By unitedweroll on Jul 29, 2013 | In Military News and Support
While we have posted several items about the 60th Anniversary of the Korean War Armistice
over the past week and other websites have also provided must see materials, we know it
may have been hard to keep up with these valuable articles, photos and videos.
We are providing a summary of sources for outstanding information that we collected, beginning with the excellent mini-website that was put together by the US Navy Forces Korea.
We hope that all of you will find time to review each of the following and if you have children, that you will review these together. Let us never forget, let us always remember and give sincere thanks to every man and woman who has served and does serve still today.
Please do not let the Korean War be "The Forgotten War".
Special Web Page by US Navy Forces Korea Devoted to 60th Anniversary of Korean War Armistice
60th Anniversary Armistice Agreement - video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZTfzykuZho&feature=youtube_gdata
Korean War Hero - Maj Gen Wm F Dean
Video - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MRJThcjwOqI
Korean War Heroes Ensign Jesse Brown (First Black Pilot for Navy) and Lt. j.g. Thomas Hudner (retired Navy Capt who received Medal of Honor) - Incredible story of courage, the bond of pilot & wingman and a rescue attempt made 60 years ago and about to be made for a second time.
Article Title: MoH recipient returning to N. Korea in search of 1st black Navy pilot's remains
Korean War and the Battle of Chosin Reservoir
Marines honor Korean War hero horse - article
SGT Reckless, The Statue of a Hero War Horse - article
Recognizing Korean Vets Today - Honor Flight Salutes Korean War Vets - video:
“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.”
~William Arthur Ward
By unitedweroll on Jul 29, 2013 | In Military News and Support
Arriving first on the scene of an accident, Sgt Skates and his wife, Jacqueline, did not even hesitate to help the family in the flipped car.
With so many Veterans and active duty members in our communities and more to come, our First Responders may be seeing more help as they respond to accidents. We have posted of several such incidents already in the past several months and here comes another family who was helped by Marine Sgt Richard Skates. With life saver training and experiences such as two deployments, Sgt Skates was able to jump into action and know just what to do.
Personally, I find it comforting to know that we do have more such capable men and women around us. I imagine the First Responders appreciate the help, too.
Face of Defense: Marine, Wife Save Family After Car Crash
By Marine Corps Cpl. Robert Reeves
1st Marine Division
MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif., July 29, 2013 - With help from his wife, an amphibious assault vehicle crewman serving here with Charlie Company, 3rd Assault Amphibian Battalion, helped to rescue a family of four after a car crash July 9.
Marine Corps Sgt. Richard Skates and his wife, Jacqueline, were traveling with their 2-month-old son when they noticed a large cloud of dirt and debris on an exit ramp from state Route 78 to Interstate Highway 5. As they drove closer, it became apparent to them that a vehicle had veered off the road, through a fence, and overturned into a ditch.
"At first, we thought it was a dust storm," said Skates, a 25-year-old native of O'Fallon, Mo. "Once we got closer, I thought maybe a motorcycle had hit the fence because of the way it was damaged. Then as we came up to it, I saw a car pointing its nose straight up to the sky."
Despite having been released hours earlier after treatment for injuries he suffered in a separate incident, Skates didn't hesitate to rush to the crash site.
"I saw the fence was broken down and the power line pole had been knocked in half," Jacqueline Skates said. "As I came to a stop, Richard jumped out, and I called 911. He just instantly knew what to do and how to help. He just got in there."
Skates assessed the situation once he reached the vehicle and realized that the family needed to evacuate the car quickly.
"I could hear them screaming for help as I got to the car," he said. "Everyone in the vehicle was injured and struggling to get free. I remember seeing the little girl in the back with her brother, and she was trying to be brave."
Making a split-second decision, he reached through the back window and started pulling the children out first. Despite the chaos in the vehicle, Skates kept his cool and rescued both children from the back seat and a teenager from the passenger seat. He helped them out of the car and into the care of other motorists who had stopped to help.
