The first page of the program for the 1923 Big Game - the first game played at California Memorial Stadium
117,000 Americans died in World War I. 416,000 Americans died in World War II. 40,000 Americans died in the Korean War. 59,000 Americans died in the Vietnam War. 6,400 Americans have died in the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars. Many, many others died in other wars and conflicts. It is difficult to remember when one reads the statistics, that each and every one of those numbers was an individual loved by family and friends, with hopes and dreams never realized, with a unique life story. The best we can do is remember specific individuals, and let them represent the thousands of others who have given their lives in the service of our country. Here are the stories of just three such individuals, all Cal athletes, who are intended to stand as representatives of the many, many others who deserve to be remembered and honored on this day.
Kenneth Cotton -- Football
Ken Cotton played fullback for Cal from 1935 to 1937. He played on one of the greatest Cal football teams of all time, the 1937 Rose Bowl winning, National Champion "Thunder Team." He was a tough player on a tough team. In his book 66 Years on the California Grid Iron, Dan Brodie described Cotton's style of play in a 1935 game against St. Mary's, when Cotton and the Bears faced a a tough goal-line defense:
The last six yards were tough, as Ken Cotton picked up a yard at guard, Don Fowler added three more at left tackle and Cotton plunged once again into the middle of the line to place the ball just one yard away from the goal line. On the fourth down play, the ball went again to Ken Cotton, who hit the center of the line with all the force of a jet-propelled bomber; under the impact, a previously non-existent hole opened up, and Ken fell across the line. Sparks kicked the conversion and the score stood at 7-0.
And Brodie tells several other stories of Cotton fearlessly fighting for yardage for the Bears in 1935. The following year, 1936, Leonard "Stub" Allision became the Bears' head coach and Vic Botarri, one of the greatest running backs in Cal history, joined the Varsity team. With Botarri and another standout running back, Sam Chapman, on the squad, Cotton's duties became more about blocking and less about running with the ball. But he accepted the change without question, putting the success of the team ahead of personal glory. And it worked. The 1937 Bears, the famous "Thunder Team" went 9-0-1 in the regular season, including a 13-0 win over Stanford. They capped the season off with another 13-0 win -- this time against Alabama in the Rose Bowl. And, if that were not enough, the 1937 Bears earned Cal's fifth national championship in football. (For more about the Thunder Team and Cal's 1937 Rose Bowl season, click here.)
Ken Cotton as a member of on the 1937 Golden Bear "Thunder Team"
In 1942, shortly after the United States entered World War II, Ken Cotton joined the United States Navy. He became a pilot, flying planes off aircraft carriers in the Pacific. On June 19, 1944, the United States Navy confronted the Japanese in what became known as the Battle of the Philippine Sea. It was an overwhelming victory for the United States, and a turning point of the war. Three Japanese aircraft carriers were destroyed, and more than 550 Japanese planes were shot down. But no victory comes without a price. American pilots were lost as well, among them Lt. Kenneth Cotton. He was 28 years old. Cotton's former Cal teammates were devastated by the loss. In his honor, five of Cotton's teammates, Vic Botarri, Sam Chapman, Perry Schwartz, Gene McAteer, and Jud Callaghan, established the Ken Cotton Award, which is given every year to the most inspirational member of the California football team. The recipients of the Ken Cotton Award have included such inspirational Bears as George Fong and John Tuggle.
Kenneth Kai-Kee -- Basketball
Kenneth Kai-Kee playing basketball for the University of California. He is #21, standing in the back row, second from left.
Kenny Kai-Kee was part of a Cal sports tradition. His uncle, Son Kai-Kee had been the first Asian-American to play football at California back in 1918, under head coach Andy Smith. It was natural, then, that when Kenny enrolled at Cal in 1939, he would want to be part of a sports team. At that time, Cal sponsored basketball teams for players 145 pounds and under, and for players 130 pounds and under, in addition to the Varsity team. These teams had their own league, and even a post-season tournament, sponsored by the A.A.U. Kenny Kai-Kee played on Cal's 130-pound team throughout his years at Cal. He was a very popular member of the Chinese-American student community at Cal, remembered as "good at everything" and "a fun-loving person" with a "great personality," and "a mischievous sense of humor." He was also an excellent student, and the source of enormous pride to his parents. Then came World War II.
Kai-Kee joined the United States Army Air Corps in 1943. There was a prejudice at the time that Chinese Americans would not make good pilots, because the pilot had to be the captain of the crew and thus be a leader. Most Asian-Americans in the Air Corps were navigators, bombardiers, or gunners, but not pilots. But Kenny Kai-Kee was recognized as leadership material, was sent for training as a pilot, and was given his first assignment in early 1944 as the co-pilot of a bomber based in Italy.
