑president of the Dialectic Society. He became an accomplished lacrosse player and enjoyed a wide range of sports. Perhaps most notable of his activities as a cadet was that of Company A‑1 representative to the Duty Committee. There never was a doubt in anyone's mind that he was uniquely tailored to fit that role, for no one had a greater sense of responsibility than he.

From this distance, how to portray succinctly a realistic picture of this courageous and honorable friend requires reflection. Surely he was serious, but far from a bore. Robby was composed, yet rarely neutral. He was eager yet not a zealot. He was dependable but hardly demure, and quick witted but certainly not giddy. What says it all is to state he was genuine. It is no exaggeration to exclaim that Robby epitomized the concept of an officer and a gentleman, for he was universally respected.

To speculate that but for his early passing Robby would have contributed significantly to the US Armed Forces he so loved would be easy to do. On the other hand, it also would be unnecessary and unappreciative to so conjecture. Robby rendered much to the military history ‑ to be sure he gave his all ‑ in the few months he was commissioned. He merely fulfilled his duty and completed his work on earth by early manhood. What he did was to establish sooner than most his niche in the Long Gray Line.

Robby was serving in combat with Company B, 9th Infantry Regiment of the 2nd Infantry Division in Korea when inflicted with wounds in the neck and face which less than two days later were to claim his life, after he was evacuated to a hospital in Japan. Interestingly enough, some three years earlier his mother also lost her life in Korea while General Robinson was on occupation duty there.

Curiously, the concluding words of the 1950 Howitzer narrative about him read, "We wish you luck, Robby boy." Some would insist that his luck was to run out all too soon on that battlefield in the remote nation of Korea. But others may well pause to consider that ‑ with his high sense of values and loyalty to cause ‑ there truly was no misadventure at all; it was in war that this most noble soldier was destined to enter, at such a young age, eternal peace.

For solace, his classmates know full well that, to Robby, ever near was his Alma Mater dear.

James Robinson Pierce Jr.

NO. 17937  •  30 December 1925 – 16 June1 1952

Killed in action, June 16, 1952, in Korea, aged 26 years


FIRST LIEUTENANT JAMES ROBINSON PIERCE, JR. was born December 30, 1925 in Tientsin, China. He graduated from the Officers' Candidate School at Ft. Benning, Georgia, on September 27, 1945, after enlisted service from September 20, 1944. He entered the United States Military Academy on July 1, 1946, graduating on June 6, 1950 as a Second Lieutenant of Infantry. He qualified as a paratrooper at Fort Benning during the fall of 1950, subsequently joining the 11th Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, where he was stationed for a little over a year. After completion of the associate combat course at Fort Benning in December 1951, he received his promotion to First Lieutenant on December 2, and departed for overseas on January 29, 1952. There he was assigned to the 179th Infantry Regiment of the 45th Division in Korea about February 12.  After duty as a platoon leader, he became Company Commander of Compauy "L" in May 1952. He was recommended for promotion by his division commander shortly before he met his death while leading a counter‑attack against the enemy.

He married Margaret Ann Rosser, of Clarksville, Tennessee, in December 1950. To this completely happy union was born a son, James Robinson Pierce, III, on February 29, 1952.

His family and friends are intensely proud of the way he lived and the way he died. His character, faith in his fellow men, and deep religious convictions were markedly outstanding throughout his life. He died on June 16, 1952 in the finest tradition of the Army, paying the supreme sacrifice, fearlessly leading his men in the defense of their country.

-His Father

Lewis Anderson Page, Jr.

NO. 17790  •  

Died 20 June 1953, at Sewickley, Pennsylvania from injuries received in a plane crash, aged 28 years.

COLONEL LEWIS ANDERSON PAGE, SR. is a soldier. He has served his country faith­fully for many years. Young Lewis Jr. was raised in a military atmosphere and he thought it a wonderful life. He decided as a youth that he would follow his father's career. He, and his young brother Alex, would serve the nation as officers in the Armed Forces.

