Charles Mitchell “Charlie” Frost Jr. SFC (Ret), 77, of Radcliff, KY, passed away Sunday, January 24, 2010 at Hardin Memorial Hospital in Elizabethtown, KY.
Charles Frost Jr. often arrived at local veterans events in a 1942 Army Jeep. He also would wear his old uniform, which he will be buried in. He was 77.
“Wherever there was something that paid a tribute or an honor to soldiers, he was there,” former state Rep. Mike Weaver said.
Frost joined the Army at age 15, and two years later was sent to battle in Korea. Serving in the 34th Infantry Regimen, 24th Division, he and his fellow GIs were ambushed several times; Frost was the lone survivor of at least two of these attacks.
After he was captured, a North Korean officer — nicknamed “The Tiger” because he was so harsh — forced him and other Americans to march 126 miles to a Chinese prison camp. The temperature at times dropped to 20 below zero.
“It just took an extremely strong person to survive that,” said Weaver, a retired Army colonel.
Only 212 out of 850 GIs survived the march. Some froze or starved to death — or died from disease. Others were shot for leaving formation. Frost — a prisoner of war from 1950 until 1953 — was bayoneted twice in the leg. He also lost a kidney because of malnutrition, according to Weaver.
Fifty years later, with Weaver’s help, he was awarded the Purple Heart medal.
Here is an interview I conducted with Frost in 2005: