The Mississippi Armed Forces Museum recently obtained the V Corps (Fifth Corps) Army footballchampionship trophy from 1941. The trophy was won by the 38th Division "Cycloners" soldier football team, which competed at the football stadium ("The Rock") on The University of Southern Mississippi Hattiesburg campus. The team was undefeated against other soldier football teams from training camps in the Southeastern United States. All of the dates, opponents and scores are engraved on the trophy.
The 38th Division was stationed at Camp Shelby from February 1941 until deployed to the Pacific Theater of Operations in late 1942. The division consisted of National Guardsmen from Indiana, Kentucky and West Virginia. The “Cycloners” played all of their home games at USM's football stadium and were cheered on by the local Hattiesburg High School’s cheerleaders.
The museum received the trophy from Ms. Ginny Sidlowski, daughter of the Cycloners' coach, Wayne T. Sandefur. Sandefur was a star football player at Purdue University and, after college, became a high school football coach in Indiana. He also obtained a commission as an officer in the Indiana National Guard. While at Camp Shelby, Lieutenant Sandefur met and married his wife, Ms. Sarah Rhodes of Hattiesburg. The couple was married on Nov. 15, 1941. Sarah’s sister, George Ann, was one of theHattiesburg High School cheerleaders that often cheered for the Cycloners. Ms. George Ann Rhodes is expected to attend the dedication.
Lieutenant Sandefur served heroically in World War II. He was promoted to Captain while overseas and earned two Silver Star Medals for valor during the Philippine Liberation campaign (1945). After World War II, Captain Sandefur remained in the Army Reserves during his career with the Physical Education College at the University of Florida. He was promoted to the rank of Colonel in 1962 before retiring from the Army Reserves.
The 1941 V Corps Football Trophy is the focal point of a larger exhibit about Colonel Sandefur’s time at Camp Shelby and honorable service in World War II. The dedication is set for Friday, 15 November 2013 at 1:30 pm at the Mississippi Armed Forces Museum, located at Camp Shelby. The event is open to the public. For more information, contact the museum at (601) 558-2757 or visit the museum website at www.armedforcesmuseum.us.