Sergeant George Washington Tharp was born on October 19, 1917 in Bradfordsville, Marion County. Tharp also participated in World War II, enlisting in 1945 in California, and served for 6 years, enlisting again as soon as the conflict in Korea started. He was a member of Headquarters and Service Company, 2nd Engineer Combat Battalion, 2nd Infantry Division.
In November 1951, Tharp was captured near Kunu-ri, North Korea in the Battle of Wawon, which was part of the Battle of the Ch’ongch’on River. Tharp was reported missing to his family on November 30. Though he appears on censuses for Marion County, his sister Elizabeth Jean Rich, who lived in Big Bone, was the one notified, and news of his disappearance were published in Boone County newspapers. Tharp died as a prisoner of war on March 31, 1951, and his remains were never recovered.
He was awarded the Prisoner of War Medal, the Korean Service Medal, the United Nations Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Korean Presidential Unit Citation, and the Republic of Korea War Service Medal. His name is listed on two memorials: the National Korean War Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., and the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Ancestry.com, WWI, WWII, and Korean Casualty Listings [database online]. Provo,UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2005.