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About Harley Coon

This page was last updated October 05, 2004.*

Military Background
Chosin Reservoir
Prisoner of War
Inter-Camp POW Olympics
Coon Interviews
Awards Controversy
   - Tramonte Letter
   - King Memorandum for Record
   - Wainwright Letter to King
   - Motion #27

   - Ohio Hall of Fame

   - Ohio Hall of Fame Letter

   - E-mail to Finch

   - On Wearing "Battle Stars"
Brady, Ware & Schoenfeld
Coon Chaos
Call for Resignation
Recap - Coon Administration
On Wanting More Stars
Thacker Chapter Letter
Brown Formal Complaint

Harley J. Coon is the illegal president of the Korean War Veterans Association, having circumvented the KWVA bylaws in order to be eligible to run for office as a third-term president.  His first two terms in office were legal.

Military Background
Harley J. Coon joined the U.S. Army in 1948 [Army Serial No. RA15267664]. He took basic training at Camp Brickenridge, Kentucky, with the 101st Airborne. After basic, he was sent to Japan where he was assigned to B Troop, 8th Regiment of the 1st Cavalry Division. At a military supply depot in Shinagawa, Japan, B Troop oversaw the return of a lend-leased battleship being returned to the U.S. government from the Russians. In March, 1949, the company was disbanded and Coon was transferred to B Company of the 35th Regiment, 25th Infantry Division stationed at Camp Otsu, Japan. While at Camp Otsu, he witnessed first-hand repatriated Japanese POWs released by the Russians. Soon after training in winter maneuvers at Camp MacGill, Japan, he was sent to Pusan. His MOS was Light Weapons Infantry Leader (2745).


Nogun-ri Claims
Coon may have misidentified some of the locations he referred to in an interview segment that is currently on the Department of Defense’s 50th anniversary of the Korean War website. The interview segment states, "Coon remembers being involved in the action to help General Dean get out of entrapment at Tajon. The North Korean soldiers later captured General Dean. B Company was also surrounded and had to fight their way back to Taegu. ‘We set up a defensive position at Nogun-ri in August 1950. There were about 30 troops marching into Nogeun-ri. I don't remember anyone just shooting civilians. We took weapons from civilians and considered them guerrillas if they had the weapons. We let the civilians through. We were operating with only about two-thirds of our company at that point." A review of the history of Coon’s unit, Company B, 35th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division in Korea, shows that his unit did not participate in actions near or at Taejon or Nogun-ri.

[KWE DISCLAIMER: The Korean War Educator is not accusing Harley Coon of any mispresentation. Readers need to take it upon themselves to verify the facts as to location of 25th Infantry Division activity in the above time frame to see if the historical references match his claim.]


Chosin Reservoir Claims

The article, "An Interview with a Korean War Veteran", written by Meg Chorlian, appears on pages 42-44 in "Cobblestone" magazine’s, "The Korean War: 1950-1953." Harley Coon interview states that he was at the Chosin Reservoir. On July 6, 1992, Coon submitted an application to the Chosin Few for membership. Coon apparently believed that because he served in Northeast/North Korea in November 1950, he was qualified for membership in the Chosin Few, a fraternity of Soldiers and Marines who fought at the Chosin Reservoir under X Corps. A review of historical records indicates that the Chosin Reservoir action took place some 100 miles away from the action that Company B, 35th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division, was engaged in at the time of Coon’s capture.

On July 17, 1992, Harley Coon’s application for membership was denied, and his subsequent efforts to join the Chosin Few were rejected as well. The Korean War Educator has supporting documents regarding his application and his subsequent rejection as they relate to the Chosin Few organization. Copies of these documents are available upon request by sending a request, along with a self-addressed, stamped envelope, to the Korean War Educator, 111 E. Houghton St., Tuscola, IL 61953.

[KWE DISCLAIMER: The Korean War Educator is not accusing Harley Coon of any mispresentation. Readers need to take it upon themselves to verify the facts as to location of 25th Infantry Division activity in the above time frame to see if the historical references match his claim.]


Prisoner of War
Regarding his capture and subsequent status as a POW, Coon said, "We took F Company hill and five of our guys were killed by artillery. Six of us were captured by the Chinese on Nov. 27, 1950, at Ipsop [sic] [KWE Note: It was Ipsok.], North Korea. We were put into a circle and surrounded by machine guns with full bandoleers. We had heard that this was the way that other prisoners had been slaughtered." Coon and his comrades were not slaughtered, but instead marched from camp to camp. "The first camp we ended up in we called 'Bean Camp' because we ate soybean paste rolled up into the shape of apples."  [KWE DISCLAIMER:  Another discrepancy exists here.  According to "Korean War Ex-Prisoners of War", Turner Publishing Company, Paducah, KY, 1993, compiled by Turner from information given to the publisher by the Korean War Ex-POW Association, and other sources, the camp, located at Ch'on-Ma, near the village of Kudsan-ni, which was close to the 38th parallel, did not come into existence until February 1951.

