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Topic: Another Tiger hero passed
Replies: 11   Last Post: Oct 21, 2021, 7:11 PM by: classof1994®
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Replies: 11  

Another Tiger hero passed

emoji_events [51]
Oct 20, 2021, 6:34 PM
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I have been out with surgery to replace my pacemaker(good for another 10 years) and may have missed it if mentioned here before.

I noticed in the recent CLEMSON WORLD Magazine that William"Bill" Funchess '48 died recently. Bill was a friend and was among the first to enter the Korean War. He fought his way out of the Pusan Perimeter
and was on the drive to the Yalu river when the Chinese entered the conflict. During that chaos Bill was captured and spent the rest of the war in a POW camp, almost three years of torture and depravation.

My unit was responsible for the prisoner exchange at the end of the war. During that operation, a Major Grambling who had taught us Military Science at Clemson, and also had been captured early in the conflict, came through. A former roommate of mine at Clemson had ended up in my unit(small world) and we had a chance to spend several hours one night talking with Major Grambling. He told us about Bill's experiences, saying that Bill would resist the "Reorientation" sessions conducted by the North Koreans and argue with their nonsense. This resulted in torture and solitary confinement.

Near the end of the transfer Bill was among the last Americans to come down. They had threatened to charge him with War Crimes and keep him. In fact he was flown to our processing center by helicopter. My former roommate and I got word that he was approaching and we ran up to the Heliport to greet him. As Bill stepped off the helicopter we both started yelling, "Hey Bill, Hey Bill". He immediately recognized us and gave a big thumbs up.We also had a chance for a long visit that night and heard some horrible stories. Bill wrote a book about his days as an POW. In that book he mentioned how much it meant to him to be greeted by two tiger friends and to catch up on wha had been going on back home while was absent.

Years later our son, who lives in Asheville, and a bunch of his Clemson buddies had annual camping get togethers with their families in the NC mountains, My wife and I participated one year, During the introductions one guy identified himself as --- Funchess. Turned out he was Bill's son. I related my story to him and Bill and I reconnected. Soon after that our extended family had a family reunion at a huge house on Lake Keowee. Bill and his wife came up for lunch one day and we spent the entire afternoon sitting on the porch telling war stories, My three older brothers, who were all in combat during WW II, were there. What a wonderful conversation.

Bill was a true patriot and hero for his sacrifices for our country and his continued public service at Clemson.

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Re: Another Tiger hero passed

[3]
Oct 20, 2021, 6:50 PM
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Great story ...... gives me goose bumps thinking about all of the patriotic young Tiger military officers and enlisted men that endured more hardships than we ever will (or did). Rest in peace Bill!

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Thank you so much posting

[4]
Oct 20, 2021, 7:04 PM
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and thank you for your service.

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Take care, stay well and see you soon in The Valley!


Thanks for sharing and thanks for your service and his***

[2]
Oct 20, 2021, 8:02 PM
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Re: Another Tiger hero passed

[4]
Oct 20, 2021, 8:34 PM
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Thanks for the story. I just showed it to his oldest daughter and it brought back memories of the stories he told.

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Re: Another Tiger hero passed

[1]
Oct 20, 2021, 9:12 PM
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Thank you, sir.

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Class of '87


Re: Another Tiger hero passed

emoji_events [6]
Oct 20, 2021, 9:49 PM
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Not to be snotty but it is Gramling, not Grambling. My father never talked about the wars much, WWII or Korea, so I have no memories of that period of his life other than what I've been able to dig up. All I know about Korea was that he was there advising the South Korean Army and was captured at the very start of the war and spent the entire war in a POW camp. He died of a massive heart attack on December 20th 1985 about 20 days before he was supposed to go to the VA Hospital for a checkup. The VA was calling in all Korean POWS for checkups because so many were dying due to heart damage suffered from malnutrition during their internment. After he passed my mother received many letters from former POWS stating how if it hadn't been for him they would not have survived. Thank you for the post as I believe these are the things he would want to be remembered for, not the medals or how he earned them.

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Re: Another Tiger hero passed

[4]
Oct 20, 2021, 10:33 PM
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Sorry for my error. Thank you for correcting me. I knew that but had a 92 year old brain f**t. Your Dad was a great man. All of us loved him as a professor and I know his soldiers did too. It does not surprise me that there was an outpouring of kind remarks from his fellow prisoners. It means a lot to me to hear from his son.

It was not uncommon for WW II vets to keep their experiences to themselves. It was many years later, at a family reunion, that my three brothers opened up and began exchanging some details about some of their horrible experiences. We sat and talked until 3:00 am one night.

My best wishes to you and your family.

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Here is a good write up on Mr. Funchess - a true Clemson man

emoji_events [5]
Oct 21, 2021, 7:50 AM
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https://www.warhistoryonline.com/guest-bloggers/unbreakable-tiger-story-korean-war-pow-william-h-funchess-gurdian-angel-father-emil-kapaun-mm.html


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Re: Here is a good write up on Mr. Funchess - a true Clemson man

[2]
Oct 21, 2021, 8:25 AM
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Thanks for sharing the link. And thanks all for sharing your stories.

I am awed - and humbled by so many of you. I am often reminded of and reaffirmed of the phrase ‘we are standing on the shoulders of giants’.

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Whatever choice(s) you make makes you. Choose wisely.


Re: Here is a good write up on Mr. Funchess - a true Clemson man


Oct 21, 2021, 1:26 PM
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Wow what a Man. Thanks for sharing. Thank You very much to all who have served this great country.

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You boys absolutely shame the rest of us.

[1]
Oct 21, 2021, 7:11 PM
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God Bless

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Why do dogs always race to the door when the doorbell rings? It's almost never for them.


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