The Boo’s Lambs Gather in Charleston

Hey, out there,

My classmates in Romeo Company at The Citadel are beginning to stir and gather.  As the country paused to remember the firing on Fort Sumter, it made me remember that I went to the college whose cadets fired the first shots in the Civil War and that two of my classmates in R company were named for southern Generals – Stonewall Jackson Watson and Wade Hampton Williford III. 

I spoke at The Citadel library at an event honoring the publication of my friend John Warley’s new novel called Bethesda’s Child.  John and I roomed together on The Citadel baseball team and have been lifelong friends ever since those faraway days.  I wrote a thirteen-page introduction to his book, and it reminded me of our times on that wonderful team with road trips through the south which still remain legendary to me and John.  He and I are going to be doing a talk together next year at the Savannah Book Festival.  John and his wife, Barbara, are our neighbors now that Cassandra and I have moved into Beaufort.  We have lunch on a weekly basis to reminisce about our time at The Citadel together.

After the talk at The Citadel, John and I went out to a restaurant bar on Queen Street with three of my classmates from Romeo Company.  Unfortunately, John Warley was a slovenly uncouth member of Tango Company, the tallest company at the college, but also the dumbest and least military.  My “R” Company guys griped all evening that I had loused up the experience by bringing along a “waste from Tango,” but John is silver-tongued and quick, and he more than held his own.  The horror of all Citadel wives is to put up with their husbands telling Citadel stories with their classmates that they’ve heard a thousand times before.  I admit, there is some repetition at play.

I’d never met Robbie Schear’s wife before, though I knew of her when they dated at The Citadel.   Nancy Miller was selected “Miss Citadel” for our senior year and remains a stunning woman today.  Stonewall Jackson Watson brought his delightful daughter, Meg, who has a lot better personality than her father ever did.

We talked of many things that night ranging from Hell Night to members of the R Company cache we still hated with all the powers of abhorrence we could summon.  But someone mentioned The Boo and I realized I had never stopped grieving over The Boo’s death.  For those readers who don’t know, The Boo was Lt. Col. Thomas Nugent Courvoise, the assistant commandant of cadets at The Citadel and the subject of my first book The Boo.  I often tell people The Boo is “worst book ever written by an American,” and I wish I’d written it better.  But the evening made me think a lot about the Boo, who is buried near my parents in the Beaufort National cemetery.  I was scared of him at The Citadel, but he was a source of humanity and justice, and the most beloved man on campus during his brief time among the cadets.  I went looking for the presentation copy of The Boo he had given me in 1970.  I had never opened it that I could remember, and I wanted to see if he had signed it.  When I opened it, I found these eight words written to me 41 years ago:  “To the lamb who made me, The Boo.”  These words made my whole writing career worthwhile. 

And I have begun thinking of that life as miraculous and lucky.  How could a man I had dreaded as my commandant and who tried twice to get me kicked out of college become the subject of the first book I would write? How could the young kid I was then become one of the closest friends the Boo would ever make?  Who could have predicted that the Boo would be hired as the mighty advisor for the filming of The Lords of Discipline in England?  After his long humiliation and exile by The Citadel, who would have predicted that he and I would both be honored by a full dress parade and honorary degrees as we both stood shoulder to shoulder on the same parade ground we had marched on as boys?  Who could have foreseen the day I would deliver his eulogy at the Summerhall Chapel or that I would give a speech on the night they named the dining room in the new Alumni Hall after him?  Not me.  Not once.  Not ever.

I thought you might like to read the speech I gave when they dedicated “The Boo’s room.”  It was a great night, and the Boo’s lambs have always been rowdy, loud and attracted to the wild side. 