Lew was the first to enter the Service. He was in his second year at Clemson College when he joined the Air Corps in 1942. He was a young man of eighteen when he began his Aviation Cadet Training. A year later Lew had earned his navigator's wings and a commission in the Army of the United States.

He was immediately sent into combat crew training in preparation for an overseas assignment. Lew went to England and was assigned to the crew of a B‑17 Flying Fortress. The big bombers flew their long dangerous journeys into the heart of the German Reich. The B‑17's, along with the other allied bombers, constantly hammered the German war productivity. Night and day the "Forts" battered the continent.

One murky afternoon twenty‑two thousand feet above the German countryside Lew's plane was hit and felled by enemy  fighters. The crew bailed out of the stricken aircraft. Along with the others Lew hurtled down through the sky. Being a navigator, he know the height of the clouds. He allowed himself to fall free for seventeen thousand feet into their protective billows before he opened his parachute and halted his long plunge, Moments later he touched the warm sweet earth. Lew had hardly recovered from the jolt of his landing when they were about him ‑ solemn faces, the taut faces of German farmers, forming a cordon of pitchforks and shotguns.

Lew spent that sleepless night in the local jail. In the morning he started his trip north, to a year's internment in a German Prisoner of War Camp. There on the bleak shores of the Baltic Sea, Lew was an inspiring leader for others to call upon. He was always cheerful and ready to help all without hesitation. He was never so concerned with his own wants that he would not willingly turn aside for others.

Eventually victory came to the Allies in Europe and freedom for Lew. He returned home. However, he was a soldier and knew it would be his life. He turned his sights toward entry to West Point.

In July 1946 Lew's study and diligent efforts were rewarded with an appointment to the United States Military Academy. Former First Lieutenant L. A. Page, Jr. entered the Academy along with forty‑five other former Army Officers and the largest veteran class in the school's history.

The first year was a long difilcult test. Lew bent under the pressure many times but always fought back to surmount each obstacle. Three more years he was tested and found true.

Lew was a Cadet with spirit and full belief in the Corps. He was a versatile youth and took part in many diverse activities.  He played saxophone in the band. He sang with both the Glee Club and the Catholic Choir. Lew participated in inter‑collegiate and intramural athletics. He was also a member of the German and Radio Clubs.

At graduation Lew turned to the Air Arm that had grown along with him and had become a full fledged separate service. A second time Lew went after his wings.

Graduation brought another wonderful gift. For four years Lew had thought of the day when he and Joan Wojciehoski could be married. Their dreams were finally realized. Lew and Joan were married the day after graduation in the Catholic Chapel at West Point.

After two glorious months of graduation leave, they headed South to San Antonio. Lew entered Basic Flying Training at Randolph Air Base, Texas. He passed along easily to advanced training in F‑51's at Alabama’s Craig Field. Here, in early August 1951, Joan pinned pilot's wings on Lew.

Then there were three. Lew and Joan were thrilled by the birth of a daughter.  She was named Carol. The new family had a a few wonderful months together.

In the meantime Lew was busy training in Gunnery School at Luke Field, Arizona.  Upon completion of his course, he was once more prepared for overseas combat duty. This time Lew headed West to war. In the hostile skies over North Korea he flew 75 combat missions. As Squadron Operations Officer Lew fought the Communists both at the planning chart and in the air. Eventually he completed his Korean tour.  Captain Lew Page returned joyfully to his family and the comfort of his home.

After leave, the family moved to Florida where Lew had been assigned as an instructor, transitioning pilots to jet aircraft.

One day Lew was requested to take a young officer home on emergency leave to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. All was uneventful on the nothern trip. Then, just after takeoff on the return flight, disaster struck. The T‑33 caught fire, and when the aircraft went down, Lew rose above it. He rose higher, much higher than he had ever been before. Thus he went as he had lived; helping, comforting, and giving service to others.

We all called him "Mother" Page. It was a name given in humor but only as a hidden expression of our affection for his sincere kindness. Lew was a man who would willingly give his unreserved help to anyone who needed aid or assistance. Never did he expect a favor in return. He served others because he wanted to.

