Annual run honors veterans, raises scholarship funds

Posted on Nov 15, 2016 in Alumni News, Campus News, and News

Veterans Day Run 2016
More than 300 participants ran, walked and jogged the annual Veterans Day Run, hosted by the Veterans Alumni Network and KU’s Student Veterans of America.

KU ROTC juniors Tristan Hayes and Hannah Jerome enjoyed the run for multiple reasons. “We’re out to show support for the veterans and I love running. The combination of both makes for an awesome day,” Hayes said. Jerome, a junior from Des Moines, was competing in her first 5K. “I think I overcompensated on those hills, but it was really fun,” she said, adding that KU was the perfect fit for her many interests. “It was never a question of if I was going to serve, it’s something I’ve always wanted to do and KU offered me an opportunity to go to school and serve at the same time.”

The course took runners past campus memorials, including Memorial Stadium, the Campanile and the Korean and Vietnam tributes.

The 2016 run was dedicated to honoring Vietnam veterans. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the dedication of KU’s Vietnam War memorial, the first on-campus commemoration in the nation. It honors 57 students and alumni who died or were declared missing.

The Veterans Day Run honors all those who have served or are currently serving in our military and to raise awareness of the role veterans play at the University. All proceeds support KU’s Wounded Warrior Scholarship Fund and Student Veterans of America.

—Dan Storey

For more information about the Veterans Alumni Network or to provide information about your military service, visit the network’s website. Race results are available here.

Watch the slideshow below for pictures from the Veteran’s Day Run, or click here to view the pictures on Flickr. Participants are welcome to download photos for personal use.

Veterans Day Run 2016

Tags: , , , ,

Thank you, veterans

Posted on Nov 11, 2016 in Alumni News, Campus News, and News

2015 Veterans Day Run

This Veterans Day, the KU Alumni Association joins the University in thanking those who have answered the call to serve in our nation’s military.

We solemnly honor the many sacrifices you have made for our country—those of past generations and those of the current generation who have endured 15 years of persistent conflict. And as the nation commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War, and KU commemorates the 30th anniversary of our Vietnam Memorial dedication, we especially want to recognize those who served in Vietnam.

We say “Thank You!” to all veterans who help to make our classrooms, communities, and nation vibrant and strong.

For more information about the Veterans Alumni Network, visit the network website or join the Facebook group. If you served in the military, please complete a short form regarding your service so that we may update our records. You can also opt in to receive news and information from the Veterans Alumni Network.

Tags:

“Jayhawk” takes flight as WWII aircraft

Posted on Apr 27, 2016 in Alumni News, Campus News, and News

499th Squadron, “Bats out of Hell,” 345th Bomb Group | WWII photo courtesy of George Cooper, e'49

Like so many other veterans, George Cooper has a rich history with the nation. As a flight commander of the 499th Squadron, Cooper was one of seven pilots assigned to the 345th Bomb Group, organized in Columbia, South Carolina, in 1942.

His crew was assigned to a particular aircraft, which he later named “Jayhawk.” He went on to fly “Jayhawk” on all but three of his 55 missions during WWII. The many missions of the 499th Squadron were difficult times as other pilots have described. Cooper’s time with the plane is summed up in Max Ferguson’s book, “Hyperwar: Bats outa Hell Over Biak,” when Ferguson recounts “we said our ‘good byes’ and he [Cooper] climbed the hatch into his old Jayhawk for the last time. I noticed he was in the left seat (first pilot). He taxied to the end of the metal runway, called the tower, revved his plane and started down the runway. It was typical Cooper take-off; he held the plane on the runway to the very end, gained all the speed he could, then roared into the air.”

We chatted with Cooper, e’49, about his experience with the plane and what he’s been up to for the past 60 years.

When was the photo taken, and what was going on in New Guinea at the time?

The photo was taken about June 1943. Japanese forces were trying to move on Port Moresby and had been stopped at Buna and Gona on the north tip of Papua. The battle line was still south of Salamaua. There were Japanese air fields along the north shore of New Guinea, but the main air support and staging bases were what we were attacking. Yet, Dagua, Wewak and Boram and the largest and most powerfully defended, Rabaul on New Britain.

Who is featured in this photo?