“There is one great story about The Boo that has never been told, and I waited for a night like this to tell it.  In 1969, The Boo was removed from his position as the assistant commandant of cadets in charge of discipline and sent in exile to the Citadel warehouse where he spent the rest of his career in charge of cadet luggage and supplying the entire campus with custodial material and toilet paper.  He was given a direct order that he was to have nothing to do with Citadel cadets except those who had business at the warehouse.  Always the good soldier, the Boo did as he was told and his personal contact with cadets before he retired in 1982 was minimal.  In those years, The Citadel learned they could hide the growing legend of the Boo, but they could not bury it.  The Citadel found out that it could not hide what the Corps revered; it could not sweep under the rug what the Corps deeply loved.  The Boo had proven he could love a whole Corps of Cadets like no man who ever put on a Citadel ring.  It came time for the Corps to pay him back. 

In 1973, The Boo had a heart attack that almost killed him.  I drove down from Atlanta to visit him at the Naval hospital, and he did not look that day like a man who would survive to see the dedication of the Courvoise Room in September of 2001.  When I left to return to Atlanta the next day, Elizabeth Courvoise wept at my departure and told me she did not ever think I would see her husband again.  Two weeks later, he returned to his quarters in The Citadel campus, bedridden and despondent.  For a month, he did not leave his house.  Only a few cadets came to visit him because the Boo had become invisible to the Corps of Cadets or so The Citadel thought.  So the Boo thought.

Nothing on Earth thinks or moves or acts or responds like the Citadel Corps of Cadets.  The Corps of Cadets is a sovereign nation into itself, a country that fashions it own rules, a strange entity that makes up its own mind in its own good time.  The Citadel thought the Corps of Cadets had forgotten the legend of the Boo.  But it was the Corps who made that legend and the Corps who would keep it alive.

Word spread that the Boo was critically ill.  A rumor had it that he was dying.  Along the galleries, cadets gathered to talk, and the rumors began to fly, and nowhere does rumor travel faster than the Corps.  Because they are cadets, there is always mischief and always daring, always a sense of humor that is deeper than anything else.  A plan was hatched in secret. 

At parade the following Friday, the ­­­­Board of Visitors and General ­­­Duckett stood and saluted as the Corps passed in review before them as they had done on a thousand Fridays before.  But this time parade was destined to be unlike any Citadel parade before or since in the many-storied and many-splendored history of our college.  This parade belongs to the ages.  When the A Company commander marched his troops off the field, his company was nearing the street in front of Third Battalion where he would issue the traditional order of “Company right, march.”  In the first time since The Citadel moved to its new home by the Ashley River, the A Company Commander ordered his three platoons to march to the left.  He was followed by the Commander of the Bravo company, of Charlie, of Delta, of Echo and then by every company in the Corps.  On the street between the Third and Fourth Battalion, Alpha Company marched right toward the mess hall and the infirmary with the entire Corps of Cadets behind them.  At the infirmary, the Corps turned left again and only two people on the campus knew what the Corps of Cadets was up to.

The Boo had spent the day shining up.  “The cadets won’t care if you’re shined up or not,” Elizabeth Courvoise said to her husband. 

“I expect the Corps to be sharp for me,” the Boo said, “I want to be sharp for them.”

When the boys of Alpha reached his house, ­­­­and the A Company Commander gave the command of “Eyes Right” the guidon snapped in the cool autumn air.  The Boo, in uniform, returned the salute with perfect military bearing and held it until A Company has passed.  Then he saluted Bravo and Charlie, on down to Romeo and Tango and the Band. 

The man who had not been out of his home for ninety days and the man who had not returned to work for a single day held his salute as seventeen companies passed in view for a man that none of them knew.  Here is the significance of that thrilling, rouge parade which in the highly structured world of The Citadel was a revolutionary act.  The Corps of Cadets broke ranks and all the rules of order that applied to the Friday parade to pay homage to the man who was in charge of cadet luggage.  The Corps has never broken ranks to honor General Summerall or Mark Clark or Prince Charles or Ronald Reagan or any member of the Board of Visitors or the generals of any army of the world.  The Corps did it once and only once and they did it for the love of the Boo, a man they knew only by the power of his legend, by the greatness of his story.  And nothing moves the Corps like the power of love. 

