Sharpe, Elmer (P2, C4, L10)
Staff Sergeant Elmer Sharpe, 23, of Harrodsburg, Mercer County, perished while serving as a radio operator on a Douglas C-54B-1 (DC-4) Skymaster, a four-engine transport aircraft, when his flight went missing between India and China on 4 July 1945. His body has never been recovered and he was declared dead a year later.
Sharpe was born December 15, 1921. He joined the Kentucky National Guard at Harrodsburg, Mercer County, on 13 January 1941, and was inducted into federal service on 17 January 1941. He was called to federal active duty with his unit, Richmond's Company H, 113th Medical Regiment, 38th Infantry Division.
Sharpe was a graduate of Harrodsburg high school class of 1940. After his high school graduation he participated in a Citizens Military Training Camp held at Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana in August 1940. He was recognized with a Second Order of Merit out of some two thousand youths participating. Sharpe was attending Eastern Kentucky University during the 1940-41 term when he was called onto federal active duty.
While on active duty Sharpe was transferred to the U. S. Army Air Corps. He served for a time at Smyrna Tennessee Army Air Base before deploying overseas in January 1944 and assigned to the 1345th Army Air Force Base Unit, stationed at Kurmitola, India.
He is memorialized in the Manila American Cemetery in Manila, Philippine Islands, on the "Tablets of the Missing." He also has an in memory of headstone in the Spring Hill Cemetery, Harrodsburg, Section Z, Lot 2. Sharpe’s sister, Beatrice, served with the Women's Army Corps.
His awards and decorations include the Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal (posthumous), and the Purple Heart.
Sharpe was the Radio Operator on a Douglas C-54B Skymaster Aircraft with serial number 42-72370. The aircraft departed from Barrackpore, India on a mission to Kunming, China. The C-54 is a four-engine transport aircraft based on a DC-4 civilian airliner. His aircraft is believed to have crashed in unknown circumstances in the region of Kunming, Yunnan Province, China killing all five crew members on July 4, 1945. The flight was last heard from by radio during the flight. The other crew on the aircraft were: Cpt Edwin N. Brissey, F/O Hugh C. Ferris, Cpt Lewis H. Magin Jr., and S/Sgt James W. Stooksbury Sharpe was posthumously awarded the Air Medal for his participation in more than 150 hours of operational flight over the dangerous Assam-China Air Routes Also knows as flying the Hump.
The Hump was the name given by Allied pilots in the Second World War to the eastern end of the Himalayan Mountains over which they flew military transport aircraft from India to China to resupply the Chinese war effort of Chiang Kai-shek and the units of the United States Army Air Forces based in China.
Sharpe’s Photo Courtesy EKU Special Collections.
S/Sgt. Elmer Sharpe Declared Dead
Eastern Progress October 5, 1946 Page 4
Staff Sergeant Elmer Sharpe, formerly of Harrodsburg, has been declared officially dead by the War Department: Sgt. Sharpe had been awarded ribbons for service In the China-Burma-India Theater.
He had been listed as missing since July 4, 1945, in the same area. Sgt. Sharpe was graduated from the Harrodsburg high school in the class of 1940 and was a member of the Harrodsburg Christian Church. He volunteered for service while attending Eastern in 1940-41.
He is survived by his mother, Mrs. Stella Simpson, Louisville, and two sisters, Mrs. Harry E. Shewmaker, Dayton, Ohio, and Miss Beatrice Sharpe, who is with the Veterans Hospital at Dayton. (NOTE: Sharpe's sister Beatrice served with the Women's Army Corps during World War II. )