Patton's Third Army battles Nazis; New Zealander visits TSA

BY SAMMY WAY
Sumter Item Archivist
Posted 1/27/19

75 YEARS AGO - 1944

Aug. 19 - Aug. 25

- A double feature of entertainment is scheduled for the Cadet Club, Mrs. R. C. Williams announced. There will be a buffet supper and dance. Music will be furnished by the Shaw Field orchestra under the …

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Patton's Third Army battles Nazis; New Zealander visits TSA

Posted

75 YEARS AGO - 1944

Aug. 19 - Aug. 25

- A double feature of entertainment is scheduled for the Cadet Club, Mrs. R. C. Williams announced. There will be a buffet supper and dance. Music will be furnished by the Shaw Field orchestra under the direction of Sgt. Charles Marino. The affair will be on the order of an open house party for the new class of aviation cadets, 44-k, and for 44-J and the French cadets. Avi-aides are urged to be present to assist Mrs. Williams.

- Twenty-four football candidates reported to the meeting at Edmunds High School and received initial instructions and plans for the coming season. It was decided that the usual pre-season drills would be held each morning at 9 o'clock and in the afternoon at 4 o'clock. School officials said there still were no developments on the coaching situation. Harold Hartel, assistant to Coach Johnnie McMillan, who resigned to become assistant coach at the University of South Carolina, has been placed in charge of the daily practices pending selection of a head mentor.

- A red-headed cornet player from Sumter, Jack Girard, was one of the fighting leaders of the armored reconnaissance battalion which spearheaded this week's drive across Normandy from St. Lo to the peninsula's west coast. From dawn of the battle's opening day until the objective was achieved and several German divisions were bottled up in central Normandy, Girard, a major, executive officer of the battalion, directed big and small engagements everywhere.

- Capt. Charles F. Bailey, commanding officer of the U.S. Army Recruiting Station at Columbia, announces the assignment of a Women's Army Corps recruiting unit to Sumter, Aug. 24 and 25. With headquarters in the post office, the personnel, consisting of Sgt. Grace Johnson and Pfc. Inez Coleman, with Lt. Adeline Boland as field supervisor, will devote their efforts to the recruitment of women between 20 and 49 years of age who have at least two years of high school and no children under 14.

- Pfc. Richard Furman McLeod, son of Mr. and Mrs. A. W. Hatfield of this city, has been wounded in action in France and has been awarded the Purple Heart, his parents and his wife have learned. Pfc. McLeod is convalescing satisfactorily and has written to relatives since being injured. Pfc. McLeod was employed by the city before going into the service. He is attached to a medical battalion.

- Lt. Gen. Patton's U.S. Third Army has inflicted 109,575 casualties on the Germans since Aug. 1 in his dash across Brittany and northern France to the outskirts of Paris. The Third Army has captured 49,650, killed 11,025 and wounded an estimated 48,900. The losses constitute a total of about 11 Nazi divisions in their present depleted state.

- Pvt. Frank James, paratrooper, who with Pvt. Doyle Gray of Taft, California, captured 300 Nazis in southern France, broadcast on a special program from France and told in his own words of his experience. The two 19-year-old boys jumped with paratroopers at 5 o'clock last Tuesday morning and were guided into Lorgues by some French patriots and hidden in a hayloft. In the afternoon, more paratroopers came, and 21 of them, with their French friends, held the village against the Vichy militia. Friday morning, French troops began shelling the German position, and it soon was obvious that the Germans could hold on no longer. James and Gray went about among the Germans telling them they might as well surrender, and in the end the German commander took off his pistol belt and flung it into the bushes. Pvt. James was brought up at Crosswell Home in Sumter.

- The Masons of South Carolina will conduct, during the month of September, a campaign for the sale of war bonds, the proceeds of which will be used to purchase a fleet of Army hospital planes. This announcement was made by Christie Benet, chairman of the State War Finance Committee.

50 YEARS AGO - 1969

April 20 - 26

- "Pastoral Care in Crisis" is the title of an educational series to be shown on TV for the benefit of South Carolina's clergymen of all denominations. Sumter Area Technical Center will be the site for members of the clergy in this area to receive the closed-circuit TV program.

