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Thomas H. Gilliam collection

 Collection — Container: Single Folder Collections – 2013 Box 1 (13.0001-13.0076), Folder: 13.0004 - Folder 1
Identifier: 13.0004

Scope and Contents

This collection relates to Thomas H. Gilliam who served in the U.S. Army in the Pacific Theater during World War II as a radar operator and was present during the December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor. This collection contains photocopies of black and white photographs taken during the war, a memoir of his experience written by David G. Verdier, and documents related to radar and the Pearl Harbor attack.


  • 1941-1944
  • Other: 2019-12-02


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to all researchers.

Conditions Governing Use

All requests for permission to quote, publish, broadcast or otherwise reproduce from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Associate Dean for Special Collections & Archives. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Florida State University Libraries as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the researcher.

Biographical / Historical

Thomas H. Gilliam was born in December 11, 1920. Before the war, Gilliam lived in Hagestown, Maryland. He quit school after the sixth grade to pick green beans and take other jobs to help his family during the Great Depression. He eventually goined the Civilian Conservation Corps at the age of 16 in Frederick County, Maryland. At 18, he stocked shelves at a grocery store in Hagerstown. He enlisted in the U.S. Army at 19 in 1940 and chose to go to Hawaii out of a personal desire to visit. Gilliam was placed at the Schofield Barracks at Fort Kameh-ameha and was there during the attack on Pearl Harbor. His brother, Earl Gilliam, was stationed at an air base near Pearl Harbor and survived the attack as well. During the bombing, Gilliam was at first unconcerned and did not realize it was an attack. He then treated men injured during the attack. He was then stationed at various radar sites throughout the islands of Hawaii to assist with medical needs of those stationed their, including dental work in 1944-1945. During his time working with radar units, he also oversaw women working with the Army. Gilliam left the army as a Sergeant with the Medical Corps in October 1945. He then returned home to Maryland where he met his wife, Helen, and worked several jobs before retiring after a career with Mack Trucks. After the war, he attended several reunions and visited memorial sites. This information was partially collected from an interview given by Gilliam to the Friends of the National WWII Memorial, available at


1 folders

Language of Materials


Custodial History

Collection was donated by Thomas H. Gilliam, creator of the collection. The Institute on World War II and the Human Experience received the donation and deed on January 11, 2013.

Custodial History

Transferred from the Institute on World War II and the Human Experience to FSU Libraries Special Collections & Archives in July 2022.

Thomas H. Gilliam collection
Gilliam, Thomas H. collection
Mallory McGovern
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the FSU Special Collections & Archives Repository

116 Honors Way
PO Box 3062047
Tallahassee FL 32306-2047 US