yesterday's tennessee

Yesterday's Tennessee


compiled by Brenda Kirk Fiddler

January 4, 1952
Lexington Progress
POW's Letter Christmas Present for Wife, Son

The holiday season was a bit more joyful for a family of Sardis this year.

The family of Raymond Milner, sergeant, regular army, had much which to be thankful, although Sgt. Milner has been listed as missing in Korea since November, 1950.

Coming in rapid succession, these developments gave Mrs. Milner and 5-year-old son Don, "a wonderful Christmas present."

At 4:30 a.m., December 19, the name of Sgt. Milner was authenticated by the Defense Department as being a prisoner of war in Korea, and a few hours later, Mrs. Milner received a letter from him [written] in a prison camp.

Mrs. Milner sat up all night in order to hear the name of her husband on a broadcast. She was reasonably sure he was a prisoner as she had received a letter from him last August.

Sgt. Milner's letter to his wife follows: "I have another chance to write to you so I thought I would let you hear from me again. I haven't heard from you yet but maybe I will soon. Mail is coming in fast now.

I am still well and making it fine. We are getting plenty to eat still. Plenty of meat and vegetables which means a lot to our health here in camp.

I hope the folks at home are not worried too much about me. Tell them I am well and hope to be home before long.

…Tell Don I sure would like to see him and tell him to be good.

Lots of Love, Raymond"

The envelope bore a rubber stamp "via the Chinese People's Committee for World Peace and Against American Aggression, Peking, China."

January 11, 1952
Lexington Progress
Red Prisoner Writes Letter Christmas Eve

One of the first letters in the prisoner "mail swap" in Korea was one from Sgt. Raymond Milner for more than a year.

His wife, Mrs. Bertha Milner, received the letter New Year's day. It was written Christmas Eve.

For the first time Mrs. Milner said she found evidence of the subtle communist propaganda which has been reported in many letters. She had previously received two letters from her husband missing since November 20, 1950.

In part the letter said: "The Chinese are really treating us nice, you couldn't ask for any better treatment. We have been issued cotton padded uniforms, good shoes and socks and everything a man needs.

I can't think of very much to write about except that I would like to be back home and if there is anything you can do to help end this war, do it."

Sgt. Milner also wrote of the Christmas meal which he said was composed of bread, chicken, pork, gravy and apple pie.

August 1,1952
Lexington Progress
Letter Received From Countian, Prisoner of Reds

The eighth and ninth letters from her husband, prisoner of war in Korea, were received by Mrs. Raymond Milner of Sardis on July 24.

One letter dated April 29, extended mother's day greetings and another dated May 5 was received the same day.

Sgt. Milner,who was captured in November 1950, wrote that he had received a letter from his mother, Mrs. H.C. Millner, and spoke of his six-year-old son, Danny.

The Sardis soldier wrote that the winter was warming up now after the coldest winter "I have ever seen." Food is good, he wrote, with plenty of rice and a broth of meat, potatoes and bean spouts, which is "pretty good after you acquire a taste for it."

Sgt. Milner is held in Camp No. 5 near the Manchurian border in North Korea.

July 31, 1953
Lexington Progress
War's Cost: 6 Dead, 1 Missing, 3 Prisoners
What the War Cost Henderson County: Killed in Action: Richard Powers, Jr., Eldon Rhodes, Glenn Gardener, Ernest V. Fuqua, Jr., Hollis Creasy and Jessie M. Stanford; Missing in Action: James A. Brunt; Prisoners of War: James A. Cogburn, Raymond Milner and Allen W. Yates

The cease-fire armistice in Korea signed early this week brought a series of events cascading as Henderson Countians, along with the rest of the country, pondered the war's cost.

For Henderson County the price was: killed in action, 6; prisoners-of-war, 3; missing in action, 1. This costly drain on the county followed World War II's heavy toll which claimed some sixty-odd dead. At the end of the Korean war, the local Selective Service board said the county had approximately 306 men in the service who had registered through the board. Anxiously awaited is the release of American POWs August 5. The communists hold more than 3000 GIs and said they would release them a the rate of 400 a day. Able-bodied prisoners will be brought home on ships so they may rest and receive good food before arriving home. Sick and wounded will be flown home, the Defense Department said.

On the other side of the ledger, the Korean War brought the nation's second highest honor to a county soldier. Cpl. Earl Campbell of Wildersville was awarded the distinguished Service Cross for gallantry in action. Lesser medals awarded Henderson Countians ran over a hundred.

Close on the heels of the armistice plans came an announcement that Sec. of State John Foster Dulles, with four senators, two from each party, was leaving this week to confer with Syngman Rhee South Korea's President. Mr. Dulles also announced that the U.S. would resort to use of the veto to prevent Red China from being allowed membership in the United Nations. He also stated that a treaty between this country and Korea would probably include provisions for American bases there.

Shortly after troops began pulling back to the armistice-approved lines, the Army announced the GI tour of duty in Korea had been shortened to 16 months. The point system is out, with time and whether dependants accompanied soldiers determining the length of stay.

Selective Service official warned there would be no let-up in the draft of men for service.

More about Raymond Milner

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