South Carolina Military and Veterans

South Carolina has a rich military history, beginning in the Colonial Era. Today, the state has a significant military presence. SC Public Radio and SCETV offers news coverage of South Carolina's active bases, military personnel and veterans, and the economic and cultural impact they have on communities throughout the state and across the nation. We will also offer stories and profiles exploring our state's military history.

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During Vietnam, Music Spoke to Both Sides of a Divided Nation

Sep 15, 2017
Bob Dylan with Joan Baez during the March on Washington in Washington, D.C., 1963.
Rowland Scherman (U.S. National Archives and Records Administration), via Wikimedia Commons

(THE CONVERSATION) -  Music is central to Ken Burns's new Vietnam War documentary, with an original score accompanied by samples of the era's most popular musicians, from the Rolling Stones to Bob Dylan. According to USA Today, the people interviewed for the film were even asked to provide their 10 favorite songs from the war years.

While it's natural that a historical film would include period-specific songs, music played an outsized role in the Vietnam War era. Whereas during past wars, musicians wrote songs to unite Americans, Vietnam-era music spoke to the growing numbers of disillusioned citizens, and brought attention to the cultural fissures that were beginning to emerge.

The exact nature of the crescent which adorns the corner of the South Carolina state flag has been the subject of debate for years.  Is it a moon, as many people say?  Two state historians say it sure looks like one, but according to the flag's creator, t
Wikimedia Commons [CC0 1.0]

South Carolina is widely acknowledged to have one of the most beautiful state flags in the country.   Created by Col. William Moultrie, the flag features a palmetto tree, which became a beloved icon of the state.  But what about that crescent shape in the corner?  Many people call it a moon but is it really?  

Sept. 7 Hurricane Irma Update News Conference
www.scetv.org

South Carolina is planning for a category 4 storm to impact the state starting Saturday. During a press conference Thursday, Gov. McMaster said 800 SC National Guardsmen have been activated. Sunday, September 10th, 2500 Guardsmen will be on duty and by Tuesday, September 11th 5000 guardsmen will be on duty.

McMaster said as of 2pm Thursday, healthcare facilities along the coast in potential impact zones are ordered to evacuate. Those are facilities in the following counties: Jasper, Beaufort, Colleton, Dorchester, Berkeley, Horry, Charleston and Georgetown.

Narrative: Everything Changed Overnight

Aug 29, 2017
Jonathan Jackson and Licia Jackson, Columbia 2016
StoryCorps

This edition of Narrative features an interview from StoryCorps, an oral history project where friends and loved ones interview each other. When StoryCorps visited Columbia in 2016, Licia Jackson talked with her son Jonathan about his time in the military in the early 2000s.

John C. West, South Carolina Governor, 1971 - 1975.
library.sc.edu/p/collections

This French language film shows the Governor of South Carolina, John West, as he signed a petition of support for American Prisoners of War in Vietnam at the state capital. Hundreds of South Carolinians showed their support too, by signing the petition.

Note: Although the narration in this report for French television is not subtitled, the film contains historical footage of the event, and some of West's comments are audible.

S.C. Hall of Fame: Lt. William Farrow (1918-1942)

Aug 4, 2017
Crew 16 of the Doolittle Raiders. Left to right: Lt George Barr, Lt William G. Farrow, Sgt Harold A. Spatz, Lt Robert L. Hite, and Cpl Jacob D. DeShazer.
USAF

William G. Farrow was born in 1918 in Darlington. He trained to be a pilot at the Hawthorne Aviation School where he received his commission and the silver wings of an Army Aviator in 1941 before joining the 17 Bombardment Group.

In January 1942, Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle asked for volunteers from the 17 Bombardment Group for a secret, hazardous mission, and in April, the crew and B-25s were loaded aboard the USS Hornet headed for an unknown destination on a mission now known as the Doolittle Raid story.  

