Carnell E. Booth: The short life and death of a hometown hero

Published 1:00 pm Friday, May 19, 2023

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NOTE: This column was provided to the Andalusia Star-News by Covington Veterans Foundation Operations Manager Robert Evers.

Booth lead the 1951 Bulldogs as their starting quarterback. (PHOTO FROM 1951 MEMOLUSIA)

This November the Covington Veterans Foundation will highlight the service of those who served in the Korean War. If you know of a Korean War veteran or have any information on the service of a Korean War veteran we would like to hear from you at

Carnell Edward Booth was born on January 13, 1933, in rural Castleberry (Conecuh County), Alabama to William and Lucille Booth. Both his parents died during his early childhood and he was subsequently raised by his grandparents Mr. and Mrs. G.R. Beall and aunts Sadie McClean and Susan Hanberry. His aunts were employed with the Alatex plant in Andalusia and Carnell and his brother Joseph were enrolled in the Andalusia City Schools.

By his high-school days, Carnell had become a top athlete and leader at Andalusia High School where he would graduate with the class of 1951. A list of his accomplishments from his yearbook includes President and Vice-President of the D.O. (Diversified Occupations) Club, Vice President of the Key Club as well as a member of the Glee Club.

1951 Andalusia Bulldog Football Team (Booth pictured center #18) (PHOTO FROM 1951 MEMOLUSIA)

Booth was a four-year member of the “A” Club and played football, baseball, and basketball. He was the starting quarterback and Co-Captain of the 1951 Bulldogs football team. He was selected as All-State Honorable Mention that year as well.

A C-46 Commando cargo plane of the type Booth was a crew member of. (PHOTO FROM THE U.S. AIR FORCE)

A month after graduation, Carnell enlisted in the U.S. Navy and attained the rate of Aviation Ordnanceman Third Class (AO/3). He was assigned to Flight Aircraft Service Squadron 11 (FASRON 11) based in Atsugi, Japan. Just after midnight on October 16, 1952, Booth was a crewmember on-board A C-46 Commando cargo plane on a routine courier run from Kangnung, South Korea to Pohang Air Base, South Korea. Shortly after takeoff, the plane went down in the Sea of Japan killing all 4 crew members and the 21 passengers on board. After an intensive search, only four remains were ever recovered. Booth’s name is among the over 8,000 on the Courts of the Missing at the Honolulu Memorial in Hawaii remembering those missing during the conflict in Korea.

In his obituary, Carnell Booth was remembered as a spirited red-headed young man beloved by his friends and family. A memorial plaque is dedicated to him in the Brushy Creek Cemetery in rural Conecuh County.

Sources: National Archives, Andalusia Star-News, Andalusia High School Memolusia