On Friday, Nov. 11, 2016, the Presbyterian College history department will host the premiere of “Fortress for Freedom: The 388th Bomb Group (H) and the Air War in Wartime Suffolk, 1939-1945,” a documentary on the World War II experience of the 388th Bomb Group which served in the 8th Air Force in wartime England.
Filmmaker, Dr. Vernon L. Williams, is a military and naval historian. He received his doctorate from Texas A&M University in 1985. Williams is currently serving as a professor of history in the department of history at Abilene Christian University. The historian has been working to document the wartime experiences of American and British citizens alike since 2001. Williams plans that several books over the next few years will come out of this documentary. He is currently writing a volume on the sense of community that developed between the Americans and British families living in villages around the American base. The working title for this book is, “Crucible of War: The Anglo/American Exchange in World War II England, 1942-1945.”
A large part of the archives and historical materials that Williams used in his research for the documentary comes from the family of William B. Wade. Wade was a ground officer with the 388th Bomb Group who grew up in Clinton prior to the war. William B. Wade, Sr. and wife Katherine Graham Wade’s son, William Barnett (Billy) Wade, Jr. is a 1975 alumnus of PC and a pastor at First Presbyterian Church, Covington, Ga. Billy’s wife, Theodosia, is a 1976 alumna. Billy and Theodosia’s son, Graham Wade, is a 2001 PC alumnus and is a physical therapist in Charleston. Billy and Theodosia’s niece, Katie Crozier Tyson, is a 2013 PC alumna. Crozier’s father is a PC graduate from 1969. Her mother, Frances Wade Cozier ’69, is listed as “family member” to Billy and Theodosia.
Williams film will conclude a day of events kicking off the premiere. Friday morning, Nov. 11, there will be a 30-floor panel photograph exhibit on William Wade and his life, the 388th Bomb Group, and his service to WWII. This will occur in the lobby of HP. Williams will present a lecture on his research entitled “Diverse Threads in the Historical Canvas: Film, Oral History, and the New Military History” at 1:30 p.m. in the HP amphitheater.
A ROTC Veteran’s Day ceremony and a tour of the ROTC headquarters will begin at 3 p.m. The documentary premiere will be in Chapman at 7 p.m. and there will be director’s questions following. At the conclusion of the premiere and questions, recognition will be given to the family in a presentation to Frances Wade Crozier and the family of William Wade.
Presbyterian College is located on a striking 240-acre campus in Clinton, between Columbia and Greenville, S.C. Offering challenging academics and a culture of honor, ethics, and service that prepares students to be leaders in communities, PC offers its students the benefit of engaging with an exceptional faculty who take individual interest in their students’ well-being, both personally and in the classroom. The Presbyterian College School of Pharmacy opened in 2010, and is dedicated to the ideals of leadership, honor to the profession, and service to the community. For more information about Presbyterian College, visit www.presby.edu.