Col. James L. Stone, 89, loving husband, father and grandfather, passed away at his home Friday, Nov. 9, 2012, after a long battle with cancer.
Service: A memorial service will be held for Col. Stone at 11 a.m. Wednesday at First United Methodist Church, 313 N. Center St., Arlington. Interment: 3 p.m. Wednesday in Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery. Visitation: 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at Moore Funeral Home, 1219 Davis Drive, Arlington.
Memorials: In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Col. Stone's name to Hospice Plus, 3100 McKinnon St., Suite 200, Dallas, Texas 75201, or First United Methodist Church in Arlington for its building fund. Many thanks to the hospice workers who helped Col. Stone and myself through a particularly difficult time. Your kindness and support were greatly appreciated.
Col. Stone was very active in his church, First United Methodist of Arlington, Korean War Veterans Association, Chapter 215, and the Legion of Valor; his good friend, Maj. Richard Agnew, presides over the Dallas chapter.
Col. James Lamar Stone, a Medal of Honor recipient, was born in Pine Bluff, Ark., on Dec. 27, 1922. He was raised in Hot Springs, Ark., and attended the University of Arkansas where he studied chemistry and zoology and was a member of the Army's Reserve Officer Training Corps. After graduating with a bachelor's degree in 1947, he worked for the General Electric Co. in Houston. He was called to active duty in 1948 and trained at Fort Ord, Calif. He was deployed to Korea as a first lieutenant with Company F, Second Battalion, Eighth Cavalry Regiment, First Cavalry Division, in early March 1951.
On Nov. 21, 1951, he was a platoon leader on a hill overlooking the Imjin River near Sokkogae. His small unit of 48 men was subject to a heavy mortar attack at about 9 p.m. He radioed for flares to be sent up above the hillside when the bombardment ended. The flares revealed an overwhelming enemy force advancing up the hill. The American defenses repelled the first attack wave, along with five others over the next three hours. The Chinese force received reinforcements after midnight, bringing their estimated number to roughly 800. The enemy attacked again and he directed the defense by moving from position to position in the trenches. Col. Stone exposed himself to enemy fire in the process by climbing the sandbag trench walls. A flamethrower malfunctioned and its operator was killed, so Col. Stone rushed through enemy fire, repaired it and gave it to another soldier to operate. The enemy then entered the American trenches and hand-to-hand combat ensued. Col. Stone used his rifle as a club in the fighting before he seized the unit's only remaining machine gun and moved it several times to fire on advancing enemy soldiers. The fighting in the trenches killed half of Col. Stone's men and he himself was wounded three times. He ordered the remaining soldiers to retreat while he stayed behind with the wounded to cover their escape. He and the other wounded soldiers were overwhelmed just before dawn. When the Army recaptured the position the next day, they counted 545 enemy soldiers who died attacking Col. Stone's unit. He was unconscious when captured by the Chinese and carried by stretcher to a nearby command post for his interrogation. He spent the next 22 months at a prisoner of war camp near the Yalu River. A few of his letters home were received by his family, so they knew that he was alive. He befriended John "Doc" Watson, a West Point graduate from Mississippi, at the POW camp. Throughout their time at the camp the two relied on each other for support. They were exchanged in the "Big Switch" prisoner exchange at the end of the war, in September 1953. It was only after Col. Stone was exchanged that he learned he was to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor. President Dwight D. Eisenhower presented the medal to him at the White House on Oct. 27, 1953.
Col. Stone remained in the Army after returning to the United States. He served for a period of time in Germany before moving to the Fort Worth area to administer several ROTC units in the 1960s. He served a tour of duty in Vietnam in 1971. He retired from the Army as a colonel after almost 30 years of service. Col. Stone had lived in Arlington since 1980. He was an active member of the Dallas-Fort Worth area Korean War Veterans Association. For a period of time he helped in a home-building business started by his son, James L. Stone Jr. Col. Stone was an avid baseball fan and enjoyed attending Texas Rangers games as well as his grandson Stewart's Little League games.
Col. Stone was preceded in death by his mother and father, State and Idell Stone; brother, Edward; and first wife, Jane Dickenson Stone. Survivors: Col. Stone is survived by his second wife, Mary Lou; oldest son, James Jr., his wife, Mary, and grandson, Stewart; son, Ray and wife, Marta; and stepdaughter, Amy Rodriguez, her husband, Oscar, their children, Blake and Brittany; and puppy, Fivel.