CAMP SHELBY, MS (WDAM) - A 1941 Army football championship trophy is the centerpiece of a new exhibit at the Mississippi Armed Forces Museum which honors an Indiana soldier who trained at Camp Shelby and served with distinction in World War Two.
The trophy was presented to the 38th Division "Cycloners" soldier football team, which won the V Corps Army football championship with an undefeated season in 1941. The 38th Division was stationed at Camp Shelby from 1941-42.
The coach of that team, Lt. Wayne T. Sandefur, was a Purdue University football star and highly-decorated officer who served in the Pacific in World War Two. He attained the rank of Colonel before retiring from the Army Reserves.
Sandefur always kept the trophy in his family and after his death, his children returned it to Mississippi, where it was unveiled Friday afternoon as part of an exhibit honoring their father.
"Col. Sandefur, among a group of really distinguished soldiers, he really stands out," said Chad Daniels, director of the Mississippi Armed Forces Museum. "He was awarded two Silver Stars for valor in some of the hardest fighting on Leyte Island in the Philippines," he said.
"(My father) would be very pleased," said Ginny Sandefur Sidlowski, daughter of Wayne Sandefur. "He would not want the attention. He would say no, it was the team that won the trophy, I didn't win the trophy, but I'm glad it's back where it belongs," she said.
"I think it's great, it's absolutely great and he'd love it," said George Ann Rhodes Brown, Wayne Sandefur's sister-in-law. Back in 1941, she was a Hattiesburg High School cheerleader who led cheers for the "Cycloners" during their games.
On November 15, 1942, Sandefur married Brown's older sister, Sarah Rhodes, at a Camp Shelby chapel.