Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

November 5, 2013

OLD UNCLE GIB: Ford, Elmore killed in action

By Old Uncle Gib
Chronicle correspondent

CROSSVILLE — This month we will remember two more Korean War casualties, Corporal Joe Lee Ford and Lincoln Elmore. In case you haven't noticed, these have been covered in order by their death dates.

February 13, 1951, was the “high water mark” of the Chinese incursion into South Korea when the Battle of Chipyong-ni began. On March 15, 1951, the Crossville Chronicle reported, “PFC Joe L. Ford is Missing In Action.” Mr. and Mrs. Lannie Ford of Route 1 received word that their son is missing in action as of February 13. Joe Lee Ford was born August 6, 1930, in Cumberland County. His brother, Mitchell, was serving in the European Theater. His sister, Mrs. Emmett Barnwell, lived on Route 3.

PFC Ford enlisted in March 1948, had basic training at Fort Jackson, SC, and was sent to Korea in July 1950. He served with 15th Field Artillery, A Battery, 2nd Infantry Division. The 15th Field Artillery served in a total of ten major campaigns of the Korean War. At some point his rank was changed to corporal, as official records list this as his rank when he was captured at Hoengsong. A “final dispensation date” is shown as March 7, 1951, listing him as Captured/Prisoner of War. Corporal Ford was declared dead and no remains have been recovered.

It behooves me to warn you in advance that the story of Corporal Joe Lee Ford took an unexpected turn when researching the name of the place in which he died, in the “Massacre of Hoensong.” The enemy poured mortar fire down on the trapped US forces and then overran them in hand to hand combat. When the Marines arrived 22 days later, there were hundreds of dead US troops laying over the field. Two GIs with hands tied behind their backs had been shot in the back of the head. Military authorities tried to hide the extent of the disaster. Many MIA were never found and declared dead or captured and died in captivity.

On June 21, 1951, the Chronicle reports, “Mrs. Susie Elmore, Lantana Road, received word Monday that her son, Private Lincoln Elmore, was missing in action in Korea.” Private Elmore enlisted in November 1950, and had been in Korea since some time in April. They heard from him quite often. He had written of learning to write the Korean language. He has two older brothers, Silas and Sidney, who served in WWII, another older brother in Nashville, two younger brothers, Cordell and Odell, and two sisters, Mrs. Aldene Stone and Ruth Elmore.

Private Elmore was serving as a Light Weapons Infantryman in the 5th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division. The South Korean capital city of Seoul had been recaptured by UN forces, with heavy fighting to retain control from May 20-June 10, 1951. At the same time they resumed the UN push back north to the 38th parallel. Lincoln Elmore's unit was involved in this fighting. He was listed as Killed in Action in North Korea. Born April 26, 1928, he died May 31, 1951, and is buried in the Crossville City Cemetery.