Remembering those who gave all on the 70th Anniversary of D-Day, Dutch veterans pay their respects. On, the 6th of June, 2014, these Dutch veterans made a special trip to the Normandy American Cemetery to place a white rose, on the behalf of The Citadel Memorial Europe, at the six graves and one name on the Wall of the Missing of the Citadel men there. The day after, one of the group stated, “We did it with great honor and respect. Yesterday, we had a great day.”
My favorite story resulting from the work of The Citadel Memorial Europe over the past five years took place back in June 2014. Probably it is my favorite because it is a tale of action, simple in execution but not without risk, and it is a perfect example of the remarkable character of the Dutch veterans I have come to know and respect.
Three years ago, the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings at Normandy was commemorated with great anticipation and celebration. The preparations by the French people took years. The leaders of the WWII allies were present, the news coverage was complete, and the invasion of veterans, politicians, and celebrants overwhelming.
For me, the story began a year before when chatting with a Dutch friend of mine, Job Kosterman, I learned that he and a group of his mates, all Dutch military veterans, were planning a trip to Normandy for the 70th anniversary. (more…)
Born on April 21, 1924, in Colleton County, South Carolina, to Pauline and Charles Alister Witsell, Charles, Jr., grew up on Hampton Street in Walterboro. He attended the public schools of Walterboro. After graduating from Walterboro High School in 1941, he attended the Porter Military Academy for one year before entering The Citadel at the beginning of the 1942-43 academic year with the Class of 1946. He was a Cadet Private Fourth Class in Company M of the South Carolina Corps of Cadets.
Charles enlisted in the service on July 30, 1943 at Fort Jackson. Originally volunteering for the Army Air Corps, he was rejected because of defective vision. In August, 1943, he volunteered for infantry service, and received his basic training at Anniston, Alabama. He was sent overseas, first to Africa, then to the Anzio beachhead. He served overseas for several months in the medical corps prior to his death. He took part in the drive on Rome, Italy, and was killed in action on May 26, 1944 between Anzio and Rome.
Private Witsell was buried at the U.S. Military Cemetery at Nettuno, Italy. After the war, Charles’ body was repatriated to the United States. On Wednesday, September 1, 1948, he was laid to rest at Live Oak Cemetery in Walterboro. He was survived by his parents, a brother, John Mitchell Witsell, III,; a sister, Constance Witsell Simmons, and his grandmother, Emma J. Witsell, all of Walterboro.
Photo courtesy of The Citadel Archives and Museum, Charleston, South Carolina
The State, Columbia, S.C., August 31, 1948, p.7b.
1940 United States Federal Census
U.S. World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1946
U.S. Rosters of WWII Dead, 1939-1945
The Lair 1940, Walterboro High School
National Archives and Records Administration
Yearbooks of Colleton County
Born in 1923 to Maria and Pasquala Altomari, Joseph grew up at 60-12 68th Avenue in Ridgewood, Brooklyn, Kings County, New York. He attended The Citadel for two years before entering service in the U.S. Army. During his freshman year, he was a member of Cadet Company “H”. The following academic year, he was a member of Cadet Company “K” and joined the English Club. On December 6, 1942 in Charleston, he enlisted in the army and was placed in the Enlisted Reserve Corps which allowed him to continue his study at The Citadel until the time he was called up for basic training.
Cadet Private Joseph Altomari, Class of 1945
1943 Sphinx, Annual of the South Carolina Corps of Cadets
In Europe, he served in Company “C”, 50th Armored Infantry Battalion, 6th Armored Division. Sgt. Altomari died, (more…)
Chicago Tribune, Chicago, Illinois, Sunday, May 31, 1942, p.43
This is another in a series of articles on Life on the Campus at our leading schools and colleges. By ELEANOR NANGLE
FOR THE last week more than 200 first classmen at the Citadel, the Military College of South Carolina at Charleston, have been approaching, with a reluctance they wouldn’t have believed possible four years ago, the most eagerly anticipated event of their lives. As seniors they have led the corps for the last time. They have formed in the reviewing stand to receive the last parade. Yesterday they were graduated.
Today they are scattering to their homes in all parts of the country, most of them pausing only briefly before they enter the armed services. But something of them remains at the Citadel, adding in large or small measure to the vast stores of cadet tales and traditions there. And the spirit of the Citadel goes with them. In the life of all Citadel men the thread of Citadel memories is one of the most colorful, durable, and treasured in its whole tapestry.