" From there," Coon continued in his interview, "I was sent to 'Death Valley' for about eight to10 days. There were so many men dying that we covered their bodies with anything that we could find. We started marching again. We'd march for a few days, stop, then march again. We ended up in Camp 5 in Puck'tong, sometime in January.’"


Inter-camp POW Olympics
Coon is mentioned in a propaganda booklet produced by his North Korean/Chinese captors in 1952. This booklet was not only distributed in POW camps, it was also distributed by American Communists to family members of captured POWs waiting for their loved ones back in the States. The booklet has been reprinted, and is often sold at POW reunions even today. According to the booklet, while a prisoner of war, Harley Coon was one of the participants in one of the lesser known communist propaganda efforts staged by the North Korean People's Army and the Chinese People's Volunteers during the Korean War. From November 15 through November 27, 1952, some 500 US, Korean, British, Australian, Filipino, French, and Turkish POWs purportedly participated in what was known as the 1952 Inter-Camp Olympics. Harley J. Coon (service number RA15267664) is listed on the Inter-Camp Olympics program booklet as a participant in the football event, and according to the souvenir program, [The scanned booklet--which is a propaganda souvenir--can be found on the Korean War Photo Documentary Site" at .] Coon's Camp 5 was listed as the Olympics champion team.

Bert Kortegaard, on whose website (Korean War Photo Documentary Site) further information about the Olympics can be found, stated this about the Olympics: "Ignoring the evidence on the theory that telling the same lie often enough will make most people believe it, the communists continually attempted to portray the 'People's Republic' as a paradise. Among the lesser known communist propaganda efforts was an attempt to use the POWs in an "Olympics" (November 15-27, 1952) to pretend that these pathetic, vulnerable, defenseless human beings were actually well treated, living and enjoying healthy activities in a communist wonderland. Repatriation of POWs was at the heart of why the North Koreans interrupted the peace talks in 1952, since it was apparent to them that large numbers of North Korean POWs would defect to the South if given freedom of choice (as some 25,000 of them eventually did). Projecting the idea that UN troops were also happy in captivity must have seemed a way to retrieve such a loss of face in the sight of the whole world. At all events, examining the timing of the 'Olympics' in the light of the history of the truce talks it is clear that this was a major propaganda effort by the North Koreans." For more information on the 1952 Inter-Camp Olympics, visit Kortegaard's website at .

While viewing information about it, keep in mind that the souvenir book (actual pages were scanned and are posted on the site) was a propaganda piece produced by enemy forces. The list of POW participants was likely factual, but there was a definite Communist slant to the booklet.. Further research on the subject of the POW can be accomplished by reading books written by American POWs who returned from the Korean War just prior to and after the war's end. For a clearer understanding of the plight of American POWs during the Korean War, suggested reading is, "My Old Box of Memories: Thoughts on the Korean War", by Bill Allen, 421 4th Ave N., Tierra Verde, FL 33715.  Ph. 727-866-8337.  E-mail . The revenue from the sale of Allen's book is donated to schoolchildren as scholarships. 

Another POW book, "Reactionary-Revised 2000", by Lloyd W. Pate (POW in Camp 5 until October 1951 prior to transfer to Camp 3), mentions the existence of the Olympics. Pate himself was not a participant, because at the time he was in solitary confinement. He told Lynnita Brown of the Korean War Educator that no one was coerced to participate in the Olympics. "You have to understand," he said, "this was the first time in two years that prisoners were allowed to intermingle with each other. It was the first time they had the opportunity to travel to different camps to check on each other. There were guys vying to get on the teams to get a chance to see their buddies. To find them and actually get to talk to them was a morale booster for our men. At the same time, the Chinese got to pass out their propaganda material, so both sides won. Oh, there might have been a few who were collaborators, but the majority of men who participated in the Olympics were not collaborators." Pate's book, "Reactionary-Revised 2000," is available for $15.00 postpaid from Lloyd at 5720 Broad Oak Drive, Grovetown, GA 30813.


