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Monday, September 15, 2014

Francis Martin Madden - Student Army Training Corps - Stanford University


On 1 Oct 1918 at precisely 12 noon (ET) members of the  Student Army Training Corps at approximately 500 campuses across the United States were inducted into the Army.[1]  At Leland Stanford Jr. University ....  men in five companies stood at attention in the Quad.  Among them was Francis Martin Madden, a mechanical engineering student assigned to Company D.


Throughout the summer the university had been corresponding with the War Department in an effort to put the program in place.  In fact Stanford had made military training mandatory as of 23 April 1918, so returning students already had classes in military theory and tactics in their resume.  Those students over the age of twenty were to be inducted into the S.A.T.C. and treated as full time soldiers.  Their room, board, tuition and uniforms were all paid for by the government and they were to receive a $30 per month salary.  Stanford was to be reimbursed $1.498 per day per student to supply room, board and instruction.

 
On September 30, students were tested to determine their fitness for duty and given uniforms.  Charles J. Sullivan in a letter to Rene Gray of Chowchilla, CA, noted, “This morning I took my S.A.T.C. exam and according to all indications passed very easily. Then I got a uniform and went over to the Quad to Register.  All physical exams are given at the Gym, a half mile from the Quad.  ..... The uniforms are awful. Of course if I don’t (sic) swear into S.A.T.C. I will return the thing -- it is in itself enough to keep me out of S.A.T.C. .....” [2]

Those students in Companies A, B, C and the Naval Unit were to train for approximately 12 weeks and then be sent to regular training facilities to be readied for action.  Engineering students were assigned to Company D and were to complete their engineering courses before leaving school and joining regular troops.  Some of the most capable were identified early and sent to Officers Candidate Training. 

Stanford had been a little late joiningin the game of military training, so students were brought in from the University of California to provide leadership for the S.A.T.C.  The rivalry between the two schools caused Charles to note, “This is a different place now from the old Stanford of 1916.  All study as well as the courses taken will be under the supervision of the military geniuses who beat us by six months or so getting their commissions.  To add to the irony they have sent a flock of U.C. men down to drill the S.A.T.C.  Can you imagine the love those Lieutenants will get from their men?  It will be tragic.” [3]

Within days life for Stanford University, the Stanford SATC, the San Francisco Bay area, and beyond had changed.....Charles recounts "....the disease has made such inroads at Stanford that the whole place is under quarantine and all classes have ceased for the time being.  When they took me out last night over 210 (total) had been sent to the hospital and about 30 cases in first stages were confined to quarters.

"The disease comes on very speedily....

"Overcoats and rifles were issued to us yesterday, but I was unable to get mine.  The rifles are Russian models and awkward looking things with nasty little four edged bayonets on the end that undoubtedly were designed solely for use on the Germans..... [4]

This was the second round of Spanish Influenza.  The first, in the spring of 1918, largely missed the US West Coast.  The second and third did not. By the end of December  over 23,000 cases had been reported in San Francisco with over 3000 deaths.  The greater Bay area, including Stanford University had many more.

As the campus fought influenza, students were brought to hospital tents to isolate them from those who were not yet infected.  And life went on.  On Oct 10 Charles notes, "....bands singing and little children playing happily in the gardens on the campus one can scarce believe that only half a mile distant 40000 men are seriously intent on perfecting themselves in the art of killing and 2500 boys are training to lead them to the front in the classrooms hidden away under the warm red tiles peacefully giving forth their soft warmth of color among the oaks and pines of the campus...."  he goes on to talk about the house where  " The university will have a big bill when this house is finally vacated.  Never have I seen such destruction in all my life there are seventy five men in the house and between their boots and seventy five army cots the hard wood floors are ruined.  Every room has had plaster mared & dishes silverware etc are disappearing from breakage and souvenir fiends so fast that we can't keep track.  I caught one man setting on the Piano yesterday.  Oh! it makes my blood boil.  Our little white enamal guest room is so badly damaged it will have to be done over & some furniture refinished.  All this in one week....."[5]

Charles was referring to Camp Fremont when he mentioned 40000 men.  Between 1917 and 1919 over 43,000 men were trained in the camp which was located in the tiny town of Menlo Park, population 2300.  Charles exaggerated a bit as he claimed 40000 men, the highest population over the 18 months of it's existence was about 27,000.  But a teaming mini-city it was.  After the war thousands of soldiers were naturalized as they left the service.  

