Scroll of Honor – Robert Franklin Wright ’45

Night Fighter

Written by: Kelly Durham

We don’t know when he first saw her, but she must have been an impressive sight: standing tall and with shapely lines.  He was Robert Franklin Wright, Class of 1945.  She was the USS Enterprise, the most decorated American warship of World War II.

 

Before reporting aboard Enterprise, Bob Wright had attended Clemson College, enrolling in September 1941 as a mechanical engineering major.  Wright, from Athens, Georgia, had already completed one year at his hometown University of Georgia before transferring to Clemson.  During his time at Clemson, the war, which had been raging in China and Europe for years, finally reached America.  After the completion of the spring semester, Wright entered the Navy in May 1942.  He attended the Navy’s pre-flight school in Athens before heading to Pensacola, Florida for flight training and commissioning as a Navy ensign.

On Christmas Eve 1944, Enterprise sailed from Oahu, Hawaii bound for the Philippines.  For the first time, she carried an air group specially trained in night carrier operations.  The group included a Night Torpedo Squadron and a Night Fighter Squadron, VF(N)-90 which included among its pilots Lieutenant (j.g.) Bob Wright.

As the new year began, Enterprise and her aircraft conducted night fighter sweeps against shore targets and shipping from Formosa to Indochina.  The F6F(N) Hellcat fighters were specially equipped with an AN/APS-6 radar housed in the airplane’s starboard wing.  The radar enabled the pilot to locate and attack enemy planes in complete darkness and also guided the pilot back to his ship through the use of a homing beacon.

On January 16, Enterprise night aircraft attacked enemy shipping and installations in the Hainan and Hong Kong areas.  It was on one of these night sorties that Wright disappeared. He was awarded the Purple Heart and the Distinguished Flying Cross.  Wright is memorialized at the Manila American Cemetery, Fort Bonifacio, Manila, Philippines.

For additional information on Lieutenant (j.g.) Robert Franklin Wright see:

https://soh.alumni.clemson.edu/scroll/robert-franklin-wright/

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

https://soh.alumni.clemson.edu/

 

WWII Hero’s Medals Given to Hospice Store

Just before Thanksgiving of this year an anonymous donor left a box of World War II era medals at the Hospice Store in Greenwood, SC.  No one at the store knows who brought in the medals but when they noticed a name, Lt. Comdr. John E. Muldrow USN (class of 1937), engraved on one of the medals, one of the employees decided to “google” the name on the internet.  Her search quickly found the name on the Clemson University Scroll of Honor Memorial (SOHM) website.  She reached out to Clemson Alumni through a contact email listed on the website.  Commander Dave Lyle, USN Retired, a member of The Clemson Corps alumni group has been researching the heroes on the SOHM for 10 years.  He contacted Ms. Kim Mays, the manager at the Hospice Store, to determine what they wanted to do with the medals.  The medals included the Navy Cross (second in precedence only to the Medal of Honor), two Distinguished Flying Crosses, two Air Medals, the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal and the World War II Victory Medal.  It was later discovered LCDR Muldrow was actually awarded 5 Air Medals.

Ms. Mays said they wanted to find a home for the medals, preferably descendants or family members who are still living.  CDR Lyle contacted a colleague, Brigadier General Charles King, USAF Retired, who had done a lot of research for the Clemson Scroll of Honor alumni profile of LCDR Muldrow since they were both from Bishopville, SC.  He had been in touch with several members of the Muldrow family in 2013 as he was researching both LCDR John E. Muldrow, Jr. and his first cousin SGT Henry G. Muldrow, Jr. (class of 1938), US Army Air Force.  Most of BGen King’s Muldrow family contacts have passed away, but he was able to find family members in New Mexico, Texas and South Carolina.  One of the surviving family members is John Ellison Muldrow, whose father, a cousin of LCDR Muldrow, named his son after the fallen Commander.  BGen King plans to give the medals to the LCDR’s namesake in New Mexico, with the request that Mr. Muldrow will lend them temporarily to the Lee County Veterans Museum in Bishopville for special events.

LCDR John Muldrow was killed in action on May 9, 1945 near the end of his second combat tour in the Pacific when his PB4Y-2 Privateer four-engine patrol bomber was shot down during an attack on Japanese held Marcus Island.  LCDR Muldrow’s first cousin, SGT Henry G. Muldrow, Jr., was killed during a bombing raid over Germany in February 1945 and is buried at the Ardennes American Military Cemetery in Belgium.

