Written by Daniel Ruggiero, compiled by the Crandon Clark Scholars in conjunction with the Rutgers Oral History Archives
On June 25, 1950, a North Korean surprise attack on South Korea initiated a three-year armed conflict that pitted the forces of the United Nations, led by the United States, against the Communist forces of North Korea and China, ending only in an uneasy truce on a divided Korean Peninsula. The terms "War," "Conflict," and "Police Action" have been applied to the clash, but none so telling as the often used "Forgotten War." The sixtieth anniversary of the beginning of the Korean War is undoubtedly an appropriate time to examine and remember the service rendered to our nation by Rutgers men and women in this too often overlooked struggle.
Founded as Queens College in 1766, now the eighth oldest university in the United States, Rutgers University has produced graduates who have served in uniform during every conflict involving the United States. As of 2010, over seven hundred alumni and University faculty and staff have been identified as having served in the military during the Korean War era (defined as June 1950 through the end of 1953). Eighteen Rutgers alumni have been identified as having died during this period as a result of their military service. The details of their lives and fates appear in the entries below.
Members of Rutgers classes dating back as early as the 1910s and 1920s and as recently as the early 1960s served during the Korean War. Participation during the war ran the gamut from stateside Reserve service to frontline combat. Rutgers men and women served in all branches of the military, in active and Reserve roles. Duties ranged from serving in the Pentagon in Washington, DC, to guarding North Korean prisoners near the battlefront.
The Crandon Clark Scholars have been researching and documenting Rutgers' role in the Korean War era since 2003, when Crandon F. Clark, Rutgers College Class of 1944, established the scholarship program, which assists Rutgers undergraduates working with the Rutgers Oral History Archives. Mr. Clark, a World War II veteran, recognized the need to identify and honor those who served in the military and died during the Korean War, just as those in the Second World War and Vietnam War had been at the University.
Over the course of the past year, I have been able to compile and analyze my own data, as well as review the information collected by previous Crandon Clark Scholars. My research found me scouring newspaper archives, most notably the Asbury Park Press, and the New York Times, for information related to Rutgers alumni during the Korean War. Alumni biographical files preserved by the Special Collections and University Archives unit at Alexander Library also provided valuable information about those who were lost and who had served. I utilized the Rutgers University yearbooks, such as the Scarlet Letter, to find basic information on many men researched and the Rutgers Alumni Monthly offered many contemporary updates as to the whereabouts of Rutgers students and alumni serving in the military during the war years. I made use of many Internet-based resources and made contact with archivists at the US Naval Academy and Aviation Archaeology Investigation & Research, a business dedicated to preserving records of military air crashes. University ROTC rosters were particularly helpful in determining which students received military training and officer's commissions. The Rutgers Oral History Archives' interviews and personal conversations with Korean War veterans also offered significant leads.
I wish to thank all of the people who have made this work possible, particularly Mr. Crandon F. Clark, RC '44, for his vision in establishing the scholarship, the previous Crandon Clark Scholars, the Rutgers Living History Society and Sandra Stewart Holyoak, the Director of the Rutgers Oral History Archives. A special thanks to all of the Korean War veterans, who were forgotten for too long.
Soloman A. Bachrach '40
(b. January 8, 1920, Weehawken, NJ- d. September 1951, Kaochang-ni, Korea)
49th Field Artillery Battalion (105MM), 7th Infantry Division
Soloman served for four years in World War II. He was recalled to active duty in September 1950 and sent to Korea in March of 1951. Lieutenant Bachrach served as an air-ground controller with the 49th Field Artillery Battalion, 7th Infantry Division. He was reported missing-in-action in September of 1951, while flying in an AT-6D Mosquito (s/n 42-44610) observation aircraft; it crash-landed near Kaochang-ni, killing him and his pilot. The Rutgers Alumni Monthly states that he was listed as missing in action, and his family was notified of his death on Sept. 4, 1951
From the Scarlet Letter Yearbook: "Sol. Arthur Bachrach who resides at 16 Oak Street Weehawken, New Jersey, was born on January 8, 1920, in that city. He is a member of Tau Delta Phi fraternity and is serving his house as quaestor.
