Monday, March 1, 2010

MMI Archives: More Good Stuff!

Here are three images of Cadet Captain Paul J. Holsen, MMI Class of 1922, from Allendale, Illinois. They are courtesy of his son, Paul J. Holsen, II. Commander of “D” Company in 1921-22, Holsen was already a veteran of the American Expeditionary Force (A.E.F.) in World War I, having served for eleven months and having participated in five major battles. At MMI he was “an old man” who was reportedly very popular with the young ladies!

While president of Howard College prior to 1887, James T. Murfee, later founder and first president of Marion Military Institute, designed a distinctive button for the Howard College Cadet Corps featuring a cross and crown and a halo “irradiating... light and glory.” These images are from Sean Flynt’s 160 Years of Samford University: For God, For Learning, Forever (2001). We also have one of these buttons in the MMI Archives. COL John Gibler pointed out to me that the button design is similar to the emblem of the Knights Templar, a Masonic organization, and asked me if J. T. Murfee was a member? After exhaustive research – plus asking a knowledgeable Murfee Family member – I have only found evidence that Walter Lee Murfee, J. T.’s son and MMI’s third president, was a Knights Templar, a Mason, and a Shriner. Also, we have two Knights Templar swords on loan in the MMI Archives from Anita Johnson of Marion (my landlady), one of which bears a similar emblem to the Howard College button design.

Note also the elaborate uniform below of a Howard College cadet officer in 1893, after Howard moved to Birmingham, Alabama.

Finally, here is a newspaper image of our LTC David Bauer and West Point First Classman Greg Pearson standing in front of a painting of CPT Colin P. Kelly, Jr., MMI’33, USMA ’37, the first American hero of World War II and the first West Point graduate to die in the war. LTC Bauer, USMA ’60, and Cadet Pearson, USMA ’01, are also MMI alums. There is a move on to posthumously award the Congressional Medal of Honor to Colin Kelly for his actions in 1941, just days after Pearl Harbor, which saved his flight crew but which cost Kelly his life. Keep your fingers crossed that Colin Kelly gets the Medal of Honor. As far as I know, he would be the first MMI cadet to receive this top honor for heroism. By the way, Colin P. Kelly, Sr., was an honor graduate of the MMI Class of 1902.

A painting of Colin Kelly in the West Point Club at the USMA. (Credit: The Marion Times-Standard, July 11, 2001)

Colin Kelly from an advertisement.