"Who's Who at Croft"
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Camp Croft, South Carolina
US Army Infantry Replacement Training Center

While the goal of this site is to praise the contributions of the average replacement Infantryman of World War II, it was just too tempting to not "brag" a bit about the numerous persons stationed at the camp who achieved some fame before, during, or after their stay at Camp Croft. 

Each person's name is followed by a unit designation (if known) of their assignment at Croft.

Duke AbbruzziLouis J. "Duke" Abbruzzi (Headquarters Detachment)
earned nine varsity letters and captained in three major sports (football, baseball, and basketball) during his time at Rhode Island State college. He was picked during his sophomore year for the All-Eastern grid team and rode the All-New England team for three years. He was part of the 1941 Eastern All-Stars team that played against the Chicago Bears in Boston, MA. The celebrated sports figure graduated in 1941 and played professionally in the Colonial Baseball League and for the 1946 Boston Yankees and New York Bulldogs in football. . While at Camp Croft, Duke served as assistant to the camp athletic officer and was an outstanding member of the Headquarters Company softball team, which won the Spartanburg City Softball League and state championship in 1942. Abbruzzi was a teacher-coach at DeLaSalle Academy, Rogers High and Thompson Junior High, Newport. His 1971 Rogers baseball team won the state championship. Named the 1971 Words Unlimited Hugh J. McGowan award winner, he was inducted into the Providence Gridiron Club Hall of Fame. A native son of Warren, Rhode Island, he was All-State in three sports there, was inducted into the University of Rhode Island Athletic Hall of Fame in 1973, and was posthumously inducted into the Warren Athletic (RI) Hall of Fame in 1999.

For more information, visit Duke's URI web page at:

Duke AbbruzziSpiro T Agnew (Basic)
Before becoming the 39th Vice President of the United States, and before his election as the 55th Governor of Maryland, Republican politician and Greek American Spiro T Agnew was stationed at Croft for basic training. According to Agnew, "This was in October 1941 at Camp Croft S.C. where I went for basic training. I remember it so well because we had all regular Army NCO s and they were really tough boys and most of the draftees came from New York and Brooklyn and they were pretty rough boys too and I'd led a very sheltered life. I became unsheltered very quickly".  Shortly after basic training he may have been sent to OCS and was stationed at Fort Knox, KY to train as an Armored officer. He served as a tank commander in Europe, earning a Bronze Star.  Afterwards he attended law school and became a lawyer, only to be recalled to active duty during the Korean War.  After leaving the army, he continued his law practice and became a politician. Recollections of Agnew more commonly take into account his role in the ill-fated Nixon administration where he was charged with tax evasion and resigned from the office of the Vice-Presidency. He became a consultant and die in 1996 of leukemia at the age of 77

Sportscaster Mell Allen Mel Allen spent fifty years in the broadcast industry covering 20 World Series, 24 All Star Games, 14 Rose Bowls, 5 Orange Bowls, 2 Sugar Bowls, and did over 2,000 newsreels. Born Melvin Allen Israel in 1914, the son of a traveling textile representative in Birmingham, and raised all over Alabama, he was a spindly student manager of the football team when he got the chance to announce games. While a student at The University of Alabama, he sold shoes, coached speech and debate, and ultimately earned his law degree before winning an audition to announce in New York for CBS Radio in 1936.  Allen went on to broadcast the World Series for CBS in 1938. He joined the New York Yankees the following year and stayed for twenty-five more, delighting millions of baseball fans with his warm sign-on -- "Hello, everybody!" -- and his trademark phrases -- "How about that!" and "Going, going - gone."  This work was interrupted in the fall of 1943 when Allen entered service and was sent for basic training to Camp Croft.  After basic, he was stationed at Fort Benning, GA where he joined Armed Forces Radio and hosted a segment on NBC's Army Hour show.  Having returned to sports broadcasting after the war, Allen moved to the Milwaukee Braves in 1965, went on to broadcast for the Cleveland Indians and handled a variety of assignments for NBC. In 1978, the "Voice of the Yankees" returned to New York as a member of the SportsChannel announcing team and served as host of the long running weekly television series: "This Week In Baseball", nearly until his death in 1996.

Ambassador Ben Hill Brown Ben Hill Brown, Jr. (Military Police), born February 8, 1914, practiced law in his hometown of Spartanburg, SC until he was called to active duty as Reserve officer in 1941.  After three months training at Fort Benning he was assigned to Camp Croft. According to Brown, the Military Police detachment there was having "a little trouble with troops in town and in getting along with the local police force." When they learned  Brown was both a lawyer and a resident of Spartanburg he was assigned to the Military Police to have charge of the patrolling in the town and also to act as liaison with the local police. After course work at the Occupational Police School at Fort Custer, he was ordered overseas for Occupational Police duty, then to North Africa, the staging area for the invasion of Sicily, and later Italy. He served as: military government Italy, Supreme Headquarters, Allied Expeditionary Forces, in England, France, and Germany; deputy chief, acting chief, legal branch, Office of Military Government (U.S. Zone), Germany, 1945-46; inactive duty as Lieutenant Colonel, Judge Advocate General's Department, 1946. Brown later served as Assistant to legal adviser, Department of State, 1946-49; Deputy Assistant Secretary for Congressional Relations, 1949-55; assigned National War College, 1955-56; Foreign Service officer, 1956---; director, U.S. Operations Mission to Iraq, 1956-58; U.S. Operations Mission to Libya, 1959-60; consul general Turkey, Istanbul, 1960-64; U.S. Ambassador to Liberia, 1964-69; retired, 1970 and became a private consultant.  He died in 1989. 

See http://www.trumanlibrary.org/oralhist/brownbh.htm  for an oral interview of Ben Hill Brown conducted in 1975.