Enrolled in the curriculum of business administration, 'Backy' expects to enter the business world upon graduation. His favorite pastime is watching Rutgers athletic events. His activities include 150-pound football manager-ship, junior varsity basketball, and Senior Class Cabinet."
Awards: Purple Heart, Korean Service Medal, UN Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal and the Korean War Service Medal.
David F. Bascom '51
(b. August 19, 1931- d. September 17, 1953, Virginia Beach, VA)
US Navy/Navy Air Corps
Navy Attack Squadron Twenty-Five (VFA-25)
David was killed when his AD-4 Skyraider (s/n 123856) suffered a structural failure and failed to come out of a dive over the Atlantic during a series of rocket launching maneuvers near Oceana Naval Air Station. He enlisted in the Navy Air Corps at the start of his junior year in September 1951.
George J. Buckley '49
(b. June 28, 1922, Arlington, NJ- d. December 16, 1950, Un Gang Bu, South Korea)
Company G, Second Battalion, 19th Infantry Regiment, 24th Infantry Division
George served with the US Marine Corps during World War II and spent three years and nine months in the South Pacific, being discharged with the rank of staff sergeant. George entered Rutgers after being discharged in 1945. He enrolled in Advanced ROTC training and accepted a regular Army commission after graduation in 1949. After a year of additional training in the US, he was shipped to Japan and eventually to Korea shortly after the outbreak of hostilities in the Far East.
According to the Rutgers Alumni Monthly, he was, "placed in charge of 100 ROK's with no previous experience, and used combat hand signals to communicate." Lieutenant Buckley died of "other causes" on December 16, 1950 near Un Gang Bu, South Korea. The Rutgers Alumni Monthly shows conflicting birth locations and death dates. (The RAM states his birth date and location as 6/29/22 in Perth Amboy, died 12/4/50.)
Awards: World War II Victory Medal, Combat Infantryman's Badge, Korean Service Medal, UN Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Korean Presidential Unit Citation, Republic of Korea War Service Medal.
George William Bunn '52
(b. December 5, 1925, Englewood, NJ- d. December 31, 1953)
US Air Force
Eighth Bombardment Squadron, Third Bombardment Wing
George William Bunn enlisted in the USAAF in September 1943, later attaining the rank of staff sergeant in the 13th Air Force. He was discharged in November 1946. George attended Irving School in Tarrytown, N.Y., for one year prior to entering Rutgers in the chemistry curriculum. He served as a crew member of a B-26B Invader (s/n 41-39379) with the Eighth Bomber Squadron, Third Bomber Group. Contact with his aircraft was lost on January 8, 1951. George was listed as missing-in-action and presumed dead on 12/31/53.
Awards: World War II: Air Medal and Purple Heart. Korea: Korean Service Medal, United Nations Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Korean Presidential Unit Citation, Republic of Korea Service Medal.
John Clendinning III '49
(b. 1926, Essex County, NJ – d. December 18, 1951 Korea)
17th Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division
John served in World War II, and upon his return, he received a commission in ROTC at graduation. He was a second lieutenant with the Seventh Infantry Division. He received wounds to his lung in Korea on December 10, 1951, after four days in combat, and only seven days in Korea. The Asbury Park Press contained several articles about Clendinning's death and corpsman John Duff who attended to him. Corpsman Duff arrived to meet Clendinning's family in August of 1952.
From the Scarlet Letter Yearbook: "Clendinning, John III, Nutley, NJ, Mech. Eng. Scabbard and Blade, 3, Vice President, 4; Chi Psi, treasurer; Military Ball Committee' Army Air Corps, A.S.M.E. 4; Booster Club 1, 2; Rifle and Pistol Club 2, 4, R.O.T.C. 3, 4; J.V. Cross Country 2."
Awards: Purple Heart, Combat Infantryman's Badge, Korean Service Medal, United Nations Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Korean Presidential Unit Citation, Republic of Korea War Service.
