Notable Cadets

George H. Webb, 1880 (Distinguished Railroad Man)

Born in Iowa in 1860, George Herbert Webb attended the public schools of Pittsburgh and Pennsylvania Military College. He graduated in 1880 with a degree in Civil Engineering and started his career as a surveyor with the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad. Beginning in 1889, he spent the next two years building a railroad in Chile. He then worked in Peru as the chief engineer of the Transandine Railway, a remarkable project which built a railroad through the Andes. He returned to the United States and by 1905 was made chief engineer of the Michigan Central Railway. He omit planned and rebuilt the Third Avenue rail yard in Detroit and in 1913, completed the new Michigan Central Depot.

In 1917, he left the Michigan Central Railway and was commissioned a lieutenant-colonel in the 16th Regiment of Engineers (Railway). The 16th was organized and trained within the city limits and was Michigan’s only volunteer regiment. Among the 687 members of the 16th Regiment were some of the best skilled tradesmen from Detroit. Shortly after World War 1 was declared, the Regiment was ordered to proceed to France. They arrived on August 27, 1917. For the next 21 months, they were in constant service. Along with the other Engineer Regiments of the American Expeditionary Forces, the 16th was assigned to building the infrastructure needed for the success of AEF. Its accomplishments included designing and building the Nevers Cutoff, allowing supply trains to bypass Paris, and repairing the supply line between Verdun and Dan-sur-Meuse during the AEF offensive in the Meuse-Argonne region.

After the Armistice, the Regiment continued its work for some time. On May 5, 1919, it arrived home at the Michigan Central Depot. They paraded through Detroit the next day, and was mustered out of service the following day.

In July, 1919, Colonel Webb was awarded the Army’s Distinguished Service Medal for:

“exceptionally meritorious and distinguished services … with the execution of some of the largest construction enterprises in France. Confronted by difficulties of labor, material, and equipment, he set about his task with ceaseless energy, and by his resourcefulness, initiative, and skill he overcame all obstacles and completed these difficult projects with great success.”

After his discharge, Colonel Webb resumed his job as chief engineer of the Michigan Central Railway. He passed away in 1921 while living in Newton Lower Falls, near Boston.

Two Cadets Join the Spanish-American War

Prior to the Spanish-American War, newspaper owners like William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer, often sensationalized reports of Spanish atrocities against Cuban rebels. After the sinking of the Maine the national enthusiasm for war even extended to PMC. Although many cadets wanted to join the service, President Charles Hyatt convinced most to remain. While nearly seventy graduates responded to the call to service in 1898, two members of the senior class of 1898 also answered the call. Both Cadet Lieutenant Ezra H. Ripple, Jr. and Cadet Raymond W. Hardenbergh enlisted in the 13th Regiment of the Pennsylvania National Guard in May prior to Commencement. Although they both had left PMC and had entered the service, they received their degrees in civil engineering.

Ezra H. Ripple enlisted as a private in Company D, and joined the regiment at Camp Hastings for training. At the time of muster, the 13th Pennsylvania consisted of thirty-six officers and 604 enlisted men. In May, the 13th Pennsylvania was ordered to Camp Alger, near Dunn Loring, Virginia, where it became part of the 2nd Army Corps, First Division. The 13th Pennsylvania remained in the new camp until August, when it was ordered back to Pennsylvania’s new Camp Meade, located near Middletown. Since the Spanish-American War ended on August 13, the 13th Pennsylvania did not see action.

Until 1900, Ripple was a mine surveyor, but decided to study law and entered the law department of the University of Pennsylvania and graduated in 1904. In 1905 he was admitted to the Lackawanna bar. In 1916 he commanded the 13th Pennsylvania during the Mexican Border Campaign. During World War I he was drafted into service and was attached to Headquarters, 55th Infantry Brigade, 28th Infantry Division.

