Retired Navy captain working on West Point historical project
Published 5:34 pm Friday, May 10, 2019
Memorial Day this year will coincide closely with the 75th anniversary of D-Day, which will take place on June 6. This time will be used by many across the country to reflect on the sacrifices and heroic efforts made by Americans during World War II.
One man is localizing those efforts, taking a deep dive into specific areas of the wartime efforts made by citizens of West Point.
Retired Navy captain Charles Creekman of Annandale, Virginia is not local to the West Point area, but has had a vested interest in the community since marrying his wife, West Point native Debby Adams, nearly 50 years ago. Through the years of visiting the area, Creekman has developed a love for the area and its history. He is now combining his interest in the West Point area with his personal experience in the field of history to take on a historical project focused around the defense work provided by a manufacturing firm in West Point during WWII.
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“I was a career Navy officer, and in the latter part of my career I became involved with Naval history,” Creekman said of his historical background. “I also ran a nonprofit for 17 years after retirement called the Naval Historical Foundation. During that time, I got more and more involved in telling the stories of the military folks throughout our nation’s history.”
A visit to a WWII museum in New Orleans and a specific exhibit on the efforts made on the home front during the war gave Creekman an interest in looking into his own family history’s involvement in the war effort. He learned his mother had joined the defense efforts in a plant in Minneapolis, assisting in the drafting department in a plant that made gun mounts for Navy destroyers. In his research, he also stumbled across the fact his wife’s grandmother, Louise Adams, had similarly joined the war effort in West Point, and began working for West Point Foundry producing 20mm shells for the Navy and Army.
“I still haven’t figured out exactly how and when they put out the call or how and when they hired people,” Creekman said. “But with some background on doing some research on my mom’s work, it kind of sensitized me to the fact there are likely other stories out there.”
With the combined factors of the impending 75th anniversary of D-Day and the experience Creekman has in research and cultivating historical information, he has decided to sink his teeth into a WWII story that, to this point, has not been told in the history of the work done by West Point Foundry.
His interest lies in learning the stories and experiences of those men and women who worked in the West Point Foundry plant during WWII, which produced 20mm projectiles and had approximately $2 million in contracts for the Navy and Army during the war effort.
“With the information I’ve got, I thought I can probably tell an interesting story that the folks that now live in the Greater Valley Area would be able to reflect upon as they think about the legacy of WWII,” Creekman said. “What West Point Foundry did was important. The patriotism of the folks in Georgia and Americans in general to answer the call no matter what it is and do whatever they can do when the nation calls on them.”
Creekman is interested in hearing from those in the West Point area who have information to share related to the West Point Foundry war effort. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. His hope is to create a historical article to share with the newspaper as well as the Troup County Archives and the Cobb Memorial Archives in Chambers County prior to the end of the year.