Old Marquette Info Part 2

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Re: Old Marquette Info Part 2

Postby Hueby » Tue Apr 22, 2014 5:54 am

During the evening of November 30 - December 1st, 1942 Roger Keast and the remaining men would have a sleepless night as the Japanese would counter with many raids to take back the roadblock. All attacks were repelled by the men of the 32nd. But the situation was desperate. The Americans had lost radio contact with the main force. Rations, medical supplies and ammunition were low. All the success would be lost if they could not sustain the force. They had to hold on with what little they had.

Cpt Roger Keast would volunteer to take a patrol to conduct a very dangerous mission of a probing attack to get through enemy territory and back to the main element. One thing here is Roger Keast truly cared about the men under his command. As mentioned, he led by example and led from the front-not the rear. These are the leaders men respect and will follow.

From pages 231-232 of James Campbell's "The Ghost Mountain Boys":

In the swamp, Keast and his men moved through the mist and sago palms like ghosts of the wars dead. The spikes of the trees ripped at their clothes. Raw from jungle rot, their feet burned with every step. At every sound their fingers tightened on their triggers…..(Keast) and his men had not made much progress when they were hit by a wave of rifle and machine gun fire. When one of his men, a company cook by the name of Johnson, stopped, Keast patted him on the back. Johnson was wild-eyed with adrenaline, and Keast tried to calm him. “Don’t let it bother you, soldier, let’s go right in there and keep our eyes open.”…Jap snipers were moving to surround them. Their only hope was to keep shooting, to keep moving in the direction of Mendendorp and his men….Keast took a few more steps, and then gunfire burst at point-blank range from the jungle ahead. There was a brief flash. Johnson might have heard the dull thud of a bullet entering flesh.

Then Keast fell.

Johnson could see Keast “lying on the ground on his side, his empty pistol holster exposed above the grass.” He wanted to go to his captain. He needed to get to his captain, to pull him out of the jungle and scream for a medic, but bullets snapped and hummed around him…The Japanese attacked, and he and the others who had not been hit stumbled back to the roadblock. Cpt Keast and an Australian forward observer, 1LT Daniels would be killed, 9 others wounded.


First Sergeant Alfred Wentzloff of Grand Rapids, MI, who was just a private 2 years earlier, covered their withdraw with 5 other men. Wentzloff would be awarded the Silver Star for his actions over the next 48 hours in defending the roadblock against continued attacks. In some cases he rallied the men to “get back up there” to fight and hold the ground. (This portion of Wentzloff’s actions I added from 32nd-division.org )
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Re: Old Marquette Info Part 2

Postby Hueby » Wed Apr 23, 2014 6:12 am

Some hours later on December 1, 1942 a small patrol went out on a “mercy mission” to try to recover and locate the remains of those missing from the attack. This mission was especially personal for a platoon leader in I Company, 126th Infantry- 1LT Hershel Horton. You see in college 1LT Horton had run track at Notre Dame, and had run against Roger Keast when Keast was at Michigan State. They were both very good friends.

However 1LT Horton and his patrol would get ambushed. Horton would get wounded and most of the men withdrew back to the roadblock. (source from the 32nd-division.org)
The next day on December 2, 1942 a small force from the battalion command post would successfully make their way to these men. A one mile trek dodging enemy fire took them 5 hours. But soon a large Japanese force would attack, the men from the 32nd would hold-but Cpt Shirley would get killed. The Captain –Meredith Huggins-who led the resupply mission suddenly found himself from a staff officer/supply man to a “battlefield commander.”

Could they hold this roadblock? Captain Huggins reply : “I’ll hold that place until hell freezes over.” (Campbell pg 233)
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Re: Old Marquette Info Part 2

Postby Hueby » Wed Apr 23, 2014 6:15 am

Meanwhile back to 1LT Horton, who was left out wounded from the mercy mission. There would be several attempts to rescue him. On December 11, 1942 a wounded 1LT Huggins took out his prayer book and penciled a letter to his family. He would write this heartrending letter then put it away in his pocket. He would eventually die from more wounds. This letter was discovered on his possession when his body was sent back home to his burial place in Illinois. The letter would be published in the local newspaper with the permission of his family. Here it is from the 32nd IN Division website:

“Dearly Beloved. My dear sweet Father, Mother and Sister: Mr. & Mrs. George A. Horton Jr., and Sister Gwenivere.

“About 9:00 A.M. I came out on a mercy patrol to pick up dog tags etc., of our dead. This was the morning of Tuesday, December 1, 1942.