Coon Interviews
On August 31, 1953, Harley Coon was released after 33 months and four days of imprisonment. His interview on the DoD website ( provides more information about his service in the U.S. Army and captivity in Korea. To learn further information about Coon’s experiences in Korea, as recounted by Coon, see "Two Men Bound by One Real War" in the Honolulu Advertiser, posted April 8, 2001
(  ) 


Post Military
Coon married his wife Sylvia on March 13, 1954. He is the father of three children and he has 5 grandchildren. He is self-employed, until his retirement operating HARCO Tool Inc., Beavercreek, OH. He was inducted into the Ohio State Veterans Hall of Fame, 1994. He is Past President of the National Korean War EX-Prisoner of War Association, and currently the third-term, illegal president of the Korean War Veterans Association, Inc.  His most current address listing in The Graybeards magazine is 1534 Marsetta Dr., Beavercreek, OH 45432.  His phone number is 937-426-5105.  His e-mail address is


Brady, Ware & Schoenfeld
January 11, 1996

Mr. William B. Fecher
Turner, Granzow & Hollencamp
50 E. Third St.
Dayton, OH 45402

RE: The Korean Veteran Memorial Association, Inc.
Funderburg, et al v. Snyder, et al

Dear Bill:

At your request, I reviewed the records of the Association from inception to December 11, 1995.  The original treasurer was Bill McMann.  He was succeeded by Harley Coon who remained as treasurer until July 12, 1995 when Russell O. Myers Jr. became the treasurer. 

My conclusion upon my review is that the records for the period from inception to July 12, 1995 shown me by Konrad Kuzcak, attorney for Harley Coon, were both incomplete and unauditable.  The records that Russell O. Myers, Jr. has kept since July 12, 1995 I would classify as "Excellent."  There is detail documentation to support both receipts and disbursements. 

Regarding the records when Harley Coon was treasurer, the main areas of deficiency were: 

1. Many of the bank statements were missing.
2. Cancelled checks were missing.
3. There were no records supporting most deposits. 
4. Statements from the Dayton Foundation were missing.
5. Support for disbursements was missing.

Contrast this with Mr. Myers' record keeping that includes just about everything an auditor would ever want and more. 

If there is anything further we [can] do to assist you in this matter, please give me a call.

Brady, Ware & Schoenfeld, Inc.
M.A. Kapp, CPA

Harley Coon's military awards [as per March/April 2002 Graybeards, page 21]: "Purple Heart, Prisoner of War medal, Combat Infantry Badge, Korean Service Medal with 2 silver battle stars, 2 Presidential Unit citations, Good Conduct Medal, UN Service Medal, and others."

From Ohio Hall of Fame Site, Class of 1994:
Harley J. Coon
Greene County
U.S. Army- Korea

Prisoner of war for 33 months and 4 days - captured by Chinese while serving in Korea. Claims to have been awarded ten battle stars. President, National Korean War ex-Prisoners of War Association, Inc. National Director, Korean War Veterans Association. Instrumental in upgrading Beavercreek police department to full time department. Instrumental in obtaining full time medical and emergency services. Past President, Greene County Veterans Service Commission.


Awards Controversy

As most veterans know, there was a fire in St. Louis that destroyed many records of our American soldiers.  Coon reconstructed his file, and the government provided a list of medals that were due to him.  Later, the government realized that Coon had been a former POW, and as such, does not have the right to claim the honors that he currently claims.  The government requested that Coon correct his DD-214, but Coon has failed to comply. 

The fact that Harley Coon puts references to his "ten battle stars" in biographies and interviews that are widely distributed has caused negative reactions from veterans. An American GI who remained captured in Korea for over 33 months could not possibly have earned ten battle stars. Coon's claims prompted KWVA member and board member (at the time) Rusty Tramonte to write a letter of concern to the Military Awards Branch of the U.S. Government. Their reply and other documents pertaining to the Harley Coon Awards Controversy follow in this segment of the About Harley Coon page. 

It should be noted here that Rusty Tramonte is a Marine veteran of the Korean War, founding life member of the KWVA, and former national officer.  He was vocally disgusted about and vocally opposed to the fact that Harley Coon, the president of a national veterans' organization, makes false claims about military honors not due to him.  As a result of his protests, Harley Coon arranged to have Tramonte illegally expelled from the Korean War Veterans Association.  Coon bypassed the KWVA bylaws in order to do this. 

Tramonte Letter
July 10, 1996

Military Awards Branch

Mr. Oreste "Rusty" Tramonte
Secretary, Korean War Veterans Association, Inc.
119 Flaggler Drive
Marshfield, MA 02050

Dear Mr. Tramonte:

This is a follow-up to our telephone conversation today regarding campaign credit for soldiers who were Prisoners of War (POW) during the Korean War. 

In accordance with the criteria established for the Korean Service Medal, prisoners of war will not be accorded credit for the time spent in confinement or while otherwise in restraint under enemy control.  Soldiers will be accorded campaign credit if they are limitation recovered from a POW status in the combat zone during the time of the campaign. 

