(Photo Uploaded By Alan Cutts)
Today’s picture is of the Clemson Senior Platoon making an appearance in New York’s Yankee Stadium for a professional football game between San Francisco and New York in 1948.
When this picture was taken, America was just three years removed from the horrors of World War II and the GI’s were back home starting families that would eventually be known as the “Baby Boomers”.
You get the feeling from this picture that New York was alive, bustling in the economic upswing of post-war America.
The history of the Clemson Senior Platoon is noted below, from the CU Alumni web site at Clemson.edu
In 1928, a Clemson Cadet, F.B. “Gator” Farr ’30, had a continuing argument with his brother who was a student at The Citadel as to which school was the best. The Citadel had a fancy drill platoon that traditionally won the summer ROTC drill competition. They decided that the only way to settle the argument was for Clemson to enter the competition.
Gator came back to Clemson and organized a drill platoon to enter the competition at the ROTC summer encampment in the summer of 1929. Clemson won the competition. The drill platoon continued drilling and was called “The Fancy Drill Platoon” or “Junior Platoon.” In 1934, the name was changed to “The Senior Platoon” as it members were all seniors or rising seniors.
The drill platoon continued to perform at football games, parades, and special events from 1930 to 1960 creating over 1500 Alumni. There are approximately 600 still living. The Senior Platoon was disbanded after 1960 when the elimination of the Cadet Corps caused a lack of interest from the students.
The Senior Platoon has drilled from Boston to Dallas, to Miami to New Orleans at professional football games, baseball games, the Cotton, Orange, Sugar Bowls, Mardi Gras and many other activities. At one of the professional baseball games, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor were present in the stands.
In 1992, under the leadership of Leonard Butler ’53, Senior Platoon Alumni began having reunions. In 1996, with the ROTC program under probation, the University administration asked if we thought we could field a drill unit and perform the routine at halftime of a football game. On November 16, 1996, “The Clemson Alumni Senior Platoon” performed during halftime of the Clemson-N.C. State football game. The members’ age ranged from 60-72.
They drilled at halftime of football games in 1997, 1998, and 2000. In April 2002, at a Pass in Review ceremony, the Sabre was passed from the “Alumni Senior Platoon” to “The Tiger Platoon,” consisting of students of all classes to represent Clemson University as the Fast Cadence, Precision Drill Platoon.
The Clemson Alumni Senior Platoon has passed these duties on to younger bodies but our love and respect goes to the families and friends of the ones who have made the supreme sacrifice for the freedoms we enjoy.
Scott Rhymer can be reached at email@example.com