One last quote from Charles.... "What a cartoon one might make of the campus now.  I wish I had a few moments to put some of my impressions on paper.  .... even coeds must wear gauze masks at classes.....in addition to all I have named we have K.P. to do, have to sweep our rooms, make beds, sweep halls, attend evening assemblies or lectures twice or three times a week and do any special thing for which we may be detailed by the Sergt.  We are also supposed by practice during spare time to perfect ourselves individually in the 'execution of commands positions of the soldier, manual of arms' etc to quote from orders."[6] 

Thank goodness for Charles, he gave a face to both Stanford and the Student Army Training Corps at the time Frank was there.  His letters have many cartoon drawings that depict life in in the SATC.

 My Dad did not remember his father ever talking about his experiences at Stanford or his WWI service. Was he infected with Spanish Influenza?  It seems unlikely, his often delicate health would have made that more traumatic.

The Stanford Daily, Volume 54, Number 17, 6 November 1918

Records for the Student Army Training Corps do not seem to be readily available.  Beyond a few lists of students, Stanford's collections are either more general or very spcific, like Charles's letters. The Stanford Daily had occasional articles. At the Federal level, many military records for this period were lost in the fire in St. Louis.  The truth is that the official SATC was formed on 1 Oct 1918 and on 11 Nov 1918 at 6 am, Germany signed the Armistice of  Compiègne. Word travels slowly in the world of violence but by 18 Jan 1919 the Great War was at a finish with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles. The SATC wound down with the end of the war.  Many Universities including Stanford had bought into training students for military service well before the official induction of SATC troops on Oct 1.  Frank's draft registration stated that he had six months of military service.  This indicates that Stanford was already training students by January 1918.  Those sources that I did find indicate that all classes had been geared toward military service.  The men were being trained to be officers and the women were learning nursing skills.  The National Archives has some records for SATC in RG 165.8.4, Records of the education and Recreation Branch of the Army.

Student records have not been found for Francis Martin Madden at this time.  The  Alumni Directory and Ten-year Book: 1891-20, Volume 3,  states that  Frank attended Stanford from 1915 to an unknown date. We know he was a Junior in 1918.  In the commencement issue of the Daily Palo Alto, 16 June 1919 he is found on two lists.  The first is a list of students and alumni who served in the military.  The second is a list entitled Class Role Names Nineteeners.  This appears to be

 




a list of those that matriculated in 1915 and should have been the class of 1919.  Some are on the graduation list, but the war seems to have taken its toll on  the class.  Many Nineteeners did not graduate in June.  Some are found on a lists of graduates for January and Apr 1920.  I did not find Frank on either of those lists.  I did not find a list of June 1920 graduates.  The 1920 census taken 18 Jan 1920 says that he was in school on or after September 1 1919.  At the time it was taken he was in Bay City.





[1] US Army General Order 79, Colonel Rees, General Staff 
[2] Charles J. Sullivan Letter to his fiancée, Rowena Gray of Chowchilla, CA,30 Sep 1918, Stanford Libraries Special Collections, Charles J Sullivan Letters 1918-1921 (SC0 962)
[3] Ibid 
[4] Ibid; 9 Oct 1918 Camp Fremont hospital - to Miss Rene Gray-Chowchilla, CA
[5] Ibid; 10 Oct 1918 Camp Fremont Hospital - to Miss Rene Gray-Chowchilla, CA
[6] Ibid; 23 Oct 1918 Stanford  - to Miss Rene Gray-Chowchilla, CA

Links
1917 - Intensive Drill to Start at Once
1918 - Student Camp to Open in June

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