Two Heroes, One Calling

Two Loras graduates laid down their lives for their country during times of war. Their sacrifices are now the focus of a display on the Loras College campus.

The exhibit shares the stories of Rev. Aloysius Schmitt (’32) and Fr. William Barragy (’48), who each represented the United States during military conflicts and gave their lives while honoring the Loras motto: pro deo et patria (For God and country).

Reverend Aloysius Schmitt (’32)

Rev. Schmitt (’32), was awarded the Silver Star, U.S. Navy and Marine Corps medal and the Purple Heart for his actions during the attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.

Fr. Barragy (’48), served as chaplain for the Army’s 101st Airborne Division during the Vietnam War when his Chinook helicopter went down on its way to a combat mission on May 4, 1966.

The display, located in Keane Hall in the walkway to Christ the King Chapel, shares the stories of both men and features photographs, clothing, and personal belongings from their lives on display to help tell their stories.

Father William Barragy (’48)

Fr. Schmitt is interred in Christ the King Chapel. He was 32 years old when Japan launched a surprise attack against the American naval base Pearl Harbor. On Sunday morning, Dec. 7, 1941, Schmitt was hearing confessions on board Oklahoma when four torpedoes slammed into the ship. The lower decks quickly filled with water trapping sailors in the ship. Survivors said as it capsized, Schmitt refused to escape choosing instead to help push 12 men through a porthole to safety before he died.

Schmitt’s chalice, prayer book, military medals, and other personal belongings recovered from the ship’s wreckage are on display

Fr. Barragy was ordained at Christ the King Chapel before enlisting in the Army in 1953. He served in the Korean War and served tours in Germany and Japan before being in one of the first deployments into the Vietnam conflict in 1965.

Barragy’s medals, field mass kit, and prayer book are among his artifacts in the exhibit.

About Loras College
Founded in 1839, Loras College leverages its historic roots as Iowa’s first college, the second oldest Catholic college west of the Mississippi River and one of the nation’s 10 diocesan colleges to deliver challenging, life-changing experiences as part of its residential, Catholic setting. In 2019, Loras was the second-highest ranked Catholic college in the state of Iowa according to College Consensus, the 16th Best Regional College in the Midwest by U.S. News & World Report and one of America’s Top 200 Most Loved Colleges/Universities by Forbes Magazine for the third consecutive year. Loras students ranked No. 2 in the world as part of the global Peeptrade Investment Challenge while a second group ranked No. 4. For the 10th consecutive year, Loras Media Studies student-led television station (LCTV) was named the TV Station of the Year by the Iowa College Media Association (ICMA).