Alton Eugene Shirley was born on 31 January 1916 in South Carolina to John Hilliard Shirley and Henrietta Wilson. He had seven sisters, Mary, Edna, Mamie Lee, Hazel, Virginia, June, and Ruth Shirley. His father died in 1924, and his mother was remarried to William L. Crick. They had two sons together, Robert and James Kenneth Crick. Alton Shirley served during World War II. He entered the service in February 1940, and, in March of the same year, was sent to Hawaii where he remained until April 1943 at which time he was assigned to a tiny island somewhere in the Central Pacific war zone.  Alton was a former employe of Grendel Mill. Sgt. Shirley went overseas in August of 1950  and was captured the following November. He died in a prison camp in North Korea in February 1951.

Sergeant Shirley was a member of the 2nd Engineer Combat Battalion, 2nd Infantry Division. He was taken Prisoner of War while fighting the enemy near Kunu-ri, North Korea on November 30, 1950 and died while a prisoner on February 28, 1951.

Buried at Chattanooga National Cemetery, Z, 374.

Alton Shirley was my grandmother’s brother. He was at Pearl Harbor when it was bombed by Japan during WWII. He went on to serve in the Korean War where he was taken as a POW.
–Submitted by his grand niece, Christy Wittenbarger


  • Rank: Master Sergeant
  • Date of birth:
  • 31 January 1916
  • Date of death: 28 February 1951
  • County: Hamilton
  • Hometown: Chattanooga
  • Service Branch: Army
  • Division/Assignment: 2nd Engineer Combat Battalion, 2nd Infantry Division
  • Conflict: Korean War
  • Awards: Prisoner of War Medal, Korean Service Medal, United Nations Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, and Republic of Korea War Service Medal
  • Burial/Memorial Location: Chattanooga National Cemetery, Chattanooga, TN
  • Location In Memorial: Pillar XX, Bottom Panel
  • Sponsored by: Christy Wittenbarger

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