Happy 100th Birthday Colonel Ben Skardon! #ClemsonRing
Colonel Ben graduated Clemson as the class of 1938, but more important served in World War II. Not only did he serve, but he was a prisoner of war where he did something that seemed so insignificant but has left a tremendous legacy.
As a prisoner of war, he took part in the Bataan Death March,
“which began on April 9, 1942, was the forcible transfer by the Imperial Japanese Army of 60-80,000 Filipino and American prisoners of war after the three-month Battle of Bataan in the Philippines during World War II. All told, approximately 2,500–10,00 Filipino and 100-650 American prisoners of war died before they could reach Camp O’Donnell.”
“The 80 mi march was characterized by wide-ranging physical abuse and murder, and resulted in very high fatalities inflicted upon prisoners and civilians alike by the Japanese Army, and was later judged by an Allied military commission to be a Japanese war crime.”
But what makes this story so fascinating is that his Clemson Ring was the one thing that helped saved his life. He used that ring while a prisoner of war to “buy” food in order to survive. He traded it for rice, the nourishment necessary to stay alive.
Each year he travels to White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico to take part the Bataan Memorial Death March. This year he walked eight and a half miles through the unforgiving New Mexico desert, with temperatures reaching 90 degrees, and refused to stop until he matched his distance from the previous nine years.
Thank you for your leadership and Happy 100! Your story has captivated and inspired a whole nation! #Clemson #ClemsonRing #batandeathmarch #Canon #20D
Other stories I have written about Col. Ben Skardon:
1) The Clemson Ring, The Bataan Death March, & Col. Ben Skardon
2) Military Appreciation Day at Clemson – Col. Ben Skardon