That power has gathered us together tonight.  It is here that we will pass in review for the Boo one last time.  We will name this room for him and him alone.  Lt. Col. Thomas Nugent Courvoisie has now written his name into the stones of our college, long after he wrote his name in our memories and hearts.  Once the Boo roamed this campus fierce, alert and lion voiced, and his wrath was a terrible thing.  He could scream and rant and call us “Bums” a thousand times, but he could not hide his clear and overwhelming love of the Corps.  The Corps received that love, took it in, felt it in the deepest places, and now, tonight, we give it back at the school where we started out and we give it to the Boo, as a gift, because once, many years ago, the Boo loved us first, when we were cadets of boys and when we needed it the most. 

Boo, your bums salute you, sir and we give you this room and we do it for love of you and the ring.”

Great love, Pat Conroy

35 Responses to The Boo’s Lambs Gather in Charleston

  • Victoria says:

    Your books are among my most treasured. Thank you for sharing your eloquent remarks about The Boo.

  • Leslie says:

    One of the most intriguing characters you have introduced to the world is “the Boo.” Shortly after re-reading Lords of Discipline many years ago, I read “the worst book ever written by an American” while I stood in the Jefferson County Library and while I noticed your writing style has developed since those days, your affection for the man remains constant.

    Thank you for writing about this man as you have so many others. In doing so, you helped illuminate the world.

  • Lou and Ponda Wood says:

    Hi Pat,

    Didn’t realize you guys had moved to Beaufort from Fripp! We did notice your house looked quiet. Not a bad place to move to, Beautiful Beaufort.

    Your neighbors on Dolphin Annex,

    Lou and Ponda Wppd

  • Glenda York says:

    Thanks for sharing your speech about the Boo. It was wonderful, as is all your writing Pat. I’m a librarian by vocation and I always recommend your books to anyone who is looking for a “good read”. Just found out about your blog. Keep writing Pat…and blogging too if you can find the time and inclination to do so.

  • Robert Copelan says:

    Pat, your post and blog entry tonight got me to thinking and I realized something. The Boo and LTC Dick are both men who influenced us as cadets with the same type of tough love. They, along with others, molded us into people with high non-compromising standards. I hope that their successors have and are carrying on the tradition.

    Homecoming/reunion is a time for catching up with our classmates but it’s also a time of renewal and re-charging as we come back to the source of our adult-hood and for one short weekend feel the power and strength that emanates from every corner of campus.

    Regardless of the class year we all are connected via a common development phase. A toast to those who wear and will wear The Ring and those people who developed us.
    Robert ’81

  • shelly albert says:

    I hunted down a copy of THE BOO several years ago and was just as impressed by it as by your other books even though you didn’t consider it well written. Your remarks in your blog about the Boo show such love for the man who inspired you. I have read all your books and my favorite continues to be BEACH MUSIC which I share with any one who asks for a book suggestion. I also loved reading how much your mother inspired you in MY READING LIFE. Please continue writing forever.

  • Hey yourself Pat! Wish I could have been around when you spoke at the Citadel. I love hearing your voice. How bout give us you reading your books? Did you already do one or more?
    I am still working on finding a publisher for my novel “My Weejuns Let Me Down”, funny title huh? It’s about growing up in Mt. Pleasant in the 60′s.
    Meanwhile I’m being ‘influenced’ well inspired by your books in the form of writing poems about life! This is tapping very creative thoughts and makes my short stories look like mountains.
    Just wanted to say love you and am glad to be a part of your blog. Come on over to fb and join in our conversations. Love you Pat dear, Carol

  • Carl Steinhoff says:

    Loved The Boo while I was at school and I was lucky enough to also have “Uncle Harvey” LTC Dick too. I met The Boo my first day while processing in through the warehouse when gear I had shipped down had gotten lost. I became a ‘lamb’ that day. I loved going back there to tlak with him whenever I had some time. I have been a fan of yours since that first book and have every one since. Looking forward to my 30th reunion this weekend and seeing classmates who are coming in from Japan to Jordon. Go Bulldogs! I met you on campus before and look forward to the next time. Thanks for your books Pat!

