Scroll of Honor – Archibald Carlisle Dudley

Patton’s Reply

Written by: Kelly Durham

It had seemed as if the Germans were on their last legs, as if they might be defeated and the war in Europe ended by Christmas of 1944.  But the Allied offensive in Northern France was slowed by its very success; the more ground the Anglo-American forces gained, the longer their supply lines stretched and the more difficult it became to feed, fuel, and equip the advance.  First Lieutenant Archibald Carlisle Dudley of Mullins was an infantry platoon leader in the van of the Allied assault.

Dudley was a vocational agricultural education major in Clemson’s Class of 1941.  As a cadet, he participated in the campus chapter of Future Farmers of America and in the Dillon County Club.  He marched with the Pershing Rifles drill team and attended ROTC summer training at Fort McClellan, Alabama where he qualified as a Marksman on the firing range.  Dudley, who “was possessed of a sterling character and a wonderful personality,” married Ruby Allen of Walhalla and they had a daughter, Jeanne.

Dudley shipped overseas in October 1944.  He was assigned to Company C of the 357th Infantry Regiment, 90th Infantry Division.  The 90th was one of the divisions of General George Patton’s Third Army, which by the late autumn of 1944 had pushed the Germans back to their own territory.

The 357th was pulled out of the line and enjoyed a turkey dinner for Thanksgiving while in northern France.  Soon thereafter, the regiment moved by truck to Colmen, just west of the French-German border.  On Sunday November 26, the regiment attacked Furweiler, a small German town just east of the border.  During the attack, the 357th came under fire from artillery emplacements on the Siegfried Line—the West Wall—a string of heavy defensive fortifications constructed on the east bank of the Saar River and designed to prevent the invasion of Germany from the west.  It was apparent that the regiment would have to clear German forces from the area west of the river and then cross the Saar and assault the Siegfried Line itself.

The 357th launched its assault crossing of the Saar River in the early hours of Wednesday, December 6.  During this action, First Lieutenant Dudley was reported missing in action.  Dudley’s family, despite appeals to the Red Cross, could obtain no further information about its loved one.

When the war in Europe ended, General Patton was ordered back to the United States for leave with his family and also for public appearances to rally a war-weary public to continue to support the unfinished fight in the Pacific.  Desperate for information about her missing brother, Nancy Dudley wrote to General Patton.  In late August, Miss Dudley received a personal reply from the general.

According to General Patton, First Lieutenant Dudley and his platoon set out in boats to cross the Saar River at 0410 hours on December 6.  Conditions were difficult at best, with the river swollen by seasonal rains and the temperatures very cold.  Upon reaching the east bank of the Saar near Pachten, Germany at approximately 0425, Dudley was struck in the left shoulder and chest by enemy small arms fire.  A medic administered first aid, but the fire from enemy pillboxes was so intense and the battle so “vicious” that Dudley could not be evacuated. According to Patton, at 0630 the area in which Dudley remained came under “a violent enemy artillery barrage.”  Patton reported that the area was held until December 22, but that for the entire period it was under German small arms as well as indirect fire.  As a result, Dudley “was among those many brave soldiers who were buried at night without lights or opportunity to read identification tags.”  Patton went on to assure Miss Dudley that “there was always a chaplain to speak the last words.”  He concluded his letter by congratulating her “on having a brother who did his duty even unto death.”

First Lieutenant Archibald Carlisle Dudley was awarded the Purple Heart.  He was survived by his wife Ruby, his daughter Jeanne, his mother, and three sisters.  His body was recovered and buried at the Lorraine American Military Cemetery in France and is memorialized at Miller’s United Methodist Church Cemetery in Mullins.

For more information about Archibald Carlisle Dudley see:

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Scroll of Honor – Albert Powhatan King, Jr.


Written by: Kelly Durham

On a plateau 100 feet above the Moselle River near the village of Dinozé in northeastern France, rows of white markers standAlbert King, Jr. vigilant witness to the sacrifice of American lives in World War II’s struggle against tyranny.  More than 5,200 American service members are buried on the pristine acres of the Epinal American Cemetery, including Albert Powhatan King, Jr. of Ninety Six.

Bill King majored in agronomy and was selected for membership in Kappa Alpha Sigma, the Clemson chapter of the American Society of Agronomy.  He attended ROTC summer camp at Fort McClellan, Alabama and served as a second lieutenant in Company B, 1st Battalion, 1st Regiment in the Cadet Brigade.