My unit was the 499th Squadron, “Bats out of Hell,” 345th Bomb Group. There were four squadrons, each squadron had four Flights A,B,C and D. Each Flight had four aircraft and a 4-7 man crew. I was designated the Aircraft Commander and later Flight Commander of “A” Flight. The men in the photo from left to right are: myself, pilot; Bill Parke, co-pilot; “Bud” Jepson, flight engineer; Harvey Green, radio operator and gunner; and Ralph Stevens, bombardier. The last man on left was my aircraft crew chief, who maintained my aircraft along with maintenance personnel.

Missions flow July -September 1994 | photo courtesy of George Cooper, e'49How did the Jayhawk come to be on the plane?

One of our very talented enlisted maintenance personnel. I don’t recall his name. He later got the job of painting a new bat (with teeth bared to rip the enemy) after we agreed for a Squadron symbol “The Bats Out of Hell.” It [Jayhawk] had 55 mission symbols painted on the left side and two Japanese flags indicating enemy shot down.

What ties do you have to the University?

My ties to Kansas, and in particular to KU, are from my grandparents, George Henry and Helen Marie Lyon Cooper. George came to Kansas from New York looking for prospects in the “New West.” He was in the area where Peabody now is and was part of a team laying out the city of Peabody. My grandmother came from Hastings, Minnesota, to “sit” on land her sister and husband had claimed in the Peabody area. When she passed through Lawrence in 1870, she saw the “Old North College,” then the new KU, and promised that when she had children she would send them to KU.

She had four girls and two boys. Two of her girls chose to go to the Emporia State Teacher’s College, and one married a farmer. She moved the other three children to Lawrence around 1901.  My father enrolled in journalism and took a sabbatical one year to take a reporter’s job in Mexico City. He returned to KU for his senior year and graduated summa cum laude in 1907. He spoke seven different languages, which served him well in one of his several challenges in the import/export business. His sister graduated in music and went on to teach music and write “western” songs, many of which were published.

My grandparents bought 20 acres, which included the Old Windmill, but later sold it to buy a brick building on Vermont Street to create a boarding room. They returned to Peabody after the last child, Gertrude, graduated. My oldest sister, Helen, graduated in 1938, married Charles Ward of Peabody, a KU lawyer. My older brother went 3 years but was caught up in the war. He married Marjorie Runyon, who was also a student at KU. Three of my daughters have gone to KU. Georgeanne, c’68, and Merrilee, g’90, in teaching. My youngest, Laurie Cooper Putthoff, c’91, graduated summa cum laude and went on to get a law degree at Duke. A granddaughter, Jennifer, s’15, received her Masters at KU last year.

Photo courtesy of George Cooper, e'49
How do you stay connected to KU, and do you keep in contact with any other alumni who were in WWII?

I am a Life Member of the Alumni Association, and I contribute to KU Endowment. I follow KU basketball and pray for a football team like we had when I and 4,000 other WWII veterans joined KU. I was not released from active duty until February 1942. The last of my classmates that I have had contact with died several years ago… I have not heard from others since.

What was it like being around the time of the 1952 championship?

My family has always followed KU sports and had our own “home” celebrations. Those early years of Ray Evans and others of our WWII group still seem the best.

Are there any activites that you participated in as a student?

Being married with two children and a third one due as my graduation present, my wife and I did not join in many of the activities. We did join with some other WWII married students and families to celebrate sports.

Cooper also spent many years as an executive for Proctor & Gamble in Kansas City, MO, and as the president of the Tonganoxie Historical Society.

— Cole Anneberg

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Annual Veterans Day Run attracts runners, walkers

Posted on Nov 16, 2015 in Alumni News, Campus News, and News

2015 Veterans Day Run
The annual Veteran’s Day Run, hosted by the Veterans Alumni Network and KU’s Student Veterans of America, was held on Sunday, November 15.

The race began at Memorial Stadium, build to honor the 130 students and faculty members who lost their lives in World War I, including Lt. William T. Fitzsimons, an alumnus and doctor who was the first America officer killed in action. Runners traveled past other memorials on the KU campus before returning to the stadium for fun and festivities.

Congratulations to the 142 runners who completed the race! Race results are available here.

This Veteran’s Day Run is designed to honor all those who have served or are currently serving in our military and to raise awareness of the role veterans play at our university. All proceeds raised will support KU’s Wounded Warrior Scholarship Fund (WWSF) and Student Veterans of America (SVA).