I hope that the information provided will be helpful. 


Arlette J. White
Chief, Policy Section
Military Awards Branch

King Memorandum for Record, 31 January 2001:

Subject: Verification of Awards Entitlement by: Arlette J. King, Chief, Policy Section, Military Awards Branch. Department of the Army

"The National Personnel Records Center, St. Louis, MO, provided the following information on Mr. Harley J. Coon:

Mr. Coon’s record is a reconstructed record so there is not a lot of information available. What is available shows that he has been back and forth numerous times with ARPERCEN and the Army Board of Correction of Military Records about various issues, one of which are the service stars for his Korean Service Medal. Mr. Coon has been informed on more than one occasion that he is only authorized 3 bronze service stars. That prisoners of war are not given campaign participation credit during the period of captivity. Mr. Coon was a POW from 27 Nov 50 to 31 Aug 53. ARPERCEN did two separate 215s to add awards to the 214 but never corrected that portion of the 214 pertaining to the KSM with 10 bronze service stars. Mr. Coon was advised that the KSM with 10 bronze service stars authorized to him in 1984 was incorrect. He was further advised that if he wanted this award to be reissued correctly and his separation document corrected, he would have to submit a request for further action."

Wainwright Letter to King:
February 21, 2001

To: Mrs. Arlette J. King
Chief, Policy Section
Military Award Branch
PERCOM Fax - 703-325-9171

Subject: Harley Coon's DD-214
Reference (a) - Your letter of January 31, 2001

Dear Mrs. King,

As co-chairman of the Korean War Veterans (KWVA) Nomination and Election Committee, I am responsible for qualifying candidates for elective offices.  The question about the campaign awards worn by some of our members has brought misunderstandings.  To find an answer to this question, I approached Past President Nick Pappas who I knew had worked in DoD and had the knowledge of its operations, if he would contact the proper office and get the information needed to clear this problem. 

We know that many veterans wear awards not earned.  I know that one award was not listed on my DD-214 when I was separated.  Errors do occur and hopefully they are corrected.  Members of this association are required to submit a copy of their DD-214, certified as a true copy and a statement releasing their DD-214 for verification. 

The Executive Council of KWVA is aware of the problem and of your letter of January 31, 2001.  This matter will be taken under advisement at the next meeting of this group. 

Thank you for your invaluable assistance and I hope this letter will clarify the purpose of our request, solve our and your problems. 

(signed) Maurice R. "Dick" Wainwright
Co-Chairman Nominating & Election Committee

Motion #27
At an Executive Council meeting held on February 25, 2001, in Arlington, Virginia, Director John Settle made the following motion, which was seconded by Director Rusty Tramonte:

"That the Board of Directors Direct that President Harley Coon in accordance with Army regulations to correct his DD214."

The motion carried with the following vote:

Harley Coon - excused
Tom Clawson - yea
Richard Danielson - yea
John Settle - yea
James Jones - excused
Ted Trousdale - yea
Bob Morga - yea
Rusty Tramonte - yea
Dick Adams - yea
Ken Cook - excused
Joe Pirrello - abstain
Skip Rittenhouse - yea
Ed Magill - absent
Ed Gryger - absent
Dot Schilling - absent

In the absence of Harley Coon, the meeting was conducted by Past President Dick Adams.  Tom Clawson served as secretary pro tem in the absence of the national secretary.  For whatever reason, the minutes from this Executive Council Meeting were not published in The Graybeards.  Coon never recognized the February 25, 2001 meeting as a legitimate one, and thus did not comply with the passed motion. 

Ohio Hall of Fame Letter, November 27, 2001:
[KWE Note: The following letter was sent anonymously to the Korean War Educator on October 3. It arrived without cover letter in an envelope dated 01 October, 2003, in an envelope with the return address: The Korean War Veterans Association, Inc., 1534 Marsetta Drive, Beavercreek, Ohio 45432.]

November 27, 2001

Mr. Rusty Tramonte
National Director, KWVA
PO Box 43
Marshfield, MA 02050

Dear Mr. Tramonte:

The Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame Executive Committee met on November 19, 2001 and reviewed the information you sent us regarding past inductee Harley Coon. At this time, the Hall of Fame is not inclined to begin the very serious action of investigating and removing Mr. Coon without more substantial evidence of wrongdoing on Mr. Coon's part.

The committee felt that from the information provided it looked as though the Army had erroneously issued the DD214 and there is no evidence of tampering with that document. If Mr. Coon is not due the awards that are listed on the DD214 than that must be solved with the Department of the Army, not the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame. We are not a military organization, but rather a program that honors veterans for their achievements after honorable military service, that is why Mr. Coon was inducted in 1994.

