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Citadel News Service
28 Sep 2010

The Citadel's WWII vets leave their memories for future generations

They went from the classroom to combat. These were The Citadel students of the World War II-era, an estimated 4,000 who answered the nation’s call to fight totalitarianism in Europe and Asia. Now, 26 of their oral histories, including the audio recordings and full transcriptions, are available online through the Lowcountry Digital Library.

Photo
Robert S. Adden, ’44

The publication of the interviews represents the culmination of a two-year project undertaken by The Citadel Oral History Program to document the dramatic experiences and critical contributions that these alumni made to the war effort.

Among the oral histories included are those of former South Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice A. Lee Chandler, ’44, and his classmate Robert S. Adden, ’44. The Class of 1944 went on active duty after their junior year and became “the class that never was” because they were not able to graduate.

In his oral history Adden describes playing dead as German soldiers and tanks passed him by. “They were so close one time I had to pull my legs in to keep the tank from running over my legs,” he said.

Other notable interviewees include B-17 bomber pilot and former South Carolina Lt. Gov. Burnet Maybank, Jr., ’45, and former Citadel President Gen. James A. Grimsley, ’42, whose 33-year Army career included three Purple Hearts.

Photo
A. Lee Chandler, ’44
“Formatting the materials makes them very convenient for classroom use, and they are reaching an even larger audience online,” said Oral History Program Coordinator, Kerry Taylor. “The inclusion of the oral histories in the Lowcountry Digital Library also helps build what is becoming a premier regional online archive.” 

According to The Citadel Archives and Museum, it is estimated that of approximately 4,000 undergraduates who attended The Citadel during World War II, nearly all of them served in the Armed Forces. In addition 1,927 of the known 2,976 living graduates in 1946 had fought in World War II.

The WWII interviews were conducted by former Citadel Fellow Jack Bass and are permanently housed at The Citadel Archives and Museum.

The direct link to Lowcountry Digital Library is http://lowcountrydigital.library.cofc.edu/index.php

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