Prisoner-of-War Escapee, General Austin Shofner Who Credited UT Football Maxims for his Survival, Was Recently Inducted into the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame
Austin Shofner was born in Chattanooga and raised at an ancestral home in Bedford County, Tennessee. He graduated in 1937 from the University of Tennessee, where he lettered in wrestling and football. Soon after he said farewell to his University life, he was commissioned an officer in the US Marine Corp. Shofner saw combat a few days after the start of the war in the Philippines and was scheduled to participate in the invasion of Japan at the wars end.
About General Shofner
Shofner helped plan and lead the successful escape of ten US Military personnel from a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp. The desperate plight of the prisoners, as reported by General Shofner and the other escapees, led to changes in Allied strategy and tactics in the Pacific that were credited with saving the lives of thousands of allied POW's. The death rate among those held captive by the Japanese was about 40%. For Shofner's exploits then and as a guerrilla leader afterward, he was decorated with the Distinguished Service Cross by General Douglas MacArthur.
In prison camp, Shofner remembered Coach Nelyland's football maxims, which are still recited before every UT football game. One maxim Shofner applied in prison camp was "Play for and make the breaks. When one comes your way, SCORE."
Dr. Stewart Shofner, son of the late General Austin Shofner attended the TN Sports Hall of Fame Induction ceremony along with his brothers and his family and had the gratification of listening to Wes Shofner accept the award on behalf of the Shofner family. The heroic General Shofner passed away in 1999 at the age of 83. The Marine Corp sent a 3 star General to honor Shofner. "The lessons my father learned as a Tennessee Football player were a critical factor in his escape which eventually saved thousands of lives," says Dr. Stewart Shofner. It was Dr. Shofner's father who inspired him to support the military and their families both on a personal level and through working at his practice, Shofner Vision Center.
About Dr. Stewart Shofner
Dr. Stewart Shofner of Shofner Vision Center in Nashville, TN is committed to supporting the US Military and their families. Dr. Shofner along with his colleague Dr. Kevin Johnson (US Air Force Reserves) are extremely committed to giving back to our Servicemen and Servicewomen and their families who sacrifice so much. Shofner Vision Center provides free LASIK to Wounded Warriors who may have trouble with glasses or contacts because of a limb lost while in combat. Shofner Vision Center also offers significant LASIK discounts for military personnel and their families. Dr. Shofner has also performed complimentary LASIK/PRK on those military personnel who are about to be deployed into combat, have qualified for Military LASIK/PRK, but have not been able to have the surgery. "The US Military has Embraced LASIK and PRK Vision Correction Surgery] for its war fighters, and we want to be sure they have great vision unencumbered by glasses or contacts before they go into harms way," states Dr. Shofner.