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62nd Gold Star Aggie From WWI Has Been Confirmed

Scot Walker '90 March 5, 2018 8:45 AM updated: March 12, 2018 2:21 PM

A 62nd Aggie who died during active military service in World War I has been identified.

Edmund J. Griffin, Class of 1922, joined a program called the Student Army Training Corps, in which he was simultaneously an active-duty U.S. Army private (and paid as such) and an enrolled student at the A&M College of Texas. 

Griffin was born in Tyler, but his hometown was listed at the Rye community in Liberty County. He was inducted into the Army in College Station on Oct. 12, 1918, and began studying agriculture at A&M. But just weeks later, he contracted influenza, and on Dec. 13, 1918, he died of pneumonia.

Although he never served overseas, he died while on active duty during wartime, so he is considered a "Gold Star" serviceman. That brings to 62 the number of Aggies who died while on active duty during World War I.

Texas A&M history long held that 55 former students died in World War I, but on Memorial Day of 2017, the Brazos County World War I Centennial Committee announced the discovery of five former students who died during the First World War but whose names were never included on any memorial. (Read that story here.) They are:

  • John W. Butts, Class of 1910
  • Herbert R. Florence, Class of 1911
  • Joseph Z. Sawyer, Class of 1916
  • Ira W. South, Class of 1917
  • George W. Splawn, Class of 1917

The recognition of those five brought the total number of Aggies who died in World War I to 60. Then in the fall of 2017, the committee announced that a 61st Gold Star Aggie had been identified: Joseph Louis Smith, Class of 1915, who fought at St. Mihiel and St. Etienne, France, before succumbing to pneumonia. (Read that story here.)

The confirmation of Griffin's service brings the number of known Gold Star Aggies from World War I to 62.

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