Mola Lenghi, NBC 5 Arlington Reporter
Medal of Honor recipient Col. James L. Stone was laid to rest in Arlington Wednesday. He died at age 89 after a long bout with cancer.
A recipient of the Medal of Honor was laid to rest in North Texas on Wednesday.
Col. James L. Stone, of Arlington, died last week at the age of 89 after a long bout with cancer.
The colonel received his medal for his brave actions during the Korean War.
"When his platoon, holding a vital outpost position, was attacked by overwhelming Chinese forces, 1st Lt. Stone stood erect and exposed to the terrific enemy fire calmly directed his men in the defense," the U.S. Army said.
"A defensive flame-thrower failing to function, he personally moved to its location, further exposing himself, and personally repaired the weapon. Throughout a second attack, 1st Lt. Stone; though painfully wounded, personally carried the only remaining light machine gun from place to place in the position in order to bring fire upon the Chinese advancing from two directions," the Army said.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower awarded Stone the Medal of Honor in 1953, after the American hero spent 22 months in a POW camp. Stone would go on to serve a tour of duty in the Vietnam War during his 30 years in the Army.
Despite his extraordinary actions, Stone would regularly tell people he was an ordinary guy.
"This is how he was," recalled one family friend at Stone's funeral service Wednesday. "'I was just an ordinary guy,' the colonel would say. 'There were better men than me out there that night, but sometimes ordinary people are called upon to do extra ordinary things.' Col. Stone was not that interested in talking about himself that much."
When the U.S. Army wanted to name a reserve training center in Fort Worth after Stone, he responded, "Young man, can't you find someone more deserving than me?" said another close friend and Army officer who spoke at Wednesday's service.
A friend said that when he wanted his son, a U.S. Military Academy cadet, to meet Stone, his son had an image of the colonel as "a grizzled veteran champing on a half-smoked cigar, resembling something from a World War II recruitment poster."
But that's not who he found. While Stone was a colonel, a war hero and a Medal of Honor recipient, he was even more than that -- a father, a husband and a friend.
"He was one of the kindest, most humble and personable men I've ever had the pleasure to meet," one friend said.
With Stone's death, the number of living Medal of Honor recipients drops to 80.