Deaths in Korean War

This is a documented list of servicemen from Henderson County who died in the Korean War.
This list was compiled from the book “A Partial History of Henderson County” by J.T. Fain, newspaper reports, military reports, church records and families.
An attempt was made to then document each name using military records from the National Archives and state archives, documents related to individual military units, birth certificates, census reports, some first-person accounts from family and/or fellow servicemen, military headstone applications, military and veterans’ monuments and cemeteries, military records from each branch of service, church and private cemetery records, and newspaper and magazine reports.
The military service members were listed as Henderson County servicemen who died in the Korean War using the following criteria:
1. Residence at the time of enlistment and/or draft registration
2. Residence at the time of birth
3. Residence on census reports
4. Residence on military records
5. Death occurred from 1950 to 1953
6. Death occurred when the service member was an active duty member of the military
7. Grave site in Henderson County

After documentation was completed, it was determined that 12 men from Henderson County died in the Korean War.
Persons with more information may e-mail jenniekz@gmail.com

1. Duncan, James Harold – (1920-1954) Air Force, 325th Bomber Squadron, 92nd Bomber Wing, staff sergeant, gunner on B-29A Superfortress Bomber, Prisoner of War Medal. He was listed as presumed dead on March 31, 1954, and listed as died while missing. He was on a bombing mission Sept. 9, 1950, flying from Japan when his aircraft was hit by anti-aircraft fire and exploded mid-air near Wolbong-ni, South Korea. Five parachutes were seen. He was known to have been in a prisoner of war camp in 1951. His remains have not been recovered. He is mentioned in the book “B-29 Superfortress Units of the Korean War” by Robert F. Dorr and Mark Styling. It is known that some of the crew members were taken to Pyongyang Courthouse in North Korea. Some crew members may have been taken to Wubong-ni and Inchon. It is unclear why this airman’s home city and home state is listed as Spokane, Washington. His home city at the time of his enlistment was Hendersonville and his home state was listed as North Carolina. He also served in World War II, with birth and residence listed as Henderson County, N.C. His unit was based at Fairchild Air Force Base prior to deployment to Japan, but he was definitely not from Spokane, Washington, or the state of Washington. There is a memorial marker at Shaw’s Creek Methodist Campground Cemetery in Horse Shoe. His name is listed on the “Courts of the Missing” Tablet for the Korean War at Honolulu, Hawaii, and on the Korean War Memorial in Dayton, Ohio. He was born in Henderson County, a son of James Ledbetter Duncan and Sue Josephine Johnson Duncan. He married Helen Louise McKinna of Henderson County. At the time he served in the Korean War, he had three children all born in Henderson County. At the time of his enlistment in World War II, he was a carpenter working for E.J. Anders. During his World War II service as a second lieutenant, he was shot down over France while flying a mission in a Fortress and was a prisoner of war in Germany. Photographs and newspapers articles can be viewed at http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GSln=DUN&GSpartial=1&GSbyrel=all&GSst=29&GScntry=4&GSsr=1281&GRid=85726599&

2. Gentle, Charles Marion (Jr.) – (1930-1952) Army, 27th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division, private, light weapons infantryman. He was killed in action Sept. 6, 1952, in North Korea during the defense of the Heartbreak Ridge area a few miles north of the 38th parallel. His grave site is at Hooper’s Creek Baptist Church Cemetery in the community of Hooper’s Creek. He was born Nov. 12, 1930, in Henderson County, a son of Charles Marion Gentle and Allie Bell Drake Gentle.

3. Green, Edgar Lamon – (1931-1951) Army, 15th Field Artillery Battalion, 2nd Infantry Division, private first class, field artillery cannoneer. He was killed in action Feb. 13, 1951, near Hoengsong, South Korea. He was born Dec. 8, 1931, in Henderson County, a son of Martin Manuel Green and Ida Mae Roberson Green. His grave site is at Ebenezer Baptist Church Cemetery in Henderson County. In the 1930 census, his family was living in Hendersonville. On the 1940 census, he and his family were living in Inman, Spartanburg County, S.C. When he enlisted in the military, he listed his place of residence as Greenville, S.C. His brother, Adger C. Green, who lived in Henderson County, signed for the military headstone to be sent to Henderson County.

4 Hardin, Uncas Billie – (1932-1951) Army, 38th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division, private first class, heavy weapons infantryman, Silver Star. He was killed in action May 18, 1951, in South Korea. His grave site is at Mud Creek Baptist Church Cemetery in Flat Rock. He was born Feb. 1, 1932, in Henderson County, a son of Uncas Duncan Hardin and Ella Mae Bell Hardin. He and his family are listed in Henderson County on the 1940 census.

