Regional men played key roles in Korean War – Mount Airy News

7September 2020

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Mount Airy Museum of Regional History


Mount Airy Museum of Regional History Wednesday, Sept. 6, 1950, buses presented of Veterans Park in Mount Airy and far from the courthouse grounds in Dobson packed with lots of males in sharp Army uniforms. Part of Battery A of the 426th Field Artillery Battalion, these were members of the Surry County reserve system. They were headed to Fort Bragg to begin training in making use of Howitzers for overseas
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Mount Airy Museum of Regional History


release. These were among the first soldiers to leave Surry County in response to North Korea’s invasion of South Korea on June 25 of that year. Men and women from throughout the region would invest the next 3 years on foreign soil working to keep the Iron Curtain from covering more territory. What we understand today as the Korean Dispute or War, was less focused when it was happening. I repent to admit that I understood very little about the conflict before I started researching this column. Despite the fact that my Mamaw’s sibling served there, the majority of what I understood originated from the” M * A * S * H “television show. After WWII, the uneasy alliance in between western powers and Stalin’s Soviet Union grew progressively strained. As the US executed its Marshall Strategy to reconstruct war-torn Europe, the Soviets established their own

atomic weapons. To the east China’s Civil War ended with Mao Zedong’s Communist forces increasing to “resist America.”Another military invasion was anticipated however many felt it would be Soviet soldiers pushing into Europe again. It is such an ignored time in our history that it is generally referred to as the Forgotten War.

As we enter the 70th anniversary of the dispute, we’ll check out numerous methods it affected local history as many men and women from the location served in some element during that time. However today we focus on the guys who became part of the 426th Field Artillery Battalion who were positioned in what was expected to be the location of a coming war, Germany. Begun

as a reserve unit in 1949, three batteries were developed in this part of North Carolina;’A’in Mount

Airy with a medical detachment and ‘B’ and’C’batteries from Winston-Salem. Most of the males were The second world war veterans, according to Robert Holder, one of only two remaining members of the local reserve unit. Just out of high school and working as a clerk at Poore’s Grocery Store, he was motivated

to sign up with the unit by his buddy, Jack Leach, who likewise operated at Poore’s.” It would be an excellent experience for me,”Holder recalled throughout an interview at the Mount Airy Museum of Regional History

.”And, you understand, it actually was. The older guys, they took me under their wing and actually helped me advance.” The men were informed, erroneously, they would not be deployed unless an actual war erupted so they were surprised to receive activation documents in August 1950. Many felt they had actually served their share of time away from households and tasks. Problems from the males’s

families triggered Congressman Thurmond Chatham of Elkin to require an investigation. It wasn’t just about the men’s families. These were men established in careers and services.

2 of those who left that September early morning were Mount Airy City Police Sgt. James Callahan and officer Elzvan Marion. Jeffrey Blackmon owned a monolith company, his sibling Zack was a Pike Electric lineman. Numerous were local car mechanics. Robert

Allran was assistant treasurer for the Surry County Cost Savings and Loan. In the end, the men shipped and served at such an exemplary level the Department of the Army stated the group to be”the elite of the Army’s weapons. “While their precision was impressive, reliably able to drop an 8-inch shell from their Howitzers on targets as much as 12 miles remote, it

was their speed and effectiveness that appears to have actually amassed the brass’attention. When at the area they were to establish on, the A, B, and C batteries were able to remove and put the huge gun, established cover, communications, and other support operations, in less than five hours. Army standard for operations of this size was six-and-a-half hours. At first some of the males prepared to bring their families to Germany with them. Jack Leach, who had been at Pearl Harbor when it was assaulted, described why they all decided against that in a 2004 interview with author Randall Brim.”I left a wife (Virginia Poore), two kids and a mean little canine,” he stated, and it was hard to be away from them.”We discovered they needed to have a travel suitcase with 2 blankets, 3 days rations, and three modifications of clothes for at your home. And the kids who remained in

school were required to have one at school in case the Cold War turned hot and they would need to go out, who understands where, quick. That they would have something to take but you didn’t understand where they ‘d go to. “He paused, certainly psychological more than 50 years later on

.” Well, that eliminated that concept really quick.”Luckily for A Battery, the anticipated push from the Soviets never came and the guys all eventually came home. Unfortunately, this was not the experience for the many service workers who served on the Korean peninsula.

We’ll go over a few of their stories in future columns as we mark this too-often neglected time. If your household has letters, pictures, memoirs, or other memorabilia from those who served in the Korean War, or any other war, the museum would like the chance to scan them to increase our understanding of their experiences and sacrifices. Contact our manager, Amy Snyder, at or 336-786-4478. Kate Rauhauser-Smith is the visitor services manager for the Mount Airy Museum of Regional History with 22 years in journalism prior to signing up with the museum personnel. She and her household relocated to Mount Airy in 2005

from Pennsylvania where she was likewise involved with museums and history trips. She can be reached at or by calling 336-786-4478 x228 Source:

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