News of Pearl Harbor attacks shocked Greenville forever



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Editor’s be aware: This story was initially printed in The Greenville Information on Dec. 7, 2001, which was the 60th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor assaults. Dec. 7, 2019, marks the 78th anniversary.

All of it sounds disturbingly acquainted.

On Dec. 7, 1941, Greenville had nearly a half-day reprieve from what would turn into the world’s most harmful conflict. Service-borne Japanese planes attacked America’s Pacific Fleet and army installations at 7:55 a.m., Honolulu time. In Greenville, it was 12:55 p.m.

Simply over 2,400 Individuals died, together with Seaman John Morgan Meares of 801 E. North St., who went down with the battleship Arizona, among the many first of greater than 5,000 South Carolina lifeless by conflict’s finish.

Younger Max Heller, a refugee from Nazi tyranny and a future Greenville mayor, was working within the household’s shirt manufacturing facility on East Court docket Road. There was a radio taking part in.

“It was so unbelievable. I known as residence instantly to speak to my mom, father and sister. I simply needed to be with them. We cried.”

That response, Heller stated, was repeated Sept. 11. “It was so comparable,” he stated.

Mary Frances Smith was spending a typical Sunday afternoon in a Hollins Faculty dorm room in Virginia, a 19-year-old sophomore 18 months out of Greenville Excessive Faculty listening to music when an announcer broke in for a information bulletin.

“There was shock,” she recalled lately. “Simply shock, as a result of it was so sudden. All of us knew somebody who was at Pearl Harbor. This conflict on terror has introduced all of it again.”

She would stay till the vacation break, returning to Greenville for “a tragic Christmas, with so many guys gone.”

The next spring, she would meet a younger B-24 pilot on the new Greenville Military Air Base, Jim McMurria. They might marry in 1946. They’re nonetheless collectively.

Within the Monaghan Mill group, grade schooler and the longer term sports activities editor of The Greenville Information, Dan Foster, knew one thing was improper, someplace, as he tried to determine his mother and father’ all of a sudden “very somber” demeanor.

Those that remained at residence or of their automobiles with radios on had been the primary to know.

Circuit Decide Strom Thurmond heard the bulletin on the radio after returning to his Edgefield residence from church. Citadel cadet Ernest “Fritz” Hollings slept by it.

For the few folks nonetheless in enterprise district houses on Greenville’s Most important Road, church and dinner meant however a brief stroll.

Dinner information

Nevertheless it was over the desk that the majority bought phrase of the assault, both from the radio or a frantic name from a good friend or relative.

It could be the final regular morning for years.

The afternoon hours would mingle anger and confusion with concern of an unsure future and a burning have to do one thing — rational or irrational.

Most of the undertakings of the next hours and days, with 60 years of hindsight, appear irrational.

“That was a pure response, we have to guard ourselves,” Heller stated.

Sunday afternoon and night time had been marked by mobilization, a few of it well-intentioned, however haphazard, amid concern of imminent assault, maybe from saboteurs, if not Japanese paratroopers.

Earlier than the solar went down, common Military and Nationwide Guard troops, even the House Guard, had fanned out round dams, energy vegetation, rail junctions and key bridges.

Producers elevated the variety of watchmen, and metropolis police and sheriff’s deputies, augmented by officers known as in from days off, prolonged shifts and stepped-up patrols of possible sabotage targets.

By midafternoon, Mayor C. F. McCullough and Broadus Bailey, civil protection director, had been assembly at Metropolis Corridor to debate contingency plans.


Plans included formation of auxiliary fireplace and police items, blackout measures to make concentrating on tough for Japanese bombers, and mounting guards at municipal utility vegetation. Across the state, 11,000 plane spotters went to their posts.

Thomas Moreland, commander of the Gen. Wade Hampton Veterans of Overseas Wars, wired state commander L.E. Carter in Florence that Greenville’s Nice Struggle veterans, now males of their 40s, had been “standing by” to serve in any means.