Following his graduation on June 2, 1941, King reported for active duty at Fort Jackson and was assigned to the 8th Infantry Division.  During his time there, he married the former Bessie Davis of Columbia.  In 1943, their daughter Nancy was born.

King was transferred to Camp Wolters, Texas and Fort Benning, Georgia before shipping overseas as a replacement officer in September 1944.  Upon reaching France, King was assigned to the 313th Infantry Regiment of the 79th Infantry Division.  The division was then engaged in severe fighting in the Forêt de Parroy in northeastern France west of Strasbourg.  The 79th was attached to the US Seventh Army which had come ashore across France’s Mediterranean coast in August and attacked northward.  Now, the Seventh, which included General Philippe LeClerc’s French 2nd Armored Division, was closing in on Strasbourg, which had been occupied by the Germans for more than four years.

On Sunday, November 19, the 79th broke through to Sarrebourg, just 40 miles west of Strasbourg.  Allied artillery overwhelmed German defenders, opening the road to Strasbourg.  As the Germans withdrew, the 79th moved in.  Four days later, as King’s Company C of the 313th Infantry Regiment enjoyed its Thanksgiving lunch, orders came to move into an area that the regiment believed was secure.  The company moved out in a convoy with Captain King guiding the way in the lead jeep.  As King stood to direct his company, a German sniper shot him through the forehead. King exclaimed, “Oh my God, men!”—and died.  He was buried with full military honors the following day at Epinal.

Albert Powhatan King, Jr. was awarded the Purple Heart.  He was survived by his wife, their daughter Nancy, his father, four sisters, and his brother Harry, a member of Clemson’s Class of 1944 who was then a lieutenant serving at Fort Benning, Georgia.  King’s Clemson story did not end with his death.  His former Clemson roommate, James MacMillan, married his widow Bess after the war.  King’s daughter Nancy was one of the first women accepted to Clemson, though the college’s lack of a nursing curriculum led her to enroll elsewhere.  In all more than a dozen of King’s relatives subsequently attended Clemson.

The cemetery at Epinal is poignant memorial to the spirit and sacrifice of the young men who gave their lives to liberate France, defeat fascism, and restore freedom to western Europe.

For more information about Albert Powhatan King see:

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Scroll of Honor – Earl Pinckney Furman, Jr.

Lone Ranger

Written by: Kelly Durham

They called themselves the “Long Rangers” because of the vast distances so many of their missions covered.  Flying over the trackless Pacific Ocean, the missions of the 370th Bomb Group lasted as long as seventeen hours.  Terrifying minutes of action dodging enemy anti-aircraft fire and fighter planes were sandwiched between tedious hours spent droning to and from the target area.  Corporal Earl Pinckney Furman, Jr. was a crew member aboard a 370th Group B-24 heavy bomber.

Furman came to Clemson in 1938 from his hometown of Allendale.  A general studies major, he was assigned to E Company, 2nd Battalion, 1st Regiment of the Cadet Brigade.  Furman remained at Clemson for two years before transferring to Wofford College.  He left Wofford in March 1943 and volunteered for the Army Air Force.

By this point in the war, Army training facilities were hitting their stride, taking in young men and turning out the trained soldiers and air crewmen needed to prosecute a global war.  Furman was ordered to San Antonio, Texas and then to Sioux Falls, South Dakota for aerial radio operator training.  Following aerial gunnery training at Yuma, Arizona, Furman was awarded aircrew wings.  He shipped out to the Pacific Theater in September 1944 and was assigned to the Long Rangers.

Furman joined the crew of “Tillie,” a B-24D heavy bomber which he served as radio operator and waist gunner.   Furman’s unit, the 372nd Bomb Squadron, was operating from Noemfoor, a small island off the northern coast of New Guinea.  On November 4, Furman was seriously injured in an aircraft accident that resulted in the scrapping of “Tillie.”  Furman’s injuries were significant enough to land him in the hospital, where he died three days later.

Furman was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart.  After the war, his remains were returned to Allendale where he was buried in the Swallow Savannah Cemetery.  He was survived by his parents and sister.

For additional information about Earl Pinckney Furman, Jr. see:

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Scroll of Honor – Rudolf Anderson, Jr.

“The Martyr Who Died for Us All”

Written by: Kelly Durham

Of the nearly five hundred names listed on Clemson University’s Scroll of Honor, none has been more widely reported than Rudolf Anderson, Jr.  Anderson, a 1948 graduate in textile management, was the sole casualty in the Cuban Missile Crisis which pushed the United States and Soviet Union to the brink of nuclear war sixty years ago this week.