Alan Bogart Cooper '47
(b. Riverton, NJ – d. January 3, 1952, Bappu, Japan)
Lieutenant Cooper attended the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis from 1945 to 1949. He was assigned to the cruiser USS Rochester. According to a letter written by his father, Lieutenant Cooper was struck and killed by a train at a railroad station in Bappu, Japan, on January 3, 1952. According to Naval Academy records, his hometown is listed as Riverton, NJ, and his religion as Dutch Reformed. Cooper was appointed to the Naval Academy by Representative D. Lane Powers.
Wilbur Smith Darby '40
(b. September 27, 1918 – d. October 24, 1952, Korea)
US Air Force
6148th Tactical Control Squadron, 6147th Tactical Control Group
Wilbur served with the USAAC in India during World War II and flew 89 missions as a bombardier and navigator on a B-24 Liberator. In 1944, flying his last combat mission, his aircraft was one of only twelve to return. He received the Distinguished Flying Cross for sinking a Japanese freighter.
He reenlisted after World War II as an instructor and, in June of 1952, was sent to Korea where he was a pilot of an AT-6G Mosquito (s/n 49-3564) forward air control aircraft with the 6147th Tactical Control Group. He flew twenty-one missions with reconnaissance units. He was shot down on October 24, 1952, after evaluating damage from a bombing raid. Captain Darby's "back seater," Sergeant Ray L. Servatius, bailed out of the stricken aircraft and became a POW. He published his account of the incident in the March 2004 issue of the Idaho National Guard Society's newsletter. In commemoration of the Korean War, a memorial plaque was dedicated by the Rutgers Air Force ROTC in memory of Captain Darby on June 25, 2002, in front of Old Queens on the Rutgers Queens Campus in New Brunswick, NJ.
From the Scarlet Letter Yearbook: "Wilbur Smith Darby is a physical education major who is looking forward to teaching. He has emphasized sports throughout his college career. For four years, he played 150-pound football and lacrosse and was on the swimming team. He played one year of freshman and varsity water polo. 'Fuzzy' is a member of the Varsity and Physical Education Clubs.
An Alpha Kappa Pi, he has lived at the fraternity house while on campus. His home is at 1032 Byron Avenue, Elizabeth, N.J."
Awards: World War II: Distinguished Flying Cross, World War II Victory Medal. Korea: Air Medal with Oak Leaf Clusters, Purple Heart, Korean Service Medal, Presidential Unit Citation, United Nations Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Republic of Korea War Service Medal.
Henry Ridgeway Fell '31
(b. October 3, 1908 – d. August 21, 1951, Camp McCoy, Iowa)
US Army Reserve
103rd Infantry Division
Henry Ridgeway Fell graduated from Rutgers in 1931 and subsequently attended the General Theological Seminary of New York. Several of his relatives attended Rutgers, starting with his Grandfather, J. Ridgeway Fell, Class of 1869. He served at St. Mary's Church in Keyport, NJ, and the Trinity Protestant Episcopal Church at Ottumwa, Iowa. He enlisted in the US Army as a Chaplain following Pearl Harbor and served with the Seventh Army in the European Theater. Fell landed at Utah Beach, and was also present for the liberation of Paris. After World War II, Henry, or "Hank," as the Rutgers Alumni Monthly referred to him, returned to his church duties and, in 1947, he and his wife had a son, Henry Fell, III.
Henry died of a heart attack during maneuvers with the 103rd Infantry Division at Camp McCoy, Iowa, on August 21, 1951. According to the Iowa Gold Star Military Museum, the 103rd Infantry Division was a Federal Reserve unit. Rutgers University was informed of his death in a letter penned by one of Henry's sisters, Mrs. Bettie Henry Galt Siegust, in the Spring of 1952.
Awards: Bronze Star, Ribbons for American Theater, Victory, Occupation of Germany, 5 Battle Stars, Bronze Arrowhead.
