Tag Archives: 1950

1950 Cadets

50’s Photos but no specific year

1st Regiment Wing in 1958 – not sure if same here

New Cadets Reporting in by Train

Learning ton do it right

Really Great Name Tags

Central Area as it once stood

Everyone remembers their first

“It Fits – Take it Home”



Peter Howland Monfore

17661 10 August 1927 – 19 September 1951
Killed in Action 19 September 1951, in Korea, aged 24 Years

“Theirs not to reason why, theirs but to do and die.” – On September 19, 1951, Bloody Heartbreak Ridge, Hill 851, Korea, Love Company Commander, Lt. Peter Howland Monfore, and many comrades of the 23rd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Division, met their death. These are the facts as told by the one surviving officer of Love Company.

“The morning of September 12, attack orders came. The Battalion was to cross the L.D. with ‘H’, ‘I’, ‘K’, and ‘L’ Company spearheading. Heartbreak Ridge was reached and we managed to fight our way up about two hundred yards before dark. On the days following this move, the push for HiII 851 started and the objective was almost reached. Peter was always up front with the assault platoon. He said the men liked to see their commanding officer around when the chips were down. The night of the 18th, Pete received orders for a night attack on 851. We moved through ‘K’ Co. at 10:00 PM o’clock and made our way right up on the hill. We dug in, everyone was so tired and happy. Four o’clock on the mornIng of the 19th, the Reds hit Love Company with two battalions. They cut off ‘K’ Company from us and soon had us completely surrounded. Peter had been reading his Bible. Sensing something was wrong, he put it down, picked up his carbine. As soon as we were out of our bunks we knew it was more than just a probing attack. The fight was overwhelming. We used up all our ammunition. Peter grabbed a BAR, then found a machine gun. The fighting became closer and bitter. We were surrounded. At about two PM o’clock I saw Pete coming toward me. An enemy burp gun got him in the chest, one bullet found his heart. Peter died very shortly, conscious all the time, and very calm and cool. He smiled at me, tried, but couldn’t speak. We put him on a litter, and I covered him with a blanket. I think he tried to tell me to take care of the remaining men. Finally ‘K’ and ‘I’ companies came up from behind and helped us to pull back. We, of Love Company, had only forty-four (44) men left out of one hundred and sixty-seven (167).”

“On October 12, Love Company was given the mission of retaking Hill 851. We took it. I am sure every man had Peter on his mind when we finally got up there. The battle of September 18th lasted fourteen hours. I have never seen Pete’s equal in or out of the Army. Peter was a Christian man, and lived every minute of his life as such, always saying his daily prayers and blessing his ‘C’ rations whenever he ate, doing for others, constantly bringing hope and encouragement to his men and being very considerate and thoughtful. I shall never forget him as long as I live. The men are putting him in for the Congressional Medal of Honor. We hope he gets it. We all thought so much of him.”

Thus, ended the short but full und glorious life of Lieut. Peter Howland Monfore, oldest of five children of Mr. and Mrs. Howland Swift Monfore of Springfield, South Dakota.

Peter was born in South Dakota on August 10, 1927. His childhood and early youth were spent in the ordinary activities of most boys. He was always a good student and very active in all school activities. He loved sports and participated and was a leader in them. Football was his great love.

Peter was baptized and confirmed in the Ascension Episcopal Church of Springfield, South Dakota.

After attending school at Springfield and Tyndall, South Dakota, Peter progressed to graduation with honors from Washington High School, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and immediately enlisted in the Navy, where he remained until 1946, when he received a letter from the Secretary of War, notifying him of an appointment to the United States Military Academy.

After much deliberation, he decided to accept and was given an honorable discharge from the Navy and entered West Point July 1st, 1946.

While taking Naval training at the University of Wisconsin, Pete became interested in boxing and under the splendid coaching of Dewitt Portal, John Walsh, and Julius Menendez, he became very proficient, receiving the Best Contenders trophy award. He followed this sport at U.S.M.A, and Peter “The Rock”, as he was affectionately called, went on to Captain the Army boxing team, and to make many splendid NCAA showings, and to win the Eastern Intercollegiate lightheavy weight title championship for two successive years, 1949 and 1950.

