Friday, June 20, 2008

The Wounded And Killed In Action From the Forgotten War KOREA

Schuylkill County in the Korean War


At approximately 4 a.m. on June 25, 1950 (Korean Standard Time) on a rainy Sunday morning Democratic People's Republic of Korea Army (DPRK - North Korea) artillery and mortars open fire on Republic of Korea (ROK - South Korea) Army positions south of the 38th Parallel, the line then serving as the border between the two countries. The opening barrage is followed shortly by tank/infantry attacks at all points along the Parallel. At 11 a.m. North Korea announced a formal declaration of war and what is now known as "The Korean War" officially began.
In this announcement North Korea claimed ROK forces on the Ongjin Peninsula attacked North Korea in the Haeju area (west) and their declaration of war was in response to this attack. This claim was bogus.
U.S. President Harry S. Truman was notified of the invasion and returned from his home in Independence, Missouri, to Washington, D.C., arriving in early afternoon. Meanwhile the U.N. Security Council passed a resolution calling for the immediate cessation of hostilities and the withdrawal of North Korean forces to north of the 38th Parallel.

By June 25, 1953 after three years of (Police Action) by the United Nations to include American troops. Men from Schuylkill County were involved in the fore front of the so called Police Action. By June 25, 1953 old Schuylkill had suffered 237 casualties. By this time 41 men were killed in combat, 164 were wounded in action, and 21 men were listed as missing in action, (MIA) out of this number eleven men were listed as captured by the Communist.
Sixty-one communities in Schuylkill County have local men on the casualty lists issued by the Department of Defense. Shenandoah has been the hardest hit. By the end of the first year Shenandoah had 16 casualties 15 WIA and 1 MIA. Pottsville is the second highest with twelve casualties, and this just after the first year.
At Muir with only a population under 400 inhabitants, they have had two men KIA one is listed as missing and one wounded. This in the first year of the war. Mahanoy City had over 10 men as casualties, along with Pottsville and Shenandoah.
Most of the men who fought in Korea and have been wounded or died came from normal enlistments, draftees, reservists, veterans of WWll and National Guard units. We as a county can be very proud of this generation of men who have carried on the proud and heroic tradition of the Schuylkill County fighting man.
This is the story of our hero casualties from Schuylkill County and my tribute to those who fought and were wounded and died during the FORGOTTEN WAR. All of these little stories were found in the local Newspapers of Schuylkill County.

Wounded in Korea

June 25, 1951.
Wounded 5 times:
Sgt. 1st Class Peter T. Stefanavage, of Shenandoah could be called a one man casualty list. The ten year Army veteran was wounded twice during WW2 and since he landed in Korea has been hit three times.

June 25, 1951.
Two Branchdale boys who enlisted together were both placed on the MIA list on the same day. Cpl. Andrew Kralick and Pfc. Stephen Rada. Rada has been listed as a POW.
Further research shows Cpl. Andrew Kralick an ammunition records specialist in the 2nd ID. Division artillery, and after being captured in the North Korean Sector captured 1 December 1950. Died 01/03/51 Mining Camp- Camden, Dement, Rada, Shadish From non battle injuries.

June 25, 1951
Cpl. Martin Marchowsky a light weapons infantry man in the 2nd Division of Primrose, was wounded twice and later was reported MIA. Was captured 12, February, 1951 and died of non battle injuries . Marchowsky was with Pfc. Lloyd Adams of Jonestown, when Adams was fatally wounded, Cpl. Marchowsky was holding Adams hand when the Jonestown boy died. Cpl. Marchowsky was wounded two times prior to his capture. He was first wounded Sept. 19, 1950 and returned toduty and then again on Feb. 11, one day before he was listed as missing. He entered the Army in March 1950

June 18, 1951
Muir soldier reported missing. Pfc. Lester J. Bowers F Co. 38th Infantry Division, has been listed as MIA since May 19, 1951. research shows: 07/51 Barnett - died in Suan Camp Elmer Thompson - a 38 inf "Bowers" died 08/12/51 mining Camp.

June 18, 1950
Sgt. James E. Leidich Jr. Coaldale, USMC was wounded in action on June 9th while serving with the 1st Marine Division. Sgt. Leidich was a WWll veteran having erned the Bronze star for gallantry in action.

June 21, 1951
Phoenix Park Soldier Wounded in action.
Pfc. Robert McShaw 24, was slightly wounded in action on May 25, 1951 while serving with a heavy mortar company of the 23rd regiment. McShaw served in the Army from 1946 to 1948 and upon his discharge enlisted in the Army reserve. He was recalled to duty in September 1950. On August 6, another story about Pfc McShaw was listed. Phoenix Park Man Dead In Action In Korea.
Pfc. McShaw who was listed as MIA on May 25, has now been listed as dead. This was the third telegram his parents received fro the War department.