Raymond W. Hardenberg enlisted as a private in Company E of the 13th Pennsylvania, and joined the regiment at Camp Hastings. From the 13th Pennsylvania he joined the Army Corps of Engineers under Col. Edgar Jadwin in Cuba and was appointed a Second Llieutenant in the regular army. He then participated in the Philippine Insurrection, and during World War I he served as brigade adjutant with the 159th Brigade, 80th Division A.E.F.

Hardenberg is best known, however, as the trustee of “Rags”, the war dog and mascot of the 1st Infantry Division. Rags was a mixed breed terrier discovered in Paris by Sergeant James Donovan. He trained Rags to carry messages from the front lines to the 7th Field Artillery and Rags would return with a reply. Rags achieved great notoriety and celebrity when he saved many lives during the Meuse-Argonne Campaign by delivering a vital message despite being bombed, gassed and partially blinded. A severely wounded Donovan and Rags made their way back to the U.S. and Fort Sheridan, IL, where gas victims were being treated. In early 1919, Donovan died, but Rags soon became the post’s dog. The following year, Major Hardenbergh arrived at Fort Sheridan and the family soon adopted Rags. In 1924, Hardenbergh was transferred to Governor’s Island in New York Harbor, home of the 1st Division, with whom Rags had served in World War I. Rags soon became something of a celebrity in Manhattan. In 1934, Hardenbergh was transferred to the War Department. In 1936, Rags died. He was buried with full military honors and a monument to him was erected at the Aspen Hill memorial park and animal sanctuary in Silver Spring, Maryland.

Colonel Hardenbergh died on Feb. 3, 1949

George M. Studebaker, 1885 (“Studebaker Tigers”)


George M. Studebaker

After his Commencement in 1885, George M. Studebaker returned to Indiana. He joined his father’s wagon and carriage business, the Studebaker Wagon Company, and married Ada Lantz. He also joined the 3rd Regiment of the Indiana National Guard.

Between 1895 and 1898, Cuba and the Philippine Islands revolted against Spain. The Cuban revolt had many supporters among the American people and in response to the popular outcry, President William McKinley sent the Battleship Maine to Havana. Its mission was to provide a naval presence there but on the night of February 5th, the Maine was exploded and sunk. A reluctant McKinley reacted to the public demands and Congress approved the President’s request for a declaration of war on April 10.

The 157th Regiment of Infantry, Indiana National Guard, which was known as the “Studebaker Tigers,” was formed from volunteers from the 3rd Regiment. Studebaker, the youngest colonel in the service of the country at the time, was the commander. Immediately following McKinley’s war message, Colonel Studebaker telegrammed Indiana Governor James Goodrich, offering the services of the regiment.

The `157th Regiment was the first organization of volunteers to be mustered into the Volunteer Service for the Spanish-American War. The regiment reported to Camp George H. Thomas at Chattanooga National Military Park, Chickamauga in Georgia. Due to the slow process of examining and passing the physical exam, the regiment was accepted by the United States Army after some delay. The regiment moved to Port Tampa City (FL) where it remained until it was ordered to return to Indianapolis for muster out of service.

Studebaker returned to work at the Studebaker Wagon Company, which entered the car business in 1902. Two years later, Studebaker brought out its first gasoline automobile—a two-cylinder, 16-horsepower touring car. In 1911, the company purchased the Everitt-Metzger-Flanders Co. of Detroit and formed the Studebaker Corp.

Studebaker returned to work at the Studebaker Wagon Company, which entered the car business in 1902. Two years later, Studebaker brought out its first gasoline automobile—a two-cylinder, 16-horsepower touring car. In 1911, the company purchased the Everitt-Metzger-Flanders Co. of Detroit and formed the Studebaker Corp.

Members of the 157th Infantry Regiment

Members of the 157th Infantry Regiment

John W. Loveland, 1867 (Alumni Association)

Loveland 1The parents of John W. Loveland were descendants of English gentry and were successful merchants in the Scranton, PA, area. After completing his early education, he entered Pennsylvania Military College, from which he was graduated in 1887 as a Civil Engineer. He continued his studies as a Post-Graduate at Yale University in 1888, and afterward attended Columbia Law School. He then studied in the offices of well-known New York patent lawyers. Loveland was admitted to the New York Bar in 1891 and the United States Supreme Court in 1892. He then opened the firm Loveland & Billings and earned an enviable reputation as a patent lawyer.

