Valor Friday

| May 26, 2023

Luther Story

Our own King of Battle pointed out that Luther Story, who received a posthumous Medal of Honor for gallantry in action during the Korean War is about to be returned home and finally, properly laid to rest. We talked about Corporal Story back at the beginning of the month when it was announced his remains had been identified. He’ll be interred in his native Georgia on this coming Monday.

There are many ways of measuring one’s life. We throw parties for birthdays, to track the years we’ve lived, learned, and loved. We mark promotions with pomp and circumstance. We have joyous celebrations when we pass major life milestones like graduating school, being confirmed or baptized at church, and when we marry or have kids.

The life of Luther Story was far too short to have celebrated many birthdays, he was barely 19 years old when he was killed in action. He wasn’t married and hadn’t had the chance to attend college or father children. He was a mere private first class, and so had only ever received a single promotion (one usually not marked with much celebration).

The measure of Luther Story’s life though wasn’t without significance however. He was but a private and still a teenager when he earned the nation’s highest award for valor. The Medal of Honor was only awarded to 146 men for actions during the three years of the Korean War. Luther’s branch, the US Army, saw 93 of those awards. A full 70% (103) of Medals of Honor were, as Story’s was, posthumous awards.

Story’s life, not rich in years, money, or status, was rich where it matters the most. He was a hero to his fellow soldiers. At their darkest hour, Story was a beacon of shining light. He rained death upon his enemies, fought through being wounded, and inspired his comrades to rally and repel an attack by an overwhelming number of enemy troops. He then laid down his life so that more of them had a chance to make it back home.

Story was born to Mark Hollis (1899-1968) and Florence (1907-1978) Story in Marion County, Georgia in the summer of 1931. His parents had married in 1928 and already had two children by the time Luther came along. The eldest, Wilmoth Hollis Story (1929-1984) served in the Korean War like his little brother and was also an Army private. Between the two boys was Gwendolyn (1930-2017). The family history in this part of Georgia dates back to the 18th Century.

Mark Story was a carpenter, so I can only imagine that the Depression years in small town rural western Georgia were lean. I would think he soon found plenty of work when nearby Fort Benning (renamed Fort Moore just two weeks ago) in Columbus, Georgia expanded. Already the largest infantry training facility in the US Army, during World War II it became home to the nascent Army Airborne. The post had billeting for 100,000 men by the end of the war and many tens of thousands of men were trained there.

Military service ran in the Story family bloodline. Two of Luther’s uncles on his father’s side served during the Second World War. William Story was a gunnery sergeant in the Marine Corps and John was a first sergeant in the Army.

I can’t find exactly when Luther was inducted into the Army, but he was with the 9th Infantry Regiment in Korea in September 1950. The war had just begun in June of that year, and the 9th were the first men of the 2nd Infantry Division to be engaged by enemy forces after they arrived on the peninsula in August.

The 9th Infantry has a storied lineage dating back to the War of 1812. They’ve seen active combat service in every conflict since then, with the major exception being the Civil War (when they were on garrison duty on the West Coast). Six men of the regiment, including Story, would receive the Medal of Honor during Korea.

The 9th Infantry was part of the defense at Pusan, South Korea. The defensive line around the South Korean port city was called the Pusan Perimeter. The city, on the southeast coast of the country, was the last foothold the South Korean and United Nations forces had after the North’s surprise attack. It was here that the UN forces would start to achieve success with the arrival of fresh troops and equipment.

In August and through September, the Battle of Pusan Perimeter was a series of very large, often simultaneous, battles. Among those was Story’s final battle, that of Yongsan. Yongsan was a small village, but the North Korean forces were able to break through the 2nd Infantry Division’s lines early in the fighting. They sent multiple divisions to exploit the weak point, but were ultimately repulsed. It was during the first day of the battle, 1 September, that Story would meet his fate.

Story, a private first class by rank, was serving as a weapons squad leader. This is noteworthy because such a billet is normally held by a non-commissioned officer, usually a sergeant or higher. This speaks to Story’s maturity and likely to the casualties the unit had already suffered that the 19 year old man was put into such a position.

On that morning, the nearby Second Battle of the Naktong Bulge, saw the North Koreans successfully cross the Naktong River and were within miles of taking Yongsan. The beleaguered defenders at the village in the form of a single battered company of the 9th Infantry. Story’s A Company would be part of the reinforcements sent to Yongsan that afternoon.

A Company faced elements of several enemy divisions, repelling several banzai charges. Having halted these attacks, Story moved his men to a position overlooking the Naktong River. They no sooner got into position when he saw a large group of North Korean soldiers moving across the river, right into A Company’s lines.

Story took the machine gun from his wounded machine gunner and poured fire into the enemy line. They estimated he killed 100 of the communist troops, but the enemy kept coming. Story’s company commander, facing almost certain encirclement ordered his men to retreat.

During the hasty withdrawal, Story saw an enemy truck, loaded with troops and towing an ammunition trailer. Alerting his comrades, he ordered them to cover. The young private then stood in the middle of the road, facing down the vehicle-mounted soldiers and lobbed grenades into the truck. Running out of grenades, he crawled to his squadmates, collected more grenades, and single-handedly renewed his attack.

Later, as they continued to withdraw, the enemy numbers overwhelmed the company to the point that they had to make a defensive line in a rice field. Here he was wounded by enemy fire, but refused to seek treatment for his wounds. He remained with his men, rallying them, and ensuring they were positioned correctly. With his intrepid leadership, they repelled the enemy attack.

Story’s wounds were such that he felt like he would only be a burden to his men. He refused to continue on, and insisted on being left behind to cover the rest of his company’s retreat. The situation was so dire, they let him have a warrior’s death. As the other men of A Company continued to fall back, they last saw Story firing every available weapon into another frenzied enemy charge.

