Returning home: A look at lives lost in Korea this Memorial Day weekend

Photo from the Warren Times-Mirror The remains of Pfc. Marshall G. Fellows returning to Warren. Fellows was killed in Korea.

One name stands out on this year’s list from the Warren County Veterans Affairs Office.

Richard Sharrow, a Marienville, Pa., native who served in both the Army and the Navy, is identified as “MIA 7/25/1059. Brought Home 9/23/23.”

According to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA), Sharrow’s remains were identified on Jan. 24, 2023, over 70 years since he was listed as missing during the Korean War.

“The U.S. Army Quartermaster Corps (AGRSG) was responsible for recovering, identifying, and repatriating those lost during the Korean War,” the DPAA said in a release last year. “In the spring of 1951, they recovered a set of remains designated as Unknown X-1023 near Yongdong. After extensive analysis by the Central Identification Unit-Kokura in Japan was unable to identify X-1023 the remains were declared unidentifiable. In April 1955, the remains were buried at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, known as the Punchbowl, in Honolulu, with other Korean War Unknowns.”

The agency proposed back in 2018 to disinter a total of 652 Korean War Unknowns from that memorial, known as the “Punchbowl.”

Photo from the Warren Times-Mirror This article announced the first county death in the Korean Conflict.

What would be identified as Sharrow’s remains were disinterred on Oct. 21, 2019 and sent to a lab for analysis.

“To identify Sharrow’s remains, scientists from DPAA used dental and anthropological analysis as well as chest radiograph comparison,” the agency said. “Additionally, scientists from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) analysis.”

A DPAA profile adds that the “laboratory analysis and the totality of the circumstantial evidence available established an association between one set of these unknown remains and SGT Sharrow.”

That profile tells the story of what happened to Sharrow.

Sergeant Sharrow entered the U.S. Army from Pennsylvania and served in F Company of the 5th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division. By July 1950, the North Korean People’s Army (NKPA) had taken control of Taejon, and the U.S. Eighth Army’s 25th Infantry Division and 1st Cavalry Division were sent into action. The 1st Cavalry Division deployed at Pohang between July 18-21 and immediately advanced west on the Taegu-Taejon road to establish blocking positions at Yongdong and defend the city. The ensuing three-day Battle of Yongdong was intense, and the 1st Cavalry Division was ultimately forced to withdraw. On July 25, 1950, SGT Sharrow and the rest of F Company were sent to rescue other units that had been cut off from American positions in Yongdong. During this action, F Company advanced up a hill that was well-defended by NKPA forces. An intense firefight ensued, and the confusing skirmish inflicted heavy casualties on F Company and split the survivors into many small factions. SGT Sharrow went missing during this fighting and could not be located when F Company was reorganized. Evidence suggests that he was never captured as a POW, and his remains were not immediately identified following the war.

Times Observer file photo Sgt. Richard Sharrow’s remains were identified decades after he went missing in Korea and returned to Marienville last fall.

“Following the battle, his remains could not be recovered, and there is no evidence that he was ever a prisoner of war,” the release announcing his identification stated. “The Army issued a presumptive finding of death on Dec. 31, 1953, and his remains were determined non-recoverable in Jan. 16, 1956.”

An obituary published in the Times Observer last fall announced that Sharrow would return to Marienville on Sept. 23.

It also gives additional details about his life before the service: On March 4, 1928 in Marienville he was born one of 11 children to the late Charles and Effie Barr Sharrow. In his youth he attended East Forest High School and was of the Catholic Faith. Prior to his first enlistment, he was employed briefly by Marienville GlassCompany. He was one of 9 boys in his immediate family, all of which served in the U.S. Military. He proudly and honorably served his country in the U.S. Navy from November 1945 -November 1947. After a brief visit home he then enlisted in the U.S. Army on February 28, 1948.

