Harold Ray Gunnoe

1924 - 1966

Korean WarWWII

Their Story

Harold Ray Gunnoe was born September 8, 1924, in Boone County, West Virginia, the son of Edward H. and Mandie Gunnoe.  Harold attended school until the 4th grade, then left school to work. This was common in those days, especially in rural America. In 1940, his father was a coal loader for the coal mining industry.[1]

On December 26, 1942, Harold registered for the draft at the age of 18 years. At that time, he was living in Sylvester, Boone County, West Virginia. He was described as being 5 foot, 2 inches, 120 pounds, with light complexion, brown eyes, and blonde hair.[2]

The next year, Harold was inducted into the Army on July 31, 1943.[3] After training he was assigned to the 27th Ordnance Maintenance Company, 1st Cavalry Division[4] and sent to the Pacific Theater.

In February 1943, the 1st Cavalry Division was alerted for overseas assignment as a dismounted unit.[5] The 27th Ordnance Company was redesignated as the 27th Ordnance Medium Maintenance Company, and prepared for movement to the Southwest Pacific as foot Soldiers. On July 26, the Division arrived at Brisbane, Australia, and marched to their new home, Camp Strathpine, Queensland. This is where Private Gunnoe joined the 27th Ordnance Medium Maintenance Company.

After six months of intense combat jungle warfare training in Camp Strathpine, Australia, the 1st Cavalry Division sailed for the Admiralty Islands. It was time for the 1st Cavalry Division to receive their first baptism by fire. In the battles that followed in New Guinea, Bismarck, Leyte, and Luzon,[6] the 27th Ordnance Medium Maintenance Company established a reputation of professionalism in performing its duties.

In December 1944, Harold was admitted to the hospital with a hernia. He was discharged that same month.[7]

On September 8,1945, 1st Cavalry Division arrived in Japan as part of the occupation forces. On September 16, 1945, the 1st Cavalry Division was given the responsibility for occupying the entire city of Tokyo. The 27th Ordnance Medium Maintenance Company garrison assignment was at Camp Drake near Tokyo. Harold Gunnoe was now a corporal.

The year 1946 was a welcome relief as the dawning of peace for the 1st Cavalry Division. The days of privation, hardship, suffering, and death were over for the first time since arriving in the Pacific. The following years of the occupation found the 1st Cavalry Division in control of Tokyo, the capital of Japan. On March 25, 1949, the 27th Ordnance Medium Maintenance Company was redesignated as the 27th Ordnance Maintenance Company.

On July 18, 1950, the 1st Cavalry Division was ordered to South Korea. Initially scheduled to make an amphibious landing at Inchon, it was redirected to the southeastern coast of South Korea at Pohang-dong, a port 80 miles north of Pusan. The North Korean Army was only 25 miles away when elements of the 1st Cavalry Division came ashore to successfully make the first amphibious landing of the Korean War.

The 27th Ordnance Maintenance Company provided maintenance support for the 1st Cavalry Division during the defense of the Pusan Perimeter, the breakout from Pusan and crossing of the 38th Parallel into North Korea, the movement to Pyongyang, and the retreat back south of the 38th Parallel.

On December 8, 1951, Harold flew from Honolulu to Travis Air Force Base in California.[8]

In January 1952, the 1st Cavalry Division was ordered back to Japan.  This is when Corporal Gunnoe returned to the United States. He traveled on the troop ship USS General George M. Randall (AP-115).[9] 

After being discharged from the Army, Harold settled in Chicago, Illinois. He was living in Chicago in 1961 when his brother, Edward Howard Gunnoe, died at the age of 38 from a self-inflicted gunshot wound after setting fire to the house where he was living.[10] Edward had been a Veteran of WWII. Harold died in Cook County, Chicago on February 10, 1966.[11] He is buried at the Rock Island National Cemetery.

Bronze Star Medal and Ribbon

Awarded For: “Heroic or meritorious achievement or service”
 Presented by: Presented by
United States Department of the Army
United States Department of the Navy
United States Department of the Air Force
United States Department of Homeland Security
 Status:Currently Awarded 
EstablishedExecutive Order 9419, 4 February 1944
First awarded4 February 1944 (retroactive through 7 December 1941)   Wikipedia contributors, “Bronze Star Medal,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, Bronze Star Medal – Wikipedia(accessed July 6, 2022).    

WWII Draft Registration Cards – Fold3

USS General George M. Randall (AP-115) – Wikipedia

Harold Ray Gunnoe’s memorial page – Honor Veterans Legacies at VLM (va.gov)







[1] 1940 United States Federal Census – Ancestry.com

[2] Page 1 WWII Draft Registration Cards – Fold3

[3] U.S., World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1946 – Ancestry.com

[4] Harold Ray Gunnoe (1924-1966) – Find a Grave Memorial

[5] 27 SPT History – 1st Cavalry Division Association (1cda.org)

[6] 1st Cavalry Division Artillery (United States) – Wikipedia

[7] U.S., World War II Hospital Admission Card Files, 1942-1954 – Ancestry.com

[8] California, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists, 1882-1959 – Ancestry.com

[9] Page 1052 Navy Muster Rolls, 1949-1971 – Fold3

[10] 02 Nov 1961, Page 10 – Beckley Post-Herald at Newspapers.com

[11] Cook County, Illinois Death Index, 1908-1988 – Ancestry.com