Harold McGill Renwick, Jr.
Phi Kappa Delta 2, 3, 4, Treasurer 3; IMS 4; Army ROTC 1, 2, 3, 4, Brigade Staff S-1, 4; Scabbard and Blade 4; Football 1, 2, 3, 4
Wife: Perry Anne Cathcart Renwick; Daughter: Perry Elizabeth Renwick. Captain Renwick’s widow, Perry Anne, is also the niece of John W. Cathcart, Class of 1939, a Clemson Scroll of Honor member killed in WWII.
Advisory Team 45, MACV Advisors, Military Assistance Command Vietnam
Bronze Star with Valor Device, Purple Heart, Air Medal, Army Commendation Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation with Palm, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, Combat Infantry Badge
Jun 3, 1941
Feb 27, 1968
Killed in action. Lost as a result of hostile small arms fire during a ground engagement in Quang Ngai Province, South Vietnam.
Captain Renwick’s body was recovered and returned home for burial in the Bethel A.R.P. Church Cemetery in Fairfield County, SC.
Prior to his death, Captain Renwick wrote a poem entitled “Now You Are Two” for his daughter, Penny, for her second birthday. Unfortunately, he was killed before he had the opportunity to mail it to her. Following his death, the poem was found by one of Captain Renwick's fellow officers, sent to his wife, and was printed in the local newspaper. The original typewritten copy of the poem and accompanying letter Captain Renwick intended to send to his wife and daughter was found by his daughter in 2010 as she searched for information about her father for this profile. She had not seen the original before that time. Click here to read Renwick's poem to his daughter, "Now You Are Two."
In November 2014, Penny Renwick relayed the story of a significant event in her life regarding the poem her father wrote for her. She writes: "The poem was actually printed in the newspaper following his death. I had seen and read the poem from the newspaper for years. As a matter of fact, I had a good friend in the Air Force Guard stationed out of Shaw Air Force Base. He was part of a communications unit. His unit was deployed for Desert Storm. Due to the highly sensitive nature of his work, his unit was going dark, i.e., no communication with family and friends for an extended period of time. I felt that it was important to send him a copy of the article with the poem prior to his inability to receive or transmit any communication."
"Upon his return, he told me that when he received it and read it he fell to his knees in tears. He went on to say that the poem is what kept him going during that time. His inability to communicate with those he loved was harder to bear than he ever thought it could be, but the poem daily reminded him of his purpose for being there and how the sacrifice he was making being away from his family was so important and worth it in the end."
"My father's poem, meant for me, was actually a gift to this soldier, my friend, helping him in ways that he was never able to fully express to me."
Family members and friends have endowed an ROTC scholarship at Clemson in memory of Harold “Mac” Renwick and two other Winnsboro natives who were lost in Vietnam.
Since 1975, the Renwick-Flanders Award has been given annually to the most improved football player at Clemson. Harold McGill Renwick and Leon Darvin Flanders never lettered, but they stayed on the team for four years and played occasionally. Harold Renwick was a quarterback. The rules for earning an athletic letter were more stringent during the time when they were on the team than it is now as one needed to play a defined amount of time to earn a letter. They would have lettered had they played under current rules. Mac Renwick, as quarterback, led the 1958 Mt Zion Institute team to the Class A South Carolina State High School Football Championship. His friend Darvin Flanders, also a Clemson Scroll of Honor member, was an end on that state championship team. Mac Renwick was also a starter on the State High School Basketball Championship team that same school year.
Captain Renwick’s name is listed on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington, DC on Panel 41E, Line 054. His name is also listed on a monument in Winnsboro, SC dedicated to Vietnam War casualties from Fairfield County.
The following was taken from an obituary article printed in The State Newspaper, Columbia, SC on March 10, 1968, Page 15B, and was researched and provided on 4 November 2009 courtesy of Ms Debra Bloom, Local History Manager, Richland County Public Library, Columbia, SC.
Winnsboro Man Dies in Vietnam
Capt. Harold McGill Renwick, 26, was killed in action in Vietnam on Feb. 27. He was born in Newberry, the son of Harold and Mary Whittle Renwick. He was a graduate of Clemson University.
Surviving are his widow, Mrs. Perry Renwick of Winnsboro; his parents; a daughter, Perry Elizabeth Renwick of Winnsboro; two brothers, PFC James Renwick of Giessin, Germany and George Renwick of Winnsboro; maternal grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. George Whittle of Newberry. Services will be at the Bethel A.R.P. Church with full military honors.
A Daughter’s Remembrance: Because my father was killed when I was only 22 months old, I have no memories of him; however, he seems to live through me. Let me explain. Except for the difference in sex and height, we could actually pass as identical twins. I look so much like him in fact that total strangers have come up to me and asked me if I was by chance Mac Renwick’s daughter. My favorite occurrence actually took place during one of Clemson’s football seasons while I was in high school.
My maternal grandfather (who lettered in football and baseball at Clemson), my maternal grandmother, my mother and I had season tickets to the Clemson football games. During this season, a gentleman and his wife sat two rows in front of us. He was a very vocal fan who would loudly express his displeasure at the play calling when little or no yards were gained. It started slowly as a glance back in my direction one game, then the next game several glances. I wasn’t sure if he was looking at me or someone behind me. Eventually, this gentleman would keep looking back at points during the game and would definitely stare at me. Needless to say, my mother and I found it strange. We would look at each other as if to say, “What is his problem?” Well, it took several games, but the gentleman finally approached me at the conclusion of one game. He started by apologizing for staring. Then he continued, “I know this may seem like a strange question, but are you by chance Mac Renwick’s daughter?” When I told him that I was, he said that I look exactly like my father. It was uncanny just how much I looked like him, like an identical twin. It turned out that he had played football at Clemson with my father. I had never seen this man before, and this man had never seen me, pictures of me, and had never even heard of me. It was simply by looking at me that he concluded that I had to be Mac’s child.
