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Kentucky National Guard Memorial

Honoring Their Sacrifice

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Walsh, Kenneth (P2, C4, L38)

Walsh Highlands HS_Yrbk_1938Private First Class Kenneth “Kenny” Walsh, 22, of Fort Thomas, Campbell County, was killed on 1 October 1941 when a fuel stove in a mobile field kitchen exploded near Arkadelphia, Arkansas. Walsh, a member of Battery C, 103rd Coast Artillery, was traveling in the back of a truck with a mobile field kitchen in a convoy with his unit from the Louisiana war games to their home station in Fort Sheridan, Ill.

Private First Class Marlon Combs, 22, of Carrollton, Carroll County, formerly of Covington, was also critically injured in the incident. They were both transported to the Army and Navy General Hospital in Hot Springs, Arkansas where Walsh died of his injuries.

According to newspaper accounts, the men were refueling the stove in a mobile army kitchen unit on United States Highway 67 while the convoy was moving. It is believed that the fumes from the fuel ignited and the men were unable to get out of the cage in the back of the truck. The driver continued for some distance before he became aware of what had happened. Other members of the convoy and Arkansas State Patrolman R. E. Brown who witnessed the event were able to remove them from the truck and rolled them in blankets. The state patrolman may have been accompanying the convoy. Brown rushed the two men to the nearest hospital, Townsend Hospital in Arkadelphia in his patrol car approximately two miles from the scene of the incident. Combs was able to walk into the hospital under his own power. Walsh who was much more severely burned had to be treated before he could even be moved from the patrol car but was conscious. After receiving first aid at the hospital they were moved by Army ambulance to the Army and Navy General Hospital in Hot Springs, Arkansas.

M-1937 fuel stoveIn October 1940, the 123rd Cavalry Regiment was officially disbanded and redesignated into two Coast Artillery battalions.  Half of the Regiment became the 103rd Separate Battalion, Coast Artillery (Anti-Aircraft) while the other half was converted to the 106th Separate Battalion, Coast Artillery (Anti-Aircraft).

Before going on active duty, Walsh worked at the Cloverleaf Dairy Company in Newport. He was a graduate of Highlands High School in Fort Thomas. One of his five brothers, Ones C. Walsh, Jr., was also a member of Battery C, 103rd Coast Artillery at the time of the event.

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

    Walsh Highlands HS_Yrbk_1938 2
    KY Post Oct 2 1941_p1
    Kentucky Edition, The Cincinnati Enquirer, 2 October 1941, p. 1.

Plaque Presented In Memory of Northern Kentucky Soldier
The Cincinnati Enquirer (Cincinnati, Ohio) 5 Apr 1942, Sun Page 31
cropped walsh clipping
A bronze plaque commemorating their "buddy," Kenneth Walsh, who was one of the first Northern Kentucky youths to lose his life when serving his country in World War II, was presented to the mother, Mrs. Lutie Walsh, 27 Wilbers Lane, Fort Thomas, yesterday in behalf of officers and men of Battery C, 103d Coast Artillery.
Another son Ones Walsh, Jr., Fort Sheridan, Illinois, was chosen to make the presentation as representative of the battery. A member of the same company in which his brother formerly served, he was granted a leave to perform this mission.
Kenneth was killed in the explosion of a gas stove in an army truck returning from maneuvers in Louisiana last fall.
The plaque bears a picture of Private Walsh and the following inscription:
"In memorial to Private First Class Kenneth Walsh, Battery C, 103d Coast Artillery, Battalion Anti-Aircraft Army of U.S.
"Died in the performance of his duty on October 1, 1941, at Hot Springs, Ark.
"A good soldier, trustworthy, always loyal, attentive to his duty, he was loved and admired by his fellow soldiers and officers."
Another brother, Private Robert Walsh, is stationed at Camp Shelby, Mississippi. William Walsh, a member of the staff of the Newport office of The Enquirer, also is a brother.
Captain Steve Meade, Fort Thomas, is commander of the 103d Battalion.


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

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