  • Russ Olson says:

    Bless you for keeping the memory of the Boo alive.
    Best wishes, Russ Olson, Delta Co., Class of 1969

  • Michael Selders says:

    Mr. Conroy:
    Thank you for keeping the Boo’s memory alive. Like so many “Bums” before me the Boo is the reason I stayed at the Citadel when other Colleges and Armed Services were courting me for my ability to shoot a rifle and hit what I was aiming at. My best friend (Denny Corcoran) and I spent some “stressful” times in the Col. office but we always knew he was on our side – a feeling that was not forthcoming from many of our “Adult Leaders”. I think The Boo was the first book I purchased after graduation and I reread it often.
    Thanks again,
    Michael Selders

  • Bobbi Hahn says:

    What a lovely, moving tribute to the Boo: eloquent, warm and funny as only Pat Conroy can write. Thank you so much for sharing it with us.

  • Kristy Wilcox says:

    Mr. Conroy,
    After having taught English for 22 years, I am now a public school administrator. I am an avid Pat Conroy fan, having read every one of your books many times over. I’m so excited about the news of your upcoming novel, and I so enjoyed reading your remarks about The Boo in this blog.
    I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting you and it’s at the top of my Bucket List; yet your book signings are never near my home-state of Kentucky, it seems. Where can I find a list of your upcoming book signings and/or speaking engagements? I see you are speaking in Savannah on February 17, but again, I can find nothing close to Kentucky. Your books are my most treasured; your writing inspires me; I want to meet you. HELP ME!

  • Mikel Meyers says:

    Thank you for sharing yourself with us, your fierce fans, in this manner. It is immediate gratification for us and appreciated all the more for our understanding of the choices you must make for your writing. My husband of 32 years introduced me to you when he asked me to read aloud “The Great Santini” to him as he drove us across country to Quantico for TBS and my introduction to the USMC. I was terrified. I struggled with wanting to flee from the USMC until we landed in Beaufort where I fell in love with everything around me. By then I had also fallen in love with you, with my husbands permission. Not only did your writing allow me to luxuriate in the English language, it permitted me to feel like I could “know” the insides of a male creature. This is something we females often hunger to know. It felt like you bared your soul and I was helpless where you and your writing were concerned. It didn’t hurt that my own childhood could have been a novel about the pain of love. I once told my Navy Psychiatrist that my childhood read like a Pat Conroy novel just to speed things along! She and I read “South of Broad” at the same time and spent part of a session discussing the book because we had both lived in the area during Hurricane Hugo. I lived in my beloved Beaufort and she was completing an internship in Charleston and quite literally lived, albeit just barely, south of Broad Street. From this fierce fan I thank you for it all! P.S. I love to read aloud chapter eleven of “The Prince of Tides” to anyone who will sit still to listen. Sigh.

  • I am just back from a trip to Fripp Island and Beaufort area where I was interviewing my Uncle Ted for a book that I am planning to write. I have never experienced the deep south, so to tour the 2nd oldest city in South Carolina was an astounding pleasure. The home of The Great Santini is a wonder in itself.

    My aunt and uncle own a Treehouse on Fiddler’s Ridge on Fripp and to stay there any longer than the four days I did, would mean staying a lifetime to write in that peaceful tranquility. I see that you have moved to Beaufort, now, but I know you know the peace of the island.

    I hope to write about the exploits of my Uncle Ted and my father in order to get to know my father better who passed away in 2005. My Uncle and he were lifelong friends since 1938 and the freedom and charasmatic antics of their lives together are what I hope to weave into a novel that, much like your “Great Santini”, shows a love that yearns for respect but aches for love.

