Dawgs at War, Part 2
Like Lacy Mangleburg, Winston Davenport Hodges was an Athens native. Playing alongside
James Skipworth and Howard "Smiley" Johnson, Hodges lettered in football for the Georgia Bulldogs in 1938. Like his former teammates, Hodgson too earned stripes for gallantry in World War II.
In early June of 1945, Marine Second Lieutenant Hodgson led his platoon up a mountainside on the Japanese island of Okinawa. The unit came under heavy fire from a cave just above. That cave turned out to be the holding bay for a large cache of Japanese ammunition, and when Hodgson lobbed a grenade inside, the explosion decimated the upper half of the mountain, killing Hodgson, along with all of the enemy troops within.
A few short weeks after Hodgson's heroic act, Marines captured the capital city of Naha and on June 22, the American flag flew over Okinawa. Allied forces declared victory in the Pacific on July 2.
Winfred S. Goodman was an Atlanta native who lettered on three Bulldog football squads beginning in 1939 and culminating with the Orange Bowl team of '41. He started two seasons on the offensive line and his teammates included Johnson, Skipworth and
Walter Ruark. Like the aforementioned, Goodman went on to serve with distinction in World War II.
On January 24, 1945, one week after Skipworth's death, Army Captain Goodman was reported missing while leading an air/sea rescue squadron on a mission in the Philippines. He reportedly died from non-battle related injuries.
Homer M. Passmore, Jr. and Macon native William G. Burt, Jr. had both played on Georgia's offensive line in 1940, as center and guard, respectively. Burt also lettered the following year, alongside linemate Ruark, who played end. Both Passmore and Burt went on to serve as pilots in the European theater during WWII.
First Lieutenant Burt was on a bombing mission with the Army's 32nd Bomber Squadron, 301st Bomber Group (Heavy) when he was shot down over Italy on May 25, 1944. Burt is buried at Sicily-Rome American Cemetery at Nettuno: Plot G, Row 13, Grave 36.
Second Lieutenant Passmore, an Army B-17 flyer, was shot down over France and killed in October 1944.
Ralph C. Maddox of Carrollton was among the elder of UGA alumni to serve in World War II, having lettered on Harry Mehre's teams of 1930-31. Maddox played guard on teams that went 15-4-1 over those two seasons. He was one of five Bulldogs accorded All-Southern Conference honors in 1930. Captain Maddox's is among many deaths for which there are incomplete records.
Thomas Eaton Witt was a native of Louisville, Kentucky and yet another who lettered for the Bulldog football team as an offensive lineman in 1939-40. As a first lieutenant with the Army Air Corps, Witt, like Burt, flew bombing runs and in October '42, his B-25 was shot down over North Africa. He died from wounds sustained in the crash.
James A. Gillespie was a Franklin County native who also lettered at UGA in 1939, though he did so on the court. Gillespie played for Elmer Lampe's hoops squad that went 11-6, making Gillespie the only Bulldog basketball player to die on the battlefield. Serving with the Navy Seabees, he was killed in action on Guam.
One other member of the
Georgia letterman's class of '39 died in World War II: First Lieutenant Joseph G. Woodruff, who served with the Army Air Corps. The Savannah native, like Mangleburg a year before him, earned his "G" in the boxing ring.
World War II proved to be the most costly concerning University of Georgia letterman, taking the lives of 13 former Bulldogs, including six from 1939. But one other member of that fraternity was felled in battle during another war.
Lloyd R. "Bob" Salisbury of Ocoee, Florida was a most talented athlete, judging by his athletic resume at Georgia. He earned his first letter in '37, lining up in the same backfield as
Bill Hartman. Salisbury did so the following season, earning a boxing letter as part of the same stable of fighters that included Mangleburg. After earning a final letter in football in the fall of '39, Salisbury added a track award in the spring of '40, winning the SEC javelin title.
Salisbury served in the Army Air Corp, rising to the rank of Major. While he also served in World War II, he was the only UGA letterman to die in Korea.
The Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 elevated the Cold War between the U.S. and the Soviets, and set the stage for one of the most puzzling cases involving the loss of a former Bulldog in action. Lagrange-native
Joe Glen Hyde, Jr. was an all-state tackle for three years in high school and played guard for the Bulldogs in 1948-49. Following an injury, he spent his final two seasons at
Georgia as an assistant coach.
Having earned his pilot's license at the tender age of 15, Hyde soon earned an ROTC commission. As an Air Force flier, he had flown missions in danger zones such as Korea, earning six Air Medals and a Distinguished Flying Cross; the latter for successfully evading a deadly MiG 21.
Hyde had been a successful F-86 pilot when he was picked for the highly-classified U-2 program. He also had a reputation for being gritty. Once in flight training, Hyde punched a training officer who had shut off the fuel valves of Hyde's plane, causing it to stall.
Captain Hyde departed Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana on the evening of November 20, 1963. His U-2C aircraft was 40 miles south of Key West when it disappeared from radar. Air and rescue crews were dispatched within minutes, and after 10 days of searching, the wreckage of Hyde's plane was finally found some 100 feet below the Gulf of Mexico. Though crews discovered Hyde's survival gear, his body was never found. Hyde was 33 years old.
(The National Archives includes information on these and other heroes. We also gratefully acknowledge the research efforts of
Gene Asher and Dan Magill for its impact on this story.)