Full-dress parade in the Spring of 1943 (Courtesy of The Citadel Archives)
The Citadel man has absorbed more than rigorous training of mind, body, and spirit, and when he reviews them, as all graduating cadets do on commencement day, he places new value on other gifts of the school to the student – the Spartan discipline, the good counsel, the friendships, the democracy, the pageantry of patriotism and the essence of it. (more…)
Mysterieuze verbintenis maakt een Nederlandse Citadel-Cadet trots tijdens de Amerikaanse Veteransday en ver daarna
The Citadel Newsroom, November 11, 2016. Read the English version:
Uncanny connection brings pride for cadet from Holland on Veterans Day and beyond
De Nederlandse middelbare scholier en fervent basketbalspeler Tom Koopman kreeg een telefoontje van een Amerikaanse sportscout, behorende tot de Amerikaanse militaire academie “The Citadel”, gelegen in Charleston, South Carolina. De scout bood hem een volledige studiebeurs aan in de V.S. als Tom zou besluiten daar te komen basketballen. Koopman had nog nooit gehoord van deze school maar desondanks accepteerde hij het aanbod en startte als eerstejaars aan The Citadel in augustus 2013. Met deze start begon ook het spelen voor het basketbalteam van de school, The Bulldogs. De 203 cm lange Tom zit nu in zijn afstudeerjaar, is een succesvolle cadet en leider van het team.
Cadet Tom Koopman en zijn vader tijdens de ringen-ceremonie in oktober 2016
“Dit was het begin van iets unieks. Ik begreep van de aannamecommissie dat The Citadel een militaire school was, maar totdat je het hier echt zelf ervaart, is het moeilijk te begrijpen hoe speciaal deze plek eigenlijk is” aldus koopman. “Het was best zwaar aan het begin, maar wanneer je jezelf als cadet ontwikkelt, begin je het grotere plaatje te zien en begrijp je de waarde van een plekje in het South Carolina Kadettenkorps.”
Koopman ontving zijn felbegeerde Citadelring in oktober tijdens het ouderweekend. Zijn vader Patrick vloog naar Charleston vanuit zijn woonplaats Baarlo om de bijzondere prestatie van zijn zoon mee te kunnen vieren. Maar voordat vader en zoon gezamenlijk door de symbolische grote gouden ring zouden lopen, hadden ze samen al iets bijzonders in handen dat hun familie al decennia eerder aan de school verbond.
“Toen ik dit ontdekte kreeg ik er kippenvel van” aldus Roger Long, voorzitter van The Citadel Memorial Europe Foundation (more…)
Citadel Coastal Artillery Corps ROTC cadets with 8 inch Howitzer M1918 MkVIII, circa 1923
The Citadel marks its Army ROTC Centennial on Oct. 21, 2016
By Maj. Steve Smith, TAC officer and Citadel historian
The Citadel applied to the U.S. Department of War in 1882, requesting that an Army officer be assigned to the college as Professor of Military Science and Tactics. That application laid the groundwork for what would eventually become an Army ROTC program at the college. (Photo: Citadel CAC ROTC cadets drilling Howitzer M1918 MkVIII, circa 1923)
In the coming years, The Citadel was classified as an Essentially Military College — meaning students were housed in barracks, constantly in uniform, and bound to a disciplinary system. As a result, the war department’s college division inspected The Citadel annually from 1904-27, during which time the college earned the distinguished college title 20 times until the program was suspended. In 1916 and 1917, the designation allowed The Citadel to recommend (more…)
Owen Skidmore was born on September 24, 1923, to Mattie Owen and Lloyd J. Skidmore of Albemarle, North Carolina. After graduating from Albemarle High School in June, 1942, he entered The Citadel with the Class of 1946 at the beginning of the academic year 1942-43. In the South Carolina Corps of Cadets, he was a member of Cadet Company K during this Freshman, and only, year at The Citadel. At the end of the first semester, he registered for the draft. His draft card, completed December 24, 1942, listed him as 5’7”, 132 lbs, brown hair and eyes, with a “ruddy” complexion. He would be inducted into the Army at Fort Bragg, N.C., on August 12, 1943.