Friday, February 2, 2018

Sergeant First Class Orlando Huntoon

UPDATE 23 OCT 2018: 
A few misplaced letters of the alphabet make a huge difference.  The Internet makes multiple reference to "SFC Hun Toon of Vermont." That appellation is apparent in a clerical error in the caption applied to the lower left of the image shown above.  No wonder I could not find a trace of him in the U.S. Censuses from 1900 to 1940.  Thanks to Robert C. Mackowiak, we have a proper accounting of Master Sergeant Orlando Huntoon (1898-1972), who rests in the U.S. Soldiers' and Airmen's Home Cemetery in Washington, D.C. Okay, he was age 51 in this image, but still, that's a rather advanced age for a foot soldier.  Check out the Mackowiak link for more of MSgt. Huntoon's story.

The Truman Library digital archive includes this image  (Accession Number: 2007-713) of Sergeant First Class Hun Toon, age 52, from Vermont. Taken in July 1950, the image shows SFC Toon, with carbine in hand, deployed to Korea with the 24th Infantry Division for his third war. You see, SFC Toon had already earned service ribbons for participation in World Wars I and II. I have yet to see any other statistical vestige of Hun Toon's existence - not in the U.S. Censuses from 1900 to 1940 or in the Korean War Casualty Database. Nothing. My guess is that "Hun Toon" is a derivative of a more formal given appellation. It's up to our collective imagination to picture SFC Toon leading a squad of teenage boys over hills and through rice paddies during the early battles of the Korean War.

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