Ballplayer Lou Brissie Leland "Lou" Brissie (30th ITB) was born June 5, 1924 in Anderson, SC. As a 16-year-old Brissie pitched in the textile town of Ware Shoals, South Carolina and blew away enemy batters with ease. Under the advice of his father, he rejected a $25,000 offer from the Dodgers and instead worked out in front of Connie Mack, the legendary A'S manager.  The 6-4 left hander prepped at Presbyterian College for two years before his military duty which began at age 19 in 1943.  Before he could vote he found himself in an embattled Europe 3,000 miles from home.   On Dec. 1, 1944 Corporal Brissie, 351st Infantry, 88th Division, leaped from a truck winding its way through the mountains of northern Italy and shouted to his men to take cover from a storm of German artillery. A shell exploded near Brissie's feet and nine of his men died almost immediately. Only two others survived. Brissie's left leg was mangled yet he clawed and inched his way along the snow-covered ground, then collapsed in a creek bed.  Doctors wanted to amputate his shredded leg but Brissie vetoed the idea, knowing that such a procedure would most likely end any chance he ever had of making it to the major leagues. At the 300th General Hospital in Naples, Dr. Wilbur K. Brubaker put Brissie on around-the-clock penicillin, a new miracle drug that fought infection. Dr. Brubaker did not listen to his colleagues who insisted that amputation was the way to go.  The lanky left hander underwent surgery 23 times to remove splintered bone and shrapnel. When he arrived home with both legs in casts, he had to concern himself with the threat of ostoemyelitis, an infection of the bone that could take his life. But Brissie beat the odds, appearing in 234 big league games over a stretch of seven seasons.  The war hero worked his way back and on September 28, 1947 made his major league debut at Yankee Stadium less than three years from the day he suffered his war injury. In '48 he went 14-10 finishing fourth for Rookie of the Year honors. He followed up with a 16-11 mark in '49 making the All Star team. Brissie finished his career in '53 with the Indians taking with him a 44-48 lifetime record. During his post playing career he spent time in the insurance business and was the National Director of the American Legion baseball program.
More information on Lou is available at the Philadelphia Athletics site at  http://www.philadelphiaathletics.org/a7.html

For Lou's stats, please visit: http://www.baseball-reference.com/b/brisslo01.shtml

Paul Campbell Paul Campbell (Inductee) was born September 1, 1917 in Paw Creek, North Carolina. He played American Legion Legion baseball and semi-pro ball with the Arcadia and Pacolet teams in the competitive South Carolina textile leagues before signing his first professional contract in 1936. In 1938, Campbell was with Little Rock of the Southern Association. He batted .330, led the league with 192 hits and was rated as "one of the greatest first basemen ever to come out of the Southern Association." He was soon drafted into the Boston Red Sox.  Campbell entered military service at Camp Croft, SC on January 21, 1943. Following his induction he served with the Army Air Force at Morris Field, North Carolina, where he trained with the supply division. He was transferred to Jacksonville Army Air Base, Florida, in April 1943, and was sent overseas with the 306th Bomb Group. Campbell was the hitting star with the 306th "Reich Wreckers" team and played in the all-professional game at London in August 1943. In 29 games, Campbell led the 20-man squad with seven home runs and a .470 batting average. Campbell was back with the Red Sox in 1946 and then spent time on multiple teams as a player, scout, manager and other positions. He spent a total of 57 years in professional baseball. Paul Campbell passed away on June 22, 2006 in Fairfield Glade, Tennessee. He was 88 years old.

For more see http://www.baseballinwartime.com/player_biographies/campbell_paul.htm

Senator Alan Cranston (D-CA) Alan Mac Gregor Cranston (C-35 ITB) was born June 19,1914 in Palo Alto, California. His father, a wealthy, second generation real estate developer, secured a good education for each of his children despite the trials of the Great Depression. Majoring in journalism at Stanford University, Cranston graduated with a bachelors degree in 1936 and landed his first writing job with the International News Service. Though he spent only two years as a field journalist and foreign correspondent, they were served during a time of global unrest. Cranston traveled throughout Europe and Northern Africa, covering the activities of Hitler and Mussolini and returned to America to find most of the nation unaware of the threat abroad. Leaving journalism to enter public service in 1942, he became chief of the foreign language division of the Office of War Information. After two years in the intelligence division, Cranston waived his office to enlist in the US Army as a private, and served until the end of World War II with an infantry division. While at Camp Croft, he was assigned to the 35th Battalion and wrote a column called "On the Ground" for the camp newspaper. After receiving his war end discharge with the rank of sergeant, Cranston returned to civilian life and assumed leadership of his family's real estate business, but reentered public service in 1959 when he was elected California's state controller. Cranston won his first election to the US Senate in 1968 and served four consecutive terms at the Senate. In 1984, Cranston made a bid for the Democratic Convention Nomination for the presidency. The nomination went to Walter Mondale, and the election to incumbent Ronald Reagan. Cranston left the Senate in 1993, and after successfully battling prostrate cancer continued his crusades for nuclear disarmament and improved international relations in the private sector. Cranston headed the Global Security Institute, a non-profit organization leading the international quest to abolish use of nuclear weapons. In 1996 Cranston teamed with former Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev as the chairman of the Gorbachev Foundation USA, a San Francisco based think tank seeking nuclear disarmament.  He died in December 2000 of natural causes.

For more details visit the US Congress web site at this link: http://bioguide.congress.gov/scripts/biodisplay.pl?index=C000877


Charles Neilans DeGlopper (Basic), born in Grand Island New York on November 30, 1921, was the only soldier from the 325th Glider Infantry Regiment to be awarded the Medal of Honor. He was also the only World War II soldier from the 82nd Airborne Division of the United States Army to receive the award for action during the Battle of Normandy campaign. entered the United States Army in November, 1942. He trained at Camp Croft, South Carolina. He was sent overseas, April 1943 where he served in North Africa, Sicily, Italy and France. He was ultimately killed in action on June 9, 1944 in La Fière, France.