Lew was a devout man. He never forced his religious thoughts upon others but he was never ashamed to declare his belief in God and his religion. He acted in accordance with his beliefs. He was a good Christian. His morals and thoughts were of the highest. With him it was always Sunday morning.

Lew was a wonderful man – as a son, a brother, a husband, a father and a friend. In each capacity he gave fully of his generous self and all in turn recognized his incalculable goodness.

Alex Page was not the only man who lost a brother that fateful day. Every man in the Class of 1950 lost one too.

‑George P. Vlisides. Captain, USAF, a Company Classmate.

William Edwards Otis, Jr.

NO. 17908  •  18 July 1927 – 7 September 1955

Died September 11, 1950, in Korea, aged 25 years

"Tige," as he was known to family and friends, or Bill, as he became known at West Point, had one outstanding trait which we who knew and loved him will always remember. It was an uncanny ability to lighten the moment, no matter how dark, and make everyone happy to be there at that particular time with him, He would laugh at himself or with you or lampoon an entire situation to shatter its oppressiveness. Although his life was tragically short, it was full and rich because he never wasted time worrying about misfortune.

 Born In Cleveland, Ohio, "Tige" first looked at Army life at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, in 1929 when his mother was married to an Army officer. Somewhere early in the family's tour of peacetime  Army posts he determined that this would be his career. There were many obstacles to overcome, but "Tige" never relinquished this goal.

After attending various schools on Army posts and in Cleveland, "Tige" entered Culver Military Academy. A member of the Artillery there, he was active in cadet life and as a member of the wrestling team. Two years of military life seemed to sharpen his desire to enter the Military Academy; he secured a Congressional appointment upon his graduation in 1943. Such was not to be immediately, however, as defective vision prevented his passing the medical examination. There followed two years of enlisted service in the Artillery and in the CIC, as well as several delicate eye operations, before he finally entered the Academy with the Class of 1950.

West Point with its periodic cycles of gloom seemed to lend fuel to "Tige's" love of humor and satire. Although deeply dedicated to the traditions and missions of West Point, he depicted his exasperations with the rigors of the military and academic system to the delight of family and friends, gathering regularly to read his letters.

During his First Class year “Tige” met Doris Livingston of Philadelphia, to whom he was married following graduation June Week.

On August 7, 1950, "Tige's" leave and honeymoon were terminated and he flew to Japan. He stayed there less than a week before reporting to the First Cavalry Division in Korea. Although engaged in the bitter fighting of that month, he found time to lighten the home spirits, spinning anecdotes of his disappointment at the elimination of the beer ration and of his difficulties making himself understood by Korean soldiers. Humor however shrouded no lack of resolution. For his "extreme courage and aggressive action against overwhelming odds" in action near Waegwan, "Tige" was awarded the Silver Star. He had been put in for another for his part in leading a patrol to bring out a fellow officer and friend who had been cut off; but shortly thereafter, on September 11, he was killed while leading his platoon on an attack near Waegwan.

A friend of the family wrote that as tragic as his death was, there was some small consolation in knowing that "Tige" had early set his mind on a career in the service and when he died was leading his troops, the ultimate fulfillment of that goal. Considering this, with the happiness he had known in marriage and the memories he left, which even now can make us who loved him forget ourselves and chuckle, his was indeed a life full and rich.

‑J. G.

Stanley David Osborne

NO. 17704  •  

Died 17 July 1953 in Korea, aged 25 years.

We all try to forget the the unpleasant and re­member the happy periods of our life. So it is with Dave. Our years of close association with him are cherished as one of the brightest periods of our lives. Those of us who knew him so well try to disbelieve that we have lost such an outstanding friend.

