Korean War Casualty Information - How They Died

 
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How They Died

 
Families are still seeking answers about how their loved ones died in Korea.  If any of our readers know the circumstances surrounding the death of men who served in their unit during the Korean War, we encourage them to add to this new KWE casualty database and help bring closure to family members who have never been told what happened to their loved one who died in Korea.  If data has already been entered but you have more that you can share with regards to a particular casualty, please feel free to submit it to lynnita@koreanwar-educator.org.

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Akers, James F.

Sept. 12, 1930 - Dec. 2, 1950
From Roanoke. Was registered to attend Virginia Tech when his Marine Reserve unit was called up. Killed in the withdrawal from Chosin Reservoir. Sat down behind a rock to eat lunch, when he was shot by a sniper. Survived by his parents, Peter and Lillian Akers, and brother, Peter Jr. Body never recovered. Memorialized in the Court of the Missing at the Punchbowl Cemetery in Hawaii.

[Submitted to the Roanoke Valley War Memorial website by  his brother, Peter L. Akers Jr., of Florence, Ala., and his cousin Mary A. Crotts of Troutville]

 


B

Brown, Ralph G. Jr.

Sept. 6, 1922 - March 3, 1953
From Roanoke County. Worked as an aeronautical engineer before the war. Served in the Air Force in World War II and Korea. Killed in Korea while transporting wounded to a hospital. Survived by his wife, Jean; sons, R.G. and Rick; sister, Jean; brothers, Charles and David; grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. J.J. Morgan. Buried in Fair View Cemetery.  Says his sister, Jean Talley: "Ralph Jr. always went to the Roanoke airport since he was 12 years old - observed, helped. Went to air races in Kansas. Always interested in planes."

[Submitted to the Roanoke Valley War Memorial website by his sister, Jean Talley of Hillsville.]

 


C

Craighead, Ruphus P.

Dec. 4, 1930 - Dec. 1, 1950
From Bent Mountain. Worked on a farm before the war. Served in the Army. Survived by his parents, Edward and Minnie Craighead, brothers, Clifton, Randolph, Roy, Joseph, Preston, Fred and Thomas; sisters, Mary Frances and Evelyn. Body never returned. His sister Evelyn C. Ragland says the family often wonders what became of his body.

[Submitted to the Roanoke Valley War Memorial website by his sister Evelyn C. Ragland of Roanoke.]

Crowder, Paul E.

Sept. 4, 1929 - June 20, 1951
From Roanoke. Worked for a cold storage plant before the war. Served in the Army. Drowned in the Han River in Korea. Survived by his parents, Charles and Bertha Crowder; sisters, Katherine Johnson and Shirley Little; brother, Lawrence. Buried at Sherwood Memorial Park in Salem.

[Submitted to the Roanoke Valley War Memorial website by his niece Doris Johnson of Rocky Mount]

Custer, Vernon Cecil

May 17, 1929 - Sept. 26, 1950
From Roanoke. Went by his middle name, Cecil. Served in the Army. Reported missing in action in Korea two months before he was reported killed, Sept. 26, 1950. Stationed with the occupation forces in Japan for 18 months before being sent to Korea with the first unit to enter the Korean War. He was the second Roanoke Valley man reported missing in action in Korea. Survived by his father, Chafe Custer, and sisters, Norene Angell and Frances Angell. Buried at Sherwood Memorial Park in Salem.

[Submitted to the Roanoke Valley War Memorial website by his sister Norene C. Angell of Boones Mill.]

 


D

Dent, Daniel W.

Aug. 13, 1931 - Nov. 6, 1950
From Roanoke. A student before the war. Served in the Army and was killed in action. Survived by his parents, Eula and Terrill Dent, and sister, Joyce Dent Wilson. Buried at Evergreen Burial Park.

[Submitted to the Roanoke Valley War Memorial website by his sister, Joyce D. Wilson of Roanoke.]

Dille, John A. Jr.

Nov. 2, 1926 - April 13, 1952
From Roanoke. Attended Virginia Military Institute before joining the Air Force. Later graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Married his high school sweetheart in the cadet chapel on graduation day. Served in World War II and Korea. Killed on Easter Sunday, when his aircraft crashed. Survived by his wife, Barbara; son, John III; parents, John and Marian Kirk Dille; sister, Jane D. Klise; brother, James. Buried in Evergreen Cemetery.

[Submitted to the Roanoke Valley War Memorial website by his widow, Barbara Minter Barnes of Arlington]

Duncan, Raymond E.

July 9, 1930 - June 16, 1951
From Roanoke. A dispatcher for the Virginia State Police in Norfolk before the war. Nicknamed "Buddy." Loved football, oatmeal cookies and classical music. Served in the Marines. Killed by machine gun fire while on an advance patrol behind enemy lines near Yang-Gu. Survived by his parents, Clifton and Sally Duncan; sisters, Mary, Patricia and Carol; brother, Richard. Buried in Happy Valley Memorial Gardens in Johnson City, Tenn.

