Biography LTC Alarich L. Zacherle USA Ret.

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Biography of a Korean War hero

LTC Alarich L. Zacherle USA Ret. 

Birth 23 April 1911 Des Moines, Polk County, Iowa, USA

Death 1 November 2005 Sarasota, Sarasota County, Florida, USA

Burial Cremated, Location of ashes is unknown

LTC US Army (Ret.) Alarich L. Zacherle aka Alarich Zacherle aka Al Zacherle (1911-2005), 94, of 899 Freeling Drive, Sarasota, Florida 34242-1024

formerly of 1421 Germania Drive, Des Moines, Iowa 50311 died at TideWell Hospice and Palliative Care, 5955 Rand Boulevard, Sarasota, Florida 34238 after a long illness.


His wife was Phyllis Zacherle (1919-2010):

Birth 14 November 1919 Morganfield, Union County, Kentucky, USA

Death 22 April 2010 Sarasota, Sarasota County, Florida, USA

Burial Palms Memorial Park Sarasota, Sarasota County, Florida, US

Phyllis Zacherle, 90, of 899 Freeling Drive, Sarasota, Florida, 34242-1024 formerly of Morganfield, Kentucky 42437, died 22 April 2010.

Survivors include her nephew James C. Long and his spouse, Shirley Long, 10 Cedar Creek Drive, Elizabethtown, Kentucky 42701-6146.

Phyllis was preceded in death by her spouse Alarich Zacherle (1911-2005), a famous Korean War hero, and her sister Dorthea Long (?-?).

Phyllis was a life member of the Sarasota Yacht Club, 1100 John Ringling Boulevard, Sarasota, Florida 34236 and served many years on the decorating committee. She was also a member of Eastern Star and the Elks Club.

She moved to Sarasota in 1960 and was a real estate broker for many years. She remained life-long friends with many of the people to whom she sold property. She was the origin and inspiration for the Christmas lights that could be seen from the park at the north Siesta Key Bridge. She enjoyed bringing happiness to others and she was by far the world's best hostess.


His daughter is Susan M. Klunk née Zacherle of 2901 John Proctor West Williamsburg, Virginia 23185.

Zacherle was a Korean War hero who legendarily ordered that his battalion's flag be burned during the Korean War rather than allow the colors to be captured by the North Koreans and Chinese.

Col. Alarich Zacherle was a prisoner of war for three years in North Korea in the 1950s.

On 30 November 1950, the 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion of the 2nd Infantry Division was surrounded by Communist Chinese forces in North Korea at Kunu-ri, and Zacherle ((ASN O-0042817) realized they would be overrun and unable to withdraw.

The Stars and Stripes of 4 November 1950 reported that "all but one officer from the battalion was killed or captured in the battles around Kunu-ri. More than 5,000 American soldiers were killed, wounded or captured. Many of those taken prisoner did not survive the harsh conditions of the North Korean POW camps."

Every year the battalion re-enacts the "Burning of the Colors."

"The colors, box and all, were drenched with gasoline," Zacherle wrote in a 1996 letter to the battalion. "A last look at the colors with the unbelievable number of battle streamers were imprinted on our minds.

"Setting the fire produced a bright blaze that denied the enemy of a trophy they surely would have greatly prized."

Zacherle was a prisoner of war from 30 November 1950 to September 1953 at Pyoktong or Pyontong, North Korea.

"He didn't like to talk about his experience," said his daughter. "but he did say the older men with strong families seemed to cope better. He also said a sense of humor kept them going, and the men would try to joke about their hardships and invent games."

"Discipline was very harsh, and once he was put in a hole for questioning his captors," she said. "He said the food was terrible, and he and many others suffered from malaria."

Zacherle's wife, Phyllis, said her husband weighed 80lbs when he was finally released from prison and was sent to Hawaii to recuperate.

He was born 23 April 1911 in Des Moines, and came to Sarasota from there in 1975. He graduated from Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa and was a member of First Christian Church of Des Moines, 2500 University Avenue, Des Moines, Iowa 50311, the Sarasota Yacht Club, 100 John Ringling Boulevard, Sarasota, Florida 34236 and the Elks Lodge.

Survivors also include a son, Kurt Zacherle, of 4503 Bartholows Road, Mount Airy, Maryland 21771-4911; four grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.

The private exequies were handled by National Cremation Society, Sarasota chapter, 2990 Bee Ridge Road, Sarasota, Florida.

Submitted: April 24, 2018

© Copyright 2021 Ralph Monclar. All rights reserved.

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