“His sister, Rose and great niece, Skye donated DNA samples in hopes that it one day helped with the identification,” the obituary stated. “His casketed remains are being accompanied by his great niece, TSGT Holly Phillips, currently serving with the Illinois Air National Guard.”

He was laid to rest at the St. Ann Cemetery in Jenks Twp.

According to the DPAA, a rosette will be placed next to his name on the Courts of the Missing at the Punchbowl indicating he has been accounted for.

Five men from Warren County were killed during the Korean Conflict, according to a document from the National Archives.

Army Pvt. Ray W. Etter went missing on Feb. 13, 1951 while serving as a member of an engineer combat battalion. He was presumed dead on Jan. 22, 1954 and his name is inscribed on the Courts of the Missing at the Honolulu Memorial.

Army Pfc. Marshall G. Fellows was killed in action on Aug 27, 1951 and is buried at the Pine Grove Cemetery in Russell.

The family published a notice in a local paper in the wake of his death: “We wish to extend our sincere thanks to relatives, friends and neighbors for their many acts of kindness, for the beautiful flowers and cards sent at the time of our bereavement in the death of our son and brother Marshall Fellows.”

Army Pvt. Walter Menard was either 19 or 20 when he was killed on July 16, 1950. He’s buried at Oakland Cemetery.

“Warren county’s second casualty report from the Korean campaign lists as missing in action Pvt. Walter Menard, 20 year old son of Mr. and Mrs. C.J. Menard, 436 Prospect St.,” the Times-Mirror reported on Aug. 9, 1950.

“Young Menard, serving with the U.S. Signal Corps, enlisted in the Army in October 1946, and was assigned to Newark, N.J., for early training. Later he attended and was graduated from the Signal Corps Schools in Augusta-, Ga. After a short leave at home with his family, he went overseas in early June 1949, assigned to the 24th Division in Tokyo, Japan.

Mrs. Menard told the Times-Mirror today she had had no word from her son since June, but had assumed he had been sent to Korea when press and radio dispatches carried frequent mention of the 1st Cavalry outfit and the 24th Division. The brief message she received from Department of Defense officials last evening merely listed him as ‘missing in action in Korea as of July 16, with details in a letter to follow.”

The Times-Mirror reported that Menard was second and had reported earlier in the year that Army Pfc. William J. Scott was first, killed in action on March 15.

According to koreanwar.org, he was a member of the 38th Infantry Regiment and was killed during Operation Ripper. He’s buried at the Youngsville Cemetery.

“Mr. and Mrs. O.A. Kibbey, of Pittsfield, received word from the War Department yesterday afternoon of the death of their nephew, Cpl. William J. Scott, killed in action in Korea,” the Times-Mirror reported. “Other than the fact that Cpl. Scott was killed on March 15, no details were given. His is the first confirmed death of a county serviceman, although several have been reported missing in action.”

The paper reported that he was born on Sept. 14, 1930 and lived with the Kibbey family since the age of 8. He left Youngsville high school during his senior year to enlist in the infantry in Jan. 1949.

“Enlisting at Fort Bragg, N.C., he took his training at Fort Lewis, Wash., and left for Korea with the 2nd Division in July 1950. Besides his aunt and uncle, he is survived by one sister, Ada Scott, of Chicago, Ill. The last letter received from him by the Kibbeys was written only two days before his death, and arrived here earlier this week.”

The paper added an item that had been picked up in Stars and Stripes involving Scott.

“Cpl. Scott received national publicity recently in the Pacific edition of Stars and Stripes in which was described his ride in a jeep running its tenth Communist ambush. Riding with him and manning the machine gun was Sgt. Donald Christian, of Taylorsville, Ill. Hearing Scott muttering something, Tatlor asked him ‘What did you say?’ Scott shouted back, ‘Hell, I ain’t talking to you – I’m praying.'”

Cpl. James W. Wright was killed on Jan. 29, 1951.

According to koreanwar.org, he was a member of the 21st Infantry Regiment. He’s buried in Washington Co.


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