“I was trying to turn over the body of Captain Keast, a friend of mine, when I was shot two or three times in my right leg and hip. Lt. Ellis, Sgt. Young and Pvt. Merle Christian were with me. I yelled that I was shot, I was in front of all but Merle, they ran for shelter. I dragged myself for a Jap grass shanty about twelve yards to the rear of where I was shot.

“Sgt. Young said he would send help as soon as possible. Possible never came, evidently because I laid there unattended in any way without food or water or medical care. Two days of semi-deliriousness and then I called Captain Shirley's name, Ellis, Help, etc. Finally Lt. Gibbs and one of his men from the Anti-Tank Co. came to me. Their Medic also came up. The Medic gave me my first drink of water in three days, but he had no food to offer. The medic bandaged me temporarily. Lt. Gibbs promised me aid, but I never saw him again. The Medic came back and gave me water, but a man helping him got shot there and that scared him away. Life from then on was a terrible nightmare. The hot burning sun, the delirious nights. No one came near me from then on, but I did dig a water hole in four days’ time, which was wonderful to me; although it was polluted by all the rotting bodies within 12 ft. and 14 ft. of me. Then two or three rescue parties from my Company came out, but they never could find me. On two or three occasions they nearly got to me when the Japs or a rainstorm made it impossible. The Japs are living within 15 yds. of me. I see them every day.

“I have tried to make splints and crawl or walk out, but I just can't make it. Today, (as nearly as I can judge, Dec. 11) I managed to stand, but I could go no farther. A Jap shot me in the shoulder and neck as I weakly sat there and I thought my time had come, but no, I sit and lay here in this terrible place, wondering not why God has forsaken me; but rather why He is making me suffer this terrible end? It is true I understand life and its reasons now, but why should He send it to this terrible grave with me? Why not let me live and tell others? I am not afraid to die although I have nearly lost my faith a couple of days here. I have a pistol here, but I could not kill myself; I still have faith in the Lord. I think He must be giving me the supreme test. I know now how Christ felt on the cross.

“I have imagined hearing several other rescue parties, but one's imagination grows as his body shrivels.

“I have had no food of any kind since that morning I was shot. My right hip is broken and my right leg, both compound fractures; else I could have been out of here in those first couple of days, wounds or no wounds.

“My life has been good, but I am so young and have so many things undone that a man of 29 should do.

“We may never know God's purpose in striking me down like this, but He must have one. I can still say truthfully that I have never killed a man, although I have been ordered to order others to.

“I wonder how long a man can go on like this? I shall continue to pray for a miracle of rescue. I want to commend Lt. Ellis for his wonderful efforts and heroism in attempt to rescue me under the Jap treachery.

“God bless you My loved ones. Keep the faith, don't worry. I shall see you all again someday. I prepare to meet My Maker.”

“Love,

“Hershel”


Then in the book it mentioned “Hershel died that day, laying 15 feet from his friend Roger Keast.”
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Re: Old Marquette Info Part 2

Postby Hueby » Thu Apr 24, 2014 10:02 am

The fighting in this “Buna-Sanananda Mission”campaign would last a couple more months. What would break the stalemate was the arrival of tanks which one of the 32nd commanders had been screaming for. This commander would get relieved by MacArthur before the tanks ever arrived. The American tanks followed by Australians forces broke the Japanese strongholds. Many of these Australians who led the way were the ones addressed to as “running rabbits” by General Blaney.

The fighting would take a couple years, but in time the U.S. and Australian forces would literally drive the Japanese back into ocean throughout New Guinea.

While not properly trained or equipped for jungle warfare, the 32nd did help to buy time for other U.S. forces to get better trained and prepared for the fighting in the Pacific. After the slow start, there would be many men in the 32nd who fought valiantly and their accomplishments are mentioned on the 32nd ID website.

Although Roger Keast was one of the two commanders who initially led the successful attack to seize the roadblock, Captain Huggins would get the recognition. By maneuvering in supplies then “picking up the ball” after men like Keast and Shirley were killed, Huggins would be credited for laying the groundwork for the American victory. This was due to him being the surviving commander holding this critical position. To this day where this battle was fought in New Guinea there is a monument in his honor. Monument is “Huggins’ Roadblock.”

Actually if you read the book, it was the actions of a couple of brave men -overcoming fear- who took out some key enemy positions allowing Keast and Shirley’s men to advance.

