14 November 2012

RIP: James L. Stone

ZUI this article from the Biloxi (MS) Sun Herald:
On the evening of Nov. 21, 1951, James L. Stone looked out from his hilltop outpost in Korea and sensed what was coming. He was an Army lieutenant whose eight months of combat experience were enough to alert him to the imminence of an enemy assault.

The attack began at 9 p.m. with artillery and mortar fire and raged through the night as hundreds of Chinese stormed the hill. By the next day, half the men in the platoon were dead and their 28-year-old lieutenant had been shot three times.

But the lieutenant survived to spend nearly 30 years in the Army, rising to the rank of colonel and receiving the nation's highest military decoration for valor.


Stone died Nov. 9 in Arlington, Texas, the Congressional Medal of Honor Society announced. The cause was not disclosed. He was 89.


When U.S. reinforcements retook the hill the next day, Collier wrote, they found 545 enemy dead.

"I am not proud of that," Stone told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram in 2005. "I hate to see men killed. But, it's either you or them."

James Lamar Stone was born Dec. 27, 1922, in Pine Bluff, Ark. He studied chemistry and zoology at the University of Arkansas, where he received a bachelor's degree, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

After the Korean War, Col. Stone served in Germany, oversaw ROTC units and served a year in Vietnam. A complete list of survivors could not be determined.

There are now 80 surviving Medal of Honor recipients.

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First Lieutenant, US Army; Company E, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division

Born: 27 December 1922, Pine Bluff, Arkansas
Died: 9 November 2012, Arlington, Texas

Citation: 1st Lt. Stone distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and indomitable courage above and beyond the call of duty in action against the enemy [near Sokkogae, Korea, on the night of 21-22 November 1951]. When his platoon, holding a vital outpost position, was attacked by overwhelming Chinese forces, 1st Lt. Stone stood erect and exposed to the terrific enemy fire calmly directed his men in the defense. A defensive flame-thrower failing to function, he personally moved to its location, further exposing himself, and personally repaired the weapon. Throughout a second attack, 1st Lt. Stone, though painfully wounded, personally carried the only remaining light machine gun from place to place in the position in order to bring fire upon the Chinese advancing from 2 directions. Throughout he continued to encourage and direct his depleted platoon in its hopeless defense. Although again wounded, he continued the fight with his carbine, still exposing himself as an example to his men. When this final overwhelming assault swept over the platoon's position his voice could still be heard faintly urging his men to carry on, until he lost consciousness. Only because of this officer's driving spirit and heroic action was the platoon emboldened to make its brave but hopeless last ditch stand.

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