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Class of 1943


I have not been active in alumni affairs, but in 1993, I attended my 50th class Reunion at Rutgers University. I was a Depression kid and couldn’t afford college, but I was admitted on a full tuition scholarship. One of the more sobering moments was a visit to the monument on campus dedicated to those of my class of 1943 that had been KIA in WWII.


Rutgers was a land grant college and had an Infantry ROTC program that was mandatory for the first two years. At the start of our 3rd year, we had the option of taking the advanced course for the next two years with the promise of a 2nd Lt commission upon graduation in the branch of service we chose. I was one of about 50 from my class that did.


But when America went to War, the rules were changed.. We were not given a choice of branch, we were all assigned to the Infantry. And we wouldn’t be commissioned upon upon graduation as promised, but rather would be admitted to Infantry OCS at Ft. Benning. If we successfully completed the intensive 3 month program, we would be commissioned 2nd Lts. Inf. About 40 of us from Rutgers made it through OCS., ten did not. Those classmates who did not measure up to the standards set by our Tactical Officer, were pulled out and sent to Infantry Replacement Centers with the rank of Corporal. Those of us from Rutgers that did make it, were commissioned 2nd Lts. Inf. on September 20, 1943. (There was a song we sang with bravado, while marching to our training area each day.) It was sung to the tune of “High Above Cayuga’s Waters,†an old college song. But the words we sang were: “High above the Chattahoochee, Near the Upatoy, Stands an old abandoned brick house, Benning School for Boys. Onward ever, backward never, Follow Me and Die. To the port of embarkation, Next of kin goodbye.â€


I show below, the inscription engraved on the campus Memoprial



I stand in the Grove of Remembrance, Silent.

Only the whisper of a breeze gently caressing the tall and stately trees

Disturbs the peace and serenity of my trance.

Through my reveroe and the swirling mist of memory

I hear the shuffle, shuffle, shuffle of marching feet

A gentle cadence, a steady beat.

Louder and louder, closer and closer it comes,

And through the mist I vaguely see

the 20 and 10 of “43

All are marching home.

(The names of 30 classmates follows)

No bugles proclaim their immortality.

No medals adorn their memory

In our hearts, we loved these men,

And in this grove we are all together again.

Who recalls the 20 and 10?

Only those who still remain.

And when We are gone who will remember them?

No one. No one

When the Angel of Death has called the roll of '43

And we are gone, save one

That man shall say:

"Oh Lord our God,

The class of '43

Some 300 men,

The Class of '43 is together again."


by Irv Pape - '43


Russ Cloer 43, Lt & Cpt. WWII survivor.