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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Former Charleston City Mayor Joe Riley at the site of the planned International African American Museum.
The Citadel

There's no slowing down for Former Charleston City mayor Joe Riley.  The 75 year-old is as ambitious as ever, finalizing plans for the city's new International African American Museum.  He's even teaching a class about it this semester at his Alma Mater, The Citadel.

"I work hard on it every day," said Riley from his office on Broad Street.  He gazes out the window as he talks about a  past he says is rarely acknowledged.   "Across the street from me are historic buildings built during times of enslavement."

Detail from a poster showing a Red Cross nurse with an American flag and the Red Cross symbol. (Artist: Howard Chandler Christie)
Library of Congress

Dr. Amy McCandless, professor emerita of history at the College of Charleston, joins Dr. Edgar for a public Conversation on South Carolina History, World War I: S.C. Women during the War. The conversation took place at USC’s Capstone Conference Center, in Columbia, on January 16, 2018. It was part of a series presented in January and February, 2018, and sponsored by the USC College of Arts and Sciences.

All Stations: Fri, Feb 02, 12 pm | News & Talk Stations: Sun, Feb 04, 4 pm

Greg Wilsbacher, checking film in USC's Moving Image Research Collection.
Tut Underwood/ SC Public Radio

Since 1980, the University of South Carolina has built a national reputation as one of the top film preservation archives in the nation.  Its Moving Image Research Collection has recently become the recipient of a significant national gift – the archival films of the United States Marine Corps.  Tom McNally, Dean of Libraries at the University,  says the school took the collection with no funds to preserve it, but with the faith that revenue donors could be found, which they were.  

Future drill sergeants practice their techniques on their fellow trainees at Fort Jackson. (File)
Tut Underwood/SC Public Radio

A new study finds South Carolina among ten states with a larger number of unfit Army recruits compared to the rest of the nation. The research comes from the Citadel, a military school in Charleston, and shows potential soldiers who are not physically fit are more likely to be injured during basic training, costing the Department of Defense and putting our nation's military readiness at risk.

World War II veteran Marvin Veronee of Charleston with a photo book, for which he wrote the text, on the Battle of Iwo Jima.  Veronee was in the battle as a 19-year-old sailor.
Tut Underwood/ SC Public Radio

In February and March 1945, one of the most significant battles of World War II took place:  Iwo Jima, just 760 miles from Tokyo itself.  Among the 70,000 marines assigned to the operation was 19-year-old Marvin Veronee of Charleston, a navy gunfire officer who went ashore with the Marines to call in fire from warships stationed off the coast when he found good targets.  75 years later, a 93-year-old Veronee recalls his  duties in the battle, his narrow scrape with a Japanese banzai charge ( a suicide attack), and his sight of the first (not the second, world-famous) American flag raised on

An historic marker honoring the 371st Infantry now stands at Childs Cemetery in Columbia.
Thelisha Eaddy/SC Public Radio

For those who love military history, the date September 28, now carries an additional significance. It’s the date Cpl. Freddie Stowers was killed in battle. Stowers was an Anderson County native and a member of the 371st Infantry Regiment, the first African-American unit to train at then Camp Jackson. The date now also represents the placing of the first historic marker in the country to honor and recognize this unit. 

More than 75 organizations from across country attend Fort Jackson career fair.
Thelisha Eaddy/SC Public Radio

Before a service member transitions out of the military, the Department of Defense requires they complete a pre-separation counseling session. Fort Jackson's Solider For Life Transition Assistance program manager says its the beginning of 12-month period that prepares service members and their family for life outside the military.

Steve Bannon poses fo rpictures at Citadel Republican Society fundraiser
Victoria Hansen/SC Public Radio

Streets were blocked for hours and police appeared ready, high atop Johnson Hagood Stadium as former presidential advisor Steve Bannon arrived in Charleston Friday  to speak at a student fundraiser just off the Citadel campus.  People with several civil rights groups peacefully gathered across the street from the Holliday Alumni Center where inside there was a party and the guest of honor relived the glory days of helping get Donald Trump elected president.

Soldier's comrades watching him as he sleeps, Thievpal, France, during World War I.
National Library of Scotland

Furman University's Dr. Courtney Tollison co-curated “Over Here, Over There: Greenville in the Great War,” an exhibition on display in the spring of 2017 at Furman University’s James B. Duke Library. The exhibit examined World War I’s (1914-1918) impact on the Greenville community as well as the contributions of the area to the war effort, domestically and overseas; and it assessed the mixed legacy of progress emanating from the war years.

S.C. Hall of Fame: Maj. Thomas Dry Howie

Nov 10, 2017
The flag-draped body of Maj. Thomas Howie rests on the rubble of the St. Lo Cathedral, 1944.
National Archives

Major Thomas Dry Howie was a World War II hero who was killed during the Normandy campaign. He was posthumously awarded the Silver Star, Bronze Star, Purple Heart, French Legion of Honor, French Fourragere, and Combat Infantry Badge. Howie was born in Abbeville, South Carolina. After graduating from The Citadel, he enlisted in the U.S. Army. On the front line when his division landed on D-Day, Howie fought through the Normandy campaign until July 17, 1944, when he was killed by German mortar fire in route to the French town of St. Lo.

S.C. Hall of Fame: Lt. James Butler Bonham

Nov 10, 2017
The Cenotaph in Alamo Plaza, a memorial to the Alamo defenders.
gillfoto [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Lt. James Butler Bonham was a hero of the Mexican War, who bravely sacrificed his life in the defense of the Alamo from the Mexican Army. Bonham was born near the present-day town of Saluda, South Carolina, and attended South Carolina College. He studied law and practiced in Pendleton, S.C. Bonham moved to Alabama and then to Texas where he was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Texas cavalry. He left the Alamo twice during the seige by the Mexican Army in a futile attempt to secure reinforcements.

