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100 years ago in Spokane: Former football star earns Croix de Guerre

Gerald “Jerry” Nowlin, a former Gonzaga University football team captain, was recommended to receive the Croix de Guerre, a top French award for bravery. (Spokesman-Review archives)
Gerald “Jerry” Nowlin, a former Gonzaga University football team captain, was recommended to receive the Croix de Guerre, a top French award for bravery. (Spokesman-Review archives)

Gerald “Jerry” Nowlin, a former Gonzaga University football team captain, was recommended to receive the Croix de Guerre, a top French award for bravery.

Nowlin enlisted in the U.S. Navy shortly after war was declared and was transferred to the Marines. He took part in the battle at Chateau Thierry.

“I have been through everything from gas to liquid fire and am now stationed at a rest billet,” Nowlin wrote to one of his former Gonzaga professors. “I have been informed that my captain has recommended me for the Croix de Guerre. One whole company here has been cited for the cross by reason of their magnificent fighting and determination in stopping the Huns. Shrapnel fragments have found me three times but so far I have been wounded only slightly.”

During his time on the Gonzaga team in 1916 and 1917, he was known as one of the best linemen in the Northwest.

From the college beat: Gonzaga University would hold no entrance exams.

“The discontinuance of the entrance examination system has been decided upon since Gonzaga is now a unit of the student army training corps,” said Father James E. Brogan, Gonzaga president.

Instead, applicants would be given an appropriate written test in English.


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