The date on this marker in the Christ Church cemetery in Greenville tells a story. Greenville’s first World War II casualty was Seaman First Class Luther Kirk McBee, the great-great-grandson of the city of Greenville’s founder, Vardry McBee, killed on the deck of the battleship USS West Virginia.
Twenty-year-old McBee, who had attempted to join the Royal Canadian Air Force a year earlier, died at his post at an anti-aircraft battery. The West Virginia, one of four ships sunk in Pearl Harbor, suffered 106 casualties.
McBee was first buried in the Huana Cemetery in Hawaii on the day after the attacks. After the war his body was returned to the Upstate and in October 1947, he was given a funeral with full military honors at Christ Church.
Also Navy Fireman 2nd Class Carl Dorr of Anderson was killed on the USS Oklahoma in the attack on Pearl Harbor. His remains were recently identified and returned home, and he will be buried today with full military honors at Graceland Cemetery West on the 77th anniversary of the attack.