"He was in there for what seemed like forever," Jacqueline said. "There were other men outside holding the car up by hand so it didn't roll over and hurt anyone else. Everyone at the scene was in helping mode. "
Skates crawled in through the passenger-side window once the children were safely out. He assessed the driver of the car and talked to her to keep her mind off of the crash and keep her conscious.
He was able to use his combat lifesaver training to recognize that although she was bloody, she was able to move both of her arms and legs without restriction from her injuries.
"I got everyone out but the driver," he said. "A California Highway Patrol officer told me to sit tight and remain in the vehicle, because the car was shaking too much." The officer instructed them to wait for emergency services and towing crew, who would help stabilize the vehicle by rolling it onto its roof. Skates told the driver to place her hands on the roof of the vehicle and make sure her feet were planted firmly on the floor to brace for the rollover.
"The car was on its side in the ditch with my husband and the driver still inside," Jacqueline said. "He helped her position herself in the car so the roll wouldn't hurt her."
Both the driver and Skates got out the car safely after the fire department and towing crew rolled the vehicle.
"As soon as the car rolled, I helped her turn and crawl out of the window to the CHP officer," Skates said. "After that, we had to evacuate the area, because the power lines were knocked down, and it was too dangerous to hang around."
Skates credited his decisiveness to combat lifesaver training and other first-responder training he has received with throughout his career.
"We all received basic lifesaving techniques in recruit training," Skates said. "It's funny how quick that stuff comes right back when you need it. It just hit me. I thought, 'This is how I do it, and this is what needs to happen.'"
Jacqueline said her husband is a good Samaritan at heart who doesn't mind assisting anyone in need.
"It's a really good thing we have someone like Richard out there," she said. "He just wants to help everyone."
"He is the definition of what a [noncommissioned officer] and a professional Marine sergeant should be," said Marine Corps Capt. Matthew Hohl, "both engaging junior Marines and his peers and dealing with them on a daily basis for myself and the master sergeant. He is a 'fire-and-forget' Marine, always keeping the leadership and myself in the loop so we don't have to worry."
Skates has been deployed twice, and stopping to assist in the rescue of this family is typical of the behavior his chain of command has come to expect of him, Hohl said.
"He did really well while deployed," Marine Corps 2nd Lt. Tyrel Camble said. "Tactically, he has always been a sound individual. He's the one who takes charge in the heat of the moment. When everyone else seems to be at a loss, when no one knows what to do, he is the one who knows what to do and directs everyone accordingly. He is your top-tier NCO, and he is motivated."
1st Marine Division
By unitedweroll on Jul 29, 2013 | In Military News and Support
For anyone who was aware of the horrific battle that took place at COP Keating on Oct 3rd of 2009,
just to hear the name "Keating" can stop them in their tracks. And that just goes for us at home.
I cannot begin to imagine how those who were there have dealt with the memories they carry.
During this six hour battle that claimed 8 soldiers' lives and wounded more than 25, Staff Sgt. Carter's actions clearly went above and beyond. Among his actions, Carter, who was a specialist at the time, ran a gauntlet of enemy fire to resupply ammo to fighting positions. He picked off numerous enemy with his sharpshooting and risked his life to carry an injured Soldier to cover, despite his own injuries from RPG rounds.
It is good to see that Staff Sgt Carter will be receiving his nation's gratitude in the form of the Medal of Honor. Personally, I believe that a smaller version of this medal should be produced in a pendant to be presented to the soldier's mother and wife as well.
To Staff Sgt Ty Michael Carter we and your family - we offer our deepest gratitude for your service and all that you do every day for our country and our freedom. Our country is blessed to have men and women such as yourself who do step forward to take on this duty, which is clearly the most important job in the USA. Thank You! Thank You to All members & Families!
Soldier to Receive Medal of Honor for Valor in Afghanistan
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, July 29, 2013 - A soldier now serving at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., will receive the Medal of Honor for valor in combat in Afghanistan.