For more information about the Veterans Alumni Network or to provide information about your military service, visit the network’s website.

See more pictures from this year’s run on Flickr. Participants are welcome to download photos for personal use.

—Debbi Johanning

2015 Veterans Day Run

Tags: , , ,

Traveling war memorial displayed on campus

Posted on Nov 10, 2015 in Alumni News, Campus News, and News

Remembering our Fallen exhibit | photo by Dan Storey

The war memorial “Remembering Our Fallen” was hosted by the University of Kansas last week.

The traveling tribute, which honors Kansas men and women who have died in the War on Terror since Sept. 11, 2001, was displayed Nov. 2-6 in the Traditions Lounge on the fourth floor of the Kansas Union.

“Remembering Our Fallen” was created in 2010 by Bill and Evonne Williams of Omaha, Nebraska, to honor and remember Nebraska residents who lost their lives in war zones. Since that time, the project has expanded to include 22 additional states, with the goal of eventually completing memorials for each state by 2016.

Learn more about the project and find future dates and locations of the memorial. More photos are available on Flickr.

Remembering the Fallen | Photo by Dan Storey
Remembering the Fallen | Photo by Dan Storey

Tags: ,

KU alumnus and former U.S. marine receives Heinz Award for extraordinary achievement

Posted on Apr 24, 2015 in Alumni News, Campus News, and News

William McNulty and Jacob Wood | www.kualumni.org

Former U.S. Marine William McNulty, c’01, has received the 20th Heinz Award for Human Condition, one of five awards given by the Heinz Family Foundation for extraordinary achievement in specific areas of endeavor, including arts and humanities, environment, public policy, and technology, the economy and employment. McNulty shares the honor with Jacob Wood, co-founder of the nonprofit veteran-led disaster relief organization Team Rubicon. The two will split an unrestricted cash award of $250,000.

“William McNulty and Jacob Wood invite us to treat their fellow veterans as the powerful assets that they really are,” said Teresa Heinz, chairman of the Heinz Family Foundation, in a press release. “By creating opportunities for veterans to continue serving others, they are not only reconnecting many of our former military men and women with a deep sense of purpose, but they are also helping our society fundamentally change the way we talk and think about veterans.”

McNulty and Wood assembled the rapid-response, disaster emergency team of military veterans following the 7.0 magnitude earthquake that rocked Haiti in 2010. The organization’s volunteers are trained to provide swift and effective disaster relief between the onset of a disaster and the arrival of conventional relief agencies.

“The volunteers of Team Rubicon are veterans who have found a new purpose after completing their military service, by stepping up to the plate and serving in their civilian life,” McNulty said in a press release.

Since 2010, Team Rubicon has deployed rapid-response teams in four continents and 11 countries, including Pakistan, the Philippines, Sudan and across the United States. Now that the effort has expanded to 25,000 volunteers in the United States, McNulty and Wood are launching Team Rubicon Global, a new organization that will extend the model to Norway, Australia and the United Kingdom.

For more information on the 20th Heinz Award recipients, visit heinzawards.net.

Photo by Dave Lauridsen for USAA

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Jayhawk insignia adorns “Korean War Hero”

Posted on Nov 11, 2014 in Alumni News, Campus News, and News

I spy…a Jayhawk!

This restored World War II and Korean War era F4U-4 Corsair fighter originally flew with the U.S. Naval Reserve Squadron VF-884, The Bitter Birds, based at Naval Air Station Olathe (now New Century Airport in Olathe, Kansas). The Reserve unit was created shortly after World War II and many of the squadron’s members were natives of northeast Kansas and the Kansas City area.

Restored F4U-4 Corsair fighter | photo courtesy of Jim Bryant | www.kualumni.org

Restored F4U-4 Corsair fighter | photo courtesy of Jim Bryant | www.kualumni.org

They chose as their insignia an irritated-looking Kansas Jayhawk wielding a bat with a nail in it. The unit was called to active duty in 1951 to fight in the Korean War. The unit served heroically; unfortunately 12 pilots were killed or remain missing in action in their two aircraft carrier tours during the war.

Inspired by the VF-884 insignia, in 1956 an Argentine Navy aircraft unit took the Jayhawk as their squadron insignia, but changed the blue body to green and the yellow boots to black. La Lora (female parrot) flew on these Argentine naval attack aircraft during the 1982 Falklands War and it is still displayed on the squadron’s aircraft today.