On July 26, 1944, while Kai-Kee's plane was on a mission over Austria, a message was sent recalling the mission. Kai-Kee's bomber group did not receive the message and continued, not realizing they would have no support from fighter planes. When Kai-Kee's bomber was attacked by German fighters, it was almost defenseless. There was catastrophic damage to the wings and the fuel tanks caught on fire. The plane spiraled to the ground out of control and exploded when it hit the ground. Two crew members were able to bail out and survived. Kai-Kee and the rest of the crew were killed. Kenny Kai-Kee was 22 years old. (A detailed article about the life of Kenny Kai-Kee and his final mission can be found here.)
Kenneth Kai-Kee is buried together with two of his crew mates at a military cemetery in St. Louis.
Garrett Cochran - Football Head Coach
Garrett Cochran was Cal's first great football coach. After a spectacular college playing career at Princeton, he was recruited by California in 1898 to bring his winning ways to a winless football team. And he did just that. Becoming Cal's head coach at the age of only 22, Cochran inherited a team that had gone 0-3-2 in 1897, and which was 0-4-3 in the Big Game since 1892. In the two years Cochran coached at California, the Bears had a record of 15-1-3, and outscored their opponents 363-7. Their only loss came against the Carlisle Indians in what was, in essence, the first national championship game. And even then, their defense did not give up a point, the final score being 2-0 on a safety. Best of all, Garrett Cochran's Bears ended seven years of Big Game futility, and racked up two dominating wins over Stanford, 22-0 and 30-0. (For more on the life and coaching career of Garrett Cochran, click here.)
Garrett Cochran as a Princeton football player in 1896.
After two years in Berkeley, Cochran returned home to Pennsylvania. He coached for a few years at Navy and at Princeton, before marrying and settling down to a "real" job as an executive of the Williamsport Wire Rope Company. But he also joined the United States Army Reserve. As a result, he was called up to active duty when the United States entered the First World War in 1917 and was sent to France as a first lieutenant in the Field Artillery. In June 1918, Cochran developed a severe case of pneumonia. In the era before the invention of antibiotics and other modern medical treatments, pneumonia was very often fatal, and in war it was inevitable that more soldiers would die of disease than on the battlefield. Cochran was put on a ship back to the United States for treatment, but he died on July 8, 1918, before the ship reached port. He was 42 years old. He left behind his wife and three young children.
Lt. Garrett Cochran in 1917.
And finally, since this year we will be celebrating the reopening of the new California Memorial Stadium, let us remember in particular those sons, and at least one daughter, of the University of California in whose honor that Stadium is named. The 1920 Blue and Gold lists the following University of California students, alumni, and faculty who died on active duty in connection with the First World War.
DR. WILLIAM L. ARGO, Faculty, Captain, died of disease, France, October 17, 1918
PAUL M. HERRIOTT, Class of 1908, Flying Cadet, killed in accident, Ft. Worth, Texas, May 2, 1918
OLIVER CLARENCE STEM, Class of 1919, Student Officer, died of disease, Massachusetts, May 13, 1918
RAYMOND SHEARMAN, Class of 1917, Sergeant, killed in accident, France, May 25, 1918
ELWIN FREDERICK CHAPMAN, Class of 1914, Flying Cadet, killed in accident, San Diego, June 4, 1918
LORIN JASPER CHURCH, Class of 1911, Private, died of wounds received in action, June 11, 1918
HASCALL F. WATERHOUSE, Class of 1919, Second Lieutenant, USMC, killed in action, France, June 13, 1918
PAUL McGRATH KIDWELL, Class of 1918, USMC, killed in action, France, July 10, 1918
FRED P. MOORE, Class of 1908, Captain, killed in action, July 16, 1918
FRED P. TAGGART, Class of 1915, Sergeant, USMC, died of wounds received in action, July 23, 1918
CECIL S. HUNTINGTON, Class of 1915, Second Lieutenant, killed in action, July 25, 1918
ARTHUR KRONNICK, Class of 1918, Student Officer, died of disease, Massachusetts, July 28, 1918
ALMER G. NORTON, Class of 1918, Sergeant, USMC, died of disease, Portsmouth, VA, July 1918
DR. ARNE K.B. HOISHOLT, Class of 1912, Second Lieutenant, killed in accident, France, September 7, 1918
GLADSTONE WILSON, Class of 1915, Flying Cadet, killed in accident, September 7, 1918
WAYNE B. STEVENSON, Class of 1918, First Lieutenant, killed in action, France, September 13, 1918
WM. ARMSTRONG ELLIOTT, Class of 1918, USN, died of disease, France, September 14, 1918