Peter’s character expanded and increased in strength, and he became a proud aud worthy cadet, meeting and encountering the new ways of life, with a serious and business-like attitude. He truly abided by the West Point code of “Duty, Honor, Country”, but added to it, love of God.

Peter was well known and respected by the cadets, and was a bulwark to which any in need could turn; perhaps this is made clearer by the facts that he was chosen a member of the Honor Committee and Cadet CO of “E-2” Company, besides remaining well up in his class scholastically, teaching Sunday School, playing football and boxing. Peter was a good student, a Christian, a fine athlete, a capable leader, and an outstandIng cadet, but he was never too busy to help. He was admired and loved by all who knew or came in contact with him, and they were many, for when the news of his tragic death became known, hundreds of letters of sympathy, praise and comfort came pouring in from all over the nation and abroad. We marveled at how many had been affected by his personality, unselfishness, kindness, helpfulness, sportsmanship, leadership, honesty, integrity, thoughtfulness, love of God, and love for his fellow men, which were all displayed with modesty and humility,
Peter developed and devoted much time to growth in spirit. He adopted Jesus Christ as his personal Savior and wished for all his friends to find his own firm belief and comfort in the knowledge of God, wherein lies our salvation. The will of God was of great importance to Pete. He was active in many religious groups and was constantly trying to give others the strength and comfort received from his belief.

Peter chose for his tour of duty the Far East Command, feeling that there with the Infantry he could best serve his Lord and country. Following graduation from U.S.M.A. in June 1950, he spent a few weeks among friends and at home. In August 1950, with his spiritual and military background so fresh and new, he was shipped to the battlefield of Korea. In three days he received his first wounds while leading a platoon. After three weeks’ hospitalization and convalesence he returned to the 23rd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Division, and served with it in various capacities, such as platoon leader, regimental liaison officer, etc. Twice he turned down opportunities to become “General’s Aide”. That was not for him. He wanted to be with the front line men. Finally, he was given Love Company to command. Now he was supremely happy. He said, “It is the best job in the whole Army”. He was ever looking after, not only the physical needs but the spiritual needs of his men.

Peter was a member of the Christian Military Men’s Committee, and their first member to be killed. This is the spiritual report of his life as written by a member:

“Several months previous to his death, Lieut. Monfore had sent us the names of his friends and military associates who were either unsaved or needing the Lord Jesus Christ, or Christians in need of spiritual encouragement. From that time on a regular prayer program for the men has been begun and Gospel messages designed to meet their individual needs sent to them, that witness shall result in their salvation. ‘For none of us liveth to himself, and no mail dieth unto himself, for whether we live, we live unto the Lord and whether we die, we die unto the Lord, whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lords.’ Romans 14:7-8. The eternal truth of this statement of God’s word is beautifully illustrated in the life and death of Lieut. Peter Howland Monfore. How gloriously true are God’s words, ‘He being dead, yet Speaketh.’

“Peter was courageous. He was awarded a French medal and citation by General Monclar, Commander of the French U.N. forces, for great courage, in spite of fierce enemy cross fire, in rescuing a French battalion which had been surrounded by the enemy”.

Great comfort and pride were found in these excerpts from letters which paid tribute to his character:

“My loss could not have been greater had it been my own family. As fine a man as ever walked the face of the earth. What a fiercely precious thing this freedom must be when it is bought and paid for with the lives of young men such as Pete. May God give us the sense of values to appreciate what it means.”

“I cannot think of any boy that has left the impression that Pete left with me. I can’t count the times that I have talked to my friends and boys in my classes about him. Peter was the model athlete. When you meet a boy in athletics or physical education like Pete, then you know you are in the right business. I shall always try to develop the fine qualities Peter possessed.”

