U.S. Air Force veteran Emerson Mungin Jr. spoke excitedly about the collection of family photos and other WWII memorabilia spread out on a display table at Old City Hall on Thursday.
Mungin, 65, served in Dessert Storm. He was at Old City Hall, along with others who came out to share their WWII stories and keepsakes as part of Coastal Georgia Historical Society’s show-and-tell promotional event to highlight its upcoming World War II Home Front Museum.
Emerson is from New Jersey, but moved to Brunswick in 2011 after his father became ill and died the same year.
“I’m excited to be part of this event,” he said. “This history is a framework of what our young people can connect with. I’m here to represent my father, and his two brothers that served in World War II. My grandfather worked in the shipyard in Brunswick but there are no pictures of him to document that.”
Mungin’s father, Emerson Mungin Sr., and his seven siblings, lived with their mother and father in a house near the corner of London and Bartow streets.
“My father was drafted and pulled out of high school,” he said.
Mungin shared the collection of letters that his father — a private 1st class during the war — wrote to Mungin’s grandmother, Susie Williams-Mungin, who passed away in 1996 at age 98.
“I’m like the family historian, and I’m also a historian for the Tuskegee Airmen,” Mungin said.
The Tuskegee Airmen are a group of African-American military pilots who fought in World War II under the 332nd Fighter Group and the 477th Bombardment Group of the Army Air Force.
“The letters I have that my father wrote to my grandmother date from 1945 to 1948, Mungin said. “He wanted to know what was going on back home. He served a little less than two years. He and my uncles, who were all carpenters, returned home after the war. Between the three brothers, my father was the only one who went over seas.”
Sherri Jones, executive director of the Coastal Georgia Historical Society, said she was excited to hold the event in Brunswick and was thrilled with the turnout.
Author and historian Buddy Sullivan gave a short presentation on the pivotal role Coastal Georgia played in protecting the coast and building Liberty Ships during the war.
“I cannot imagine a community coming together the way we did,” Sullivan said. “Black, white, young, old, men and women. The SS Howard Coffin was my favorite ship.”
Sullivan also talked about the new museum, saying the exhibits will focus on contributions from the home front.
“Sometimes we forget the sacrifices of the people at home,” Sullivan said. “People in Brunswick and Glynn County played a huge role in saving the world from tyranny and this museum will reflect that.”
The historical society is currently working to transform the former Coast Guard Station on St. Simons Island into the World War II Home Front Museum. The museum is expected to open in 2018.
The Home Front Museum galleries will feature the Liberty Ships in Brunswick, the naval air ship base at Glynco, the radar training at St. Simons Island’s McKinnon Field and the King and Prince Hotel and the legacy World War II left in the Golden Isles.