DAVID R. KILDUFF, Class of 1915, Captain, USMC, died of wounds, France, September 14, 1918
ALBERT C. SIMONDS, Class of 1916, First Lieutenant, USMC, killed in action, France, September 15, 1918
BENJAMIN H. BURTON, Class of 1918, First Lieutenant, died in France, September 1918
DAVID WILBUR SIDNEY, Class of 1920, Radio Operator, USN, September 23, 1918
ELWYNN H. MANNHART, Class of 1920, Sergeant, died of disease, France, September 25, 1918
LEON E. MARTIN, Class of 1902, First Lieutenant, killed in action, France, September 26, 1918
WILSON B. BARNES, Class of 1919, Sergeant, killed in action, France, September 27, 1918
CHARLES HENRY THOMPSON, JR., Class of 1912, Sergeant, killed in action, France, September 27, 1918
LAWRENCE SOULE LYNCH, Class of 1910, First Lieutenant, died of wounds, France, September 28, 1918
PHILIP W. STAFFORD, Class of 1908, First Lieutenant, died of wounds, France, September 29, 1918
CLIFFORD C. HARTER, Class of 1917, First Lieutenant, killed in action, France, September 30, 1918
HERMAN DIXON PARTSCH, Class of 1916, Second Lieutenant, killed in action, France, September 30, 1918
JAY WILLIS McELROY, Class of 1917, First Lieutenant, killed in action, France, October 1, 1918
RAYMOND C. CAMPBELL, Class of 1915, First Lieutenant, died of wounds, France, October 2, 1918
PAUL PHELPS RANDOLPH, Class of 1918, Yeoman 2nd Class, USN, lost at sea, October 4, 1918
HAROLD BROWN, Class of 1919, Private, killed in action, France, October 6, 1918
BRUCE HOWARD, Class of 1919, Private, died of disease, Maryland, October 6, 1918
MALCOLM DUNNIWAY, Class of 1921, Midshipman, USN, died of disease, Maryland, October 8, 1918
MYRON H. PECK, Class of 1897, Captain, killed in action, France, October 9, 1918
MELVYN L. FRANDY, Class of 1918, Officer Candidate, died of disease, Virginia, October 10, 1918
EDWIN M. ELAM, JR., Class of 1917, First Lieutenant, killed in action, France, October 11, 1918
HUBERT P. GAME, Class of 1915, Flying Cadet, killed in accident, Kansas, February 8, 1918
RALPH S. ARMSTRONG, Class of 1919, Second Lieutenant, killed in accident, France, October 12, 1918
VANCE WILBUR BLISS, Class of 1913, First Lieutenant, died of disease, Liverpool, England, October 12, 1918
EDWIN McLAREN BUSSER, Class of 1920, Second Lieutenant, died of disease, Maryland, October 14, 1918
ADRIAN LEWIS MORAN, Class of 1917, First Lieutenant, died of disease, Fremont, CA, October 18, 1918
LESLIE C. SEXTON, Class of 1919, Pharmacy Mate, USN, died of disease, West Virginia, October 18, 1918
JAMES S. KINNEAR, Class of 1919, Second Lieutenant, killed in accident, San Diego, October 29, 1918
JULIEN MATHIEU, Class of 1919, Ensign, USN, died of disease, Oakland, CA, October 21, 1918
ROGER GOSS, Class of 1916, Captain, died of disease, North Carolina, October 23, 1918
THOMAS LAURENCE WILLIAMS, Class of 1917, Private, died of disease, October 24, 1918
JAMES H. WILKINS, JR., Class of 1920, Corporal, killed in action, France, October 27, 1918
THOMAS A. GABEL, Class of 1915, First Lieutenant, died of wounds, France, October 1918
RAYMOND H. SHERMAN, Class of 1895, Major, died of disease, France, October 1918
EDWIN VAN HORN MINEAH, Class of 1917, died of disease, Washington, November 1, 1918
ARTHUR H. SHERWOOD, Class of 1916, Private, died of disease, Washington, November 1, 1918
GLENN V. SWAN, Class of 1917, Private, killed in action, France, November 1, 1918
LAURENCE A. BYERS, Class of 1912, Officer Candidate, died of disease, November 5, 1918
CLINTON R. MADISON, Class of 1920, Second Lieutenant, killed in action, France, November 5, 1918
ANTON B. ANDRADE, Class of 1917, Private, died of disease, Massachusetts, November 18, 1918
C. W. McCONNAUGHY, Class of 1901, Captain, died of disease, Virginia, November 18, 1918
KENNETH J. REID, Class of 1920, USN, killed in accident, Washington, November 18, 1918
PERCY A. MILLS, Class of 1916, First Lieutenant, died of disease, France, November 26, 1918
SHERWOOD J. KINGSLEY, Class of 1920 died of disease, Virginia, November 27, 1918
KENNETH L. BLANCHARD, Class of 1914, First Lieutenant, died of disease, France, December 15, 1918
WALTER GEORGE FARNLACHER, Class of 1916, First Lieutenant, killed in accident, California, December 15, 1918
JOHN KENNETH MOODY, Class of 1919, Officer Candidate, died of disease, California, December 21, 1918
JOHN WIGMORE, Class of 1920, USN, killed in accident, Florida, January 18, 1919
JAMES ROSENBERG, Class of 1915, Private, died of disease, France, February 9, 1919
EDITH WHITE, Class of 1907, American Red Cross Nurse, died of disease, France, March 13, 1919
November 1923: the unveiling of the dedication of California Memorial Stadium to the "Memory of Californians Who Gave Their Lives in the World War."