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Kentucky National Guard Memorial

Honoring Their Sacrifice

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Hale, Nathaniel Gibson (P1, C2 L11)

Hale graveLieutenant Nathaniel Gibson Hale, 24, of Murray, Calloway County, Kentucky, died of an accidental gunshot wound on 13 January 1917 while on federal active duty with his unit near El Paso, Texas during Mexican Border Service. Hale was a member of Murray's L Company, Third Kentucky Infantry and at the time of his death was in his tent at the regimental camp, Camp Owen Bierne, some two miles from Fort Bliss, near El Paso. He was part of the Kentucky National Guard contingent called to federal duty to patrol a sixty mile stretch of the border between Fort Bliss and Fort Hancock. Hale joined the Kentucky National Guard as a private on 22 June 1912. He was promoted to Sergeant and First Sergeant and elected First Lieutenant on 10 July 1914. Hale is buried in the Murray City Cemetery in Calloway County

    General Orders, No. 1 January 20, 1917.
    General Order Book – 1917

    1. The State Headquarters learn with sorrow of the accidental death of 1st Lieutenant Nathaniel G. Hale, Company L, 3rd Kentucky Infantry, in the Federal Service, which occurred in camp at Fort Bliss, near El Paso, Texas, on the 13th instant, as the result of a gun shot wound in the head.

    2. Lieutenant Hale entered the National Guard service as a Private in Company L, 3rd Infantry, stationed at Murray, Kentucky on June 22, 1912; was promoted successively to Sergeant and First Sergeant; elected Second Lieutenant January 26, 1914; and elected First Lieutenant July 10, 1914.  He was in command of his company for many months during the absence of his Captain; he was a good rifle shot and much interested in rifle practice, and his death removes from the service an officer who has labored with conspicuous ability and success in furthering the efficiency of the National Guard.  He has the confidence and esteem of his superiors, and the respect, support, and affection of his subordinates.  He died for his country and his flag in as deep a sense as had he died on the field of battle.

    By Order of the Governor:
    J. Tandy Ellis
    The Adjutant General.

    Officer Of L Company, Third Kentucky Meets Death In Camp.

    The Courier-Journal Louisville, Kentucky 14 January 1917 p. 1, c. 7

    El Paso, Tex., Jan. 13 - Lieut. Gibson Hale, of L Company, Third Kentucky Infantry, was accidentally shot through the temple and instantly killed late this evening while seated in his tent at the regimental camp near El Paso.  A few moments prior to the accident, Lieut. Hale and some of the other officers of the regiment had been inspecting a shotgun, the property of Capt. William King, of K Company, of the same regiment.

    One of the officers slipped a ball cartridge of service ammunition into the chamber of the shotgun to ascertain whether it would fit.  The weapon was then laid aside and in some manner was discharged, the ball passing through Lieut. Hale’s temple, killing him instantly.  Capt. King and Lieut. Hale occupied adjoining tents and were warm friends.

    Shortly before the accident they had arranged for a rabbit hunt and the little shot gun was to figure in the hunt.

    Lieut. Hale comes from a fine family in Southwestern Kentucky.  His home was at Murray and the body will be sent there accompanied by an escort of officers.  Lieut. Hale was in command of the detachment of L Company, which was recently fired upon by Mexican snipers and during that rather warm skirmish acquitted himself creditably.  He was very popular with the men and officers of the regiment.

    Capt. King, whose home is at Owensboro, is greatly distressed over the accident.

    Capt. King Exonerated For Officer's Death By Board.

    The Courier-Journal Louisville, Kentucky 16 January 1917 p. 1, c. 3.

    El Paso, Tex., Jan. 15. - With impressive military ceremony the funeral of Lieut. Gibson Hale, of Murray, Ky., who was accidentally killed on Saturday evening was held this afternoon.  Col. Henry, commanding the Kentucky brigade, and many other officers of the Third Regiment attended the ceremonies, including Capt. King, who was present when Lieut. Hale was killed, Lieuts. Sory, Crump, Linten, Corn, Clark and Logan, acted as pallbearers.  While the body was being conveyed through the streets from the undertaking establishment to the passenger station, the regimental band played a funeral march, and L Company of the Third Kentucky acted as guard of honor.

    Thousands of soldiers and civilians lined the curbing and stood with bended heads while the procession passed.  At the passenger station the Murray Company stood at attention facing the barren streets of old Mexico while the casket was being carried to the train.  Presently the strains of “Taps” the soldier's last good-bye echoed in the interior of the station, L Company and the band then marched away to their camps on the outskirts of the city.  Sergeant William Hale, brother of the dead Lieutenant, left for Kentucky tonight in charge of the body.  Capt. King, of K Company, of Owensboro, who was handling a little shotgun a few moments prior to the accidental shooting of Hale, was fully exonerated to-day by a board of officers, which was presided over by Capt. Terry Humble.

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

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