Dave grew up in Reno, Nev. He entered the Army after graduation from high school and immediately found that this was his calling. He obtained an appointment to West Point and arrived on the West Shore Railroad in July 1946. During the next four years, Dave displayed a sincere warmth and devotion to his family and friends. To be a friend of Dave's was to participate in rare comradeship. Although Dave is no longer with us, much of him remains. There is never a reminiscence about old Company I‑1 that does not include him. Why? Because Dave had such an influence on all he met. He quickly achieved eminence in the eyes of everyone he encountered, and he abides supremely in the hearts of those of us who were fortunate enough to be called friend by him.

Few of us have the capability to extract as much out of life as Dave did. He took each day as it came and lived it to its fullest. In his 25 years, Dave lived a far richer life than most who endure years longer. His love of life was contagious. You just wanted to be around him and share his enthusiasm. Dave made the ultimate sacrifice for the way of life he so dearly appreciated. On 17 July 1953, just a few days before the end of the Korean War, Dave was killed in action. Again, he was living this day to its fullest when he was killed. For his action in ousting a squad of Chinese Communists from the trenches by hand-­to‑hand combat, he received the Silver Star.

Dave returned home to Reno, Nev., on 30 September 1953, with Bill Magill as escort. Services were held in October, and burial was in the veterans' section of the Mt. View Cemetery.

Dave's father wrote, "Dave would have been very proud and probably embarrassed to think that so many people would make so much fuss over him." In memory of Dave, his friends contributed a window to his church.

Little can be added to a tribute written by one of Dave's fellow officers in the 187th Regimental Combat Team. "Dave spent a wonderful year in the 187th, during which time he impressed those around him; his superiors, contemporaries, and their dependents as being an officer of outstanding efficiency, understanding, and generosity. In short, everybody liked him. He was a fine officer and a great guy"   

‑Lou Prentiss

Peter Howland Monfore

NO. 17661  •  10 August 1927 – 19 September 1951

Killed in Action 19 September 1951, in Korea, aged 24 Years

"Theirs not to reason why, theirs but to do and die." - On September 19, 1951, Bloody Heartbreak Ridge, Hill 851, Korea, Love Company Commander, Lt. Peter Howland Monfore, and many comrades of the 23rd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Division, met their death. These are the facts as told by the one surviving officer of Love Company.

"The morning of September 12, attack orders came. The Battalion was to cross the L.D. with 'H', 'I', 'K', and 'L' Company spearheading. Heartbreak Ridge was reached and we managed to fight our way up about two hundred yards before dark. On the days following this move, the push for HiII 851 started and the objective was almost reached. Peter was always up front with the assault ­platoon. He said the men liked to see their commanding officer around when the chips were down. The night of the 18th, Pete received orders for a night attack on 851. We moved through 'K' Co. at 10:00 PM o'clock and made our way right up on the hill. We dug in, everyone was so tired and happy. Four o'clock on the mornIng of the 19th, the Reds hit Love Company with two battalions. They cut off 'K' Company from us and soon had us completely surrounded. Peter had been reading his Bible. Sensing something was wrong, he put it down, picked up his carbine. As soon as we were out of our bunks we knew it was more than just a probing attack. The fight was overwhelming. We used up all our ammunition. Peter grabbed a BAR, then found a machine gun. The fighting became closer and bitter. We were surrounded. At about two PM o'clock I saw Pete coming toward me. An enemy burp gun got him in the chest, one bullet found his heart. Peter died very shortly, conscious all the time, and very calm and cool. He smiled at me, tried, but couldn't speak. We put him on a litter, and I covered him with a blanket. I think he tried to tell me to take care of the remaining men. Finally 'K' and 'I' companies came up from behind and helped us to pull back. We, of Love Company, had only forty-four (44) men left out of one hundred and sixty-seven (167)."

"On October 12, Love Company was given the mission of retaking Hill 851. We took it. I am sure every man had Peter on his mind when we finally got up there. The battle of September 18th lasted fourteen hours. I have never seen Pete's equal in or out of the Army. Peter was a Christian man, and lived every minute of his life as such, always saying his daily prayers and blessing his 'C' rations whenever he ate, doing for others, constantly bringing hope and encouragement to his men and being very considerate and thoughtful. I shall never forget him as long as I live. The men are putting him in for the Congressional Medal of Honor. We hope he gets it. We all thought so much of him."

