1st Lieutenant, U.S. Army
Athlete, Scholar and Soldier
Alex Box was an outstanding LSU athlete whose wartime gallantry would earn him the Distinguished Service Cross but ultimately cost him his life.
Simeon A. "Alex" Box was from Quitman, Mississippi. A naturally gifted athlete, he was all-state in high school football and state champion in track. He also played on a semi-pro baseball team before accepting a football scholarship from Louisiana State University in 1938.
A handsome and popular figure on campus, Box majored in petroleum engineering. He played wingback on the football team, but the dislocation of his shoulder in a game against Holy Cross in 1939 ended his football career. Turning to baseball in his sophomore and senior years, he played right field and batted in the cleanup position.
Box graduated in 1942 and entered the U.S. Army. While at LSU, Alex met Earle Hubert, and they intended to be married but had to wait, as World War II changed their plans. In August 1942, Box was on his way to England with the 1st Engineer Combat Battalion of the 1st Infantry Division. Their first combat would come in Operation Torch, the Allied invasion of North Africa. For the 1st Infantry Division, their job was to overcome the Vichy French forces at Oran, Algeria.
Box’s primary job in combat was road maintenance and mine warfare, and his secondary role was fighting with the infantry. At Arcole, Algeria, on November 9, 1942, Lieutenant Box and his platoon attacked and destroyed enemy machine gun emplacements that were blocking the 1st Infantry’s advance. For his extraordinary heroism, he was awarded the Purple Heart and the Distinguished Service Cross, the second highest military decoration of the U.S. Army.
In February 1943, Lieutenant Box was laying minefields and preparing roadblocks prior to the battle at Kasserine, Tunisia. Tragically, a mine was accidentally discharged, and he was killed instantly, along with four other soldiers. He is buried in the North African American Cemetery in Carthage, Tunisia.
Brigadier General Theodore Roosevelt, in a letter of condolence to Box's mother wrote, "The deeds and death of your son have gone to make up the spiritual background that is this country."
R.H. Watkins, superintendent of schools in Laurel, Mississippi, eulogized Box as a "perfect example of an athlete, a Christian gentleman, a scholar and a soldier.”
In May 1943, the LSU Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to name the university's baseball stadium—Alex Box Stadium—in his honor. In 2009, a new, state-of-the-art Alex Box Stadium was opened, ensuring that the name of LSU’s World War II baseball hero will be remembered for many years to come.