The committee also noted that Mr. Coon is still serving as the National President of the KWVA and felt this position and title promoted him in good standing with your organization. The committee chose to table further discussion until our spring meeting. If there are any changes in their decision at that time I will notify you immediately. Thank you.

(signed) Shannon L. Scherer, Director
Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame

cc: KWVA Dept of Ohio

Excerpt from e-mail message from Harley Coon to Don Finch:
Date: Thu Oct 2, 2003 9:02am
".... As for my War [sic] record and the 10 campaign stars, I have proof that they were awarded and they will not be removed. This Information [sic] came straight [sic] from St. Louis records section."

On Wearing "Battle Stars"

A reader of the KWE researched the use of wearing bronze stars. His findings were this:

Read your letter to KWVA-Ad-Hoc, wherein you requested that someone refresh your memory on the dates of various campaigns for which battle stars were authorized during the Korean War. My copy of Army Regulation 672-5-1, 6-8, Service Stars. (effective 1 November 1990) States the following:

The service star is a bronze or silver five-pointed star 3/16 inch in diameter. A silver star is worn in lieu of five bronze service stars. Paragraph (f) Korean Service Medal, states; Awarded for combat service within the Korean Theater between 27 June 1950 and 27 July 1953, one bronze service star for each campaign, under any of the following conditions:

(1) Assigned or attached to and present for duty with a unit during the period in which it participated in combat.
(2) under orders in the combat zone and in addition meets any of the following requirements: (a); (b); (c); (d); Not printed here for space reasons. Then this:
(3) Was an evader or escapee in the combat zone or recovered from a prisoner-of-war status in the combat zone during the time limitations of the campaign. PRISONERS OF WAR WILL NOT BE ACCORDED CREDIT FOR THE TIME SPENT IN CONFINEMENT OR WHILE OTHERWISE IN RESTRAINT UNDER ENEMY CONTROL. (Upper case letters mine). End.

Dates for each battle star, or sometimes called a campaign star, but properly called a Service Star, for the Korean War (and all other wars from the revolutionary war 1775-1781 to present) is found in Appendix C of the same AR's. The dates are:

(1) 27 June - 15 September 1950. UN defensive.
(2) 16 September - 2 November 1950. UN offensive.
(3) 3 November 1950 - 24 January 1951. CCF Intervention.
(4) 25 January - 21 April 1951. First UN counter-offensive.
(5) 22 April - 8 July 1951. CCF spring offensive.
(6) 9 July - 27 November 1951. UN summer-fall offensive.
(7) 28 November 1951 - 30 April 1952. Second Korean winter.
(8) 1 May - 30 November 1952. Korean summer-fall 1952.
(9) 1 December 1952 - 30 April 1953. Third Korean winter.
(10) 1 May - 27 July 1953. Korean summer 1953.

The same reader also continued to share his knowledge about the wearing of military awards by stating this:

AR 672-5-1; 1-28. "Revocation of personal decorations.
a. Once an award has been presented, it may be revoked by the awarding authority if facts subsequently determined would have prevented original approval of the award had they been known at the time. Failure to be reassigned or separated as originally scheduled does not constitute grounds for revocation of an award which has been presented. The decision to revoke an award may not be delegated by the awarding authority. In making the decision, the awarding authority will consider a statement of concurrence or nonconcurrence (with comments) from the individual concerned. Upon revocation, the affected individual will be informed that he/she may appeal the revocation action through command channels to Commander, PERSCOM (TAPC-PDA) for final review. When desirable, the awarding aughority may refer the revocation request to Commander, PERSCOM (TAP-PDA) for appropriate action.
b. When the Bronze Star Medal has been awarded to an individual based upon award of the Combat Infantry Badge during World War II, revocation of the Combat Infantry Badge will result in revocation of the Bronze Star Medal. Revocation will be announced in permanent orders of local commanders citing this paragraph as authority."


Coon Chaos
[Following is one KWVA member's experience attending a Coon-conducted meeting.]

"This is my 2nd report of that last day of the 2003 convention. I TRAVELED 1060 MILES ROUND TRIP TO THE CONVENTION FOR THE PURPOSE OF making 2 motions on the floor of the main general business meeting, I sat through all the back patting of the Coon Clan. I listened to all the reports (even the mumbles of Mahoney). When it was really time for the lunch break, about 25 Wonderful Korean Students and their drums entered the stage and put on a 45 minute Korean Culture Show. I thought NOW we would either go back to the regular order of business, or break for a late lunch. But NOooooo. Four Korean Students and two Korean Adults entered the stage carrying big boxes. Coon announced that that students were going to present every KW Vet this special medal. He said the first medal would be presented to General Ray Davis to whom I had just given my seat to because he didn't look well and was hanging onto Col W. W.