- She's tall, well-spoken and pleasant. She's also famous. Her name is Althea Gibson, one of the all-time great woman tennis champions, and she's a native of Sumter County. Miss Gibson visited Sumter on her way to Atlanta to participate in a ladies' Professional Golf Association tournament. In 1963, she became a professional golfer after playing tennis since 1939.

- The true American Circus, complete with "big top," wild animals, flying banners, sawdust and pink lemonade will be on hand when the Sells & Gray Three Ring Circus makes its appearance in Sumter on the fairgrounds for performances under the sponsorship of the Sertoma Club. The show travels in a convoy of giant trucks and trailers and carries an administrative and working crew of more than 200 people.

- A grand prize and seven other major awards credited Hillcrest in the District Science Fair in Columbia. Beth Carlock received the most significant award as overall Grand Winner. Her project on Topology also placed first in the Senior Mathematics Division. Beth will travel to Fort Worth, Texas, to enter the National Science Fair. She is Hillcrest's third representative to the National Fair in the past five years.

- Tonight marks a first for the cultural life of Sumter, when the new building now occupied by the Little Theatre is officially opened with presentation of the musical "Oliver!" Directing are Mrs. Margaret McKeown and Henry G. Martin Jr., who have successfully led musicals given in the past by the organization.

- Randy Stroman, son of Mr. and Mrs. E.C. Stroman, is on the Pershing Rifle Drill Team at Clemson University at Clemson. Randy, a sophomore at Clemson, is a 1967 graduate of Edmunds High School. He has been a member of the drill team two years.

- Johnnie E. Sweatte, a native of Sumter, has been promoted from manager to general sales manager of the Georgia Power Co.'s commercial sales department, Edwin I. Hatch, president, announced. Sweatte is the son of Mrs. Marion S. Davis of the Brogdon community and the late John E. Sweatte. He graduated from Sumter High School, where he participated in football, basketball and baseball.

- The Henry DuRant Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, held a memorial service honoring patriot scout Henry DuRant and Capt. Peter DuBose at Bethlehem Methodist Center. Two historical markers have been erected commemorating the two Revolutionary War soldiers. The DuBose marker is on Highway 15 near Lynches River, three miles north of Bishopville. The Durant marker is on Highway 341 between Wisacky and Lynchburg.

- The Scramblers of Anderson took home the top prize in the 9th-Annual South Carolina Women's Bowling Association Handicap Tournament at Sumter's Brunswick Gamecock Lanes. Four weekends of bowling were wrapped up this past weekend. Only one Sumter bowler managed a first-place finish. Agnes DeBenedittis crashed the singles event with a 707 total on the first weekend, and it held up the remainder of the distance.

- Five first-term re-enlistees shared well more than $16,000 in Variable Re-enlistment Bonuses and regular bonuses recently. SSgt. John R. Brunhoeber of the 363rd Field Maintenance Squadron netted $4,876.80 for his VRB and $1,219.20 for his regular bonus. Sgt. Carl Stiles Jr., also of the 363rd FMS, received a VRB of $3,020.20 and a regular bonus of $1,006.80. Sgt. James Jackson Jr., of the 728th Tactical Control Squadron, received a VRB of $3,020.40 and a regular bonus of $1,006.80. SSgt. Ronald C. Tanner, of the 4417th Combat Crew Training Squadron, and Sgt. Joseph R. Bragg, of the 507th Direct Air Support Squadron, received regular bonuses of $1,219.20 and $1,086.00, respectively.

- An error in the bottom half of the ninth inning broke up a "hitless-wonder" contest and snapped Edmunds High School's losing streak at three games in a 1-0 verdict over Dentsville High. Prior to the contest, Edmunds had dropped three straight. The overall mark is now 7-4 and remains 5-1 in the league.

- The Bishopville Dragons used six East Clarendon errors to pin the Wolverines 5-0. It was the 10th-consecutive victory of the season for the Dragons. EC's record tumbles to 2-11 overall. Johnny Askins hurled a one-hitter for the Dragons.

