Though Maxwell received little formal education as a young man, he was able to enter the medical field. Maxwell then went on to serve as a surgeon for the American army during the War of 1812, working throughout Indiana. Later, Maxwell bought land in Bloomington, Indiana and helped bring the State Seminary to that location.
Indiana University Archives, P0021414
Before going on to teach at Indiana University, geologist Richard Owen was stationed in Monterrey, Mexico as a captain with the 16th Infantry. While there he oversaw the distribution of goods and weapons throughout the American army.
Indiana University Archives, P0055494
John W. Foster, valedictorian of Indiana University's 1855 class, gave up a successful law practice to serve as a major in the Twenty-fifth Indiana Regiment of Volunteers, where he would prove his mettle in battle over two days of intense fighting in southern Tennessee. On April 7th Lieutenant Colonel William H. Morgan, in charge of the Twenty-fifth, was forced to leave the battlefield after being injured. As the troops fell into disarray, the relatively inexperienced Major Foster rallied his men to the colors and inspired them to hold the crucial line they had been assigned to cover.
Courtesy of the Department of State's Office of the Historian
Though the Confederates proved victorious on the first day, the actions of Foster and other men like him helped the Union to regroup and find victory in the climactic second day at Shiloh. Union Colonel James C. Veatch later noted that Major Foster "...proved himself in every way...he was active, brave and energetic, inspiring his men with courage and confidence..." Foster would remain heavily involved with the war effort, including the occupation of Knoxville, Tennessee and General William Sherman's famous "march to the sea."
The aforementioned Richard Owen served as a lieutenant colonel and then colonel of the 60th Volunteers during the Civil War, and was placed in control of the prisoner-of-war garrison at Camp Morton in Indiana. The disciplinary and administrative practices he put in place would go on to become the standard used throughout the Union.
Indiana Department of Administration
After returning to combat with his troops in the summer of 1862, Owen and his men were captured by General Braxton Bragg. Owen was treated with great respect based on the reputation of his fair treatment of Confederate prisoners. He would go on to serve as a professor at Indiana University for 15 years.
Walter Q. Gresham was a native son of Indiana, attending Indiana University in 1851 and 1852. A lawyer for many years, Gresham was commissioned as lieutenant colonel of the Thirty-eighth Indiana Regiment, which served as a part of General William Sherman's army. After taking part in the Battle of Vicksburg both Sherman and General Ulysses S. Grant recommended Gresham for promotion, and he was awarded the rank of brigadier general. Still serving with Sherman, Gresham was shot in the knee while approaching Atlanta, leaving him with a "lameness" that would follow him through life.
Courtesy of the Department of State's Office of the Historian
After serving as envoy to Mexico, Russia, and Spain, as Secretary of State Foster led calls to annex the Kingdom of Hawaii, working both with and against Queen Liliuokalani.
Courtesy of Biography
Before graduating from West Point, John T. Thompson spent 1877 as a student at Indiana University. A long-time army officer, Thompson was stationed in Miami during the Spanish-American War as Chief Ordnance Officer, where he served with distinction as one of the few officers that ran an efficient and effective supply train to the front lines.
As World War I raged in Europe, the students and faculty of Indiana University began to prepare for the possibility of the United States entering the conflict. In June 1916 the IU Board of Trustees made some basic military training a requirement for freshman males. In June 1917 this requirement was extended to sophomores as well.
Photo courtesy of Indiana University Archives, P0042112
Born into a family of lawyers, Willkie attended Indiana University from 1910 through 1913. After graduating from the Indiana School of Law Willkie volunteered for the Army, entering as a first lieutenant. Starting in September 1918 Willkie served in France where he was assigned to guard captured prisoners. Returning home in 1919, Willkie would go on to have incredible business success, as well as to receive the Republican nomination for President in 1940, when he narrowly lost to Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Indiana University Archives, P0025052
In preparation for potential entry into World War I, Congress passed the Hay-Chamberlain National Defense Act in 1916. One element of this act was the creation of the Reserve Officers' Training Corps, or ROTC, a program created to train college students to become military officers. Indiana University quickly applied for entry into this program and was approved by the War Department on 17 April 1917. Military training would be required of all able-bodied first and second year male students at Indiana University until 1964.
