Frederick & Washington Counties’
Lost in the Forgotten War (Part 3)
by Priscilla Rall
PFC Dailey Francis Dye
In September 1950, while the United States was holding onto the southeast corner of South Korea, PFC Dailey Francis Dye was born in 1931 at Big Pool in Washington County. Joining the Marine Corps, he completed his training at Parris Island in October 1948. By 1949, he was serving with the 2nd Marine Engineer Battalion in Puerto Rico. The next year, he was transferred to Pearl Harbor. But with the onslaught of the North Koreans into South Korea, the Marines were sent to Korea, where PFC Dye was in Ammo Co. 1 of the 1st Ordnance Battalion, 1st Marine Division, led by the famous “Chesty” Puller.
After the invasion at Inchon, PFC Dye and the 5th and 7th Marines were ordered towards the Yalu and the 5th Marines were sent to the east side of the Chosin Reservoir, but were then replaced by Col. Faith’s 32nd Battalion. All of this was in anticipation of the scheduled offense that was to end the war by chasing the NKPA out of Korea into China. The 3rd Reg. of the 1st Marines was tasked with guarding the 78 mile-long Main Supply Route, MSR, from the coast to Hagaru-ri. At Hagaru-ri, located at the southern tip of the reservoir, PFC Dye and 48 other Marines were loaded into jeeps and sent up the critical East Hill that was protecting the vital airstrip that was in the process of evacuating more than 4,000 wounded men to safety.
PFC Raymond Tuttle, an 18 year-old from New Jersey, and PFC Dye were in the forward position the night of Nov. 30 when the Marines were overrun and forced off the hill. PFC Tuttle and PFC Dye were left to cover the retreat, and were last seen fighting the enemy back to back. PFC Tuttle was captured and died in a POW camp within a year. In the chaos of battle, PFC Dye was reported to be missing. His body has not yet been recovered. He was survived by his parents and a sister. According to the family, his mother could never accept that her son was not coming home.
Sgt. Norman Lawrence Reid
The troops in the west were centered on Kunu-ri. Sgt. Norman Lawrence Reid, a 20-year-old from Braddock Heights, was with D/1/24, an all-black regiment. He was the son of Paul and Helen Reid, and a descendant of an enslaved woman, Fannie Craig, from Virginia, who was born in 1852. During the Civil War, when Fannie was just 13, she had a son she named William E. Reid. Eventually his descendants ended up in Frederick County. The segregation of African-Americans in white America was still in evidence with the segregated units in the Korean War.
The United Nations forces had been divided, never a good tactic. The 8th Army was in the west, and in the east, divided by a mountainous terrain with few roads, were the Marines and the 7th Div. of X Corps. All of the men, including their leaders, had heard the rumor that the first units to reach the Yalu would be the first units to be sent home…so the race was on! “Home before Christmas!” claimed Gen. MacArthur. The weather was increasingly brutal, and in the mad dash to the Yalu, the supply train was stretched to the limit and beyond. Only the Marines had the proper cold weather gear.
The 24th continued north, and by Nov. 21, they were along the Chongch’on River near Kunu-ri. As part of the point in the planned offense that was to take them to the Yalu, the 24th was placed in a forbidding terrain with few roads, and none going north/south. The men still had their summer uniforms, and the temperatures were rapidly dropping. The men partook of a Thanksgiving dinner on Nov. 23, but no one could really enjoy it with the coming battle hanging over them. That night the temps dipped to -15 degrees, and few men had insulated boots.
Without warning, late on the night of Nov. 25 and into Nov. 26, the Chinese began their attack. There were many casualties, including SFC William F. Johnson, a WWII veteran from Maryland, who was taken prisoner and died in February 1951. The attacks grew in intensity the next day, as 30 men of the 24th fell, including 13 from Sgt. Reid’s D Co., including Sgt. Charles Owens from Upper Marlboro in Prince George’s County. Sgt. Norman Reid lost his life on this tragic day, so far from his home in Frederick. Many men in the 24th were captured, including SFC William F. Johnson, born in 1923 in Maryland and a veteran of WWII. All of the captured men had died from neglect by May 1951. The remaining men of the 24th fought their way south in a chaotic dash to safety. Few made it. The “dash to the Yalu” had turned into a march through hell.