- Mrs. Jeraldine F. Crook, secretary to Brig. Gen. Robert W. Waltz, commander of the Tactical Air Reconnaissance Center at Shaw, joined more than 200 other Women's Air Force Service Pilots (WASPs) at Indio, California, during the weekend to commemorate the 35th anniversary of the unit's deactivation after World War II. Mrs. Crook flew B-25s until the deactivation in December 1944. The reunion was held at the ranch of Jacqueline Cochran, former leader of the unit.

- Pre-meet favorite Hemingway had the battle of its life at Mayewood High School but finally managed to win the 6AA Conference meet by one point. Furman High School, another one of the favorites, finished a strong second while dark horse Mayewood came home a strong third. Mayewood was only three points behind Hemingway and two behind second-place Furman.

- A prominent Sumter businessman and a nationally known athlete will spearhead the YMCA's expansion campaign for $300,000. Julian T. Buxton and Robert C. "Bobby" Richardson have been named general co-chairmen of the community-wide effort which will provide funds for expansion of present YMCA facilities. Fred E. Brogdon, president of the YMCA board of directors, made the announcement.

25 YEARS AGO - 1994

Jan. 20 - 26

- Plans for a new shopping center on southwestern Sumter County met with opposition from local planning officials. Members of the Sumter City-County Planning Commission voted to recommend that Sumter City Council reject a local development company's plan to build the center at the intersection of Pinewood and Stadium roads. The recommendation came after residents complained that allowing the center would create traffic problems and constitute "spot zoning" - a term to describe a rezoning that creates an "island" of a zoning designation that is different from the zoning around it.

- This is the last column for People, Places and Things. Eleven years ago, I began writing this column - and what a pleasure it has been. You, the readers, have been most generous in compliments, telephone calls, letters and in person. For the last five years and eight months, I have been fighting an insidious disease - CANCER. On Jan. 10 treatment was stopped, and I am in the Tuomey Regional Hospice Program for terminally ill patients. This program has brought a peace of mind to my husband and me. A hospice nurse is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to provide for the care of the hospice patient, as well as for the family. - Portia Myers

- The name atop the roster of the Sumter High School boys basketball team says "Runnin Roosters." That's a title the Gamecocks have tried to live up to with a fast-paced offense over the last nine years under head coach Byron Kinney. Through the first 12 games of this season, SHS lived up to its reputation, scoring more than 70 points in eight of those games and winning nine. In its last five games, all Region IV-4A contests, Sumter has reached 70 points only once. However, the Gamecocks are undefeated in the region, having allowed an opponent to get more than 50 points only once.

- Sumter High School wrestling coach Troy Phillips had pedestrian expectations heading into the match with perennial power Lexington. "Did we win four?" asked the coach following the Gamecocks' 49-22 loss. "That's just what I said (before the match)." Senior 189-pounder Robert Marye scored a quick pin over Lexington's Adam Menie, 145-pound senior Peter Leventis pinned Patrick Plamens, Junior Arian Ray earned an 18-6 decision over Tony Whigham at 135 pounds, and freshman heavyweight Cleveland Pinckney pinned Lexington's Brian Ridgeway to account for Sumter's four wins.

- The 3rd Circuit solicitor's office had the second-highest overall conviction rate in the state last year, according to figures released by the state Court Administration. The office disposed of 5,187 cases in 1993, of which 2,819 ended in a conviction. That gave the office a conviction rate of 54.3 percent, nine percentage points over the state average.

- Stacey Lambert wanted to experience basketball in the United States. He has played the sport since he was 11 years old and wanted to see how the game was played on foreign soil. So, his coach in New Zealand contacted a few coaches here in the States, and the rest was history. Lambert, a senior forward from Palmerston North, New Zealand, arrived at Thomas Sumter Academy. He had envisioned what it would be like to play the game here. "We have basketball in my country," Lambert said during a break from a practice session. "I got the chance to watch some NBA games while I was at home. But I didn't see my first college game until I got here. To be honest, I prefer to watch college more so than the NBA."