At the start of the Spanish-American War, President McKinley mustered in 3 regiments of volunteer cavalry (known as the Rough Riders). Shortly thereafter Loveland enlisted in Troop A, U.S. Volunteer Cavalry. In late July Troop A embarked for Puerto Rico and arrived at Port Ponce on August 6th. Due to the difficult accommodations and poor food many soldiers fell ill while waiting for orders to advance. Loveland was among those stricken ill. Upon his return from Puerto Rico, Loveland resumed his practice and in 1901, joined the New Jersey National Guard. He was promoted rapidly and by 1912 was the Adjutant of the 5th Infantry.

Loveland had always been a loyal and active member of the PMC Alumni Association. In 1887 he was elected President of the Eastern Alumni Association and served in that role continuously until 1907. During his tenure, Loveland oversaw the building of the Alumni Lodge, an on-campus home for alumni where they could hold their annual banquet and enjoy “song, story, reminiscence, good cheer, wit, humor, refreshment and rejuvenation.” He also accomplished the unification of the Eastern and Western Divisions of the Alumni Association.

box_11_folder_3_001He was re-elected to that office during the years 1919-1924. The Hollow Square, a tradition of Commencement Ceremonies for the next half century, was organized by Loveland.

Loveland died in Washington, D.C. in 1944. He was buried in Forty Fort Cemetery in Pennsylvania.

Percival G. Lowe, 1883 (Scout Commander)

PG-Lowe-optPercival G. Lowe was born in 1863 in Leavenworth, Kansas. He completed his education in the local schools and entered PMC in 1880. He graduated from PMC in 1883 as an honor student, “First Captain” of the Corps of Cadets and received a C.E. (Civil Engineering) degree. Lowe returned to Leavenworth and for the next two years was employed as an assistant city engineer. In 1885 he enlisted in the 18th U.S. Infantry. He was commissioned a Second Lieutenant of Company B in 1889 and graduated from the infantry and cavalry school in 1895.

He was sent to Fort Bliss, Texas, in 1896 and placed in command of the Seminole-Negro Indian Scouts. Under his leadership, the Scouts had played a pivotal role in ending violations of U.S. neutrality laws by Mexican revolutionaries and bandits in Texas, including the killing of Mangas de Agua, described as the most desperate of all the bandits.



In 1898, Secretary of War Russell Alger ordered three military expeditions to explore Alaska. Captain William R. Abercrombie, U.S. Army, commanded the second expedition. Upon his arrival, Abercrombie divided his party into two groups. The first was to make reconnaissance surveys of the Prince William Sound and the second, led by Lowe, was to navigate and chart the overland trail from Valdez to the Yukon River. Perhaps the most noteworthy event of Lowe’s expedition occurred when Abercrombie named the Lowe River after him, reportedly because of his endurance and scouting abilities.

In the spring of 1899, Lowe was promoted to Captain, given command of L Company in the 25th Infantry. and deployed to the Philippines. Lowe’s reputation as an Indian fighter and navigator was well-known when he arrived in the Philippines. As a result, General Henry W. Lawton assigned Lowe to be his chief of scouts. With the help of his friend from the Abercrombie Exploration of Alaska, Lieutenant Joseph C. Castern, 4th Infantry, Lowe pulled together a core group of enlisted men and Tagalog scouts. Henceforth they were known as “Lowe’s Scouts.“ With the need for more forces to garrison and patrol the territory, the number of Lowe Scouts increased. Within a year, over 100 Ilocano recruits were raised and “Lowe’s Scouts” grew to 250 soldiers. In addition, this unit became an integral part of the growing intelligence network of native spies and informants.