President Barack Obama will present the nation's highest award for battlefield gallantry to Army Staff Sgt. Ty Michael Carter in a White House ceremony Aug. 26.
Carter, who will become the fifth living Medal of Honor recipient for actions in Iraq or Afghanistan, will be recognized for his actions in the Kamdesh district of Afghanistan's Nuristan province on Oct. 3, 2009, while serving as a cavalry scout with the 4th Infantry Division's Bravo Troop, 3rd Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team.
Carter earned the Medal of Honor during a six-hour battle that ensued when enemy fighters attempted to overrun Combat Outpost Keating using heavy small-arms fire and indirect fire. Carter resupplied ammunition to fighting positions throughout the battle, provided first aid to a battle buddy, killed enemy troops and risked his life to save a fellow soldier who was injured and pinned down by overwhelming enemy fire.
Eight soldiers were killed and more than 25 were injured in defense of the outpost.
Carter enlisted in the Army in January 2008 as a cavalry scout. He completed a second Afghanistan deployment in October, and now is assigned to the 7th Infantry Division. He grew up in Spokane, Wash., and now calls Antioch, Calif., his home. He and his wife, Sharon, have three children: Jayden Young, Madison Carter and Sehara Carter.
Army Web Page on Staff Sgt. Ty Michael Carter - http://www.army.mil/article/108142/Soldier_to_receive_Medal_of_Honor_for_COP_Keating/?from=carter&page=index
By unitedweroll on Jul 28, 2013 | In Military News and Support
George Everette "Bud" Day (February 24, 1925 – July 27, 2013) was a United States Air Force Colonel and pilot who served during the Vietnam War, including five years and seven months as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam. Day is a recipient of the Medal of Honor and the Air Force Cross.
Our hearts and prayers are with the family and friends of Col Day.
By unitedweroll on Jul 28, 2013 | In Military News and Support
Please read the first two paragraphs of the following information carefully - then read them again.
We stand in honor of all who served in the Korean War and the sacrifices made by them and their families. Though this may be referred to as "The Forgotten War", these men and women will never be forgotten in the hearts of millions of their fellow Americans. Forever Grateful and Forever Proud.
The following information comes from the US Forces Korea website:
The Korean War is frequently referred to as the “Forgotten War” and like the war itself, the heroes from this conflict are seldom remembered by the general public. In contrast, World War I produced Sergeant Alvin C. York and World War II produced Audie L. Murphy. Their heroic exploits were captured by Hollywood and portrayed on the Silver Screen throughout the country. Subsequently, these names are familiar to most soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines currently serving on active duty.
Today, few Americans (military or civilian) can identify by name a single Korean War Medal of Honor recipient. Representative of these “forgotten heroes” are officers and enlisted men; World War II veterans and draftees; high school drop-outs and graduates of some of America’s most prestigious institutes of higher learning.
A variety of ethnic groups – Caucasians, Hispanics, Native Americans, African-Americans, and Asian-Pacific Americans – were awarded the “light blue ribbon with the five white stars.” Of the thirty-nine Korean War Medal of Honor recipients that survived the war, thirteen are still living. Of the ninety-four Korean War Medal of Honor recipients that were killed in action, the remains of fourteen of them have never been recovered. Their names are inscribed upon the “Wall of the Missing” at the National Memorial of the Pacific located in Honolulu, Hawaii. The Korean War clearly reconfirmed that the key to success in combat is the individual. As we commemorate the 60th Anniversary of the Korean War, we should not only pause to honor all those who served, but we should also pay special tribute to those ordinary soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines that performed extraordinary feats of valor. To quote Winston Churchill, “A nation that fails to remember its heroes is impoverished.”