We want to thank Ms. Mays and everyone else at the Hospice Store for their initiative in finding out more about the hero who earned these medals and in doing so preserving a little part of history.

You can learn more about LCDR Muldrow on the Clemson Scroll of Honor Memorial website at

https://soh.alumni.clemson.edu/scroll/john-ellison-muldrow-jr/.  You can also learn about other Clemson heroes at https://soh.alumni.clemson.edu/

 

 

 

Scroll of Honor – John Cuttino McKnight and Benjamin Green McKnight

The Beginning and the End

Written by: Kelly Durham

The 1940 Clemson College Swim Team—Mac McKnight is at the beginning of the diving board next to Coach P. B. Holtzendorff and Ben McKnight is perched at the end.

John Cuttino McKnight and Benjamin Green McKnight are one of three sets of brothers listed on Clemson University’s Scroll of Honor.  John, or “Mac” as his classmates called him, and Ben were born in Sumter, but by the time they departed for Clemson College, their father, who worked for the YMCA, had been transferred to Kannapolis, North Carolina.  Both cadets majored in general science, and their time on campus overlapped.  Mac was a member of the Class of 1940, Ben a member of the Class of 1941.  The brothers were members of the State and Southern Conference champion swim team which first Mac and then Ben served as co-captain.  Mac was also the president of the Minor “C” Club and Ben served on the YMCA Council.  Both brothers would serve overseas during World War II, Ben in the Pacific and Mac in Europe.  Neither would return.

Following his 1941 graduation, Ben the younger brother, was assigned to the historically black 367th Infantry Regiment at Camp Claiborne, Louisiana.  In February 1942, Ben was transferred to the 128th Infantry Regiment of the 32nd Infantry Division. In a letter home to his parents, Ben credited his time “in the colored regiment” for preparing him for his new assignment: “I know more than any of the men and most of the officers—how about that.”  By March, Ben and his new division were training at snowy Fort Devens, Massachusetts, but the following month the division was back on the train and headed west.  From his troopship, the Monterey, Ben wrote that he hated to miss being home for Mothers’ Day, but that the ship had “a good chaplain” whose services were “a real comfort to attend.” Mac was also in the Army, but his unit was still in the States awaiting deployment.  In a June 10, 1942 letter to Mac, Ben wrote from Australia that “The people here are marvelous and treat us fine.”

The 32nd Infantry Division was committed to the New Guinea campaign, General Douglas MacArthur’s first

Ben McKnight, Class of 1941

offensive in the Southwest Pacific.  The weather and the terrain were almost as fierce as the Japanese themselves.  Ben complained in an October letter of oppressive heat and pestering insects, adding “this is no picnic.”

On December 16, Ben volunteered to lead a patrol because he was the only unmarried officer left in his unit.  On what his regimental commander described as a “dangerous mission,” Ben was wounded in the stomach.  Operated on immediately, Ben appeared to be making progress when on Christmas morning he dictated a letter to his parents.  Chaplain Wilfred Schnedler wrote the letter out for Ben who said, “I am making good progress toward recovery,” but Ben died in the early morning hours of December 26.  For his heroism, Ben was promoted to first lieutenant and awarded the Silver Star.  His commanding officer wrote Ben’s father that “Ben was a lovable youngster and the very best of soldiers, competent, cheerful, and too courageous.  We all loved him.  He was killed leading a strong patrol on a dangerous mission… His courageous leadership led to the successful accomplishment of his mission although we considered it too costly in that we lost him.”  His parents would receive one more letter from Ben, an undated note that one of his comrades mailed after the young soldier’s death. In it Ben wrote, “I’ve lived a fairly clean Christian life and am a confirmed Christian and put my faith in God through Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior. I’m sure of my position in heaven, so don’t worry about me.”

The New Guinea and Guadalcanal campaigns that took place at approximately the same time helped destroy the myth of Japanese superiority in jungle fighting and were the first land defeats of the Japanese in the Pacific war.  From these beginnings to the end of the war, Japan would remain on the defensive.

We know considerably less about Mac’s service.  The Army created a separate Transportation Corps in the summer of 1942 and it was in this organization that Mac served.  The new organization managed transportation of men and supplies for the Army and Army Air Force, including both rail-borne and shipborne movements.  By the spring of 1945, Mac McKnight was serving in Europe, having attained the rank of captain in the Transportation Corps.  In April, Mac was wounded in a “non-combat firearms accident (not self-inflicted).” He died from this wound on May 28, three weeks after Germany’s capitulation and the end of the war in Europe.

