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Today in Aggie History, Oct. 26: Maj. Horace Carwell Jr. was killed in action

Today in Aggie History, Oct. 26: Maj. Horace Carwell Jr. was killed in action

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Horace Carswell

Horace Carswell

Oct. 26, 1886: A working steam engine was put on display at the first Texas State Fair in Dallas to promote A&M College. Students Frederich Ernst Giesecke (later first head of the architecture department), E.H. Whitlock, M.D. Tilson, Harry L. Wright, C.L. Burghard, I.A. Cottingham, W.F. Woodward and C.C. McCulloch built the engine as a class project. "For many years [the steam engine] could be seen in the lobby of the Engineering Building," according toA Centennial History of Texas A&M by Henry Dethloff. Another project in the A&M exhibit was an inlaid chess table made of black walnut by Franz Flach, class of 1886, who had worked in the campus cabinet shop.

Approximately, 14,000 people attended the fair the first day. The exhibit would be seen by 100,000 people by the time the fair closed two weeks later, according to Texas A&M: The First 25 Years by Lyman Hardeman.

Oct. 26, 1944: Maj. Horace Carswell Jr., class of 1938, piloted a B-24 bomber in a lone mission over the South China Sea. He and his crew were on night sweep of the area and came across a convoy of 12 Japanese ships escorted by two destroyers. Carswell flew the plane through several low-level bombing runs. The plane sustained heavy damage from antiaircraft fire so he ordered his crew to bail out. He hoped to make it over the mountains where it would be safe to land. Carswell failed to maintain the plane's altitude after the last engine failed and crashed into the side of the mountain.

Carswell was awarded the Medal of Honor for his "consummate gallantry and intrepidity," according to the medal citation. "Major Carswell gave his life in a supreme effort to save all members of his crew. His sacrifice, far beyond that required of him, was in keeping wit hthe traditional bravery of America's was heroes."

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