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Jim Zietz | Senior Photographer | LSU Office of Public Affairs
Fall 2008

LSU Honors Military Veterans with LSU Salutes

As the nation celebrates Veterans Day this week, LSU honored its proud military heritage, while remembering the contributions and sacrifices of U.S. veterans, with the LSU Salutes program on the Parade Ground Saturday morning.

A legendary name that graced LSU’s baseball and football fields before serving his country on the battlefields of North Africa until his death in Tunisia in 1943, Simeon Alex Box, namesake of LSU's baseball stadium, highlighted the 16 distinguished alumni inducted into the military Hall of Honor as part of the LSU Salutes celebration.

The inductees in the Hall of Honor are selected based on their involvement with the university, as well as with the military and community. When the LSU Military Museum in Memorial Tower is completed the names of all those inducted into the Hall of Honor will be appropriately displayed as part of the permanent exhibition.

LSU's military history began almost 150 years ago with the opening of the university under Superintendent and Civil War General William Tecumseh Sherman. Then called the Louisiana State Seminary of Learning and Military Academy and nicknamed the "Ole War Skule," the university, located in Pineville, endured two closings during the Civil War before being burned in 1869. After relocating from Pineville to Baton Rouge and taking on the name Louisiana State University, the institution continued to build on its military tradition while still retaining the "Ole War Skule" nickname.

Established as a land-grant institution in 1874 as part of the Morrill Land Grant Act of 1862, which required all male students to receive basic military training, LSU required participation in the ROTC by all male students until 1969 when the Board of Supervisors made participation voluntary.

The university's military tradition was never more evident than during World War II. LSU boasted more officers on active duty than any other institution in the nation other than the military academies.

The military Hall of Honor induction ceremony was part of LSU Salutes, the celebration of the university's military tradition scheduled near Veterans Day each November. The event also included a military parade, static displays, a wreath laying and a 21-gun salute. LSU Salutes recognizes all U.S. veterans and, in particular, those who attended LSU and served in ROTC.

In addition to the ceremony at the LSU War Memorial on the Parade Ground, this year's Hall of Honor inductees were also recognized during pregame activities for the LSU vs. Alabama football game at Tiger Stadium. During the halftime show, the Golden Band from Tigerland featured music honoring all veterans in attendance.

Box graduated from LSU in 1942 and was commissioned in the Army. He died in Tunisia during World War II in February 1943, at the age of 22. Later that year, the LSU Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to name the LSU baseball stadium in his honor. The old Alex Box Stadium, the home of five national champion Tiger baseball teams, was retired at the conclusion of the 2008 season, and the new Alex Box Stadium, located on the corner of Gourrier Lane and Nicholson Drive, is scheduled to open in the spring of 2009.

In addition to Box, the following were also inducted into the Hall of Honor on Nov. 8: Retired Col. James Boutté of the Louisiana Air National Guard from Port Allen; the late Army Lt. Col. Richard Gerard from Lake Charles; the late Judge John Hood Jr., a major in the U.S. Army from Lake Charles; the late Air Force Maj. Gary Kelly from Baton Rouge; retired Army Lt. Col. James McCall from Baton Rouge; the late Army Col. Weldon McHugh from Zachary; retired Air Force Brig. Gen. Ralph Melancon of Raceland; retired Army Lt. Col. Frank O'Quinn from Baton Rouge; Army 1st Lt. Alfred Platte Jr. from Baton Rouge; retired Army Col. Debra Rondem of Alpharetta, Ga.; Army Capt. John Shelton Jr. from Houston; retired Army Col. Frank Simoneaux from Baton Rouge; retired Army Lt. Col. Robert Taylor Jr. from Gulf Breeze, Fla.; Col. William Waters of the U.S. Army and the Louisiana Army National Guard from Zachary; and the late Army Maj. Dalton Woods of Shreveport.

Additional information about membership in Cadets of the Ole War Skule or LSU Salutes is available by calling the Cadets of the Ole War Skule at 225-578-0420 or toll-free at 1-866-SALUTES.

Melissa Foley | Editor | LSU Office of Public Affairs
Fall 2008

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