BIJ DE BUREN
De Amerikaanse begraafplaats Henri-Chapelle stond gisteren in het teken van de Citadel Men. Jongens die uit de schoolbanken zijn geplukt om tijdens de Tweede Wereldoorlog te vechten.
door Stefan Gillissen
Amerikaanse militaire training is vooral bekend van het grote scherm. Films schetsen een gruwelijk beeld van de eerste weken in dienst van Uncle Sam, met Full Metal Jacket en Jarhead als uitschieters. Het breken van de wil, het decompenseren van de geest, creëert de ideale vechtmachine. Het is niet per se een onjuiste observatie, maar wel één zonder enige nuance. De opleiding is nodig om een eenheid te smeden die in oorlogstijd bevelen opvolgt.
Een doedelzakspeler speelt voor de gevallen mannen. foto Arnaud Nilwik
Maar niet alleen in het leger ondergaan kandidaten wat Boot Camp of Hell Week wordt genoemd. Ook op Amerikaanse militaire academiën worden cadetten onderworpen aan een zware introductie. Minstens 40 procent van de mannen en vrouwen gaat anno 2015 in actieve militaire dienst en wordt een uithangbord voor het vaderland. Gevormd door brute training, gedreven door eergevoel en liefde. (more…)
Een herinnering vanwege Memorial Day en de zeventigste herdenking van D-Day: zeldzame filmbeelden uit de Citadelarchieven en het verhaal van de “Klas van 1944” die bekend werd als de “Klas die nooit bestond” vanwege haar voortijdige inzet tijdens de Tweede Wereldoorlog.
Charleston, S.C. (PRWEB) May 27, 2014 (View original here)
Fysieke trainingen, exercities en inspecties. Oude rekruteringsbeelden uit 1942 laten beelden zien uit het dagelijkse leven van de kadetten uit het “South Carolina Korps”. De filmbeelden van “The Citadel” werden vertoond op scholen en in theaters om de waarde van een militaire opleiding aan te tonen op het moment dat Amerika zich mengde in de Tweede Wereldoorlog. Maar de kadetten die ten tijde van de filmopnames tweedejaars student waren, konden hun opleiding niet afmaken. Hun opleiding werd op dramatische wijze onderbroken.
‘Zo wordt de klas terecht genoemd omdat er voor ons geen diploma-uitreiking was, geen ceremonie met de afstudeerring en wij nooit de privileges zouden ervaren van de ouderejaars studenten aan De Citadel. Uiteindelijk vind ik de naam “de klas die nooit bestond” dus heel toepasselijk,’ zegt Timothy Street, lid van de “Klas van 1944”.
Als eerbetoon aan de “Klas van 1944” en de leden van de klas die dienden in of sneuvelden tijdens de Tweede Wereldoorlog heeft De Citadel een film gemaakt met zeldzame beelden, (more…)
The first step I took when I began researching the Citadel War Dead interred or memorialized in Europe and North Africa, was to determine if there were any Citadel Men at the Netherlands American Cemetery which is located at Margraten about 40 miles from my home.
There are eight, and I was immediately struck by a single name – Frederick Davenport Melton, Class of 1945. It struck me because I recognized the last name of my Citadel classmate, N Company brother, and senior year roommate is also Melton – Paul Melton, ’89. I felt an immediate, tight bond, and this connection has drawn me to Margraten ever since.
As I continue to learn more about Fred the bond grows stronger. Our lives have become more intertwined. This past Spring, I had my first contact with his family back in Georgia, and, on Memorial Day, I met the Dutch woman who visits his grave. They are all wonderful, caring people.
When I think of Fred – and I think of him often…daily – I think of his bravery during the last few minutes of his life. He was a strong, brave, young man, barely twenty. His actions were valorous. Selfless. He remains a great inspiration. A tremendous role-model. A heroic leader. A Citadel Man of the highest order.
The following are the contents of two letters obtained from The Citadel Archives and Museum. The first is from Fred’s father, Mr. Quimby Melton, publisher of the Griffin Daily News, to General Summerall, President of The Citadel. The second is General Summerall’s reply. The photograph that is referenced had been personally requested by General Summerall from the parents of all The Citadel’s WWII dead. The photographs were hung to form a gallery of honor in the library which at that time was on the third floor of Bond Hall. Fred’s photograph is below, courtesy of The Citadel Archives and Museum. /RL
“Pop, I believe my chief duty is to look after the men under me–and I’m going to do just that.”
