Journal-News, Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2001
Dana King, a Hamilton coaching legend
By Jim Blount
Legends fade as people with direct involvement dwindle. That's the case with Dana M. King, a legendary Hamilton High School football coach who also directed teams at the college and professional level before retiring more than half a century ago.
King -- a 1917 graduate of Ohio University, where he played end for the Bobcats -- started coaching that year at Hamilton High School. In 16 seasons (1917, 1919-1929 and 1943-1945), his Big Blue football teams won 104 games, lost 26 and were tied eight times. His only losing season in Hamilton was his first, 1917 (3-5-1).
His most impressive years were 1926 through 1929 when HHS triumphed 35 times, had two losses and one tie in 38 games. The 1929 squad -- which outscored opponents 332-19 -- was proclaimed state champions after a 10-0 season. From mid-season 1928 through early 1930, the Big Blue won 18 straight games.
Known among coaches as "The Old Master," his teams were regarded as well conditioned in the era before the adoption of rules that permitted free substitution and offensive and defensive units and special teams. His teams were known for playing tough defense. "He was a stern disciplinarian and he made men out of hundreds of Hamilton boys," observed Bill Moeller, Journal-News sports editor, upon King's death.
The coach -- who missed the 1918 season while in the U. S. Navy during World War I -- employed single-wing and double-wing offenses through most of his career, but turned to a T-formation attack in his 1940s term at Hamilton High.
At the school, he also had stints coaching baseball, track and basketball, the latter from 1917 through 1929. His 1926-27 basketball team was 18-0 before losing in the finals of the district tournament. His 1927-28 squad, which compiled a 15-4 record, reached the quarter finals of the state tournament in Columbus.
King, whose HHS basketball won-lost record was 148-59, was credited with being one of early advocates of a fast break attack and zone defenses.
In the 1920s, he spent five years as city recreation director and started development of Hamilton's playground system. In his city post, he also contributed to the establishment of softball leaguesas the sport gained popularity. For some years he also coached a local American Legion football team in addition to the high school squad.
In 1930, King left Hamilton to become an assistant football coach at the University of Cincinnati. The next year, he started a four-year stint as UC's head coach, winning 25 games and losing 10, plus one tie. Two of his Bearcat football teams (1933 and 1934) won or shared conference titles. He continued as the school's athletic director after stepping down as coach.
In 1939 he took over as head coach of the Cincinnati Bengals, a professional franchise that began play in 1937. (The name was revived by the present NFL franchise in 1968.)
King's 1939 Bengals compiled a 6-2 record and finished second in the American Football League, which folded at the end of the season. In 1940 and 1941, his Bengals struggled through 1-7 and 1-5-2 seasons in a new AFL before both the team and the league disbanded.
In 1942, King returned to HHS as head football coach and athletic director. After completing the 1945 schedule, ill health forced him to leave coaching. He retired as a math teacher at the end of the 1946-47 school year.
King -- a member of both the Butler County Sports and Hamilton Schools Athletic halls of fame -- died April 19, 1952, in Glenford, Ohio, near Lancaster and is buried in Glenford.
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Journal-News, Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2001
Karl R. Bendetsen associated with Champion’s ‘Black Friday’
By Jim Blount
Good Friday 1961 was a day of religious significance for Christians, but for some families in the Hamilton area March 31, 1961, is remembered as "Black Friday." That’s when Champion Papers announced job cutbacks of about 10 percent at all operations, reducing the total work force at the B Street mill and general offices in Hamilton to about 3,300 people.
The onus of "Black Friday" fell on Karl R. Bendetsen, who had assumed leadership of the paper company a year earlier upon the death of Reuben B. Robertson Jr.
Bendetsen -- who headed the company from 1960 to 1973 -- made several controversial decisions during his tenure. "Karl was rough and tumble," said a friend and former close Champion colleague. "But he had a tough act to follow" (the personable and popular Robertson). "He had to make a lot of tough decisions. He ran a tight ship"
The associate described Bendetsen as "a powerful man" who "let it be known that he was in charge. You either bought or you didn't, and if you didn't, it was out the door you went."
Bendetsen, with bachelor and advanced degrees from Stanford University, had practiced law in Aberdeen, Wash., and was associated with logging and mining interests before World War II. His army service from 1940 through 1945 involved a variety of assignments, some of which will be detailed in future columns. He returned to his law practice after the war before serving as an assistant secretary of the army and under secretary of the army from 1948 to 1952.
He held a variety of high government posts before and after becoming a Champion executive, ranging from chairman of the Panama Canal Co. to special diplomatic assignments to West Germany and the Philippines.
