Nobly they fell while fighting for liberty

Posted April 14, 2020 at 1:45 pm

Randy Speck.psd

Before the Korean Conflict there had been 39 military funerals in Clinton County, Kentucky, for WWII veterans (Source: The New Era, Oct. 1951). The first one held here for a Korean Conflict casualty was on December 2, 1951, when Luther Craig was laid to rest at Peolia Cemetery.

Five Clinton County soldiers were killed in action during the Korean Conflict. Pvt. Craig, at 20-years-old, was the second youngest casualty. He had served in the Army with Co. G, 7th Calvary, 1st Division and was killed in action on June 8, 1951. Luther was the son of Mr. and Mrs. James E. Craig.

Pvt. Earl Bradley Stewart, who had served in the Army, was killed in action on March 15, 1951. He was the son of Prentice and Nellie Sidwell Stewart and was 22 years of age. Earl is buried at Cartwright Cemetery.

Cpl. Herbert E. Guffey was another 22-year-old killed in action during the Korean Conflict, or war, which J.E. Morrison said it was. He was the son of Porter and Ethel Vickery, served in the Army with the 72nd Medium Tank BN, 2nd Infantry. He was killed on December 28, 1951 and is buried at Piercey Cemetery.

Pvt. Willie Kenneth Wright was also 22-years-old when he was killed in action on June 7, 1952. The son of Mr. and Mrs. Columbus Wright, he was with the Army’s 180th Regiment, 45th Infantry. He is buried at Five Springs Cemetery.

James A. Staton, Jr., while not a combat casualty, is listed on the monument that stands in the north-west lawn of the Clinton County courthouse. He was at Fort Campbell when he contracted Spinal Meningitis and died suddenly. His two younger brothers, Dale and Teddy, both served in the Korean Conflict also. Clinton County Circuit Clerk James. A. (Jake) Staton III is named after his uncle, and his son carries the name also, James Arthur Staton IV.

By now, most of you have heard about Pvt. Joe Stanton Elmore. The 20-year-old son of Ambrose and Bertha York Elmore, was the youngest of the Clinton County soldiers to die in battle in Korea. He was killed in action on December 2, 1950, although his remains could not be located. He was officially presumed dead on December 31, 1953, but that wasn’t the end of it.

In 1995, his sisters, Mary and Lola, submitted their DNA to the Korean War Missing DNA Project and it worked. Their brother was accounted for on July 3, 2018. His remains were brought back home to Clinton County on August 15th, sixty-eight years after he was killed in action. Joe Elmore served in the Army with Co. A of the 32nd Infantry, 7th Division. He is buried at Story Cemetery.

Whenever I think of our war dead, I find myself thinking about this old song written over a hundred years ago and made famous during our time, first by Doc Watson, then by Bob Dylan. The name of it is “Lone Pilgrim.”

I came to the place where the lone pilgrim lay

and patiently stood by his tomb

When in a low whisper I heard something say

How sweetly I sleep here alone

The tempest may howl and the loud thunder roar

And gathering storms may arise

But calm is my feeling at rest is my soul

The tears are all wiped from my eyes

Go tell my companion and children most dear

To weep not for me now I’m gone

The same hand that led me through seas most severe

Has kindly assisted me home

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Randy Speck

Randy Speck writes on his blog, The Notorious Meddler, at He is a 40+ year radio broadcaster and is presently on the air at WFLW-AM in Monticello, Kentucky and at WKYR-FM in Burkesville, Kentucky.