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.

Ways to Connect

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.

Orders in hand, Navy Capt. Marc A. Mitscher, skipper of the USS Hornet (CV-8) chats with Lt. Col. James Doolittle, leader of the Army Air Forces attack group. This group of fliers carried the battle of the Pacific to the heart of the Japanese empire.
U.S. Navy

75 years ago (April 18 1942) 80 brave men did what had never been attempted: they flew army bombers off a U.S. aircraft carrier on their way to bomb Tokyo.  The attack, which has become known to history as the Doolittle Raid, was America’s first strike back at Japan after the infamous sneak attack on Pearl Harbor that brought the United States into World War II.  In this report, Mount Pleasant author James Scott talks about the significance of the raid to the war, and its great psychological effect both on the American and Japanese publics. 

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.

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.  

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.

"W" is for World War II (1941-1945). Prior to the entry of the US into World War II, the federal government constructed or expanded military installations, including Camp Jackson (Columbia), Camp Croft (Spartanburg), the Navy Yard (Charleston), and several smaller bases. At least 900,000 men received military training in South Carolina. More than 180,000 Carolinians (including 2,500 women) served in the armed forces. Thousands more wanted to serve, but 41% of those examined were rejected for mental or physical problems.

"W" is for World War I (1917-1918). When Congress declared war on Germany in April 1917, part of South Carolina was already on a war footing. More than 65,000 South Carolinians served in the armed forces. Eight men from the state were awarded the Medal of Honor. At home civilians supported the war effort through liberty bond drives, home gardens, and meatless and wheatless days. Patriotism cut across racial boundaries in broad support for bond drives and the Red Cross.

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.

Early American Flag
iStock

(Originally broadcast 04/08/16) -  Doug Bostick, of the South Carolina Battleground Preservation Trust, and Jim Lighthizer, President of the Civil War Trust, talk with Walter Edgar about their ongoing efforts to preserve important Revolutionary War sites in South Carolina. The trusts are currently working to obtain and preserve key portions of sites for the battles of the Battle of Hanging Rock and the Battle of the Waxhaws.

  "L" is for Longstreet, James Peter [1821-1904]. Soldier. Born in Edgefield District, Longstreet spent his formative years in Georgia and Alabama. After graduating from West Point, he had a successful army career, serving with distinction in the Mexican war and achieving the rank of major. In 1861, he resigned his US Army commission and joined the Confederate Army as a brigadier general. He distinguished himself as a superb military tactician and in 1862 Robert E. Lee made him his second in command.

Portrait of Henry Laurens, engraved from a drawing by W. C. Armstrong after the portrait by John Singleton Copley.
The National Portrait Gallery of Distinguished Americans, 1839

  (Originally broadcast 02/26/16) - Dr. Woody Holton of the University of South Carolina claims that, when it comes to the Revolution, Americans can justifiably claim, "The English made us do it." Dr. Holton talks with Dr. Edgar about what drove Carolina to challenge Imperial authority.

Their talk was part of a series of public conversations, “Conversations on Colonial and Revolutionary South Carolina,” presented by the University Of South Carolina College Of Arts and Sciences’ Institute of Southern Studies.

Palmetto Tree
iStock

  Earlier this year, the University of South Carolina College of Arts and Sciences’ Institute of Southern presented a series of public conversations with Dr. Walter Edgar and guest scholars: “Conversations on Colonial and Revolutionary South Carolina”. In this first conversation, Dr. Larry Rowland, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of History for the University of South Carolina Beaufort, talks with Dr. Edgar about “The Colonial Melting Pot.”

All Stations: Fri, Feb 5, 12 pm | News Stations: Sun, Feb 7, 4 pm


USS Hornet (CV-8) with USS Gwin (DD-433) during Doolittle Raid 1942.
USAF

  In 1945, the Japanese surrendered to end World War II on Sept. 2, officially observed as V-J Day in the United States. But few people realize that the road to victory began with America’s first victory – at least, psychologically – over Japan: the Doolittle Raid, in which 16 B-25 bombers launched from the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Hornet bombed Tokyo in the first strike back at Japan after Pearl Harbor. James Scott, author of the new book “Target Tokyo,” talks about the raid, its affect both on America’s morale and Japan’s sense of invincibility, and how South Carolina played a part in this historic event: the raiders were first assembled and volunteered for this dangerous and daring mission in Columbia.


Pages