Henry Franklin West was the son of Roger F. West and Bertie Mae Thacker
Private First Class West was a member of Company A, 1st Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division. He was seriously wounded during the defense of Hungnam, North Korea, on November 28, 1950, evacuated to Japan and returned to duty in February 1951. He was Killed in Action while fighting the enemy in the Iron Triangle, near Chorwon, North Korea on July 3, 1951.
The Bronze Star with V device was given to Roger F. West of Kingsport, for his son, Pfc. Henry F. West, who was cited for heroic achievement in action on June 8, 1951, near Sam Ywie, Korea. The presentation was given on January 30, 1952, at the family residence by Colonel Jonathan H. Michael, ROTC professor of military science and tactics at the University of Tennessee.
The Kingsport Times, 20 July 1951
Mr. and Mrs. Roger F. West of 1621 Spring Street have been notified that their son, Pfc. Henry F. West, 3rd Infantry Division, was killed in action in Korea on July 3. In his last letter home, written June 28, West told his parents he expected to get back to the states soon on rotation leave. “I’m 11th on the list,” his letter stated, “but I don’t know when the order will come down. I think it will be down the 2nd of July. I sure hope so.”
West, a former Kingsport New carrier boy, finished Junior High School in Kingsport then entered service at the age of 17, on May 29, 1950. His basic training was at Fort Knox, Ky. He was home on two weeks leave late in September and left here October 8, before shipping out of Korea on October 20, 1950. On November 28, during the Hamhung Beachhead action, when the 3rd Infantry Division was sent to the rescue of beleaguered Marines, he received injuries which kept him in a hospital in Japan for 10 weeks. His mother says, “That Christmas in the hospital was his 18th birthday – the first he had ever spent away from home.” He returned to his unit in February. About a month before his death, West was awarded the Bronze Star for conspicuous bravery in rescuing two of his buddies under heavy machinegun fire. A letter to his parents from one of his close friends, Cpl. George Greenlee, arrived shortly after the telegram from the War Department. It read: “It all started when we had a mission to take a hill. And luckily, we took the hill without a casualty. We were sitting in for the night and Henry and I were in the same hole. He and about then more guys were cleaning their rifles on the side of the hill when a Chinese artillery round came in and killed three boys and wounded seven. I helped the medic with Henry and we did all we could for him.” “He was a great soldier and everybody like him.”
- Rank: Private First Class
- Date of birth: 25 December 1932
- Date of death: 3 July 1951
- County: Hawkins
- Hometown: Kingsport
- Service Branch: Army
- Division/Assignment: 3rd Infantry Division
- Conflict: Korean War
- Awards: Bronze Star with V Device, Purple Heart, Combat Infantrymans Badge, Korean Service Medal, United Nations Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Korean Presidential Unit Citation and Republic of Korea War Service Medal
- Burial/Memorial Location: Providence Cemetery, Rogersville, Hawkins County, TN
- Location In Memorial: Pillar XX, Bottom Panel
- Contact us to sponsor Henry F. West
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