Fort Mill Times

Families of Fort Mill men killed in World War II to be honored

The the Normandy American Cemetery in Colleville-sur-Mer, France, where the Fort Mill High School Marching Band will perform April 1.
The the Normandy American Cemetery in Colleville-sur-Mer, France, where the Fort Mill High School Marching Band will perform April 1. Courtesy of Jason Ford

When the Fort Mill High School Marching Band performs at the Normandy American Cemetery in Colleville-sur-Mer, France, April 1, the teen musicians won’t just be honoring American servicemen killed in World War II.

They’ll be honoring the memories of 28 U.S. Armed Forces members from their hometown who died in the war.

After exhaustive research here and overseas, band officials documented the final resting place of 19 of the 28 U.S. service members from Fort Mill who fought in the war and never came home. Jason Ford, assistant band director, said 10 of the servicemen are buried in Fort Mill and nine are in American cemeteries abroad.

“We have been researching these 28 soldiers and sailors for months, in preparation for honoring them,” Ford said.

“It’s been an emotional journey.”

Ford said the band also wants to honor any living relatives of the 28 servicemen at the band’s March 22 send-off concert.

Some of the relatives are known, but Ford said the band hopes to hear from the others prior to the March 22 March to Normandy send-off in the Fort Mill High auditorium. The band also hopes to learn the burial locations of the Fort Mill servicemen they haven’t been able to document.

In the meantime, the band will be immersed in World War II history, including watching excerpts from World War II epics “Saving Private Ryan” and “Band of Brothers” and a visit from a speaker who will give a presentation on American Army Rangers at Pointe du Hoc and the Allies’ D-Day landing at Omaha Beach.

Are you a relative?

The Fort Mill High Band wants to honor relatives of residents killed in World War II. The band is also hoping to learn where some of them were buried. The service members from Fort Mill who died in the war are:

Ruel K. Boone

Thomas M. Bradford

Clennie E. Brown*

Earl C. Coffey*

Douglas N. Cranford

James B. Dunn

Thomas D. Ervin

Voyd L. Faile

John V. Faulkner*

James H. Harris*

James M. Harris

James O. Lamb

William J. McCammon

Kenneth K. McKenzie

Samuel L. Meacham, Jr.

Shelley H. Mullis

Odell S. Myers

Douglas H. Nims Sr.

Charles R. Pettus*

Olin Phillips

Johnnie L. Privette*

Robert W. Self*

Samuel W. Smith Jr.

Nathan T. Steele Jr.

Frank B. Stegall*

James G. Sumner

Robert Taylor

Charles A. Turner*

*Burial location not confirmed.

Any relatives of these men, or anyone else with information about their burial location, are urged to contact Jason Ford at fordj@fortmillschools.org or 803-548-1900.

Michael Harrison: 803-547-2353, @MikeHarrisonFMT

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