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Darwin Kyle


Medal of Honor recipient Darwin Keith Kyle (June 1, 1918-February 16, 1951) was born in Jenkins, Kentucky, and raised in Midway, Boone County. He enlisted in the Army in 1939. During World War II, he fought in France and Germany, earning both the Silver and Bronze stars.

After his discharge in August 1945, Kyle returned to West Virginia. He reenlisted in the Army in July 1947 and was assigned to the 6th Infantry Division in Korea as part of the occupation force. When the Korean War broke out in June 1950, Master Sergeant Kyle was assigned to Fort Devens, Massachusetts. In September 1950, Kyle’s unit, Company K, 7th Infantry Regiment, 3d Infantry Division, was sent to Korea. During the retreat at the port city of Hungnam in December 1950, Kyle was credited with moving injured men to safety while under gunfire. For his heroism and leadership abilities, Kyle received a battlefield promotion to second lieutenant in January 1951.

On February 16, 1951, the new platoon leader was given orders to remove Chinese defenders from their position near Kamil-ni northeast of Suwon. In an intense exchange between the American and Chinese forces, Kyle took out one emplacement with a grenade and killed the three-man crew. He killed four enemy soldiers in hand-to-hand combat until he was shot and killed.

Kyle was buried in Sunset Memorial Park Cemetery in South Charleston on September 27, 1951. His widow, Betty Kyle, and two daughters, received his posthumous Medal of Honor on January 16, 1952. A school in South Charleston was named in his honor in 1955, and in May 1996, a bridge at Madison was named the Lt. Darwin K. Kyle Memorial Bridge.

Written by Henry Franklin Tribe