“Your boy was certainly as fine a soldier as West Point has ever produced. He lived up to every part of, ‘Duty, Honor, Country’, Among all the the men we lost in this grinding battle, it is hard to say who could be the hardest to lose, but Pete had every attribute of greatness, and was potentially one of the Army’s bright young stars. For several hours we couldn’t believe he was really gone, and kept praying for his return. As a soldier, there is little in war to recommend itself to me. The only recompense is in the sense of duty performed for our country, and the great comradeship and respect engendered for our fighting brothers. Ernie Pyle could have written of this battle and your son. I cannot. We of the 23rd lnfantry share your grief and participate in your fierce pride.”

“Peter was an exceptionally fine young officer and was on my staff until he took over Love Company in August, and he immediately established it as a top outfit. The night preceding his death he executed a brilliant attack on a dominant hill of Heartbreak Ridge of unparalleled success and daring. We all predicted a shining future for your son and his men had a deep affection for him. Only a few days before, I signed a recommendation for his promotion to Captain. We are asking one of the country’s highest awards for your son, the highest decoration our government can give.”

“Pete was one of my best friends. I feel it a genuine privilege to have been his friend and feel that I am a better man today for having known him. Pete had many friends, probably as many as any man that ever graduated from the Point. Ours was a special friendship, a little stronger than ordinary. Peter and I had a common understanding of each other. I understood his religious views, his strict adherence to physical conditioning, his unflinching honesty. I respected him for it and he knew It. He never failed to make me laugh when I was down. The news of Peter’s death left me more stunned and grieved than I have ever been in my entire life. I last had seen Peter in Korea in April, 1951, near the IittIe town of Hong Chon. He hadn’t changed a bit, but looked like he did when he entered the boxing ring, grim and ready for the job ahead, yet ready with a smile.”

“As a member of my battalion, Pete, as he was affectionately called, was highly respected and beloved by all the officers and men of the unit. He was an outstanding officer, considerate, kind, gentle, yet firm. His regular attendance at church service was an indication of his true character in the spirit of love of God. This was a form of his duty, and with Pete the word duty was but another name for the will of the Almighty and to perform this was the sole aim of his life. News of his death stunned every member of this unit, and his loss will be felt keenly in the organization.”

These are just a few of the many, many tributes paid to Lieut. Peter Howland Monfore, no longer present on this earth.

We who survive him are proud to look back on his accomplishments and let them be examples which he set forth to serve us and inspire us in our attempt to fulfill the tasks that he would have completed. Pete met death pridefully and manfully in the service of his country, and with faith in his devotion to duty and in defense of all that we and the free people of the world hold most dear. Let us hope that it has helped us on the long hard road by which we may expect to reach a just, honorable, and enduring peace.

The Monfore Family

JOHN P. LAVELLE on February 20, 2005 –






Edmund Jones Lilly

Edmund Jones Lilly, III, was born in Colon, Republic of Panama, on May 26th 1928, while his father was serving at Fort Davis, Canal Zone, with the 14th Infantry. He moved about the world in typical “army brat” fashion, getting his formal education here and there, making new friends and parting with old ones. After stations in Michigan and Georgia, he went to Manila with his parents and two sisters in January of 1941. At Fort McKinley, where his father served with the 57th Infantry (PS), he lived in Quarters 44, and attended the American grade school. Here he was graduated in a class of three, with Major General Jonathan Mayhew Wainwright (USMA 06) as the speaker. His two classmates were Gail Francis Wilson and Frank Riley Loyd. Gail and Frank were also his classmates at West Point. In May, 1941, because of mounting tension in the Far East, he was evacuated with his Mother and sisters back to the United States. During his father’s stay in the Orient, Ted lived in Fayetteville, North Carolina, his father’s birthplace. Here he finished High School in 1945.

Ted enjoyed the out-of-doors – hunting, fishing, swimming, or even picnicking. He took part in sports in both high school and The Citadel, Charleston, South Carolina, which he entered in the Fall of 1945. He was a member of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Fayetteville and took part in activities of the Young People’s League. At this time he considered the Episcopal ministry as a career and had many long talks with his rector on the subject. At The Citadel he decided to try for the U.S. Military Academy and the Army. He entered West Point in the Summer of 1946 with the Class of 1950.

