When I received my class ring in October 1937, it became my most prized possession. It helped me meet other Clemson men at Air Corps bases throughout WWII. Since my name and home address were engraved inside, I always felt it was as good an identifier as my dog tags.
It also saved my finger.
During a B-29 bombing run against the Hayama and Mitsubishi oil refinery, July 25-26, 1945, a machine gun bullet grazed eh top of my ring and destroyed the filigree design and onyx seal. We were at 8,000 feet, and the turbulence from exploding 1,000 pounders and oil tanks bounced us around quite a bit. No one was aware that we had been hi, and neither was my ring finger. The maintenance crew traced the holes through the top of the cabin and out through the nose-wheel fairing.
At lunch on the second day, on the Japanese POWs who served as mess attendants and table waiters at Northwest Field, Guam, asked what had happened to my ring and offered to repair it. He had found a black stone on Agana Beach, Guam, which he ground and polished to fit my ring.
Later, I gave my ring to Barbara for our engagement. When she had the ring downsized by a jeweler in California, he was astonished by the quality of the repair, especially under the circumstances.
-Ben Jordan ‘38
Ben and Barbara Jordan have since donated the ring to the University because of its uniqueness. It’s now in the Special Collections WWII display.