I went to the back of the room and stood against the wall. After the little ceremony with the General, Coon said the next people to get theirs would be Ex POWs. I was standing next to a PURPLE HEART recipient who had one leg and a pair of crutches. After the 5 POWs got their medals, Coon had no plan on how they were going to distribute to the rest of us. The complete Coon staff made a mad rush (nearly knocking each other down) to go hog up their medals. As soon as they got theirs, the Koreans with their boxes left the stage and went and stood in the EXIT door way. From where I was standing with the Purple Heart Vet, we were blocked at the farthest point from the EXIT Door where approx. 100 KW Vet and 40 to 50 of their guests had crammed to get their medals. The PH Vet and I were about 15 from the end of the log jam when suddenly the line just cleared away. THEY RAN OUT OF THE FRIGING MEDALS. I went to the lobby to get the elevator to my room and stood next to a lady holding 4 (FOUR) medals and her greedy little husband was clamped on to 4 (FOUR). I had the pleasure of riding the elevator with them.

After I finished my bathroom duties, I returned to the Ball room area for the rest of the business meeting that had NOT been adjourned. I stood around the door way until 2:30 pm when at that time, just defeated but reappointed National director Larry McKinniss was standing. I asked Larry what time the business meeting was going to reconvene. He did not know. We stood there like a couple of lost souls till after 3:15 pm When I went up to the hospitality room that was full of KWVA members and others. That was the end. I drove 530 miles home and didn't get to make my two motions, because Coon didn't have a business meeting." - Dean McClain


Call for Resignation
18 December 2003

To: Harley Coon, 1534 Marsetta Dr., Beavercreek, Ohio 45432
Subj.: Your letter with reference to Lynnita Brown and John Kronenberger
Ref: You do not have the authority to remove ANY MEMBER from the organization

Again, you show your lack of interest in the GOOD OF THE ORGANIZATION.  ONLY the Board has the authority to remove ANY MEMBER of the Organization.  A review of the action of both Lynnita Brown and John Kronenberger I find no justification for considering any action to remove them. 

FACT: You do NOT have Executive Privilege with respect to removal of a member. 
FACT: Your actions over the past several years has in fact not only divided the Organization but set us back years in the eyes of the membership. 
FACT: Your removal of two Directors at the Tuscola IL meeting was without authority as well as your swearing in of two replacements to the board. 

I therefore call on you to withdraw your letters to both Ms Brown and John Kronenberger for the GOOD OF THE ORGANIZATION.   I also call for your resignation from the Organization for conduct unbecoming a member of the Korean War Veterans Association. 

FACT: Your message in the Graybeards regarding these two outstanding members was cause for them to bring charges against you for exactly the claim you have made against them. 

Harley Coon you are a DISGRACE TO THE ORGANIZATION.  I look forward to finishing out my term as a Director in six months. 

Jerry J. Lake
Director 2001-2004

cc: National Directors and other interested members


Recap - Harley J. Coon Administration, KWVA*

The following is a Recap of Harley Coon's Administration. The Recap was prepared by Associate Member Lynnita Brown, with assistance from several members of the KWVA. Most recent update: 24 March 2004.

(1) Issue: Illegal change of KWVA bylaws. Bylaws were violated for the amendment process (KWVA bylaws changes require that they: (a) be presented to the Chairperson of the Bylaws Committee at least thirty days before the next scheduled meeting of the Executive Council (b) be considered at that meeting [and, presumably, passed] (c) be published in Graybeards, and (d) voted upon at the next annual meeting). Harley Coon violated this process in 2001. The motion to eliminate term limitations for all officers failed by a vote of 6 yes 7 no at the council meeting in Crystal City, VA on July 25, 2001 (see pg. 6, July/August 2001 The Graybeards). Coon ignored the council’s vote, bringing the defeated amendment before the membership for a vote the next day--in direct violation of Article VII, Section 2 of the KWVA bylaw. The Judge Advocate subsequently ruled that Coon had violated the bylaws, and that "there is no bylaws provision for the general membership to consider a bylaw change not first considered and approved by the Council." This was a harmful act against the membership.

(2) Issue: Illegal third term presidency. Harley Coon ran for office a third term, in spite of the Judge Advocate’s ruling declaring that a third term presidency was illegal because the KWVA bylaws were changed illegally in July of 2001. Coon has been serving as the illegal president of the KWVA since July 28, 2002. This is a harmful act against the membership.

(3) Issue: Illegal meetings. ALL meetings--quorum or no quorum--conducted by illegal president after 7/28/02 have been illegal. All Coon-conducted meetings are harmful acts against the membership.