Though dedicated to the military, he deplored warfare as the final means of settling international disputes, as fragmentary writings found among his school papers will attest. The following lines are an example:

“Oftentimes I feel a great despair

That fills my soul with unrelenting fear,

and fires of bell burn deep within my heart.

My mind is doubtful and my view unclear.

Yet through this fog that covers my real self,

That blackens all my hopes and all my prayers,

I have unfaltering trust in Things Divine,

And with this trust I cover up my cares.”

His dreams of a better tomorrow are revealed in the following fragment:

“But now in reminiscing through days of long ago,

I realize how methods change of fighting off one’s foe.

A gun that shoots a hundred rounds a thousand yards or more

Has ta’en the place of sword-play in this world of constant war.

But soon we know that this gun too will will be entombed in dust,

And then we’ll see a newer world that’s once more free and just.”

At West Point he was a member of Company I-A-2. His room was often a gathering place and many happy evenings were spent listening to records or discussing the last week-end in New York.

On June 7, 1950, the day following graduation, Ted took as his bride, Mary Alma Russ, a lovely El Paso girl he had met on a blind date while on a cadet visit to Fort Bliss. While at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, on honeymoon leave, he became concerned about radio and newspaper reports of world conditions and notified his unit, the Second Division, of his exact location. Several days later his leave was cancelled and he reported to Fort Lewis, Washington. By July’s end he was in Korea with Company B, 9th Infantry. In early September his platoon was on an isolated peak overlooking the Naktong River in the Yongson Sector. The rest of the regiment had been driven from its position. Why Ted’s platoon did not withdraw, we do not know. Death occurred September 3, 1950, according to the D.A. wire. The posthumous Silver Star citations read in part: “During the intense automatic weapons fire and grenade explosions, Lieutenant Lilly walked among his men, encouraging them to greater efforts in their valiant defense against insurmountable odds.” In other words, he was in the place he should have been, performing his duty – as he had been taught to do. He was the first member of the Class of 1950 to be killed in action.

He is survived by his widow – now happily remarried since 1952 – by his parents, Colonel and Mrs. Edmund J. Lilly, Jr., and his sisters, Mrs. Jack. D. Dade, Jr., whose husband is a Colonel in the Air Force, and Mrs. Ralph A. Koch, Jr., whose husband is a First Lieutenant, Signal Corps, US Army, and USMA ’53.


The last set of correspondence (1950-1951) revolves around the death of Colonel Lilly’s son, Lt. Edmund J. Lilly, III, who was killed in action in Korea. These letters are mainly condolences to the family. Two letters (September 21, 1950 and October 17, 1950) give specific accounts of the battle in which Lt. Lilly was killed. Also included is a poem written in the memory of Lt. “Ted” Lilly.




1950 Football Team

1950 Army 8-1 Coaches#5 AP#2

09/30 Army 28 – Colgate 0
10/07 Army 41 – Penn State 7
10/14 Army 27 – Michigan 6
10/21 Army 49 – Harvard 0
10/28 Army 34 – Columbia 0
11/04 Army 28 – Pennsylvania 13
11/11 Army 51 – New Mexico 0
11/18 Army 7 – Stanford 0
12/02 Army 2 – Navy 14 L Philadelphia, PA


Assembly Vol 9, No 3, Oct 1950

News Articles







Michigan Game Yankee Stadium

Army 27 Michigan 6





no sound

The return of Army to the Michigan schedule marks the resurgence of
The two met nine times between 1945 and 1962 with Army winning the first five games and Michigan winning in 1955, ’56, ’61 and ’62. It was a past series that was twice played at Yankee Stadium (1945, ’50) and on four occasions marked a matchup of two top-10 teams (1945, ’46, ’49, ’55).








































Bill Harold Kellum

Big Bill Kellum

Army A Football Yearling, Cow & Firstie Year

Korean War —

Big Bill Kellum led a platoon in the 21st Regiment of the 24th Infantry Division, earning the Silver Star. After his capture, Kellum organized resistance to Chinese indoctrination at Camp Five – Ponktong near the Chinese/North Korean border. His punishment was confinement to a special section of the camp hospital (no prisoner left alive), where he died in June 1951.