John “Mac” McKnight, Class of 1940

The brothers, who had played together as boys and marched together as cadets, had served at the beginning of America’s victory in the Pacific and at the end of the war in Europe.  They would be reunited once more, when on December 11, 1948, the remains of Mac and Ben were buried in a double funeral at Columbia’s Elmwood Cemetery.

For more information on John Cuttino McKnight see:

https://soh.alumni.clemson.edu/scroll/john-cuttino-mcknight/

For additional information on Benjamin Green McKnight see:

https://soh.alumni.clemson.edu/scroll/benjamin-green-mcknight/

To learn more about Clemson University’s Scroll of Honor visit:

https://soh.alumni.clemson.edu/

For more information about the 32nd Infantry Division, a Michigan-Wisconsin National Guard unit which drew many of its officers from North and South Carolina ROTC programs, read:

32 Answered: A South Carolina Veterans’ Story by Dr. Joe H. Camp, Jr.

https://www.amazon.com/32-Answered-South-Carolina-Veterans-ebook/dp/B010W9787G/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=32+Answered%2C+Joe+Camp&qid=1594579201&sr=8-1

Scroll of Honor – Carl Long, Jr.

Winter War

Written by: Kelly Durham

Carl Long, Jr. of Saluda attended Clemson College from 1936 to 1938, majoring in agronomy.  Following his stint on campus, Long was employed by Saluda Hosiery Mill, one of the dozens of textile plants which employed the majority of manufacturing workers in the state.  A newspaper article described Long as “a promising young businessman from a prominent family.”

Long entered military service in January 1941. America’s first peace-time draft had been implemented and thousands of young men from all over the country were being called to active duty for training.

Long didn’t have far to travel. He reported for basic training at Fort Jackson, then home of the 118th Infantry Regiment of the 30th Infantry Division.  Long’s next assignment was farther afield.  Iceland, where he was deployed for fourteen months, must have seemed a world removed from Fort Jackson and nearby Columbia.  While in Iceland, Long earned “high esteem and praise” from his commanding officer, traits which were likely factors in his being ordered to Fort Benning, Georgia for Officer Candidate School.

By this time, the war was in full swing and the Army had great need for capable young officers.  Long received his second lieutenant’s commission and was next assigned to Camp Blanding in Florida and then Camp Rucker, Alabama.

He was ordered overseas and assigned to the 13th Infantry Regiment of the 8th Infantry Division which had crossed Utah Beach in early July 1944 and was then attacking the French coastal city of Brest.  Long was wounded, awarded a Purple Heart, and promoted to first lieutenant for “meritorious service” in battle.

After liberating Brest, the 8th Infantry Division turned east and began a steady advance across France and into Luxembourg.  By the end of November, the division had been committed to the ongoing battle in the Hürtgen Forest, inside Germany itself.  In cold, wet, often snowy weather, the 8th continued to push eastward into the teeth of fierce German resistance.  Poor weather minimized the American advantage in airpower while the rugged terrain favored the well-fortified defenders.

On December 26, 1944, Long died of wounds suffered in Germany. He was survived by his parents, who were notified of their son’s death three weeks later.  Long was also survived by his brother, grandfather, and three uncles.

For more information about First Lieutenant Carl Long, Jr. see:

https://soh.alumni.clemson.edu/scroll/carl-long-jr/

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

https://soh.alumni.clemson.edu/

Scroll of Honor – Lee Hugh Welborn

Army Ranger

Written by: Kelly Durham

America was already at war when Lee Hugh Welborn arrived on the Clemson College campus as a freshman in the late summer of 1942.  After a disastrous start, American and Allied fortunes had stabilized.  The Battle of Midway had stopped Japanese expansion in the Pacific.  The American Eighth Air Force had begun flying missions over occupied Europe in August.

Welborn, a general science major from Liberty, completed his first semester but in February 1943 left school to enter the Army.  He was eventually assigned to the 4th Ranger Battalion.

The concept of unconventional soldiers gained credibility over the varied combat landscapes and scenarios of World War II.  Rangers underwent rigorous training and prepared for special missions.  The elite Ranger units were also frequently pressed into frontline service as riflemen.

With the success of the 1st Ranger Battalion during the North Africa campaign, Army leadership decided to form three additional Ranger battalions using the 1st as a cadre.  The 4th Ranger Battalion was activated in Tunisia in May 1943.