In 1952 he joined Champion as a general consultant. Three years later, he was a vice president and general manager of the Texas Division in Pasadena. In 1957 he became vice president of operations and moved to Hamilton.
Bendetsen is credited with strengthening Champion’s national distribution system, starting in 1961 by acquiring established distribution companies with a network of warehouses and sales forces.
He was at the helm when Champion enlarged its holdings in Hamilton in 1960 and 1961, including acquisition of the North Third Street warehouse properties and the opening of Knightsbridge. The misfortune of another Hamilton company, the Baldwin-Lima-Hamilton Corporation, made possible the purchase of the North Third Street tract, on the opposite bank of the Great Miami River from the Hamilton mill. Aug. 2, 1960, BLH announced the sale of the majority of its former Hamilton Division to Champion. BLH had moved operations to Eddystone, Pa.
In the 1970s, the company boasted that the 300,000-square- foot "paper super market" contained 15,000 tons of paper in stock sizes and master rolls -- "one of the largest single inventories in this country of fine printing papers, of which 28 different grades and 2,300 different items are kept in stock." At that time, more than 425 tons of paper were shipped daily from the warehouse complex.
In August 1961, Knightsbridge opened as Champion's new corporate headquarters, replacing a 1925 stone structure on North B Street.
The major event of the Bendetsen years was the merger of Champions Papers and U. S. Plywood Corp. He became chairman of the company while continuing as president of Champion Papers. The merger, effective Feb. 28, 1967, combined 31,000 employees and 130 manufacturing operations.
Headquarters of the new company -- first known as U. S. Plywood-Champion Papers Inc., and later Champion International -- were established in New York City, ending Hamilton’s 73-year reign as Champion’s business base.
As a 10-year Hamilton resident, Bendetsen contributed leadership to several community causes. For example, he headed the 1959 and 1960 United Way campaigns and in 1962 was elected chairman of the Hamilton area organization.
His family also endured a loss while residing here. The night of Jan. 24, 1961, his 24-room home at 1287 New London Road was destroyed by fire. The damage, estimated at about $300,000, was called the worst residential fire loss in Hamilton history.
Bendetsen retired in 1973 as Champion’s chairman, president and chief executive officer. He died June 28, 1989, in Washington, D. C., and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
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Journal-News, Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2001
Karl Bendetsen prominent in 1942 Japanese relocation
By Jim Blount
Recent terrorist attacks in the United States have focused attention on citizens and aliens of Middle Eastern origin and followers of the Muslin faith living in America. Government leaders have urged tolerance, emphasizing that enemies can’t be identified simply by nationality and religion. The situation has prompted comparisons with the treatment of about 120,000 Americans of Japanese ancestry at the start of World War II -- a program initially directed by a post-war Hamilton business executive.
Karl R. Bendetsen’s military background was well known during his career with Champion Papers, including 10 years as a Hamilton resident. But company press releases and newspaper reports didn’t mention his role in relocating Japanese-Americans.
In 1940 and 1941, as a captain in the Army Judge Advocate General’s office in the War Department, Bendetsen’s varied legal duties included exploration of handling of prisoners of war and aliens within the U. S. in the event of war.
Two months after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor Dec. 7, 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt approved orders to evacuate people of Japanese ancestry from the West Coast. They were Executive Order 9066 (Feb. 19, 1942) and Executive Order 9102 (March 18, 1942), the latter creating the War Relocation Authority (WRA), a civilian agency.
Because of his pre-war work, Bendetsen was assigned to head the Wartime Civil Control Administration (WCCA), the military body responsible for enforcing EO 9066. In a 1972 oral history interview conducted for the Truman Presidential Museum & Library, Bendetsen explained the rationale for the orders. The government action, he said, should be "viewed in the perspective of the months following Dec. 7, 1941, and especially the winter and spring of 1942," when "the tides of war in the Pacific were running most adversely to the United States."
"Our naval forces had been crippled, we had suffered many reverses; the Japanese had successfully shelled the West Coast of the United States with submarine-mounted cannon; had bombed military bases in the Aleutian Islands as far east as Cold Harbor and Kodiak; had occupied the Aleutian Islands of Attu and Kiska," Bendetsen contended.
He said "the preponderance of all persons of Japanese ancestry residing on the West Coast of the United States, west of the Sierra Nevadas, the Cascades, and in the southern halves of Arizona and New Mexico, had largely concentrated themselves into specific and readily identifiable clusters."