Grads would walk next to the wire whistling “On Brave Old Army Team” to encourage Bill.

USMA 1950
Memorial Articles

William Harold Kellum
NO. 17975 20 October 1926 15 June 1951
Died 15 June 1951 (Presumed date) at Pyoktong, North Korea. Aged 23 Years.

COURAGE AND DETERMINATION. These were the words by which 1st Lieutenant William H. Kellum lived, fought, and died. Bill Kellum’s dedication to these words constitutes a capsule explanation of his outstanding athletic achievements, his extraordinary gallantry on the field of battle, and his uncompromising attitude toward his Chinese captors which was directly responsible for his untimely, tragic, but highly courageous and exemplary death.

It is clear that Colonel Earl ‘Red’ Blaik, under whose tutelage Bill achieved AII- East honors at the position of end in addition to three football letters, two of them with Navv stars, was impressed by these characteristics of courage and determination, as he recently recalled that:

“Bill Kellum … in his quiet, rather self-effacing, but uncompromising way … had a depth of determination which would not allow him to play a secondary position even though to do otherwise he was forced to overcome a limited … (physique by college standards). Bill’s competitive urge had a ferocity of purpose which earned him the lasting respect of the troops both on the field and on the field of battle.”

Again, courage and determination are amply evident in Lieutenant Kellum’s combat record as illustrated by the following excerpts from his Silver Star citation:

“…He was assigned the mission of maintaining a combat outpost approximately 3,000 yards in front of the main line of resistance…. At the break of day, he could observe the enemy almost completely around his position. Realizing the threat to his security, he immediately began placing his men to meet the new threat… He ran from position to position, continually exposing himself to enemy fire, in order to encourage his men and direct the fire fight. When last seen, he was running toward the right flank of his platoon to direct that group of men who were then heavily engaged with the enemy …. “

But there was more to Bill Kellum than athletic and military achievements. More even than courage and determination. He was a man of many capabilities and interests, a man who is remembered for his ready grin as well as his courage, a man considerate of and deeply attached to his family, and a man of strong beliefs in God and dedication to country and career. An account which does justice to Bill’s achievements and character cannot be told hit and miss: it must have a chronological foundation.

So let us backtrack to Eastland, Texas, on 20 October 1926, Bill’s date of birth. He was a strong, healthy baby which gave him a good start towards being the outdoor, athletic type he turned out to be. Bill received his elementary education in Sulphur Springs, Texas, and El Dorado, Arkansas. His high school education was at Haynesville, Louisiana, where in recognition of good grades and citizenship he was elected a member of the National Honor Society.

In forecast of football exploits at West Point, Bill was a much respected terror on high school football fields. He made All-State two years and All-Southern one year playing the position of end. Let us look briefly at excerpts from newspaper accounts of games in which he played, for courage and determination were as evident then as thev were to be years later playing for higher stakes in Korea:

“…Kellum is a scrapper from whistle to gun…his fine competitive spirit is an inspiration to his teammates… in spite of the fact that opposing coaches have had their linemen double up on the lanky wingman. He has been a standout in every game with his jarring tackles, precision blocking, and fancy pass catching ……

Of course, football was not Bill’s onIy avocation. He was greatly interested in scouting, an interest which may have been given impetus by the action of a Boy Scout who saved him from death from gasoline fumes at the age of four by administering artificial respiration. Bill was also an active member of the First Baptist Church. Another sporting interest, swimming, he turned to profitable use as he served as manager and life guard of the Haynesville City Pool during high school days.

Bill was close to his family in growing up. He and his brother, Herman, now a doctor, were inseparable. In the one letter he was able to write home from prison camp, Bill’s primary concern was not for his own situation, but rather for news of Herman’s first child. In Bill’s words,

“…Have been thinking about (the family) a lot and have wondered greatly about the new addition to the family …. Let the kid know about his Uncle Bill.”

