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Kronenberger "Open Letters"

Background - John Kronenberger
John Kronenberger is a life member of the Korean War Veterans Association and a life member of the Korean War Educator who lives in Southern Illinois. His address is 102 Williamsburg Drive, Belleville, IL 62221-3157.

He enlisted twice in the U.S. Army (April 25, 1946-October 24, 1947 and November 14, 1949-November 13, 1952). After basic training, Kronenberger was scheduled for post-war duty in Germany, but after the troop ship left port, the orders changed and the troops on the ship were sent to Manilla, PI. There, he was cadre in the 5th Repo Depot, Armed Forces Western Pacific. His next duty was on Okinawa at a base Post Office. During his second enlistment, he was shipped to Japan, where his next assignment was a mail clerk in the 1st Cavalry Division (Camp Drake) in the Army Post Office 201 HQ Det. When the Korean War broke out, Johnís APO unit landed in Po-hang Dong, South Korea, around July 21. For the next 16 months, John provided mail service to the 1st Cavalry Division and some of the other U.N. forces.

In Korea, he attained the rank of Sergeant 1st Class. He remained in Korea longer than most of its veterans, explaining the longer term of service this way: "When the rotation was started I had to go another 3 or 4 months. Then our Captain Brandow was promoted to Major and went to Fort Sheridan in Chicago. The new 1st Lieutenant came in and having never served overseas in the field asked me to stay 6 more months. I agreed to 3 months. I could have gone back to the States after 13 months but I was asked to stay and help with the new replacements, so I did. I was the oldest enlisted man and the oldest in years. I was 22 years old."

Upon returning to the U.S., he finished his time in the Army at the Redstone Arsenal, Huntsville, Alabama, where he was sent to establish a complete postal service. When this was accomplished, it was turned over to a civilian federal employee, and Kronenberger was made the NCOIC in charge of Classified Documents. He also was the barracks sergeant at this time. Looking back on Korea, he commented, "I never missed that place after I left for the States. When I was assigned to Redstone Arsenal in Alabama I thought I died and went to Heaven. My 4 Ĺ years Regular Army with 3 years overseas was plenty of duty to my country."

Background - Open Letters
John Kronenberger joined the Korean War Veterans Association via the Imjin Chapter in 1996, and later became the treasurer and membership chairman of that chapter. Since joining, he has followed the progress and problems of the organization under two KWVA presidentsóNick Pappas and Harley Coon. Not pleased with the Korean War Veterans Associationís current leadership at the national level, Kronenberger was (and is) determined to share some "hard truths" about the KWVA with other concerned members of that organization.

Since August 29, 2001, Kronenberger has written 33 "Open Letters." The first seven were addressed to the elected officials in the National Korean War Veterans Association. The remaining letters have been directed to not only the elected national officers, but also directed to interested members of the KWVA. His basic mailing list soared to over 200 interested parties, who then printed out the letters and read the letters at chapter meetings and sometimes published them in chapter newsletters. As a result, the "Open Letters" have enjoyed a wide distribution. Each of the letters has appeared on the Internet, distributed widely to Korean War veterans. His first letter expressed concern over conflicting messages at the national and chapter levels.

Thirty-two letters later, John still expresses that same concern, but the theme of his letters has expanded to include discussions about parliamentary procedure, monetary matters, ethical conduct, and other issues of importance to the members of the Korean War Veterans Association. His letters "bare all" when it comes to a few home truths about the KWVA and the issues facing its members. "I donít like dictatorships," Kronenberger told the Korean War Educator, "and I donít like a liar. I started the Open Letters because I was determined to learn the truth about what was really going on in the KWVA and why." He says that he cannot understand why a leader of a national organization would lie to the membership, and often Johnís anger with the national leaders is apparent in his Open Letters. This is, in part, due to the fact that he has been threatened with expulsion from the KWVA, as well as threatened with lawsuits because he writes and widely distributes the Open Letters.

The intricacies of the Internet have also been used to try to cast Kronenberger in a bad light using e-mail as an anonymous way to strike out at him. A cowardly prankster slightly altered Kronenberger's e-mail address ( so that he or she could then send out hate mail anonymously over the name ( Another (or the same) prankster called him or herself "Booker", and sent hate e-mail messages out over the address ( Many of the "Kwar 1950" messages were crass in nature, and were sent to John via the computer of Kronenberger's wife.

In addition, those who didn't like John Kronenberger's letters even tried to impose a "gag rule" on them. On April 25, 2002, near election-time, KWVA President Harley Coon requested in a widely-distributed e-mail message that board members and other Korean War veterans impose a "gag rule" on those persons supporting Dick Adams in the national election. At the time, there were several Adams' supporters who vocally expressed their opinions by writing letters of complaint about the current administration. Coon stated, "It is time to stop the trouble makers from both sides from all this letter writing." Coon then asked Adams "to request his supporters to stop making the false statements." President Coon specifically pointed out that "There is one person that has written over 20 letters," and he claimed them to be filled with hearsay and false information. The person to whom he was referring was the very vocal John Kronenberger.

Through it all--the threats of lawsuit, threats of expulsion, demands for a gag rule against him, etc., John Kronenberger has held fast to the sure knowledge that Freedom of Speech is alive and well in the United States, and nobody is going to take that right away from him.

