Darwin Keith Kyle was born in the coal mining town of Jenkins, Kentucky, on June 1, 1918. Kyle enlisted the U.S. Army in November 1939, and was trained in Racine, West Virginia. From Racine, he was sent to fight in World War II. There, Kyle earned a Silver and Bronze Star for his efforts in France and Germany.
Kyle was redeployed for the Korean War; he was quickly promoted to Master Sergeant. He earned the title during the evacuation of Hungnam in December 1950. Just a year later, Kyle was killed in action. He was operating as a Second Lieutenant in Company K, 7th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division, on February 16, 1951, in Kamil-ni, Korea, when he was killed by a sniper with a submachine gun.
Kyle’s Medal of Honor citation reads: “When his platoon had been pinned down by intense fire, he completely exposed himself to move among and encourage his men to continue the advance against enemy forces strongly entrenched on Hill 185. Inspired by his courageous leadership, the platoon resumed the advance but was again pinned down when an enemy machine gun opened fire, wounding 6 of the men. Second Lt. Kyle immediately charged the hostile emplacement alone, engaged the crew in hand-to-hand combat, killing all 3. Continuing on toward the objective, his platoon suddenly received an intense automatic-weapons fire from a well-concealed hostile position on its right flank. Again, leading his men in a daring bayonet charge against this position, firing his carbine and throwing grenades, Second Lt. Kyle personally destroyed 4 of the enemy before he was killed by a burst from an enemy submachine gun.”
Kyle was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously in February 1952 by President Truman. His remains were buried at Sunset Memorial Park in South Charleston, West Virginia.
Marker #1906 was dedicated in 1992 by the Kentucky Historical Society and the Kentucky Department of Highways. It reads: Lt. Darwin K. Kyle. This Congressional Medal of Honor winner fought in Korean War. Born in Jenkins, June 1918, Second Lt. Kyle in U.S. Army with Co. K, 7th Inf. Regt., 3d Inf. Div. Lt. Kyle rallied his men amid intensive fighting to renew attacks on enemy machine-gun positions. He killed 7 men in 2 assaults, then was slain by enemy fire, February 16, 1951. Presented by Letcher County Historical and Genealogical Society.