Bill’s favorite fishing partner was his father who continually encouraged him in his athletic and career ambitions. Bill was close to and always considerate of his mother, never failing in the years he was away from home to call her on special occasions. His only and younger sister, Beth, was the recipient of much advice as well as special concern and protection. An age difference of 12 years was no barrier between Bill and his younger brother, Joe, whose active approach to life was so similar to Bill’s.

Thus did William H. Kellum’s full boyhood prepare him for the responsibilities of manhood.

Upon finishing high school, Bill served five months in the US Navy in the closing months of World War II. While in the Navy, he won a “golden gloves” championship, evidence of his interest and competence in the “manly art of self-defense,” an interest which was to bring further laurels at West Point.

As a recipient of an appointment to the US Military Academy, Bill left the Navy to attend Louisiana State University where he found time amidst his West Point preparatory studies to be first-string end on the football team and to win a second place medal in the ROTC boxing matches.

Matriculating to West Point in July 1946, Bill, by graduation day, 6 June 1950, was able to leave an enviable record behind him. Bill’s football exploits have already been related. In boxing, he won many more bouts than he lost. Skinny for a heavyweight, Bill is still remembered at West Point and by classmates around the world for “cutting down to his size” ring opponents who outweighed him frequently by as much as 50 pounds. Herb Kroten, one of his boxing coaches, accounts for Bill’s success (he went to the finals of the Eastern intercollegiate Championships one year and was elected co-captain of the boxing team his First Class year) by recalling his willingness “to take on anything.”

Athletics were not Bill’s only interests at West Point. He was a member of the Fishing Club and Radio Club and ranked relatively high militarily. However. Bill is remembered by his classmates as much for his personality as for his more objective achievements. The Howitzer was indeed right in asserting that “Bill’s warm Southern personality and ready humor will be long remembered by the Class of ’50.”

Only a few short months after graduation, Bill, in company with so many of his classmates, was called upon to utilize his West Point training on the field of battle sooner than he or anyone else expected. His country and his Alma Mater did not find him wanting! As a platoon leader of Company G, 21st Inf., he distinguished himself on the field of battle being awarded the Bronze Star Medal for valor, the Silver Star, and the Purple Heart. He had every reason to write home proudly when he was promoted to 1st Lieutenant only five months after graduation. Excerpts have already been quoted from his Silver Star citation. Equally stirring and indicative of his courageous spirit and military leadership are the following excerpts from his Bronze Star citation:

“During his regiment’s advance his platoon was the leading element …. With complete disregard for his safety Lieutenant Kellum exposed himself to a hail of withering fire in order to place his men in positions affording the maximum fire power and control. Moving far forward, he directed the effective fire of friendly artillery and mortars …. He then led an assault – routing the enemy … and permitting the continued advance of the regiment ……

Captured during an action in which he was heroically leading his platoon in defending a combat outpost 3,000 yards in front of the main line of resistance, Lieutenant Kellum was taken to a prison camp in Pyoktong in North Korea. Here he faced his final and perhaps his most formidable test of courage. A classmate whom Bill assisted while he himself was weak and sick reports that:

“…under these difficult conditions Bill was a model soldier. He resisted his captors’ every effort to organize a mass indoctrination program in the officers’ compound, and did more than his share of the work in helping his fellow prisoners to survive….

In spite of a complete lack of care and only crackers and rice for food, Bill, by sheer determination. recovered from flu, only to incur the wrath of the Chinese for organizing the ambulatory soldiers at what was, in name only, the prison camp’s hospital. Thrown into detention in a part of the “hospital” from which no prisoners ever emerged alive, Bill died a hero’s death staunchly defending his convictions and the traditions of his Alma Mater and country. Fellow prisoners report that Bill’s death occurred approximately 15 June 1951, a date which is more accurate than the year end date, 31 December 1951, assumed in AG official records.

In their tremendous and irreplaceable loss, Bill’s surviving parents and brothers and sister have been strengthened by a justifiable pride shared bv friends, classmates, and fellow officers in a man who died as he lived: courageous and determined to be true to his own high ideals whatever the danger, whatever the personal sacrifice.