Since he first began distributing his Open Letters, his contact list of Korean War veterans has greatly expanded. Quite a few KWVA chapters distribute his letters to their membership. KWVA president Harley Coon has taken exception to Kronenbergerís comments from time to time. John tells the Korean War Educator, "In my Eighth Open Letter, I reported that Harley Coon had informed me I might be sued for Ďdefamation of characterí and could be suspended from the KWVA if I did not stop. My suspension was to come up at a January Executive Board meeting in Las Vegas, but it did not happen. I felt I did no wrong nor did I defame Mr. Coon in any way. My letters could be held to scrutiny, but I had a constitutional right to write them. Nothing happened from Mr. Coonís threat. 1st Vice President Edwards also had a lawyer (not active) send me a letter that I was to stop writing or I would be sued. He is a big supporter of Coon."

John went on to say, "Iíve learned there is little or no integrity in many on the Board, and that is why Coon gets away with what Ďhe wantsí. There needs to be a big sweeping out of the KWVA officers and replace them with some well-meaning members who have integrity and will represent all the members of the KWVA. The more dumb stunts Coon has done, the less many of our members think about him and his supporters. I have made a strong effort to get the truth out, but have been limited to the extent of e-mails, faxes and phone calls. With the Graybeards censored by Krepps, most of the members are kept in the dark and only hear a one-sided story (Coonís) about the KWVA. There are not enough good members that are Directors, to go against Coon. This is the crux of the problem."

The text of each of John Kronenbergerís 33 letters appears below, beginning with his first letter dated August 29, 2001, to those written on recent dates. They have not been edited for publishing on the Korean War Educator, and the content is entirely the literary work of John Kronenberger. The letters are sometimes lengthy, but if they are read from start to finish, readers will go away with a much clearer understanding of what has been happening in the KWVA on a national level during the presidency of Harley Coon.

Open Letter Topics:

All letters addressed to: All Elected Officials in the National Korean War Veterans Association and Interested Members (unless otherwise specified)

  • Letter 1 - Introduction to KWVA problems
  • Letter 2 - Meetings without quorum
  • Letter 3 - Labeling of elected officials as "troublemakers"
  • Letter 4 - Manipulation to run for third term as President
  • Letter 5 - Correction, and accusations against elected officers
  • Letter 6 - Directors' responsibilities; censored magazine
  • Letter 7 - Non-line MOS, Posthumous third Purple Heart story. - E-mails from members
  • Letter 8 - Threats from Harley Coon against John Kronenberger
  • Letter 9 - Hearing date (expulsion of John Kronenberger) set. - Control by Mr. Coon
  • Letter 10 - Insulting letters. - Mr. Coon questions Mr. Price's service record
  • Letter 11 - Mr. Coon's accusations against Mr. Settle (deceased) - Supporting letters
  • Letter 12 - Unhappy campers. - Travel arrangements
  • Letter 13 - Membership Chairman Jerry Lake. - Phony Headquarters sign
  • Letter 14 - Mr. Edwards' threat. - Mr. Coon's manipulations
  • Letter 15 - President Coon and Director Byers want no more letters. - Judge Advocate Sherman Pratt's comments on Tramonte case
  • Letter 16 - Passing of Director John Settle. - More of Pratt's interpretation
  • Letter 16a - Hotel Reservation Question - Fax Transcript
  • Letter 17 - More of Coon's remarks. - Calling "Fire"
  • Letter 18 - Don't disagree or you are out
  • Letter 19 - No Quorum at January Meeting. - No action on suspension of John Kronenberger
  • Letter 20 - Chapters' support and concerns
  • Letter 21 - More insults from a Coon supporter. - Complaint letters from members
  • Letter 22 - Not adhering to our By-laws and National Charter
  • Letter 23 - Recommendations for the KWVA. - Sicko letters
  • Letter 24 - Letter from Ed Buckman. - Wrong information about Texas Chapter
  • Letter 25 - Coon's false statements. - Coon's obsession with the KWVA Treasury
  • Letter 26 - Time for a change of officers. - A member threatened
  • Letter 26a - Director Maurice R. "Dick" Wainwright has initiated a "Challenge"
  • Letter 27 - Use of KWVA mailing labels by a select few
  • Letter 28 - Warning from Coon to John Kronenberger. - Coon's speech 1998
  • Letter 29 - Whistle blowers - we are the KWVA, not the U.S. Government
  • Letter 30 - False sign. - Thanks to Jerry Lake and Sam Naomi for a job well done
  • Letter 31 - Letters from Ken Buckley and Vince Krepps
  • Letter 32 - Rude remarks from the Graybeards Editor
  • Letter 33 - 95% audits of the KWVA. - Sarcasm, no shame or respect
  • Letter 34 - "This is not a Farewell" - Wrap-up and so long for a while

Cease and Desist Letter - November 7, 2001:

Glenn P. Walls, Jr.
Attorney at Law
Suite 503 Press Building
19-21 Chenango Street
Binghamton, NY 13901

John Kronenberger
102 Williamsburg Dr.
Belleville, IL 62221-3157

RE: Open Letters

Dear Mr. Kronenberger:

I have been requested my [sic] Mr. Jack Edwards, to urge you to cease and desist any further libelous references directed toward Mr. Edwards. What you are doing is wrong, based upon misinformation and malcontent.

Your diatribes and running epistles only affect the morale of the organization, for no meaningful purpose.

This is to advise that if your actions continue, I shall advise my client, that we should bring legal action against you, in the proper forum, for redress and damages.

A word to the wise should be sufficient!

(signed) Glenn P. Walls, Jr.
Attorney at Law & KWVA Member

cc: Mr. Jack Edwards

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