Kenneth Shadrick – A Name to Remember from History
Updated: Aug 24
When I was researching the onset of the Korean War for The Final Song, a name stood out – Private Kenneth R. Shadrick. He was erroneously reported for some time as the first person killed in the Korean War. Regardless of whether he was or wasn’t, when you hear the name and see his picture, your heart goes out to his family even today. Knowing the name of a victim personalizes and humanizes history.
Private Kenneth R. Shadrick was just 18 years old when he died on July 5, 1950 near Pyongtaek, South Korea. He had his whole life before him and lost it protecting our freedoms. He was a member of the bazooka team from the 34th Infantry Regiment of the 24th Infantry Division.
Kenneth was from a large, mining family living near Beckley, West Virginia. He was one of ten children and left high school and the basketball squad to enter the war. How I wish I could go back in time and keep this young man in high school!
“What?” Sheffield glanced at his wife and then turned his tired eyes back on the road.
“Kenneth Shadrick. I read that he is believed to be the first American to die in this new horrible war or whatever they’re calling it.”
Sheffield just sighed.
“He was only eighteen. To think…” Her words ended with fresh sobs.
The Final Song, Chapter 33