Rudy Anderson grew up in Greenville and showed an interest in flying even as a toddler.  When bad weather forced an airplane to make an emergency landing near the Anderson’s home, the family took in the pilot for the night.  The next morning, the flyer took three-year-old Rudy to see his plane, delighting the child.  Throughout his early childhood, Rudy built model airplanes.  He even attempted to fly himself, leaping from a window—and ending up in the hospital with a broken arm.  It wouldn’t be his last wingless flight—or his last crash landing.

Rudy was a member of Buncombe Street Methodist Church and was an Eagle Scout.  He served as manager on Greenville High School’s 1943 state championship football team.  Rudy graduated from Greenville High School in 1944 and enrolled at Clemson College.

At Clemson, Rudy earned academic honors and participated in intramural sports.  As a cadet, he was a member of the Executive Sergeants Club, and the Senior Platoon, composed of the most precise senior cadets.  The Senior Platoon drilled each morning and evening and highlighted the annual Mothers’ Day parade on campus.  It also marched at halftime during Clemson football games.  Anderson was among the first Clemson cadets to participate in the newly-formed Air Force ROTC program, attending summer training at Keesler Field, Mississippi.

Just three months short of graduation, Rudy embarked on another wingless flight.  According to The Tiger, Rudy was attempting to catch a pigeon that had flown into the second barracks.  Rudy chased the bird down the third floor hallway and was unable to stop when it flew out the window.  Rudy went out the window as well, bouncing off the eaves over the entrance of the barracks, breaking his fall, and saving him from more serious injuries.  Despite a fractured pelvis, Anderson recovered quickly and graduated on schedule.

Anderson received a commission as a second lieutenant in the Air Force, but he was not ordered to active duty as the military was still declining in size from its World War II peak.  Instead, Anderson took a job with Hudson Mill in Greenville.

Anderson was building a career in textiles when, in June 1951, he was called into the Air Force.  The Korean War was escalating and the United States was determined to hold the line there against Communist aggression.  Anderson was assigned to Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida for nine months. Before departing for his next assignment, Rudy met Jane Corbett with whom he would correspond over the next three years as his Air Force career carried him halfway around the world.  In August 1952, Anderson began flight training at San Marcos, Texas.  He was selected for single engine jet training and sent to Webb Air Rudy AndersonForce Base in Texas where he earned his wings in February 1953.  He was next sent to Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada where he learned to fly the F-86 Sabre, the Air Force’s primary air combat fighter of the Korean War.

In July 1953, the Korean War ended in a truce, but the need for intelligence on both Chinese and Soviet intentions in the region drove the United States to conduct reconnaissance flights.  Anderson was assigned to the 15th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron at Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.  Flying specially-equipped RF-86 jets, Anderson and his comrades flew over Chinese and Soviet territory at high altitudes, their weapons replaced with cameras.  In nearly two years in Korea, Anderson was twice awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.

On a trip home before his next duty assignment, Anderson proposed to Jane Corbett and they were married in November 1955 near Larson Air Force Base in Oregon.  Rudy’s prowess as a reconnaissance pilot was well-known and, following attendance at an Air Force school, he soon found himself back in Nevada at desolate Groom Lake, a dry lakebed known as “The Ranch.”  Here, Anderson would learn to fly the secret U-2, an unarmed, very high altitude reconnaissance aircraft developed by the CIA.

In March 1957, Jane gave birth to Rudolf Anderson, III.  He would be followed by a brother, James, two years later.  Anderson meanwhile was flying operational missions in the U-2 as a pilot in the 4080th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing headquartered at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas.  By 1962, Major Anderson and his colleague Major Richard Heyser were considered the Air Force’s most accomplished U-2 pilots.

Overflights of areas of interest were nothing new.  Anderson had flown over the territory of other nations while in Korea.  The United States had famously lost a U-2 over the Soviet Union in 1960.  That aircraft had been downed by surface-to-air missiles, its pilot captured and put on trial.  U-2s had provided aerial photographic intelligence from Cuba before the ill-fated Bay of Pigs invasion.  So, when temperatures began to heat up over the possible installation of Soviet missiles in Cuba in the fall of 1962, it was only natural that Anderson, Heyser and the other U-2 pilots of the 4080th would be called upon.