–R.P.L. ’50–















Joe Green

Korean War —- Joe Green Class of 50, another Army football player, was one of the pilots captured during this period. Although Green survived the war, he was held in solitary confinement for the duration of his captivity. Paul Roach remembers getting a glimpse of Green before the end of the war: “After that, a classmate and I always hummed –On, Brave Old Army Team — whenever we passed his compound”.

Football — Fullback Class Numerals and Monogram

Track — Monogram, Army A with Navy Gold Star

Jim Cain

Jim Cain

John Trent


Led one of Army’s greatest teams. Killed in Korea and posthumously named Footballs Man of the Year by the Football Writers Association of America. – Joseph December 11, 2005


Captain Football Team

Killed in Action Korea

USMA 1950

John Charles Trent
NO. 17938 11 October 1926 15 November 1950

Killed in Korea, November 15, 1950, near Wonsan. Aged 24 years.

“We are landing at the Port of Wonsan tomorrow; it has not yet been secured. Please don’t worry about me.” These were the last words heard from big, wide-smiling, gentle John Trent who met his death near Wonsan, November 15, 1950.

John, or Jack, as he was known to his family and friends in Memphis, was born on October 11, 1926 to Walter and Eleanor Trent. His parents still live in the house on Walker Avenue where he was born – a house filled with memories of his happy boyhood. The youngest of five children, John was born into a family, close-knit in love for one another, and one in which traditions, especially as to holidays and birthdays, are carried on from year to year – family gatherings at Thanksgiving and Christmas, trips to the country at Easter and on the Fourth of July, picnics in the summertime and circuses in the fall.

In his junior high school years, John became interested in sports, entering every one that was offered in the school. His capacity for leadership was shown by his being elected president of the senior class, captain of the football team, and most popular boy in his class. The newspapers selected him as one of the most promising football players entering high school that year.

His interest and skill in athletics continued to develop during his high school days. As a senior, he was a member of the Student Council, and received many honors in athletics. Immediately after graduation, John attended Louisiana State University, finishing one year’s work before he was called to the Air Force. After fifteen months In the Air Force, he entered West Point.

Whenever John was at home, there was a gathering of the boys from high school days, for a spaghetti supper. These friendships did not lessen with the years, and each time John returned, it became a standing joke to say, as the phone rang and rang, “Jack is home again!”

John’s years at West Point and the few months after graduation, are beautifully described in the following tribute written by “HIS ROOMMATES”:

“On that warm Summer day In 1946, a strapping young man came to us from a loving Tennessee family who had moulded him in the family traditions of love and honor. With those inbred ties of closeness and courage, he lived and died a true All-American. These words are most fitting to John C. Trent, our dearest friend, who left us on the Korean field of battle on 15 November 1950.

“Our initial acquaintance with John took place on a field similar to that from which he left us . . . a Beast Barracks tactics problem on the mock battle grounds that circumscribe our Alma Mater. Here for the first time we met the broad-shouldered, rugged individual who was to be our roommate for three years. John arrived at West Point and we immediately accepted the modest and unassuming typical “Rebel” for the friend that he was. Despite the many laurels and kudos that he earned for his prowess and accomplishments, he departed from us unchanged as the quiet fellow he had been from the start. We remember him for that cool steadiness and amiable personality that depicted a man who lived for the enjoyment of life itself.

“John never lost sight of his eternal goal to return home to his cherished family in Memphis and spend his days with Mom, Dad, his sisters, brother Bud, relatives and friends. The love and ties that are often absent within the American family of today were ever so present with the wonderful Trents. John’s return from every leave aIways found him bubbling over with the joys of having been HOME. Naturally, too, there was always “THE” girl in John’s life which meant that Memphis was the garden spot of the world for him.