The former Marquette Graveraet Coach-Roger Keast- would be awarded the Purple Heart and Silver Star posthumously. Keast would be buried in Lansing, MI. He left behind one wife and 2 young sons.
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Re: Old Marquette Info Part 2

Postby Hueby » Thu Apr 24, 2014 10:08 am

After this campaign, the 32nd Infantry would get some rest then return to battle in New Guinea at Saidor and Aitape. They would also be at long forgotten places like Halmahera and the liberation of the Philippines at Leyte and Luzon. Near the end of the war the 32nd had been in combat 654 days.

My father-in-law, who like many young men in his time, would drop out of school and end up serving in this war. He served in the Navy and in the later years of the war supported these campaigns in the Pacific. He told me he remembers they would feed the Army who were fighting in the jungles of New Guinea. They’d come on the ships for a meal. He said “Those guys thought it was Christmas when getting a hot meal.”

I know my father-in-law didn’t like to see the condition of the soldiers fighting in these islands. He said they called them “dog face” because of how sunken in their eyes were and the way they looked. He describes them as “walking skeletons” adding “We’d feed them, and they’d head right back into the jungle.” To this day it has always bothered him what they looked like and the condition they were in.
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Re: Old Marquette Info Part 2

Postby Hueby » Thu Apr 24, 2014 10:13 am

The fighting at Buna and Sanananda pushed the division’s casualty rate to 90%. Out of 11,000 troops in the division's three combat teams, there were 9,688 casualties. Within the 126th Infantry, out of 131 officers and 3,040 enlisted who went into battle that mid- November 1942, only 32 officers and 579 enlisted men were the last remnants of the regiment transported to Port Moresby in late January! The “Ghost Mountain Battalion” which Roger Keast was a part of was down to 126 men and 6 officers!

Many of the companies within the battalion were down to fewer than 30 men. The Anti-Tank Company Roger Keast commanded had just 10 men. Illness caused the vast majority of these casualties. Of those 9,688 casualties, 7,125 were from jungle illnesses like malaria, dysentery, scrub typhus, etc. (Campbell page 290-291).

That still leads to roughly over 2,000 casualties inflicted through combat and by the Japanese. A side note- During this Buna Mission, the battalion surgeon had worked round the clock 24/7 performing surgeries on wounded soldiers. He was a celebrated doctor. Many newspapers wrote about him. His photo made the cover of the New York Times. He would become promoted to a lieutenant colonel and become the division surgeon. Exhausted, he suffered a malaria attack and was hospitalized. He would suffer from drug-induced manic depression and schizophrenic episodes from the treatment.

Now as the division surgeon, he learned that General Douglas MacArthur would be ordering the 32nd back into battle. He was asked to sign a medical release.

He refused.

On May 3rd, 1943 he wrote his wife. In this letter he finished it “…I love the way you ended your letter, Sweetheart, about ‘not being so far apart because we’ll live forever in each other’s hearts.’” Lovingly Always, Sam

Two days later he took his own life (Campbell page 285).
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Re: Old Marquette Info Part 2

Postby Hueby » Fri Apr 25, 2014 5:36 am

Captain Mendendorp would survive the war, but what is not mentioned in the book is Mendendorp would eventually marry Roger Keast’s widow, Ruth. In time Mendendorp would reach the rank of lieutenant colonel and volunteer for the Korean War.

During the war while inspecting the South Koreans he would be killed by a Chinese air raid.
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Re: Old Marquette Info Part 2

Postby Hueby » Fri Apr 25, 2014 5:45 am

Now, I’m not exactly sure when word of Keast’s death got back to Marquette, but the students and community who embraced him were very saddened. The story I will pick up from here was submitted by Fred Rydholm in the December 2000 edition of Marquette Monthly.

In 1943 the students at Graveraet petitioned to the school board that the new field be named after Roger Keast.

I’m not 100 percent if the school board initially approved the request. They may have. The students hoped that the new field would be named “Roger Keast Memorial Field.” There is another story out on the internet from a family member that states while Roger Keast was teaching and coaching he worked behind the scenes to design and push for this new field too. In addition, a new track was built. This could make sense- as track was Roger Keast’s strongest sport.

Anyways, Keast was killed in December 1942. The new field that was built in 1941 was “officially” dedicated almost 4 years after Keast’s death in 1946. I could not find anything about the dedication on microfilm for the 1946 season.

Roger Keast would never live to see the completion of the field. (So during those years there could have been a changeover in school board members?) But one thing was for sure. As the war dragged on, more and more men from Marquette County served and more young men lost their lives.