U-2 flights over Cuba in the late summer had noted disturbing build-ups of Soviet installations and equipment.  The Kennedy administration was torn between the need for more frequent reconnaissance flights and the fear that such flights would provoke a response from the Cubans—or worse from the Soviets.  Nonetheless, periodic overflights continued.  Then, on October 14, Major Heyser brought back disturbing images.
Rudy's U-2CIA photo interpreters identified Soviet SS-4 medium-range ballistic missiles being installed near San Cristobal, Cuba.  In addition, Soviet surface-to-air missile defenses were being set up, though neither weapons system was as yet operational.    These discoveries triggered the Cuban Missile Crisis—and would cost Rudy Anderson’s life.

Over the following thirteen days, the United States increased the number of U-2 reconnaissance flights over Cuba despite a prediction from a CIA analyst that there was a one-in-six chance of losing an aircraft.  Anderson and Heyser flew again on October 15.  On October 17, six U-2s flew the length of Cuba from west to east ensuring nearly complete photographic coverage of the island.  Beginning on the 18th, Anderson’s routine was to fly every other day, but the weather soon disrupted this schedule.  Anderson encountered poor visibility due to cloud cover on October 23.  The approach of Hurricane Ella cancelled missions scheduled for the 24th and 26th and only one mission was flown on October 25.

The October 25 mission, flown by Captain Gerald McIlmoyle, coincided with the high drama of a diplomatic showdown at the United Nations.  US Ambassador Adlai Stevenson and Soviet Ambassador Valerian Zorin engaged in a heated debate. After repeated Soviet denials of the presence of offensive weapons in Cuba, Stevenson shared the incriminating photos taken by the U-2 pilots.  As Stevenson and Zorin fought with words and pictures, McIlmoyle was battling for survival.

McIlmoyle was nearing the end of his mission, much of which had been obscured by clouds.  As he passed over a surface-to-air missile site near Banes, the weather cleared.  Suddenly, McIlmoyle’s yellow radar warning light illuminated, alerting him that his aircraft was being pinged by enemy radar.  As McIlmoyle turned his aircraft, he spotted the contrails of two missiles streaking toward him.  He maneuvered to avoid the missiles and saw them explode about a mile away.  At this point, he was already on his outbound leg and so he continued on to his base in Florida where he landed and reported his encounter.  McIlmoyle claimed that when he landed, an Air Force general met him at his aircraft and told him that he had not been fired on and that he was not to report the missile attack.  McIlmoyle, who would reach the rank of brigadier general, disregarded the order and told his fellow pilots of the attack.

On October 27, with the world edging toward nuclear disaster and leaders in Washington and Moscow pondering their next steps, Rudy Anderson prepared for his final flight.  Four flights had been planned for the day, but the weather was again poor.  Three of the flights were cancelled, but Anderson elected to go forward with his mission because so much of McIlmoyle’s coverage had been obscured by clouds and the need for fresh intelligence was critical.

Anderson awoke early, ate a high protein breakfast, and donned his pressure suit.  Two hours before his scheduled takeoff time, he began breathing pure oxygen.  Anderson climbed into the U-2’s narrow cockpit and with the help of his check pilot, completed a series of checklists.  He shook hands with his check pilot, and gave a thumbs up as the canopy was closed.  At 9:09 a.m., Anderson’s U-2 streaked down the runway of McCoy Air Force Base and climbed into the Florida sky.

Anderson leveled off at 72,000 feet and headed toward Cuba on what would be his sixth mission of the Crisis.  But on this day, there was a new factor in play that had not been present on his previous missions.  The night before, Cuban leader Fidel Castro had ordered the island’s air defenses to fully operational status.  Castro expected an American invasion, to include tactical aircraft, and he had placed his defense forces on alert.  Soviet officers manning the SA-2 air defense missiles were tracking Anderson’s flight on radar and growing more concerned as he got closer to the medium-range missile sites they were guarding.

Soviet General S. N. Grechko was commanding the surface-to-air missiles.  As Anderson turned over Guantanamo Bay to begin a westward track over Cuba, Grechko feared the U-2 was completing its mission and preparing to return to Florida with potentially damning intelligence photographs.  After repeated requests for guidance from Soviet leadership resulted in no response, and with Castro’s orders no doubt on his mind, Grechko decided to take action.  He ordered the 1st Battalion of the 507th Anti-Aircraft Rocket Regiment at Banes to fire.

At 1019, two SA-2 missiles roared off their launch rails and streaked skyward.  Shrapnel from at least one of the exploding missiles pierced the cockpit of Anderson’s U-2 and punctured his pressure suit.  The resulting instant loss of pressure at that high altitude killed Anderson immediately.  The aircraft began a long spiral to the ground, crashing near the missile battery that had brought it down.