Dear General Summerall:-
Attached to this letter is photograph of my son, Lt. Frederick Davenport Melton, one-time cadet at the Citadel, who was killed in action in Germany, just across the Holland border, on Oct.3, 1944.
Lt. Melton was with the 113th Cavalry Reconnaissance at the time. He was killed while attempting to rescue men of his platoon who had been wounded. He received a Presidential citation and the Silver Star. The award says that he “displayed courage out of line of duty in rescuing four wounded men and bringing them back to safety. It was while bringing back a fifth wounded man that a (more…)
by Steven V. Smith, ’84 – Chair, CAA History Committee
This article originally appeared in the Alumni News of The Citadel – Summer/Fall 2013. It is reprinted here in its entirety with the permission of the Citadel Alumni Association. Several photos have been added to this web post which did not appear in the original print version. The original article may be downloaded here.
In early 1949 a package arrived at the Kenilworth building, Alden Park Manor, Philadelphia addressed to Mr. Samuel W. Rolph. The package contained the flag which covered the casket of his son, Staff Sgt. Robert C. Rolph, killed in action near Hottorf, Germany, Feb. 25, 1945, during the Rhineland campaign. The flag was a tangible reminder of his and his wife’s decision to have their son’s remains permanently interred in one of the newly established World War II cemeteries in Europe rather than returned for burial in the United States. Mrs. Rolph had recently sent a photograph of her son in uniform to The Citadel in response to General Summerall’s request to display it with other Citadel World War II dead on the memorial gallery wall in the library in Bond Hall.
The Netherlands American Cemetery is the only American Military Cemetery in Holland. It contains the final resting place of 8,301 servicemen and women with an additional 1,722 names listed on the Walls of the Missing. There are 40 instances where two brothers are buried side by side. Of the 16 WWI and WWII cemeteries in Europe, the cemetery at Margraten holds the largest number of Citadel alumni. In addition to Robert C. Rolph, ’46, seven other Citadel alumni are buried here and all have been adopted and remembered by grateful Dutch citizens.
At the end of the summer 1942, Robert C. Rolph entered The Citadel with the Class of 1946. After a year at The Citadel, he, like many other cadets and college students, found himself drafted for the war effort. Rolph was initially assigned to Battery C, 2nd Antiaircraft Training Battalion at Fort Eustis, Virginia. Selected in October 1943 for assignment with the Army Specialized Training Program, he was assigned to Section 6 Company A 2517th Service Unit (AST), Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. where he studied engineering. However, the urgent need for infantry replacements meant the sacrifice of the AST program and Rolph, like many thousands of others, ended up as a private in the infantry. He was assigned to L Company 3d Battalion, 406th Infantry Regiment, 102d Infantry Division. (more…)
By Maurice Heemels
On Sunday May 26, 2013, the soldiers resting in the American cemetery in The Netherlands were remembered and honored by American and Dutch authorities, American family and descendants, Dutch who adopted their graves, and all others interested in the efforts made by young American men to liberate Europe from inhumanity and totalitarianism.
Wet, white marble, flowers and flags made the cemetery on a cold Sunday in May a ‘beautiful sad place’. Sad because of its mere existence, beautiful because of its structure, its many details, the care which has been spent to keep the memory of those who fell alive, and, last but not least, its peacefulness. A peacefulness that contrasts painfully with the cold facts of World War Two’s last months of harsh fighting – fighting on French, Belgian, Dutch, and, in particular, German soil. Evil could not be overcome easily…
In all the speeches held on Margraten‘s Memorial Day one fact was remembered several times – the fact that the young Americans who found their last resting place in the Dutch countryside gave their lives for the freedom of people they did not know, living in a part of the world they had never been and knew almost nothing about.
For people of my generation, and I believe for the majority of young people today, it is quite unimaginable to get killed while helping other people in a different part of the world. Why should anyone do such a thing? Why leave your loved ones, your hometown and your country on a risky, maybe deadly trip to a war region? (more…)
This past Memorial Day was the most impressive I have experienced. Not because of any grandiose ceremony with lots of flags, speeches, and bands, but because of the people with whom I shared it. I could write a book filled with the stories from these people and the moments we had leading up to attending the Memorial Day ceremony at the Netherlands American Memorial and Cemetery.
