Tuesday, May 02, 2006

A sad day for military education

This morning I received the sad news that "The Boo" , Lt Col. T.N. Courvoisie passed from this world. Now to most of you that means very little, but to those of us who had a proper military education; before the forces of feminism and political correctness creeped in; before the urge to cave in to the feminazis' took hold; it means a lot. The Boo was a hero at The Citadel. A tough man, who believed fervently in what the college had to offer, even after the point that the college had ceased to believe in him. Pat Conroy wrote a book about this great man and inside it, are great examples of his compassion and love for cadets, coupled with his stern and loving discipline. His famous line was " You should have gone to Clemson, bubba".

The Boo was made famous in the movie and novel , "The Lords of Discipline", but those efforts never told the true story of the man. So it was with great sadness that those of us who were in the Corps from 1960-1990 received the following news:

Folks: It is with a very sad heart that I have to tell you that we have lost The Boo. I have just received a phone call from his Granddaughter, telling me that he passed away this evening. I visited with him just this afternoon, and he seemed to be doing well, we had a wonderful visit, I
showed him photos of the new West Stands at Johnson-Hagood, and told him about the Inauguration of LTG John Rosa '73 last week, all of which pleased him greatly. I have lost a friend of over 45 years, whom there is no replacement for. I know many of you have similar feelings toward him, there was only one like him, and those of us that were lucky enough to have him for a friend and mentor are better people for knowing and learning from him. The Citadel Family has lost The Boo, but we are all better for having him as a friend and mentor. Read here to learn more about this great man.

Here is a picture of the Boo the way I would like to remember him, gruff exterior, but with a heart of gold:

Courvoisie stands at one of the campus gates in this 1964 picture from The Sphinx yearbook.

My own personal interaction with the Boo was quite limited. After he was exiled in 1968 to the Supply and Property Warehouse ( an event described in Conroy's book) he served for many more years. I am suprised he stayed after the loathsome way the college administration treated him. He treated me with kindness when I happened in the warehouse looking for my father's trunk. ( Albeit, smoking a cigar....) . However I would march along with my fellow cadets every October 19th and we would sing "Happy Birthday" to the man and feel like we had paid tribute to the legend that is and was. The members of the classes from the 60's still worship the ground he walked on.

It's hard to explain about him today's terms. He would not have fit in well with today's neutered military colleges and academies ,which as the Phibian has noted, produce nothing but geldings. However, back when being a man counted, and knowing how to treat a lady properly also counted, he knew how to teach those values to generations of those of us who passed through the portals of Lecsene Gate. All cadets were his "lambs" and like a shepherd, he guarded all of them with care. Not that he could save them all, but he damn sure tried. May God grant him a place of glory in the heavens. There is only one tribute now that he would appreciate, so I'll repeat it here. If you are privileged as I am to wear the ring, sing along:

Oh Citadel we sing thy fame
For all the world to hear,
And in the paths our fathers showed us
Follow without fear.
Peace and Honor, God and Country,
We will fight for thee.
Oh Citadel, we praise thee now
And in Eternity.

Oh Citadel, though strife surrounds us,
We will ever be
Full conscious of the benefits
That we derive from thee.
Stand forever, yielding never
To the tyrant's Hell
We'll never cease our struggles for
Our mighty Citadel.

Cadet A. Preston Price, Class of 1943 .

God bless the BOO!


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