Thus, ended the short but full und glorious life of Lieut. Peter Howland Monfore, oldest of five children of Mr. and Mrs. Howland Swift Monfore of Springfield, South Dakota.

Peter was born in South Dakota on August 10, 1927. His childhood and early youth were spent in the ordinary activities of most boys. He was always a good student and very active in all school activities. He loved sports and participated and was a leader in them. Football was his great love.

Peter was baptized and confirmed in the Ascension Episcopal Church of Springfield, South Dakota.

After attending school at Springfield and Tyndall, South Dakota, Peter progressed to graduation with honors from Washington High School, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and immediately enlisted in the Navy, where he remained until 1946, when he received a letter from the Secretary of War, notifying him of an appointment to the United States Military Academy.

After much deliberation, he decided to accept and was given an honorable discharge from the Navy and entered West Point July 1st, 1946.

While taking Naval training at the University of Wisconsin, Pete became interested in boxing and under the splendid coaching of Dewitt Portal, John Walsh, and Julius Menendez, he became very proficient, receiving the Best Contenders trophy award. He followed this sport at U.S.M.A, and Peter "The Rock", as he was affectionately called, went on to Captain the Army boxing team, and to make many splendid NCAA showings, and to win the Eastern Intercollegiate lightheavy weight title championship for two successive years, 1949 and 1950.

Peter's character expanded and increased in strength, and he became a proud aud worthy cadet, meeting and encountering the new ways of life, with a serious and business-like attitude. He truly abided by the West Point code of "Duty, Honor, Country", but added to it, love of God.

Peter was well known and respected by the cadets, and was a bulwark to which any in need could turn; perhaps this is made clearer by the facts that he was chosen a member of the Honor Committee and Cadet CO of "E-2" Company, besides remaining well up in his class scholastically, teaching Sunday School, playing football and boxing. Peter was a good student, a Christian, a fine athlete, a capable leader, and an outstandIng cadet, but he was never too busy to help. He was admired and loved by all who knew or came in contact with him, and they were many, for when the news of his tragic death became known, hundreds of letters of sympathy, praise and comfort came pouring in from all over the nation and abroad. We marveled at how many had been affected by his personality, unselfishness, kindness, helpfulness, sportsmanship, leadership, honesty, integrity, thoughtfulness, love of God, and love for his fellow men, which were all displayed with modesty and humility,

Peter developed and devoted much time to growth in spirit. He adopted Jesus Christ as his personal Savior and wished for all his friends to find his own firm belief and comfort in the knowledge of God, wherein lies our salvation. The will of God was of great importance to Pete. He was active in many religious groups and was constantly trying to give others the strength and comfort received from his belief.

Peter chose for his tour of duty the Far East Command, feeling that there with the Infantry he could best serve his Lord and country. Following graduation from U.S.M.A. in June 1950, he spent a few weeks among friends and at home. In August 1950, with his spiritual and military background so fresh and new, he was shipped to the battlefield of Korea. In three days he received his first wounds while leading a platoon. After three weeks' hospitalization and convalesence he returned to the 23rd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Division, and served with it in various capacities, such as platoon leader, regimental liaison officer, etc. Twice he turned down opportunities  to become "General's Aide". That was not for him. He wanted to be with the front line men. Finally, he was given Love Company to command. Now he was supremely happy. He said, "It is the best job in the whole Army". He was ever looking after, not only the physical needs but the spiritual needs of his men.

Peter was a member of the Christian Military Men's Committee, and their first member to be killed. This is the spiritual report of his life as written by a member:

"Several months previous to his death, Lieut. Monfore had sent us the names of his friends and military associates who were either unsaved or needing the Lord Jesus Christ, or Christians in need of spiritual encouragement. From that time on a regular prayer program for the men has been begun and Gospel messages designed to meet their individual needs sent to them, that witness shall result in their salvation. 'For none of us liveth to himself, and no mail dieth unto himself, for whether we live, we live unto the Lord and whether we die, we die unto the Lord, whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lords.' Romans 14:7-8. The eternal truth of this statement of God's word is beautifully illustrated in the life and death of Lieut. Peter Howland Monfore. How gloriously true are God's words, 'He being dead, yet Speaketh.'

