Charles Kohl Farabaugh

NO. 17944  •  2 February 1929 – 17 July 1952

Killed in Action 17 July 1952 near Haduch'on, North Korea, aged 23 years.


ONE OF THE youngest members of his class, Chuck was born on 2 February 1929 in Minneapolis, Minnesota; the son of Charles L. and Marie Kohl Farabaugh. After completIng grade school in St. Stephen's in Minneapolis, he moved with his family to Missoula, Montana, where he graduated from the Missoula County High School in 1946, just in time to enter West Point with the Class of 1950.

Plebe year for Chuck was filled with the usual upperclassmen doing their best to rattle him, but his natural sense of humor and characteristic cool head carried him unscathed and uncomplaining through that difficult period. Track and crosscountry were his sports and, while not the best of competitors - being more anxious for his friends' success than his own - he managed to stay with the team where he earned the sobriquet of "The Cinderella Runner," since he always managed to ramble home with the final point that spelled victory for his team.

Branch selection was not difficult for Chuck - "Army" and "Infantry" were synonymous to him. His stateside assignments were Jump School at Fort Benning, the 11th Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, and back to Fort Benning with the reactivated 508th Airborne BCT. Mid-April 1952 found him in Korea, a platoon leader in Company "A," 17th Infantry, which was on line at IlwaChon, northeast of Seoul. Chuck's character was truly unique. He was not easily impressed, nor did he try to impress anyone. He had an extremely cool head and an easygoing friendliness combined with even-tempered aggressiveness that earned him the respect and loyalty of the men he led. The brief period from April to July 1952 was among the happiest of his life, for he felt that he was making a substantial contribution to the good of his country and the welfare of his men. This is indicated by his letters to his family. "I'm enjoying this life more and more each day. I hope now to extend my tour of duty .... this is a wonderful way to live." "We ... are sitting around the stove drinking some beer and shooting the breeze - a very enjoyable evening." And Chuck did all that the ideal platoon leader would do. Following is the citation for his Distinguished Service Cross:

"First Lieutenant Charles K. Farabaugh, 062695, Infantry, United States Army. Lieutenant Farabaugh, a member of an Infantry company, distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action against the enemy in the vicinity of Haduch’on, Korea. On the afternoon of 17 July 1952, Lieutenant Farabaugh led a combat patrol deep into enemy - held territory for the purpose of locating and probing hostile troops. The patrol was surprised by a numerically superior enemy force and a fierce fire fight ensued. During the battle, Lieutenant Farabaugh observed an element of the enemy force moving slowly to the left of the patrol's position in a flanking maneuver. After carefully estimating the situation, Lieutenant Farabaugh ordered the patrol to withdraw. He then moved from his protective cover through the intense enemy fire to a position from which he could cover the threatened flank. With complete disregard for his own safety, Lieutenant Farabaugh laid down such a withering hail of fire that the hostile forces were repelled. While he was covering the withdrawal of his patrol through the cleared sector, Lieutenant Farabaugh was mortally wounded. The extraordinary heroism exhibited by Lieutenant Farabaugh on this occasion reflects great credit on himself and is in keeping with the finest traditious of the military service. Entered the Federal service front New York."

After Chuck's death, his parents received letters in tribute to his devotion to duty and ability as a leader that probably would have meant more to Chuck than all the medals the Army could bestow. From Sergeant Sullivan, his platoon sergeant: "he was aggressive yet even-tempered, and my closest remembrances of him are his steadiness under duress. Whether defeating the Chinese at close quarters or gaining an extra ration of beer for his men he was ever eager to accomplish his mission. As a rifleman in two wars I have seen strain register on many men. Of all these men, your son was the man." And from a Corporal Zilcox: "I was out on patrol with your son. He was a very good Lt. and I would go anywhere on patrol with him."

Chuck's friends and comrades salute him and feel to a man their own and the Anny's great loss.

In addition to his parents, who now live in Cornwall-on-Hudson, New York, Chuck is survived by his two sisters: Mary, the wife of Major Herbert 0. Brennan, USAF, now stationed at the Air Force Academy; and Barbara, the wife of Mr. John F. Rhodes, presently at the University of Texas, Austin, Texas.