Friday, May 22, 2009


The Story of Wex Jordan, Jr.

The story of Wexler Jordan, Jr. is a story of an all-American boy. He was born on December 8, 1920 and grew up during hard times. He lived most of his life in Dublin and was a star football player for the Dublin Green Hurricanes. He was described by those who knew him as tall and handsome. He loved to play the violin and was tagged with the nickname “The Fiddling Fullback.” “Girls swarmed around Wex, who always took time to play with his dozen younger first cousins,” remembered his cousin Marilyn Brown.

Wex played football for Dublin High in the 1935 and 1936 seasons. In 1935, Wex played guard for a Dublin team, which ended the season as District Champions. In his senior season in 1936, Wex shifted to fullback where he did it all for the Dublin offense, passing and running for touchdowns and extra points.

After leaving Dublin High School, Wex played two seasons of football for Middle Georgia College. The following Fall, Wex enrolled at Georgia Tech. He was determined to make the team despite his small size. Weighing in at 175 pounds, Jordan tried out as a lineman. Before the season was over, he had been tabbed by his fellow players and coaches as “Hardrock.”

In the 1940 season, Wex Jordan rose to the top as a guard for the Ramblin Wreck. Georgia Tech was coached by the legendary W.A. Alexander. The backfield coach was another legendary figure at Tech. He was Bobby Dodd. Tech started off the season with a romp over the lowly Howard University eleven. Tech nearly came back to defeat the powerful Irish of Notre Dame in the second game. Wex was the defensive star in a 19 to 0 defeat of the Vanderbilt Commodores. Tech’s up and down season continued with a 9 point loss to Auburn. The Yellow Jackets stayed down with a drubbing by Duke and Kentucky in successive games. Following a one point loss to Alabama at home, Tech lost its fifth game in a row to Florida, followed by a loss to bitter rival the Georgia Bulldogs by a score of 21 to 19. The Yellow Jackets earned some consolation when they defeat the California Golden Bears on Christmas Day.

The year 1941 would become the most important year in the life of Wex Jordan. In fact it was probably the most important year in the lives of millions of other Americans. Tech began the 1941 season an easy victory over Chattanooga. Following a 20 to 0 loss to Notre Dame, the Jackets bounced back with a victory over Auburn. The winning streak was short lived when the Engineers lost to Vanderbilt and Duke. The Jackets defeated Kentucky before losing their last three games to Alabama, Florida, and Georgia. Wex and other Tech defensive lineman gained one consolation from their loss to the Bulldogs. All American and Heisman Trophy winner, Frankie Sinkwich, was held to only sixty yards on the ground. Sinkwich praised the play of Wex and the other Tech guards. Wex was cited by his coaches as having his best games against Notre Dame, Alabama, and Georgia. He was awarded the Rhodes Trophy as the most valuable player for the 1941 Yellow Jackets.

For his outstanding play at guard, Wex Jordan was named to the All - Southeastern team by the sports staff of the “Atlanta Journal.” The only other Georgian on the team was his rival, Frank Sinkwich. The good news came on his 21st birthday. The bad news in the paper that day was the bombing of Pearl Harbor by the Japanese air force. The holiday game with California was never played, and things would never be the same again.

Wex, like all of the other male students at Georgia Tech, got their first taste of military life in R.O.T.C. In his senior year of Army R.O.T.C. at Tech, Wex was chosen as Captain of Company B of the First Battalion. He majored in Civil Engineering, attained honor graduate status, and was a member of the Army R.O.T. C. fraternity, The Scabbard and the Blade. Wex Jordan graduated from Tech in the spring of 1942. Wex Jordan entered the Army Air Corps and earned his wings in 1943.

It was a Fall Thursday morning - Veteran’s Day and the 25th anniversary of the end of World War I. It was a day which in the past ten years, Wex would have spent preparing for the next football game. It was a day to remember those soldiers and sailors who had given the last full measure of devotion. First Lt. Verne Yahne was leading a five plane formation at the Naval Air Station in San Diego, California. Lt. Yahne’s oxygen supply failed causing him to black out. The Lieutenant’s plane went into a steep dive and fell apart just as the pilot began to regain consciousness. Jordan, the second pilot in formation, was unaware of the lead pilot’s fate. He took his P - 38 fighter plane down following the leader’s dive. Jordan could not pull his plane out of the dive and bailed out. As he was parachuting to the ground the wing of his plane struck him, killing him instantly. Lt. Yahne made a safe landing in the bay.

B. J. Sessions, of Dublin friend of Jordan’s, was taking judo classes. An air raid alarm sounded - a usual occurrence in the early years of the war. Sessions ran outside in time to see to debris of the planes falling. The remnants of Jordan’s plane nearly fell on the building where Sessions had been taking judo classes. Sessions ran two blocks to the site of where Jordan’s body had landed. One look told him that the man was dead. Sessions didn’t get a close look and returned to his classes. The class instructor asked Sessions if he knew Lt. W.W. Jordan, Jr., who had just been killed in a air accident. Sessions was stunned. He had known Jordan all of his life and considered him a hero. Sessions wrote the Jordans and told them of his witnessing the tragedy.

Major Victor Walton, commanding officer of the San Diego base, had the difficult task of informing Jordan’s parents that their only son had been killed. The family was devastated. Mr. Jordan suffered what was believed to be a minor heart attack. Major Walton assigned Captain James Stevens to escort the body of the fallen hero back to Dublin for burial. Funeral services were held at the First Christian Church with the Rev. Robert S. Bennett officiating. A honor guard from Cochran Air Field in Macon performed the military rites during the services. The Jordans selected Wex’s high school buddies as pall bearers. Mike Harvard, Johnny Morrison, George Hadden, and Frank Hancock were allowed leave from their military service to carry the body of their fallen comrade to its final resting place. Also serving as pall bearers were friends Ed Harpe and Billy Hightower.

One of Dublin and America’s finest young man was laid to rest in Northview Cemetery. His life was all too short and his death, so senseless and tragic. Jordan lived his life as an example of what is good about America. He was a true - underline the word true - hero.

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