LAVERN EDWARD MAPLE
Branch: U. S. Army
Status: Killed in action
Date of Service: Korean War
Home Town: Eddy Township
Lavern Edward Maple was born November 24, 1926 in Eddy Township, Clearwater County, Minnesota to Martin C. and Nora Caroline Narveson Maple. Martin Maple was a farmer and a butcher who had lived in the Clearbrook area all his life. Nora’s dad Hans A Narveson was a pioneer settler of the Pine Lake area and one of the first members of the Silver Creek Lutheran Church. Lavern had three sisters and two brothers: Joyce, Marlene, Caroline, Norris and Richard. He attended Clearbrook public schools and was confirmed at the First Lutheran Church in Clearbrook in June of 1943. Lavern was a typical Clearbrook youth who loved baseball. After graduation he worked for a time at the Clearbrook Cooperative Creamery.
In order to provide the forces necessary in Korea, President Truman had extended the Selective Service Act in July of 1950, called up all the Reserves and extended all existing terms of enlistment by twelve months. Lavern was inducted on the 19th of September, 1950 and was with the first contingent of draftees to be called up under this stepped-up draft. His co-draftees were Arvid Emmel of Clearbrook and Kenneth Martine and Theron Beckman of Bagley.
Lavern was trained to be a light weapons infantryman and almost immediately after completing training was sent to Korea to be part of the 38th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division.
In mid-May of 1951 the 2nd Infantry Division occupied the center position of the “No Name Line,” a 16-mile line stretching 16 miles along the crest of a great hill-mass separating the Hongchon and Soyang rivers. The 38th Infantry held four miles of the line and anchored its defense on Hill 800, which they later nicknamed “Bunker Hill.” The regiment had constructed 23 heavily fortified bunkers on and around the hill protected by sandbags, barbed wire and 39 55-gallon fougasse drums.
A large Chinese offensive began on the afternoon of May 16th. U. S. forces were soon pushed from a portion of the hill, but their counter-attack the next day regained the crest. Fighting was fierce and deadly. At daylight on May 19th, the Chinese disengaged and left the area, but Private Lavern Maple would never see the victory. He had been killed in action on May 18, 1951.
Lavern’s body was shipped back to Clearbrook and memorial services were held at the First Evangelical Lutheran Church in Clearbrook. Honorary pallbearers were Clarence Knutson, George Knutson, Art Wildmo, Durwood Peterson, Glen Stockman and Gordon Paulson. Lavern was buried in Silver Creek Cemetery near Clearbrook.
Lavern was awarded the Purple Heart, the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, the Korean Service Medal, the United Nations Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal and the Korean War Service Medal. He was 25 years old.