Phillip Blythe Hendricks
T/4 in Signal Co, Special : Radio A
Military occupational specialty: 740 (radio operator, intermediate speed)
Born 1921 in NC, Died 2005
County of residence at enlistment: Haywood County, NC
Other residence(s): Asheville, NC; Beaverdam, NC
United States Army, European Theatre of Operations
Occupation before the war: technicians, except laboratory
College education before the war: 1 year
Phillip Hendricks was born on February 16, 1921 in Asheville, NC, the oldest of six children. His father was an auto mechanic.
In 1930, the family was still living in Asheville—Phillip, his parents, and four siblings (one more would be born the following year) shared their residence with a couple of boarders—a woman who worked as a weaver in a local cotton mill and her 11-year-old son.
At some point prior to 1935, the family moved to Beaverdam, NC, a rural village on the outskirts of Canton, NC, about 20 miles west of Asheville. Phillip and his oldest sibling (who was a sister a year younger than he) lived with their grandparents and their cousins in what was probably the farmhouse, and his parents and younger four siblings lived nearby in a smaller house.
He graduated from Canton High School and may have had a year of college. He registered for the draft on February 16, 1942, at which time he was working for the National Youth Administration (NYA) in Asheville. The NYA was a New Deal agency that offered part-time work and vocational training to young people aged 16-25.
At the time he enlisted, on September 21, 1942, Phillip was working as a technician, and had married teenager Golda Virginia Snelson on August 26, only a few weeks prior.
Philip was assigned to the Signal Company Special, and served in Europe as a radio operator with the unit. Because he had a lifelong ham radio license after the war, it's possible he had taken up this hobby before the war, which might have gotten him into this unit. (Or he might have had some training in the NYA.)
He was discharged from the Army with the rank of T/4 on October 20, 1945, and settled in Asheville with Golda. He went to work at Sayles-Biltmore Bleacheries, a large textile factory that had been built in 1927 in Asheville (formerly located where the Walmart Supercenter is now). The enormous plant took in gray burlap-like cotton from other mills and "finished" it: bleaching, dying, wrinkle-proofing, mercerizing, and preshrinking the fabric.
The plant was one of several in the area that built villages for employees, and Phillip and his family (which grew to include four children: Sidney, Phyllis, Phillip, and Susan) lived in two different small houses in the village. According to a 2016 article in the Asheville Citizen-Times, "The villages functioned as a community and had access to a shared garden in a field divided into 75-by-75-foot plots. There were farm fairs, beauty and sports contests, holiday celebrations, social clubs and the sharing of resources, such as coal from the Sayles power plant. The waiting list for village houses was long; turnover in the factory, infrequent."
Phillip spent more than 35 years at the plant, retiring in 1983. He took his World War II radio experience to a lifelong hobby of rebuilding radios and maintained a ham radio operator license that was only cancelled after his death. He was also an active member of the Oakley Baptist Church.
Golda died in 1989 and Phillip later married widow Eula Bradley Cotten. He died on February 27, 2005 in Asheville, and is buried at Woodlawn Cemetery in Asheville.
1942 draft card
1942 enlistment record
1945 discharge and statement of service record
1947 US city directory, Asheville NC
1955 US city directory, Asheville NC
2005 ham radio license
2005 Social Security applications and claims index
2005 Social Security death index
2005 US Veterans Gravesites
2005 VA death record
2005 Find a Grave record (includes obituary)
2005 obituary in Asheville Citizen-Times (NC)
2016 article in Asheville Citizen-Times (NC) about Sayles-Biltmore Bleacheries (where Phillip worked for 35+ years)