June 28, 1951
Tremont Soldier WIA.
Pfc. Charles J. Redinger, 23 was WIA while serving with the 31st Infantry Regiment. In a letter to his mother which arrived prior top the Defense Dept. telegram, Redinger said that he had been hit above the left eye with a piece of shrapnel. He has since recovered and sent back to his unit. He enlisted in the Army 6 years ago. And spent a year in Korea before the out break of hostilities. He returned to Korea in September.

July 11, 1951
Middleport soldier Badly Hurt.
Pfc. Jack Gallagher was seriously wounded in action on June 28. He is a member of the 24th Division. Gallagher enlisted in the Army in October 1950, and has been in Korea since December.

July 11, 1951
Giradville Soldier is Prisoner of War.
Sgt. John B. Griffith was listed as MIA last September is now listed as a POW. A letter written from the prison camp was sent to his wife and received in New York yesterday.

August 18, 1951
Ex-PCHS Player Wounded
Cpl. Robert J. Dando, Minersville a former Pottsville Catholic Football Player was wounded in Action in Korea on July 14. He is a machine gunner with the 24th Infantry Division. He was wounded by a bullet according to his records and was returned to duty. When he was wounded he was evacuated to the Swedish red Cross Hospital in Pusan, where he underwent two operations. He entered the service in September of 1950 and went overseas in January, 1951.

August 8, 1951
Mahanoy City Boy Wounded in Korea.
Cpl. John B. Chukinka was wounded on July 16. He is serving with the 2nd Division. He suffered serious wounds of the foot, legs, and hip and has been evacuated to the Osaka Hospital in Japan.

July 19,
Mahanoy City Man Wounded in Korea.
Cpl. John J. Sroczyk was wounded in action on June 21 by a flying missile, (bullet). He enlisted in the Army in June 1950 as an infantry man. And is serving with Company I, 19th Infantry regiment. 24th Division.

August 2, 1951
Three Missing County Boys Prisoners of the Red Chinese
Two Newtown boys who have been listed as MIA in the Korean War for more than six months were today revealed to be Prisoners of the Chinese Communist.
Pfc. Russell Hamershy, 20 and Pfc. George . Hancock Jr. both of Newtown and Pfc. Stephen Rada of Branchdale are together and are well and well treated. The letters one written in January and one in February and apparently mailed from China were the first wounds received by their families since the boys were listed as MIA. Both letters were written in pencil on small sheets of thin, ruled paper. The envelopes bore the inscription “Chinese Peoples Committee for world Peace and Against American Aggression, Pepping, China. The February letter related Hancock and Rada are with me and said they can write two letters a month and can receive letters.

Pfc. Russell Hamershy 2nd Division 9thh regiment. His death was witnessed by William Baker witnessed death of Pfc Russell Hamesby from Zebra PA at Camp 5 Died 05/53 camp 5- Stephen Rada

September 13, 1951
Cressona Boy Wounded In Action.
Pvt. Willis A. Moyer 18, was slightly wounded in action in Korea. On August 28th. In a letter he wrote he told his parents that he had been wounded in the arm and was recuperating in a hospital in Japan. He enlisted in the Army in March 1951. And serving with the infantry.

September 14, 1951
Valley View Boy Wounded August 7, 1951
Pvt. Charles H. Bryan was wounded in action on August 7, 1951. he is a member of the 38th Infantry Division. Bryan enlisted in December 1950.

September 17, 1951
New Ringgold Soldier was wounded.
Cpl Frank Siluk 23, was slightly wounded in Korea on September 6, 1951. Three days prior to the receipt of the telegram informing his parents, they received a letter stating that he was wounded in the right shoulder. He entered the service on October 17, 1950. Cpl Siluk is buried at Indiantown Gap.

September 18, 1951
Former Area Boy Killed in Korea
Cpl. Rober Conway, USMC formerly from Branchdale was KIA on September 18, while serving with the 1st Marine Division. He was a cousin of Robert McShaw who was KIA several months ago. He had been in Korea for the last year and was slated to return home shortly.

August 27, 1951
Minersville Boy KIA in Korea.
Cpl. Thomas J. Ryncavage a light infantry man was KIA August 27, while serving with the 38th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Division. He enlisted in theArmy December 12, 1950 and had been in Korea since May 13, 1950. He is buried in St. Francis Assesi Cemtery Minersville.

September 9, 1951
County Youth War casualty
Pfc. Luther Kaufman 23, was killed in action in Korea on September 9, 1951 his mother learned. Kaufman went to Korea in the spring of this year 1951 after entering the service on December 13, 1950. His mother did not know he was in Korea because his letters to her told her he was in Japan

September 14, 1951
Four County Men Are Wounded in Korea.
Lt. John F. Gerhart Tower City, USMC wounded while serving with the first Marine division He enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserve while attending Dickinson Law College.