For more on this outstanding young hero please visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_N._DeGlopper

Rene Alexander Dussaq (Headquarters Complement), born in Argentina, was drafted into the Army in March 1941 at the age of thirty. He was privileged to a deferment since he was not a citizen but instead accepted and volunteered for a service in a parachute battalion. He arrived at Croft on March 13th and, after training, was assigned to the orientation office where he delivered current events addresses to his fellow soldiers. He was ear-marked for Officer Candidate School, despite his desire to still join the paratroops. Before joining the army Dussaq, son of a Cuban diplomat, traveled widely spending 17,400 hours (the equivalent of two years) at sea.  He was a member of the Swiss Olympic Rowing Team, won an Inter-Club Swiss National Tennis title, received his BA degree from Grand College de Geneva at the age of 18, sold insurance in Cuba, won the Cuban National Tennis championship, was fired from his uncle's steamship line and began to study law at the University of Havana, fled Cuba during the revolution, arrived in San Diego and later became a Hollywood stuntman as a wing-walker, parachutist, and auto crash driver, worked as a deep sea diver , became an associate of a motion picture production company, led an archaeological expedition to Mona Island (Caribbean Sea), and became a professional lecturer before the draft caught up with him. After leaving Camp Croft, he attended OCS and was assigned to the 58th Wing Air Photo Unit (USAAF). He was recruited by the Office of Strategic Service (OSS), the forerunner of the CIA, and carried to code name "Anselme". Not much is know of his further training or experiences but he parachuted into France two weeks prior to D-Day with an assignment to seek and destroy heavy weapons, assisted by the French Resistance. "Anselme" spent exactly four months in the field, returning to London on 23 September 1944 to make his Report of Activities. According to a citation given to him by the French government, Dussaq, among many other deeds, single-handedly bluffed a 500-man German garrison into surrendering to him at Issoire and also, virtually alone, managed to capture the city of Thiers. In 1994, he claimed to have little memory of such exploits. "I have repressed them totally, I think, because many things happened in those days that were not pleasant." In retirement, Dussaq, who "was once a man of violence" found adventure enough tending his garden. "You know what they say: When the Devil gets old  he retires to a monastery." Perhaps in a final show of his adventuresome spirit, he once again parachuted into France as part of the Return to Normandy drop on June 4, 1994 at the age of 83, the oldest of the group. One news report described him as the  ”most exotic geriatric jumper” as he sported "good looks and kiss-the-girls charm". He passed away in 1996.

Jazz Musician Mercer Ellington Mercer Ellington (50th ITB), jazz musician, composer, and band leader, spent much of his professional career maintaining the musical legacy of his father, although he played more than a few roles during his career. At various times, he worked as a salesman, disk jockey, record company executive, composer, trumpeter and as his father's aide. But he was best known for continuing, in one form or another, the Duke Ellington Orchestra after his father's death at the age of 75 in 1974. For next two decades, he toured with the band, made recordings and was the musical director and conductor of "Sophisticated Ladies," a music and dance revue of his father's music. Ellington was a well schooled musician, studying in New York at Columbia University, the Institute of Musical Art and Juilliard. Beginning in the late 1930's, he occasionally led his own band, working with Billy Strayhorn, Clark Terry, Cat Anderson and Carmen McRae. During World War II, in addition to his service in the US Army, he joined the Sy Oliver orchestra as a trumpeter, and performed and recorded occasionally with his father, all the while leading his own bands.   He was the composer of several important compositions played and recorded by his father's orchestra, including "Things Ain't What They Used to Be," "Jumpin' Punkins," "John Hardy's Wife," "Blue Serge" and "Moon Mist," some of which hint at Strayhorn's influence. He started managing groups in the mid-1950s, including the orchestra of Cootie Williams, who had left Duke Ellington's band; a decade later, he took over the managerial role for the Duke Ellington Orchestra. As a musical aide, Ellington helped his father to complete "Three Black Kings" as the senior Ellington lay dying in a hospital. He conducted his father's only opera, "Queenie Pie," in Philadelphia and at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington.  Shortly after his father's death, Ellington moved to Denmark, which meant that the orchestra never really survived as a major jazz attraction in the United States. In 1978, with the help of Stanley Dance, he wrote a biography of his father, "Duke Ellington in Person" (Da Capo), and in 1988 one of his recordings, "Digital Duke," won a Grammy Award for big band jazz instrumental performance.  He died in the year 2000 at the age of 76.

Singer Tex Fletcher Tex Fletcher (A-29 ITB) was born Geremino 'Jerry' Bisceglia in Harrison, NY, one of 8 children of Italian immigrants.  He left home at age 15, joining the circus, and traveled  across the US and Canada, settling in South Dakota where he learned to handle horses and cattle, and became a 'real' cowboy.  He returned to New York in the early '30s and took a radio job as singing cowboy on WFAS in White Plains, NY where he became know as "The Lonely Cowboy." Tex eventually landed as Cowboy Answer Man on WWOR, New Jersey. In late 1938, he connected with the Arcadia Production company and Grand National Pictures, and a deal was cut for a new series of sagebrush musicals.  The initial film of the series, Six Gun Rhythm (Grand National, 1939) was released in early 1939, with Tex playing a college football hero who goes west to discover the killer of his father. Upon release of the film, Grand National went belly-up, leaving the only existing prints of the film unreleased. Tex literally 'took the bull by the horns' and set out on a one-man promotional tour for the film of the Northeast US. He personally booked and traveled to each movie house, opening the showing with a couple of songs, showing the film and then signing autographs for fans after the film was over. With that, Fletcher's career as a silver screen cowboy was over, after only one film, and he returned to New York and his radio show. He served in the Army during World War II, reaching the rank of Sergeant. At the end of the war, he married and started a family - 5 children: Robert, Jayne, Kathy, George, Michael. Returning to radio, night clubs, and television (ABC, NBC, WOR), his last album was released 1964. During his career, Tex recorded for London, Decca, Dakota, and others before his death in 1987.  His son George is also a musician. 