"They carried on their own culture; their own educational system," Bendetsen explained. "Their Shinto religious beliefs predominated and these beliefs, coupled with the isolation which arose out of the legal restrictions" of federal and state laws, combined "to generate a separate way of life." He said alien exclusion acts enacted by Congress also had encouraged isolation.
"Under these acts," Bendetsen said, "people of Japanese ancestry -- who migrated to the United States from Japan -- were not permitted to inter-marry with U. S. citizens, were not permitted to own land or to take legal title to land and could not become citizens. And so, over the years, there was very little real assimilation either of the migrant or of the first generation Japanese born of the many thousands of native Japanese who had migrated to the United States."
The situation was "a powder keg," he said, because "anti-Japanese feeling was intense" on the West Coast.
According to Bendetsen, his suprerior, Gen. John DeWitt -- commander of the army’s Western Defense Command -- told Gen. George C. Marshall, army chief of staff, "that he felt he could not provide for the security of the sea frontier, its sensitive installations, the vital manufacturing establishments, and the harbor facilities; and that he could not deal with inchoate civil violence unless effective means of bringing the deteriorating situation under control could be found."
Gen. DeWitt’s dilemma led to the issuance of executive orders 9066 and 9102 and Japanese relocation. Bendetsen’s explanation of the program will be covered in this column next week.
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Journal-News, Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2001
Colonel Bendetsen headed Japanese ‘resettlement’
By Jim Blount
Handling of about 120,000 Japanese-Americans wasn’t "internment," it was "resettlement," Karl R. Bendetsen argued in testifying before a congressional committee in 1981, almost 40 years after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor forced the United States into World War II. Use of that term, the retired Champion Papers executive insisted, "is a rewriting of history. They were not forcibly interned," he explained.
During the early part of the war, Colonel Bendetsen directed the army’s Wartime Civil Control Administration (WCCA) that handled the first phase of the controversial action that uprooted Americans of Japanese ancestry on the West Coast in 1942. The final part of the program was the responsibility of a civilian agency, the War Relocation Authority (WRA), directed by Dillon S. Myer.
Bendetsen -- a Hamilton resident from 1957 until 1967 as a Champion executive -- explained the role of his WCCA in a 1972 oral history interview conducted for the Truman Presidential Museum & Library.
There were intense anti-Japanese feelings in California, Oregon and Washington after Pearl Harbor. Bendetsen said "unscrupulous persons were imposing on the Japanese and this led to many false reports that they lost all their properties. This was not so. Doubtless, a few of them were exploited. Nothing was ever confiscated" by the government. "To the contrary," he said, "extraordinary measures were taken to preserve their properties."
His orders from Gen. John DeWitt, commander of the Western Defense Command, were to "take measures to induce them to relocate voluntarily . . . in areas east of the Cascades, Sierra Nevada, and north of the southern half of Arizona and New Mexico, so that the burden upon them will be at a minimum." Bendetsen was instructed that "the Army has no wish to retain them at any time for more than temporary custody." He also was told "to protect the personal property of Japanese, including crops."
"There were 24 temporary assembly centers which I selected and established along the West Coast," he recalled. "I also selected the sites for the 10 relocation centers to which those Japanese persons who had not already relocated in the interior could be moved, pending their absorption into the economies of the interior states. The whole program was carried out under my direction."
"When all those who had not resettled themselves had been moved to relocation centers," Bendetsen said, "the Army then turned over the centers, lock, stock and barrel, to the War Relocation Authority. My task was completed and my assignment terminated."
In the 1972 interview, Bendetsen said he hoped "to clarify a widely held misimpression and refute numerous unfounded assertions concerning the entire episode sometimes described as the Japanese Evacuation."
He said "their assets, their lands, their possessions, their bank accounts and other assets, their household goods, their growing crops -- nothing was confiscated. Their accounts were left intact. Their household goods were inventoried and stored. Warehouse receipts were issued to the owners. Much of it was later shipped to them at government expense, particularly in the case of those families who relocated themselves in the interior, accepted employment and established new homes."
"Lands were farmed, crops harvested, accounts kept of sales at market and proceeds deposited to the respective accounts of the owners," he said.
"It was never intended," he emphasized, "that the Japanese themselves be held in relocation centers. The sole objective was to bring relocation anywhere in the interior." Bendetsen said "over 4,000 took advantage of the opportunity to leave on their own recognizance with WCCA help."
"The War Relocation Authority," another agency, he charged, "did nothing whatever to release or to resettle those who had reached the relocation centers" under WRA supervision.
The WCCA was just one of Bendetsen’s World War II experiences. He also had a special assignment on the eve of Pearl Harbor. That will be covered next week in this column.
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