Benjamin E. Ford '44
(b. 1922, Washington, NJ – d. October 1951, Hijinhyon, North Korea)
Company L, Third Battalion, Fifth Regimental Combat Team
Benjamin served with the infantry for two-and-a-half years during World War II. He was wounded January 30, 1945, in France. Mr. Ford reverted to inactive status in December 1946. He was recalled to active duty as a first lieutenant in February 1951, and left for Korea in September 1951. In Korea, he was a member of Company L, Third Battalion, Fifth Regimental Combat Team. He was killed-in-action after three days of action while fighting the enemy near Hijinhyon, North Korea. He was hit by enemy artillery fire while reorganizing his men.
Awards: World War II Victory Medal, Silver Star, Bronze Star, Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Cluster, Combat Infantryman's Badge (two awards), Korean Service Medal, United Nations Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Korean Presidential Unit Citation, Republic of Korea War Service Medal.
Martin F. Gould '51
(d. March 14, 1952, Kinston S.C.)
US Air Force
3308th Training Squadron
Gould was killed in a plane crash near Kinston, NC, on March 14, 1952. His aircraft, a T-6D Texan, (s/n 42-44703) crashed and burned due to engine failure during flight instruction. Martin and his flight instructor both perished in the crash.
From the Scarlet Letter Yearbook: "Martin F. Gould, Jr., Morristown, NJ, Psychology, Gamma Sigma, Psi Chi (3,4) General Scholarship, Deans List, (1,2) Freshman Tennis: Commuters Club (1); Booster Club (3,4); Psychology Society (3,4) Intramural Softball, Basketball, Bowling, Football."
Robert J. Heinrich '53
(b. December 23, 1930, New York, NY- d. December 2, 1953)
Robert was born on December 23, 1930, in New York City. He died December 2, 1953, in Japan due to a severe illness. According to the Rutgers Alumni Monthly, Robert served with the infantry in Korea. A letter from his mother explains that Heinrich, "got sick in Japan, sick for one year, [and] suffered terribly." He died at twenty-two years of age.
Charles A. Lipphardt '43
(b. Middlesex County, NJ – d. February 13, 1951, South Korea)
38th Infantry Regiment, Second Infantry Division
A veteran of World War II, Charles served with an infantry regiment in the South Pacific. He reverted to inactive status on June 17, 1946, with the rank of first lieutenant. He returned to active duty in September of 1950. Charles was killed-in-action while fighting the enemy in South Korea.
From the Scarlet Letter Yearbook: "Charles A. Lipphardt, Agriculture, Scarlet Barbs, 659 Dorian Road, Westfield, NJ. Charlie to some, Lipp to others, but a friend to all alike, Lipp has shown that leadership is an ability found only in champions. Not only has he put forth his utmost effort in his curriculum, but he has shown much talent in his extra-curricular activities. He looks on life from the brighter side and always has a pleasant word for those about him. Football (1); Swimming (1); R.O.T.C. Cadet First Lieutenant."
Awards: Purple Heart, Combat Infantryman's Badge, Korean Service Medal, United Nations Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Korean War Service Medal.
Robert A. Longstaff '45
(b. August 24, 1923, Jersey City, NJ – d. December 4, 1950, Sinhung-ni Korea)
US Marine Corps
Marine Observation Squadron 6 (VMO-6), First Marine Division
Robert enlisted in the Marines during his freshman year and served in World War II as a dive-bomber pilot with the rank of second lieutenant. He reenlisted after his discharge in 1946 and became a helicopter pilot in the first squadron to be formed. In September of 1950, he was awarded the Silver Star for flying behind enemy lines to rescue a fighter pilot and two wounded companions. He was shot down and killed on December 4, 1950, while evacuating wounded from Sinhung-ni, Korea. A patrol sent out by the Third Battalion, Fifth Marines recovered his body.
Awards: World War II: Distinguish Flying Cross, Air Medal with Two Clusters. Korea: United Nations Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Korean War Service Medal.