"Peter was courageous. He was awarded a French medal and citation by General Monclar, Commander of the French U.N. forces, for great courage, in spite of fierce enemy cross fire, in rescuing a French battalion which had been surrounded by the enemy".

Great comfort and pride were found in these excerpts from letters which paid tribute to his character:

"My loss could not have been greater had it been my own family. As fine a man as ever walked the face of the earth. What a fiercely precious thing this freedom must be when it is bought and paid for with the lives of young men such as Pete. May God give us the sense of values to appreciate what it means."

"I cannot think of any boy that has left the impression that Pete left with me. I can't count the times that I have talked to my friends and boys in my classes about him. Peter was the model athlete. When you meet a boy in athletics or physical education like Pete, then you know you are in the right business. I shall always try to develop the fine qualities Peter possessed."

"Your boy was certainly as fine a soldier as West Point has ever produced. He lived up to every part of, 'Duty, Honor, Country', Among all the the men we lost in this grinding battle, it is hard to say who could be the hardest to lose, but Pete had every attribute of greatness, and was potentially one of the Army's bright young stars. For several hours we couldn't believe he was really gone, and kept praying for his return. As a soldier, there is  little in war to recommend itself to me. The only recompense is in the sense of duty performed for our country, and the great comradeship and respect engendered for our fighting brothers. Ernie Pyle could have written of this battle and your son. I cannot. We of the 23rd lnfantry share your grief and participate in your fierce pride."

"Peter was an exceptionally fine young officer and was on my staff until he took over Love Company in August, and he immediately established it as a top outfit. The night preceding his death he executed a brilliant attack on a dominant hill of Heartbreak Ridge of unparalleled success and daring. We all predicted a shining future for your son and his men had a deep affection for him. Only a few days before, I signed a recommendation for his promotion to Captain. We are asking one of the country's highest awards for your son, the highest decoration our government can give."

"Pete was one of my best friends. I feel it a genuine privilege to have been his friend and feel that I am a better man today for having known him. Pete had many friends, probably as many as any man that ever graduated from the Point. Ours was a special friendship, a little stronger than ordinary. Peter and I had a common understanding of each other. I understood his religious views, his strict adherence to physical conditioning, his unflinching honesty. I respected him for it and he knew It. He never failed to make me laugh when I was down. The news of Peter’s death left me more stunned and grieved than I have ever been in my entire life. I last had seen Peter in Korea in April, 1951, near the IittIe town of Hong Chon. He hadn't changed a bit, but looked like he did when he entered the boxing ring, grim and ready for the job ahead, yet ready with a smile."

"As a member of my battalion, Pete, as he was affectionately called, was highly respected and beloved by all the officers and men of the unit. He was an outstanding officer, considerate, kind, gentle, yet firm. His regular attendance at church service was an indication of his true character in the spirit of love of God. This was a form of his duty, and with Pete the word duty was but another name for the will of the Almighty and to perform this was the sole aim of his life. News of his death stunned every member of this unit, and his loss will be felt keenly in the organization."

These are just a few of the many, many tributes paid to Lieut. Peter Howland Monfore, no longer present on this earth.

We who survive him are proud to look back on his accomplishments and let them be examples which he set forth to serve us and inspire us in our attempt to fulfill the tasks that he would have completed. Pete met death pridefully and manfully in the service of his country, and with faith in his devotion to duty and in defense of all that we and the free people of the world hold most dear. Let us hope that it has helped us on the long hard road by which we may expect to reach a just, honorable, and enduring peace.

-The Monfore Family

William Frederick Nelson

NO. 18007  •  11 April 1926 – 29 January 1954

Declared dead 28 January 1954; missing in action in Korea, aged 27 years. Body never recovered.