So by the time the fall of 1946 came along, the school board at the time felt it would be more appropriate to just name the field “Memorial Field” in honor of all the area men who had lost their lives.

To the family and friends who knew Roger Keast, they said this is what he would have wanted.

In 1947 the local college (Northern) added lights to Memorial Field, as now both Graveraet High School and the college would share the same facility. If you note back on the first “Old Marquette Redmen Info” thread there is a portion which covers Coach Buck Nystrom’s junior season at Graveraet. That was one example of a time when Graveraet and the local college (now NMU) both used Memorial Field.

Graveraet used the field until the new high school- Marquette Senior High School- was built in 1965. Since the new high school featured a football field, Northern Michigan then took sole possession of Memorial Field.

Memorial Field would provide many wonderful memories for U.P. football players, coaches and fans for many years. It would be the home to NMU football playoff teams, as well as the Northern Michigan University 1975 NCAA D2 Championship team. Especially during the 70’s and 80’s when NMU football excelled at the national level, those teams had a nice mix of Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois and most of the Upper Peninsula’s best football players.

Coincidentally.... the same states that mainly made up the 32nd Infantry Division.
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Re: Old Marquette Info Part 2

Postby Hueby » Sat Apr 26, 2014 5:47 am

So anyways, it was around 1991 when Northern Michigan University began using the Superior Dome. Memorial Field would become history. Where Memorial Field once stood is now a parking lot which includes the Barry Events Center. Outside the BEC there is a little monument placed near what was the 50 yard line.

During his time in Marquette, for roughly 17 months Roger Keast and his family embraced the students at Graveraet. And vice versa. Keast did have a way of inspiring and making an impact on everybody he met. He reached out to all the students and community to get them excited about athletics. Look at all these little improvements that happened while Roger Keast was at Graveraet:
* A new electronic scoreboard for the gym
* New basketball uniforms
* A 6-man football team for the younger players
* More students out participating in track
* A new football field being constructed
* A new track
* Coaching the school’s basketball team to their first U.P. Championship in 25 years
* The championship leading to a school parade that brought out the pride in both the school and community that had never been exemplified or experienced at the time.
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Re: Old Marquette Info Part 2

Postby Hueby » Sat Apr 26, 2014 6:02 am

Note: I wasn't going to post this part. But what the hek....

So the new football field bearing the name “Memorial Field” would be a name inspired by Roger Keast.

For this post, I want to throw in what “Memorial Field” meant to me growing up in Marquette when I did. This is my own personal experience. This is nothing against change or comparing the times. Nothing against the way things are now. I’m sure the current Superior Dome will have one day have its place in history-especially at the U.P. high school football level involving playoff games and U.P. All-Star Football games.

For many of us who grew up in Marquette County, NMU football was- to a degree- part of our lives. They did have some down years in the early 70’s, but that all changed. Saturdays in the fall meant going to Memorial Field. I do remember many beautiful fall game days. I also remember the nice steel bar fencing along Fair Avenue which were covered with vines. Adding to the nice warm fall breeze you could hear the sound of the marching band as you entered through the gates, as well hearing a whistle as the players conducted pre-game warm ups.

When you entered through the admissions gate, there would be a consistent line of about 20 people off to the side who were being patted down by the police. This might come as a surprise, but the authorities were looking for people sneaking in alcohol. (I’m not endorsing this behavior-just telling how it was.) There was also a police officer standing right next to the ticket agent. My first time going to a game I was just about 5 people back from the front and I remember someone buying their ticket, then suddenly holding their arms out and getting patted down. Others were sent over to the line of people getting frisked.

As a kid I remember being scared, wondering if I would get patted down too. What if I got arrested? I was stressed over it. My first time there not knowing they were looking for alcohol.

Being up in the stands was a blast! There were two sets of bleachers-one behind each team. The bleachers were larger than your typical high school bleachers. The NMU side was usually packed and had a section for the band. Then rows of people along the fencing. The field ran “north and south” and NMU had the eastern side closest to Lake Superior. The press box was on the opposite side behind the visitors.

I had forgotten about this part until someone mentioned this on this website forum some years back-it could get quiet at times up in the stands. When suddenly, “crash!” you would hear the sound of a glass bottle smash on the concrete under the bleachers. After getting through all the security, someone successfully snuck alcohol in. So the entire bleacher section began to cheer!
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Re: Old Marquette Info Part 2

Postby Hueby » Sat Apr 26, 2014 6:11 am

The teams were oh so fun to watch! There always seemed to be many local players who got good media attention as key players contributing to those winning teams. NMU had the majority of the best U.P. football players those years! I thought it was so neat to browse through the roster to see players from the U.P. Yes-even Marquette! But during these years you’d see players from Escanaba, Menominee, Iron Mountain, Gwinn, Ishpeming, Houghton, West Iron County, Kingsford, etc. And almost every player had a number of family, classmates and family up in the bleachers cheering for them.