It is self-evident that there never was a shortage of courage during the Korean War. Of the 136 Medals of Honor awarded, 123 were conferred upon US soldiers and Marines. Of the eighty-two US soldiers that earned our nation’s highest award for battlefield valor, seventy-three were infantrymen; three were combat medics assigned to infantry units; three were combat engineers who were fighting as infantry; two were artillerymen (one of which was assigned to an infantry unit as a forward observer) and one was a tanker. Of these eighty-one soldiers, fifty-seven earned their Medal of Honor posthumously and only twenty-three of these brave men survived to wear their Medal of Honor. Of the forty-two Marines that were awarded the Medal of Honor, forty-one were infantrymen and one was an artillery forward observer. Twenty-eight of these awards were posthumous – only fourteen Marines survived their extraordinary acts of heroism. Of the seven Korean War Navy Medal of Honor recipients, five were hospital corpsmen assigned to Marine infantry units and two were aviators. Five of these awards were posthumous. Of the four Air Force Korean War Medal of Honor recipients, all four were pilots and all four earned their Medal of Honor posthumously.
ADAMS, STANLEY T. Master Sergeant U.S. Army Biography/Citation
BARKER, CHARLES H. Private First Class U.S. Army Biography/Citation
BENNETT, EMORY L. Private First Class U.S. Army Biography/Citation
BLEAK, DAVID B. Sergeant U.S. Army Biography/Citation
BRITTIN, NELSON V. Sergeant First Class U.S. Army Biography/Citation
BROWN, MELVIN L. Private First Class U.S. Army Biography/Citation
BURKE, LLOYD L. First Lieutenant U.S. Army Biography/Citation
BURRIS, TONY K. Sergeant First Class U.S. Army Biography/Citation
CHARLTON, CORNELIUS H. Sergeant U.S. Army Biography/Citation
COLLIER, GILBERT G. Sergeant U.S. Army Biography/Citation
COLLIER, JOHN W. Corporal U.S. Army Biography/Citation
COURSEN, SAMUEL S. First Lieutenant U.S. Army Biography/Citation
CRAIG, GORDON M. Corporal U.S. Army Biography/Citation
CRUMP, JERRY K. Corporal U.S. Army Biography/Citation
DEAN, WILLIAM F. Major General U.S. Army Biography/Citation
DESIDERIO, REGINALD B. Captain U.S. Army Biography/Citation
DODD, CARL H. First Lieutenant U.S. Army Biography/Citation
DUKE, RAY E. Sergeant First Class U.S. Army Biography/Citation
EDWARDS, JUNIOR D. Sergeant First Class U.S. Army Biography/Citation
ESSEBAGGER, JOHN, JR. Corporal U.S. Army Biography/Citation
FAITH, DON C., JR. Lieutenant Colonel U.S. Army Biography/Citation
GEORGE, CHARLES Private First Class U.S. Army Biography/Citation
GILLILAND, CHARLES L. Corporal U.S. Army Biography/Citation
GOODBLOOD, CLAIR Corporal U.S. Army Biography/Citation
HAMMOND, LESTER, JR. Corporal U.S. Army Biography/Citation
HANDRICH, MELVIN O. Master Sergeant U.S. Army Biography/Citation
HANSON, JACK G. Private First Class U.S. Army Biography/Citation
HARTELL, LEE R. First Lieutenant U.S. Army Biography/Citation
HARVEY, RAYMOND Captain U.S. Army Biography/Citation
HENRY, FREDERICK F. First Lieutenant U.S. Army Biography/Citation
HERNANDEZ, RODOLFO P. Corporal U.S. Army Biography/Citation
INGMAN, EINAR H., JR. Sergeant U.S. Army Biography/Citation
JECELIN, WILLIAM R. Sergeant U.S. Army Biography/Citation
JORDAN, MACK A. Private First Class U.S. Army Biography/Citation
KAHO'OHANOHANO, ANTHONY T. Private First Class U.S. Army Biography/Citation
KANELL, BILLIE G. Private U.S. Army Biography/Citation
KAPAUN, EMIL JOSEPH Captain (Chaplain) U.S. Army Biography/Citation