When the news reached the White House, the president’s brother Robert Kennedy would later write, “the whole course of

Wreaked Plane

Soviet soldiers examine the wreckage of Major Anderson’s U-2.

events” changed.  There was a feeling “that the bridges to escape [the Crisis] were crumbling.”

But instead of resulting in additional escalation, the death of Major Anderson had a sobering effect.  Even the bellicose Soviet leader Khruschev recognized that without immediate action the Crisis would spin out of control.  Khruschev’s son, Sergei, recalled that Anderson’s death was “the very moment—not before or after—that father felt the situation was slipping out of his control.”

This critical moment compelled the Americans and Soviets to reach an agreement to resolve the Crisis.  The Soviets agreed to remove their offensive missiles from Cuba in exchange for a pledge from President Kennedy not to invade the island.  In addition, Kennedy privately agreed to a later withdrawal of American missiles from Turkey.

Rudolf Anderson’s sacrifice, just as the Crisis appeared headed toward disaster, provided the sobering impulse to find a compromise.  His death likely saved millions of lives. CBS News commentator Eric Sevareid described Anderson as “the martyr who died for us all.”

Rudolf Anderson was survived by his wife Jane, sons Rudolf III age 5 and James age 3.  A daughter, Robyn, was born seven months after his death.  At the direction of President Kennedy, Anderson was awarded the first Air Force Cross.

Following the Crisis, Anderson’s remains were returned to the United States.  He is buried at Woodlawn Memorial Park in Greenville.  A memorial to Major Anderson was established in Greenville’s Cleveland Park.

For additional information about Major Rudolf Anderson, Jr. see:

For more information about Clemson University’s Scroll of Honor visit:

See also:

Alone, Unarmed, and Unafraid Over Cuba: The Story of Major Rudy Anderson, by Major Geoffrey Cameron, Air University, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, 2017,

Thirteen Days: A Memoir of the Cuban Missile Crisis, by Robert F. Kennedy, W. W. Norton & Co., New York, 1969.








Scroll of Honor – Frank DuBose

The Longest Battle

Written by: Kelly Durham

In the autumn of 1944, after its rapid sweep across France, the American Army reached the German frontier.  Confronted with the well-prepared and long-established fortifications of the Siegfried Line or Westwall, Germany’s answer to France’s Maginot Line, the Army began what would become its longest battle of World War II, the Huertgen Forest campaign.  The 112th Infantry Regiment was among the units committed to the Huertgen battle and Frank Shirer DuBose was one of its officers.

Frank DuBose grew up in Camden, graduating from high school there before enrolling at Clemson College as a member of the Class of 1942.  He attended Clemson for three years, majoring in vocational agriculture education.  He was a member of Chi Kappa Chi, the social organization composed of cadets from Kershaw County, serving as the group’s secretary-treasurer.  He was also a member of the campus chapter of Future Farmers of America.

Men of the 28th Infantry Division march through Paris on August 29, 1944.

After DuBose left Clemson, he took a job teaching at Varnville High School.  Called to active duty in September 1942, DuBose was ordered to Fort Benning, Georgia where he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the infantry.  He was assigned to the 112th Infantry Regiment, part of the 28th Infantry Division.  In April 1943, Frank married the former Betty Rentz of Varnville.  In October, the 28th Infantry Division shipped out, landing in the south of Wales where it continued to train for the coming invasion of Europe.

On July 22, 1944, the 28th Infantry Division landed in Normandy and was quickly committed to Operation Cobra, the American effort to breakout of its beachhead.  The division pushed east through the difficult bocage country and a little more than a month later participated in the liberation of Paris.  The 28th was one of the American divisions selected to parade down the Champs-Élysées on August 29.  Despite the joy of the Parisiennes, for the Americans the fighting was far from over.

After a short rest to receive replacements and new equipment, the division moved forward again, heading toward Germany’s Westwall.  Elements of the division crossed the Our River from Luxembourg becoming the first Allied unit to enter Germany.  Reaching the mutually supporting fortifications of the Westwall brought the 28th’s advance to a halt.  Over the next three months, according to the 28th’s history, “the division accomplished little” in what developed into the Army’s longest continuous battle of the war.  Fighting in harsh weather in the heavily-forested region against a foe that was firing from hardened positions—and which in addition was now battling to defend its homeland—DuBose’s regiment suffered heavy casualties, at one point reduced to only three hundred men.

On November 2, DuBose went forward to scout German positions and target them for US artillery units.  He was accompanied by his radioman, Anthony Grasso, a nineteen-year-old private from Massachusetts.  During their reconnaissance mission, Grasso remained at DuBose’s side carrying the 40-pound radio that enabled the lieutenant to relay the coordinates of the enemy’s positions to the American guns.