As a kid you looked up to these players-especially when you met them. You’d watch them play out there on Memorial Field, dreaming one day you would be out there playing too. You’d dream of playing in front of all those enthusiastic NMU fans and bringing back another National Championship. Then in my case, as I got older I had wanted to go back to MSHS and help with the practices during 2 a days and meeting all the young men playing football. Hoping one day you could help inspire them like the older players inspired you.

I can still see Steve Mariucci throwing a long TD pass to Maurice Mitchell. Those years when NMU scored, you’d have total strangers in the packed bleachers giving “high fives” to each other. Also on NMU TD’s, rolls of toilet paper would fly throughout the bleachers. A few times throughout the game, it was common to see some young college woman not far from where the band sat getting passed up from the bottom row up to the top- then back down to the bottom row to where she had been sitting.

While the weather usually cooperated, I do remember one game played in a snow storm. But nobody cared. It was a playoff game. The opponent came all the way from North Carolina. I can still see the team from Elizabeth City, NC anxious to get back down south as winter arrived just in time for the game. The Wildcats routed them that game. I can still remember a fan’s huge sign that read “Cold Enough For Ya’s?”

Many of the home games were televised on TV. The local kids could stand just outside the end zone to watch the game. When the games were over those kids would run out on the field and throw their footballs around. So if you couldn’t attend the game and watched it on TV, you’d recognize a lot of these kids down on the field.

Someone once posted on this site that back then the local high school football players could get into the games free too.

But Saturday’s at Memorial Field were a part of the football package. Your local high school game on Friday nights, NMU football games on Saturday, then watching both the Packers and Lions struggle on Sundays. Common jokes those days were "How many Packers fans does it take to change a light bulb? Eight. One to change it, seven to stand around and talk about how Vince would have done it."

While there are many other personal memories of Memorial Field, I hope many who grew up when Memorial Field existed can say they shared the same positive experiences.

One of Roger Keast’s relatives summed it up best stating Coach Keast “inspired” the name of Memorial Field. Just like he inspired the young people at Graveraet.

Some Keast photos: http://www.fanbase.com/Roger-Keast
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Re: Old Marquette Info Part 2

Postby Hueby » Sun Apr 27, 2014 9:47 am

Throughout this thread I’ve thrown in stories involving my father-in-law. The reason I did is because to me my father-in-law represents a lot of the kids in Marquette during the era of the Great Depression / WW2. There were still a number who didn’t have much school spirit for some reason or another. I think in larger schools/communities the kids aren’t as close to each other (Sociology has always been interesting to me). I suspect while Graveraet did have some winning seasons every now and then, winning wasn’t on a traditional basis? Also it appears the same core group of student-athletes did most of the participating in football/basketball/track.

But like many, my father-in-law didn’t like school either. He’d sit in classes and look out the window, day dream about “driving team,” or fishing.

Teachers would ask him to leave.

Fred Rydholm must have been doing some “post-grad class teaching” just after graduating. My father-in-law doesn’t like to talk about this, but once he got kicked out of English class for not participating in the discussion….by Fred Rydholm.

But you mention “Roger Keast” to my father-in-law….you should see his eyes light up! It’s like he does a complete 180 and suddenly likes sports! He’ll tell you “What a great guy Keast was.” While he can’t communicate it through words (most males were brought up "harder" than we are today), he tries to express how valuable athletics can be for kids. Somehow, I’m not sure how, but Roger Keast made a big impression on him!

And for the same reason, just like he did me. This is why I wanted to research and share all this!

