Ceremony held to remember Russell County veteran killed in Korean War

Ernest Robertson graduated high school in Russell County in 1947. Just three years later, he enlisted in the U.S. Army to fight in the Korean War.

While there, he was wounded in combat and taken as a prisoner of war by North Korean forces. He died in the POW camp on May 6, one day after his 24th birthday.

He was buried somewhere north of the DMZ along the North Korea/South Korea border. His remains have never been recovered, but that hasn’t stopped Ernest’s family from remembering him and learning more about him.

Randy Robertson has devoted an extensive amount of time learning about the uncle he never knew. Randy’s parents, Edwin and Joann (Edmonds) are Russell County natives, and he spent most of his childhood summers in Russell County.

A retired U.S. Army Officer himself, Randy worked with several people like Russell County Judge Executive Gary Robertson and Russell County Public Library Director Lindsey Westerfield to hold a recognition ceremony for Ernest at the library on Wednesday.

Russell County Judge Executive Gary Robertson speaks at Wednesday’s ceremony.

The ceremony included several artifacts, including a medal presented to the Robertson family on a 2019 trip to South Korea by the South Korean Government in recognition of Ernest’s contributions and sacrifice.

“A couple years ago, by virtue of being with the military, I was invited to come to Korea for briefings about activities that are ongoing to un-inter soldiers and sailors who were killed in the Korean War,” Randy said. “My uncle was one of them and through Judge Robertson, we linked up and were able to bring back some of this to Russell Springs.”

The plaque will continue to be displayed in the Russell County Public Library, along with citations from State Rep. Josh Branscum, State Sen. Max Wise, and U.S. Rep. James Comer.

Ernest was the first cousin of Russell County Judge Executive Gary Robertson.

“His mother and my mother are actually sisters,” Robertson said. “He was killed prior to my birth and I heard about him through my mother and her sister for many years. They always wanted to have some type of closure because they didn’t really know what happened. Since Randy has taken this on the last few years, he’s found out more information and hopefully one of these days, we’ll be able to recover his body and get a proper burial for him. This is at least some type of closure to have for the family to have this ceremony.”

The ceremony included presentations by the Russell County DAV Honor Guard and sharing of memories by people who knew Ernest such as Dr. Raymond Cravens, who grew up with Ernest.

The Russell County DAV Honor Guard.

About Ernest Robertson

Ernest Robertson was born in Russell County on May 5, 1927. He was the son of Wallace and Gladys Robertson, and was the oldest sibling to Edwin, Geraldine and Charles. He graduated high school in 1947.

After enlisting in the U.S. Army, he trained at Fort Knox between Sept. 1950 and Jan. 1951. He left the United States on Jan. 31, 1951, and was assigned to the U.S. Army’s Far East Command, M Company, 19th Infantry Regiment, 24th Infantry Division.

The plaque presented to the Robertson family by the South Korean government.
Randy Robertson holds a photo of his uncle, Ernest Robertson.
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Zac Oakes is the News and Sports Director for LakerCountry.com and Laker Country WJRS 104.9 FM.