The Acts

Through the stories of the eyewitnesses who lived through World War II—from the Tar Heel home front to treacherous front lines of battle—learn how North Carolinians prepared for war, and experienced the conflict from air, land and sea, as well as how they sacrificed, dealt with love and loss, and returned home in 20 ACTS of NORTH CAROLINA'S WWII EXPERIENCE.

  1. Full of Promise

    They were young, patriotic and full of promise. They came from every corner of North Carolina, every city, town and rural section. They ...

  2. North Carolina 1940

    It was a state far different than it is today – poor, mostly agricultural, still ...

  3. Enlistment

    It must have been an incredible sight: young men from every corner of ...

  4. Boomtown
    North Carolina

    Downtown Charlotte, NC (1940s) [North Carolina State Archives] Beginning in the early 1940’s, North Carolina boomed ...

  5. Guadalcanal, 1942

    Shores of Guadalcanal [National Archives and Records Administration] Imagine hearing that thousands of enemy soldiers were ...

  6. U.S.S. North Carolina

    [National Archives and Records Administration] In January, 1942, Chuck Paty boarded a brand new battleship ...

  7. War on The Home Front

    Members of the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) While North Carolinians fought overseas, its coast ...

  8. Bomber Pilot

    [courtesy of  Mr. Ledbetter's private collection] Jesse Ledbetter of Asheville, NC,  flew ...

  9. D-Day

    [National Archives and Records Administration] In the middle of May,1944, Tom Alley and other paratroopers ...

  10. Red Ball Express

    [National Archives and Records Administration] Charles McAdams of Asheville served the front lines in a ...

  11. Flight Nurse

    [National Archives and Records Administration] Soon after D-Day, Virginia Russell, from Bear Creek, flew over ...

  12. Gold Stars

    Back home, the service flags hanging in the windows of homes were changing. ...

  13. The Pacific

    [National Archives and Records Administration] Jim Hunter from Charlotte joined the 1st Marine Division on ...

  14. Replacements

    In the summer of 1944, Roger Casey of Dudley was a replacement soldier with the ...

  15. Love and Marriage

    As the war raged on, couples faced a growing quandary: should they get married ...

  16. Germany 1945

    [caption id="attachment_1102" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="(image courtesy of the National Archives)"][/caption] Jesse Oxendine with the ...

  17. Iwo Jima

    [National Archives and Records Administration] By early 1945, Bill Henderson, an operations officer with the ...

  18. Japan

    [National Archives and Records Administration] By the summer of 1945, it appeared the Allies were ...

  19. Coming Home

    It didn’t take long for the soldiers to start returning home. Men who ...

  20. Reflections

    [National Archives and Records Administration] Nearly 9,000 North Carolinians died in World War II. ...