Seventy-six years later, Grasso recalled DuBose’s final moments in an interview with The Boston Globe.

As the pair moved through an open field, DuBose believed he saw enemy soldiers in the woods ahead.

“The last words I heard from him were, ‘I need to call in. Give me the phone,’” Grasso said. “He was picking up the phone and ‘Boom!’ I went flying in the air, the blood spilling out of my neck. The next thing I know, I woke up two weeks later in a hospital in Paris.”

DuBose had turned to Grasso’s back, reaching for the phone when the blast threw the lieutenant 30 feet in the air. But at the instant of explosion, he had provided enough of a buffer to protect Grasso, who still carries shrapnel in his head and neck.

Frank Shirer DuBose was awarded the Purple Heart.  He was survived by his wife, his mother, and two sisters.  In 1949, his remains were returned to Camden.

Over Memorial Day weekend in 2021, Grasso, at age 96, visited DuBose’s grave in the Quaker Cemetery in Camden—two wartime comrades reunited in spirit.

For more information about Frank Shirer DuBose see:

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See also the May 29, 2021 The Boston Globe article by Brian MacQuarrie.










Scroll of Honor – Stephen Randolph Hilton

Missed Rendezvous

Written by: Kelly Durham

On Wednesday morning, October 3, 1945, Rebecca Lane Horton and her sister-in-law Jennie Horton departed Clemson for the long drive to Fayetteville, North Carolina.  There, they intended to rendezvous with Rebecca’s husband, Clinton Childs Horton, Jr., then serving as a doctor in the Naval Reserve.  The reunion never took place.

Clinton Horton, Jr. was the son of Dr. and Mrs. Clinton C. Horton, Sr. of Pendleton.  He attended Clemson College for two years as a pre-med major and was assigned to Company M of the 3rd Battalion, 2nd Regiment of the Cadet Brigade. He graduated from Emory University’s Medical School and interned at Charleston Hospital. Horton entered active duty in June 1945 while the world was still at war.

Horton was ordered to Camp Lejeune, the Marine Corps’ sprawling training base near Jacksonville, North Carolina.  On the night of October 3, Lieutenant (JG) Horton left Camp Lejeune for the two and a half hour drive to Fayetteville to meet his wife and sister.  At approximately 10 p.m., Horton was killed instantly in a single-car accident.  He was believed to have been traveling alone at the time of the crash.

Authorities from Camp Lejeune notified Horton’s family of the tragedy the next morning.  Lieutenant (JG) Horton was survived by his parents, his wife, his sister, and brother.  He is buried in Pendleton Cemetery.

For more information on Clinton Childs Horton, Jr. see:

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Scroll of Honor – Stephen Randolph Hilton

The Deadlier Opponent

Written by: Kelly Durham

Claude Rothell, Jr. came to Clemson College from Saluda County as a member of the Class of 1943.  His class was the last cohort to complete its academic career until after the war.  Following commencement, Claude and his classmates headed directly to active duty, many of them funneling into officers’ candidate schools.  Most of the other boys on campus were sent to basic training, their school days suspended for the duration.

Claude made the most of his four years as a cadet, engaging in academic, social, and athletic pursuits.  An animal husbandry major, Claude served as executive officer of  Company G, 1st Battalion, 1st Regiment of Clemson’s Cadet Brigade.  He was a member of Alpha Chi Psi, a social organization, and the Saluda-Lexington Club.  He served as the vice president of the Animal Husbandry Club and was a member of the Block “C” Club.

Claude was a four-year member of the Tiger football team, spanning the transition from head coach Jess Neely to head coach Frank Howard.  Claude’s senior campaign achieved mixed results as the Tigers finished with a 3-6-1 record.  Claude, at 176 pounds, played in the backfield on both offense and defense.  The Tigers’ first contest of the 1942 season inaugurated the campus’s new Memorial Stadium with a 6-4 win over Presbyterian College.  The Tigers triumphed against South Carolina, 18-6, in the annual Big Thursday game, which was the Tigers’ 200th all-time victory.  The Tigers closed their home season with a 12-7 win over Furman.  In a sign of the times, Clemson also took the field against a team from Jacksonville Naval Air Station, losing 24-6.  At the end of the season, Rothell and his teammates must have turned their thoughts toward the deadlier opponents that awaited overseas.

After graduation, Rothell was ordered to Fort Benning, Georgia to attend officer candidate school.  He completed his training in December and was soon assigned to the 48th Infantry Battalion of the 7th Armored Division.  In April 1944, Rothell shipped overseas.

