A Scotland County military footnote that began near Maxton in 1942 became even more newsworthy and significant in early June this year when a replica of the Army’s WACO CG-4A Glider was built and dedicated at Fort Bragg’s Special Warfare Training Group by the 1stBattalion at Camp Mackall, about seven miles from Fort Bragg. Named after Pvt. John Mackall, he is thought to be the first paratrooper casualty in World War II and is the only Army base named after an enlisted soldier. The glider’s tail number, 111242, corresponds to the date Mackall died: Nov. 12, 1942.
Glider duty was dangerous, and the gliders were called "flying coffins,"Gooney Birds" and more respectfully "Silent Wings."
Laurinburg's place in the war effort ended Oct. 30, 1945, when the glider project closed at the Laurinburg-Maxton Air Base.
However, the connection to Laurinburg cannot be minimized, and one of the guests at the June 7 dedication was St. Andrews faculty member Dr. David Herr who has become a link for those 73 years.
Dr. Herr, associate professor of history and Liberal Arts department chair, was invited to the dedication because his public history students, faculty colleague Dr. Valerie Austin and he helped research to build specifications for the Glider replica that was being built by Scotland County native Beau Neal and Oak Grove Technologies. “Our work uncovered dimensional drawings and details of the glider not previously available. Our search took us to contacts in Texas, Wisconsin and France. After the class ended two years ago, I stayed in touch with Beau as his team completed the glider. The glider replica includes the front cockpit frame section from an actual CG-4A that crashed at Camp Mackall and was discovered years later,” Dr. Herr said.
According to Lt. Col. Seth Wheeler who spoke at the ceremony (and reported by Fayetteville Observer military editor Drew Brooks), “Camp Mackall—once called Camp Hoffman—was an installation to behold, with over 65 miles of paved roads, a 1,200 bed hospital, two cantonment areas with five movie theaters, six beer gardens, a triangle-shaped airport with three 5k foot runways and a total of 1,750 buildings including three libraries and 12 chapels,” he said.
Camp Mackall was home to U.S. Army Airborne Command that needed greater maneuver areas and airfields to train the expanding airborne and glider units—thus Laurinburg-Maxton became home to the CG-4A and the Glider infantry units. The 11th, 13th and 17th Airborne Divisions were headquartered at the camp. Additionally, the 82nd Airborne Division and 101st Airborne Division at Fort Bragg trained at Camp Mackall that later became a training location for Special Forces.
Dr. Herr notes that during World War II the CG-4A was the most widely used combat glider during the war and troops trained here served in campaigns in both the Pacific and European theaters including the Normandy invasion. “As part of the class we located veterans including a former pilot and former members of the glider infantry, including retired General Robert Johnson. General Johnson passed away last year but his wife also attended the ceremony with me. Dr. Austin and I conducted oral history interviews with some of these veterans,” he said.
Oak Grove Technologies saved the templates and details of the glider replica. It is hoped that Scotland County and Laurinburg will consider having a second glider replica constructed for public display near Highway 74 to remind everyone of this area's important role in World War II.
A lengthy description covering the Laurinburg-Maxton Airbase is available on Wikipedia along with photos. In part, that account adds that Generals Dwight Eisenhower and George Marshal visited a number of times. According to Wikipedia, the CG-4A Waco glider was huge and could carry 13 fully equipped soldiers, or a jeep with a 4-man crew and equipment, or a 75mm howitzer plus supplies and ammunition. It had a wingspan of over 80 feet and weighed over 4,000 pounds when empty. Manufactured primarily of wood, medal tubing and canvas, it was towed into the air by C-47s that connected to it by a tow rope that also carried basic communications between the glider and aircraft.
Engineers surveyed the site, water wells were dug and preparations were underway to build a railroad spur to the facility. The base was planned to be a large, expansive facility designed to house 10,000 men. The cost was over $10 million and netted 20 miles of paved roads within the compound.
Dr. Herr said that some homes in Laurinburg were built from the massive wood containers the Army used to ship the gliders. Each glider required five enormous hardwood containers.