    Thomas Wolfe had his three images of art, for you, I picture the following:

    A closed fist, an apple and a burning man.

    Thank you for showing me how to find the “art” in “life.”



  • Diane Breeden says:

    I, too, am a Semper Fi Brat. Born in Camp LeJuene, lived in California for 7 years, then moved to Beaufort. Talk about culture shock. None of the friends I wrote to in California could believe what I was living thru in SC from 1963-1966. However, once that Carolina low country gets in your blood, it it in your soul forever. In 1966 my father retired from the USMC, and moved us to Maryland. I have not been back to SC since, but I still consider it home. When in College, your book “The Water is Wide” was required reading. Most of the students believed it to be mostly fiction. I could only laugh at this, and relate my own experiences while living there.

    It is hard to believe that I walked the same halls you did. Had the same teachers. I look forward to reading more of your books. As an author, I can say, you have become one of my favorites and look forward to reading anything new you write. I am also sorry for the childhood you endured at the hands of your father. I was lucky enough to have a father (noncom) who was proud to be a Marine, but also proud of his children, and worked 3 jobs to give us everything we ever wanted, within reason. He was my hero, and even after his death, he is still the yardstick I hold everyone I meet to.

  • Kimberly Pennell says:

    It’s odd that I came across your recent blog about “The Boo.” I am just about finished with reading it for the third time. Most of my knowledge of The Citadel is either from your writings or being from the South, where the Citadel is always in the news. I think the book is a great read! The stories and the ERWs are equally funny and sad.

    It was from this bog that I learned that Lt. Col. Courvoisie, his wife and his on had passed away. I truly felt sadness at his passing. I felt sadness for you as well. The Boo loved his “lambs” and you became, I think, his favorite one.

    Keep up the blogging while we all anxiously await new books! Hope to meet you in Savannah at the Book Festival, Mr. Conroy. I’ll be bringing my copy of “The Boo” to be signed along with my copy of “My Reading Life (love that one, too! Very helpful to my own writing and enjoyed the story about Rosemary Daniell, who’s Zona Rosa classes I’ve take.)

    Take care,
    Kimberly Pennell

  • Mary Moreau says:

    It was exciting to feel the energy again in your writing since we met at Litchfield’s book store a few years back. That was the culmination of a long-held desire of mine to meet the man whose words gripped my soul with every book he wrote. Knowing the “Boo” as you did was a pivotal time in your life that may have kept you together, enabled you to write about friendship, and deal with life on it’s terms in spite of all the hellish moments that have occurred to you and to many of us as well. A friend said to me that, “Mary, if you ‘moved’ Pat Conroy with your letter, you can be happy for the rest of your life.” I was fortunate but I don’t know why I was successful with meeting the man who literally was an obsession to me. Given my life at the time, I remember it as events colliding purposefully at a given time. I am still living in the unbelievable (other worldly) state of mind I experienced before and glad to know you had the experience of being influenced by such a rare figure in your life. You have been able to share your good fortune with all of us. It must be a true joy and a source of solace to hold his loving memory as yours alone so close to the heart. Unknowingly, we strive for just that wonderful exhaustive feeling that envelops our complete existence, and you cause me to feel that you are happily captured in a maelstrom of perfect love for this man. Powerful as always. Mary Moreau

  • Jay Adams says:

    I left The Citadel at the end of my sophomore year in 1970 disillusioned about the world in general. After a semester in civilian collage I returned to finish my tortured education. Being a member of R company compelled me to pick up a copy of The Boo as soon as the first copies arrived. It was the first book I had read where content trumped style. The Boo frequently hung out at the rifle range with the team as we practiced so we all gave him our books to sign. I picked up mine a headed back to the barracks one evening. Opening the cover I was stunned by his remark “To Jaybird, the lost Lamb that came home”… The Boo…. I asked him later how he knew about my leaving and returning…. the twinkle in his eye was all the answer I got.

