Maury White expected to go to Hawaii with the Drake University team for a postseason game with the University of Hawaii scheduled for December 6. (It was dropped because of "world conditions".) White's father was editor of a small-town Iowa weekly and died when Maury was 17. For two years White and his mother and sisters kept the Manilla Times (circ. 1,000) going. When it began to show a profit he went to Drake and played halfback three years with the Bulldogs.
The football season was over by the time Vice-Admiral Nagumo was ready to strike. The task force was 230 miles north of Pearl Harbor. The time was 6 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 7, when 183 planes were launched—49 horizontal bombers, 51 dive bombers, 40 torpedo planes, 43 fighters. They flew into the bright morning sunlight at 9,000 to 15,000 feet and, beginning at 7:55 a.m., dropped their bombs, leaving 2,403 dead. Endicott Peabody was at the Giant-Dodger football game at the Polo Grounds in New York when he heard the news. "It was a pretty somber experience," he said. Bill Dudley was watching the Washington Redskins play at Griffith Stadium when the loudspeaker began calling government officials, and thousands of military personnel at the game were ordered to report. Loyal Combs, at Purdue, was on his way to church; Arthur Harrison, at Tufts, was having breakfast in the school cafeteria; Fred Kirby was at the point of mounting his horse at Morristown, N.J. for a cross-country ride; and Oliver Jackson, at Abilene Christian, was playing dominoes in the dormitory when the news came over the radio that Pearl Harbor had been bombed.
Like millions of others, they went to war. For the men at West Point and Annapolis the transition was fast: Raymond Murphy left the academy for the China- Burma- India theater, where he was assigned to the British 14th Army; Bill Busik served on the destroyer Shaw through most of the war. The medical men went on with their training, though now in the services: Dr. Biggs at Harvard for the Navy Medical Corps, Dr. Loyal Combs at Marquette for the same and Dr. Robert Pinck at Duke for the Army Medical Corps and service in postwar Germany.
The bowl games were pretty grim after Pearl Harbor. Because of fear of attack on the West Coast, the Rose Bowl was moved to Durham, N.C., where Duke lost to Oregon State 20-16. Duke Captain Robert Barnett, going into the Marine Corps after graduation, emerged at the war's end as a major. William Crawford went with Texas Christian to the Orange Bowl (TCU lost to Georgia 40-26) and then enlisted in the Navy. Most of the men of this college generation, in fact, enlisted after Pearl Harbor, but generally were not inducted until after graduation in the spring. The brilliant Charles Milton Pearson left Dartmouth to become a Navy dive-bomber pilot. He was in action at Truk, Tinian, Saipan, Ponape and elsewhere, and lost his life diving on a Japanese destroyer in the Palau campaign.
Bill Dudley was in the Army Air Corps, flying B-29 bombers in the South Pacific. Malcom Smith, a Marine lieutenant, won the Silver Star at Saipan: he crawled out under fire and rescued the company commander, a brother of Under Secretary of State Nicholas Katzenbach. Smith was also the platoon leader of an outfit whose demolition expert was an actor named Lee Marvin. Fred Harrison went from Yale to become a captain in the field artillery. The Eggers twins, for the first time in their lives, were separated, Paul becoming a major and Arthur a captain in the Air Corps. At the end of the war Bob Peters was a captain in the 13th Armored Division, Endicott Peabody a naval lieutenant in submarine service and Oliver Jackson an Air Corps captain. All told, 14 of the award winners were in the Navy, nine in the Army and the remainder in the Marines and the Coast Guard.
None of these sudden transitions to new careers had much to do with landing on the moon. But a life of such rapid changes conditioned an entire generation to expect anything—to regard remote possibilities and vague conjectures as possible happenings in the immediate future no matter how fantastic they had appeared shortly before. Two decades after their military duty the award winners were well established in their own careers, substantial citizens in the classic American pattern, with the intangible difference that they were also characterized by a matter-of-fact acceptance of developments in science and world affairs unthinkable in earlier times. Sudden death had taken a lot of their generation. Three of the men of the Duke team that played in the Rose Bowl were killed in action. Frank Szalay, establishing a tractor business in San Diego after the war, died as he was gaining a more than local reputation as an inspired and dedicated director of children's recreation.
Now in their early middle years, they are active in civic works of one kind or another: fund-raisers for Negro colleges, like Robert Peters; builders of churches, like Paul Eggers; and hospital trustees, like Arthur Harrison. They are leaders of charity fund drives and, like William Geyer and Fred Kirby, outstanding fund-raisers for their colleges. Many of them are in politics. Dudley is in the Virginia House of Delegates. Arthur Eggers is a county prosecuting attorney in Washington state. Dan Walton, after serving as district attorney in Houston, became a Texas criminal district court judge. Jack Olson last month was elected lieutenant-governor of Wisconsin, a post he had held formerly, and Endicott Peabody, who had served a term as governor of Massachusetts, was defeated for the U.S. Senate.
Some developed their own businesses. Peters returned to Kingsport and organized Clinchfield Supply Company. But for a good many of the members of this generation the turbulent changes of the time took place within their own professions. Dr. Max Biggs moved on from the study of medical physics to research among the accelerators and reactors at the Lawrence Radiation Laboratories. Dr. Robert Pinck returned after hospital work in Germany during the Berlin airlift to head the Department of Radiology at Long Island College Hospital. Captain Custer Krickenberger, after working on the Alaska Highway and serving as a Navy underwater-demolition expert, is on the staff of Admiral Roy Johnson, Commander in Chief of the Pacific Fleet.
Sometimes the returning veterans were involved in fast-growing postwar industry, like Robert Barnett, who became vice-president of Atlas Chemical Industries in Wilmington, Del., and William Crawford, who became first president of Panther Chemical, a Texas Refinery Corporation subsidiary in Fort Worth. And occasionally they became figures in industrial history, like Fred Kirby, who emerged from the struggle of Alleghany Corporation as chairman of the board of Investors Diversified Services, the biggest financial house of its kind. Malcolm Smith became president of Argus Cameras Inc., Paul Eggers an attorney in Wichita Falls, Texas. Arnold Soloway, after serving as a governmental economic adviser, became the head of Jamaicaway Development Co., a New England realty firm. Maury White returned from Navy duty in the Pacific to become a sportswriter and editor of the
Des Moines Register and Tribune. Arthur Harrison taught high school history, then went into business, becoming president-treasurer of a big Ohio industrial-sand combine.
More often, however, the men of this generation retained connections with their colleges either as teachers or directors. Captain Busik served as director of athletics at the Naval Academy and is now commander of Destroyer Squadron 25, Pacific Fleet. Colonel Raymond Murphy became athletic director at West Point before becoming a deputy director in the office of assistant chief of staff for force development in the Pentagon. Oliver Jackson, in his 15 years as track coach at Abilene Christian, made the school world-famous with Olympic gold-medal winners such as Bobby Morrow and Earl Young. Fred Harrison became director of athletics (and a history instructor) at his old school, Phillips Academy. Noah Langdale taught mathematics at the University of Georgia and practiced law before becoming the head of fast-growing Georgia State University at Atlanta.