2008-07-23 / Features

Millstone bridge will carry name of fallen Korean War soldier

A re-dedication ceremony and ribbon-cutting for the Private- First-Class Billie McFall Bridge on KY 113 at Millstone has been set for Friday, August 1, at 11 a.m. at the site of the new bridge. The date is exactly 58 years after McFall, a Letcher County native, died on the battlefield in Korea.

What used to be called the Millstone-Democrat Bridge was re-named by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet at the request of Letcher County veterans groups. Veterans asked the Letcher Fiscal Court for a resolution naming the structure the PFC Billie McFall Bridge.

PFC McCall was the first Letcher County native confirmed to have been killed in action during the Korean War. He "gave his all" on August 1, 1950.

The ceremony will begin and end with canon fire conducted by the Sons of Confederate Veterans of Letcher County. The keynote speaker for the event is James Duncan, himself a Korean War veteran and the only surviving Letcher County native held as a prisoner of war during the conflict. Duncan was in captivity for 32 months.

An American flag will be presented to PFC McFall's closest living relative, followed by a 21- gun salute and the playing of Taps. Military honors at the ceremony will be performed by the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5829 and the Letcher County Memorial Museum members.

"The public is invited and encouraged to attend this solemn event as one last honor is bestowed upon this fallen American hero," said Buddy Grubb, chairman of the Museum.

The bridge replacement project is nearing completion, said Jay White, Highway District 12 Resident Engineer.

Kevin Damron, Chief District Engineer, said the original bridge had many functional deficiencies. "The width of the old bridge could only accommodate onelane traffic. Opposing lanes of traffic alternated without benefit of a traffic signal. And, although it was used by pedestrians, the structure had no sidewalk.."

The new bridge is wide enough for two-way traffic and has a sidewalk with handicap accessible ramps for pedestrians. When the entire project is finished, the alignment will be "greatly improved," Damron said.

"Tractor-trailer type vehicles will no longer need to 'jackknife' to cross," he added. "A right turn lane is being built into KY 113 to allow motorists much safer turns into the Millstone community as they follow KY 113 North.

Guardrail will be installed at various locations to protect motorists from steep embankments and obstacles which could not be relocated.

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