Rep. Duncan Releases Statement on the Passing of Soon-to-be-General Skardon

November 16, 2021
Press Release

Washington, DC-Congressman Jeff Duncan issued the following statement regarding the passing of World War II and Korean War Veteran Ben Skardon:

“I’m deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Ben Skardon, a true hero in every sense of the word. Working to secure his honorary promotion to Brigadier General was one of the most humbling acts I have undertaken during my time in Congress, and I have no doubt that divine intervention was responsible for ensuring that he learned of this honor before his passing. By working with Clemson and his family to secure this promotion, I had the privilege of learning not only about his truly distinguished military service but also witnessing the impact he had on the lives of an untold number of people. Whether it was during his time in the military, his work at Clemson, or his continued inspirational service in his retirement, the number of people who have told me he changed their lives for the better is beyond measure. Honorary promotions are an extremely rare recognition bestowed to only a select few in our military, and it was an achievement that soon-to-be-General Skardon earned for himself through the exemplary way he lived his life and served his country. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and the Clemson community during this time. He will be deeply missed but certainly never forgotten.”


Retired Col. Beverly “Ben” Skardon survived World War II’s brutal 65-mile Bataan Death March as he suffered from malaria. He went on the endure torturous conditions in Japanese prisoner of war camps, weighing only 90 pounds when he was liberated, and survived the sinking of two prison ships. He was awarded two Silver Stars, two Bronze Stars for valor, and a Purple Heart. After World War II, Skardon served in the Korean War in Germany, retiring from the Army as a colonel in 1962.

A 1938 graduate of Clemson University, Skardon taught English at Clemson for nearly 20 years. Along with his military accolades, Skardon has also received the Order of the Palmetto, a Congressional Gold Medal, the Clemson Medallion, the Alumni Distinguished Service Award, and the Alumni Master Teacher Award.

Skardon was 104 years old and was born in Walterboro, South Carolina in 1917. Skardon married Sara “Betsy” Golden in 1947 after meeting her at a debutante ball in Columbus, Georgia. The couple had four children (Sara, Beverly, John, and Charlotte), and their marriage lasted 71 years until Betsy passed away in 2019. Skardon’s promotion has been approved by the Secretary of the Army and the Department of Defense and is currently in a statutory 60-day period waiting period within the House and Senate Armed Services Committees before it will be made official posthumously on December 5, 2021.