On August 13-14, the 7th Armored Division landed in Normandy and was assigned to General George Patton’s Third Army.  The division battled its way into France, attacking German forces defending the city of Chartres and then proceeding to liberate Dreux.  On August 24, the division liberated Melun, south of Paris, where it crossed the Seine River.  With the German resistance weakening, the division raced ahead liberating the storied Great War battlefields of  Château-Thierry and then Verdun on August 31.

The 7th Armored halted for rest, maintenance, and refueling at the beginning of September, but was soon back on the offensive.  In France, one river led to another and on September 6, the division crossed the Moselle near Metz. Enemy fortifications and unfavorable terrain made the crossing untenable.  In mid-September, the 7th Armored joined with the 5th Infantry Division to expand a new bridgehead over the Moselle farther to the south near Arnaville.

Second Lieutenant Rothell was killed in action in France on September 14, 1944.  Ironically, he fell on the same day as his Clemson classmate Henry Hahn, who was assigned to one of the 7th Armored Division’s tank battalions.

Claude Rothell, Jr. was survived by his parents, his wife Margaret, and two brothers, one of whom was in the Navy’s V-12 officer training program.  He was awarded the Purple Heart and buried at the Lorraine American Military Cemetery.

For more information about Claude Rothell, Jr. see:

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Scroll of Honor – Stephen Randolph Hilton

Attack on Pagan

Written by: Kelly Durham

In 1937, the Imperial Japanese Navy established a garrison at the recently constructed airfield on Pagan Island, one of the volcanic islands in the Marianas chain.  The island was part of a League of Nations mandate granted to Japan after its participation in the Great War as a member of the victorious Allied powers.  That same year, Louis Gray Clark of Walhalla enrolled in Clemson College.

Louis Clark was a textile engineering major and was assigned to Company A, First Battalion, 2nd Regiment of the cadet brigade.  Clark left campus after his freshman year.

When World War II broke out, Clark volunteered for the Army Air Force.  He was selected for flight instruction and then funneled into fighter pilot training.  After earning his second lieutenant’s commission and his pilot’s wings, Clark was assigned to the 73rd Fighter Squadron of the 318th Fighter Group.

The 73rd had been mostly wiped out during Japan’s December 7, 1941 attacks on Hawaii. It was reconstituted in May 1942 and deployed to Midway Island after the Battle of Midway.  At the beginning of 1943, the squadron returned to Hawaii as part of the territory’s air defense force.

Newly equipped with P-47D Thunderbolt fighters, the squadron deployed to Saipan in the Northern Mariana Islands.  It worked closely with Marine ground forces pioneering techniques in close air support of infantry.  The squadron was the first to use napalm.  On Saipan, the squadron achieved the rare distinction as one of the few Army Air Force units to be attacked directly by enemy ground forces in June 1944.  After sustaining modest casualties, the pilots and ground crew took a crash course in infantry tactics.

On August 22, 1944, Second Lieutenant Clark was ordered on a mission to attack the Japanese airfield on Pagan Island, some two hundred miles north of Saipan.  He was slotted to fly as wingman to First Lieutenant Earl Harbour.  The flight departed Saipan’s East Field and flew north.  At about 1030 hours, Harbour completed a strafing pass from east-to-west over the Pagan airfield.  When he looked back to check on his wingman, he saw Clark’s P-47 go into the water.  Harbour saw Clark, under a parachute, drop into the sea only a quarter of a mile from the west-southwest shore of the island.  Harbour orbited his wingman’s position and observed Clark floating in the water with his life vest inflated.  Shortly thereafter, Harbour lost sight of Clark.  Additional P-47s joined the search, as did a Navy PBM rescue plane.  The search continued into the afternoon, but was called off at nightfall.  Because the search planes were fired upon by Pagan’s Japanese defenders, Harbour speculated that Clark had either been captured by the Japanese or killed in the water by enemy fire.  Clark was never recovered.

Second Lieutenant Louis Gray Clark was survived by his mother.  He is memorialized at the Honolulu Memorial and at Silverbrook Cemetery in Anderson.

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Scroll of Honor – Stephen Randolph Hilton

Heavy Fighting, “Light” Casualties

Written by: Kelly Durham

Newspaper headlines in August of 1968 told of more than six thousand enemy casualties over an eight day span of heavy fighting in Vietnam.  The heaviest combat occurred in the I Corps area of operations.  The 1st Marine Regiment was one of the American units engaged in this action.  Since recapturing Hue after the surprise Tet Offensive, the 1st Marines had been involved in a number of combat operations large and small.  Marine casualties were reported as “light,” but they weren’t light enough.