5. Hefner, Ivan Fannie – (1930-1951) Army, 38th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division, corporal, light weapons infantryman. He was killed in action Oct. 12, 1951, in North Korea at the Battle of Heartbreak Ridge. He was born Feb. 2, 1930, in Henderson County, a son of Homer Hill Hefner and Fannie L. Case Hefner. He is listed on the 1930 and 1940 census reports in Henderson County. He enlisted in the Army after the end of World War II and re-enlisted in July 1950. His grave site is at the Mud Creek Baptist Church Cemetery in Flat Rock.
 
6. Johnson, William Clarence – (1931-1953) Army, 7th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division, private first class. He was killed in action June 24, 1953, in North Korea. His grave site is at Oakdale Cemetery in Hendersonville. He was born Oct. 7, 1931, in Henderson County, a son of Jesse Turner Johnson and Lucille Clementine Pressley Johnson. The family is living in Henderson County on the 1940 census report.
 
7. Kitchens, William McKinley (Jr.) – (1929-1950) Marine Corps, 1st Marine Regiment, E Co., 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Division, private first class, Silver Star. He was killed in action Nov. 29, 1950, at the Chosin Reservoir. He was born July 8, 1929, in Buncombe County, a son of William McKinley Kitchens and Dorothy Louise Presley Kitchens. On the 1940 census, he and his parents are living in the community of Hooper’s Creek in Henderson County and state they have lived at this location since 1935. His grave site is at Calvary Episcopal Churchyard in Fletcher.
 
8. Mayo, Green Berry (Jr.) – (1923-1951) Army, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, B Company, 1st Battalion, second lieutenant, Distinguished Service Cross. He was killed in action Jan. 29, 1951, at Hill 312 near Omaegok, South Korea. His grave site is at Hooper’s Creek Baptist Church Cemetery in the Hooper’s Creek community. He was born Aug. 3, 1923, in Florida, a son of Green Berry Mayo and Annie Mae Mayo. In 1930, the family lived in Henderson Mill, Calhoun County, Fla. In 1935, he and his parents lived in Bluntstown, Calhoun County, Fla. In the 1940 census, the family lives in Cordy, Worth County, Ga. On both the 1930 and 1940 censuses, his place of birth is stated as Florida. At the time of his enlistment, he listed his place of residence as Sylvester, Worth County, Ga. He was a veteran of World War II, serving in Europe. In 1946, he married Ruth Julia Souther of Henderson County. The couple married in Indiana. His wife was living in Japan at the time of his death.
 
9. Pittillo, Patrick Daniel – (1928-1950) Marine Corps, 11th Marine Regiment, Battery B, 1st Battalion, 1st Marine Division, private first class, field artillery nuclear projectileman. He was mortally wounded by enemy artillery fire at Ching Dong-ni, “School House,” in the Pusan Perimeter, South Korea. He died of his wounds Aug. 7, 1950. He was born Dec. 31, 1928, in Henderson County, a son of Plato Coleman Pittillo and Edna Erline Morrison Pittillo. The family lived in Henderson County on all census reports. His grave site is at the Lanning-Pittillo Family Cemetery in the Fruitland community.
 
10. Saltz, Earl Clifton – (1932-1953)Army, 9th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division, private first class, light weapons assault crewman. He was killed in action July 16, 1953, in North Korea. He was born March 15, 1932, in Henderson County, a son of Roy Franklin Saltz and Dora Venena Shipman Saltz. The family is listed on the 1940 census report in Henderson County. His grave site is at Oakdale Cemetery in Hendersonville.
 
11. Ward, James Edward – (1931-1953) Army, 179th Infantry Regiment, 45th Infantry Division, private first class, light weapons assault crewman. He was seriously wounded by an enemy missile July 21, 1953, at Christmas Hill in North Korea and died of those wounds later that day. He was born July 31, 1931, in Henderson County, a son of Donald Grady Ward and Katherine Nancy Harris Ward. The family is living in Henderson County on the 1940 census report. His grave site is at Dana United Methodist Church Cemetery in the Dana community.
 
12. Watkins, Samuel Kelly – (1932-1951) 2nd Reconnaissance Company, 2nd Infantry Division, L Company, 3rd Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, private first class, light weapons infantryman, Prisoner of War Medal. On Feb. 14, 1951, he was presumed captured by enemy forces near Chuam-ni, South Korea, and taken to a POW camp in North Korea. In 1954 a US Army review board pronounced him presumed dead and in 1956 another Army review board declared his remains to be non-recoverable. In 1993, North Korean officials turned over the remains of more than two dozen unidentified soldiers. Through the Korean War Project and DNA provided by surviving family members, the remains of Samuel Kelly Watkins were identified on Jan. 18, 2011. He was born Jan. 12, 1932, in Henderson County, a son of Samuel Hewitt Watkins and Bertha Catherine Kilby Watkins. On the 1930 and 1940 census reports, the family lived in the Hooper’s Creek community of Henderson County. His grave site is at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Henderson County. Visit http://www.wbtv.com/story/14703720/soldiers-body-back-in-nc-after-60-years and http://www.blueridgenow.com/article/20110524/NEWS/110529939