“It was an extraordinary coincidence that at the same time my public history class was developing a research project about the history of the Maxton Airbase, Beau Neal had been asked by Col. Wheeler to create a life-size glider replica to mark the entrance of Camp Mackall. The students had long wanted to discover an actual glider somewhere in Scotland County and while that didn't happen, we were able to help Beau create a new glider with the exacting historical accuracy both he and the Army desired. The Sandhills region should be proud of their support for America's effort in World War II and the glider replica helps remind people of that role more than seventy years ago,” Dr. Herr wrote following the dedication.—30—
Pioneer College Caterers provides food service for St. Andrews University and has announced that a new food service director has been assigned to St. Andrews.
Brian Oliver replaces Brian Johnson who was at St. Andrews for the past two years and was recently promoted to a district manager position in the Midwest for Pioneer.
Mr. Oliver arrived July 1, having been with Pioneer at Campbellsville University (KY) since 2016. His duties there consisted of hiring, training and supervising 50-75 hourly and student workers in the main dining room, supervising the serving of 7,500 meals weekly, plus catering and working with the athletic department for pre-game meals.
He is a 2012 Campbellsville University graduate with a B.S. in organizational management. His interests include youth baseball and football and Campbellsville’s community garden.
According to Pioneer, “Brian is a high energy individual with a passion for service and a desire to create exceptional dining experiences … and brings a spirit of servant leadership to our team at St. Andrews University.”
Mr. Oliver’s work has already begun as he makes preparations for new student orientation which begins Aug. 16 and classes on Aug. 21.
St. Andrews University's mission is to offer students an array of business, liberal arts and sciences, and pre-professional programs of study that create a life transforming educational opportunity which is practical in its application, global in its scope, and multi-disciplinary in its general education core. Students will acquire depth of knowledge and expertise in their chosen field of study, balanced by breadth of knowledge across various disciplines. Special emphasis is placed on enhancing oral and written communication, and critical thinking skills. St. Andrews is a branch of Webber International University which is located in Babson Park, FL.
The annual Laurinburg Area Campaign for St. Andrews University exceeded its 2018 goal of raising $500,000 from the Laurinburg/Scotland County community. Co-chairs Richard and Betsy Massey, both of whom are alumni, reported that the campaign exceeded the goal by raising $503,203 during the university’s fiscal year ending May 31, 2018. Just over 200 individuals, businesses, corporations and local alumni made 243 gifts to the campaign. Gifts to the campaign are used for student scholarships, faculty support, and the maintenance of campus buildings and grounds.
“Betsy and I would like to thank all those who made gifts and grants to St. Andrews during the campaign. They not only supported a fine academic institution, but in turn showed their support for Scotland County that benefits in so many ways from having St. Andrews in our local community,” Mr. Massey said.
Mr. Massey also recognized Ken Nichols, Kay Alexander, Wayne Hobbs, Megan Harvey and Sam Fulton as key members of the volunteer leadership team. These volunteers helped plan the campaign and spent significant time contacting potential donors. Mr. Massey expressed a special thanks to Gary and Terri Gallman of WLNC for the airtime they provided to the campaign.
St. Andrews University president Paul Baldasare said, “I cannot think of a more generous community, or a stronger ‘town-gown’ relationship than the one that St. Andrews and Laurinburg/Scotland County enjoy. St. Andrews trustees, faculty, staff, alumni and students are deeply grateful for the donors and volunteers who made the campaign such a success.”
Key volunteers and donors will be recognized later this fall at an event to celebrate the successful completion of the campaign.—30—
For a few days in late May, a St. Andrews University alumna was creating a stir nationally with her grammatical critique of a White House letter. Yvonne Mason, class of 1978, and similar to what she had done for 17 years as a high school English teacher, took purple pen to paper, circled mistakes, wrote notes, highlighted redundancies and generally “graded” the letter for its syntax and rhetorical style.
And then, she mailed it back to the White House. It went viral, and Ms. Mason began to be interviewed by the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN and more.
