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…)
Born on May 12, 1924, in Florence, Alabama, to Mr. and Mrs. Thomas “Ed” Campbell, Thomas “Tom”, Junior, attended grade school in the Florence city schools. After completing two years at St. Bernard College at Cullman, Alabama, he transferred to Columbia Military Academy at Columbia, Tennessee, where he graduated in 1942. He entered The Citadel at Charleston, South Carolina, to study engineering in the fall of 1942, but volunteered for the services in the Air Corps in December. His father, Ed Campbell, attended Staunton Military Academy in Virginia and was a fighter pilot during the First World War.
Tom Campbell was called to active duty in February, 1943 and upon his completion of his training received his wings and his commission at Dothan, Alabama. Sent overseas in February, 1945, he served in the 8th Air Force, 446th Bomb Group, 705th Bomb Squadron, as a co‐pilot of a B‐24H bomber and completed about 40 missions.
March 24, 1945 – Operation Varsity and Drop Zone Wesel
The mission on 24 March 1945 was in support of Allied troops engaged in (more…)
Perry M. Phelps was born in North Carolina to Rosalie Virginia Moses and Aaron Cohen Phelps on April 22, 1909. He was a member of the Class of 1929, graduating from The Citadel in Charleston, SC, with a Bachelors degree in Business Administration. He was a member of Cadet Company “E” when this photograph was made for the 1928 Sphinx, the yearbook of the South Carolina Corps of Cadets.
Cadet Private Perry Moses Phelps, Class of 1929
Following graduation from The Citadel, Perry Phelps became a well-known citizen of Sumter, South Carolina where he was associated with (more…)
E.B. Moore was born on September 19, 1923 in Manila, Philippine Islands. His father, William C. Moore, Class of 1915, was a career Army officer, and the family moved many times in Edwin’s early years. Records show a few of their many residences included Gainesville, FL (1930), where his father was a military instructor at the University of Florida; Fort Davis, Panama Canal (1935); and Charleston, SC, (1938-1940 where his father was a military instructor at The Citadel. Edwin’s parents were married in 1918 in Columbus, Georgia. His mother, Dorothy Rodgers Moore, was from Charleston.
Cadet Sergeant Edwin Browning Moore, Class of 1944
Edwin’s father, Maj. William Cheney Moore, USA, was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel while at The Citadel. He was an Associate Professor of Military Science and Tactics and headed the Infantry Unit during the 1939-40 academic year. Working with him were two of his Citadel classmates, Maj. Robert Kirk, USA, and Maj. Roy Hilton. The 1940 Sphinx recorded, “Because they are alumni of The Citadel, they are able to assist cadets in coping with the various problems (more…)