Topic: Clemson in the Great War
Replies: 12   Last Post: Apr 6, 2017 6:26 PM by: BerlinSPY73®
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Clemson in the Great War

Posted: Apr 5, 2017 9:45 PM

One hundred years ago, Clemson Nation had other things on its mind than Tiger baseball and the Spring Game. On April 6, 1917 the United States entered World War I. Two days later, the entire Clemson Class of 1917 volunteered “the services of the Senior Class, as a whole or individually…to the United States, to be used in any capacity that the Government sees fit." By the end of the war 79 of the 110 members of the “War Class” would serve in uniform. They joined some 734 other Clemson graduates and alumni in military service. The contribution of Clemson men in the war effort would be rather out-sized, given that the school had only graduated 1,347 during its less than 24 years of operation.

Post-war, college registrar James C. Littlejohn would compile a list of over 1,600 Clemson men: grads, alumni, and students who either left early to join the military or attended Clemson after their service in the Great War. These men served in every branch of the U.S. military and in the British, Canadian, and Italian forces. In the Army alone, they served in nearly every service branch from infantry and artillery to the signal and veterinary corps. They also served in new fields like aviation, tanks, submarines, and chemical warfare. 31 Clemson men gave their lives in the service of their country.

For “conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity…above and beyond the call of duty,” 3 Clemson men were awarded the Medal of Honor- Navy Ens. Daniel A.J. Sullivan (Class of 1902), Army Sgt. Gary E. Foster (One Year Ag. program 1921), and Army Cpl. James D. Heriot (ex-student, Class of 1912). Sullivan received his for securing live depth charges shaken loose aboard USS Christabel during battle with a German U-boat. Foster and Heriot were decorated for single handedly charging German machine gun nests in separate actions. Heriot was later killed charging a second nest.

20 Clemson men received other awards: 10 Distinguished Service Crosses (one twice decorated), 1 Navy Cross, 1 Distinguished Service Medal and 8 Silver Citation Stars (later renamed the Silver Star). Like Cpl. Heriot, 4 of these men were decorated posthumously. 9 men were also decorated by other Allied nations for gallantry: 2 received the French Legion of Honor, 8 the French Croix de Guerre (4 twice awarded), and 2 the Italian War Merit Cross. Perhaps the most widely honored was Sgt. Gary Foster, who alone received 6 foreign awards from 5 nations to go with his Medal of Honor.

The war would leave it lasting effects on those who served in it and on Clemson as a whole. Soon after the war, a bronze plaque was dedicated in the Cadet Chapel (now Tillman Auditorium) to the Clemson men who answered their country’s call to arms. The plaque also lists 25 men then known to have died while in the service. The long-gone Memorial Bridge across the Seneca River (its pilings now under Lake Hartwell) was dedicated the Clemson men who fell in the Great War. In 1942, Memorial Stadium was likewise dedicated to Clemson’s fallen from the First World War. The war also left a lasting mark on the Clemson ring: the U.S. shield, swords, tiger head, and star were added in 1915. Before the war, the State Seal and rifles were featured on both sides.

Elsewhere in the athletic district the legacy of a Great War veteran lives on. Jervey Athletic Center is named for Frank Johnstone Jervey, who as an Army captain was decorated with the DSC and Italian War Merit Cross for leading his infantry company in an attack despite 5 wounds. He later worked for the War Department, where he secured funding for what is now Norris Hall. After retiring, he returned to his alma mater and became known as “Mr. Clemson,” serving as Alumni Association president, Vice President for Development, and a Life Trustee.

If you’re going to Clemson for the Spring Game this weekend, in addition the Scroll of Honor, make sure to visit the President’s Park. As you enter the park from the Sikes Hall parking lot, look to your right. Affixed to a large flat rock, you will find a plaque listing those Sons of Dear Old Clemson who fell in the Great War. Stop by and pay your respects.

Sources: http://tigerprints.clemson.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=3114&context=all_theses

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"You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word: Victory. Victory at all costs—Victory in spite of all terror—Victory, however long and hard the road may be..." - Winston Churchill

Re: Clemson in the Great War

Posted: Apr 5, 2017 9:54 PM

Regardless of which teams you cheer for, Clemson's support for our nation's military has always been impressive.

Re: Clemson in the Great War

Posted: Apr 5, 2017 10:07 PM

Great post. As a veteran I appreciate the reverance that Clemson University has for its rich military history. It's also teriffic to see that today's fans really embrace all ceremonies and acknowledgements put forth by Clemson. Then and now, it's awesome to be a Clemson Tiger. Go Tigers!!

Thanks for taking the time to post this history***

Posted: Apr 5, 2017 10:01 PM

Thank You f/Sharing This!***

Posted: Apr 5, 2017 10:05 PM

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"A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives." - Jackie Robinson

Thank you for this***

Posted: Apr 5, 2017 10:23 PM

YES, thanks 2007!

Posted: Apr 5, 2017 11:25 PM


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To All CLEMSON TiGERS..Sending you Bright Light from the Carolina Coast and hoping you get to witness a huge Orange sunset tonight. Go Tigers!

Hooah - thanks!***

Posted: Apr 6, 2017 12:12 AM


Great post - thank you.***

Posted: Apr 6, 2017 8:44 AM

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Re: Clemson in the Great War

Posted: Apr 6, 2017 9:27 AM

There I was last night watching a little TV with my son about WW1 and thinking that it has been 100 years since American joined this horrible war! Thanks for posting.

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Re: Clemson in the Great War

Posted: Apr 6, 2017 12:26 PM

Outstanding post to remind us of these great Clemson Tigers.

Great post!***

Posted: Apr 6, 2017 3:56 PM

Excellent Read. Thanks for posting. *****

Posted: Apr 6, 2017 6:26 PM

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the only good politician is a dead politician.

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