Dec. 7, 1941; Nov. 22, 1963; and Sept. 11, 2001 - days forever etched in Americans' memories.
Floyd Pelfrey of Grovetown, who will turn 73 today, will never forget is Oct. 13, 1951. On Monday, the Richmond County Historical Society will place a bronze plaque on the Heroes Overlook monument at Riverwalk Augusta in honor of Pelfrey's actions that day.
Then 22 years old, the Kentucky native was fighting near Pnagdangdong-ni, Korea, with the 5th Infantry Regiment of the 24th Infantry Division.
"We were overrun by Chinese and North Koreans," said Pelfrey, who received the Distinguished Service Cross for his heroism that day. "They hit us hard.
"There were 41 in the platoon, and more than half were wounded or killed."
After he watched his platoon leader fall to the ground, Pelfrey took charge of the men.
"I took a machine gun and got in a (enemy) trench," he said. "I zapped a bunch of them. I did it because they were going to wipe my company out."
The Army's official paperwork for the medal stated that "with utter disregard for his personal safety, Sergeant Pelfrey singlehandedly charged the enemy position and destroyed it with hand grenades. Twice more, the platoon was stopped short of their objective by deadly accurate fire from enemy emplacements and both times Sergeant Pelfrey assaulted them in such an aggressive manner that they were successfully neutralized. Sergeant Pelfrey charged forward, and his men, inspired by his fearless action, overran the enemy position and inflicted numerous casualties among the hostile troops."
Pelfrey was drafted into the Army sent to Korea after basic training. He was 21 years old.
Pelfrey immediately learned to be wary of the enemy.
On his first night there, he was awakened in his foxhole by a voice in perfect English saying, "Hey Joe."
Minutes later, there was gunfire. He and his buddies threw out three hand grenades. The next morning, they found five dead North Koreans not far from where they slept.
Had Pelfrey responded to the voice, he wouldn't be alive today, he said.
The North Koreans and Chinese were formidable enemies, he said.
"They could put (mortars) in your back pocket if you didn't have it buttoned-down they were so accurate," he said.
He saw many battles but was not injured. He was honorably discharged in July 1952. In addition to the Distinguished Service Cross, he was awarded a Silver Star and two Bronze Stars.
The Richmond County Historical Society has been working for three years to get the necessary paperwork to honor Pelfrey at Heroes Overlook.
Only veterans who received the Distinguished Service Cross, the Navy Service Cross or Congressional Medal of Honor are memorialized on the wall with a bronze plaque, said Vicki Greene of the Richmond County Historical Society.
Pelfrey's will be the 27th plaque erected on the wall.
Monday's ceremony will pay tribute to veterans of all wars, but special recognition will be given to Korean War veterans, Greene said.
Maj. Gen. John P. "Pat" Cavanaugh, Fort Gordon's commanding general, will be the keynote speaker.
At 1 p.m. Monday, the Richmond County Historical Society will place a bronze plaque on the Heroes Overlook monument in honor of Floyd Pelfrey, who won the Distinguished Service Cross in Korea. The Veterans Day event will honor veterans of all wars. Heroes Overlook is on Riverwalk Augusta at 10th Street.
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