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Leonard F. Kitchen (Jan 23, 1917 – May 8, 1988), the son of Arthur and Mary Francis Kibbey Kitchen of Charlotte Furnace, Carter Co., Ky., served four years and four months with the US Army during WWII. Kitchen served for over a year on detached service to the Merchant Marines as a gunner aboard the USS Thompson Lykes, an army transport vessel based out of New Orleans, Louisiana. While aboard the Lykes, Kitchen transported war-related materials to the Panama Canal, sometimes by way of Trinidad, to help keep the canal open for American war vessels. The Lykes docked in various North and Central American ports, including western Africa and Egypt, while protecting US ships as they sailed the Atlantic and Caribbean. After completing detached service, Kitchen was reassigned to the 457 AAA AW BN and trained for the European Theater of War. In Dec. 1943, Kitchen’s unit left New York Harbor aboard the Borinquen, rounded the Statue of Liberty, and traveled with an armada of other war vessels to Glasgow, Scotland. Kitchen served as sergeant of Battery B, Second Platoon in the 457th as his unit made the Invasion of Normandy at Omaha Beach (Easy Red Sector).
After participating in the St. Lo Breakthrough, Kitchen’s battalion was assigned to General Patton’s Third Army, and supported this army in its record-breaking right end run through the Avanches Funnel, the operation isolating the Brittany Peninsula, across France, Luxembourg, and deep into the heart of Germany. The 457th was the first AAA unit on the far bank in the historic Rhine River Crossing. Termination of hostilities on May 9, 1945 found the battalion almost at the Czechoslovakian border. In addition to honors received while serving on the USS Thompson Lykes, Kitchen’s gun crew earned the Battle of Britain star for shooting down a JU88 German bomber soon after arriving in England. He received a bronze service arrowhead for participation in the Omaha Beach Invasion. In addition, Kitchen was the recipient of five bronze battle stars for participation in the Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland, Ardennes (Battle of the Bulge), and Central European campaigns. After returning from service, Kitchen was employed as a carman for the Chesapeake &Ohio (C&O) Railroad at Russell, Kentucky. He was also a life-long farmer. Leonard and his wife, Daisy, are buried alongside family in the Kiser-McGinnis Cemetery on Tygart’s Creek Rd. at Iron Hill.
"Photo was taken in 1943 in New Orleans before Leonard left for Europe".
Submitted by: Cindy Collier
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Leonard Kitchen, son of Arthur and Mary Francis Kibbey Kitchen of the Charlotte Furnace area of Carter County,
watching over younger sisters Madge Tennessee and Ida Marie. Photo was taken in 1923.
Submitted by: Cindy Collier
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