For more on Tex, you may visit this page on our site with more photos provided by Tex's family

Boxer Tiger Jack Fox "Tiger Jack" Fox (C-50 ITB) also known as "Black Dynamite," was born John Linwood Fox on April 2, 1907.  He boxed as an heavyweight amateur and as a semipro, starting around 1925, professionally from 1930 to 1950 except for an inactive period during 1942 and 1943 during which time he served in the US Army for about nine months.  When he entered service in 1943 and came to Camp Croft for basic training, his family had already given two of his brothers to the country, one killed in WWI and the other during the attack on Pearl Harbor.  After service, he resided in Spokane, WA where he continued to challenge the best fighters. He lured Joe Louis to Spokane for a four round exhibition and, in the late 40's and early 50's, he fought in Canada, Alaska, and the Yukon territory. His professional record is 124-18-7 (81 kayos) 3 NC and boxing expert Hubert Goldman believes he engaged in more major pro fights than anyone in history.  A stroke in 1952 forced his retirement and he died in Spokane in 1954 after a heart attack.

Visit http://www.boxrec.com/media/index.php?title=Human:34979 to learn more about Tiger

Fely Franquelli"Fely Frequelli" was the stage name of Fely Diane Hutter.  She was not exactly stationed at Camp Croft but her husband, Colonel Howard J. Hutter, was the post surgeon.  Fely joined her husband in Spartanburg and was a frequent visitor to the camp.  She was commended for her participation in War Bond rallies in the area but she was best known as a professional dancer.  Of Filipino origin, she was educated in the Universities of Southern California and The Philippines, studied dramatics at Louisiana College, and studied dance for six years at the Russia School of Ballet.  Her dancing talents were admired in the both here and abroad but her most prominent role was starring in "Back to Battan" opposite John Wayne and Anthony Quinn.  She had two other films to her credit but it appears film was not in her future.  During the war, she given an Award of Merit by the US Treasury Department for her participation in war bond drives.  Not much is known of her life after Croft but she passed away in 2002 and was buried next to her husband in Arlington National Cemetery. 

Guilio GariGiulio Gari (A-29 ITB), was born Julius Samu in 1909 in Medias, Romania, the youngest of ten children. He became an accomplished vocalist in his home country, studied throughout Europe and abroad, and eventually came to New York in 1938 to sing with the NBC orchestra. When his Visa expired 1942 he was deported. Facing the choice to go back to Romania and a concentration camp or go to another country (at the time, immigrants from eastern Europe were not accepted in many places), he was given the opportunity to join the US Army as a path to citizenship.  After enlistment he was sent to Camp Croft where he completed basic training on 21 NOV 1942, as member of Co. A, 29th Infantry Training Battalion.  He also obtained his certificate of naturalization in Spartanburg, South Carolina earlier that month. After service he changed his name to Giulio Gari and signed with the New York City Opera as a leading Tenor in 1945.  He later became a leading Tenor at the Metropolitan Opera from 1952 to 1963.  He died in 1994 at the age of 84.

Click here for more on Gari while at Croft and please visit www.giuliogari.org

Henry GasserHenry Martin Gasser, painter, lecturer, teacher, illustrator, and author, was born in Newark, New Jersey on Oct. 31,1909. His experience in art began at the Newark School of Fine and Industrial Art and the Grand Central School of Art. This was followed by study at the Art Students League of New York in the classes of Robert Bracman. He later studied privately under John R. Grabach. His work is represented in over fifty museum collections and numerous important private ones as well. Among the awards that Gasser received are the Hallgarten Prize at the National Academy, the Zabriskie, Osborne, and Obrig prizes at the American Watercolor Society, the Philadelphia watercolor club prize, the Allied Artists Gold Medal at Oakland, California and many others. He was a member of the National academy of Design, the American Watercolor Society, the Royal Society of Art (Great Britain), the Salmagundi Club, the Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington Watercolor Clubs and the New Jersey Watercolor Society. He was a life member of the National Arts Club, Grand Central Art Galleries and the Art Students League and others. Gasser served as Director of the Newark School of Fine and Industrial Art from 1946-54 then continued lecturing and demonstrating for most of the remainder of his life. He also wrote numerous books on painting. He died in Orange, NJ in 1981

Author Noah Gordon (ca. 2000) Noah Gordon (A-26 ITB) was born on November 11, 1926 in Woster, MA. Fighting still raged when he graduated high school in February 1945 and Gordon sought enlistment in the Navy but was turned down because of his color blindness.  He entered the Army and trained with Company A, 26th ITB  at Camp Croft and was afterwards sent to the Presidio in San Francisco, CA. In his words, "I finished my service un-heroically as an Army clerk in a boring job in San Francisco, grateful that I had survived, grateful that I had never had to kill a human being." After graduating from Boston University with BA and MA degrees, he became a journalist with two Massachusetts newspapers.  Finally, in 1965, he published the first of seven novels, "The Rabbi." Others were, "The Death Committee" (1969), "The Jerusalem Diamond" (1979), "The Physician" (1986), "Shaman" (1992), "Matters of Choice" (1996), and "The Last Jew" (2000). 

For more on Noah and his work you can visit http://www.noahgordonbooks.com

Michael “Big Mike” Jarmoluk (A-29 ITB) born in 1922 in Philadelphia, PA.  After graduating from Frankfort High School, he played football, basketball, wrestling and track & field at Temple University before his three-year football letter winner tenure in Owl Country was interrupted by military service. He enlisted in the Army in 1942, received basic training at Camp Croft, SC, and served in the infantry, seeing action during the infamous Battle of the Bulge. Jarmoluk was honorably discharged from the military in 1945 and returned for a senior football season that earned him a trip to the Blue-Gray All-Star Classic. He was afterwards drafted by the Detroit Lions with the 62nd overall pick of the 1945 draft and was traded to the Chicago Bears, for whom he was a starter when they won the 1946 championship. He was traded to the Boston Yanks in 1948 and then to the New York Bulldogs, for whom he played briefly the next year. He joined the Philadelphia Eagles, who were coming off their first championship in 1948, and played offensive and defensive tackle during the Eagles' second championship in 1949, a 14-0 victory over the Los Angeles Rams. Mike Jarmoluk played for the Eagles from 1949-1955, wearing No. 78, and was named to the organization's all-time team in 1965. After his playing days were over, Jarmoluk worked for more than 30 years at Packaging Corporation of America before retiring in 1992 and moving to Ocala, FL. He passes away in 2004.

