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Charles Edward
Criss. Photo taken February 14, 1953, while on first furlough after basic training.

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Charles Edward Criss
1932-1953

Charles was liked by all of his associates. He was an excellent soldier, performing all tasks assigned to him in a cheerful and efficient manner, thereby winning the respect of his superiors and that of his comrades.

Claude M. Howard, Commanding Colonel

On February 27, 1932 in Denver, West Virginia, Earl Rawley and Flossie Wolfe Criss gave birth to their son, Charles Edward Criss. Charles grew up in a big family, which included his twelve siblings, Dorsey, Harry, Clarence, Dessie, Lora, Margaret, Ruby, Gertrude, Bonnie, Esther, Hilda and Dorothy. Charles attended Denver Elementary School, where he maintained "Faithful Attendance" for fourth, fifth and sixth grades. He completed the Pioneer's Year of West Virginia Club in fifth grade and Explorers the next year. Charles also attended the Tunnelton Methodist Church from the time he was young through high school. Again, Charles illustrated his devotion to attendance by receiving "Faithful Attendance" at Vacation Bible School. Charles Criss (in stripped
shirt) with his sister, Bonnie, nieces and nephews.
Charles Criss (in stripped shirt) with his sister, Bonnie, nieces and nephews

Charles Edward Criss,
Senior
year at Tunnelton High School, 1950
Charles Edward Criss, Senior year at Tunnelton High School, 1950
When Charles grew older, he entered Tunnelton High School. During high school, he played basketball for the school, which awarded him the "T letter" for his achievements in basketball. His high school friends remembered Charles for his smile and sense of humor. After graduating from high school on May 26, 1950, he worked for Westinghouse until the government drafted him in September 1952. The Army sent Charles to Korea in November, where he became a member of the 65th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Division. During his years of service, he was wounded by the enemy and earned the rank of Corporal. The government awarded Charles the United Nations Service Medal, Korean Service Medal, Bronze Service Star, Ribbon Bar and Gold Star Lapel Button.
On July 21, 1953, while protecting his position against attack, enemy artillery fire killed Corporal Charles Edward Criss. A neighbor of Mr. and Mrs. Criss assisted the Western Union office in delivering the dreadful news by calling some of the children home to be with their parents. The news came as a shock to the elderly couple. Charles had written a letter to his parents only two days earlier. Five days after Charles' death, an armistice was signed, bringing a truce in Korea. For his service, including the giving of his life, the government awarded Corporal Charles Edward Criss the Purple Heart. He body was returned home and buried in Denver Cemetery. Criss and friend taken atop
of new fighting bunker between May 25 and 30, 1953.
Criss and friend taken atop of new fighting bunker between May 25 and 30, 1953

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