(4) Issue: Illegal removal of members. Removal of three members (Pappas, Rittenhouse, Tramonte) from the executive council and/or membership roster were based on trumped up charges. These were harmful acts against members.

(5) Issue: Illegal procedural actions with respect to removal of members. Coon conducted a General Membership meeting (quorum present) on March 24, 2001, at which time illegal president Coon by-passed the procedures mandated in the KWVA by-laws to expel members of the KWVA, as well as to expel members of the Executive Council. Removals, suspensions, and expulsions must be brought before a legal Executive Council meeting for a 2/3 vote PRIOR TO GOING BEFORE THE GENERAL MEMBERSHIP FOR A VOTE. The Executive Council meeting held on March 24, 2001 immediately before the general membership meeting, did not have a quorum present. (Absent at the Tuscola meeting: Magill, Clawson, Settle, Trousdale, Morga, Tramonte, Adams, Rittenhouse). WHEN THERE IS NO QUORUM AT AN EXECUTIVE COUNCIL MEETING, NO BUSINESS CAN BE CONDUCTED. By calling for a vote of two types of expulsion (from membership roster & from executive council) via non-executive council members at a general membership meeting, Coon violated Article II. Section 2.b and Article III. Section 5.a. When Coon violated Article II. Section 2.b and Article III. Section 5.a, he also violated Article III, Section 7.a. In that Article, the President is mandated to perform the functions conferred upon him by the bylaws. Coon failed to do that, and in so doing, he caused harm to two specific members of the KWVA (Rusty Tramonte and Skip Rittenhouse) and harmed the members in general by refusing to comply with the organization’s bylaws.

(6) Issue: Illegal nullification of meeting. Coon nullified the LEGAL meeting held in St. Louis. The special meeting was LEGAL because ALL executive council members were informed in a timely manner (they each RSVP’d by cards that still exist); purpose of meeting was stated; and location and time was provided. (The motions passed in St. Louis placed tight controls on power of KWVA president, but Coon nullified them by declaring the meeting illegal.) Nullifying motions made at a legal meeting was a harmful act against the membership.

(7) Issue: Deceiving the members. A fraudulent photograph was published in the May/June 2002 issue of The Graybeards (see page 4). The photograph was cosmetically doctored to deliberately deceive the 16,000 members of the KWVA, prior to Year 2002 election, into believing that Coon had donated a "first class headquarters" to the organization. The deception, made with the assistance of the editor of The Graybeards, was intended to help Coon get reelected for an illegal third term. It was a harmful act against the membership.

(8) Issue: Use of The Graybeards magazine for illegal electioneering. The Judge Advocate’s ruling with respect to the illegal third-term presidency was completely ignored when Harley Coon and his associates used the national KWVA magazine for illegal electioneering By selectively using one-sided material to assist Coon to get reelected for an illegal third-term presidency, and by censoring and/or shutting out any opposing material for use in The Graybeards, both Coon and Krepps prostituted the election process. This caused serious damage to what otherwise should have been a fair and unbiased election process. Once again, the membership of the KWVA was harmed by these actions. (See pp. 4, 7, 21, May/June 2002, The Graybeards.)

(9) Issue: Falsehood by Harley Coon with respect to "Donated space" for a headquarters. The "donated space" was a small area in a building that was owned by Coon, and that housed his company, HarCo Tool Co. (see pg. 4, May/June 2002 issue of The Graybeards). Investigation revealed that apparently the space was not "donated" after the election. A $52,000 charge was made in KWVA’s statement of operations under "Main Office, Beavercreek, Ohio" (see pg. 11, November/December 2002, The Graybeards for breakdown of expense). This was an act harmful to members.

(10) Issue: Quartermaster inventory. A questionable Executive Council sale of $143,000 worth of KWVA quartermaster inventory to "one of their own" is associated with this issue. The sale was made to KWVA Director Kenneth Cook (see pg 26, Jan/Feb 2000 The Graybeards). Involved was a failure to notify interested members/public vendors of the availability of the quartermaster inventory as a bulk purchase opportunity. No details of KWVA/Ken Cook sale were provided to the members. In addition, there was a failure of the president and/or council members to respond to inquiries about the terms of sale and/or verify whether or not the KWVA received fair market value for sale of inventory to Cook. (See pg. 29, July/August 1997 issue of The Graybeards). This was an act harmful to members.

(11) Issue: Self-dealing on the executive council. This involves a national officer's (Ken Cook) use of title "KWVA Quartermaster" on his private checking account. And, there is a failure of said national officer to advise customers that his business was a private enterprise separate from national KWVA business. (Further problems with Cook carry over to Issue #12.) Such action constituted a conflict of interest. . This was an act harmful to the members.