Pfc. Bernard E. Sharpe 22, Newkirk, wounded September 19, while serving with the Army Infantry. He enlisted in November, 1950 He went overseas in March, 1951.
Pfc. James J. Cuff, 23 Shenandoah was wounded in action September 29, while serving with the 23rd ID. He enlisted December 1950.

Pfc. Joseph Fatula 20, Frackville was wounded in action while serving with the Infantry. He has been in the Army for two years. He was a member of the 25th Infantry Division. As a light weapons infantryman. His records stage he was seriously wounded by missle.( Bullet). Buried at Indiantown Gap, Pa.

October 15, 1951
Palo Alto Boy Was Wounded in Korea
Pvt. Albert A. Pilo was slightly wounded in action in Korea September 28, 1951. He enlisted in theArmy in February 1951 and is serving with the 7th Infantry Division.

October 17, 1951
List Missing Local Soldier As Prisoner
Pvt. Thomas McMurtrie has been listed as MIA since April 23rd. His mother received a letter written in his own hand, was date lined North Korea, and stated that he was a prisoner of war. He told his mother in the letter that he was in good health and was being well treated by the Chinese who are holding him a prisoner. He enlisted in the Army September 27, 1950 He went overseas February 26th and was part of the time stationed in Tokyo before going to Korea. Where he is attached to the Fifth regimental combat Team of the 24th Division.

October 17, 1951
Palo Alto Youth, 19 Is Killed In Korean Battle.
Pvt. Victor M. Kocher was killed in action in Korea on October 3, 1951 He is the 24th Schuylkill County Serviceman to pay the supreme sacrifice in the Korean War.
He enlisted in the Army in February 1951 and was serving with the 23rd Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division. He was KIA one month to the day after his arrival in Korea. He was a light weapons infantryman.

October 17, 1951
Soldier Wounded In Korea.
Two Schuylkill County soldiers have been wounded in action according to word received from the War Department, Department of Defense. Pfc. Russell L. Reigel 22, Pine grove was seriously wounded in action, October 8, 1951 while serving with the infantry. He entered the Army at the beginning of 1951 and has been in Korea since August. He was a member of the 2nd Infantry Division and was wounded by a bullet.

October 18, 1951
Mahanoy City Boy Killed In Korea
Pfc. John Gnall, 22 was KIA in Korea on October 11, 1951
Pfc Gnall was attached to Company B, 38th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Division and entered the Army in March of 1951. He went overseas on September 3. He was awarded the Silver Star Medal.

October 25, 1951
Local Soldier Died Of Wounds In Korean War.
Pfc. Franklin A. Williams , Pottsville died October 25 in Korea as a result of wounds received in action on October 18, 1951. He was the second Pottsville man to be killed in action in Korea. Williams also served in the European Theater for three years during World War ll, and re enlisted in the Army in September, 1950. He had been in Korea for one year at the time of his death. Pottsvilles first Korean War victim was Pfc. Kenneth Engleman who was KIA Nov, 27, 1950.
From the Pottsville Republican, Jan 9, 1952, p18.

The body of Pfc. Franklin A Williams, 25, the second Pottsville boy to die in Korea, and the 28th county boy to give up his life there, will arrive Thursday at 1:22 p.m. at the Reading Railroad station. The Claude A Lord Funeral Salon will have charge of the funeral arrangements for which will be announced later.
Pfc. Williams, son of Mrs. Pansy Williams, 418 Minersville St., was wounded in action on October 18 and died on October 25. He was a member of the 21st Infantry regiment, and had been in Korea since January 8, 1951.
A World War II veteran, he served in Germany and Austria and had a total of seven years Army service before he died.
Besides his mother be leaves a brother, Eugene, in the Air Force; two sisters, Mabel, wife of Edward Flaherty, and Blanche, wife of Joseph Williams, Pottsville. His father, Alec, died several years ago.

October 28, 1951
St. Clair Man Is Wounded In Korea.
2nd lieutenant Charles J. Buchanan was seriously wounded in action in Korea on October 28, 1951. He is 22 years old.
Buchanan received his commission as a 2nd Lt. after graduation from Pennsylvania Military College in 1950. He is a member of Company B, 31st Infantry regiment.

October 25, 1951
Cpl. W. Stutz 23, New Philadelphia Was Wounded
Cpl. Walter V. Stutz 23, was wounded in action in Korea on October 25, . He is the 121st county man to be wounded in the Korean War.
He entered the Army on December 15, 1950. He is a member of Company C 32nd regiment, 7th Infantry Division.

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