The real story began when Ms. Mason wrote President Trump in February after the Parkland, FL, high school shooting. She was quoted, according to the Washington Post: “I wrote urging the president to meet with every single family of a victim individually. And to hear what they had to say and to assure them that something was going to be done about gun control in this country. I didn’t expect to hear back. After I mailed it, it was over for me. I had expressed my opinion.” She insists that whoever wrote the letter didn’t need a new job, maybe just a new stylebook.
However, the White House letter that sparked the editing did not refer to any of the content or requests in Ms. Mason’s letter and was probably written by someone at the White House, “who was trained to mimic the president’s writing style such as a speechwriter.”
Regardless, her teaching and composition skills took over, the letter was scrutinized and sent back with a photo taken of the letter that would end up on her Facebook page.
Without repeating the various media reporting, St. Andrews director of communications contacted Ms. Mason (now retired from teaching and living in Atlanta) and asked her to respond to questions. These are her answers.
- Now that you are "in the news," any changes or how you have to deal with people/media?
I've had to change my Facebook privacy settings to make them more narrow, but I didn’t block anyone until over the past weekend. It was getting a little scary. Someone called for Atlantans to protest in front of our house.
- Any follow up from the WH, etc.?
Nope! LOL, I don’t expect any follow up.
- Is there a learning experience evolving from this--once you did it ... results ... ?
Several people would ask me if I’d do it again, and I would. The learning experience is that people will attack you personally while calling you down for attacking someone they admire.
And I’d do it to more than just the president. The point is that it was a formal letter from a nationally important figure.
- Was it intended to be political?
I just joked about it constantly. It was most certainly political, but I’d do it for a Democrat, too. South Carolina (where I am still registered to vote) has no major politicians to correct.
- Are you still in the media drama?
I am not. I did an interview with a South American international television station two weeks after the media storm, but I think people are now rushing to trash the Eagles for not loving America as much as a man who doesn’t know the words to “God Bless America,” or have enough sense to just not start singing.
- Threats? Love letters?
No direct threats, but implications of what “should” happen to me if I were this disrespectful. Lots of people shared and complimented me, but no proposals of marriage! My favorite epithet was “old hippie hag.” A woman from New Delhi messaged to tell me I was a badass. I loved it!
- Most surprising aspect of the entire story?
The most surprising aspect was that it was a story at all. I posted it on my FB page knowing that my friends would get a kick out of it. Someone asked to share it and the rest is media history.
- Any role that St. Andrews played?
St. Andrews made me brave and confident in my intellectual capabilities and thinking skills. I am forever grateful for my experience there. My daughter Margaret Tate is also a St. Andrews alum, class of 2008.
- Additional ideas/thoughts/points you would like to contribute?
Not really. It was fun being on CNN and everyone was very nice. I was surprised at how passionate people were about how awful I am. And to all of them, I WOULD have done the same with a letter from Barack Obama had the occasion arisen.—30—
Rooney Coffman’s photographs of St. Andrews campus have been selected for a forthcoming publication in “The Cultural Landscape Foundation and Pioneers of American Landscape Design”5 June 2018, 3:06 pm Written by Dr. James Henery
SAU photographer’s photos selected for architectural publication
St. Andrews University photographer and logistics director Rooney Coffman’s photographs of St. Andrews campus have been selected for a forthcoming publication in “The Cultural Landscape Foundation and Pioneers of American Landscape Design” (an in-depth multimedia library chronicling the lives of significant landscape architects and educators).
Mr. Coffman’s photographs display buildings and grounds that are credited to the architect Lewis Clarke who is the “original master planner” of St. Andrews campus, an Englishman who was at North Carolina State University School of Design and a faculty member from 1952 to 1968, then operated his landscape architecture firm, Lewis Clarke Associates, from 1968 to 1980. He was elected a Fellow of the American Society of Landscape Architects and retired in 2000.
Mr. Clarke worked with Charlotte architects A.G. Odell Jr. and Associates to create the design for the 225-acre campus that required a total transformation of what had been agricultural and wooded acreage. Although Mr. Clarke was initially afraid that the oaks would become too large for the academic site, he eventually concurred. Today, those oaks planted in 1968 fill the area between the James L. Morgan Liberal Arts Building and Vardell.
