Jerry Summers: Charles “Duke” Pearman - Korean War POW

Tuesday, November 19, 2019 - by Jerry Summers
Jerry Summers
Jerry Summers

The Southeast Tennessee area has had many war heroes in both World Wars and Korea.  The acts of courage of Charles Coolidge of Signal Mountain, Tennessee, Desmond Doss of Flintstone, Georgia, and Paul Huff of Cleveland, Tennessee, have been well documented in the news media over the years and the accolades are well deserved. 

 

However, there is a young man from Athens, Tennessee, who along with thousands of other young soldiers participated in the Korean War conflict and was captured after eight months of service to his country and was incarcerated as a prisoner of war for 28 months.  He was released on August 10, 1953, after a cease fire agreement was reached with the North and South Koreans and allied forces on both sides. 

 

Although not recognized as a decorated war hero, Corporal Charles “Duke” Pearman was not forgotten by his hometown of Athens, Tennessee and on October 1, 1953, a parade was held in his honor.  Flanked by his father and uncle in an open Cadillac convertible “he smiled only slightly as he nodded to the cheering hundreds of citizens assembled along the parade route in downtown Athens.” 

 

In an article in the Chattanooga Times in August 1993 entitled Athens Honored a POW in 1953 reporter Bill Casteel described the events of the celebration on October 1, 1953.  Some two thousand citizens turned out to unroll the welcome mat for Athens’ only known soldier who had been held captive by the North Koreans. 

 

At the end of the parade route a ceremony presided over by Mayor J.P.

Cartwright took place at the McMinn County Courthouse and Duke was presented with several items including a $500.00 war bond, a key to the city, a scroll with the names of several hundred well-wishers, numerous gift certificates by local merchants, and membership cards in the local American Legion and Veteran of Foreign War by the local chapters. 

 

Pearman later moved to Winter Haven, Florida, and became a successful carpenter.  Like many POW’s who survived the war he received a large amount of back pay.  He related that he bought a new Ford automobile and started drinking.  A bad automobile accident that almost resulted in his death changed his involvement with alcohol.  He subsequently joined a church and became an ordained preacher and restored several area churches for approximately 24 years before going into construction work. 

 

Years later Pearman recalled that he wished he could go back to Athens and thank the persons who set up and conducted the parade that honored him for his military service as he had realized that “it means so much more to me now than it did back then.” 

 

Duke Pearman’s experience was a reminder that every young man who served their country was a hero although not all were recognized and honored by their hometown.  Fortunately, Athens, Tennessee, on October 1, 1953, was one that did not. 


* * *

Jerry Summers can be reached at jsummers@summersfirm.com

Charles "Duke" Pearman
Charles "Duke" Pearman

Fashionetta 2019 Will Be Dec. 14

Christmas At The Courthouse School Performances Continue Next Week

CDOT Announces Events And Road Closures For Dec. 7-8


The Ivy Rose Foundation, Inc. and the Pi Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.’s triennial production of Fashionetta will be held Saturday, Dec. 14, at the Chattanooga Convention ... (click for more)

The annual Christmas at the Courthouse concert series showcase will continue next week with student ensembles from 11 more Hamilton County Schools set to perform. “This decades-old tradition ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Department of Transportation announces the following events and road closures for Dec. 7-8: MainX24 MainX24 Parade - East and West Main Street between Stayton Street and ... (click for more)


Happenings

Fashionetta 2019 Will Be Dec. 14

The Ivy Rose Foundation, Inc. and the Pi Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.’s triennial production of Fashionetta will be held Saturday, Dec. 14, at the Chattanooga Convention Center at 6 p.m. This year’s theme is “Fashionetta 2019 – A Dream Comes True.” Fashionetta is a traditional expansion program of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. that was conceived in ... (click for more)

Christmas At The Courthouse School Performances Continue Next Week

The annual Christmas at the Courthouse concert series showcase will continue next week with student ensembles from 11 more Hamilton County Schools set to perform. “This decades-old tradition for Hamilton County Government recognizes public servants and elected officials with sounds of the season provided by students from elementary, middle, and high schools in Hamilton County ... (click for more)

Breaking News

Chattanooga Man Charged With Killing Huntsville Police Officer

A Chattanooga man has been charged with killing a Huntsville Police officer on Friday night. LaJeromeny Brown, 41, is facing a capital murder charge.was arrested Friday night. Police had set up a drug buy at a house on Levert Street. Police said Brown immediately shot Billy Clardy III. He was struck outside his bulletproof vest. Brown tried to flee, but was soon captured. ... (click for more)

Woman Dies From Injuries Sustained In Wreck Last Tuesday At Frazier Avenue And River Street

A woman has died from injuries sustained last Tuesday in a wreck at Frazier Avenue and River Street. The victim was Glenda Harris, 61. At approximately 5:55 a.m., the Chattanooga Police Department's Traffic Unit responded to 400 Frazier Ave. on the single-vehicle traffic crash. The Dodge Ram 1500 driven by Ms. Harris was traveling east on Frazier Avenue. It merged onto ... (click for more)

Opinion

A Better Plan Is Needed For Quarry Golf Course At Mountain Creek

With regard to the ongoing saga of the old Quarry golf course and its proposed development, I reject the proposed plan endorsed by the North Chickamauga Creek Conservancy (Chattanoogan - Breaking News 11/30/2019) and believe a better outcome can be achieved. There is a middle ground that involves all R-1 construction including preserving the tree, greenspace, streams and ponds. ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Saturday Funnies

Hot dog for every December and here we go! We at The Saturday Funnies relish in each December because it is during this time many of the best stories are borne. From Thanksgiving to Christmas each year is a “busy street” and over these holidays, which we dutifully celebrate because of a very real and ever-revealing Christ-child, and not just from the teacher’s advancement, we will ... (click for more)