WILLIAM FREDERICK NELSON was born 11 April 1926 at Windom, Minnesota to  Mr. and Mrs. Clarence T. Nelson. He enjoyed a very close relationship with his parents, and often spoke of trips with his father to sporting events.

Bill attended public school in Windom until his final year of high school, which he completed at Kemper Military Academy, Booneville, Missouri, with graduation in 1944. He then entered the Navy V‑12 Program to serve at Minot, North Dakota, until his appointment to the United States Military Academy. He entered West Point in the summer of 1945 with the Class of 1949.

Bill played on a strong plebe football team that fall. He tackled the football better than he did the academics, and ultimately was turned back to the Class of 1950. His new classmates were very glad to have him, and he, in turn, contributed a great deal to them. For the next four years "Nellie" was at the center of class and company athletic and social activities. Due in great part to his efforts, Company K­2 twice won the Bankers Trophy, symbolic of intramural supremacy. Bill also started at halfback for the Goats in the class struggle with the Engineers.

At his first plebe Christmas in 1945, Bill met Joyce Ann Barlow. A romance flourished through the cadet years which culminated in marriage at New Haven, Connecticut on 8 June 1950. Bill's classmates Detherow, Earnhart, Griffin, and Todd were ushers. Joyce and Bill had a delightful honeymoon at Sea Island, Georgia, in company with four other Class of '50 couples.

Bill chose Airborne Infantry, and after graduation on 6 June 1950 he was assigned to the 11th Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. In August he and Joyce joined many classmates and brides at Fort Benning, Georgia, where Bill had his parachute training before reporting to Fort Campbell. There he was assigned to the 188th Airborne Infantry Regiment. It was to be about a one – year assignment and saw the birth of a son, Carl. They left Fort Campbell and returned to Fort Benning, where Bill attended the Infantry Company Officer Course and then received orders to Korea. Before he departed, Bill, Joyce, and Carl spent a very enjoyable Christmas in 1951 with his parents in Minnesota.

In Korea, Bill went right to a line unit, the 65th Infantry, and became a platoon leader. He performed so well that the battalion commander gave him the company, and it was in the capacity of rifle company commander that Bill was missing in action. Bill took "B" Company to occupy Kelly Hill, a key terrain feature, on 18 September 1952. That night the Chinese assaulted the hill with an estimated 600 men. They swarmed over the position and Bill was last seen fighting in the vicinity of his CP. The fighting was severe, and only 19 of the 200 officers and men of "B" Company survived the action to retreat to friendly lines. Efforts to retake the hill failed and the Korean War ended with Kelly Hill still in enemy hands. A handful of "B" Company men were captured, including an officer who fit the description of Bill. However, this officer turned out to be the artillery forward observer who was later released. It was his belief that Bill had been killed in the attack. This belief was shared by most of the survivors, but could never be confirmed.

Joyce Nelson gave birth to their daughter on 1 September 1952. Bill talked to Joyce by telephone from Japan shortly after the birth. Seven days later he was missing.

On 28 January 1954, Bill was declared dead by the Department of the Army and was subsequently awarded the Purple Heart.

The Nelson family has received numerous letters from members of the 65th Infantry, including Bill's battalion commanding officer, but the letter that brings to mind the Bill Nelson I will always remember is one written by a contemporary, Lieutenant St. Clair Streett, Jr., Class of'49. Extracts of that letter follow:

"Dear Mrs. Nelson,

"Bill is the epitome of fine America - besides being a personal friend, he was an example not only for his subordinates, but for his contemporaries ‑ like myself. Bill was a fine officer ‑ conscientious and enthusiastic in his work. I hope that I can do as well as he. I know if Bill were able to communicate with you ‑ he would say, 'Don't worry.' Of course, ‘ missing in action' is an uncertain term ‑ the only thing we can do is keep faith and pray.

