HONOR FINALLY HONORED
Sgt. Charlton, a member of Company C, distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty in action against the enemy. His platoon was attacking heavily defended hostile positions on commanding ground when the leader was wounded and evacuated. Sgt. Charlton assumed command, rallied the men, and spearheaded the assault against the hill. Personally eliminating 2 hostile positions and killing 6 of the enemy with his rifle fire and grenades, he continued up the slope until the unit suffered heavy casualties and became pinned down. Regrouping the men he led them forward only to be again hurled back by a shower of grenades. Despite a severe chest wound, Sgt. Charlton refused medical attention and led a third daring charge which carried to the crest of the ridge. Observing that the remaining emplacement which had retarded the advance was situated on the reverse slope, he charged it alone, was again hit by a grenade but raked the position with devastating fire which eliminated it and routed the defenders. The wounds received during his daring exploits resulted in his death but his indomitable courage, superb leadership, and gallant self-sacrifice reflect the highest credit upon himself the infantry, and the military service."
Cornelius H. Charlton was born on July 24, 1929 in East Gulf,West Virginia and died on June 2, 1951 at the age of 21. He enlisted in the U. S. Army in 1946 and as an American of African Decent was entered as a segregated military.
He served in Germany as one of the occupying troops after WWII before he was sent to Korea where he was assigned to an engineering group. Charlton requested a tranfer and was then placed in Company C of the 24th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division. This regiment was the last American of African Decent unit in operation before full desegragation of the military.
During May 1951 Charlton's regiment pushed northwards with the Eight Army. On June 2, 1951 near the village of Chip-ri northeast of Seoul, his unit encountered heavy resistance in the process of advancing on Hill 543 in which he received the Congressional Medal of Honor.
He has: a Bridge named after him on Interstate 77 in West Virginia; an Army barracks complex in South Korea; trees planted in Van Corlandt Park in the Bronx, New York in his honor; and, a U.S. Navy cargo transport ship, USNS Charlton named after him.
Charlton was finally moved from the cemetery he was buried in for over 56 years to Arlington National Cemetery and honorary ceremonies were conducted on November, 12, 2008.
Labels: Cornelius H. Charlton