In October1899, a plan developed to deal with Filipino revolutionary positions in the Cabanatuan area . American troops were to make a frontal attack at night, with Lowe’s Scouts, commanded by Lt. Castern, supporting the attack on its right flank. The fight was over by noon without any American casualties and the revolutionaries fleeing in disarray. This was the first real fight that included the scouts. During the battle this small force moved quickly and struck the entrenched revolutionaries hard. More importantly they proved their loyalty to the American forces.

The challenge of managing the scouts in the Philippines took a heavy toll on Lowe’s health and he was sent back to the U.S. By 1903, he had retired from military and was confined to the hospital in Colgate, Oklahoma. He died in 1910 at the age of 47.

George B. Christian, Jr., 1896 (White House Insider)

George Chritain 1896After completing high school in three years, George B. Christian, Jr., left Marion Ohio and enrolled at Pennsylvania Military College. He was a gifted student, earning the title of distinguished Cadet for earning a spot on the Merit List. Colonel Frank Hyatt wrote that “Mr. Christian is a cadet of high character and excellent intellectual attainments.” In 1896, he graduated with a Civil Engineering degree. He then returned to Marion and worked for his father at the Norris & Christian Stone and Lime Company.

Christian was also the next-door neighbor of Warren and Florence Harding. At an early age he delivered the Star newspaper, owned and operated by Harding. When Harding ran for the U.S. Senate in 1913, Christian was very involved in the campaign. One of the first decisions Harding made as senator-elect was to hire Christian as his personal secretary. As Harding’s alter ego this association continued throughout Harding’s presidency.

As Secretary to the President, Christian was the precursor of today’s White House Chief of Staff. He would act as the buffer between the President and public, keeping the President’s schedules and appointments, managing his correspondence, communicating to the press and managing the White House staff, which consisted of 31 people during the Harding Presidency.

President HardingIn February, 1920, PMC held its annual recognition of Washington’s birthday. Then Senator Harding, accompanied by Christian, was the featured speaker and was awarded the degree of Doctor of Laws. Harding’s address was described as a “tribute to PMC.” Although Harding declined an invitation to attend the Centennial Commencement Ceremony, Christian sent a photo of the President inscribed with the comment “… from one who holds Chester’s famous college in high esteem.”

Christian was devastated after the unexpected death of Harding in 1923. In an interview with the New York Times he commented: “For nearly nine years I worked beside him and my present sorrow is somewhat assuaged by the feeling of satisfaction of having been permitted to serve a great president, a most humane and considerate chief and the finest friend as has ever been given a man to have.” Although he assisted with the transition of President Coolidge, Christian turned down the President’s offer to remain.

For the next few years, Christian devoted his time to working with the Harding Memorial Association, which was formed shortly after Harding’s death to plan and raise money for the Harding Memorial. He had also planned on writing a biography about Harding and his own experiences, but he developed glaucoma, with eventually robbed him of his sight. By 1930 he was inactive and his health began to fail. died in 1951.

Judge George T. Cann, 1885 (No Ordinary Cadet)

Cann Hall

Cann Hall

Cann Memorial Hall was dedicated in February, 1965. At the time, Cann housed 86 Rooks (freshmen Cadets) and a small cadre of upperclassmen. The dormitory was named in honor of George Turner Cann, PMC 1885. The dedication ceremony was attended by faculty, Cadets and honored guests of PMC, including Cadet Captain Walter Clayton Jr., President of the Board of Trustees, Laurence Sharples, and Cann family members. In accepting the dormitory, it was said Cann “certainly was not ordinary.”

Judge Cann’s forebears settled in Georgia shortly after James Oglethorpe founded the colony in 1732. He was the valedictorian of his high school class in 1882 and entered Pennsylvania Military Academy in the fall. After only three years, he earned the distinction of being Cadet Captain, achieved the highest grade average (99.7 on the Merit List) ever attained at PMA, and became the class valedictorian. After graduation he attended Columbia University where he continued his studies and received his diploma from the law school. He returned to Savannah and was admitted to the bar. His law career included three terms as county attorney and as judge of the Eastern Judicial Circuit Court of Georgia.

