The Transylvania Times -

One Goal of Military Museum Is To Educate


August 9, 2018

A World War II veteran discusses a wartime experience during a book signing.

(This is part two of a three-part update on Brevard's WNC Military History Museum as it approaches its Aug. 25 one-year anniversary at 21 E. Main St. Each part of this series will focus on one aspect of the museum's mission: Honor, Educate and Preserve.)

Below are examples of the museum's educational activities during this year.

•Museum historians gave history programs at Rosman High School, Brevard Middle School, Davidson River School and Pisgah Forest Elementary.

•Students in Transylvania's middle and high schools participated in an essay contest.

Three students received monetary awards and books for their essays.

•Classes from Bethany School and Immaculata Middle School toured the museum.

•Transylvania's Marine Corps Jr. R.O.T.C. participated in several museum events, including Veterans' Day and Memorial Day. They also attended a lecture on Iwo Jima. The museum awarded two scholarships to these students.

•Cub Scout and Boy Scout troops toured the museum; scout masters used the exhibits to explain and illustrate history.

•Kids K-5 attended a Halloween crafts class to create tributes to deployed service members, and "CAMO Kids" learned about our country's heroes, themed "H is for Honor." Their next free class is Saturday, Aug. 11, 1-2:30 p.m.

•Silvermont's Lunch Group, a group from College Walk, and a local book club toured the museum.

•D.A.R. members heard a lecture by Sgt. James Bush, who worked on the atomic bomb.

•Twenty S.M.A.R.T (Special Military Active Retired Travel) club members toured the museum.

•Curator Emmett Casciato delivered lectures on the U.S. entrance into WWI in the library's Rogow Room and the Battle of the Somme in the American Legion Hall.

•Free monthly lectures included "The Attack on Pearl Harbor," "Iwo Jima," "The Garand Rifle," "Cold War Experiences," and first-person accounts of the D-Day Invasion from two WWII veterans. Thirty-five to 120 people attended each of these lectures.

•Free history movies included "The Lost Battalion," "Sergeant York," "Midway," "Action in the North Atlantic," and "To Hell and Back."

•Fourteen Vietnam veterans' stories written by the museum's Michel Robertson were published in The Transylvania Times.

Our Oct. 17 lecture will be "Women of World War II."

If you know women who served in WWII, contact Janis Allen at 862-6552 or

Education Highlight:


Preparing For D-Day

George Sarros, a U.S. Navy Motor Machinist, spoke to an overflow crowd in the museum on D-Day, June 6, 2018. He told of his experience in a 7-ship flotilla of LSTs (Landing Ship, Tanks) on April 27, 1944, training in the English Channel for the D-Day invasion. George remembered: "Our ship was the lead ship, with the commander aboard. In our training exercise, we were supposed to land on Slapton Sands on the coast of England, escorted by an English destroyer, but communication failed and the destroyer wasn't there.

"Just after midnight, our sister ship 507 was torpedoed. Then another. Then another one. The commander told us to head for the beach, but Captain John Doyle said, 'No, we're going to pick up survivors.' He was a hero for making that decision.

"While we were trying to pick up survivors, the Germans were coming after us. They sent a couple of torpedoes but missed us. We lowered our small LCVP [landing craft, vehicle personnel] boats and picked up about 100 sailors. A lot of those we picked up were dead. We lost maybe 1,000 people. We took one guy that we rescued and put him on the table where we ate. We tried to revive him, but he never made it. We had to take his dog tags and his wallet. We opened it up and saw a picture of his wife.

"I remember guys in the water yelling, 'Help me, help me.' We would yell back, 'Hang on. We're gonna pick you up. The small boat's coming. Hang on, mate.' When we took those guys into port, we were told that we couldn't talk about what had happened. I suppose they didn't want the Germans to know what was going on."

Museum's Birthday


Everyone is invited to help celebrate the first "birthday" of the museum on Aug. 25 at a dinner and dance at the Connestee Club House at 6 p.m.

Tickets are $65 per person, which includes a five-course Italian dinner and dancing to the 60's and 70's music of the Blake Elledge Band.

This fundraiser supports Blue Ridge Honor Flight and Veterans Healing Farm as well as the museum.

For tickets, visit the museum at 21 East Main Street beside the courthouse Wednesday - Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. or Sunday from 1-4 p.m. Phone 884-2141.


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