[Congressional Record (Bound Edition), Volume 157 (2011), Part 7]
[Extensions of Remarks]
[Page 9040]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office, www.gpo.gov]



                         HON. CHARLES B. RANGEL

                              of new york

                    in the house of representatives

                         Monday, June 13, 2011

  Mr. RANGEL. Mr. Speaker, I rise today before you in continued 
celebration of the 60th Anniversary of the Korean war in honor of SGT 
Cornelius H. Charlton, the Hero of Hill 543. On Saturday, June 11, the 
Cornelius H. Charlton Memorial Society and the 369th Historical Society 
celebrate the bravery of Sergeant Charlton by unveiling an exhibition 
in his honor highlighting his historic exploits on Hill 543, a major 
battle during the Korean war.
  SGT Cornelius H. Charlton is one of 87 African-American Medal of 
Honor recipients. He was born on July 24, 1929, in East Gulf, West 
Virginia to Van and Clara Charlton. In 1944, the family moved to the 
Bronx, New York. Cornelius attended James Monroe High School. After 
graduation he enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1946. Initially assigned to 
an engineering group, Sergeant Charlton requested a transfer to an 
infantry unit and was placed in Company C of the 24th Infantry 
Regiment, 25th Infantry Division. The 24th Infantry, nicknamed the 
``Buffalo Soldiers,'' was the United States Army's last, all-Black, 
segregated regiment to engage in combat. Sergeant Major Charlton 
volunteered for frontline duty for this rear-echelon outfit.
  On June 2, 1951, near the village of Chipo-ri, northeast of Seoul, 
Korea, Sergeant Charlton's platoon encountered heavy resistance while 
attempting to take Hill 543. Taking command after his platoon leader 
was wounded, he regrouped his men and led an assault against the hill. 
Wounded by a grenade, Sergeant Charlton refused medical attention and 
continued to lead the charge. He single handedly attacked and disabled 
the last remaining enemy gun emplacement, suffering another grenade 
wound in the process. Sergeant Charlton succumbed to his wounds and 
died after he knocked out two Chinese machine guns guarding Hill 543. 
The North Korean and Communist Red troops had stalled United Nations 
troop advance for three days.
  Prior to that tragic battle, and ultimate sacrifice, Sergeant 
Charlton was recommended for a battlefield commission by his Commander. 
On February 12, 1952, for his actions during the battle, he was 
posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor and the Purple Heart.
  After his death, Sergeant Charlton's body was returned to the United 
States and buried in his mother's family burial place in Virginia. 
According to family members and other veterans, Sergeant Charlton was 
not buried at Arlington National Cemetery because of his race. The Army 
later stated he was not buried at Arlington because of an 
administrative oversight. In 1989, the Medal of Honor Society 
discovered Sergeant Charlton's burial site in poor condition; and in 
1990 re-interred his remains at the American Legion Cemetery in 
Beckley, West Virginia. Finally, on November 12, 2008, Sergeant 
Charlton was finally re-interred at Arlington National Cemetery.
  The Cornelius H. Charlton Memorial Society, Inc., CHCMS, a non-profit 
organization, was founded in 2010 by the family and friends of SGT 
Cornelius H. Charlton. Sergeant Charlton, a member of Company C, 24th 
Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division, was awarded the 
Congressional Medal of Honor during the Korean war, 1950-1953. The 
mission of CHCMS is to preserve the heroic legacy of Sergeant Charlton, 
while also promoting his character and leadership qualities to young 
people through its college scholarship fund.
  The 369th Historical Society Museum is housed in the 369th Regimental 
Armory, home of the famous Harlem Hellfighters. The 369th Historical 
Society is an all volunteer non-profit 501 (c) 3 organization, 
chartered by the New York State Board of Regents. Established in 1960 
to collect, preserve and maintain artifacts, books, papers, 
photographs, film and articles on the history of the 369th Regiment, 
its allies and affiliates, and of African American soldiers who served 
in the Military Service of the United States. The Museum's holdings 
consist of an extensive collection of photographs and artifacts of the 
369th soldiers from WWI to the present.
  Mr. Speaker, I ask you and my colleagues to join two very grateful 
nations in honor and in memory of our American hero, Medal of Honor and 
Purple Heart recipient, SGT Cornelius H. Charlton, as we continue to 
celebrate and remember the 60th Anniversary of the Korean war.