SC Attorney General Alan Wilson announced new program to help veterans, active duty military, and members of the reserves.
Thelisha Eaddy/SC Public Radio.

Attorney General Alan Wilson announced a new program that will help Veterans, active duty military, and members of the reserve get free legal help. The program is called V.A.L.O.R., which stands for Veterans, Active/ Reserve Legal OutReach. Wilson said the program will better connect veterans and members of the military with legal help they need and may not know where to get or may not be able to afford.

50 years ago, Columbia resident Jack Van Loan was a prisoner of war in North Vietnam. Recently, Van Loan spoke with South Carolina Public Radio about the six years he spent in captivity. Today, the retired Col. of the U.S. Air Force is preparing to serve once again, this time as Grand Marshal in the City of Columbia’s 39th annual Veterans Day Parade.

WATCH: Sights and sounds from the 2016 City of Columbia Veterans Day Parade 

Children and families in South Carolina will have a chance to exchange Halloween candy for toys and send deployed U.S. troops a "sweet" reminder of home this holiday season
Kool Smiles

Children and families in South Carolina will have a chance to exchange Halloween candy for toys and send deployed U.S. troops a "sweet" reminder of home this holiday season during Operation Troop Treats, an annual candy exchange hosted by the local Kool Smiles dental offices in partnership with Operation Gratitude.

Dr. Diane Earle is Managing Dental Director for Kool Smiles, she said Operation Troop Treat was created six years ago to promote healthy dental habits during Halloween.

Image of Gen. Andrew Pickens, 1739 - 1817. A photo of an oil painting hung in Fort Hill in Clemson, South Carolina.
blahedo [CC BY-SA 2.5] via Wikimedia Commons

In his new book, The Life and Times of General Andrew Pickens: Revolutionary War Hero, American Founder (2017, UNC Press), Dr. Rod Andrew, Jr., of Clemson University, explores the life of the hard-fighting South Carolina militia commander of the American Revolution, was the hero of many victories against British and Loyalist forces. In this book, Andrew offers an authoritative and comprehensive biography of Pickens the man, the general, the planter, and the diplomat.

World War II Veterans A Vanishing Generation

Oct 25, 2017
Families say goodbye to USS Yorktown veterans.
Victoria Hansen/SC Public Radio

95 year old Bill Watkinson and 97 year-old Arthur Leach have been coming to the USS Yorktown Reunions just outside of Charleston for decades.  Both were fighter pilots aboard the ship during World War II. But each year, they find fewer of their own.

"It's interesting to see those of us who are still standing and those of us missing," said Watkinson.  "The missing list is getting pretty long.

Retired Army Major Miguel Santana stands in front of his home in Columbia. Santana says he is a victim of contractor fraud and it's stalling his flood recovery.
Thelisha Eaddy/SC Public Radio.

Since 2005, the National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) has received over 70,000 complaints from 50 states, 6 territories, and 4 countries involving over 50 natural and man-made disasters. Retired Army Major Miguel Santana says after the October 2015 flood, he became a victim of contractor fraud. His costly mistake is stalling recovery for what was to be his retirement home.

Soldiers participate in final salutes for Privates Timothy Ashcroft and Ethan Shrader during a memorial service at Fort Jackson Post Chapel.
Thelisha Eaddy/ SC Public Radio

This past September, Timothy Joseph Ashcraft of Cincinnati, Ohio and Ethan McKay Shrader of Prospect, Tennessee enlisted in the United States Army. The two were members of the 2nd Battalion 13th Infantry Regiment and were in their eighth week of training when they were killed during a training exercise on base. During a memorial service Tuesday, the two were remembered as brave aspiring soldiers who answered the call of duty.

Narrative: A Grandfather's Army Career

Oct 17, 2017
Colonel John Paolucci and grandson Jack Paolucci, Columbia 2016
StoryCorps

This edition of Narrative features an interview from StoryCorps, a unique oral history project that collects the voices of our times. Here, eight-year-old Jack Paolucci asks his grandfather Colonel John Paolucci about his time in the army.

S.C. Hall of Fame: Col. Charles M. Duke

Oct 10, 2017
Charles M. Duke, Jr.
NASA

On April 20, 1972, Colonel Duke joined the select body of Americans who walked on the surface of the moon. Colonel Duke was born in Charlotte, North Carolina, grew up and graduated from high school in Lancaster, South Carolina. He graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1957 and was commissioned in the U. S. Air Force. In 1966 NASA selected him for the astronaut program. Colonel Duke was the lunar module pilot for Apollo 16 (April 16-27, 1972). Apollo 16 collected a record 210 pounds of lunar rock and soil samples that provided a wealth of new information for scientists.

S.C. Hall of Fame: Col. Peter Horry (1743-1815)

Oct 10, 2017
A photograph of a South Carolina historical marker about the Battle of Black Mingo Creek.
LKeiner [CC BY 3.0] via Wikimedia

Peter Horry (1743-1815) was a planter from Georgetown County, South Carolina, who became a politician and leader during the American Revolutionary War. He served at the Battle of Fort Moultrie in 1776 and fought alongside Gen. Francis Marion later in the war. Horry is buried In the churchyard of Trinity Episcopal Church in Columbia.

John Slaughter, Superintendent of US Park Service's Southern Campaign of the American Revolution Parks group.
SCETV/Original SC

The Southern Campaign was critical in determining the outcome of the American Revolutionary War, yet the South’s importance has been downplayed in most historical accounts to date.

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