James Lamar Stone was born in Pine Bluff, Arkansas in 1922. He spent most of his childhood and high-school years in Hot Springs, Arkansas before going to the University of Arkansas. After graduating, Stone was drafted by the US Army in 1948. By the time he was shipped to Korea, Stone had worked his way up to the rank of First Lieutenant serving in the First Cavalry Division, Eighth Cavalry Regiment, E Company.
On November 21, 1951 at exactly 2100 hours, Stone and his unit were overrun by eight hundred enemy soldiers. The initial shock confused his men; but, because of Stone’s steady leadership, his unit persevered and continued fighting despite monumental odds. There were even instances of hand-to-hand combat. Through their perseverance, his unit was able to kill 545 of the enemy. However, despite their best efforts, Stone’s unit was still overrun by Communist troops. But even when the situation looked hopeless, his men could still hear him over the noise of the battle encouraging them-urging them to keep fighting-to not give up. Eventually, the severity of his wounds overcame his resolve, and Stone lost consciousness on the battlefield. He was taken hostage by the Communists who held him as a prisoner of war (POW). He was finally released in a POW exchange after twenty-two months of captivity. Even after this harrowing experience, James Stone continued to serve in the Army. At the height of the Cold War, Stone was stationed in Germany. Later, when the Vietnam War began, he also served a tour of duty there. He retired from the US Army after thirty-two years of service achieving the rank of Colonel.
For his heroic actions in Korea, James Lamar Stone was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. In response to receiving this medal, Lamar stated:
“It was a long, hard night of combat. My men did it. I was just there.”