  • barbara Martin says:

    I, among the many others, am a fan of Pat Conroy, I thought I had read all of
    your books-but somehow I missed “The Boo” – My favorite is Beach Music, which I read during the time of my Mother’s illness with pancreatic cancer. It was a consolation of sorts. Wish I could meet the best author ever – Mr. Pat Conroy. Keep writing, please!

  • Robert Copelan says:

    The Asst. Commandant for Discipline from 1977 to 1993, Lt. Col. Harvey Dick died this past Saturday. He was The Boo of our generation, giving guidance and tough love when needed. As I thought back over my experiences with both of these gentlemen I realized that they were very similar in their dedication to their jobs and The Citadel as well as their special love for the Corps. We are better people due to their influence, both direct via ERW and the DL as well as indirect from just knowing that they had high standards and we were expected to live up to them. Even after graduation being in their presence at football games or on campus made us stand a little taller and “snap to” a bit faster. Thank you Lt. Col. Courvoise and Lt. Col. Dick for giving so much of yourself and expecting nothing in return. We honor your memory and carry on your legacy. Robert ’81

    • Rejane says:

      emma Posted on if it is a girl then the name sohlud be rose and if it is a boy then it sohlud be shadow. my dogs name is shadow and I think it fits him very well.

  • Mike Dixon says:

    Pat, I was first introduced to your books back in 1983 while a senior at Goose Creek high school. At the time, you had recently published “The Lords of Discipline”, and if memory serves me, you were “No longer welcome”, on the Citadel campus. Are you kidding me? With all of the hoopla over what you had written, how could I NOT read the book?
    Today, I’m glad that Charleston and The Citadel “got over it”. I have had a career that has taken me away from Charleston, but whenever I read (or re-read) one of your books, it takes me back home in such a powerful way. Thanks for wrapping Charleston around your novels.

  • Susan Hall says:

    Hidden Treasures, our book club in Little River, SC has just read and discussed your Lords of Discipline. We had previously read My Reading Life, which has inspired me to now read all your books. The Water is Wide is next on my list. Many in our club were skeptical about reading a 500 page novel about a military institute but during our discussion we realized how we have fallen in love with your writing. I was sad to finish and no longer have Will, the Boo, and other characters in my daily reading life. I wanted to go to Charleston and visit the Citadel and it was a thrill to stand in the parade field and envision so much of what is described in Lords. The “Ring” shouted out to me as soon as I set foot on campus and a photo was a must to share with my book club. I will always garner a new respect whenever I meet a cadet from the Citadel.

    I see references above to a book signing in Savannah. Can you please publish the date and any other events that might be scheduled for 2012?
    Thank you for sharing your gift with us and allowing us to be part of your world.

  • Bill Fambrough - Class of 1962 says:


    Thanks so much for placing your dedication address on your blog.

    I too have my copy of “The Boo” still on a book shelf in my den and duly signed by The Colonel. I think I had him sign it when I was in Charleston on business and went and visited him in his luggage warehouse exile. I could be wrong about the date however.

    We sat and talked for almost two hours, of course, covering the requisite “do you remember when ? ? ? “subjects. My wife and I were fortunate to be able to schedule attending the dedication of BOO HALL and it was a wonderful evening. I proudly wore my “BUM” nameplate that night.

    So many memories I will forever cherish.

    I have occasionally shown my copy of The Boo book to people who did not go to The Citadel and when they read a few passages I would be asked “Why is this funny?” I just say “If you didn’t live it, you’ll never get it”.

  • Kim St.Clair says:

    When I read I think of you. Always you.

  • After meeting you at my B&B in Savannah in Feb 2012 I wrote an email to this blog. I am disappointed that it has been deleted. I am wondering why. I would love to know. Katie

  • Daniel Kells Felmly says:

    Mr Conroy thanks for the emotions you draw out of me with your prose . I laugh at one page and cry at the next.and you made The Boo an important figure in my life and i thank you for that.

