KENNETH TED VANNETT
Branch: U. S. Army
Status: Died of wounds
Date of Service: Korean War
Home Town: Shevlin
1. Kenneth Vannett 2. Sharon, Kenneth, Marvin and Delbert Vannett 3. Sharon, Kenneth, Marvin and Delbert Vannett 4. Sharon, Kenneth and Marvin Vannett confirmation 5. Kenneth Vannett and Marie Payne of Faribault 6. Kenneth’s headstone in Rice Free Lutheran Cemetery near Zerkel
Kenneth Ted Vannett was born December 3, 1931 in Rice Township, Clearwater County, Minnesota to Clarence and Signe Otterkil Vannett. They had four children: Delbert, Marvin, Kenneth and Sharon. Signe and Clarence divorced and Signe and children moved to Shevlin Township in 1939. They lived there until 1946 when the home they were living in burned down and they moved to Albert Lea.
Kenneth was a Boy Scout and gave assistance to the Kenny polio drive. He was described as a friendly young man with a very sunny disposition. He enlisted in the Army at Albert Lea on August 18th of 1949 and was sent to Occupied Japan in February of 1950. He sent letters to his mother Signa from Japan in which he spoke about getting married to Marie Payne from Fairbault, Minnesota.
Meanwhile, Kenneth’s mother married John O. Solberg, a carpenter who worked for the railroad, in 1950 and added John’s children John Jr, Howard, Kenneth and Marian to the family. They lived south of Shevlin in Moose Creek Township.
Kenneth was a member of Battery A, 26th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Automatic Weapons Battalion, 24th Infantry Division when the Korean conflict broke out in July of 1950. His Battalion was immediately sent to Korea, even though the unexpectedness of the mobilization had left U.S. divisions with only a third of their infantry and artillery units. Kenneth was with the 24th Division during the Battle of Taejon in mid-July, 1950, when the headquarters of the 24th Infantry Division were attacked by numerically superior forces of the Korean People’s Army at Taejon. According to the article “Battle of Taejon,” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Taejon), “The entire 24th Division gathered to make a final stand around Taejon, holding a line along the Kum River to the east of the city. Hampered by a lack of communication and equipment, and a shortage of heavy weapons to match the KPA’s firepower, the outnumbered, ill-equipped and untrained American forces were pushed back from the riverbank after several days before fighting an intense urban battle to defend the city. After a fierce three-day struggle, the Americans withdrew.”
The withdrawal was not a victory, but it did achieve a delay, giving time for other American division to establish a defensive perimeter around Pusan further south.
Private Kenneth T. Vannett was seriously wounded when a missile struck him while fighting the enemy near Tuman-Ri on July 16. He died the next day.
Kenneth’s body was returned to his family and buried in Rice Free Lutheran Cemetery near Zerkel with military honors. He was awarded the Purple Heart, the Korean Service Medal, the United Nations Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Korean Presidential Unit Citation and the Republic of Korea War Service Medal. He was 19 years old.