VIRGIL ELLSWORTH LUNDY
Branch: U. S. Army
Status: Killed in action
Date of Service: Korean War
Home Town: Greenwood Township
Virgil Lundy’s headstone in Samhold Lutheran Church in Gonvick
Virgil Ellsworth Lundy was born January 16, 1920 in Williston, North Dakota to parents Oscar Melvin and Christine Moen Lundy. Oscar was a Wisconsin native and Christine had been born in Norway and immigrated to the U.S. in 1902. Oscar’s parents homesteaded in Greenwood Township in 1897 and moved to Leon Township ten years later. When Oscar and Christine were first married Oscar went to work for a farmer in Fisher, Minnesota and then in a coal mine in Orthell, North Dakota briefly before moving to a farm of his own in Greenwood Township. Oscar and Christine had three sons: Curtis, Virgil and Melvin.
Virgil completed 8th grade then went to work on the family farm. When he registered for the WWII draft in July of 1941 he was working for his uncle, Harold Fletcher of Bagley. He was 5’10” tall and weighed 160 pounds, with blue eyes and brown hair.
Virgil enlisted in the Army Reserves and was a member of Able Company, 1st Battalion, 19th infantry Regiment, 24th Infantry Division when the Korean conflict opened in June of 1950. The regiment had been stationed at Camp Chickamauga in Beppu on the island of Krushu in Occupied Japan at the time.
The unexpectedness of the mobilization had left U.S. divisions with only a third of their infantry and artillery units and all units were understrength with low ammunition reserves. General Walker, Commander of all UN ground forces, tried to gain time through extended defensive delaying actions. The price of engaging the enemy with an inadequate force was dear, however.
According to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency’s profile of MIA Corporal Donwin Ross Peterson who was in the same battalion as Virgil, here is what happened to the 19th Regiment. “On the evening of July 15, 1950, the U.S. Army’s 19th Infantry Regiment held defensive positions along the south bank of the Kum River. As dusk approached, North Korean People’s Army (NKPA) tanks appeared on the opposite shore and began firing on the U.S. positions. Although U.S. troops repulsed the attacks that evening, the next morning the NKPA crossed the river and launched a major attack against the 19th Regiment. As the regiment began withdrawing south to Taejon, the North Koreans pushed deep into their defensive lines and set up a roadblock en route to Taejon. When retreating American convoys could not break through the roadblock, soldiers were forced to leave the road and attempt to make their way in small groups across the countryside. Of the 900 soldiers in the 19th Infantry when the Battle of Kum River started, only 434 made it to friendly lines.” https://dpaa.secure.force.com/dpaaProfile?id=a0Jt0000004b2mZEAQ
One of the losses was Corporal Virgil E. Lundy, who was killed in action at Kum River on July 16, 1950. Virgil’s body was sent home and he was buried with military honors in Samhold Lutheran Cemetery, Gonvick. Virgil was 30 years old.