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Celebrate 150 Years of Taps

Calvin Titus

Calvin Pearl Titus

September 22, 1879 — May 27, 1966

August 14, 2010 marked the 110th anniversary of U.S. Army Corporal and Trumpeter Calvin P Titus’ daring exploit that resulted in his being awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.

Calvin credited his time in his uncle’s evangelical band with giving him the bugle skills to join the armed forces and eventually leading him to Peking. Calvin Pearl got into West Point as a result of his Medal of Honor, where President Theodore Roosevelt’s presentation of his medal was the climax of a ceremony to celebrate the academy’s centennial.  His religious upbringing led him to try to become an Army Chaplain but his denomination was not at that point in time recognized by the Army. He became a Chaplain’s assistant instead.  He retired from the Army with the rank of lieutenant colonel.

During the fiercely opposed relief expedition to Peking in the Boxer Rebellion in 1900, when two companies of the U.S. Army’s 14th Infantry Regiment were pinned by heavy fire from the east wall of the Tartar City and the Fox Tower between abutments of the Chinese City Wall near Tung Pien Gate, volunteers were called for to attempt the first perilous ascent of the wall. Trumpeter Calvin P. Titus of E Company immediately stepped forward saying, “I’ll try, sir!” Using jagged holes in the stone wall, he succeeded in reaching the top. He was followed by the rest of his company, who climbed unarmed, and hauled up their rifles and ammunition belts by a rope made of rifle slings. As the troops ascended the wall artillery fire from Reilly’s battery set fire to the Fox Tower. In the face of continued heavy Chinese fire, the colors broke out in the August breeze as the sign that U.S. Army troops had achieved a major step in the relief of the besieged Legations. For his courageous and daring deed in being the first to climb the wall, Trumpeter Titus was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.

Titus scales the wall

Titus entered the U.S. Military Academy at West Point

Cadet Titus at West Point

In 1902 President Theodore Roosevelt traveled to the academy.  The presentation of his medal was the climax of a ceremony to celebrate the academy’s centennial.

Titus receives the Medal of Honor from the President

Titus went onto a career in the US Army. By the time the U.S. entered World War I, Titus was a major, and was promoted to lieutenant colonel before Armistice Day. He performed administrative duties in the States and did not go overseas until after the war. He returned to Iowa to run the ROTC program at Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, for six years, retiring about 1930.

Lt. Colonel Calvin P. Titus

Medal of Honor Citation

Rank and organization: Musician, U.S. Army, Company E, 14th U.S. Infantry. Place and date: At Peking, China, August 14, 1900. Entered service at: Iowa. Birth: Vinton, Iowa. Date of issue: March 11, 1902.

Citation:
Gallant and daring conduct in the presence of his colonel and other officers and enlisted men of his regiment; was first to scale the wall of the city.

The bugle played by Calvin Titus is in the museum at West Point

Calvin Titus Bugle

Calvin Titus Bugle

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4 Responses to “Calvin Titus”

  1. Craig Hoepner says:

    Why in earth has Vinton Iowa not recognized Mr Titus at least at it’s. Veterans memorial? What an outstanding young man who was born in Vinton Iowa and lived here for eleven years until his mother passed away and was associated with the great humanitarian organization the Salvation Army. Shame on Vinton Iowa…

  2. Steve says:

    Thank you, Emily, I appreciate your kind words. I recently learned that my dad’s, my grandfather, dad, served with Patton in the Army’s efforts to stop Poncho Villas’ raids across the border states. This matter was the birth of mechanized warfare as motor cars were used. Incredibly, my grandpa, was recalled to active duty in the Army at America’s entry into WWI, and again served under Patton. I located some old papers varying this fact. Neither my father nor my grandfather ever mentioned this and, as a kid, I knew never to ask them about the wars’ impacts on them both. My dad retired from the Air Force after serving in WWII and Korea, and my grandpa went on to be a dentist in North Field, Minnesota. I am a retired Marine Corps “mustanger” and a combat vet from Vietnam.

  3. Stephen W. Amodt says:

    I was looking through a wide assortment of photos of my late parents, grandparents and great grandparents, finding that most of what I viewed was without dates. Feeling my frustrations growing, I found a wedding announcement photo in which my father was the ringbearer. This article came from the LACROSSE TRIBUNE and that date, too, was cut off. I discoved the article about Lt Col. Calvin P. Titus’ impending retirement, on the opposite side of this newspaper clipping, went on line and read about this legendary soldier. As a retired Marine, I was surprised that I had never known about this incident even though the Boxer Rebellion has its share of Marine Corps heroes which I learned about in boot camp. This wedding likely occurred sometime in early June 1930 just before my father’s 7th birthday. My dad was later a P51 pilot in the Army Air Corps and retired an Air Force lieutenant colonel. I thank LtCol Titus and my dad, for their service to our great country. Stephen W. Amodt Captain USMC retired

  4. Stephen W. Amodt says:

    I was looking through a wide assortment of photos of my late parents, grandparents and great grandparents, finding that most of what I viewed was without dates. Feeling my frustrations growing, I found a wedding announcement photo in which my father was the ringbearer. This article came from the LACROSSE TRIBUNE and that date, too, was cut off. I discoved the article about Lt Col. Calvin P. Titus’ impending retirement, went on line and read about this legendary soldier. As a retired Marine, I was surprised that I had never known about this incident even though the Boxer Rebellion has its share of Marine Corps heroes which I learned about in boot camp. This wedding article likely occurred sometime in early June 1930 just before my father’s 7th birthday. My dad was later a P51 pilot in the Army Aur Corps and retired an Air Force lieutenant colonel. I thank LtCol Titus and my dad, for their service to our great country. Stephen W. Amodt Captain USMC retired

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