George_Cann_003George Cann was an active participant in many civic and fraternal organizations, including the Savannah Board of Trade, the Georgia Historical Society, and Director of the YMCA. In 1887, he joined the Savannah Volunteer Guards as a private. He advanced quickly, however, and attained the rank of captain of Company C. He was a skilled marksman and led Company C at the sixth annual New Jersey Riflemen tournament at Sea Girt, NJ. In 1896. Cann won the Wimbledon Cup with a score of 103 of of a possible 150.

In 1924, Judge Cann conferred the degree of Bachelor of Military Science upon 64 PMC alumni. Judge Cann explained that “the degree was designed to honor graduates of PMC who had served in any branch of the military in time of actual warfare.” He went on to say that PMC

creates a sound body and healthy mind, teaches obedience ot law and authority and inspires lofty ideals. PMC men have been heroes in peace and in war. They are always ready to make the supreme sacrifice when their country calls them.

Throughout his life Judge Cann continued his involvement with PMC. He was a member of the Board of Trustees from 1924-1937 and was awarded the Honorary Degrees of Master of Arts in 1892 and Doctor of Laws in 1935.

Gordon M. Bettles ’10 (Philippine POW)

Gordon M. BettlesGordon M. Bettles left Montana in 1906 and entered PMC, He quickly became a leader in a very talented class. As a senior, he received the honor of being the Cadet Battalion Commander. Commander Bettles was also an athlete and captained the football team. At Commencement he was awarded a degree in Civil Engineering and continued his education at the Colorado School of Mines. He oversaw the successful mining operations of the Yellow Tiger Mining Company in Goldfield, Nevada and introduced the use of an oil-driven compressor to mine the gold. In 1937, Bettles left his lucrative position at the Wiljobar Corporation in California and sailed to the Philippines. He was to become a part of a mining syndicate in Manila.

The bombings at Pearl Harbor in 1941 suddenly and dramatically changed the American attitude towards the Philippines. Since becoming a colony at the end of the Spanish American War, America’s approach was muddled. To many, the Philippine were an economic investment. This resulted in various large and small companies seeking the wealth of lumber, sugar and precious metals that the islands offered. After Pearl Harbor, the view was that Manila Bay was a large well-fortified port in the Pacific.

Within a month, Gordon Bettles and 6,000 other American and British civilians were interred in Japanese prison camps in Manila. The largest of these camps was Camp No. 1, University of Santo Tomása Internment Camp. The University campus consisted of 50 acres and was surrounded by high masonry walls on three sides an an ornate iron fence facing the main street. Inside the compound were the Main Building and an education building, both structures were 3-stores in height and contained offices, classrooms and a gymnasium. In addition, there were two light construction one-story buildings called the Annex and the Infirmary. Segregated by sex, thirty to fifty people were crowded into these small spaces. Bathrooms were scarce.

While there were many difficulties accommodating the growing number of internees, the Japanese absolved themselves of any responsibility. The Japanese did not consider the internees to be prisoners, but merely civilians held in protective custody. This left the internees struggling to find ways of feeding of themselves and dealing with a variety of health issues.

On June 14, 1943, Gordon M. Bettles, age 50, died of unknown causes while imprisoned. He was buried in the Manila North Cemetery.

Watch a photographic slideshow of the “University of Santo Tomas during the 2nd World War.”


Hugh F. McCaffery, Jr. ‘24 (Army Air Corps)

• McCaffery, HFor 150 years, PMC taught students to be academically disciplined and instilled in them the qualities of leadership. Two brothers, Hugh and Joe McCaffery (read more), learned these lessons well and were superior leaders at a time when the nation needed them.

Hugh McCaffrey ‘24 started in the PMC Prep School and then entered the college. During his time at PMC he was a multi-sport athlete, football, basketball and baseball, and was admired by his classmates for his energy and leadership. As the quarterback of the football team, McCaffrey was considered by many, including Col. Frank Hyatt, to be “slightly” better than Reds Pollock ’34. In 1924, he received his Degree in Civil Engineering from PMC and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Army Reserves. McCaffery then entered law school at Notre Dame University. While there, he joined the swim team, became the team’s captain, set collegiate records in the 100-meter freestyle, and qualified for the Olympics swim team. After earning his law degree, his interest in flying took him in a different direction.