The campus property encompasses a west administrative and academic campus and an east residential and recreation complex linked by a landscaped causeway that spans Lake Ansley C. Moore that was engineered as part of the site plan. The campus contains a cohesive collection of Modernist buildings that display a functionalistic approach in their form. New mid-twentieth-century building materials and technology allowed for structures that employed concrete, steel and glass in innovative ways. The campus plan garnered national attention. In January 1960, Progressive Architecture magazine. awarded A. G. Odell Jr. and Associates an Education Division citation for the design.
In 2016, St. Andrews was added to the National Historic Register for its architecture and landscape. Being recognized as a National Historic Place helps to preserve and protect the original design of the campus and its historical significance.
Mr. Clarke is now 91 and is being honored with a designation of being a Pioneer with the prestigious Cultural Landscape Foundation. Mr. Clarke’s master planning work in North Carolina includes the Research Triangle Institute in Durham, the North Carolina Zoological Park in Asheboro and the Fayetteville Street Pedestrian Mall in Raleigh.
The Foundation’s request of Mr. Coffman was to provide specific photos apropos to the campus that could be used to affirm Mr. Clarke’s design to be shown in the award documents and included in this national publication.
Mr. Coffman, who just completed his 50th year of work at St. Andrews, provided six photographs to meet the specifications; three were selected with the response being “exquisite.” They include an aerial shot of the campus, Lake Ansley Moore and the Tower, Lake Ansley Moore and Belk.
In addition to the publication, the Cultural Landscape website https://tclf.org/lewis-james-clarke features the dominant landscape photo of Lake Ansley and the Tower.
St. Andrews’ history began in 1896 with the founding of Flora Macdonald College in Red Springs, NC, merged with Webber International University (FL) in 2011 and became St. Andrews University.
Mr. Coffman’s photographs can be seen on the St. Andrews website at www.sa.edu.
When Kaitlin Griego came to St. Andrews University five years to begin working as an athletic trainer, she knew amid all of her training how to tape and assess injury, but it was another evolving task that recently gained attention at a symposium for athletic trainers: working with international student-athletes, specifically the SAU men’s soccer team.
In other words, as she says, “I had to learn so much more than I knew about patience, about describing body parts such as there are no words for toes in some Spanish speaking countries as well as insurance problems.”
For five years, Ms. Griego has been developing her thoughts and experiences and sharing them with the other four SAU athletic trainers, particularly about international student-athletes, and then decided to wrote a proposal to share her learning at the District 3 Mid-Atlantic Association Athletic Training Association. That annual symposium was held May 18-20 in Ocean City, MD.
In an hour-long presentation covering 25 pages of a power point titled “Working with International Students: How to Communicate and Build Affective Relationships,” she discussed multiple points of how she has learned to in a more caring and improved manner provide a quality of athletic training care that is often done without either her or the athlete speaking the same language. To the point: for the 2017- 2018 season, 49 student-athletes were playing soccer and of those, 38 were internationals. Sixteen were from Spain and Brazil, plus Venezuela and Bolivia.
All, she said, had a basic grasp of English but only a few were readily bilingual, and she doesn’t speak Spanish.
Attempting to treat injuries for her became a daily challenge. For instance, trying to describe head injuries lacked specific words or detailing other body parts, she would point and then try to understand their facial expressions. “I hit a wall sometimes trying to figure out what was wrong or what they were trying to explain.” Even with the help of teammates who could translate, Ms. Griego struggled.
Now, five years later, she is more routinely adapting to those first-year students and is much more confident in how she manages treatment. Her initial contact with them is to be welcoming and accepting, realizing they don’t understand and when injured, they want help but aren’t sure how to ask for or accept it. In fact, other than immediate trips to the emergency room, possible surgery for knees, etc., many of the internationals want to go home to their physicians and hospitals.
Her presentation covered developing trust, overcoming language barriers and cultural differences, considering that she counts 25 different countries and athletes in her time at St. Andrews.
Additionally, she has to be cognizant of not only treatments, but also visa issues, insurance and most obvious, no parents who will be here to assist when an injury happens.
