Alton Eugene Shirley was born on 31 January 1916 in South Carolina to John Hilliard Shirley and Henrietta Wilson. He had seven sisters, Mary, Edna, Mamie Lee, Hazel, Virginia, June and Ruth Shirley. His father died in 1924 and his mother remarried with William L. Crick. They had two sons together, Robert and James Kenneth Crick. Alton Shirley served during World War II. He entered the service in February, 1940, and in March of the same year was sent to Hawaii where he remained until April, 1943, at which time he was assigned to a tiny island somewhere in the Central Pacific war zone. Alton was a former employe of Grendel Mill.
Sgt. Shirley went overseas in August of 1950 and was captured the following November. He died in a prison camp in North Korea in February 1951.
Sergeant Shirley was a member of the 2nd Engineer Combat Battalion, 2nd Infantry Division. He was taken Prisoner of War while fighting the enemy near Kunu-ri, North Korea on November 30, 1950 and died while a prisoner on February 28, 1951.
Buried at Chattanooga National Cemetery, Z, 374
- Rank: Master Sergeant
- Date of birth: 31 January 1916
- Date of death: 28 February 1951
- County: Hamilton
- Hometown: Chattanooga
- Service Branch: Army
- Division/Assignment: 2nd Engineer Combat Battalion, 2nd Infantry Division
- Conflict: Korean War
- Awards: Prisoner of War Medal, Korean Service Medal, United Nations Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, and Republic of Korea War Service Medal
- Burial/Memorial Location: Chattanooga National Cemetery, Chattanooga, TN
- Location In Memorial: Pillar XX, Bottom Panel
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