KAUFMAN, LOREN R. Sergeant First Class U.S. Army Biography/Citation
KEEBLE, WOODROW W. Master Sergeant U.S. Army Biography/Citation
KNIGHT, NOAH O. Private First Class U.S. Army Biography/Citation
KOREA, UNKNOWN Unknown U.S. Army Biography Citation
KOUMA, ERNEST R. Master Sergeant U.S. Army Biography/Citation
KRZYZOWSKI, EDWARD C. Captain U.S. Army Biography/Citation
KYLE, DARWIN K. Second Lieutenant U.S. Army Biography/Citation
LEE, HUBERT L. Master Sergeant U.S. Army Biography/Citation
LIBBY, GEORGE D. Sergeant U.S. Army Biography/Citation
LONG, CHARLES R. Sergeant U.S. Army Biography/Citation
LYELL, WILLIAM F. Corporal U.S. Army Biography/Citation
MARTINEZ, BENITO Corporal U.S. Army Biography/Citation
McGOVERN, ROBERT M. First Lieutenant U.S. Army Biography/Citation
MENDONCA, LEROY A. Sergeant U.S. Army Biography/Citation
MILLETT, LEWIS L. Captain U.S. Army Biography/Citation
MIYAMURA, HIROSHI H. Corporal U.S. Army Biography/Citation
MIZE, OLA L. Corporal U.S. Army Biography/Citation
MOYER, DONALD R. Sergeant First Class U.S. Army Biography/Citation
OUELLETTE, JOSEPH R. Private First Class U.S. Army Biography/Citation
PAGE, JOHN U. D. Lieutenant Colonel U.S. Army Biography/Citation
PENDLETON, CHARLES F. Corporal U.S. Army Biography/Citation
PILILAAU, HERBERT K. Private First Class U.S. Army Biography/Citation
PITTMAN, JOHN A. Sergeant U.S. Army Biography/Citation
POMEROY, RALPHE E. Private First Class U.S. Army Biography/Citation
PORTER, DONN F. Sergeant U.S. Army Biography/Citation
RED CLOUD, MITCHELL, JR. Corporal U.S. Army Biography/Citation
RODRIGUEZ, JOSEPH C. Sergeant U.S. Army Biography/Citation
ROSSER, RONALD E. Corporal U.S. Army Biography/Citation
RUBIN, TIBOR Corporal U.S. Army Biography/Citation
SCHOONOVER, DAN D. Corporal U.S. Army Biography/Citation
SCHOWALTER, EDWARD R., JR. First Lieutenant U.S. Army Biography/Citation
SHEA, RICHARD T., JR. 1st Lieutenant U.S. Army Biography/Citation
SITMAN, WILLIAM S. Sergeant First Class U.S. Army Biography Citation
SMITH, DAVID M. Private First Class U.S. Army Biography/Citation
SPEICHER, CLIFTON T. Corporal U.S. Army Biography/Citation
STONE, JAMES L. First Lieutenant U.S. Army Biography/Citation
STORY, LUTHER H. Private First Class U.S. Army Biography/Citation
SUDUT, JEROME A. Second Lieutenant U.S. Army Biography/Citation
SVEHLA, HENRY Private First Class U.S. Army Biography/Citation
THOMPSON, WILLIAM Private First Class U.S. Army Biography/Citation
TURNER, CHARLES W. Sergeant First Class U.S. Army Biography/Citation
WATKINS, TRAVIS E. Master Sergeant U.S. Army Biography/Citation
WEST, ERNEST E. Private First Class U.S. Army Biography/Citation
WILSON, BENJAMIN F. First Lieutenant U.S. Army Biography/Citation
WILSON, RICHARD G. Private First Class U.S. Army Biography/Citation
WOMACK, BRYANT H. Private First Class U.S. Army Biography/Citation
YOUNG, ROBERT H. Private First Class U.S. Army Biography/Citation
DAVIS, GEORGE ANDREW, JR. Major U.S. Air Force Biography/Citation
LORING, CHARLES J., JR. Major U.S. Air Force Biography/Citation
SEBILLE, LOUIS J. Major U.S. Air Force Biography/Citation
WALMSLEY, JOHN S., JR. Captain U.S. Air Force Biography/Citation
ABRELL, CHARLES G. Corporal U.S. Marine Corps Biography/Citation
BARBER, WILLIAM E. Captain U.S. Marine Corps Biography/Citation
BAUGH, WILLIAM B. Private First Class U.S. Marine Corps Biography/Citation
CAFFERATA, HECTOR A., JR. Private U.S. Marine Corps Biography/Citation
CHAMPAGNE, DAVID B. Corporal U.S. Marine Corps Biography/Citation