The Rangers participated in the landings at Salerno, Italy in September 9, 1943.  Seizing high ground on the Sorrentino peninsula, the Rangers occupied a series of mutually supported strongpoints and, with support from naval gunfire, held off a series of determined German counterattacks until finally joined by elements of General Mark Clark’s Fifth Army on the last day of the month.

By November, Clark’s offensive had bogged down against the Germans’ entrenched fortifications known as the “Winter Line.”  To renew his advance, Clark committed the Rangers once again, this time attaching the battalions to existing infantry divisions in order to achieve a breakthrough.  In bitter fighting, the Rangers suffered heavy casualties. Tech 5 Welborn died of wounds on November 24, 1943 the day before Thanksgiving, but the long-sought breakthrough wouldn’t come until the following spring.

It took nearly five years, but Welborn’s body was finally returned home in July 1948—six months after the passing of his father.  The younger Welborn was survived by his mother and sister and was buried in the family’s plot at the Westview Cemetery in Liberty.

For more information on Tech 5 Lee Hugh Welborn see:

https://soh.alumni.clemson.edu/scroll/lee-hugh-welborn/

 

For additional information on Clemson University’s Scroll of Honor visit:

https://soh.alumni.clemson.edu/

 

 

 

 

 

Scroll of Honor – Henry Lee Suggs

Over Over There

Written by Kelly Durham

One hundred two years ago today, the Great War ended.  As the clock ticked its way to 11 am on the 11th day of the 11th month, the World War stumbled to its deadly conclusion.  The fighting was over—but not the dying.

Among those celebrating the end of the War-to-End-All-Wars were the men of the 85th Aero Squadron.  Only the previous day, the 85th had flown its first mission over enemy lines reconnoitering the railway yards at Conflans-en-Jarnisy.  One of the 85th’s pilots was First Lieutenant Henry Lee Suggs, Clemson College Class of 1916.

Suggs had enjoyed a distinguished collegiate career after arriving on the tiny campus in northwestern South Carolina in the fall of 1912.  An electrical and mechanical engineering major from York, “Hawkshaw,” as he was nicknamed by his fellow cadets, served as president of the Wade Hampton Literary Society, president of the Junior Science Club, and president of the York County Club.  He was a member of the Tiger staff, the Thalian Dancing Club, and the Senior Banquet Committee.  He also found time to play football.  As a guard, said to be the strongest man on the team, he helped anchor the line of a Clemson squad that never yielded more than fourteen points in a single contest all season.  In 1915, Suggs’s senior season, the Tigers battled Davidson to a six-all tie in the very first game played on Riggs Field.

Upon Suggs’s graduation, Taps, the cadet yearbook wrote that “Since he is a man of such great ability, we can but predict for him boundless success…” Suggs enlisted in the Army in May 1917 and earned his commission after completing officer training.

Following the armistice, the 85th Aero Squadron remained in France, undertaking aerial photography of the Hindenburg Line of defensive positions along the border between Germany and France.  On December 18, forty-five minutes into an observation mission near Toul, Suggs’s plane went into a spin and crashed.  Suggs was picked up alive and taken to a field hospital where he died that same day.

Suggs’s remains were returned to the United States in June 1919 and he was buried at Bethel Presbyterian Cemetery in Clover.  He was survived by his mother and two brothers.

For additional information on First Lieutenant Henry Lee Suggs, see:

http://soh.alumni.clemson.edu/scroll/henry-lee-suggs/

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

http://soh.alumni.clemson.edu/

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scroll of Honor – James Levi Smith, Jr.

Forgotten Front

Written by: Kelly Durham

The Italian Campaign in World War II is sometimes called the “Forgotten Front,” overshadowed by Operation Overlord, the June 1944 Allied invasion of France.  But in May 1944, Italy was still the Allies’ major ground offensive against the Germans and Clemson alumnus James Levi Smith, Jr. was right in the thick of the fighting.

Smith was a graduate of Boy’s High School in Anderson where his father served as the county’s assistant superintendent of education.  At Clemson, Smith majored in horticulture. A  member of the Class of 1945, Smith’s days on campus were cut short by the War Department’s demands for more men to commit to the fight against the Axis powers.  Although Clemson was well-known for commissioning Army second lieutenants, Smith and his classmates were ordered to active duty before they had a chance to complete ROTC training.  As a result, the end of the 1942-43 academic year saw most of the boys on campus trading their gray cadet uniforms for military khaki.  Smith soon found himself in the Army.

