BISMARCK, Mo. (AP) - Don King of the southeast Missouri town of Bismarck is the last survivor of a family of war heroes.
King’s father, Thomas King, served in World War I in Europe as a muleskinner in the quartermaster corps. He and his wife, Rosa, settled in Minimum, Missouri, and raised seven sons.
The Daily Journal newspaper in Park Hills, Missouri (http://bit.ly/1xiG7oA ) reports that all seven sons joined the military. Merle, Homer, Horace and Benjamin served in the Navy, and Cletus in the Army, during World War II. James joined the Army and turned 18 on Aug. 15, 1945 - the day the Japanese surrendered, ending the war. Don, the youngest, served in the Army during the Korean War.
Benjamin died recently, leaving Don as the lone survivor of the family.
The brothers were often involved in dangerous duty in the military.
Cletus earned a Purple Heart after being wounded in battle. Benjamin was a career Navy man.
One of the brothers, Horace, didn’t survive World War II.
“Like most of his shipmates, he was captured by the Japanese at the Siege of Corredgidor and died in a prisoner-of-war camp,” Don said. “He went through the Bataan Death March and died in 1943.”
King’s role in the Korean War was at Koje-do Island, where he helped oversee a prison camp with 72,000 Korean prisoners of war. Later, he was among a small number of soldiers whose role was to transport Americans in a military prison camp in Tokyo back to Alcatraz Prison in San Francisco.
“The ones we brought back had either gotten life in prison or were on death row for things like rape and murder,” King said.
After returning to civilian life, Don and his wife, Trula, raised a son and daughter.
Information from: Daily Journal, http://dailyjournalonline.com