Courtesy of Indiana University Archives, P0027531
Having received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Indiana University, McMahan graduated from the Women’s Medical School of Northwestern University in 1897 after it was made clear that IU would not allow her to graduate with a medical degree. McMahan worked actively as an IU alumna and suffragist after opening her own medical practice in Lafayette, IN. During World War I McMahan was not accepted as a doctor in the United States Military due to her gender.
Courtesy of Indiana University Archives, P0059119
Not fazed by the U.S. military’s refusal to allow her to practice, McMahan and other members of the American Women’s Medical Association established the Women’s Overseas Hospital. Volunteering with the French government, McMahan went on to serve for seven months in a French military hospital primarily treating victims of chemical attacks.
Courtesy of Indiana University Archives, P0059118
Known world-wide as a key tool for both the gangster and the lawman, former Indiana University student John Thompson's crowning achievement was used for more than just crime. Over three decades, the "Tommy Gun" was used by the militaries of more than 30 countries, and helped power the Allies to victory in World War II.
Former IU varsity swimmer Russell Church graduated in 1939 and soon joined the Army Air Corps. Church was stationed in the Philippines on 7 December 1941 as Pearl Harbor was attacked, and he soon realized that all American territories in the Pacific would soon be on Japan's radar.
Courtesy of Indiana University Archives, P00037017
Church, one of the finest pilots in his unit, volunteered for a mission with Lt Boyd "Buzz" Wagner. The men were tasked with attacking a Japanese airfield to delay any action against American bases. After taking heavy fire on his first pass Church had the option to return to base without completing his mission. However, he chose to continue bombing up and down the Japanese lines until he was eventually shot down and killed.
Courtesy of Indiana University Archives, P0031027
Russell Church became the first Indiana University graduate killed in action during World War II, and would posthumously receive the Distinguished Service Cross for his actions. His wingman Lt Wagner would go on to call his actions "the most courageous thing I have ever seen in this Pacific war."
Following the creation of the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps on 14 May 1942, Indiana University President Herman B Wells created the establishment of an elective military training program for female students. This call led to the creation of the Women's Auxiliary Training Corps, which provided training in the sorts of skills required of WAACs, including first aid and clerical proficiency.
Courtesy of Indiana University Archives, P0038164
Newton, a Logansport, IN native, attended Indiana University from 1938-1940. Newton joined the Army following the start of World War II, and was trained as a tank crewmember serving in the 1st Armored Division. Fighting in the North African front, Newton and his crew took part in the Battle of Sidi Bou Zid on 14 and 15 February 1943. On the 15th Newton's tank was destroyed; injured, he was captured and sent to an Axis hospital in Bari, Italy.
Courtesy of Robert A. Newton
After recovering for a time at an Axis hospital Newton was sent to Camp 59 in Servigliano, Italy, a notorious camp used to house Allied prisoners captured in battle. While there Newton managed to learn to speak both German and Italian. He was then able to escape with fellow American prisoner Raymond Cox.
Courtesy of Camp 59 Survivors
While on the run in Italy, Newton befriended Cesare Viozzi and his family in Santa Vittoria. Soon Newton had become a part of the household, going by the name Roberto Newtoni. However, in 1944 the Axis powers announced that any escaped Allied prisoners who were recaptured would face execution. On March 9, German forces arrived in Santa Vittoria and eventually captured Newton and put him to death, against the Viozzi's pleas. Years later Newton's family would meet the Viozzis and share their mutual love for Robert.
Ernie Pyle, Indiana University graduate and Pulitzer-prize winning war correspondent, was one of the best-known journalists in World War II. Pyle was popular with many American soldiers for the way that his writing captured their day-to-day experience. While reporting on the Battle of Okinawa Pyle was struck and killed by machine gun fire. Pyle was buried with fallen soldiers whose experiences he had worked so hard to capture.