[Submitted to the Roanoke Valley War Memorial website by his mother, Sally C. Jones of Pinellas Park, Fla.]

 


E

Edwards, Elzia M.

1932 - 1951
From Roanoke. Was driving a tank in the hills around Heartbreak Ridge and volunteered to get out of the tank and remove something that needed to be moved, and was killed by enemy fire. His brother says he was "big, strong and brave." Survived by his parents, Charles and Ida Edwards; brothers, Charles, Elden and Leon; and sisters, Mae, Ruby and Rita.

[Submitted to the Roanoke Valley War Memorial website by his brother, Charles R. Edwards of Roanoke]

 


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L

Lowe, James A. Jr.

Jan. 7, 1921 - Sept. 13, 1952
From Roanoke. Worked part time for his uncle's plumbing and heating company and attended Virginia Tech before the war. When World War II broke out in 1941, Lowe joined the Army Air Forces to become a pilot. Served in World War II, the Berlin Airlift and Korea. He had just returned from a bombing mission over North Korea when, because of an emergency, he was sent back out in a B-29 to bomb a hydroelectric plant on the Yalu River near the Chinese border. Says his daughter Susan Lowe Hall of Roanoke, "the last known position of this plane was after bombs-away. The plane was flying over the target when it was caught in a battery of searchlights and hit by enemy flak." The plane spiraled down and exploded. There were conflicting accounts about how many parachutes were seen. One crewman was captured; the rest were classified missing in action. Survived by his wife, Frances Cronk Lowe; daughters, Susan and Anne; mother, Allena; brothers, David and Alton; sister, Frances L. Fleshman; grandmother, Clemmie Lankford. His daughter adds: "Jim was an accomplished pianist, played the accordion and loved to read. Among his hobbies were building model planes and flying them."

[Submitted to the Roanoke Valley War Memorial website by his daughter Susan L. Hall.]

 


M

Martin, Paul E.

July 8, 1928 - Nov. 28, 1950
From Roanoke. Played football and wrestled at Jefferson High School; also was active in the Boy Scouts. Worked in the engineering department of the Norfolk and Western Railway before the war. Served in the Marines. Survived by his wife, Frieda Martin; son, Wayne Martin; parents, Mark and Della Martin; brother, John Martin; sisters, Margaret Sours, Corinna English and Joan Helm. Buried at Fair View Cemetery in Roanoke.

[Submitted to the Roanoke Valley War Memorial website by his widow, Frieda M. Toler, and sister, Corinna English, both of Roanoke.]

 


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R

Rule, Lawrence G.

March 4, 1923 - 1954
From Roanoke. An auto mechanic before the war. Served in the Army. Reported missing in action in 1950; declared dead in 1954. Survived by his wife, Mary Louise; son, Lawrence Jr.; daughter, Jerri ; parents, Mr. and Mrs. Jerry G. Rule. Buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

[Submitted to the Roanoke Valley War Memorial website by his son, L.G. Redden of Roanoke.]

 


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U

Underwood, Guy L. Jr.

April 30, 1930 - Sept. 1, 1950
From Salem. Nicknamed "Sonny." Enlisted in the Army at age 17. Survived by his parents, Guy and Louise Underwood; sisters, Helen Graham, Margaret Martin, Betty Myers and Patty Ross; brothers, James and Bobby. Buried at Sherwood Memorial Park. Says his sister Margaret: "He was proud to be in the Army; his death left his father with a nervous breakdown and his mother with a broken heart."

[Submitted to the Roanoke Valley War Memorial website by his sister Margaret Goad of Roanoke]

 


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W

Ware, Cecil O.

March 1, 1919 - Feb. 7, 1951
From Roanoke. Worked for the electric company in Roanoke, then joined the Air Force, intending to make it a career. Killed in Japan while on a mission to the Korean battle front. Survived by his wife, Dorris; daughters, Barbara and Marsha; sisters, Helen Slusher and Evelyn Martin; mother, Minnie Ware. Buried at Evergreen Burial Park in Roanoke. Says his daughter: "Being a pilot was his lifelong dream. He served in World War II and didn't see his first child until she was more than a year old.

[Submitted to the Roanoke Valley War Memorial website bSubmitted by his daughter Barbara W. Holmes of Collingswood, N.J.]

Witt, Wallace D.

Sept. 21, 1930 - Sept. 2, 1950
From Roanoke. Worked for Clover Creamery before the war. Served in the Army. Killed by a sniper, reportedly while eating his C-rations. Survived by his father, Archie Witt; his mother, Ruby Bernard; stepfather, Davis Bernard; brothers George Witt, Elwood Witt, Ronald Bernard, Donald Bernard, Harold Bernard; sisters, Loama Dunbar and Mary Chambers. Buried at Sherwood Memorial Park in Salem. Says his sister Loama: "My mama cried for weeks. ... Wallace sat with me when I was little and helped me color in my coloring books."

[Submitted to the Roanoke Valley War Memorial website by his sister, Loama Dunbar of Vinton, and cousin, Coye Witt of Roanoke]

 


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