SC Hall of Fame: Gen. Thomas Sumter (1734-1832)

Aug 4, 2017
Gen. Thomas Sumter
SC Hall of Fame

Virginia native Thomas Sumter wound up in debtor’s prison following the French and Indian War, escaped and came to South Carolina. He became a landowner and early advocate for American independence and in 1780 became the state’s first militia brigadier general. For more than a year he harassed the British, earning the name "Gamecock.” He opposed ratification of the United States Constitution, but was still elected to the First Congress. He served in the United States House of Representatives (1789-1793) and the United States Senate (1793-1810), then retired and lived to nearly 100.

Gen. William Westmoreland
SC Hall of Fame

 General Westmoreland’s rise through the ranks of the army coincided with television coverage of the Vietnam War in the 1960’s, making him one of the most recognized military figures of the 20th century. Born in Spartanburg, South Carolina, he went on to graduate from the United States Military Academy at West Point and served in 17 battle campaigns during three wars: World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. Promoted to the rank of brigadier general at age 38, he later earned a second star, making him at the time the youngest major general in the U.S. Army.

SC Hall of Fame: Sgt. William Jasper (1750-1779)

Aug 4, 2017
Sgt. William Jasper
SC Hall of Fame

Sgt. William Jasper distinguished himself as a patriot during the American Revolution. He was probably born in the vicinity of Georgetown, South Carolina. During the bombardment of Sullivan’s Island by a British fleet on June 28, 1776, Jasper recovered the South Carolina flag after it had been shot from its staff and, in the face of deadly fire, attached it to a sponge-staff and remounted it upon the walls of the fort.

Maj. Gen. Charles F. Bolden, Jr.
NASA

A native of Columbia, General Bolden graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1968 and became a naval aviator. In 1972 and 1973 he flew more than 100 combat missions in Southeast Asia. He earned a Master of Science degree from the University of Southern California in 1977. In 1980 he was selected by National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) for training as an astronaut. In 1981 he was qualified as a shuttle pilot, subsequently flying four shuttle missions, including the 1990 mission that launched the Hubble telescope, and logging more than 690 hours in space.

 William Moultrie; Engraving; 148-GW-133.
Painting by Alonzo Chappel. / U.S. National Archives and Records Administration

Born in Charleston, South Carolina, William Moultrie (1785-1787) is known for his leadership during the American Revolutionary War. He defended the city of Charleston from British attack in 1776, and Fort Moultrie on Sullivan’s Island was named for him. He contributed the element of the crescent to the South Carolina State Flag. Moultrie also served as 35th Governor of South Carolina.

Inspecting the new troops at Fort Jackson.  They learn the rules quickly- or they'll hear about it.
Tut Underwood/SC Public Radio

Fort Jackson has just celebrated its centennial and, as the nation’s largest army training base, new recruits pour in regularly for basic training.  Though they’re met their first day by a pack of screaming drill sergeants, privates Jose Solis and Wallace Castillo don’t mind.  They’ve come for a purpose: to be trained and to learn to be professionals.   They view the sergeants’ yelling as part of the system, and don’t take it personally.  That’s good, says Drill Sergeant Queshawnia Franklin, because that’s how the system is designed, and after the first few weeks have provided the recruits

Corie Hipp and Earnest Parks, Charleston 2012
StoryCorps

This edition of Narrative features an interview from StoryCorps, an oral history project based on the idea that the stories of everyday people are the most important and interesting of all. When the StoryCorps mobile booth visited Charleston in 2012, Corie Hipp interviewed with her friend and colleague Earnest Parks. As a Civil War re-enactor, Earnest has played the role of a soldier in the Massachusetts 54th Regiment, a union infantry made up of African American soldiers.

Narrative: WWII Veteran Remembers the Battle of the Bulge

Jun 30, 2017
Vernon Brantley and friend Shannon Poteat, Columbia 2016.
StoryCorps

This edition of Narrative features an interview from StoryCorps, a unique oral history project that collects the voices of our times. When StoryCorps visited Columbia in 2016, WWII Veteran Vernon Brantley shared his story with his friend Shannon Poteat. As a driver in the Army, Vernon fought in the Battle of the Bulge, Hitler’s last major campaign. Here, Shannon asks Vernon about his memories of the battle, which began on December 16, 1944.

