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History

silhouette of soldiers raising flag on Iwo Jima
Winter 2020

Fallen Cougars Project: Preserving a nearly⁠ lost legacy

The obituary for her father’s old friend in her hometown newspaper noted he had—like her dad— attended Washington State College for a year and a half before joining the United States Army to fight in World War II.

Kathy Aiken carried the clipping with her when she attended a talk about the Fallen Cougars Project at the Pullman Depot Heritage Center last Veterans Day. After the presentation, she showed it to the speaker, Samantha “Sam” Edgerton (’17, ’19 MA History), a doctoral student, and Raymond “Ray” Sun, the WSU associate history professor who started the project.

“Samantha and Ray looked at it, and said, ‘We … » More …

silhouette of soldiers raising flag on Iwo Jima
Winter 2020

Profiles of valor

The Fallen Cougars Project aims to honor the legacy of former students who served in the Second World War and made the ultimate sacrifice.

Some 200 servicemen with ties to Washington State College—now WSU—died in World War II. Learn about a little more about their lives, deaths, and service to America here.

 

Charles Noble Kirkham
Charles Noble Kirkham (x’45 Mech. Eng.) was a pilot aboard the U.S.S. Shangri-La at the beginning of June 1945 when the aircraft carrier was preparing for the invasion of the Japanese island of Kyushu. During that series of airstrikes, Shangri-La’s airmen faced their strongest resistance to date—and suffered their heaviest casualties.

On his last flight, Kirkham’s wingman’s plane was damaged and crash-landed into the Pacific Ocean. Kirkham circled above his wingman, providing … » More …

silhouette of soldiers raising flag on Iwo Jima
Winter 2020

Fallen Cougars: Meet the student researchers

Three graduate student researchers were hired over summer 2020 to record the lives, feats, and deaths of fallen Cougars from the Pacific Theater in World War II.

And, a recent graduate has volunteered to help with research through the end of the year.

Here are their own stories.

 

Samantha “Sam” Edgerton 
Her interest in World War II started in childhood. Three of Samantha “Sam” Edgerton’s grandparents had connections to conflict, and she wanted to know more.

Her maternal grandfather served in the North Africa and Sicily campaigns with the United States Army. Her paternal grandfather, a first-generation Mexican-American, worked as a barber for the United States Navy, joining in 1944. And her maternal grandmother worked at Camp Atterbury … » More …

Red cross volunteers joined in Pullman's celebration of Armistice Day in 1918, wearing masks.
Winter 2020

Stories from the 1918 Influenza Pandemic

It’s just a small part of the transcript. But it’s stuck with Washington State University archivist Mark O’English.

He’s listened to dozens of hours of the tapes. And Helen McGreevy’s short discussion of the 1918 Influenza Pandemic and her beloved George at Washington State College always gives him pause.

“There’s just something in her voice when she talks about him,” he says.

McGreevy was 77 in 1978 when she was interviewed for the Whitman County Historical Society’s oral history project.

She talks about her beau George like this: “One young man that I had gone with quite a bit, the young (Wieber) boy, had the flu and died … » More …