Streets are filled to commemorate Joe Elmore’s return from Korean War

Posted August 22, 2018 at 12:40 pm



PFC Joe Elmore’s remains arrived in Albany last week to a hero’s return. In the top photo, the processional escorting the Weldon Haddix Funeral Home hearse passed beneath two large flags over the highway as it made its way into Albany. Above, local resident Rick Tallent was among the hundreds who lined the streets for the arrival of the processional. Below, Albany Elementary School students waved flags Wednesday afternoon prior to the arrival of the soldier’s processional. Bottom, an Army Honor Guard moved the casket bearing Elmore’s remains from the hearse into the Haddix Funeral Home.


Private First Class Joe Stanton Elmore received a homecoming fit for a king last Wednesday, August 15, as hundreds of people lined the streets awaiting his arrival.

Elmore was flown to Nashville Airport Wednesday around noon and was then transported by Haddix Funeral Home to Albany with a host of family and friends, including the Rolling Thunder Motorcycle Club, military personnel and several different law enforcement agencies including the Kentucky State Police and Tennessee State Police, Clinton County Sheriff Department and Albany Police Department.

All along the route to home, photos appeared on Facebook and other social media outlets as Elmore was saluted with American Flags and people lining the streets as he finally traveled home.

Once the procession made its way to Albany, down the U.S. 127 Bypass, the hearse carrying Elmore’s remains, passed underneath two large U.S. flags, the first hoisted atop of the ladder truck manned by a special detail of the Albany Fire Department, and the second after turning onto Kentucky Hwy. 1590, held in place by two bucket trucks provided by South Kentucky RECC.

Coming into town, both sides of Kentucky Hwy. 1590 were lined with people who came out to pay their respects to the fallen solider who was killed in action in 1950.

It has been more than 68 years since Elmore has been in Albany and as of Wednesday he was finally home.

Also in recognition of Elmore coming home, the Albany Elementary School held a ceremony on Tuesday with several members of the Elmore family in attendance.

During that ceremony, AES faculty members Wendy McWhorter, a niece of Elmore’s, and Robert McDaniel, a former U.S. Marine, used the opportunity to teach the students about Elmore’s service history, the reasons surrounding the United States’ involvement in the war against Korea, the history of the U.S. Flag and why it should be respected.

AES Principal Tim Armstrong closed the ceremony by presenting a wreath to the family of Elmore to be placed at the grave during Saturday’s burial.

Also on Wednesday, the entire elementary school walked out to the road with small American Flags in hand donated by the Clinton County Tourism Commission, the Albany/Clinton County Chamber of Commerce and the Industrial Development Authority.

Principal Tim Armstrong said he wanted the students to see what honor, respect and sacrifice looked like and he felt this was a great way to explain that.

Once students made their way out to the fence with flags in hand, the students started chanting “U-S-A, U-S-A” in unison.

With the number of people in attendance Wednesday afternoon and those who attended his funeral on Friday, including Lt. Governor Jenean Hampton, Elmore was finally laid to rest on Saturday with funeral services held at Albany United Nazarene Church with the final resting place at Story Cemetery in Byrdstown, Tennessee.

On Saturday, Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin also honored Elmore by directing that flags at all state office buildings be lowered to half-staff that day.

Elmore was a member of Company A, 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division. He was one of 2,500 U.S. and 700 Republic of Korea soldiers assigned to the 31st Regimental Combat Team, also known as Task Force MacLean and renamed as Task Force Faith.

In November, 1950, Elmore’s unit was deployed along the north shore of North Korea, in the South Hamgyeong Province. On November 27, 120,000 Chinese troops attacked the task force Elmore was in. A fight that lasted 17 days in the bitter cold winter in Korea. Elmore was declared MIA on December 2, 1950 and presumed dead on December 31, 1953.

Elmore’s remains were identified on July 5, 2018.

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Faculty, staff, students and family members gathered for an assembly last Tuesday afternoon at Albany Elementary School in honor of PFC Joe Elmore and his anticipated return to his home county. During the assembly, which was moderated by Wendy McWhorter, a niece of Elmore’s who is also a teacher at AES, several students who are also related to the the soldier were recognized and asked to stand during a part of the afternoon program.

A former U.S. Marine from Clinton County, Robert McDaniel, who is also a teacher at AES, moderated another portion of the program in which he explained the importance of the American flag, a history of the flag, and the need to show respect for the flag, the Pledge of Allegiance and our National Anthem.

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As the Clinton County High School Alumni Band played “My Old Kentucky Home” on the lawn of the Weldon Haddix Funeral Home last Wednesday afternoon, the hearse carrying the remains of PFC Joe Elmore pulled into the parking lot. The band, which entertained during the afternoon with a host of patriotic songs, continued to play the state song as a uniformed Honor Guard detail carried the casket with Elmore’s remains into the funeral home.


At the close of last week’s ceremony at Albany Elementary School honoring Clinton County native PFC Joe Elmore, Principal Tim Armstrong, left, presented a wreath to the family of Elmore who was in attendance, to be placed on the grave during Elmore’s burial. Lester Beaty, a nephew of Elmore, accepted the wreath on behalf of the soldier’s family.

Armstrong, who said the assembly was being held both as a way to honor Elmore’s sacrifice to the country as well as a teaching opportunity to benefit the AES students, spent time explaining to the students the duties of members of our uniformed armed forces branches and the respect that these men and women deserve, as well as explaining ways the public can show their respect and ways to honor the men and women who serve our country as uniformed soldiers.

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Left, members of the Rolling Thunder motorcycle group, many of whom are veterans themselves, lined the parking lot and covered entrance leading to Weldon Haddix Funeral Home as the body of PFC Joe Elmore was carried into the funeral home. Many of the motorcycle group were a part of the procession that brought Elmore’s remains to Clinton County after being transferred from a plane to the hearse at the Nashville airport Wednesday afternoon.