HARTFORD — One of Mason County’s heroes will be honored this Saturday during a ceremony dedicating a bridge in his honor.
Cpl. John L. Gibbs was a local resident who was killed in the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) on July 21, 1967. At 10 a.m. Saturday, the bridge across Sliding Creek in Hartford on W.Va. 62 will be dedicated in his memory.
Guest speakers will be Dels. Scott Cadle and Jim Butler, who helped get the project completed and push legislation through to make the dedication happen. The public is invited to attend and colors will be presented by an elite unit of the West Virginia National Guard.
Gibbs was killed along with two other Americans while serving with the 2nd Battalion 23rd Infantry Battalion 2nd Infantry Division at a forward bunker on the DMZ. Since the armistice was signed ending the Korean War, between 300-400 Americans have been killed serving the U.S.
The official resolution states “Corporal John Leslie Gibbs was born on Nov. 1, 1944, one of 12 children born to the late Charles and Sadie Gibbs of Hartford. Whereas, Corporal John L. Gibbs entered the United States Army on Aug. 23, 1966. As a private first class, he was serving as a member of Company B, 2d Battalion, 23d Infantry, 2d Infantry Division, one of the forward elements of the United Nations Command enforcing the Korean Armistice of 1953. On July 16, 1967, PFC John L. Gibbs was in a foxhole south of the Korean Demilitarized Zone when his position was suddenly attacked by North Korean infiltrators under the cover of dense fog and darkness. A furious fire fight erupted and PFC John L. Gibbs and two of his fellow soldiers were killed.”
On July 15, 1967, PFC John L. Gibbs was posthumously promoted to the grade of corporal, and was awarded the Purple Heart on Aug. 10, 1967, for wounds received in action in Korea resulting in his death. The bridge will now be known as the “U.S. Army Corporal John L. Gibbs Memorial Bridge.”