Howard C. Sayre, Jr. '51
(d. December 10, 1953, Mt. Spurr Alaska)
US Air Force
10th Air Division, 66th Fighter Interceptor Squadron
Officially declared dead on December 10, 1953, Lieutenant Sayre's aircraft, an F-94 Starfire (s/n 50-900A), was reported missing in the vicinity of Mt. Spurr, Alaska, on November 10, 1953, while on a practice intercept mission. His aircraft was never located despite an extensive search and he was declared killed one month later. Howard had been serving as a navigator and radar observer near at Elmendorf Air Force Base in Alaska since July of 1953.
From the Scarlet Letter Yearbook: "Howard C. Sayre Jr. Trenton, NJ, Pomology. Alpha Sigma Phi; Agriculture Club (2,3,4) Booster Club (1,2,3,4) Forestry Club (4); Hortus Club (2,3,4) Rifle & Pistol Club (1,2) Intramural Swimming."
Edmond E. Schuler '52
(d. January 22, 1953, Fort Dix, NJ)
Edmond Shuler graduated from Rutgers Business School with a Business Administration degree in 1952. He was inducted into the US Army in September of that same year. According to a brief article in the Daily Home News that appeared on January 27, 1953, Edmond "Died suddenly" at Fort Dix on January 22, 1953. He was twenty-three years old at the time of his death. According to the obituary, his brother, George, served in the USAF.
From the Scarlet Letter Yearbook: "Edmond E. Shuler, South Amboy, NJ, Business Administration, Intramurals; Crown Club; Italian Club; Bowling Club; Rifle & Pistol Club; Transfer Student, Monmouth Junior College."
Russel A. Sieder '53
(b. 1928, Elizabeth, NJ – d. April 16, 1953, Unjang-ni, North Korea)
Company C, First Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, Third Infantry Division
Russel served with the Army of Occupation in Japan in 1946 and 1947. In 1949, he matriculated at Rutgers, then, accepted a nomination to OCS and graduated as a second lieutenant at Fort Benning, GA, in May of 1952. Sieder served in the US and Japan before being sent to Korea. He was leading a patrol near Unjang-ni, North Korea, on April 16, 1953, when they encountered a superior enemy force. He courageously led his men until being mortally wounded by hostile machine-gun fire.
Awards: Silver Star, Purple Heart, Combat Infantryman's Badge, Korean Service Medal, United Nations Service Medal, Republic of Korea War Service Medal.
Anthony Sorrentino '51
(d. May 9, 1952, Cherry Point, N.C.)
US Marine Corps
Sorrentino, age twenty-three, was killed by a bolt of lightning on Friday, May 9, 1952, at Marine Air Base Cherry Point, NC. Cpl. Sorrentino had been attending a picnic with sixteen other Marines at the Slocum Creek Recreation area on the base. Fifteen Marines were injured in the incident, and one died. He graduated from Trenton High School and matriculated at Rutgers, majoring in Biology. He was a member of the Scarlet Barbs and the Chess Club. Sorrentino entered the Marine Corps in September of 1951, eventually attaining the rank of corporal.
From the Scarlet Letter Yearbook: "Anthony Sorrentino, Trenton, NJ, Biological Sciences, Scarlet Barbs council (4); Quad Club (4); Scarlet Barbs (4); Chess Club (4)."
Arnold Vey '53
(b. January 20, 1931, Caldwell, NJ – d. November 28, 1950, Chosin Reservoir, North Korea)
US Marine Corps
Private, First Class
Seventh Marine Regiment, First Marine Division
While in high school, Arnold entered the 21st Infantry Marine Reserve Battalion. Upon leaving the Reserve, he spent one term at Rutgers majoring in Business Administration. He rejoined his battalion when it was reactivated. Vey received basic training in California and qualified as a heavy mortar gunner before being sent to Korea. He was killed-in-action while engaged with the enemy at Chosin Reservoir on November 28, 1950.
Awards: Purple Heart, Combat Action Ribbon, Korean Service Medal, United Nations Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Korean Presidential Unit Citation, Republic of Korea War Service Medal.