  • Oz (Bruce W.) Aldrich says:

    Friends, I was an assistant professor of French at the rank of Captain from 1965 to 1967. I was 23 years old in 1965 – barely a few months older than senior cadets. I was recruited by Col Karl Van D’Elden, who was the former dean of the faculty at the Denfense Language Institute in Monterey, California. I witnessed, from a different perspective, of course the events of 1965 to 1967. It took dummy me 38 years to realize what my lalpel insignia S.C.U.M. really meant! I laugh about it now, as I outranked some of my fellow professors and instructors in the language department. :>) We were in Charleston last week, and, of course, visited The Citadel. Pat, I’d love to hear from you, and maybe share some memories from that eventfull time….maybe a story or two that you haven’t heard….:>) Regards, Oz

  • Will Palfrey says:

    Pat, you are perhaps my alltime favorite writer and one of my heroes. Your My Losing Season is one of the ten best books I have ever read during my life. It is epic! I have also read The Lords of Discipline. One of my cousins, LCDR Drew Dodenhoff, USN, attended The Citadel while you were there. His father was a grad, and his brother is also an alum. One of my “bucket list goals” is to meet you and visit with you sometime during my lifetime. Thanks for enriching my life with your books and writing. This blog about The Boo is also memorable. I will be ordering that book soon. Thanks and God Bless! If you ever do an event in either Huntsville, AL or Panama City, FL, pls advise. Thanks, Pat! All the best

  • Lyn Morris Lozynski says:

    Mr. Conroy, I am a big fan and you are my all-time favorite author. I’ve often said that you could write an entire book on watching paint dry and one wouldn’t be able to put it down! I own all of your books except The Boo and your cookbook and I will be getting those for Christmas this year.

    I am so sorry for your loss. I know from reading My Losing Season how much those men all mean to you. It must be like losing a brother. Just know that you are in so many people’s thoughts and prayers and that we love you and support you.

  • Eldon Brown says:

    I wear da ring and was a proud T co slob. Not sure if you know the evolution of “Boo.” Originally, he was called Caribou. Not sure why but he lived on campus and as he walked from his Bond Hall office to his residence the T and R wingg of #4 battacks errupted like a wolf pack – CARIBOOO!

  • Susan says:

    I did not know until just recently that you were in Romeo Company at the Citadel. My brother attended the Citadel from 62-65 when he finally had enough of it and transferred to USC. He was ultimately drafted. I wonder if the two of you ever crossed paths while there. ( Billy was later killed in a train accident in 1968 right before he was supposed to go to Vietnam. )

  • Joe Tucker says:

    Had one experience with the BOO as a sophomore… he scared the “Sierra” out of me while picking up some supplies at the warehouse… will always feel privileged to have been bellowed at as one of his “Lambs.”
    Joe Tucker
    Class of ’71

  • Tom Anderson says:


    You are the true sorcerer of Charleston. Only you could characterize this conflicted city in the first chapter of Lords of Discipline like this: “To walk in the spire-proud shade of Church Street is to experience the chronicle of a mythology that is particular to the city and the city alone, a trinitarian mythology with equal parts of the sublime, the mysterious, and the grotesque.”
    I was a Naval Medical Officer at the Charleston Naval Hospital in 1973 and probably knew of the Boo’s admission, but did not put it together with you. Those were my pre Conroy days. My wife and I are drawn back to this city every few years just to walk its streets.
    Thank you for all you have revealed about the complexity of families and the sublime, mysterious, and grotesque Charleston. SC
    Our path is also connected through my sister, Pat Branning, the Lowcountry food writer.

  • Andre Perrault says:

    Pat Conroy has now passed and the two are together again. I met both LTC “The Boo” Courvoisier and Pat Conroy. Each was a singular man. They are missed.

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