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Kentucky National Guard Memorial

Honoring Their Sacrifice

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Cornn, Opal E. (P2, C2, L4)

cornn opal photo findagrave clipping cropCorporal Opal Evan Cornn, 20, of London, Laurel County drowned in Lake Michigan at Fort Sheridan, Illinois on 6 August 1941 while training on federal active duty with his unit - Battery D, 103rd Separate Battalion, Coast Artillery (Anti-Aircraft).

He joined the Kentucky National Guard in August 1939 as a Private in Troop L, 123rd Cavalry. The unit converted to Battery D, 103rd Separate Battalion, Coast Artillery (Anti-Aircraft) in November 1940. He was called to federal active duty with his unit on 24 February 1941. He is buried in Pine Hill Cemetery, Corbin, Knox County, Kentucky.

Other casualties of the 103rd Antiaircraft Artillery Battalion  (Automatic Weapons) (Mobile) during World War II were: MAJ Mortimer M. Benton; PVT Buster Criswell; 1LT Hal T. Hackney; 1LT Thomas L. Hehman; T/5 Richard A. Heidkamp1LT Jeff Johnson, Jr.; PFC Kenneth Walsh and  T/5 Owen W. Whitaker.

The reorganization of the United States Army shortly before World War converted Kentucky's 123rd Cavalry on November 1, 1940, as the 103rd Coast Artillery (Antiaircraft) Separate Battalion and the 106th Coast Artillery (Antiaircraft) Separate Battalion.

The 103rd Coast Artillery (Antiaircraft) Separate Battalion the battalion began training at Fort Sheridan, Lake County, Illinois on March 4, 1942. On April 30, the 103rd left New York, arriving in Northern Ireland on May 15.  The unit was transferred to North Africa, arriving December 8.  On July 2, 1943, the 103rd left North Africa and went to Sicily.  The battalion participated in the Operation HUSKY, the Sicily Campaign from July 9 to August 17, 1943.  Departing Sicily on November 17, the 103rd arrived in Scotland on December 9 1943.  On September 29 1944, it was stationed at Belgium, remaining there until October 22.  From October 1944 to April 28, 1945, the 103rd was in Germany.  Between April 28 and May 6, the 103rd was in Czechoslovakia.  The 103rd arrived at New York November 30.  On December 1, 1945, the 103rd Antiaircraft Artillery Amphibious Automatic Weapons Battalion (Mobile) was inactivated at Camp Kilmer, New Jersey. Redesignated May 13, 1946 as the 441st Field Artillery Battalion, Kentucky National Guard with Headquarters at Lexington, Kentucky.  Currently the lineage and honors of the 103rd is carried by the 2nd Battalion, 138th Field Artillery , with Headquarters at Lexington.

    Opal Cornn Drowns in Lake Michigan

    Undated unknown clipping believed to be from the Sentinel-Echo,

    Mr. Opal Cornn, 22, son of Mr. and Mrs. Ephram Cornn, of London Rt. 1, was drowned late Tuesday afternoon in Lake Michigan at Fort Sheridan, Ill. According to a message received here Wednesday. His body at that time had not been recovered, and the details of the mishap were not given.

    Young Cornn was with Battery D, 103rd Battalion, Coast Artillery, Anti-Aircraft. He had been in training since last February.

    Surviving are his parents, seven sisters and brothers and his wife. His body will be removed to Laurel County.


    Funeral Monday For Opal Cornn

    Cornn Opal E headstoneDrowning Victim at Fort Sheridan, Where He Was in Military Training With London Troops.

    The Sentinel-Echo, August 1941.

    Funeral services for Opal Cornn, 19, soldier with Battery D, 103rd Battalion, Coast Artillery, anti-aircraft corps, who was drowned in Lake Michigan at Fort Sheridan, Illinois, last Tuesday were held at the First Baptist Church, Corbin, Monday, Aug. 11 at 10:00 a.m.

    The body arrived in London on Saturday and was taken to the home of the parents, Mr. and Mrs. Ephraim Cornn. The body was then taken to the home of the deceased’s father-in-law, Chester Burke, Corbin, Sunday, where it remained until the hour of the funeral.

    The military funeral service was conducted by Dr. Ralph Voris of Grays and Dr. Robert Stewart of London. Interment was in Pine Hill Cemetery.

    Besides the parents, survivors include the widow, Mrs. Louise Burke Cornn, six brothers, Lowell Cornn, South Bend, Ephriam Jr., Gilmore, Elmo Harold and Hershel, one sister Lorene and grandparents, Mr. F. M. Cornn and Mr. and Mrs. Jim Jones.

    Active pallbearers were: Henry Taylor, Walter Freeman, Norval Vaughn, Woodson Harris, Wilma Boggs and Harold Campbell.

    The honorary pallbearers and military escort were made up of soldiers from the U.S. Army.


The Kentucky National Guard Memorial Fund, Inc., is a recognized 501(c)(3). EIN 26-3705273

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