Smith was assigned to the 85th Infantry Division, the “Custer” Division, which had first been activated at Camp Custer, Michigan during the First World War.  The 85th, including Smith’s 339th Infantry Regiment, left the United States on Christmas Eve 1943 bound for Casablanca in French Morocco.  Arriving a little more than a week later, the division participated in amphibious training along the North African coast.  Smith’s 339th Regiment was the division’s first element to reach Italy, arriving on March 14, 1944.  Two weeks later, it was committed to action on the Minturno-Castelforte front.

Eager to break through the Gustav Line of German defenses, link up with VI Corps which had landed up the coast at Anzio in January, and liberate Rome, General Mark Clark’s Fifth Army attacked toward the west-northwest on May 11. Smith’s 339th Regiment was on the American left flank, extending from the Mediterranean coast inland.  In heavy fighting the following day, Smith went missing in action.

It was not until the middle of June that his family received word via War Department telegram that Smith was missing.  His mother died on June 16 following “a short illness.”  One is left to wonder about the impact of that telegram on Mrs. Smith’s health.  Smith’s death was not confirmed until his father received a second telegram on July 3.

The Gustav Line was breached a few days after Smith’s sacrifice.  The link up with VI Corps was soon affected and Rome was liberated on June 5.  The following day, British, Canadian, and American forces landed in Normandy and the Italian campaign was all but forgotten—except by the men still fighting there.

James Levi Smith, Jr. died two months short of his twenty-first birthday.  He was survived by his father and his sister and is buried in the Lebanon Baptist Church Cemetery in Anderson.

For more information on James Levi Smith, Jr. see:

https://soh.alumni.clemson.edu/scroll/james-levi-smith-jr/

For additional information about Clemson’s Scroll of Honor visit:

https://soh.alumni.clemson.edu/

Scroll of Honor – Ivey Connell

From Blue to Gold

Written by: Kelly Durham

Mrs. Broadus Connell must have felt both pride and anxiety.  Four of her five sons were serving in the armed forces.  That gave her the right to display Blue Stars in the window of her home in Camden.

One of the stars represented the Connell’s son Ivey, a twenty-three-year-old first lieutenant assigned to the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment.  Ivey, a member of the Class of 1943, had attended Clemson from 1939 to 1940 and had studied vocational agricultural education.  He entered military service with the National Guard and by September 1943 was a mortar platoon leader in the Army’s first paratrooper division, the famous “All American” 82nd Airborne.

The 82nd had been activated in March 1942 at Camp Claiborne, Louisiana under the command of Major General Omar Bradley.  In August, the division, now commanded by Matthew Ridgway, was designated “airborne.”  In the spring of 1943, the 82nd was sent overseas, landing in North Africa.  The division’s first combat jump was into Sicily as part of the invasion force on July 9, 1943.  Once Sicily was secured, American forces under the command of General Mark Clark prepared for the invasion of Italy.

Clark’s Fifth Army landed at Salerno on September 9 and began a desperate battle to secure a beachhead against determined German defenders.  On September 13, clinging tenaciously to a shortened perimeter, Clark called on the 82nd for a night drop.  One of the division’s regiments jumped that night.  Ivey Connell’s 505th followed the next night.  By the end of the day, the beachhead was declared secure.

Connell’s regiment was involved in reconnaissance actions from early morning on October 5 as the various companies sent out patrols to ascertain enemy strength and positions.  By afternoon, companies from the Second Battalion were in contact with the enemy.  Connell’s 81 mm mortar platoon was providing fire support.

Connell shifted his platoon to a position from which to provide more effective covering fire for a parachute infantry company attempting to withdraw.  He established an observation post from which he could direct fire.  He was killed when an enemy mortar shell landed on his position. According to the citation for his Silver Star decoration, Connell’s “courageous action contributed to the successful withdrawal of our forces and is a credit to the services.”

Connell was survived by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Broadus Connell; his brother Norman, then also a first lieutenant with the paratroopers in Italy; brother Stephen, a corporal with the paratroop forces in England; brother Roddy, a sergeant with a tank destroyer unit in Alabama; one other brother and two sisters.  With Ivey’s death, one of the family’s Blue Stars was replaced with a Gold one.  In addition to the Silver Star, Ivey was awarded the Purple Heart.  After the war, his body was returned to Camden where it was buried in the Wateree Baptist Church Cemetery.