High school friends of his will be talking with me in Winnsboro, and I will move in some way or say something using a certain mannerism - “If that isn’t Mac Renwick, I don’t know what is!” will be the interruption. It seems that not only do I look exactly like him, but I have his exact mannerisms as well. To some, it fascinates them just how much I am like my father. Those individuals share stories with me of times passed. I really enjoy hearing those stories. To others, my likeness serves as a painful reminder of what happened. For those individuals, it seems to be too difficult to talk to me. The most I may get is, “I knew your father. He was a good friend.” I liken that experience to being his ghost.
I hope that the Memorial Scroll of Honor will encourage individuals who knew my father to share stories with me. Only through those stories will I get to know my father. I would like to know the funny things, the serious things, and even the stupid things as I know that there will be all types of stories, and I would love to hear them all.
February 13, 2010
I am the youngest brother of Mac. I was 10 years younger than he was and looked up to him for the high standards he set - a very good student, a great athlete and a man that was willing to give his life for the freedom we all enjoy. He led his high school football and basketball teams to State Championships and I do not remember missing a game to watch him play. He went to Clemson as a non-scholarship football player under Coach Howard and earned a scholarship as a walk-on. I remember staying in his room each home game Friday night as the team was sequestered in Anderson at a hotel. Coach Howard even showed me how to turn on the practice field lights so “you young ones can play ball while we are away." Although his starting quarterback time was limited due to getting a finger cut off in a game, he never stopped trying to come back.
He married a special lady, Perry Anne Cathcart, who was great in getting me to Clemson each home game weekend. I remember being in their wedding and lighting the candles in the church - it was a beautiful ceremony. Mac was commissioned following graduation and they would soon leave to go to Germany. They came back a year or so later to be stationed at Aberdeen, Maryland. I got to visit the area and Mac and Perry Anne took me to all the Civil War battle grounds - I love U.S. history because of that!
Mac’s death was too premature but an inspiration to me as a young 17 year old. I could only imagine what he had gone through in Vietnam and knew it was more than anything I could face. I tried to promise myself that I could accomplish anything I set my mind to accomplish and it would not be as difficult as the things he had endured.
The Good Lord Blessed my family and me with a brother to look up to and I still hold his accomplishments and his memory in the highest regard.
February 15, 2010
Mac Renwick was a good friend and classmate of mine. I was a part of his wedding and a fraternity brother of his during the "younger" fraternity days when they were all locals. Mac was an outstanding and caring person and, because of his personality, was a good leader and officer. The most memorable thing about Mac was his laugh. You could be in a room and not know Mac was there until he laughed and then you knew immediately it was him. He had a great disposition and always cared about his friends and as such was a good friend, always having the time to talk with you and help out. He played quarterback on the football team and, even though he put in long hours of practice and studying, he always had time for his friends and got involved in the fraternity as much as he good. This world truly lost a good person when he was killed and I know as they say he was one who "gave all to his country."
Harold E Sells ‘64
December 6, 2009
I met Mac on my first day at Clemson. We were both freshmen and lived next door to each other on F1 of the old tin cans. They were later named Johnstone Hall, I believe. Mac roomed with Jerry Oxner from Newberry and I roomed with Charles Thompson. The 4 of us became fast friends and remained so for the next 4 years. Mac came home with me on weekends (because of Myrtle Beach) until he became a fixture with my parents and my family. I have some great memories of our hitch hiking to Conway our freshmen year and Mac always had SHOTGUN in my old 54 Chevy after that. I do not know Perry Anne (his widow) or (Penny) his daughter. I have, however, checked on them. Perry Anne has never remarried and Penny has never married. I wish that I could talk to Mac and reminisce about old times. I wish that Mac could have grown old like the rest of us. There is, however, an old military comment about this situation. "In my eyes Mac will be forever young."
Virgil Marlowe ‘63
December 6, 2009
Citation to accompany the Bronze Star Medal with Valor Device awarded posthumously, by direction of the President under the provisions of Executive Order 11046, 24 August 1962, to Harold M. Renwick, Jr., for heroism in connection with military operations against a hostile force: Captain Renwick distinguished himself by heroic action on 27 February 1968 while serving as Senior Advisor to the 64th Regional Forces Battalion, Kien Luong District, Republic of Vietnam. On that date, Captain Renwick was advising the battalion on a search and destroy operation in the vicinity of Ong Cop Mountain when intense small arms, automatic weapons and mortar fire erupted. In order to better influence the action, Captain Renwick, accompanied by one other American advisor, moved forward to the lead element. On joining the lead unit, Captain Renwick discovered that it had become pinned down by the hostile fire and was steadily taking casualties. Fearlessly, Captain Renwick began moving about the fire swept battlefield establishing an effective base of counter fire. This accomplished, Captain Renwick valiantly lead the unit forward in an attack on the enemy positions. Doing so, he sustained a mortal wound. Inspired by Captain Renwick’s conspicuous bravery, the Regional Forces aggressively attacked the enemy fortifications. Captain Renwick’s heroic actions were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Army and reflected great credit upon himself and the military service.