"I returned home‑lucky beyond words‑and believe me, I'm thankful. Nevertheless, the thought of “Wild Bill”, your son, and of others who were killed in action saddened my Christmas aspects. Certainly those men had sacrificed that we might better enjoy our country and family."

Bill Nelson was a close and loyal friend to those fortunate enough to know him well. He never forgot his parents and wrote to them almost daily. He proved himself a devoted husband and father during the short time he had with his family.

Bill loved West Point and is a true credit to the Long Gray Line.

-A Classmate

John Matheson McAlpine

NO. 17723  •  23 May 1927 – 24 June 1952

Died 24 June 1952 in Korea, aged 25 years Interment: Forest Lawn Cemetery, Union, South Carolina


JOHN M. McALPINE was born in Union, South Carolina, on 23 May 1927, the second youngest of six children. Johnny lost his father at an early age and was reared by his mother, Mrs. Joe Ketchin McAlpine, of Union, South Carolina.

The wisdom of his mother instilled in the young Johnny Mac an inner confidence and faith in God. This, combined with his surroundings in the beautiful pine forests of South Carolina, explained the Johnny Mac that we all later came to know and respect.

His early school years were spent in Union where he graduated from high school in 1944. He attended Georgia Tech for a year but then decided to attend the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy at Pascagoula, Mississippi, during the summer of 1945.

It was only a short time later ‑ in July 1946 ‑ that the quiet and friendly Johnny joined the cadet corps at West Point. Our fond remembrances of Johnny Mac date from that July. He joined Company I from the flankers in yearling year, and it was as if he had been with us from the start.

A good description of Johnny Mac during these years is furnished by one of his roommates who wrote the following for the HOWITZER. "Johnny Mac is one of those people who has never been dejected for a second even at West Point. He's never been too busy to help a classmate. Lucky at everything, a lot of fun, considerate of everybody, and a hive at everything." This is the same Johnny Mac who always had a smile and a helping hand for everyone.

Upon graduation Johnny chose the Air Force. He entered flight training at San Angelo, Texas, and then followed the usual route to Selma, Alabama, for completion of flight training.

In August 1951 he went to St. Louis where he married his Carol, the girl he had met during his third year at West Point. The newly married couple traveled to Luke Air Force Base for their first station, but it was only a short time later that Johnny received orders for Korea.

Prior to leaving for Korea, Johnny Mac and his bride returned to South Carolina to spend Christmas with the family. In January he left his wife, his family. and his friends for what was to be his final assignment.

John M. McAlpine, first lieutenant, USAF, while flying as a fighter pilot, 67th Fighter Bomber Squadron, 18th Fighter Bomber Group, was killed in action as a result of participation in the Korean operations on 24 June 1952. Earlier, he had successfully completed numerous combat missions in an F‑51 type aircraft from 10 February to 25 April 1952.

His citation says in part: "While participating in aerial flights against forces of the enemy in the Korean Campaign, First Lieutenant John M. McAlpine distinguished himself ... by flying at dangerously low altitude in adverse weather over enemy ‑ held territory, rocketed, strafed, and bombed enemy supplies, troops, equipment, and transportation facilities. By his aggressive leadership, and courage, and by his superior judgment and flying skill, First Lieutenant McAlpine has brought great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force."

There were some personal remembrances of John from his family and his wife. At home, in Union, South Carolina, they remembered his good humor and his kindness as the most important characteristics that were always apparent. His wife, Carol writes: "I feel very humble, for I know I never express his wisdom and courage or the beauty of his nature. I have such great love for Johnny and admiration for his life. When in doubt myself, I know I shall always turn to Johnny and draw upon his strength  for decisions. Though we are all indebted for his personal sacrifice in Korea, I am sure that those of us who knew him are left with a far greater value ‑ the pleasure and inspiration gained from knowing one with such such faith and high standards."

So to John M. McAlpine resting peacefully at Forest Lawn Cemetery, in Union, South Carolina, this sincere tribute from your friends and loved ones: "Your good humor, kindness, helpfulness, strength, and faith are remembered by all of us."                                                

‑ R. H. L.