July 5, 1950: Pvt. Kenneth Shadrick Killed in Action in Korea

Pvt. Kenneth Shadrick

On July 5, 1950, Army private Kenneth Shadrick of Wyoming County was killed in action, becoming one of the first U.S. servicemen killed in action during the Korean War.

He was brought down by North Korean machine-gun fire in the opening days of the conflict. Shortly thereafter, Time magazine ran a profile of Shadrick, claiming he was the first U.S. military casualty of the war. However, it’s now believed that other Americans died earlier on that same day.

Shadrick was one of more than 800 West Virginians to die during the Korean War, out of 112,000 West Virginia men and women who served. While some members of the West Virginia National Guard were assigned to Germany, which was rebuilding following World War II, other guardsmen served on the frontlines in Korea, including four companies of the 1092nd Engineer Combat Battalion from Parkersburg and Salem.

Four West Virginians received the Medal of Honor during the Korean War: Raleigh County native Cornelius Charlton, Darwin Kyle of Boone County, Ralph Pomeroy of Greenbrier County, and William Shuck Jr. of Mineral County. The war ended in 1953.