Wednesday, December 5, 2012 12:00 AM
Early in Dec. 1940, the Neshoba County Draft Board posted questionnaires to additional military prospects holding the first 50 order numbers.
Some estimated the Jan. 1941 call-up would be around 37 individuals or about 20 per cent of the expected annual draft of 181 for the county.
That number proved to be high as eight men reported to Camp Shelby on Jan. 9, 1941, and three others on Jan. 28, 1941.
Tex West Tubby of Route #7 held order number 1918, a relatively high number, but Tubby was ready to serve and volunteered, hoping to join the United States Navy.
The Navy was not inducting any one at that time and Tubby was one of 45 Neshoba men ordered to Camp Shelby on Thursday, Feb. 27, 1941.
Tubby became one of the first members of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians to serve his nation during World War II.
Mr. T. A. Webb of the Citizens Bank and President of the Chamber of Commerce addressed the group in the auditorium of the courthouse, and after fifteen minutes of music from the Philadelphia High School Band, the men received their military papers.
The volunteers and draftees then boarded two chartered buses and departed Philadelphia at 9 a.m. on the 27th for the three hour trip to Camp Shelby.
S. Lebrun Hutchison, then a young man too young to serve, vividly recalled this departure: "Poignant memories of crowds gathered around, big green Gulf Transport buses parked on the north side of the courthouse in the early morning hours.
"Outwardly there was a false air of excitement and camaraderie but inwardly the pervasive chill of the unknown and of leaving family and familiar surroundings, of young boys and men going to war, of sweethearts and brides being torn apart, pleading for that one more brief moment together yet pressured by the occasions' military presence so foreign to us all at that time, that set the day apart from all others."
Before the buses drove away, a reporter from The Neshoba Democrat had an opportunity to interview several of the future soldiers.
Ora McCraw of the Waldo community, who held the fateful Serial No. 158, first drawn in the national lottery, said, "I think I'll like it all right."
When the reporter asked how he felt last Oct. 29 when his number was the first drawn, he drawled, "Well, not anyway, especially. I guess I felt honored."
Leroy and Leonard Hisaw, brothers from the Calhoun community, simply said.
"If we have a war, we want to be in it." Otha Robertson from the Bond area of Neshoba County, said "I wasn't doing much but farming."
Bloomo volunteer Homer Branning, for the benefit of the crowd, stated that he would "bring home Hitler's eyeballs."
When asked if he was going, Luther Jones wisecracked, "Sure, what'd I be doing here if I weren't?"
Forestdale Willis Molpus was more circumspect when asked about the one year term of service.
"It'll be alright, if that's as far as we have to go," replied Willis.
Robert Smith, the second man drafted, opined, "I hope it makes a man of me."
Andy "Jake" Irons stated that he might like it.
Twelve of these 45 men failed to pass the physical exams and returned to Neshoba County the following week.
Some of this group would later re-enlist and serve throughout the war without any problem.
Steven H. Stubbs, Curator
303 Water Avenue South
Philadelphia, Mississippi 39350
10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Monday thru Friday