Sources:

* Campbell, James “Ghost Mountain Boys”, Crown Publishing Group, New York, N.Y. 2007 (note: A really good WW2 book to read. Pretty accurate and honest)
* Rydholm, Fred, “Memorial Field Memories” Marquette Monthly-Then and Now, Marquette MI December 2000
* http://www.32nd-division.org (site also provides combat photos of New Guinea in WW2)
* Special thanks also to Michele Keast-Ott, Roger Keast’s granddaughter. Michele also passed along how much her grandfather loved Michigan State. He had hoped to one day move up the coaching ladder and coach at Michigan State. She said she thinks of him often- especially like this past Rose Bowl won by Michigan State. As well as when the Spartans excel on the national scene in basketball under Iron Mountain’s Tom Izzo.
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Re: Old Marquette Info Part 2

Postby Hueby » Sun May 18, 2014 10:26 pm

Here is some "Post - Roger Keast era" information:

A follow-up. While Roger Keast was deployed, here is how the Redmen football team did. The team was coached by Coach Bruce Blackburn. Fred Rydholm and Bob Olsen took a high school post-graduate course and assisted Coach Blackburn. (Rydholm mmnow.com)

1941-42 football season from the tatler:

Stambaugh Won 14-7 (Night Game)
Soo Lost 13-19
Newberry Won 14-7
Ishpeming Won 6-0
Gladstone Lost 7-14
Munising Won 44-0
Negaunee Won 18-7
Manistique Won 14-12

This 6-2 squad would have been the team Roger Keast would share the Mining Journal football game write-ups with the men in the 32nd Infantry. These players would have been the younger up and coming players at the time Roger Keast was coaching varsity football.

During the war someone who served with Roger Keast wrote a letter to the Mining Journal and mentioned how Keast loved to share the Mining Journal Graveraet sports articles with the men in the unit. Keast was proud of all these kids, spoke of them often and believed how much they had the ability to do better.(Rydholm.mmnow.com)
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Re: Old Marquette Info Part 2

Postby Hueby » Sun Jul 23, 2017 9:58 am

Good Morning,

Hope this post finds all the young football players having a good off season. The official football season is just around the corner.

Back on the original "Old Marquette Info" thread on pages 7-8, I did posts on Graveraet's 1949 football season. Those posts were done back in 2010...where does the time go?

Anyways Graveraet was coached by head coach Stan Sosnouski and assistant John Mullins. (Hope "Mullins" is the correct spelling). I believe the players called him "Moe" Mullins.

Some of the key players for the Redmen gridders that 1949 season were junior Carl "Buck" Nystrom and the QB was Bob Redman. Don't remember what grade Redman was- if he was a junior or senior.

Anyways I wanted to add a little more to that season/era. I wanted to share a story of a football player who was a freshman in the Graveraet football program under Coach Stan Sosnouski.

Will try not to make this too long so bear with me...
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Re: Old Marquette Info Part 2

Postby Hueby » Sun Jul 23, 2017 10:17 am

Continued...

I will go by his first name, "Gary." Gary grew up and lived out in Harvey and his dad had a garage business in Marquette. After graduating high school back in the early 1950's Gary would eventually take over his dad's business and for about 40 years "bust his knuckles" working on cars.

He also married his high school sweetheart and raised a family in Harvey.

Gary was a pillar in the community. Always volunteering and helping build projects whether for the church or others.

By his retirement in the early 90's, change was coming as computers were beginning to be a part of cars. Vehicles started having more "bells and whistles" but Gary did his best to adapt to the changes.

But some things never changed. At his garage he loved to "gab" with his customers and people knew he was honest, the work - quality. If you didn't want to get "ripped off" by the newer, bigger auto dealerships, you brought your car down to Gary's.

A side note...ah the "free market" and competition, something Marquette and the U.P. could use more of...especially involving hospitals and airports!!!!

Apologize, couldn't resist the jab ha ha.

Ok back to the Graveraet Redmen football....
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Re: Old Marquette Info Part 2

Postby Hueby » Sun Jul 23, 2017 10:41 am

Continued...

Anyways back in those days there were no feeder programs prior to high school football.

Gary was in 8th grade when near the end of the school year, he was approached in the hall by the high school football coaches- Stan Sosnouski and "Moe" Mullins.

They stopped him and asked him about coming out for football. Now I don't know how much sports was emphasised in his home, but years later Gary would credit these football coaches for getting him to come out for football.

Back in those days there was no "pre season conditioning program." That started when the season officially began. So the 1949 season begins. Gary attends his first day of football practice (which I believe was his first ever experience in organized athletics), and soon afterwards...he quits!!!

He would say of the practice/conditioning "I never experienced doing anything that tough in my life."

Quitting ate at Gary. This was the first time he ever quit at something. It really bothered him. So he went back the next day and watched the Graveraet gridders practicing. He watched the kids he knew who were still out there, realizing none of them had quit. This really bothered him. He then told himself "I can do this!"

Gary then did something I don't think many of us had heard of this being done...After watching the practice, Gary would make his way back to the locker room (which in those days wasn't near the school), put his football equipment back on and eventually rejoined his teammates on the practice field.