CHRISTIANSON, STANLEY R. Private First Class U.S. Marine Corps Biography/Citation
COMMISKEY, HENRY A., SR. First Lieutenant U.S. Marine Corps Biography/Citation
DAVENPORT, JACK A. Corporal U.S. Marine Corps Biography/Citation
DAVIS, RAYMOND G. Lieutenant Colonel U.S. Marine Corps Biography/Citation
DEWEY, DUANE E. Corporal U.S. Marine Corps Biography/Citation
GARCIA, FERNANDO LUIS Private First Class U.S. Marine Corps Biography/Citation
GOMEZ, EDWARD Private First Class U.S. Marine Corps Biography/Citation
GUILLEN, AMBROSIO Staff Sergeant U.S. Marine Corps Biography/Citation
JOHNSON, JAMES E. Sergeant U.S. Marine Corps Biography/Citation
KELLY, JOHN D. Private First Class U.S. Marine Corps Biography/Citation
KELSO, JACK WILLIAM Private First Class U.S. Marine Corps Biography/Citation
KENNEMORE, ROBERT S. Staff Sergeant U.S. Marine Corps Biography/Citation
LITTLETON, HERBERT A. Private First Class U.S. Marine Corps Biography/Citation
LOPEZ, BALDOMERO First Lieutenant U.S. Marine Corps Biography/Citation
MATTHEWS, DANIEL P. Sergeant U.S. Marine Corps Biography/Citation
MAUSERT, FREDERICK W., III Sergeant U.S. Marine Corps Biography/Citation
McLAUGHLIN, ALFORD L. Private First Class U.S. Marine Corps Biography/Citation
MITCHELL, FRANK N. First Lieutenant U.S. Marine Corps Biography/Citation
MONEGAN, WALTER C., JR. Private First Class U.S. Marine Corps Biography/Citation
MORELAND, WHITT L. Private First Class U.S. Marine Corps Biography/Citation
MURPHY, RAYMOND G. Second Lieutenant U.S. Marine Corps Biography/Citation
MYERS, REGINALD R. Major U.S. Marine Corps Biography/Citation
O'BRIEN, GEORGE H., JR. Second Lieutenant U.S. Marine Corps Biography/Citation
OBREGON, EUGENE ARNOLD Private First Class U.S. Marine Corps Biography/Citation
PHILLIPS, LEE H. Corporal U.S. Marine Corps Biography/Citation
POYNTER, JAMES I. Sergeant U.S. Marine Corps Biography/Citation
RAMER, GEORGE H. Second Lieutenant U.S. Marine Corps Biography/Citation
REEM, ROBERT DALE Second Lieutenant U.S. Marine Corps Biography/Citation
SHUCK, WILLIAM E., JR. Staff Sergeant U.S. Marine Corps Biography/Citation
SIMANEK, ROBERT E. Private First Class U.S. Marine Corps Biography/Citation
SITTER, CARL L. Captain U.S. Marine Corps Biography/Citation
SKINNER, SHERROD E., JR. Second Lieutenant U.S. Marine Corps Biography/Citation
VAN WINKLE, ARCHIE Staff Sergeant U.S. Marine Corps Biography/Citation
VITTORI, JOSEPH Corporal U.S. Marine Corps Biography/Citation
WATKINS, LEWIS G. Staff Sergeant U.S. Marine Corps Biography/Citation
WILSON, HAROLD E. Technical Sergeant U.S. Marine Corps Biography/Citation
WINDRICH, WILLIAM G. Staff Sergeant U.S. Marine Corps Biography/Citation
BENFOLD, EDWARD C. Hospital Corpsman Third Class U.S. Navy Biography/Citation
CHARETTE, WILLIAM R. Hospital Corpsman Third Class U.S. Navy Biography/Citation
DEWERT, RICHARD DAVID Hospital Corpsman U.S. Navy Biography/Citation
HAMMOND, FRANCIS C. Hospital Corpsman U.S. Navy Biography/Citation
HUDNER, THOMAS JEROME, JR. Lieutenant U.S. Navy Biography/Citation
KILMER, JOHN E. Hospital Corpsman U.S. Navy Biography/Citation
KOELSCH, JOHN KELVIN Lieutenant U.S. Navy Biography/Citation
By unitedweroll on Jul 26, 2013 | In Military News and Support
The people of South Korea have continued to recognize and give thanks to the Veterans of US and UN Forces who came to the rescue of their country during the Korean War. Yet, sadly, as one US Veteran reflects, ""I predict with certainty that right after the 27th of July, the Korean War will fall back into the cracks of history again," with reference to the USA.