Stephen Randolph Hilton of Winnsboro was an economics major, a member of Kappa Sigma Nu fraternity and the Canterbury Club, the Episcopal student organization on campus. Steve Hilton was a good athlete who enjoyed baseball, football, golf and swimming.  He was also a musician, playing the piano and saxophone. While at Clemson, Hilton met Evelyn Elkin and they were married on December 27, 1966 following Steve’s graduation. His sister, Lois, remembered Steve as someone who was easy to be around and who was a lot of fun.

He was also loyal and patriotic, traits that no doubt helped steer him toward the Marine Corps.  Hilton graduated as a second lieutenant from Officer Basic Training School at Quantico, Virginia on November 1, 1967.  His cohort, Class 6-67, would send more lieutenants to battle and suffer more officers killed or wounded than any Marine basic school class since the Korean War.  One of Hilton’s classmates at Quantico was Clemson classmate Richard Kapp, Jr., who, like Steve, was bound for the 1st Marines and Vietnam.

Before shipping out to Vietnam, Steve spent Thanksgiving 1967 at home. By this time, Evelyn was pregnant and Steve was “on cloud nine,” according to his sister.  “I had a feeling it would be the last time I saw him,” Lois recalled, “but I prayed I would be wrong.”

Hilton and the 1st Marines were in the thick of the fighting during the North Vietnamese Tet Offensive in the winter of 1968.  They helped wrest control of the ancient city of Hue from the enemy.

On August 25, First Lieutenant Hilton was leading his platoon to the aid of a surrounded reconnaissance team near Gio Linh when he was struck by enemy small arms fire and killed.  His daughter, Elizabeth Anne, whom he never had a chance to hold, was two-and-a-half months old.

Hilton was awarded the Purple Heart, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, National Order of Vietnam, Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation with Palm, and Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal.

In addition to his wife and daughter, Hilton was survived by his parents, his sister Lois and a brother.  He is buried in Winnsboro’s Episcopal Cemetery.

For more information about Stephen Randolph Hilton see:

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Scroll of Honor – James Crisp Akers Salter

Stormy Weather

Written by: Kelly Durham

When we think about airplane pilots and stormy weather, we often picture disaster in the skies.  James Crisp Akers Salter suffered the effects of stormy weather on terra firma.

Jimmy Salter came to Clemson from Atlanta, Georgia and majored in civil engineering.  As an upper classman, he was a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers and he also completed ROTC training held at Clemson in the summer of 1941.  That training led to his commissioning as an Army second lieutenant upon graduation in the spring of 1942.

Salter applied for service in the Army Air Force and was accepted into flight training.  After earning his pilot’s wings and qualifying to command the B-25 Mitchell medium bomber, Salter joined the 499th Bombardment Squadron , the “Bats Outta Hell,” which had been formed in Columbia.  Originally designated for the European Theater, the 499th was diverted to Australia after the successful use of medium bombers in the Battle of the Bismarck Sea.  In early June 1943, the 499th reached its combat station near Port Moresby, New Guinea.  Over the next two years, Salter flew fifty-seven combat missions, mostly bombing and strafing of Japanese installations on New Guinea and the Bismarck Archipelago.

     A 499th Bombardment Squadron B-25 with              distinctive “Bat Outta Hell” nose art.

The 499th flew missions against the Japanese Navy base at Rabaul earning a Distinguished Unit Citation.  The squadron earned a second such citation for its attacks on the Admiralty Islands.  In July 1944, the squadron moved to a new base on Biak Island in the Dutch East Indies from which it supported General MacArthur’s Southwest Pacific Campaign.  In November, Salter and the 499th moved once again, this time to a base in the Philippines from which it could support Allied operations throughout that island chain and launch attacks as far north as Formosa.

After earning an Air Medal with two oak leaf clusters and three campaign stars, flight leader Salter was finally sent back to the United States in the summer of 1945.  The Japanese had been beaten back to their home islands, but the Army was still training bomber pilots and crews for the anticipated invasion of Japan planned to begin that November.  Salter was assigned to Williams Army Airfield, about thirty miles south of Phoenix, Arizona, a key training base for multi-engine pilots.

On August 2, Captain Salter was killed when the car in which he was a passenger struck a tree which had been uprooted and flung into the road by a tornado.  He was survived by his mother, grandmother, three uncles, and an aunt.

For more information about James Crisp Akers Salter see:

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