WWII veteran, former Clemson prof. Ben Skardon dies at 104

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Photo Courtesy Clemson University

CLEMSON, S.C. (WSPA) – Clemson University announced the passing of Beverly ‘Ben’ Skardon Monday at the age of 104.

Skardon died days after being informed of the approval of his honorary promotion to the rank of Brigadier General, Clemson officials said.

Following his graduation from Clemson in 1938, he served in World War II as a commander.

Through leading his troops through fierce fighting, Skardon earned the Combat Infantryman Badge, two Silver Stars, a Bronze Star with “V” device, and a Purple Heart during the first four months of the war.

On April 9, 1942, he became a prisoner of war when American troops were forced to surrender to the Japanese. He then endured The Bataan Death March.

Skardon survived the march and more than three years as a POW, despite becoming deathly ill. Two fellow Clemson alumni kept him alive by spoon-feeding him and eventually trading his gold Clemson ring — which he had managed to keep hidden — for food.

In 1964 he returned to his alma mater, joining the Clemson faculty in the Department of English, where he taught for more than 20 years until his retirement in 1985.

Among his numerous accolades, Skardon received the Clemson Medallion, the Alumni Distinguished Service Award, the Alumni Master Teacher Award, the Order of the Palmetto, and a Congressional Gold Medal.

Ben Skardon was the epitome of what it means to be a Clemson Tiger. He was selfless, loyal and kind, and he lived a life of service, both during his military career and his tenure as a professor in our Department of English. Beth and I are blessed to have had him as a dear friend, and we will miss him greatly. We are keeping his family and friends in our thoughts and prayers.

President Jim Clements

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