Gary would say "...And nobody said a word to me!"

And how did Gary get to the Graveraet practices those years during summer "two a day's" from out in Harvey?...

He hitch hiked! He would even hitch hike between the practices to go home for lunch!

Said he never had trouble catching a ride!

Will break here and share more...
Last edited by Hueby on Wed Jul 26, 2017 7:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Old Marquette Info Part 2

Postby Hueby » Mon Jul 24, 2017 10:10 am

A few years back in my only main conversation with Gary, he told me that the QB for Graveraet' s 1949 season- Bob Redman- went on to play football at Rutgers.

This is quite the non-traditional path for most U.P. football players who played at the collegiate level. I had oftened wondered out of curiosity how a kid from Marquette, MI ended up at Rutgers University out east.

Anyways upon further research on Redman, there is a copy of the Rutgers football 1954 season flyer on the internet. With that I wanted to share some notes about the Rutgers football program during Bob Redman' s time there:

Wikipedia has Rutger' s nickname as the "Queensman" then beginning 1955 they are the "Scarlet Knights." According to the 1954 program they are simply referred to as the "Scarlets."

Their head coach was Harvey Harman who was entering his 13th season (became coach in 1938). He did not coach at Rutgers between 1941-45 due to World War 2. A side note, in 1918 while in college at the University of Pittsburgh, Harman started at tackle under then head coach Glenn S. (Pop) Warner. Anyways now as the head coach at Rutgers, the record under Harman's tenure was 68-33-2. However after many 7-8 win seasons the program had recently dropped to three straight 4 win seasons and then in 1953 Harman' s gridders went 2-6.

When Bob Redman was at Rutgers, their opponents in 1954 were Fordham, Colgate, College of William and Mary, Lehigh, Temple, LaFayette College, Penn State and Columbia.

Penn State had a young assistant coach on their staff- Joseph Paterno.

1954 was Bob Redman' s senior season. He wore #44 and was moved from a QB in high school to a left half back in college. This is what was written about him in that '54 program:

Halfbacks

ROBERT REDMAN, senior. A hair-triggered breakaway runner. Bobby has been slow developing but has shown bursts of greatness, such as his 60-yard romp against Penn State last year. Extra weight may help him go this fall.

In the stat section from the past 1953 season when Redman was a junior, he actually led the team in average yards per carry- 25 carries for 133 yd s, a 5.32 avg. (But there were 2 other running backs who did the bulk of the running, doubling him in both carries and yards).

Redman was 3rd on the team in scoring, 2 touchdowns for 12 points. He also caught 1 pass for 41yd s. He returned 4 punts for 51yd s and 2 kickoffs for 49yd s.

So one can see his junior year he had moved up in more roles and had a very respectable showing. But this is all I could find in learning about Bob Redman.

Just had a few more posts to add relating to Gary & that 1949 season.
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Re: Old Marquette Info Part 2

Postby Hueby » Tue Jul 25, 2017 7:09 pm

Meant to move on, however did find a little more on Bob Redman's time at Rutgers.

From Rutgers 1952 Football Program (Scarlet Player Notes):

Halfbacks

ROBERT REDMAN, sophomore. Star halfback of last year's jayvees. Bobby has great potential and already is tabbed as a varsity starter on offense. He is quick and slippery and can go the distance. He was Michigan's highest high school scorer in 1950.

The flyer did show Redman getting some stats in the 1951 season. He did have 3 rushing attempts for 21yd s.

Noticed in the program there is a write-up about the "Little Brass Cannon" which was being temporarily retired because of the scheduling lapse between Rutgers and Lehigh. This cannon was a part of the Rutgers tradition dating back to the Revolutionary War and the winner of the "Middle Three" gets this cannon. The article mentions who won it & when between Rutgers, Lehigh and Lafayette. This tradition was to resume in 1954.

From the Rutgers 1953 Football Program (Scarlet Player Notes):

Halfbacks

ROBERT REDMAN, junior. Bobby failed to live up to the promises of his freshman year last season but could break out as one of the Scarlet' s top threats at left half. A 180-pounder, he is quick, slippery, and can go the distance.

His stats from the 1952 season- Redman had 34 rushes for 120 yards. 11 catches for 217 yards and 3 touchdown receptions.

Redman also returned 3 punts for 28 yards and ran back 2 kickoffs for 16 yards.

Rutgers opponents in 1953 were Virginia Tech, Princeton, Brown, Fordham, Colgate, Lafayette, Penn State and Columbia.

