Clemson honors fallen soldiers at Scroll of Honor memorial
May 26—Plans are in place for a Sunday salute to one of Clemson University's hundreds of alumni who died while serving in the military — a list that includes several men from Aiken and adjoining counties.
Clemson Corps, described in promotional material as Clemson's premier military veteran alumni group, has plans to add a name to the Scroll of Honor, an on-campus memorial that was dedicated in April 2010. Harold C. Pearce, who grew up in Dillon County, is to have a stone etched with his name added to the scroll in a 4 p.m. event at Memorial Park, which is near Memorial Stadium. He served in the Army, starting in World War II, and was killed while serving as a military police officer in Korea in 1950, at age 25.
The Aiken County list of Clemson alumni who died while serving in the military currently includes David Lawrence Alexander Jr., Sailor Oswald Beard, Wilburn Harmon Creighton Jr., Henry Daniel Leitner, Edward Rollins Roberts and Joseph Lucas Ruzicka.
Barnwell County's sole representative is Daniel Willard Smith, and Edgefield County's contingent includes Benjamin Waldrep Anderson, Joseph Shelton Hough, Albert Ouzts Kemp and Roy Homer Shealy. Comprising Saluda County's group are William Matthew Able, Bedford Hayne Forrest, Carl Long, Joe Wise Padget, Henry Daniel Parkman and Claude Rothell.
Most of the deaths occurred in World War II, and the earliest currently listed among Aiken, Barnwell, Saluda and Edgefield counties was that of Edward Rollins Roberts, an Aiken resident who died in 1918 of pneumonia during World War I while serving in the Army. The most recent local casualty listed is Joseph Lucas Ruzicka, a North Augusta resident who served in the Air Force and was killed in action in Thailand in 1972.
The university was established in 1889 and has Air Force and Army ROTC programs. Pearce, who is to be memorialized Sunday, was originally buried as an "unknown," but reexamination and scientific testing led in 2019 to identification of his remains. He was buried with full military honors at Catfish Creek Baptist Church Cemetery near Latta, on Sept. 26, 2019, according to Clemson Corps.
Clemson's website, addressing military history, notes, "Clemson's proud tradition of military excellence dates back to its founding as a military school for cadets seeking the highest academic excellence. In 1916, ROTC was instituted under the National Defense Act, and in 1917 the entire senior class enlisted in World War I. This was the first of many collective acts of bravery exhibited by Clemson University students and alumni. To date, more than 10,000 Clemson alumni have served in the armed forces, and more than 490 have given their lives to secure the freedom of others."
Information on criteria for inclusion in the memorial is available via the Clemson Corps' website. Honorees, with few exceptions, "were in one of the armed services at the time of their death and were conducting their military duties," it notes.
"Those exceptions include a civilian reporter who worked closely with those in combat and died in an aircraft crash into the English Channel and two civilians who died years later as a result of injuries while on active duty. Several others died as a result of automobile accidents while on leave. Many died in training accidents and of diseases."
Details are available from Emily DaBruzzi, Clemson's director of military and veterans engagement, at 864-656-9793 and firstname.lastname@example.org; and also from 1968 Clemson graduate Dave Lyle, a Navy veteran, at email@example.com.