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Whyley Elton Josh

West Virginia
Veterans Memorial

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Whyley Elton Josh
1947-1967

“A hero is some who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.”

Joseph Campbell

Specialist 5 (Sgt.) Whyley Elton Josh was born on April 3, 1947, in Morgantown, West Virginia, to Alice Opal Wells Josh and Elton Frank Josh. The family later moved to Ritchie County, where Whyley attended Harrisville Grade School.
Whyley Elton Josh
Whyley Elton Josh, age 3

Whyley Elton Josh
Whyley Elton Josh, 1st grade
Whyley grew up in the Harrisville area. One of his favorite things to do as a boy was to fish. His uncle would take the family fishing a lot, and Whyley enjoyed that. The family later moved to Spencer in Roane County because his mother got a job there. He then attended Spencer and Walton schools. His first car was a blue and white Olds given to him by his half-sister.

Whyley joined the Army on June 3, 1964. He was just seventeen years old. He received his basic training at Fort Knox, Kentucky, and special training at Fort Dix, New Jersey. He served two years in Germany, returning to the states in December 1966, after which he was stationed at Fort Knox until his assignment to Vietnam on August 27, 1967 (just sixteen days after his marriage). For his service in Vietnam, Specialist 5 Josh received the Bronze Star, given for distinguishing himself by brave or praiseworthy achievement or heroic action while fighting an enemy of the United States.
Whyley Elton Josh
Sgt. Whyley E. Josh

On August 11, 1967, Whyley married Linda Kirby, the daughter of Mrs. Laura Kirby and the late Francis Kirby, from Lanesville, Indiana. On August 29, he went to Vietnam, where he was a squad leader with Company C, 1st Battalion, 8th Infantry, 4th Infantry Division. On November 30, 1967, Sgt. Josh, along with twenty-five other soldiers, was killed in a military airplane crash in Dinh Binh, South Vietnam. A military funeral was held for Whyley on December 17, 1967, in the Lanesville Methodist Church, followed by military rites at the gravesite.

Whyley Elton Josh
Whyley Elton Josh in Germany
One of Whyley’s interests was photography. While in Germany, he took a number of pictures and developed them. Even more memorable, though, was his interest in the welfare of young children. Despite his own youth, he liked little kids, and while in Germany, he showed this love by going to an orphanage, where he was allowed to take a child out for a day. He usually took them to the zoo. These outings were how he spent his weekends while overseas.

Specialist 5 Josh left behind his widow, Linda Kirby Josh; his mother, Alice Opal Josh Owens; his sister, Darlene Josh Simmons; and a half-sister, Karen McCloy.

This article and photographs were submitted by Karen McCloy Bailey.

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West Virginia Archives and History welcomes any additional information that can be provided about these veterans, including photographs, family names, letters and other relevant personal history.


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