After 74 years, the Masterson family learns what happened to their uncle in WWII
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn —
Marshall Masterson grew up in Soddy, Tennessee and died while fighting in World War II.
His family never knew how he died, but a man in Utah named Fred Korner did.
"He told my mother. The first words out of his mouth were 'my friend Marshall Masterson was killed and I was there, and it hurt,'" Brenda Korner-Carey, Fred Korner's daughter, said. "He never spoke about it again, and for seventy-four years my father kept that in his mind and in his heart."
Fred Korner and Marshall Masterson were fighting in the Battle of the Bulge. They were near Elsenborn Ridge when a mortar shell hit near their fox hole. The blast injured Mr. Korner. The blast killed Marshall Masterson.
"We started talking and he started opening up and telling me the story of how he and Marshall were very good friends," Brenda Korner- Carey said.
Doris Jenkins never got the chance to meet her uncle Marshall, but she heard stories about him her whole life.
"We knew he died at the Battle of the Bulge, but we never knew how," Doris said.
Three months ago Doris was researching her family history online, and she found a letter that Brenda had written. It told the story of how Marshall Masterson was killed in Belguim in January 1945.
"They had to get on their stomachs and crawl to a stream to get fresh water." Brenda Korner-Carey said. "They were taking turns doing that, and for some reason it was my dad's turn and Marshall said "Captain, I'll go this time and you stay back."
Mr. Korner told his daughter that Marshall was only two feet away when they were hit.
"She said that he would cry when he would think about Marshall or try to talk about Marshall," Doris Jenkins said. "He couldn't even bring it up he was so burdened by Marshall, and you know Marshall basically died in his place."
This is the first Memorial Day that Doris and the rest of her family knows what happened to their uncle. She says that she feels like she has gained a member of the family now that she has gotten to know Brenda.
Brenda wears a bracelet everyday to remind herself of the friend that meant so much to her father. It has the place and the date when Marshall Masterson was killed serving our country. There is also a short message for Marshall at the bottom.
"'Dad has not forgotten you' What an honor," Doris said. "Everyone asks her about that bracelet and she gets a chance to tell everyone about Marshall."
Marshall Masterson and Fred Korner fought together in the Battle of Elsenborn Ridge in the Battle of the Bulge. That was the only area where the Germans were stopped during the initial offensive of the Battle of the Bulge