Also what I found interesting was Rutgers had a "150-Pound Varsity Football Schedule," where their smaller players played Princeton, Navy, Pennsylvania, Cornell and Villanova (Probably their jayvees).

Their Freshman Football Schedule was against Wyoming Seminary, Princeton, Lehigh, Lafayette and Columbia.

As far as Redman' s senior year at Rutgers, the Rutgers 1955 football program only lists the 1954 stats on returning players. We know stats don't tell everything, but looked into them to try to get an idea what Redman did at Rutgers.

Seems like some "academically challenging" football out east that Bob Redman was a part of!

Alright that should do it for researching Bob Redman! Will try to wrap this up in a few more posts!
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Re: Old Marquette Info Part 2

Postby Hueby » Wed Jul 26, 2017 8:20 pm

So I had known Gary for over 20 years and a couple years ago was the first time we ever really talked...and I never even knew he played football.

Am pretty sure back in his time Graveraet only had the 2 coaches - Sosnouski and Mullins. It sounds like grades 9-12 all practiced together. The younger players made up the "B squad" and they did play about 4-6 games. When on the B squad Gary did remember playing at Rock and against Marquette JD Pierce.

A couple years ago Gary was around 80 yrs old at the time he was telling me about his football days at Graveraet. Gary spoke of the practices. He seemed to have a lot of memories about the "tackling dummy" that swung from a frame. He remembers the coaches virtually beating the players with the dummies, trying to make the tackling drills much harder.

I asked Gary about Buck Nystrom. Gary said during the games while as a fullback, "Buck was tough to bring down."

Talk about a work ethic, discipline, heart and desire-- as a teammate, Gary said of Buck Nystrom, "Every practice, Buck was always the first one on the field and the last one off."

He added Nystrom did this because "Buck was always out there working on his blocking and tackling."

For any of you young players who don't know who Coach Buck is, this video has been around a few years now:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=rrt14S07ZLo

Many of the players in the video are from the U.P., Wisconsin and Lower Michigan.

I would have loved to have researched Graveraet' s 1950 season and sat down with Gary to hear what he remembered about it, but I never got around to getting to the library & my trips up to Marquette are fewer and shorter. I did get up there last month for Gary's funeral as he passed away. A little to late on my part. But just have about one more post to go....
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Re: Old Marquette Info Part 2

Postby Hueby » Sun Jul 30, 2017 9:40 am

Last month while at Gary's funeral I met two of his classmates/teammates. Just had a brief conversation with them. Both elderly men, 82 years of age.

When bringing up them playing football at Graveraet, they did mention Buck Nystrom being two years older then them but you know what they talked about?

They didn't talk about Buck Nystrom, Bob Redman, they didn't talk about any opposing player or opposing coaches, they didn't talk about games they lost, or they didn't even want to talk about games they won.

You know what they talked about & what brought a beam of pride on their faces? 82 years old and they talked about their football coaches and how tough the practices were!

It was as if they had "survived something" and did something none of the non-football players could have done. One said "Sosnouski was a 'blood and guts' coach. The practices were much, much harder than the games." Then the other added "Yeah, Sosnouski usually liked to push us until somebody broke a leg...or so it seemed."

(Reminds me of an old saying the good military combat units have..."The tougher you train, the more men brag.")

And to think of those brutal practices, you had a young Buck Nystrom out there working on his blocking and tackling before and after those practices.

Isn't it great the impact football coaches have on the lives of young men? There is a video out on the internet, an interview of Buck Nystrom when he became a member of the Michigan State University Athletics Hall of Fame. Coach Buck credits his high school football coach (Stan Sosnouski) for recommending that Buck go play at Michigan State. Sosnouski saw Michigan State as a football program on the rise at the time. Buck went from a walk-on to an All-American and the rest was history.

Instead of being what many call a "Typical Marquette kid" (Kid who just walks the halls/ wastes his/her talent, doesn't apply themselves, quits sports over stupid excuses) Gary broke from that, inspired by Stan Sosnouski to participate in football for all 4 years at Graveraet, as well as track. Heard he was a standout/threw the shot put and Graveraet won the U.P.s one year. Gary also was president of the "Auto Mechanics Club" and although he never told me this, I learned Gary was also in drama class and did some acting/ plays!

Anyways what inspired me to add this story on Gary- which I wasn't going to do- was the very last thing Gary said to me in that only conversation we had a few years ago. The day Gary opened up and talked about football, the very last thing he said stunned me. He said "Playing football was the best thing I ever did in my life!"
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