Most of the athletes only played in clubs with minimal athletic trainer accessibility other than what is called “physio.” Thus, her relationship with the student is more dependent on having to be patient, have empathy and most importantly, she says, “to learn about their family and culture which they want to talk about.”
Even a trip to the physician can be complicated, trying to interpret what is being said, how treatments are to be accomplished and how insurance works. “I have become at times more of a care giver and then a better athletic trainer.
Her professional and academic portfolio includes Hofstra University with a B.S. in athletic training, an MBA from Webber International University in international business. She is a nationally certified athletic trainer, an NC state licensed athletic trainer, Basic Life Support Certified by the American Red Cross, Mental Health First Aid Certified, International Critical Incident Stress Foundation Trained Responder by the National Athletic Training Association ATS Care program.
Now that she has shared her work at SAU with a larger audience of athletic trainers from all sorts of settings other than universities, Ms. Griego is planning to more fully develop her presentation and apply for a national symposium next year.—30—
Nat King Cole in his 1963 hit urged listeners to “roll out those lazy, crazy days of summer, those days of soda and pretzels and beer.” But not on St. Andrews University’s campus where the students may be gone, but an energized and focused agenda is beginning to take place.
Between the admissions department and coaches in the athletic department, about 10 sports camps and multiple admissions events will eventually bring in as many as 500 students, athletes and their parents to Laurinburg beginning in June.
Admissions has developed what they call FAB Days—Financial, Advising, Business. Two sessions in June and two in July will accommodate about 200 incoming first-year students as they complete necessary forms and arrangements including registration for their initial classes in the fall semester. The idea, both for students and their parents, is to ease the transition process and initiate a “fabulous start” to their college career.
Each FAB day (June 8, 22; July 13, 20) also features an open house for tours, etc. In addition to the scheduled admissions events, drop-ins and “those on the way to the beach” will arrive on campus with visitors and tours almost every day.
According to Teresa Wilson, Director of Admissions, “Summer visits for families and potential students are prolific after July 4. Visits pick up and we welcome families from across the U.S. almost daily to our campus. The importance of sharing not only what St. Andrews can offer, but the beauty and accessibility of the surrounding area such as Scotland County is important as we make that first impression.”
When they meet with incoming students and families, each is given a portfolio containing information about Laurinburg including restaurants, hotels, shopping areas and even vehicle maintenance.
Admissions is a vital aspect of the campus during the summer while on the other side of the lakes, athletic coaches are preparing for camps—lots of them. Sports campers, families and even their coaches are here to see what is happening. Wrestling, girls and boys basketball, boys soccer, volleyball and softball dominate with as many as 300 or more participating.
Joe Baranik, SAU Wrestling coach, anticipates about 60 young wrestlers signing up for his camp (July 8-12), coming from North and South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia and Florida. He says, “It is a great way to show off St. Andrews and Laurinburg plus a great recruiting tool for us introduce future wrestlers to our program.”
Womens’ basketball runs three camps (June 10-13, 14-15, 22-23) for many levels and skills, perhaps with as many as 100 girls attending. Coach Kelsey Long says, “We want our camps to be a community outreach opportunity for our athletes and the university. We recruit high quality, high character and strong academic kids and though our campus we are able to show the community and campers the type of team we have at SAU and for us to see potential talent from the surrounding areas.”
Men’s basketball coach Randy Hernandez is expecting 10 teams each bringing their coaches and eight to 10 players from each of those schools including Scotland County, Fayetteville, Lumberton and Raleigh where they integrate skills and team competition. He says, “The impact to our university will be to explore our location which many parents and students may not know about.”
Add to that a girls’ volleyball camp (June 18-21), boys’ soccer camp with (June 12-15) and girls’ softball (June 27-28) and the campus is bustling with activity with incoming students and young athletes from around and outside North Carolina and numerous locations with stopovers in Laurinburg.
Probably hot but clearly not lazy days at St. Andrews will keep the admissions and coaching staff busy as they continue to attract future students and their families to experience what St. Andrews affirms is a “traditionally different” university in the heart of Scotland County.