“If John’s family and home were his first love, then we must call football his second. In the ALL-American game, John fulfilled his every ambition as he led our Black Knights of the Hudson through the difficult 1949 campaign . . . undefeated and untied. In each of his three years on the gridiron he held one moment to be more cherished than the others . . . 1947 . . . A pass interception against Navy that resulted in a touchdown and a 21-0 victory FOR THE TEAM . . . 1948 . . . His last-second grab of a Galiffa pass that proved the margin of victory FOR THE TEAM against Pennsylvania In a bitterly fought 26-20 battle . . . 1949 . . . Leading THE TEAM in the huge bowl at Philadelphia In defeating our great rivals, the Midshipmen of Annapolis, 38-0, the soundest trouncing in the history of that long series. The shy, reserved pride of this ALL-American John Trent was ever at its highest in receiving from friend and foe alike the simple accolade of recognition, ‘Hi, Big John.’ For this kind of man, it was more than enough. It was this kind of man they called ‘ALL-American,’ the best our beloved country had to offer.

“It was during his graduation leave that the desperate cry came to us from Korea. John came to us again to join the new Team which again was the best we had to offer. Big John was there with his brief words, with a pat on the back from those big fists to bolster spirits that sagged momentarily, just as he had done in every football game he’d fought . . . keeping an eye on the score and the yardage. He was there, his platoon sergeant tells us, on that black Korean night as he started to check his position and see his Team, to give the pat on the back and the brief words to those who were fighting fatigue and sleep In their foxholes as they waited for the enemy. The sergeant had wanted to make the rounds, but as was the way of this ALL-American, Big John insisted on personally visiting his weary Team himself. It was during this necessary check of the perimeter that John received those fatal wounds. He was reverently laid to rest among others from the Team at the Marine Cemetery in Wonsan, Korea.

“That Big John had not changed to the very end is related by his platoon sergeant. His conversation throughout those last days was filled with his true loves . . . his family, his home and friends, ‘the’ girl, and . . . Football.

“Thus it was that we came to know and love and lose our ALL-American friend . . . Big John Trent.”

In him seemed to dwell the promise of greatness the sort of personality that made people love, admire and respect him; he had within him a love of people, kindliness and a deep, abiding faith in God. He has left a heritage of which he, his family and his friends may be justly proud.

Why he was chosen to die is not understandable, but perhaps he and thousands of others have died so that the generations to come shall be able to walk without fear, to live and worship as they please, and to hold their heads high, as free men should.

His Junior High graduation Speech is a strangely prophetic one, entitled “I Am An American,” and ends fittingly:

“I become a link in an unending, unbroken chain, welded together by the Spirit of Freedom, and shining with an undying purpose that will keep forever the principles of Democracy supreme in a turmoiled world.”

– Louise Trent Ferguson


Arnold Galiffa

Class of 1950

Army’s Quarterback

3 Army A’s in Football

Football’s Greatest Decade – – by Bernie Mcarty – http://www.la84foundation.org/SportsLibrary/CFHSN/CFHSNv01/CFHSNv01n1b – – see page 5

This writer believes West Point 1945 is the greatest team of all time. The 1944 Army team may actually deserve that title, but it was never tested. Army was also undefeated in 1946, 1948 and 1949.

Army’s top stars during 1945-1949 were the effulgent “Touchdown Twins”, Glenn Davis and Doc Blanchard, Arnold Tucker, Arnold Galiffa, Rip Rowan, Bobby Jack Stuart and Gil Stephenson in the back-field, and up front ” Joe Steffy”, Art Gerometta, Jack Green, “Bill Yoemans”, Joe Henry “Tex” Coulter,Al Nemetz, and the sterling end duo of Hank Foldberg and Barney Poole.

In 1945 the Newspaper Enterprise Assoc. simply picked the entire Army team as its All-American team, stating no group of All-Americans could beat the Cadets. Only a world war could have brought together such a collection of players to one institution. But it took the coaching genius of Col. Earl Blaik to mold the players into a cohesive unit. In truth, Navy personnel was equal to Army’s on an individual basis. The Middies never jelled as a team, however.

The 1951 Army outfit might have been as good as the 1945 Cadets, but the infamous cribbing scandal wiped out the team.

Jim Irons

Class of 1950. Played right guard.  Played with “Doc Blanchard” & “Glenn Davis”. He was captain of the baseball team.

Morris Herbert

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