Charles B. Elder to receive Purple Heart 65 years after being wounded in Korea
Local Veteran to receive Purple Heart 65 years after being wounded in Korea. Celebrate this amazing event at the Jacksonville Senior Center, Sweet Air Road Phoenix, MD, June 22, 2015 at 1:00 PM . Award will be made by Rear Admiral Dale Horan.
Charles B. Elder
Born July 27,1927
I was raised on the Elder Farm on Hydes Road, Baltimore County, Maryland. The farm was apples, peaches and poultry.
Education: Attended a 2 room school on Manor Road until Carroll Manor School opened in 1935. Started in 3rd grade and went to Towson High School in 1941 and graduated in 1945. Attended Baltimore Engineering Institute for 3 years obtaining a certificate. Hopkins McCoy College 1947 to 1948. Worked at home on farm.
Enlisted in 1949 at the Towson Armory. Inducted into the service at Fort Meade. Completed basic training at Camp Picket, VA. After a 30 day leave I had to report to Fort Ord, CA. for deployment overseas. My records were lost so I was sent to Camp Stoneman, CA for a second basic training. In late 1950 returned to San Francisco, CA for shipment to Japan. We arrived in Southern Japan in the town of Sasebo. Went by boat to Pusan in southern Korea. Transported by train to front lines in April. Captured by North Koreans on Heartbreak Ridge, North of the 38th Parallel. I was wounded the day I was captured. I walked for a while until unable to walk any further. I was put on an ox cart as we zig zag back and forth across Korea to the prison camp. We marched for 25-30 days before reaching the prison camp. Operated on by North Koreans on the march in hut using kitchen utensils and holding down my arms and legs with no anesthetic. There were 8 to 10 on single ox cart during March. I was the only one to survive March to the prison camp. Chic Chikami who lives in Winter Park, Florida was my platoon leader said I smelled horrible, my hip was full of infection and maggots.
To pass the time I was forced to attend propaganda classes. Able ones were sent on wood detail, carrying wood for the Chinese to keep warm. We were turned over to the Chinese when we got to prison camp. It was cold in winter – 40 to 50 below zero. Clothing was cotton padded; huts were heated by fires with thatched roofs. Attempted escapes, but they found the stuff we were hiding. Put in solitary confinement. The camp was on the Yalu River which is the border between China and North Korea.
Armistice was signed July 27,1953. (My birthday).Repatriated through Freedom Village on the 38th Parallel. Discharged at Fort Meade. Ran out of medals and attempts to receive PH unsuccessful over the years until now. Long time friend and fellow POW Ray Unger, died earlier this year. He was determined to get PH for me.
Following discharge I worked on the family farm and took courses at Baltimore Engineering. Worked at Westinghouse 1955-1957, AAI Payroll Accountant 1957 until retiring in 1991.
Membership – Jacksonville Senior Center, Trinity Church Long Green, Jr. Warden, Vestry member, Little People of America 1971-2012. Received Distinguished Service Award, XPOW of Korea Inc. 1989-2014, Disbanded 2014, Johns Hopkins Club since 1984, Service Organizations – VFW, DAV and American Legion.