GREENVILLE—For the Garst Museum’s Veterans Day program on November 12, 2022, the remarkable story of the five Spicer brothers, all from Longtown, Ohio, and their distinctly different and honorable paths in military service will be discussed by their descendants. Roy, Russell, Cecil, Edward, and Dewey Spicer each chose to serve their country in WWII at a time of feverish discrimination against African Americans in United States, which made their sacrifice and desire to serve that much more commendable.
With President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s 1942 issuance of Order 8802, which barred government agencies and federal contractors from refusing employment in industries engaged in defense production on the basis of race, creed, color, or national origin, the United States Marine Corps began recruiting for the Montford Point Marines, a still highly segregated Marine Corps training base adjacent to Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, where whites trained. At just 18 years of age, Russell Spicer stood in line to become a recruit with over 20,000 men to receive basic training at the Montford Point Marine base camp. In the course of just over a year, he would be promoted through the ranks to gunnery sergeant.
The USS Butte, a naval attack transport, embarked with Russell Spicer aboard at the start of 1945 to make its way to the Asian Pacific Theater. The Butte would dock for various lengths of time at Pearl Harbor, Saipan, and the Palau Islands. Just months prior to the August 1945 atomic bomb attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the USS Butte was actively deploying troops for an assault and occupation of Okinawa.
The Garst Museum’s Veterans Day Program “Air, Land and Sea—Brothers by Blood and in Arms” will begin at 2:00 p.m. on November 12, 2022, in the Lowell Thomas Meeting Room. The program is free to attend, and light refreshments will be served. Regular admission applies to tour the museum. Funding for this program was made possible by the Harry D. Stephens Memorial Foundation.