For his career football stat see http://www.databasefootball.com/players/playerpage.htm?ilkid=JARMOMIK01

Statesman Henry Kissinger Henry Alfred Kissinger was born in Fuerth, Germany, on May 27, 1923, came to the United States in 1938, and was naturalized a United States citizen on June 19, 1943.  From 1943 to 1946 Dr. Kissinger served in the U.S. Army, initially as an Infantryman, during the occupation of Germany in the Counter-Intelligence Corps, and, from 1946 to 1949, as a captain in the Military Intelligence Reserve. He received a BA Degree Summa Cum Laude at Harvard College in 1950 and the MA and Ph.D. Degrees at Harvard University in 1952 and 1954 respectively.  He became  the 56th Secretary of State of the United States from 1973 to 1977, continuing to hold the position of Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs which he first assumed in 1969 until 1975. After leaving government service, he founded Kissinger Associates, an international consulting firm, of which he is chairman. 

The Nobel Peace Prize web site has a more extensive biography of Dr. Kissinger on their site located at http://www.nobel.se/peace/laureates/1973/kissinger-bio.html

 Alton W. Knappenberger (D-34th and C-35 ITB cadre) was born December 31, 1923 in Cooperstown, Lehigh County, PA. He entered the Army in 1943 and attended basic training at Fort Jackson, SC.  He was later stationed at Camp Croft, presumably on cadre duty, in April 1944. Alton was a Private First Class and BAR assistant in the 3rd Infantry Division fighting in Italy when his acts of bravery lead to receiving the American Medal of Honor as well as the Italian Medal of Honor.  According to his citation issued by General George C. Marshall, on February 1, 1944 near Cisterna di Littoria, Italy, a heavy German counterattack was launched against his battalion. Knappenberger crawled to an exposed knoll and went into position with his automatic rifle, taking out about 80 German soldiers and disrupting the enemy attack for over 2 hours. "Sure I was scared," then 21 year old Knappenberger said in a April 1945 interview, "Everyone is scared.  But you soon get used to those shells bursting around, and you become a soldier damn fast." After action in Europe, he returned to the US and was assigned to the cadre of the 35th Infantry Training Battalion, Company C, at Camp Croft.  He passed away in June 2008 at the age of 84.

For more information on Knappenberger's MOH, go to:  http://www.medalofhonor.com/AltonKnappenberger.htm

NYC Mayor Ed Koch Edward Irving "Ed" Koch is perhaps best known for his recent tenure presiding over the popular television show The People's Court or perhaps as the former Mayor of New York City (1978-1989) - one of only three mayors in the city's history to be elected to three terms. The son of Polish Jewish immigrant Louis Koch, a furrier and hat check concessionaire, and his wife, Joyce Silpe, Koch served in the Army during World War II, in the 104th Infantry Division, before being discharged as a sergeant. After law school he went into private practice, where he remained for 20 years. He began his political career making speeches for Adlai Stevenson in 1952 and in 1966 was elected a city councilman. Elected to the US Congress in 1968, he served nine years before becoming mayor. As mayor, his style was forceful and outspoken. In 1982 he lost a bid for the Democratic nomination for governor, and in 1989 he sought an unprecedented fourth term as mayor but was defeated in the Democratic primary by David N. Dinkins. "I'm a liberal with sanity, not a knee jerk," says Koch, summing up his political philosophy.  He has authored 12 fiction and nonfiction books and is a columnist for Newsday. 

Stanley Krivik (ca. 1941) Stanley Krivik, after playing football for Fordam University, found himself stationed at Camp Croft in 1941.  From "Camp Croft's First Year,"  a press release issued by the camp, we learn that Krivik led the camp football team, known as the Croft Crusaders, on a big winning streak that outscored their opponents 132 to 32. While not much else of known of Krivik's service at Croft, he turned up in England as a pilot of a B24 bomber in 1944.  His plane was severely damaged during the infamous Kassel mission and crash landed in England. During this mission, on September 24, 1944,  the 445th Bomb Group left the bomber stream and lost their fighter cover. They were attacked by a large group of cannon equipped FW 190s who shot down 30 out of 35 planes in five minutes. It was the worst single loss suffered by any group in the entire war. Radio Operator John Cadden recalls Krivik as a physically strong man who was well liked by the enlisted personnel of the crew. After the war, Stanley Krivik returned to college, this time at Notre Dame where he played football in 1945 and baseball in 1946, becoming a recipient of an All Time Monogram Award.  According to Cadden, Krivik also played some semi-pro ball in New Jersey before reentering service during the Korean war, again as a pilot, and left service around 1970.  Shortly after his retirement he passed away suddenly at a VA hospital in New York. 

Howie KristHowie Krist (A-35 ITB) - Howard Wilbur "Howie" Krist was born February 28, 1916 in West Henrietta, NY, and began his Major League baseball career in 1937 with the St. Louis Cardinals. Krist's 10-0 record in 1941, his first full season, is the third best undefeated season ever and he still holds the National League record for the most wins in a season without a loss. He is arguably the best ball player to serve at Camp Croft because Krist had the highest won-lost percentage (he was 37-11, .771) of any 20th century pitcher with 40 or more decisions. Usually a reliever, "Spud" threw three shutouts in 1943, but a two-year army hitch ended his effectiveness -- he suffered a leg injury in Europe and spent most of 1945 in a hospital.  Krist pitched poorly after returning to the majors, playing six seasons with the Cardinals and ended his big league playing career in 1946. In died in 1989 in Buffalo, NY. 