Within the shock and confusion following Pearl Harbor, many across the nation anticipated a West Coast invasion by the Japanese or air assaults wherever. Official Washington meant effectively however added to the confusion, shelling out recommendation on dealing with air raids: Ignore rumors, keep at residence, do not scream, maintain cool and, when the bombs begin falling, lie down.

The Greenville Information was “deluged” with calls looking for details about family members. Typically, nothing could be forthcoming for days.

For some, the information was dangerous.


The primary notification was that of Seaman 1st Class Luther Kirk McBee, 20, son of Vardy “Turk” McBee of 16 Lavinia Ave, great-grandson of Greenville pioneer Vardry McBee.

Different telegrams adopted.

Douglas Moore, 20, of Anderson, a shipfitter, and his uncle, James, 22, who was engaged to be married in January, died when the Arizona blew up and sank. They’re believed to be among the many 1,117 entombed there. So, too, Broadus James Carlton Moore of 1003 Woodside St. and Franklin West of Simpsonville.

Personal planes across the nation had been grounded. Industrial flights had been allowed to proceed, however anybody showing to be a Japanese nationwide and even of Japanese descent was barred from flying. By dusk, primarily on the West Coast, round-ups of what authorities known as “harmful” Japanese started.

Greenville’s lone citizen of Japanese ancestry, U.S.-born Satoshi Yagade, who most popular his American title, Norman, displayed his draft card to all comers and proclaimed himself prepared depart his job at Piedmont Hatchery and go to conflict.

In Washington, Walter A. Adams of the State Division hurried to his Foggy Backside workplace. Adams, because of retire Jan. 1 to his native Greenville and a house he had simply constructed on Outdated Spartanburg Highway, would discover his profession prolonged indefinitely.

Across the state, 24 residence guard firms mobilized, together with Greenville’s. By Sunday night time, most had deployed to energy vegetation and different places. The Greenville unit stood by, awaiting orders and the return of its commanding officer from a weekend journey.

Recruits pour in

Army recruiting workplaces within the submit workplace operated across the clock. The Navy shortly enlisted 15 new sailors, ages 17 to 31. Twelve extra joined up Sunday in Anderson. Forty of the primary 100 candidates could be rejected for well being causes.

Family members and mates of among the dozens of younger servicemen from in and round Greenville who had been stationed in Hawaii waited in anguish.

Amongst them had been Samuel Douglas Smith, son of Mr. and Mrs. J.F. Smith of 123 Morgan St., Metropolis View, and Carl Dorr, son of Mr. and Mrs. J.H. Dorr of 119 Perry Rd., Sans Souci, crew members on the battleship Oklahoma. Others in Hawaii included Jim and Roy Boling, sons of Mr. and Mrs. W.R. Boling of 12 Watson Ave., stationed on the Military’s Schofield Barracks.

Even on Sunday, there could be no respite on the farm. Chores are a seven-day affair, winter or summer time. Outdoors of Central, teenager Furman L. Smith little doubt went by the early morning routine, ate a hearty breakfast together with his mother and father, then headed for church.

In Greenville, the routine was comparable, apart from slopping the hogs. There was breakfast, possibly a couple of minutes tuned into WFBC’s “Hello, Neighbor” program, then off to Sunday faculty. Afterward, for many, it might be an enormous meal at residence, however some would head for the eating rooms on the Ottaray and Poinsett lodges.

Shops had been closed on Most important Road — Stein’s Males’s Clothes, Sol Knight, pawnbroker, Bruce and Doster Drug Co., Blue Chook Ice Cream, Mather Furnishings, Ivey-Keith, Detter’s shoe restore, Poe , LaDove Magnificence Shoppe, Jim’s Billiard Corridor, and, most actually, Muzekari’s liquors.

The conflict would take Furman Smith farther from the farm than maybe he ever dared dream, besides the journey was to a devastated ridgeline in Italy.

Smith, 20 in 1944, would win South Carolina’s first World Struggle II Medal of Honor however would die within the course of, shopping for time for wounded squad members to drag again, leaving a rating of lifeless Germans round his preventing pit, and much more wounded.


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