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The Home Front: WWII

A look at a Liberty Ship being launched in Brunswick, Ga.
Source: Georgia Historical Society

Glynn County was very involved in the home front efforts during World War II. 

Glynn’s first contribution came in the form of the Brunswick Shipyards, as seen above. In the height of the war, 99 447-Foot military vessels were built in this shipyard. An interesting fact about these boats was that there was no name painted on them. This was unusual at the time, and it allowed the axis powers avoid detecting which boats were in a specific location. There were six boat slips in the shipyards, meaning six different liberty ships could be constructed at the same time. It employed 16,000 men and women, more than the entire population of Brunswick at the time. The boats weighed under 5,000 tons, and were said to be able to carry anything. 

Another important moment to the Golden Isles during World War II came on April 8, 1942. Just a few months after the United States had entered the war,  two merchant ships — the S.S. Esso Baton Rouge and the S.S. Oklahoma— were torpedoed by a German U-Boat (Submarine) just off of the coast of St. Simons Island. 22 people were killed in the attacks, and it was one of the few attacks on the United States that took place during the war.

The St. Simons Airport and Coast Guard Station also served as important facilities during World War II. The Coast Guard Station acted as patrol on the southeastern coast of the United States throughout the war. The McKinnon Airfield housed the Civil Air Patrol during the early years. The airport was taken over by the United States government in 1942 and renamed NAS St. Simons. NAS housed the Navy Radar Training School for all branches of the military, and a large influx of military men infiltrated the island’s population. Almost 1500 military personnel were stationed at the base, as well as several German prisoners of war.

The JA Jones Shipyard. Source: Coastal Georgia Historical Society

The early years of the St. Simons Coast Guard Station. Source:

A group of men serving at NAS. Source: The Winn Baker Collection

A view of NAS from above. Source: The Larry Wade Collection

A look at some of the aircraft stationed at NAS. Source: The Joseph Schlosser Collection

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