You can find his stats at: http://www.baseball-reference.com/k/kristho01.shtml

Wilfrid "Lefty" Lefebvre (27th ITB), was born November 11, 1915 in Natick, Rhode Island, and, after graduation from Holy Cross in 1938, he quickly found himself in the starting lineup of the Boston Red Sox late in the season, hitting a home run his first time at bat against the Chicago White Sox. Sent to the minor leagues, Lefty played in San Francisco, Minneapolis, and Louisville until he returned to the Red Sox and later the Washington Senators. Although a pitcher, he developed an unusual batting eye and became one of the mainstays of the Senators club, playing in over 60 games with a batting average over .300. In 1944, as a first baseman, he led the American League in pinch hitting. He was drafted into the US Army in 1945. Inducted in Massachusetts, he was sent to Camp Croft for basic training and wound up staying for almost a year. As a former baseball star, Lefebrve received no special treatment or exemption from basic training, playing in the late afternoon after training had completed. Unfortunately, the officer in charge of the club knew little about baseball and had the men playing three games a week as well as practice, and "by the end of the season my arm was hanging," says Lefebrve. "They didn't even know what a rotated cuff was back then," he says, but the injury later proved to be the end of his playing career. After his discharge from the Army, he headed back to baseball full-time. Too late the join the Majors for the rest of the season, he entered spring training but the injury from Croft left him without much of an arm and his playing career ended after two full seasons with the Red Sox and 1-1/2 years with the Senators. Dusting off his college degree (BA - Education), Lefebrve taught Physical Education at an elementary school in Pawtuckett and eventually coached the Brown University baseball team for 20 years. He also scouted for the Red Sox. He passed away in January 2007.

For more on Lefty's baseball stats visit: http://www.baseball-reference.com/l/lefebbi01.shtml


Father James M ListonJames M Liston (Chaplain) was born on 16 September 1905 in Chicago, IL to parents who were Irish immigrants. He graduated from St. Mary of the Lake Seminary in 1931 and was ordained in the Roman Catholic Church. In Naperville, Illinois on 22 April 1942 Father James M. Liston entered the U.S. Army. He was given the rank of 1st Lt. and his service number was O-462733. His first assignment in 1942 was at Camp Croft, South Carolina. Later, orders came for Chaplain Liston to be assigned to duty in Iceland in late 1942 and by the end of January 1943 he found himself along with seven other chaplains sailing on the USS Henry R. Mallory bound for Iceland.  The convoy, the largest ever assembled during the war, was attacked by German U-Boats and the Mallory was struck by a torpedo and sank. Liston and five of the other chaplains were lost at sea.  Father Liston was awarded the Purple Heart posthumously and his name appears on a monument in Cambridge, England inscribed with the names of the men Missing in Action or Lost at Sea.

See also http://freepages.military.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~cacunithistories/HR_Mallory_Army_Stories.htm

William McChensney Martin, Jr. (B-39 ITB),  born December 17, 1906, St. Louis, Missouri, became the ninth and longest-serving Chairman of the United States Federal Reserve, serving from April 2, 1951 to January 31, 1970 under five Presidents. As a student at Yale University, he majored in English and Latin but maintained an interest in economics.  His first job after graduation was at the St. Louis brokerage firm of A. G. Edwards & Sons, where he became a full partner after only two years. From there Martin's rapid rise in the financial world landed him a seat on the New York Stock Exchange in 1931.  He eventually became president of the New York Stock Exchange at age 31, leading newspapers to label him the "boy wonder of Wall Street." Like his tenure as governor on the exchange, Martin's presidency focused on cooperating with the SEC to increase regulation of the stock exchange. During World War II, Martin was drafted from the exchange into the U.S. Army and was sent to Camp Croft for basic training. He was quite a celebrity during his time at the camp and stories frequently appeared in the local papers as well as the New York Times updating the public on his training to become an army private.  Click here to view an interesting informal letter Martin wrote regarding his stay at the camp (after 14 weeks).  After completion of basic training, he supervised the disposal of raw materials on the Munitions Allocation Board and was also a liaison between the Army and Congress and the supervisor of the lend-lease program with the Soviet Union. Returning to civilian life, he headed the Export-Import Bank before President Truman appointed him to the Chairman of the Fed.  He died in 1998 at the age of 91.


Cary Middlecoff"Doc" Cary Middlecoff (Dental Clinic) was born Emmett Cary Middlecoff on Jan 6, 1921 in Halls, Tennessee.  He received a degree from The University of Mississippi where he was the school's first golf All-American and became a dentist in Memphis.  Called to the Army during WWII, he worked for a period of time in the Dental Clinic at Camp Croft where he received an injury when a flying chip from a tooth struck him in the eye.  Narrowly avoiding losing his eye, and a future career, he recovered and served in other Army posts until the close of the war. Golf Digest claimed he had "... filled 12,093 teeth in 18 months in the Army before retiring to the pro tour."   Leaving the army, he also "retired" from dental practice to pursue a highly successful golfing career.  During his playing career he won 40 professional tournaments, including the 1955 Masters and U.S. Open titles in 1949 and 1956 and later developed a reputation as one of the best of the early golf television commentators. He won the Vardon Trophy for lowest scoring average in 1956. He played on three Ryder Cup teams: 1953, 1955, and 1959. In 1986, he was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame. He also appeared in two motion pictures as himself (Follow the Sun (1950) and The Bellboy (1960) and wrote a newspaper column, "The Golf Doctor." He also appeared in a short biographical sports documentary Golf Doctor (1947). Middlecoff died in September 1998 at the age of 77.

For more information on his golfing career see http://www.golfhousetennessee.com/fw/main/Dr_Cary_Middlecoff-413.html

Jimmie MONTEITH"Jimmie" W. Monteith (Basic) was born was born in Low Moor, Va., on July 1, 1917. The 6-foot-2-inch redhead was drafted into the Army in October 1941 and sent to Camp Croft, S.C., for basic training. Three months into his training, Monteith, who was promoted to corporal at Camp Croft, submitted the paperwork for officers' training school and learned of his acceptance in March 1942, when he was transferred to Ft. Benning, Ga., for the three-month course. By April 30, 1943, 1LT Monteith was at sea, and by May he had landed in Arzew, Algeria, as a member of the 1st Infantry Division, known as the "Big Red One," in Tunisia. He was part of Company L of the division's 16th Infantry.  Having fought through Sicily and Italy, the 1st Division was transferred to England in anticipation of the invasion of France.  Monteith landed on Omaha Beach in the first wave of attack on June 6th, 1944. He was killed that day in action and was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his heroic efforts. 

