COLLEGE STATION, TX--- US Army Colonel (Ret.) James Woodall and Lieutenant Colonel (Ret.) Donald (Buck) Henderson have, for years, been engaged in another mission. They’re preserving the military history of Texas A&M and the Corps of Cadets.
Henderson served as the second in command of the Corps of Cadets, after serving overseas. Woodall was the Commandant of the Corps in the 1970’s and 1980’s.
A lot of what they’ve found over the years populates the Corps of Cadets center at A&M, a museum dedicated to aggie military service.
Most notably, they both played a role in bringing six medals of honor, won by aggies, back to Aggieland.
Woodall is personally responsible for bringing six of those seven awarded medals back to College Station, to be put on display.
“I tracked [one] medal (Sgt. George Keathley’s medal) down to Wichita Falls,” Woodall said. “The lady said, ‘well don't want to mail it.’ I said, ‘you don't have to mail it. I’m coming after it.’ And, I called up Buck and said ‘Buck you've got to go to Wichita Falls with me’"
Two @AggieCorps vets (Col. James Woodall '50 and Ltc. Buck Henderson '62) read citations and tell stories of @TAMU Medal of Honor recipients. See story again on #KAGS at 10pm. Full interview coming soon to YouTube. pic.twitter.com/tBJg44f8HN— Jay O'Brien (@jayobtv) November 11, 2017
In World War II, seven aggies won the Medal of Honor, an extremely rare and valorous military honor, given to those who demonstrate exemplary courage.
Their names are: Sgt. George Keathley, Maj. Horace Carswell, Lt. Eli Whiteley, Lt. Turney Leonard, Sgt. William Harrell, Lt. Lloyd Hughes, and Lt. Thomas Fowler.
Both said, bringing the medals “home” to A&M is an emotional experience.
“To see the families, because we had a ceremony for the families [of the medal recipients], and to see the look on their faces and all that, it makes you want to cry right away," Henderson told us.
“The medal always belongs to the family,” Woodall said. “That’s why we say it’s on loan.”
The medals are a lesson in valor, courage, and determination to complete a mission, Woodall told us. It’s a lesson Henderson hopes Aggies continue to learn.
“I just wish that we got more students in here from all over the campus to visit more than they do,” he said.” “But it’s a wonderful place especially on football weekend to see the crowds that come through here.”
Both Woodall and Henderson served in several places, including Vietnam. You can see our full interview with them, where we speak about service and Texas A&M’s military history, on the KAGS YouTube channel.