LIFE

Heroic Veteran Keeps His Pain Secret From Family, Then He Confesses In A Book

k-avery-pic by Kristin Avery
Kristin shares a Chicago home with a dog, a rabbit, two cats, a husband, and an 11-year-old daughter.

Traumatic events often shape our lives and forever connect us to those with whom we shared the experience.

Sgt. Charles Layton of Noblesville, Indiana, was 6,000 miles from home and only 21 years old when he became a prisoner of war during the Korean War. He and 36 others spent four months in captivity, enduring the bitter cold and daily beatings.

Sixty-five years later, the memories still haunt him.

But in addition to those memories there is this one: Charles and the others survived because of his heroism. The Sergeant led the group of POWs in the fight of their lives, after which they escaped their captors.

He had never shared his memories with anyone, not even his wife and children — that is, until he published his memoir Escape With Honor. He wrote the book to help veterans struggling with PTSD, with the hope of re-connecting to his fellow POWs from long ago.

“My goal has been to try to find somebody that was with me,” he says. “But I’m 88. What are my chances?”

So far, Charles hasn’t had any luck. His wife and family are worried that he’s running out of time and that his dream may go unrealized.

Here are the essential details of his story:

  • Sgt. Charles Layton was captured approximately 12 miles north of the 38th Parallel in early November 1951, and held until late February 1952.
  • Layton served with the 22nd Ranger Battalion and was with both the 2nd Infantry Division and 7th Division.
  • Friendly forces picked up Layton and the others after an L-19 airplane spotted them. He doesn’t know how far they walked, but estimates they walked about five hours.

Please SHARE Sgt. Layton’s story and this inspiring video on Facebook to help reunite these true American heroes one more time.

 Footage provided by WTTV

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