Memorial cites heroes lost in Korea


A memorial stone listing the names of eight men killed in the Korean War was dedicated yesterday in a ceremony at Memorial Gardens behind Westminster City Hall.

A ninth name is to be added. County Commissioner W. Benjamin Brown, who has been working on the memorial since 1991, pledged to have the name of Cpl. James H. Nusbaum inscribed on the stone after he learned it had been missed in the search.

Westminster Mayor Kenneth A. Yowan said the ceremony was timed to be linked to dedication of a national memorial to Americans killed in the Korean War. Dedication of the national memorial is scheduled at 3 p.m. Thursday on the Mall in Washington.

The local memorial replaces a memorial to Korean War victims without names. Ed Howard, commander of the Westminster American Legion Post and a veteran of the Korean War, proposed a marker with names after a local Vietnam memorial was dedicated.

Names on the Korean memorial are: Sgt. Charles L. Billingslea Jr., Air Force; Pfc. Charles A. Chew, Pfc. Louis A. Damewood, Pvt. William H. Dotson, Sgt. Leslie L. Fairchild, Pfc. Charles E. Garver, Pfc. Harold E. Lugenbell and Sgt. 1st Class Virgil L. Stambaugh, all Army.

Mr. Howard had begun trying to find names of those killed in Korea in 1991.

"Because it [ended in] a stalemate, they never actually referred to it as a real war," he said. "Being called the 'forgotten war' really upsets me."

Mr. Howard was an Air Force flight engineer pressed into duty as a co-pilot when he got to Korea.

Relatives of some of the men killed in the war still live in the area. Mr. Yowan said the city government didn't send them invitations the ceremony because the city lacked names and addresses.

Corporal Nusbaum was killed in Korea March 2, 1951.

He had never readjusted to civilian life after serving in the Navy, then the Army, in World War II, said his brother Robert, who was 15 when Corporal Nusbaum was killed. When the Korean War broke out, Corporal Nusbaum had a chance to return to active duty in October 1950.

James Nusbaum was the eldest of eight children. Robert Nusbaum remembers hunting and trapping with his older brother, "which we had to do then to make any money," he said.

Corporal Nusbaum's wife, Vera, a German war bride, later remarried. Their son Michael, 2 years old when his father was killed, is disabled. Bruce Nusbaum, 10 months old at the time, takes care of his brother, Robert Nusbaum said.

Robert Nusbaum served 10 years in the Air Force, then returned to Westminster and became a construction and factory worker. One other brother and a sister live in Carroll County, and a sister lives in Hanover, Pa., he said.

Pvt. William H. Dotson also came from a large family, five boys and two girls who grew up on a farm near Winfield. Military service is a family tradition.

Members of the Dotson family served in World Wars I and II and Korea. One of Private Dotson's brothers was in the service during the Vietnam War.

Carroll Del. Richard N. Dixon, who was best man at the wedding of Private Dotson's brother Roy, remembers William Dotson as "a quiet young man, a very bright young fellow."

Private Dotson loved to play baseball, said his sister Martha "Sally" Greene. He graduated from Robert Moton High School and was working as an attendant at Henryton Hospital when he was drafted in March 1952.

Private Dotson was 21 when he was killed. He had been in Korea for one month, was wounded on Oct. 16 and returned to his unit Oct. 31. He was killed that day.

Mrs. Greene is a licensed practical nurse at Spring Grove Hospital Center. She, her sister and brother Herbert are the only surviving members of the family.

Sergeant Stambaugh was the second of 11 children born to Samuel E. Stambaugh Sr. and Ida P. Stambaugh on a Frederick County farm near Union Bridge. He graduated from Emmitsburg High School, left the farm and was working for Bethlehem Steel Corp. when he was drafted and sent to Korea.

He was killed in June 1951.

"He was very easygoing, slow to anger," said Samuel Stambaugh, his brother. Mr. Stambaugh said one brother took over the farm and ran it until 1975, when it was sold. Sergeant Stambaugh's widow, Ann, remarried and is now deceased, the family said.

Sergeant Billingslea, a bombardier, was reported missing in action in February 1952. The Air Force confirmed six months later that he had been killed.

Sergeant Billingslea's friends at Westminster High School called him "Doc," after his physician father. He graduated from Mercersburg (Pa.) Academy and was working for Baltimore Gas & Electric Co. when he decided to enlist.

His sisters are Elizabeth B. Scott of Westminster and Ruth Weller of Woodbine.

Sergeant Fairchild grew up in North Carolina and joined the Army before his parents, two brothers and a sister moved to Sykesville. His parents worked at Springfield Hospital Center, and Hannah Fairchild also ran a boarding house.

Sergeant Fairchild "always tried to look like Flash Gordon," his brother, Roscoe C. Fairchild, recalled. As a boy, Leslie Fairchild had blond hair like the comic book hero.

Sergeant Fairchild and brother Roscoe both pursued military careers. Sergeant Fairchild was 28 when he was killed in Korea.

Roscoe Fairchild served in the Marines in World War II and later in the Air Force, retiring as a technical sergeant after a 21-year-career.

Sergeant Fairchild's widow, Ruby, is dead, relatives said, and their two daughters live in Texas.

Information was unavailable about the other men listed on the memorial.

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