You just never know where a Jayhawk will turn up. Rock Chalk!

—Submitted by Jim Bryant, c’88, and originally posted in the Los Angeles Jayhawks Facebook group. Jim’s photos were taken at the 2014 National Championship Air Races in Reno, Nevada, this past September. The aircraft’s name is “The Korean War Hero” and more information is available at www.koreanwarhero.com.

Tags: , , ,

Thank you, Veterans

Posted on Nov 10, 2014 in Alumni News, Campus News, and News

img_news_afghanistan

From all of us at the KU Alumni Association and the Veterans Alumni Chapter, we appreciate the service of our veterans.

Here’s a special thank-you: watch the video below for a greeting from Lt. Col U.S. Marines, famous funnyman, and diehard Jayhawk Rob Riggle, c’93.

Rock Chalk, and thank you for your service!

 
Veterans Alumni ChapterFor more information about the Veterans Alumni Network, visit www.kualumni.org/veterans. Read network newsletters, fill out a short form to report your military service or order a Veterans Alumni Network challenge coin. Links to campus resources for veterans are also provided on this page.
 

Tags: , , ,

Runners participate in third annual Veterans Day Run

Posted on Nov 10, 2014 in Alumni News, Campus News, and News

On Sunday, November 9, the KU Veterans Alumni Network, in conjunction with the Collegiate Veterans Association, hosted the third annual Veterans Day Run. The run, which included 5k and 10k routes, began at Memorial Stadium—KU’s World War I memorial— and continued through campus.

More than 200 runners passed by the Campanile, a World War II memorial; the Korean War memorial; and the Vietnam War memorial. Runners of the 10k route made their way to West Campus to pass by the Dole Institute of Politics.

We want to give a big thank you to the sponsors of this year’s Veterans Day Run:

Heartland Regional Group – Blinded Veterans Association
Stephens Real Estate
Symbiotic Behavioral Treatment Center
Iwig Family Dairy
KU Graduate Studies Department
KU School of Engineering
Team Red, White, and Blue
Crossfit Lawrence
VFW Post 852
KU Army ROTC
KU Naval ROTC
KU Air Force ROTC

Thank you again for your support of the KU Veterans Day Run! Watch the slideshow below for pictures from this year’s run, or click here to view the photos on Flickr. Participants may download photos for personal use.

 
Veterans Alumni ChapterFor more information about the Veterans Alumni Network, visit www.kualumni.org/veterans. Read network newsletters, fill out a short form to report your military service or order a Veterans Alumni Network challenge coin. Links to campus resources for veterans are also provided on this page. 
 

Tags: , ,

Jayhawk and former Army officer launches typhoon relief

Posted on Dec 20, 2013 in Alumni News, Campus News, and News

Rod Ward, a retired lieutenant colonel, is putting his can-do Army attitude and experience back to work by launching a significant relief effort following Typhoon Yolanda, which killed more than 6,000 people after making landfall in the Philippines in early November.

After learning of the human suffering left in the wake of the massive storm, Ward founded an organization he calls PRAY: Provincial Relief Aid for Yolanda. Donating $25,000 of his own savings and gathering a nearly equal amount from other donors worldwide, Ward and PRAY have already conducted four missions and reached more than 15,000 people in 3,300 families.

“It is important to note,” he writes in an email from the Philippines, “that no one on the PRAY staff is paid any money. We are all volunteers. Most of the team are retired military, as am I. Wives and family members comprise another significant portion of the team.”

Ward, g’92, a 15-year member of the KU Alumni Association after earning his KU MBA, emphasizes that PRAY is 100-percent privately funded, and he encourages Jayhawks interested in learning more about the mission to visit yachtvalhalla.net/pray/pray.htm. The site includes photographs, vision and mission statements, logistical details and a breakdown of operating budgets and itemized expenses, along with a link to make donations.

A video recapping PRAY’s fourth mission, to the Caluya and Panagatan island chains, can be seen at here.

“We do a lot with little,” Ward writes.

PRAY’s website also includes links to the group’s Facebook and Twitter pages.

img_news_ward_philippines

img_news_ward_philippines2

–Chris Lazzarino

Tags: , , , , ,