Our veterans who served our country: Fred J. Fisher

Published 12:08 am Friday, June 26, 2015

By Robin Edgar

Although many veterans of World War II had the opportunity to see the world, it was not always as glamorous as it sounded. For some, like Fred J. Fisher, it meant being shuttled from ship to ship to a rustic base with only plywood huts to protect him from the elements.

COLUMNPersonalLegacies6.26 Fred Fisher

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Born in 1925, when his family lived in Arcadia on the Mayfair Mill Hill, west of Spartanburg, Fred lived in a four-room mill house his father rented for $1 per room. With two boys and two girls to clothe and feed, his parents decided to rent a house on Woodfin’s Farm in Gramling, S.C., where they could also raise some food while his father continued to work third shift at the mill. In addition to a garden, they had a cow, some chickens, and a mule. Fred graduated from Fairforest High School, which was in a community built around another mill about 18 miles from Landrum.


He was drafted into the United States Army Corps when he turned 18 in 1943.


“I was still a baby when I went to Fort Jackson, S.C. and then got conveyed by train to a training camp in Rhode Island. When we arrived, there was a foot of snow. As I looked out the train window and saw soldiers with crutches and broken arms, I thought they had come back from overseas. It turned out that their injuries happened at the training camp.”


“Then, we took a troop train down to Mississippi Ordinance Plant in Jackson, Miss. where we were in the swamps with huge mosquitos. After basic training, I was classified as a Private First Class and sent to England in 1944. They told us we were going to France and issued us a pamphlet to learn basic French. The only word I learned was “mademoiselle,” which was okay since they never sent us to France after all. We thought we were going home when they put us on another ship, but we just kept going until we went through the Suez Canal to the army base on Luzon Island in the Philippines.”


“By now it was 1945 and they thought they might need us in Japan for the occupation, so they put us on another ship and we sat in the harbor for three days before they sent us somewhere between Tokyo and Yokahama. Again, we arrived in a foot and half of snow. We stayed in temporary plywood huts for barracks in a holding area for seven months until they sent us home. When we arrived in Seattle in 1946, we were greeted by another foot of snow!”


“While I was in the military I learned to obey God in all situations of life. I saw how important it was to witness to everyone about God and to give back to the community.”


Fred had been dating Inez Brady before he was drafted and they exchanged letters while he was overseas. During that time, he proposed to her in one of his letters and she accepted. They got married two weeks after he returned to Spartanburg. He studied mechanical engineering at the Clemson College branch at Spartanburg High School and worked at Lockwood Greene Engineers in Spartanburg after he graduated.


They moved to Landrum so Fred could help his parents run his uncle’s business, B. D. Fisher’s Welding Shop, on Hwy.176, one mile south of the Landrum city limits. After their twin daughters, Connie Faye and Donnie Mae, arrived, Fred started working for AID Design Services in Greenville, S.C. and then went out on his own as a mechanical engineer contractor. He worked in the Landrum Hardware Store until he “retired” in February 2015 at the age of 90.


Fred is a member of First Baptist Church of Landrum, S.C., past president of the Woodman of the World Camp #186, Landrum, and was a charter member of the Hilltop Raritan, Spartanburg, S.C.

He has been 33rd Mason for many years at the Masonic Lodge # 278, Landrum, Past Wise Master of the Spartanburg Chapter Rose Croix of the Spartanburg Scottish Rite Bodies, and a Shriner.


If you are a veteran and would you like to share about your experience in the US military, please contact Robin Edgar at 2robinedgar@gmail.com or call The Tryon Daily Bulletin at 828-859-9151.


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