Narrative: Memories of a Childhood in Ansonborough

May 29, 2017
Herb Frazier and Erin Dickey, Charleston 2012
StoryCorps

This edition of Narrative features an interview from StoryCorps, an oral history project based on the idea that the stories of everyday people are the most important and interesting of all. When StoryCorps visited Charleston in 2012, journalist and author Herb Frazier talked with facilitator Erin Dickey about growing up in the Ansonborough neighborhood during the Civil Rights era.

 

"W" is for Westmoreland, William Childs [1914-2005]. Soldier. Westmoreland graduated from West Point as first captain of the cadet corps. During World War II he saw action in North Africa, Normandy, the Battle of the Bulge and the Remagen Bridge. At the end of the war he was a colonel and commanded a brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division. He saw action as a commander during the Korean Conflict and, at the age of 38, was promoted to brigadier general. In 1960 he was named superintendent of West Point.

Narrative: A Real-Life "Meet-Cute" with a WWII Soldier

Mar 27, 2017
Photo of two women, Carol and Helen Antman.
StoryCorps

This edition of Narrative features an interview from StoryCorps, an oral history project where friends and loved ones interview each other. In 2012, Carol Antman came to StoryCorps mobile booth in Charleston with her mother-in-law, Helen Antman, who was 96 at the time of taping. Here, Carol asks Helen about her memories of World War II.

Helen Antman currently lives in the Charleston area, close to her children, grand- and great-grandchildren. She turns 101 this April 18th.

Megan Doty (left), 628th Security Forces Squadron unit program coordinator, files out her travel voucher with Senior Airman James Hauck, 628th Comptroller Squadron financial technician.
Airman 1st Class Thomas T. Charlton

Last October, Hurricane Matthew brought considerable devastation to South Carolina in the form of strong winds and crippling floods. For the military men and women stationed at Joint Base Charleston, this created unique issues. They needed to safely evacuate the military base while also providing help to those in worse conditions. The decision was made to have air force members by-pass emergency shelters and instead find alternative living accommodations, like family, friends, or even hotels.

As recruits train at Fort Jackson, their weapons stand at the ready.
Tut Underwood/SC Public Radio

As the army’s largest basic training post, Fort Jackson is a vital part of the nation’s defense. Today’s story looks at the approaching centennial of the fort, begun in 1917 in response to the need to train soldiers for World War I. Historians Henry Howe and Fritz Hamer comment on the fort’s beginnings as Camp Jackson, how it was built and its impact on the Midlands economy, as well as its prospects for the future.

 (Originally broadcast 11-11-14) this episode of Walter Edgar's Journal is an encore broadcast of a program that aired in 2014, the 100th year since the start of World War I.

Veterans day, celebrated in the U.S. on November 11, was once known here, as it still is in Europe, as Armistice Day. It marked the end of "The War to End All Wars"  in 1918.

When veterans of the US military leave their branch of service and return to the civilian world, they often find that transition daunting, especially if their military careers have spanned many years.  But there are organizations that work to remedy that situation and our next guest is part of one.

Mike Switzer interviews Jordana Megonigal, publisher of Business Black Box in Greenville, SC, organizers of the upcoming event for transitioning veterans: Recon SC.

Molly Pitcher, long one of the few images an American Woman active in the Revolution, is likely a composite image inspired by the actions of several real women.
Currier & Ives, via Wikimedia Commons

  In her book, Revolutionary Mothers: Women and the Struggle for American Independence (2015, Knopf) Dr. Carol Berkin makes the argument that the American Revolution is a story of both women and men. Women played an active and vital role in the war; although history books have often greatly minimized or completely left out the contributions of women in the creation of our nation, or greatly romanticized their role.

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