This article includes statistics from the Korean War that many Americans may not have ever seen. This information needs to be made known in our classrooms, Social Media sites and wherever possible. "I saw firsthand the amazing things the [South] Koreans have done with the freedom that we have enabled them to have," he (Col Weber) said. "A population and a nation that was decimated has become the 12th-largest economy in the world."
To the Veterans of the Korean War, including 36,574 U.S. troops who died and another 103,284 who were wounded, we will never forget.
Wounded Vet Reflects on Korean War 60 Years After Armistice
By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, July 26, 2013 - With plans to participate in ceremonies here tomorrow marking the 60th anniversary of the Korean War armistice agreement, a veteran who lost two limbs in the conflict said he's proud of what thousands who fought there accomplished -- and what those who followed in their footsteps have preserved.
Retired Army Col. William Weber was a young lieutenant when he arrived in Korea with the 187th Airborne Regiment Combat Team in August 1950, joining U.S. Marines on the ground in the bloody Battle of Seoul.
Five months after his deployment, Weber was severely wounded -- first by a strike that claimed his arm shortly before midnight on Feb. 15, 1951, and another attack several hours later that took his leg. He was evacuated to an Army hospital in Tokyo to be stabilized before his transfer to the Percy Jones Army Hospital in Battle Creek, Mich., one of three military facilities that specialized in amputee care.
Now approaching his 88th birthday, Weber still vividly recalls the frustration of prolonged ceasefire negotiations that started shortly after he medically evacuated from Korea dragged on for two years before the armistice was reached.
Half of the casualties of the war -- in which 36,574 U.S. troops died and another 103,284 were wounded -- occurred as the talks languished, Weber noted.
"It was a travesty of common sense on the part of the communists," he said. "They are the ones who delayed it because of demands they made and the hope that they could achieve politically what they couldn't achieve militarily."
Even today, 60 years after the United Nations, North Korea and China signed the armistice agreement, Weber expressed disappointment that the final peace treaty that was to follow within 60 days never materialized.
That has left the two Koreas still technically at war, and Weber expressed dismay over North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's public nullification of the armistice earlier this year.
Yet Weber is quick to note the significance of what he called "a significant benchmark of the 20th century."
"It was a catalyst that began the downfall of the attempt of communism to dominate the world," he said.
Weber, who served in World War II as well as Korea, sees a common thread.
"I like to remind people that World War II saved the world for democracy. Korea saved it from communism," he said. "That is where we drew a line in the sand as a free world, and indicated that we would not allow armed aggression to conquer a free people. And since that time, it never has. The world took a stance and it worked."
Yet like many of his Korean War comrades, Weber said, he remains perplexed that it remains known as "the Forgotten War."
"If you look at history books that teach children about American history, it is a three-paragraph war," he said. Most of what's written focuses not on the war itself, but on the controversy between then-President Harry S. Truman and Gen. Douglas MacArthur, he noted. Truman fired MacArthur as commander of U.N. military forces in South Korea in April 1951.
