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The Citadel Oral History Program

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William P. (Bill) Cart, Interview by Jack Bass, 3 November 2008
William P. (Bill) Cart, Interview by Jack Bass, 3 November 2008 Cart, a Charleston native, enlisted in the Navy at the end of his sophomore year at The Citadel in 1942. After finishing the Navy V-7 aviation cadet program at the University of Georgia, he began flight training at Lambert Field in St. Louis, followed by advanced training in different types of aircraft at Pensacola, Florida. He applied for and was accepted by the Marine Corps, commissioned as a second lieutenant, and became a dive bomber pilot in spring 1943. He tells of his combat flights in the Pacific Theater and also of taking the remains of two childhood friends back to Charleston for burial after crashes during their period of flight training. He was among the first to fly Corsairs in a unit that worked with company engineers to resolve a major safety problem. At the end of 1944, he went overseas to the Marshall Islands, flying from a land base to attack Japanese supply craft and other targets. He recalled that during the dive “you could see a grey streak. That meant the bullet just went by you.” He later flew more advanced planes, roughly 50 combat missions in all. After the war, he returned to Charleston, feeling a duty to take over his ailing father’s jewelry store. Twelve years later, he went into regional sales, flying a company plane while covering a large area during one period, and selling private planes during another. His Citadel experience, he recalled, taught him sufficient discipline that when he went into the Marine Corps, “I was ready for it.”
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Vincent Adams, Interview by Jack Bass, 22 September 2008
Vincent Adams, Interview by Jack Bass, 22 September 2008 A native of Rocky Mount, North Carolina, Adams recalls his WWII experiences and decision to enlist in the Navy as a seventeen year-old. Adams was assigned to the USS Duchess, which primarily served as an attack transport carrier. His most vivid combat experiences came in off-loading troops during the battle of Okinawa in the spring of 1945. Although stationed in the boiler room of the transport, he went topside during part of the unloading and helped carry one of the wounded men aboard ship. After returning home from the war he graduated from The Citadel (1950) and capitalized on his entrepreneurial spirit, founding his own blueprint business as well as Charleston Yacht Sales until he retired from his real estate business, which his daughters continue to run in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina.
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James A. Grimsley, Interview by Jack Bass, 2 October 2008
James A. Grimsley, Interview by Jack Bass, 2 October 2008 Major General James Alexander Grimsley was born in 1921 in Florence, South Carolina. After graduating from The Citadel in 1942 he was commissioned 2nd Lieutenant in the US Army. He served for thirty-three years and finished his Army career as the Director of Security Assistance Plans and Policy in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. Among his thirty-five major decorations are Two Silver Star medals for gallantry in Action; four Bronze Star medals for Valor; four Legion of Merit awards; and three Purple Heart medals. In September 1975, Grimsley accepted the position of Vice President of Administration and Finance at The Citadel and five years later was named the 16th President of the military college. Upon retiring in 1989, the Board of Visitors named him President Emeritus, a position held only by Generals Charles P. Summerall and Mark W. Clark. Grimsley, reflects on his decision to attend The Citadel and his combat experiences in Vietnam. He also discusses several of his major achievements as Citadel President. On transitioning from the Army to The Citadel, Grimsley observes that “it was made easier for me coming to The Citadel because it was a military college so there was a structure here that I understood. They just wore cadet uniforms and not army uniforms.” In an April 4-6, 2000 interview, a transcript of which is at the Citadel Archives and Museum, Grimsley detailed his active duty service during WWII.
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A. Lee Chandler, Interview by Jack Bass, 26 October 2008
A. Lee Chandler, Interview by Jack Bass, 26 October 2008 Chandler discusses the decision to attend The Citadel and recalls that his family lacked the resources to send him to a North East or Ivy League School. Though he enrolled in ’39, he was forced to delay his education for financial reasons, and became part of the class of ’44. After attending OCS training he was commissioned as 2nd Lt. in the 271st Infantry, 69th Division and served with distinction in the European Theater during WWII. He recounts his combat experiences, including when he was injured in Germany along the Siegfried Line, an incident for which he received the Purple Heart. After returning from the war, Chandler began a civic and legal career, elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives, Circuit Judge, Associate Justice and eventually the Chief Justice of the South Carolina Supreme Court. He has remained active in his community, both through economic development boards as well as in his church. He currently presides as Deacon of his church in Mt. Pleasant, SC where he resides with his wife.