For more information visit: http://www.ww2lhawebpages.com/THEFIRSTDIVISION/HEROES_JMONTEITH.html

Comedian Zero Mostel Zero Mostel (39th ITB), was born Samuel Joel Mostel on February 28, 1915 in Brooklyn, New York, the son of Jewish immigrants. Mostel enrolled in the City College of New York. This was followed by a year at New York University. In 1937 Mostel joined the Federal Art Project (part of the Works Projects Administration) and taught art at the 92nd Street Young Men and Young Women's Hebrew Association. He also gave lectures at various museums. Mostel talks were very humorous and he was soon being invited to perform at private parties and local clubs. It was during this period that a press agent at one of the clubs gave him the nickname Zero because he was a "guy who's started from nothing". Mostel joined the United States Army in 1943 but was discharged because of an unspecified physical disability. For the rest of the Second World War Mostel entertained American troops overseas.  In the 1950s he was blacklisted as a communist (though he denied affiliation with the party), but made a comeback in the 1960s that carried him to three Tony Awards: Rhinoceros (1961), A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1963), and Fiddler on the Roof (1965). Notable film appearances include The Producers (1967) and The Front (1976), in which he played a blacklisted comedian. His son Josh Mostel is also an actor. He died in 1977.
For more on his film and stage career visit: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0609216/

Frank Charles Osmers, Jr. (Basic), a Representative from New Jersey; born in Leonia, Bergen County, N.J., December 30, 1907; attended the public schools and Williams College, Williamstown, Mass.; engaged in the jewelry business; member of the Haworth, N.J., Borough Council 1930-1934; mayor of Haworth, N.J., in 1935 and 1936; member of the State house of assembly 1935-1937; elected as a Republican to the Seventy-sixth and to the Seventy-seventh Congress (January 3, 1939-January 3, 1943); while a member of the Seventy-seventh Congress enlisted as a private and was [sent to Camp Croft for basic training, after which he was] graduated from the Infantry School at Fort Benning, Ga., as a second lieutenant; placed on inactive list by Presidential directive and finished his term in Congress;  went on active duty as a second lieutenant in the Seventy-seventh Infantry Division on January 4, 1943, transferred to the Twenty-fourth Corps and served in the Pacific, and was discharged on February 22, 1946; major in Officers’ Reserve Corps; resumed his former business pursuits; also interested in real estate, insurance, and publishing businesses; elected as a Republican to the Eighty-second Congress, by special election, November 6, 1951, to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Harry L. Towe; reelected to the six succeeding Congresses and served from November 6, 1951, to January 3, 1965; unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1964 to the Eighty-ninth Congress; unsuccessful candidate for election in 1966 to the Ninetieth Congress; executive administrator, Bergen County, N.J., 1968-1970; engaged in real estate business in Englewood, N.J.; resided in Tenafly, N.J., where he died May 21, 1977; interment in Brookside Cemetery, Englewood, N.J. -- from the Biographical Directory of the US Congress

Bobby Reeves Bobby Reeves (Headquarters Detachment) was born Robert Edwin Reeves on June 24, 1904 in Hill City, Tennessee.  As a Georgia Tech baseball player, he became the only Tech player to hit three home runs in a game twice (Auburn in '24 and Alabama in '26) and he was the captain of the team that captured the 1926 Southern Conference Championship.  Starting his major league career in 1926 with the Washington Senators, "Gunner" established an American League record with 13 assists at shortstop in a nine-inning game.  In 1928, by far his best offensive season, he was one of six Senators regulars to hit over .300.  He was traded to the Boston Red Sox at the end of 1928 and ended his big league playing career in 1931.  As an officer in the US Army during WWII, Reeves was stationed for a time at Camp Croft and was assigned to the property office.  He was inducted into the Georgia Tech Hall of Fame in 1985 and passed away in Chattanooga, TN on June 4, 1993.  

You can find his stats at: http://www.baseball-reference.com/r/reevebo01.shtml

Jim TaborJim R. Tabor (B-33 Basic, B-38 cadre) AKA "Rawhide" was born November 5, 1916 on a farm a mile south of Owens Cross Roads near New Hope, Alabama. He was on that first Owens Cross Roads basketball team, and later became the first All-State basketball player from New Hope High School.  He attended the University of Alabama on a basketball scholarship in 1934 but left school in 1936 when he signed a $5,000 baseball contract with the Boston Red Sox.  Spending two seasons in the minor leagues, Tabor played for Little Rock and Minneapolis.  In his first professional at-bat, he hit a grand slam home run in Little Rock off future Hall of Famer Bob Feller during a 1937 exhibition game.  He was called up to the major leagues with the Red Sox along with Ted Williams in 1939.  That year, he hit .289 in 149 games, driving in 95 runs and hitting 14 home runs, and tying two major league records.  In a July 4th game (the second of a doubleheader against the Athletics), he hit four home runs, two of them grand slam homers.  After a brief stint in the US Army during 1944 and 1945, Tabor ended his major league career with the Philadelphia Phillies in 1947.  A strong armed third baseman, he had a lifetime batting average of .279, with 104 homers and 598 RBI.  He died on August 22, 1953 of congestive heart failure in Sacramento, California at an age of just 37 years old.

