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A DOZEN - Are there more? -- Article about the 12 men who were declared KIA from the Korean conflict - by Karen Bazzani Zach - Montgomery Memories Magazine, July 2014
The Korean conflict was a hand-to-hand bloody tragedy. An even dozen men gave their lives from our county, some from large families, others an only child, but all young. At first, I thought I'd write this about how to research for these men, but the 1930 & 40 census, school yearbooks, obituaries, Korean War Project on the internet and other easily found sources are fairly readily available. So, I decided instead that I'd like to give a brief overview of each of the 12 who gave the ultimate sacrifice.
Lt. Raymond Edward Pearson, son of Ray, was first reported as Missing In Action on the 14th of July in 1950 later designated as Killed In Action. Pearson was a field officer in the 63rd Field Artillery Headquarters battery. He had been in Korea since January.
Although the Crawfordsville Journal Review reported Red (Charles) Northcutt, age 22, Tuttle Avenue as the second to lose his life I believe it to be Pvt. Howard Franklin Cedars. Only 18, he was KIA July 16, 1950. Buried in Waynetown Cemetery, he was given the full military service. His unit was the 19th Infantry of the 24th Division. His father, Charles, two brothers and a sister survived.
According to dates, Red Northcutt would be next. As with almost all the Korean soldiers, Red was sent to Korea after training in Japan. Having enlisted early, he had been in active duty since December 1948 after receiving basic training in Ft. Knox, Kentucky. July 20th, 1950 stands as his MIA and finally his KIA date.
It is also the date for Cpl. Donald R. Sechman, son of Joseph Elmer Harris and Stella Jane Caldwell Sechman who was likely born right inside Putnam County going from Waveland. The Waveland paper gave a one-line notation on August 31st, 1950 that he had been reported missing. In fact, he is still missing but after three years, along with 60 other men, was declared dead by the Army. "No other information has been received to indicate they might still be alive." The family was notified that he was missing in August. They had received a letter from him written two days (July 18) before he went missing (July 20) and received on July 27. He stated that he was safe and serving as a clerk in the regimental post office of the 34th Infantry. What a blow that would have been! He had lived in Russellville, Crawfordsville and Waveland. Sadly, Cpl. Sechman was a mere 19 at the time of his death.
Everett Dwight Manion was a Cpl. in the US Army and was born September 27, 1930 in Crawfordsville, where he attended school. He died July 22, 1950 while fighting the enemy in South Korea. It was almost 3 ½ years later on December 31, 1953 that he was finally declared deceased. He is memorialized in the Honolulu Hawaii National Cemetery. As communication chief for Co. F, 2nd Batallion, 35th Infantry Division, he received the Purple Heart, US Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Korean SM and several others. God rest his soul.
Although the first Montgomery County service man to be officially reported KIA in Korea, Pfc. Kenneth Meadows, son of Basil, according to dates, would be the sixth. He was injured on July 20th, 1950, but passed away from those wounds three days later. The family had no clue of there being a problem until his sister, Mrs. Arlie Bishop had a letter to her brother returned to her, marked "Deceased July 23." Immediately, the family (which included 10 brothers and sisters and parents) contacted Representative Cecil M. Harden in Washington DC. She was quick to get official word from Japanese and Korean headquarters to help ease the pain of the family. Having attended Alamo HS, he was born June 5, 1929. His desire to fight for his country came before graduation when he enlisted taking basic at Ft. Knox, KY. As with the majority of the boys, he, too was sent to Japan for training, then on to Korea with the 10th Infantry.
John W. Shanklin, son of John W. and Edith Charters, was born on the 18th of February in 1931. His ancestors date back to some of the very first settlers in our county. Andrew Shanklin, his 3rd great grandfather is buried in Wayne Township and died 16 March 1836, born 20 Sept 1768. John's mother, Edith had to bear the burden of losing her husband (while her son was away) slightly more than a year before, then her son dying in Korea on 6 August the next year, 1950. An avid lover of our country, John Shanklin was a member of the Crawfordsville National Guard before he enlisted in the Army, (November, 1948) serving in the 34th Infantry Regiment.
It was September 10, 1950 when Pfc. Earl Brown of New Richmond lost this life in Korea. His body arrived in San Francisco the next May 24th along with 419 other war dead. Born in Kentucky in 1923, when his parents passed away, he moved to Indiana alone at age 15. He enlisted in the Army in 1948, went to Japan in January 1949 and on to Korea in June 1950. Buried in the New Richmond cemetery, the Beautiful Garden of Prayer was sung at the funeral and the American Legion Todd Post 458 performed military rights.
Perhaps the most intriguing story of all of those who lost their lives is that of Jackie Lee Murdock. His mother, Louise, married Charles Byrd and Jackie was thereafter known as Jackie Byrd. The search by his cousin and friend, Dick Moore lasted almost 60 years until information was finally obtained as to Jackie's fate. The name difference made the search difficult. Due to a DNA kit sent to the Army, in June of 2008, information was finally given as to Jackie's capture and death. Jackie was in the very first (Co B, 1st Battalion, 34th Infantry Regt, 24th Infantry Division) American ground force deployed to South Korea. "Under strength and not fully equipped to handle the North Korean forces," during the first battle (July 6, 1950) most of the group was killed or captured. Jackie was in the latter aspect and was forced to march from village to village foraging for food and water. Many perished from exposure, malnutrition and pneumonia. As members of the troops passed, they were buried by those who were left. Barely 18, on or about October 29, 1950, Jackie joined those who died. His remains have never been returned but thanks to cousins, friends and other hard-working folks, 58 years after he was lost, he was again found with new information to complete his life story. He was immortalized in a memorial service at Wilhite Cemetery, on August 30, 2008. Rest In Peace, Jackie!
Army Private Robert Russell Eubanks' body was returned on the ship, Exmouth Victory, along with 612 others, arriving in San Francisco October 5th after his death June 6, 1951. A 1947 CHS graduate, he worked at R.R. Donnelley's until entering the service in December 1950. He was the only son and child of Thomas and Ruth Pennock Eubanks, was a member of the 35th Infantry Division, and is buried in the Waynetown Masonic Cemetery.
One of ten children from New Ross, Kennith J. Teague and a cousin enlisted just before Christmas in 1948 at age 17. They served together in Korea. On August 3, 1951, he was KIA. His body was quick to arrive in the US landing with 505 bodies on board the Lynn Victory in San Francisco on August 19th. A truck driver for Co. B, 27th Infantry Regiment, he and a buddy encountered four enemy snipers. Teague killed three of them before being mortally wounded by a shot fired by the fourth. After killing the fourth, his buddy immediately wrote to his girlfriend who informed his parents and the American Red Cross organization in her community. A private funeral was held at the New Ross Christian Church with military rites at the New Ross Cemetery for Pfc. Kennith J. Teague who was less than a month shy of his 20th birthday.
Charles "Clayton" Morgan was killed on Heartbreak Ridge November 4, 1951, age 23. He was the son of Cecil and Louise (Warner) Morgan. A 1946 New Market HS graduate, he was a kind man but had a premonition he would not return from the war. Read more about him in the dedication this month.
The newspapers continually gave appalling numbers killed in the warfare in Korea. Within the three years of the conflict and a couple of years afterward, the status of 3,372 MIA was changed to KIA. A total of 36, 516 was finally tallied. That was a total of 45 per day during the conflict. I'm ever thankful there weren't more from our community. This is a dedication to the twelve men above who did give their lives during the Korean War so that we can remain ultimately free here in America. I'm praying their sacrifice continues to count for that!
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