McCaffery was a gifted pilot. Before joining the Army Air Corps in 1930, he graduated from the School of Aviation at Essington, PA. He then joined the Army Air Corps and completed flying school at Randolph Field in Texas. Thereafter, he received specialized training in pursuit, observation and bombardment in a variety of airplanes. Upon completing his training, he was assigned to the 31st Bombardment Squadron. In 1939, he was an instructor at the Air Navigation School at Hickam Field in Hawaii. In 1940, he was put in charge of the squadron.

Hugh McCaffery Air CorpsShortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Secretary of War Stimson ordered Major General Herbert A. Dargue, an aviation pioneer and commanding officer of the First Air Force, and his staff, including Major McCaffery, to investigate the lack of preparedness at Pearl Harbor and to take command of the Army units in Hawaii. In July (?) of 1941, while flying a Douglas B-18 enroute to Hamilton Field in California, McCaffrey encountered a snow storm as he approached the Sierra Nevada Mountains and subsequently went missing. An exhaustive search was conducted. It wasn’t until May, 1942, that a search party led by Norman Clyde, a well-known mountaineer with experience in the Sierra Nevada, found the aircraft and bodies, covered by five feet of snow.

On the evening of October 14, 1949, the Corps of Cadets gathered in the Armory to hear Bill Stern, ’30 (read more) noted sports broadcaster. During his 15-minute, coast-to-coast broadcast that evening, Stern paid tribute to Hugh and Joe McCaffery, who had been killed in action. Any death in war is tragic. For PMC, the loss of the McCaffery boys was very personal and underscored the sacrifice PMC has made while serving our country.

John Grant ’65 (A Marine aboard Stars & Stripes)

• John Grant flippedLike many others before him, when John Grant completed Bordentown Military Institute, he enrolled at PMC. His classmates described him as a “straight up man.” He studied economics, played football and was E Company Commander in his First Class (Senior) year. He graduated in 1965 as a Distinguished Military Student and entered the Marine Corps.

After flight school, he was assigned to the 4th Marine Division. As a Marine, he was involved in a series of battles in Vietnam. One noteworthy campaign was Operation Hastings in 1966. In order to confront the lead forces of a North Vietnamese force advancing across the DMZ, the Marines launched an attack. It was during this time that 2nd Lieutenant Grant responded, organized, and deployed a defense for a forward aid station. This act of gallantry was not isolated. While serving aboard the USS St. Paul, Grant dove into the sea to rescue a drowning sailor that had fallen overboard. Towards the end of his 20-year career, Grant was stationed at the Marine Corps Air Station at El Toro in California. It was while he was at El Toro that he met Dennis Conner, a famed yachtsman and a four-time winner of the America’s Cup. This chance meeting gave Grant an opportunity to follow a new path. Shortly after meeting Conner, Grant was asked to join the Stars & Stripes team. To be a part of the historic America’s Cup Races was an incredible opportunity for Grant. His perspective was that these races were the “holy grail” of yacht racing.

• America's Cup TrophyThis challenging competition began in England in 1851, when the Royal Yacht Squadron challenged the New York Yacht Club. The New York Yacht Club won the race and was presented with the 100 Guineas Cup, an award commemorating Queen Victoria’s Jubilee year. The New York Yacht Club renamed the trophy “The America’s Cup,” after its winning yacht. For the next 132 years, American yachts successfully defended the America’s Cup. This changed in 1983, when the Australian challenger won. By 1987, Dennis Conner had organized and built a new yacht which went on to defeat an Australian defender. Grant’s role on the team was that of a “winch grinder.” Although he was the senior member of the crew, his emotional and physical leadership quickly caught the attention and respect of his teammates. They affectionately called him “Rambo.” Just prior to the start of the America’s Cup in 1987, Grant was sidelined by a broken foot. The next year he was part of the team that defended the America’s Cup from a New Zealand challenge.