Sgt. Jacob Augustus Ely
The 89th Tank Battalion with Sgt. Jacob Augustus Ely was also at Kunu-ri where the battalion was to take the road south to safety. Sgt. Ely was born in Baltimore in 1916, but three years later the U.S. Census records “Jacobo” as being a “boarder.” Perhaps he had been orphaned or abandoned? By 1938, he had married Mildred Wiles, one of the 15 children of Vernon and Bertie Wiles of Mountaindale, and they were living in Brunswick. Jacob and Mildred’s first children, twins Leila and Millie, died at birth. They later had two daughters, and Jacob found work as a bricklayer and later was employed at Camp Detrick. They were living in Lewistown in 1940 when he was drafted. After seeing combat in WWII, he was stationed in Hong Kong, and later in Japan. When the Korean War began, he was serving as a gunner with A Co. of the 89th Medium Tank Battalion.
In November, the 89th was made part of Task Force Dolvin, and on Nov. 26, they were heavily attacked by the Chinese but bravely held their position. The next day, as Task Force Dolvin continued to be hit hard by enemy forces, they withdrew and Sgt. Ely’s 89th became part of Task Force Wilson which was tasked with covering the 35th as it crossed the Yongbyon River. As Sgt. Ely had experience in WWII with the M-7 long-range gun, he was promoted to the platoon leader’s rank. On Nov. 27, the Chinese were threatening to overrun the CP of TF Wilson. The next day, the Chinese, disguised as farmers, managed to infiltrate the American line, and created a roadblock at Yongsan-dong. A Co. of the 89th along with a company of infantrymen was sent to eliminate the roadblock and clear the route to the rear. In this action, two tanks were hit, including the one that Sgt. Ely was in. He escaped, but was hit by small arms fire. He did not return to his company, and was declared MIA. Mildred was notified the day after Christmas that her husband had been missing since Nov. 28, 1950. The 34 year-old trooper had not seen his wife and family for more than two years. His body has not been recovered.
On Nov. 26, the 2nd Engineers were also in the midst of the huge Chinese offense near Kunu-ri. As the companies lined up to retreat from Kunu-ri, the engineers were placed last in the column. Their officers had pleaded for days to allow them to withdraw before the main column. At the tail end of the line, they had to cover the rest of the unit, as well as protect their heavy equipment from capture. They could do neither. Without the proper weapons, they were powerless to hold off the enemy, and their huge trucks and trailers could not move quickly enough to outpace the Chinese troops.
Sgt. Joseph Hayes Trail
Sgt. Joseph Hayes Trail was a water supply technician with the Headquarters and Servive Company in the 2nd Engineers, 2nd Div. Sgt. Trail was born to Clarence and Nora Viola Trail in 1932. After enlisting in 1949, he spent his last leave at home in May 1950. After arriving in Korea, his parents got a last letter written on Nov. 9 from Sunchon.
More than 100 engineers were either captured or killed including Sgt. Trail. His parents got the news that he had been captured just days after learning that his brother, Cpl. Burr W. Trail had been wounded at the Chosin Reservoir while serving with the Headquarters Co., 57th FAB, the same unit as Cpl. Carty. Sgt. Joseph Trail died of malnutrition in a POW camp on Jan. 20, 1951, and his body has not been recovered. His brother, Cpl. Burr Trail, survived.