The United States was preoccupied during the Korean War, Weber said, still reveling as troops home from World War II went to school, re-entered the job market and settled down to start families. "It was la-la land," he said.
The last thing most Americans wanted at the time was the distraction of another foreign war, particularly one that initially started as a "police action," he said.
Yet that police action escalated. At the height of the war, about a half-million U.S., United Nations and South Korean forces found themselves arrayed against 1.5 million Chinese and North Korean forces.
"Nowhere during World War II did American forces ever face as many enemies in such a short frontage as in Korea," Weber said. "It was the bloodiest foreign war in terms of the percentage of casualties we have ever fought."
Weber rattled off statistics to back up his claim: The chance of those serving being killed or wounded
during World War I was 1 in 22; during World War II, 1 in 12; in Vietnam, 1 in 17.
"If you went to Korea, you stood one chance in nine of being killed or wounded," he said. "American [service members] died at the average rate of 1,000 a month and were wounded at the rate of 3,000 a month for 36 continuous months on a peninsula that was only 160 miles wide."
To help honor that sacrifice, Weber served nine years on the the presidentially appointed advisory board that led to the dedication of the Korean War Veterans Memorial on Washington's National Mall in 1995.
The memorial features 19 seven-foot-tall stainless steel soldiers on patrol, the wind blowing their ponchos as they move across the landscape.
But to Weber, who chairs the Korean War Veterans Memorial Foundation, the memorial honors those who served in Korea, but not who made the ultimate sacrifice. He and many other Korean War veterans hope to one day erect a glass remembrance wall that lists those who died in the conflict.
"The American people have never been told the cost of that freedom [won in Korea]. Well, it is 36,574 dead and 103,284 wounded in 36 months of continuous, unbroken combat," Weber said. "You won't find anything like that anywhere in America's history of foreign wars."
Visiting South Korea for the first time since the war in 2002, Weber said he has no doubt that the sacrifices have paid off.
"I saw firsthand the amazing things the [South] Koreans have done with the freedom that we have enabled them to have," he said. "A population and a nation that was decimated has become the 12th-largest economy in the world."
Weber said he remains struck by the gratitude the South Korean people continue to show for those who came to their defense.
He noted, for example, the ongoing Korea Revisit Program, paid for by the South Korean government, which provides Korean War veterans free hotel rooms, meals and tours of Korea.
"It's an unbelievable thing, the respect and admiration they have for Americans and their U.N. counterparts because of what they did to save their country," he said.
With the average Korean War veteran now 84 years old, and the population declining by about 700 a day, Weber said, America's memory of the Korean War is likely to fade as well.
Even after tomorrow's commemoration, expected to draw thousands of the half-million living Korean veterans to the National Mall, Weber is pragmatic about what will follow.
"I predict with certainty that right after the 27th of July, the Korean War will fall back into the cracks of history again," he said.
What will keep it alive, he said, is the legacy left by those who fought in the Korean War and of the service of those who have continued to defend South Korea during the past six decades.
Since the signing of the armistice, North Korean attacks have killed 100 U.S. and more than 450 South Korean troops.
Today, 28,500 U.S. forces continue to serve in South Korea, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with their South Korean counterparts to provide security on the peninsula.
"They are trip wires," Weber said. Even with the South Korean Army now holding the demilitarized zone created by the armistice agreement, "the Americans are there, so the North Koreans know that if anything started, the United States would be involved," he said.
Together, they continue to demonstrate the commitment Webber and his fellow Korean War veterans made six decades ago, he said.
"You can take a good, hard look at what Korea is today and realize that, at one part of our history, we were responsible for that happening. We saved a free people and kept them free and gave them an opportunity to take advantage of their innate ability to progress as a nation," Weber said.
"One can't possibly look at the South Korea of today without accepting the fact that what we did there was justified and necessary," he said. "So you tell me: Why is it an unknown war in the id of American culture?"
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