You can find his stats at: http://www.baseball-reference.com/t/taborji01.shtml

"Jimmie" Webster (B-30 ITB)  James Donart Webster was born August 11, 1908 in Van Wert Ohio. He is a direct descendant of Daniel Webster on his father's side, and of John Quincy Adams on his mother's. More importantly to the music world, Jimmie was the first known guitarist to tap on a guitar with both hands, producing bass lines, chords and melodies simultaneously.  He wrote an instruction book entitled "Touch System for Electric and Amplified Spanish Guitar" that was published in 1952 by the Wm. J. Smith Co, Inc of New York, NY.  He was an accomplished bandleader and entertained troops in USOs before being drafted into the army in February of 1942. He was stationed for a time at Camp Croft, probably for basic training, and later served in Iceland.  He died on April 11, 1978 in Long Island, NY.

For a neat site dedicated to Jimmie visit http://sites.google.com/site/jimmiewebster/

Hoyt Wilhelm (Inductee)   In 1942, Hoyt Wilhelm had just graduated from high school, and was flush with a successful year with Mooresville of the Class D North Carolina State League. He went 10-3, but his baseball career was put on hold when he was called to military service in November of that year. Wilhelm rose to the rank of staff sergeant, in charge of a heavy machine gun section in the 395th Infantry Regiment, 99th Infantry Division. Early in 1945, Wilhelm and his men endured a German artillery barrage near Cologne. One shell sheared off a tree about two feet wide. “The tree wasn’t too far from me,” Wilhelm told writer George Vass in 1969. “When the shell hit it, fragments sprayed all over the place. I thought I was a goner.” Wilhelm and three of his men were wounded by shrapnel. After the war, Wilhelm returned to baseball, toiling for another seven years in the minors. He was 29 when finally made the Giants big league roster. A late bloomer, he appeared in an amazing 71 games as a rookie reliever, amassing an impressive 15-3 record and 2.43 ERA. Over his 20-year career, he won 143 games and saved 227. He compiled a 2.52 ERA while pitching for nine different teams. As a Baltimore Oriole in 1958, he pitched a no-hitter against the Yankees. He was an All-Star five times, starting in 1953 and ending in 1970 when he was 48 years old, and he was the first relief pitcher elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame (1985)

Major Richard Winters, USA
Richard Winters (Basic, Cadre, Co. Commander)
was born in Lancaster, Pa., on January 21, 1918 and spent his formative years in eastern Pennsylvania. Graduating from Franklin-Marshall College in June 1941 as a business major, Winters volunteered for military service. His intent was to spend the mandatory one year in the Army, then return to civilian life to pursue a private career. Following his induction in August, he spent his basic combat training at Camp Croft, where he was stationed when he received word of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Winters remained at Croft on cadre duty and eventually applied for Officer Candidate School and arrived at Fort Benning, where he graduated in July 1942 as a second lieutenant of infantry. He returned to Croft and spent five weeks as a training officer while awaiting his assignment to Company E. 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division.  Then 1LT Winters assumed temporary command of the Company during the early phases of the airborne assault on D-Day. Leading what amounted to a squad, Winters and his men killed 15 German soldiers, wounded many more, and taken 12 prisoners.  He and his company became the subject of historian Stephen E. Ambrose's Band of Brothers and an HBO series based on the book.

More on Major Winters can be found on the Army Magazine web site at :

Other Notables:

Marte Bate (D-31 ITB)  Stage & television actor (1913 - 1999)

Ben Benson (Cadre)   Mystery writer

Dale Boatman (Basic)   Renowned free-lance and commercial artist

Charles Champlin (Basic)  Columnist and film critic for the Los Angeles Times, journalist for Time and Life magazines

John Cheever (Basic)  Novelist and short story writer for the New Yorker magazine

Michael J. "Mike" Codd (30th ITB)  NYC Police Commissioner

Bernard Dargols (Basic) As a member of the 23rd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Division was the only French man to have fought in Normandy under the American uniform.

Johnny Collins  Guitarist with the Duke Ellington Trio

Lovill "Chubby" Dean  Cleveland Indians southpaw pitcher

Peter Paul Fuchs  Austrian-born conductor and composer, best known for his conducting appointments with American orchestras and for his teaching.

James M. Geraghty (37th ITB)  Art Editor for the New Yorker magazine from 1939 until 1973

Rudolf Goehr German-born composer and arranger who became a US citizen while at Croft

Harry Gross  Infamous New York bookmaker and gambler

Clayton Heafner (Induction Center)  Ryder Cup champion golfer from North Carolina

Mel Himes  Pitcher for the St Paul Saints

Murray Keshner  (31st ITB) Fine artist (primarily watercolor) and former Art Director for the Funk and Wagnalls Publishing

Albert A Krochka  Regimental photographer of the 501st PIR and college class mate of Maj. Dick Winters (1918 - 1993)

Clem Labine  WWII Paratrooper and three-time World Series champion with the Brooklyn Dodgers

Paul Marion  Screen actor appearing in over 80 films from 1939 to 1955, from Bronx, NY

Prince Menedez  Magician (and guest on the first episode of Howdy Doody!

David Reid  First director of the Spartanburg Little Theatre and namesake of the David Reid Playhouse (formerly located in the Croft area.

Nelson Riddle Arranger and orchestrator whose career spanned from the late 1940s until the early 1980

Lew Riggs (Induction Center) Third baseman for the St. Louis Cardinals (1934), Cincinnati Reds (1935–40) and Brooklyn Dodgers (1941–42 and 1946). He helped the Cardinals win the 1934 World Series, the Reds win the 1939 National League pennant and 1940 World Series and the Dodgers win the 1941 NL pennant. He was named to the 1936 National League All-Star team.

Joseph Rockis (50 ITB)  Officer who served with distinction in the China-Burma-India theater and later head of the Historical Division in the office of the Chief of US Army Field Forces

Dr. Frank Stelling  President of the medical staff at Greenville General Hospital and also served as chief surgeon for Shriner's Hospital in Greenville, SC

Hans Vigeland  Internationally acclaimed organist and arranger

Fred Wolfe  Brother of author Thomas Wolfe and central figure in "Look Homeward Angel"

Thomas D. Young  When drafted in Jan 1944, Young was the head football coach of University of North Carolina