MSG Ira Miss
MSG Ira Miss with Hqts Co. 3rd Bn. 38th Reg. in the 2nd Div. was another Marylander near Kunu-ri. The 3/38 ran the “Gauntlet,” losing five of their eleven jeeps and nine men. They were the last major element to get through the “Pass” and reach safety. MSG Ira Victor Miss was born in Frederick in 1927 to Ira V. and Lillian Burdette Miss. After his mother died in 1948, Ira Jr. enlisted in the army. Two years later, he found himself in combat in Korea, serving as a combat construction specialist. On Nov. 28, in the fighting near Kunu-ri, he was shot in the hip. After recovering in a hospital in Japan, he returned to Korea in early January, and was soon in the battle north of Hoengsong, called “Massacre Valley.” On Feb. 11, 1951, the Chinese attacked the ROK’s 8th Div., soon over running the South Koreans, thereby cutting off MSG Miss’s nearby 3/38. In Massacre Valley, the 38th Reg. lost 255 men KIA, and 213 of those captured there died as prisoners. It proved to be the second deadliest battle in the Korean War. In the chaos of the following day, Feb. 13, MSG Miss was captured by the Chinese. Although he was first reported to be missing, it was later determined that he was a prisoner, and died in June of 1951. Surviving MSG Miss was his father in Buckeystown, his wife, Jean Louise and their daughter, Linda Verna. MSG Miss’s remains were finally found and identified. He was buried with honors at Arlington National Cemetery in Feb. 2017.
Cpl. Manville E. Dagenhart
Cpl. Manville E. Dagenhart from Myersville was also with the 38th Regiment. Serving with I Company in the 3rd Battalion. He was born in 1931 to Lawson and Catherine. He was captured near Kunuri on Nov. 30, the same day as Sgt. Trail. He died in a POW camp in February 1951.
PFC Raymond R. Flair
PFC Raymond R. Flair was born in Frederick in 1928 to William and Marie Flair. He was married to Ida Belle and they had a 6 year old daughter, Darlene. A member of C/1/19, he was killed in the Inchon-Seoul area on Feb. 9, 1951. He earned a Silver Star for his bravery there, and the armory at Ft. Detrick is named in his honor.
Cpl. Jack Dempsey Wallace
Cpl. Jack Dempsey Wallace was born in 1930 in Mt. Pleasant. He served in Korea with G Company, 31st Reg. He was wounded by missile fragments on May 29, 1951, and died of these wounds the next day. He was buried at Mt. Olivet in Frederick.
PFC Samuel “Buddy” Frye
PFC Samuel “Buddy” Frye was born in 1933 in Frederick, and he enlisted in the army at age 17. He was sent to Korea with A Co., 5th Cavalry in the fall of 1950. PFC Frye died in combat in April 1951.
SFC Virgil Lee Stambaugh
SFC Virgil Lee Stambaugh was born to Samuel and Pauline Stambaugh in Union Bridge in 1925. He went overseas in January 1951 with A/19/24. He married Ann Wivell from Emmitsburg. SFC Stambaugh was killed in action on June 3, 1951, and earned a Bronze Star.
Pvt. Paul James Sewell
A grenade accidently exploded on Dec. 22, 1951, killing Pvt. Paul James Sewell of New Market. He was the son of Howard and Violet and was buried in the Simpson AM Church Cemetery.
PFC Irvin E. Lanehart
PFC Irvin E. Lanehart of Frederick was killed in action on June 12, 1952, while serving with G/180/45. He was preceded in death by both of his parents and was buried in Mt. Olivet.
Sgt. Harold Edward Lugenbeel
Although peace talks were being held for more than a year, the killing did not stop. Sgt. Harold Edward Lugenbeel. with C/1/31 was killed on Pork Chop Hill in April 1953. He was born in New Market in 1929. He was married to Dorothy Anna, and she had a daughter, Rhonda Harold, after her husband’s death.
With North and South Korea in the news recently, more Americans can see the results that the sacrifices of the UN forces made in the two Koreas. Frederick County lost many good young men in that “police action,” and they should not be forgotten.
If you are a veteran or know a veteran who is willing to tell his or her story, contact the Frederick County Veterans History Project at [email protected].