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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U.S. Army Bell UH-1D helicopters airlift members of the 2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment from the Filhol Rubber Plantation area to a new staging area, during Operation "Wahiawa", conducted by the 25th Infantry Division, northeast of Cu Chi.
James K. F. Dung, SFC; U.S. National Archives Catalog:530610

Acclaimed filmmaker Ken Burns’s new documentary The Vietnam War airs this week on SCETV.  As a companion piece, we talked with Vietnam veterans Wade Fulmer and Jim Knight, as well as historian Fritz Hamer, who pointed out that Vietnam was the most unconventional of wars the U.S.

U.S. Marines with Company G, 2d Battalion, 7th Marines, direct a concentration of fire at the enemy during Operation Allen Brook, 8 May 1968.
Official Marine Corps photo 371490, via Wikimedia Common

Acclaimed filmmaker Ken Burns’s new documentary The Vietnam War airs this week on SCETV. In this segment, we continue our talk with historian Fritz Hamer and Palmetto State veterans Jim Knight and Wade Fulmer. Knight recalls many small firefights and one really big one – the TET offensive of February, 1968. Hamer said even though TET was a military disaster for the the North Vietnamese, it was a propaganda bonanza.

Narrative: Ambush in the Vietnam War

Sep 18, 2017
Gary Jackson and Charles Philips, Columbia 2016
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 Columbia in 2016, Charles Philips interviewed his friend Gary Jackson about his experience in the Vietnam War as tank gunner. Here, Jackson talks about what happened to him in March 1971 when he was involved in Operation Lam Son 719.

Marine Corp HMM-263 (Vietnam) Helicopter Squadron, know as The Peach Bush Book Club
Marine Corp HMM-263 (Vietnam) Helicopter Squadron, know as The Peach Bush Book Club

Note: Coinciding with broadcast on SCETV of The Vietnam War, a film by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick,  Walter Edgar's Journal is re-publishing podcasts of some of our earlier programs.

(Originally broadcast 05/27/11) - Walter Edgar talks with Col. Walt Ledbetter and Duncan McCrae, veterans of the 263rd Marine Helicopter Squadron. Their aim is to compile a history of their experiences in the Vietnam War in 1969-70. They share stories from some of the missions they flew. Ledbetter and McCrae are joined by Clint Chalmers, producer.

Orvil Bumpus, Tim Campbell, Butch Gay, Mike Dickerson, James Henderson, Arthur Beaufort, and John Trulock.
Gordon Humphries / University Of South Carolina, School Of Visual Art and Design

 

Note: Coinciding with broadcast on SCETV of The Vietnam War, a film by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick,  Walter Edgar's Journal is re-publishing podcasts of some of our earlier programs.

In 1968, the 319th Transportation Company, an Army Reserve unit, was sent to fight in the Vietnam War. The unit drew most of its members from the Augusta, Georgia/Aiken, S.C. area. During their 11 month tour of duty, they drove their trucks over one million miles, delivering ammunition, supplies, and soldiers to bases around South Vietnam. They called themselves “Troxler's Truckers,” after their commanding officer.

Homer Steedly
Tibby Steedly

 Note: Coinciding with broadcast on SCETV of The Vietnam War, a film by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick,  Walter Edgar's Journal is re-publishing podcasts of some of our earlier programs.

(Broadcast 11-14-08) - When we talked to Vietnam War veteran Homer Steedly in 2007 the South Carolina native told us of his plans to return to Vietnam. One of his goals has been to, at last, meet face-to-face with the family of Hoang Ngoc Dam, the young North Vietnamese soldier (a medic) whom he'd killed in March of 1969; and to help locate Dam's remains and return them to his family's village for burial.

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.

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.

Before the afternoon showing of the play, cast members in full costume show children what it is like to carry and shoot muskets, bayonets and rifles.
Thelisha Eaddy/ SC Public Radio

The Battle of Kings Mountain took place in rural South Carolina on October 7, 1780, just nine miles south of the present-day town of Kings Mountain, North Carolina. There, Patriot militia defeated the Loyalist militia during the Southern campaign of the Revolutionary War.

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.

U.S. Marine Band

Jul 4, 2017
A Minute with Miles
SC Public Radio/Mary Noble Ours

Some years ago I had the privilege of appearing as viola soloist with the United States Marine Band, “the Presidents Own,” and I can tell you it was a great experience. Like the members of the other premier service bands, the bands of the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard, the Marine Band players are graduates of some of the nation’s top conservatories, and they’re terrific musicians. And they include great string players, too, not just winds, brass, and percussion. 


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.

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