For more information about First Lieutenant Ivey Kiben Connell, see:

http://soh.alumni.clemson.edu/scroll/ivey-kiben-connell/

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

http://soh.alumni.clemson.edu/

Special thanks to Rafael Alvarez, Museum Technician, 82d Airborne Division Museum.

Scroll of Honor – William Raymond Yongue

None Sacrificed More

Written by: Kelly Durham

They arrived at Clemson College when the world was mostly at peace. By the time they graduated, China and most of Europe were in the throes of what would shortly become a worldwide conflagration—consuming all too many of their number.

The Clemson College Class of 1941 arrived in the sleepy college village in the late summer of 1937. Sure, there was trouble in China where the Japanese had been rattling sabers for years. In Germany, the National Socialist leader Hitler was talking about unifying ethnic Germans. But those places and their politics must have seemed far distant to Joe Hough and his fellow cadets.

Joseph Shelton Hough, from Edgefield, came to Clemson to study agriculture, then as now, vital to South Carolina’s economy. Upon his graduation in the spring of 1941, Hough would share what he learned during his years on campus with students at Inman High School where he worked as a vocational agriculture teacher.

Once the war came to the United States, Hough, like so many other young men, was called into military service. He shipped overseas in July 1944. On October 2, Staff Sergeant Hough was killed in action in France.

Sadly, we know little about Joe Hough, his time on campus, his Army service, and the details of his death. We do know that no Clemson class—before or since—made a greater sacrifice than the Class of 1941. Hough was one of fifty-five members of the class to lose his life during World War II. That’s approximately twelve percent of the graduating members of the class, or one in eight. The men of the Class of 1941 comprise eleven percent of the names on Clemson University’s Scroll of Honor.

Joe Hough was survived by his widow, the former Willie Mae Wilson, who continued to teach at Inman High; his mother; four sisters; and two brothers, one in the Army, one in the Navy, both serving overseas. In 1948, Hough’s body was brought to Clinton where it was reburied in the Rosemont Cemetery.

For more information on Joseph Shelton Hough, see: http://soh.alumni.clemson.edu/scroll/joseph-joe-shelton-hough/

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

http://soh.alumni.clemson.edu/

 

Scroll of Honor – William Raymond Yongue

“Brown-Water” Soldier

Written by: Kelly Durham

The Vietnam War recalls images of soldiers and Marines trudging through thick jungles and wading through rice paddies.  But, for a small number of soldiers, this war was fought from a boat.

William Raymond Yongue, a member of the Class of 1964 from Chester, was a member of the “brown-water navy,” the “Riverines.”  Composed of Army and Navy units, the Riverines were formed based on the experiences of the French in their Indochina War.  The Riverines engaged in both transport and combat missions along the waterways of the Mekong River Delta.  Yongue’s assignment to the 1097th Transportation Boat Company seems strangely appropriate—he had been born in February 1941 in Honolulu where his father was serving in the Navy.

Yongue attended Clemson for three years before joining the National Guard.  He earned his second lieutenant’s commission from the Palmetto Military Academy at Fort Jackson and volunteered for active duty.  He was ordered to active duty in January 1967 and by that summer had arrived in Vietnam.

The 1097th Medium Boat Company had arrived in Vietnam at the end of May 1965.  In June of 1967, it moved to Dong Tam where it was assigned to support the operations of the Army’s 9th Infantry Division.  The 1097th was the only tactical boat company in the Army’s Transportation Corps.  Its mission was to tow artillery barges supporting the division’s artillery operations.

Yongue’s company utilized LCM-8 flat bottom boats designed for use in rough or exposed waters.  Its four-foot, six-inch draft made it ideal for use in the delta’s maze of waterways. LCM-8s were propelled by four Detroit Diesel boat engines.  Its propellers were protected by a skeg assembly.  Even so, trouble on the river was never far away.

On Tuesday, September 26, 1967, Yongue’s boat was patrolling in the Mekong Delta.  One of the craft’s propeller became fouled by an underwater obstruction.  Yongue dived overboard in an attempt to diagnose the problem and free the propeller.  He never resurfaced.  Initially declared “Missing In Action,” Yongue’s body was later recovered.

Yongue was survived by his parents and two brothers, one of whom was then a captain serving at Fort Knox, Kentucky.  Yongue was the recipient of the National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation with Palm, and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal.  He was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

For more information about First Lieutenant William Raymond Yongue see:

http://soh.alumni.clemson.edu/scroll/william-raymond-yongue/

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

http://soh.alumni.clemson.edu/