After enlisting in the United States Army Fleming was trained as a photographer and videographer, tasked with filming what life on the Western front was like. Arriving in Europe in 1945, Fleming and his company witnessed the last few months of World War II. As a combat photographer he was often very close to front-line combat, like when he witnessed the fighting for Remagen Bridge, a vital crossing for access to the heart of Germany.
Courtesy of the Malcolm Fleming World War II Photographs Collection
Fleming also captured a large collection of photographs on a personal camera, which are notable for the way that they capture American G.I.s and other individuals in a candid setting. Following the war Fleming worked at IU’s Audio-Visual Center, and later retired as Professor Emeritus of Education. Fleming published a collection of his photos, From War to Peace in 1945 Germany, in May 2016.
Courtesy of the Malcolm Fleming World War II Photographs Collection
Over the course of World War II more than 9,200 IU alumni, faculty, and staff served in some capacity in the armed forces.
Courtesy of Indiana University Archives, P0030556
The Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944, commonly known as the G.I. Bill, provided a variety of provisions for returning service members to help their transition back into civilian life. In all more than 9 million veterans received funds, much of which was used towards advanced education. Indiana University saw such an influx of veteran students that emergency housing was required, with trailer towns cropping up across campus, including on Woodlawn Field.
Courtesy of Indiana University Archives, P0030507
Previously a part of the United States Army, the Air Force was established as a separate military branch on 18 September 1947. Soon after this change would filter down to ROTC, and in 1951 an Air Force ROTC detachment was established at Indiana University seperate from the Army ROTC battalion.
As student activists became more outspoken throughout the early 1960s, both on Indiana University's campus and across the nation, mandatory ROTC became an issue at the front and center of many students concerns. Following organized protests, open letters, and other calls for change, two years of ROTC was removed as a requirement for graduation for able-bodied male students. The next semester saw a 60 percent decline in participation.
Courtesy of Indiana University Archives, P0029018
Pete Goldsmith graduated from Indiana University in 1968 with a degree in Government and an officership in the US Army through ROTC. Goldsmith served for two years during the Vietnam conflict, working in orphanages and villages throughout Vietnam to improve living conditions and improve cooperation between American soldiers and the Vietnamese. Goldsmith would go on to serve for years at Indiana University, retiring from his position as Dean of Students on 30 June 2016.
Courtesy of Indiana University Archives, P0024674
Indiana University became one of the first ten colleges in the nation to enroll women as members of ROTC programs. This change is emblematic of the positive efforts made at IU to provide an inclusive environment for all individuals.
Courtesy of Indiana University Archives, P0023002
David Eberly attended Indiana University from 1965 to 1969 and was commissioned into the Air Force through IU's ROTC program. Eberly was awarded his pilot's wings in 1971 and went on to serve in a variety of positions over the following 20 years. Eberly was appointed as Director of Operations for the 4th Fighter Wing during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. On a mission with Major Thomas E. Griffith on 19 January 1991, Eberly and Griffith's F-15E was shot down near the Iraq-Syria border.
Eberly and Griffith were able to evade capture for three days, but were eventually taken prisoner by Iraqi forces. Eberly was the senior ranking Allied prisoner, and was taken to the Iraqi intelligence headquarters, nicknamed the "Baghdad Biltmore," where he was interrogated and subjected to rough treatment for 43 days. He was finally released along with 15 other prisoners on 6 April 1991. Eberly would go on to serve as Commander of the 4th Operations Group at Seymour Air Force base, and stays connected to this day with ROTC cadets at Indiana University.
After receiving a law degree from the Indiana University Maurer School of Law in 1988, Istrabadi went on to play a significant role in Iraqi politics and public policy. Following the American invasion of Iraq Istrabadi served as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Deputy Permanent Representative of Iraq to the United Nations from 2004 to 2007. He also served as one of the creators of Iraq’s interim constitution during reconstruction, and was the principal author of the constitution’s Bill of Fundamental Rights.
Courtesy of the Maurer School of Law