A Clarkson Mosaic - page 209

"Lucky Dozen."
Twelve Clarkson juniors who enjoyed and benefitted from a series of US
Army "snafus," beginning in the fall of 1942, called themselves the "Lucky Dozen": William
Aswad; Everett Ball; George Bohlander; Adolph Kohler; Reese May; John Monsees; Robert
Powers; William Rhodes; Robert Rosenberg; Charles Thomas, Jr.; Oliver Vail; and Frank
Weisner.
At that time, the junior ROTC students on campus had contracts with the Army to leave
campus to get a commission from the Officer Candidate's School (OCS). The government
asked other juniors to enlist in the Army and assured them that they would not be ordered to
active duty, for they would prove to be far more valuable to the country by remaining in school
to complete their degrees.
Believing the Army, many signed up, but at the end of their junior year these students
received orders to report for induction; they had been called up. Some were sent to Fort
Niagara, but most went to Fort Upton on Long Island for induction and then to Fort Leonard
Wood, Mo., for 17 weeks of basic training. All believed that they soon would be sent to OCS at
Fort Belvoir in Washington, D.C. However, because the government had no room in OCS for
these men, they were sent to Engineering Replacement Training.
Because there still was no place for them at OCS, even after two more weeks of basic
maneuvers, they received orders to return to their colleges to await orders. Most of this
Clarkson group were sent to NYU, but seven came back to Potsdam. Here they were told to
await orders to NYU to complete their college training.
After two more weeks of waiting with no orders forthcoming, Prof. Ed McHugh
convinced them to start their schooling again. So they charged their books at Weston's, and
started going to classes. When orders to NYU arrived a month later, Reese May told the Army
that he was not going to complete his education elsewhere. Remarkably, the Army sent some
officers here to negotiate, and incredibly, they were allowed to remain here. A few more in
similar circumstances drifted back to Clarkson until there were 12: the Lucky Dozen.
Here they went to school with the civilian students, taking various senior engineering
courses. Because the ASTP cadets on campus (See 1943) had to march to classes as a unit,
Clarkson gave the Dozen a separate study hall to use when they were not in class.
The Dozen ate and slept with ASTP cadets, but when the ASTP fell in after breakfast
each morning in front of Snell Hall and marched off to class, the Dozen followed at the end of
the "parade"√°goose-stepping all the way, much to the chagrin and anger of the Army officers on
campus. Eventually, though, still a semester short of their degrees at Clarkson, they got orders
to OCS at Fort Belvoir on February 23, 1944, for their 17 weeks of OCS and were
commissioned.
Reese May remained at Belvoir to teach in the OCS, so when he returned to Clarkson,
he taught here as he finished his degree in October 1946.
Rumor of Closing.
On April 25, President Ross ended the rumor that Clarkson would close its
doors permanently at the end of the spring 1944 term. He announced that classes for freshmen
would begin on Monday, June 26, and for all other students the next day. He went on to observe
that if there happened to be fewer students than usual in the classes, then each student would
benefit by the greater amount of personal attention and individual instruction he would receive.
Baseball Contract.
With the signing of an agreement to pitch for the Yankees after the war, Ed
Kinney became the fourth Clarkson man to sign with a famous team. First to sign was Pete
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