For his final day of unimaginable heroism, Story was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. He was also promoted to corporal, a rank more befitting his final role as a squad leader. General of the Army Omar Bradley presented the medal to Story’s father in a ceremony at the Pentagon on 21 June 1951. The 9th Infantry received two Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citations during the Korean War. One, as with all UN units who participated in the war, was a blanket award for everyone. The other was specifically for the unit’s performance on the Pusan Perimeter at the Naktong River.

Story was reported as killed in action, but his body was never recovered. After the war, it was noted that he was also never listed as a prisoner of war. Thus the Army, in 1953, declared a presumptive finding of death. In 1956 they recorded that his remains were unrecoverable.

Prior to that, in October 1950, the remains of 11 American soldiers had been recovered. Though they suspected Story to be among these, positive identification could not be made. Eight of the other men were identified, but Story and the other two were buried with the other Unknowns from the Korean War at the Punchbowl in Hawaii.

In 2021 Story’s then still unidentified remains were disinterred along with many others. This time, with advanced DNA testing, Story was finally positively identified. He is being returned home and will be buried with full honors in Andersonville, Georgia on Memorial Day 2023. It’s not clear what family, if any, will be in attendance. It appears as if Luther’s brother had a son and his sister a daughter that are still alive.

Category: Army, Historical, Korea, Medal of Honor, Valor, We Remember

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A man hath no greater love…


Thank You so much, KoB and Mason, for sharing this Valor Story about CPL Luther Herschel Story.

Mason commented:

“I can’t find exactly when Luther was inducted into the Army”

According to this 1951 news article, “At the age of 17, Luther enlisted in the Army from his hometown of Americus, GA in 1948. After service in Guam and Saipan, he joined the Occupation Forces in Japan.”

Rest In Peace, Soldier.


Forever 19 Years Young. A Teenager.

Never Forget.

Bring Them All Home.

luther h story.jpg

Luther in the 2nd Grade around 1938.

Never Forget.

luther h story young boy.jpg

His High School Yearbook picture.

So Young.

luther h. story high school.jpg

Luther is finally coming home.

Bring Them All Home.

luther h. story gravesite.jpg

That such men lived…indeed! Thanks, ninja, and another Thanks to Mason for his research and posting of this Georgia Boy. When my inherwebz came back up late Monday, I ran into the article on CPL Story’s internment and sent it in to Mason. Got real lucky in that Mason had not started his Valor Friday piece yet. I knew that Mason would do his usual fine job of researching “…the rest of the “Story”…”, knowing, too, that you would come thru on some more nuggets of info. Was not disappointed that the both of you, once again, hit the Home Run for us.

I made calls on and sold to some retail businesses in the little towns of Buena Vista (Marion County, GA.) and Americus (Sumter County, GA), both very near the Formerly Named Benning School for Wayward Boys. The Honoring of The Memory of this Warrior was still being done/talked about into the late ’90s when I last called on those folks. As many of y’all know, down heah, in the small towns, we still Pay Honors to our Fallen Warriors, and not just on the Observed Holiday.

Every Fallen Service Member deserves a Marked Resting Place.

“…’lest we forget…” “There but for the Grace of God go I.” SALUTE!

Thanks, again, Mason. You da Man. And, again, we have the VERY BEST ninjas. RTR/HBTD


Teamwork At Its Best!


Green Thumb

Bas ass motherfucker.

RGR 4-78

Rest in Peace CPL Luther Herschel Story.


Welcome home!

That such a young and low-ranked Soldier gave his life so others may live is a story that needs to be shared, told frequently, and passed down to younger generations.

I recently retired. During my time in, there were many obsessed with making it to the next rank, getting that “well-deserved” decoration based on time in service or on-station, or earning a shiny badge showing that they were a man among men. A lot of 2-year Buck Sergeants with a couple of Wings, maybe a tab, and other trinkets showing their dedication to duty. I can’t detract too much from them, though; they served and performed their assigned duties admirably.

CPL Story’s, um, story, is a far cry from the bloodthirsty “leaders we have at senior levels and in our government. Be they Generals or Sergeants Major, Presidents or Congressmen, they’ve all had the privilege of living lives of fulfillment, creating families and watching their children grown into adulthood, checking the box with their degrees and professional development to get that next step upward.

The words of CCR still echo: “It ain’t me, I ain’t no fortunate one, no.” CPL Story died so that others may live. Thank you for your service.


Thank You, KoB, for providing this link!

Our very own CDR D picture is in the link.



“On June 21, 1951, in Washington, D.C, General Omar N. Bradley (left), chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, returns the salute of David Desiderio, 7, of El Monte, California, corporal student at Mt. Lowe Military Academy, after presenting the youngster and his mother with a posthumous Congressional Medal of Honor on behalf of his father, Captain Reginald B. Desiderio, at a Pentagon ceremony. The officer died in a gallant fight, which enabled his company to repel an enemy attack near Ispok, Korea.”

Rest In Peace, CPT Reginald B. Desiderio.

You Are Never Forgotten.



[Corporal Story] is being returned home and will be buried with full honors in Andersonville, Georgia on Memorial Day 2023.

Thank God for this young man’s return.

I will not be there in body but offer thoughts and prayers to my beloved Georgia, the fine people that inhabit her so, and to a brave man who’ll finally rest in his homeland.

Welcome Home.


Me and my tribe will be in attendance for this little piece of history. Andersonville is pretty impressive on Memorial Day. The 13,000 American Flags on the original Civil War burial trench where the deceased are laid shoulder to shoulder is something to behold.

My youngest was in Plains earlier this year for the Jimmy Carter Academic Bowl held at the former Plains High School (now National Historic Site). It included the original MOH Cpl Story’s parents received in the museum.