Paul Luckadoo, believed to be the last prisoner of war from World War II in York County, died Wednesday at age 94.
Luckadoo was in a German prison camp for 10 months and 13 days, yet was very private about his confinement and rarely talked about it. At a ceremony at the Fort Mill Veterans Park on Memorial Day weekend in 2015, Luckadoo talked briefly about the carnage of war and said this: “Freedom is not free.”
Luckadoo’s brother, Hubert, was killed in the same war in the Pacific.
“Paul Luckadoo was a great man and great American,” said Wallace Coleman, longtime leader at American Legion Post 43 in Fort Mill.
In September 2015, Luckadoo was one of 13 South Carolina World War II prisoners of war – along with widows of seven other WWII POWs – honored with a S.C. Prisoner of War medal sponsored by state Sen. Wes Hayes and conducted by Gov. Nikki Haley.
Area veterans groups and service organizations, including the Patriot Guard and Rolling Thunder and American Legion Post 43 in Fort Mill, are expected to pay tribute to Luckadoo at the funeral at 11 a.m Friday at First Baptist Church in Fort Mill with honor guards, a 21-gun salute, and a rolling escort. Luckadoo will be buried with full military honors.
T.J. Martin of York, 86, a Korean War POW who has been involved in prisoner of war activities and getting the medals for POWs for decades, said that Luckadoo was the last World War II prisoner of war that veterans groups know of.
“Paul’s service to his country will never be forgotten, and we will never forget him,” Martin said.