March 14, 2010

Haldane's spirit lives among us

By Steve Solloway

(Continued from page 1)

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Andrew Haldane showed leadership as captain of the Bowdoin football and baseball teams. But it was in the U.S. Marine Corps during World War II that his character truly shined. The final days of Haldane’s remarkable, brief life will be portrayed in an upcoming episode of the HBO miniseries, “Pacific.”

Photo courtesy of George J. Mitchell, Department of Special Collections and Archives, Bowdoin College

Anecdotes of Haldane's time at Bowdoin are remembered more from letters he wrote Paul Nixon, dean of the college. How he was losing weight from giving some of his food and water rations to his men. How Adam Walsh, his football coach, might look at his thin frame with dismay. How he was keeping tabs on Everett Pope, a Bowdoin classmate and a Marine company commander on Peleliu.

How he hoped to get into more action because it was "a miserable thing to keep me on the bench."

Haldane won the Silver Star for his actions in the Cape Gloucester campaign. In one night, Haldane's men faced five bayonet charges by Japanese troops. His men held, taking their cue from Haldane. He was their captain, but he was one of them.

Nearly 30 years ago Bowdoin College established the Andrew Allison Haldane Cup for leadership and character. Pope, who won the Medal of Honor for his courage on Peleliu, was the moving force. Ian Yaffe, of Rockville, Md., is the 2009 recipient. He's heading to Maine's Washington County to become the new executive director of Mano en Mano, an agency that assists migrant workers. He's a former crew captain.

Elizabeth Leiwant of New York City is the 2008 recipient. She worked with the Harlem Children's Zone when she wasn't involved in other groups helping people. She's returned to Harlem to work with kids. She was a thrower in track.

Neither Yaffe nor Leiwant knew much about Haldane other than the short biography that came with the award. Now they're beginning to understand.

"(Haldane) didn't do what he did in the Pacific because he was a football player," said Moore. "He understood people, he sheltered people. The war in the Pacific was vicious. I'm sure it beat him up before he died, just from the things he witnessed. How do you send men into battle like that?

"It was the humanity in him that he let others see."


Staff Writer Steve Solloway can be contacted at 791-6412 or at:


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