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Scottsboro in Jackson County, Alabama — The American South (East South Central)
 

Friendship Park / The Decision That Saved the Sons of Scottsboro

 
 
Friendship Park / The Decision That Saved the Sons of Scottsboro Marker image. Click for full size.
By Duane and Tracy Marsteller, February 13, 2021
1. Friendship Park / The Decision That Saved the Sons of Scottsboro Marker
Inscription.  
Friendship Park
Long known as The Friendly City, Scottsboro extends an open, warm and welcoming greeting to its citizens and its visitors. One of the most notable friendships in Scottsboro's long history was born in boyhood, tempered in wartime and blossomed to maturity during years of service in this community. Charles Raymond Bradford Jr. and Mark Scott Skelton Sr. were best friends for over 75 years. These years were spent as childhood friends, Auburn classmates, neighbors, business partners, community leaders and dedicated churchmen involved fully in every aspect of this community's life. Most notable was their leadership and service in Company B, Jackson County's National Guard Unit which was deployed to the Korean War in 1950.

After the Korean War ended, Mark and Charles returned to Scottsboro and together started General Equipment Co. which supplied equipment to farmers throughout the area for over 30 years. They raised their families here, gave deeply of themselves to the town and county, led in their churches and stood as positive role models to all who knew them. In retirement, both dedicated
Friendship Park / The Decision That Saved the Sons of Scottsboro Marker image. Click for full size.
By Duane and Tracy Marsteller, February 13, 2021
2. Friendship Park / The Decision That Saved the Sons of Scottsboro Marker
their lives again to making Scottsboro a better place.

The landscaping along this entrance to Scottsboro stands as a testament to two great men and two great friends. It is also a welcome to our great city. It was made possible by a generous grant from the Bynum Foundation and is a joint effort of the City of Scottsboro and the Alabama Department of Transportation.

The Decision That Saved the Sons of Scottsboro
During World War II, Charles Bradford was a soldier attached to the American 106th Division. In 1944, at the beginning of the Battle of the Bulge, the 106th Division was surrounded by enemy forces when strict obedience to orders made Charles Bradford and his fellow soldiers German prisoners of war. Six years later, facing a terrifyingly similar situation in a small Korean valley with only one way out, Captain Bradford asked permission to withdraw his men from harm's way. Company B of the 151st Combat Engineer Battalion of the Alabama National Guard, made up of 164 young men from the Scottsboro area — many just teenagers — was trapped in a position he knew was about to be overrun by enemy troops, with deadly consequences. Headquarters denied permission to withdraw. Desperate, Captain Bradford again radioed for permission to retreat. This time, before he could be denied again with terrible personal history repeating itself,
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he ordered the radio switched off. Headquarters could not respond. Company B quickly withdrew, on Captain Bradford's own orders. Within minutes, their former position was overrun by thousands of Chinese troops. But Company B was safe.

Captain Bradford's bold decision saved the Sons of Scottsboro. He always believed the hard, commonsense lessons God taught him in Germany on December 21, 1944, enabled him to make a courageous decision on April 21, 1951, in Korea — a decision which saved Company B from certain death. The men of Company B believed it also.

Of Captain Bradford and Major Mark Skelton the men of Company B would say, “they recruited us, they trained us, they took us to war, they brought us home safely, and we are forever grateful.” The bond formed in Korea, and especially in that valley in April 1951, only grew stronger upon return to Scottsboro. Men and officers revered and respected one another, and all were life-long friends.

This monument stands in thanksgiving to Almighty God for the men of Company B, to honor their service, to remember the men who led them to Korea and who brought them safely home, and especially to memorialize forever the courageous decision which defied orders, but saved the lives of the Sons of Scottsboro.
 
Topics. This memorial is listed in these topic lists: Parks & Recreational Areas
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War, Korean.
 
Location. 34° 39.951′ N, 86° 1.107′ W. Marker is in Scottsboro, Alabama, in Jackson County. Memorial can be reached from Veterans Drive (Alabama Route 35) north of Lee Highway (U.S. 72), on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Scottsboro AL 35768, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Robert Thomas Scott, Sr. (a few steps from this marker); Robert Thomas and Elizabeth Scott, Sr. Memorial (within shouting distance of this marker); Robert E. Jones, Jr. / Jones House (approx. ¾ mile away); College Hill Historic District (approx. ¾ mile away); First Baptist Church (approx. 0.9 miles away); Jackson County Courthouse And The Scottsboro Boys (approx. one mile away); a different marker also named Robert Thomas Scott (approx. one mile away); Gen. Andrew Jackson (approx. one mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Scottsboro.
 
Regarding Friendship Park / The Decision That Saved the Sons of Scottsboro. Charles Bradford died in 2009, and Mark Skelton died in 2015.
 
Also see . . .  Saving Captain Bradford (PDF). By David Bradford in the January, 2016 edition of the Jackson County Chronicles, the Jackson County Historical Association's newsletter. The referenced article begins on page 39. (Submitted on February 16, 2021, by Duane Marsteller of Murfreesboro, Tennessee.) 
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on February 16, 2021. It was originally submitted on February 16, 2021, by Duane Marsteller of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. This page has been viewed 55 times since then. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on February 16, 2021, by Duane Marsteller of Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
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Mar. 4, 2021