The ceremony took place on Sunday, May 26, 2013 in the mid-afternoon. It was a cool, grey day with clouds hanging so low you felt as if you could reach out and touch them. As we walked up onto the Field of Honor, it began to rain lightly, and while we made a round through the cemetery to pay our respects, my best friend said aloud what we were all silently thinking, “This is a sad, beautiful place.”
Someday I will write that book. Today, I share a few photos. As I relive the day…the emotions start to percolate, and, again, I have butterflies in my gut and goosebumps. Soon, I will soon write more detailed posts about those impressionable moments last May. [See Citadel Men, Margraten Boys and a Debt of Honor which was written by Major Steve Smith, ’84, and posted October 2013.]
Eight Citadel Men, our “Margraten Boys”, rest in peace in South Limburg, and thanks to the local people who have adopted their graves and names they are remembered everyday.
One year ago, I published I wear the ring and publicly announced the availability of this digital memorial to the Citadel Men interred and memorialized here in 16 military cemeteries across Europe and North Africa.
It has been a year of vibrant impressions and one of the most spiritually and emotionally enriching years of my life. As I have tried to get to know these men and to share their stories, I have had the pleasure of making many new friends, and reconnecting with old friends, here in Europe and in America. So many warm and incredible people have touched my life this year. For this, I am truly grateful.
I have compiled my Top Ten Memories. Here is our story as I experienced it the past 12 months…
– Into Thy Hands O Lord –
A few days after “going public”, I received an email from an alumnus. A few weeks later, I flew over the North Sea to visit Cambridge American Cemetery in England with him, two of his sons, and the historian of “The Bloody 100th”. It was an inspirational and moving experience that I shall never forget. Together, we paid our respects to the three Citadel Men resting in peace and the one memorialized on the Wall of the Missing. Together, we recited The Cadet Prayer.
On that day, I began a new phase in this journey. See my post The Major of St. Lo.
– Memorial Day –
During Memorial Day weekend, I visited the Citadel Men resting in peace at the Netherlands and Henri-Chapelle American Cemeteries. The two cemeteries are located just 20 kilometers from each other, one on either side of the Dutch-Belgian border to the east of Maastricht and Liege in the direction of Aachen, Germany.
An alumnus wrote to me several times during April and May, “Don’t forget those who are still Missing-In-Action!”. In remembrance of the eight men who rest in no known grave here in Europe and North Africa, I laid flowers at the grave of an unknown a few meters from Albert S. Hagood, Class of 1931. They are not forgotten.
– Faces and Stories –
Since last April, I have received details about our men from many places – alumni, family, their “adopters”, historians, and archivists. Four men have received the attention of several posts. Their names, faces, and stories have become familiar. (more…)
Among the 8,301 American G.I.s interred in the Netherlands American Cemetery at Margraten there are eight Citadel Men. All eight died fighting Nazi Germany. Some died in the Province of Limburg just north of where they are now buried. Some died not far over the border in Germany, and another died deep inside Germany just weeks before the end of the war. They made the ultimate sacrifice for their country, and now they rest in peace in the country they helped to liberate.
Dress Parade of the South Carolina Corps of Cadets on The Citadel campus, Charleston, S.C.
I had always been interested in WWII, and when I arrived as an 18 year old on The Citadel campus in August 1985 there were many reminders of the war such as a Sherman tank and the H.M.S. Seraph monument. What interested me most though were the bronze plaques located at the front entrance to Summerall Chapel, pictured above, which listed the names of Citadel Men who died in the service of their country in time of war. My “knob” year I always felt drawn to these plaques whenever I briskly walked in the gutter past the chapel, but I never stopped to inspect them for fear of an upperclassman mistaking my interest in history for loitering. For freshmen, building entrances are places to cover and uncover and keep moving, not places to stop and reflect. Fortunately, in my third-class (sophomore) year I was finally able to sufficiently examine the plaques. I now must admit, as I described in my first post, that the names did not stick with me nor did I learn during my studies their faces or stories. (more…)