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Radioman 2nd Class Charles Malvern Paty, Jr.
Note: This speech was given at a public program sponsored by the Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County at the Great Aunt Stella Center in Charlotte, NC on March 23, 2000.
When Pearl Harbor was bombed on December 7, 1941, Charles Malvern Paty, Jr. was a student at Central High School. Eager to serve his country, he talked his parents into letting him quit school to join the Navy.
On December 8th, he went to downtown Charlotte to enlist in the military and was surprised to see a line that had formed out the door and around the corner of the building. He spent his first month in training at Norfolk, VA then transferred to the USS North Carolina, off the coast of Key West, FL. He as well as 200 other men were boarded at sea and began their 6 month tour in the Atlantic. Based out of Portland, ME, these men prepared for battle and eventually went through the Panama Canal in May of 1942. After stops in Long Beach and San Francisco, the boat sailed on to Pearl Harbor. Signs of war were still visible, as the USS Arizona was still sticking out of the water, not yet sunk to its final resting place at the bottom of the ocean.
The next stop was Guadalcanal on August 7, 1942, but the real test of fire came from 100 Japanese planes that attacked on August 24, 1942. On September 14th, the USS North Carolina was torpedoed while at sea. It was ordered back to Pearl Harbor for repairs. Paty and his crew were given several weeks of generous leave on the island. The photo shows a palm tree on the beach in this tropical paradise while he was on this leave.
Unable to find a job in postwar Charlotte, Paty moved to Hickory to work in heavy truck sales where he met a Charlotte girl, Sue, also unable to find a job in Charlotte. They married in Charlotte in 1948 and returned to Hickory.
After moving to Asheville,N.C., Cleveland, Ohio and Greensboro N.C., the Patys settled in the Plaza-Midwood area of Charlotte. They live one and a half blocks from his childhood home in the photograph above. They are the parents of two children.
In May 2000, Charles Paty attended a graduation ceremony sponsored by the Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County and received his High School Diploma. The Board of Education awarded Charles Paty and many other area veterans their long-awaited and well deserved diplomas.