(12) Issue: Bounced "KWVA Quartermaster" check to vendor. This involved an insufficient funds check that was written under the name "KWVA Quartermaster" by Ken Cook to vendor Irving Breitbart, a member of the KWVA. The failure of the president and council members to respond to Breitbart and other vendors’ complaints about Cook’s bad checks is harmful to the membership.

(13) Issue: Members' funds distributed as "goodwill gifts." This involved a questionable gift to a Dayton, Ohio area local baseball team, as well as to organizations in which the president and executive council members have personal interests. (See Harley Coon’s promise of fiscal responsibility to the members, p. 21, May/June 2002, The Graybeards.) The misuse of KWVA funds for purposes not compatible to the goals and objectives spelled out in the KWVA mission statement is an act harmful to the membership.

(14) Issue: "95% audit" of over $600,000 of KWVA cash assets. Investigation has revealed that no full audit of the organization’s books and records has been taken during all of Coon's 5+ years as President, both the legal and illegal years. Poor stewardship of membership dues is a harmful act against the members.

(15) Issue: Slow growth of the National KWVA treasury. Why isn’t the KWVA’s currently-reported $600,000 treasury growing with added annual dues and fund-raising income? Hypothetical guess for dues income alone (actual figures not reported): 10,000 non-lifetime members x $20.00 = $200,000. Again, poor stewardship of membership dues is a harmful act against the members.

(16) Issue: "Go to Hell" letters from The Graybeards Editor Vincent Krepps. This involves an ongoing, unprofessional practice by Editor Krepps to answer correspondence questioning obvious instances of censorship and bias in the magazine with harsh rhetoric, including several instances directing writers to "Go to Hell!" Verbal abuse of members is an act harmful to the membership.

(17) Issue: Harassment of Life Member John Kronenberger. Coon has made several attempts to remove Kronenberger from the KWVA membership roster for exercising freedom of speech in opposition to actions and practices of the Coon administration. Violation of Freedom of Speech is an act harmful to the membership.

(18) Issue: Breach of an advertising contract. The advertising contract between the KWVA & the Korean War Educator was broken by The Graybeards editor Vincent Krepps due to exercising of freedom of speech by Lynnita Brown, the founder of KWE, in opposition to actions and practices of the Coon administration. Coon’s action is harmful to an associate member in good standing of the KWVA who is also an advertiser with the organization.

(19) Issue: Failure to return advertising funds. Advertising funds, with respect to (18) above, were not returned to KWE. A purported refund check from KWVA made to the wrong entity, written in the wrong amount, and was used in an attempt to form a basis for the removal of Lynnita Brown as an associate member of the KWVA. Again, Coon’s action is harmful to an associate member in good standing of the KWVA who is also an advertiser with the organization.

(20) Issue: Illegal removal of Associate Member. In November of 2003, Coon sent a letter to Associate Member Lynnita Brown, stating he was removing her as an Associate Member of the KWVA by an "executive order." No charges or opportunity for due process were provided to Mrs. Brown. Her removal was Coon's punishment to Brown for exercising freedom of speech in opposition to actions and practices of the Coon administration. This action by Coon is in violation of the KWVA bylaws, which holds no provision for such an action. It also violates Article II, Section 1, c (qualifications for associate members). Further, it is an act harmful to all members of the KWVA because it sets a precedent for the removal of members by "presidential decree" rather than removal by due process.

 (21) Issue: Ill-treatment of the Korean War Educator Foundation. By issuing a recommendation of "no support" for the KWE in the President’s Message (pg. 4, November/December 2003 The Graybeards), Harley Coon violated Article 1 (Charter), Third Section, 4, of the KWVA bylaws. This is an act harmful to the members of the KWVA.

(22) Issue: Attempt to rig elections. KWVA Director Don Byers motion that effectively will "rig" all future KWVA elections if passed. It is also a motion that violates Article III, Section 3.D. Passage of the Byers motion would be an act harmful to the members of the KWVA.

(23) Issue: Failure to follow Roberts Rules of Order. This is an offense that has been repeatedly committed by the president and executive council members. This is an act harmful to the members of the KWVA.

(24) Issue: Coon's continued claims of Korean War-related honors not due to him. This is an act that is potentially harmful to the members of the KWVA because it sets the organization up for possible public embarrassment should the false claims of its leaders be revealed to the public.

(25) Issue: Improper use of The Graybeards. Space in The Graybeards magazine, particularly the "President's Message" has repeatedly been used for Coon's self-serving purposes, and/or to denigrate members/opponents (e.g., see pages 4, 16, November/December 2003 The Graybeards; also The Graybeards pages cited in #8). Misuse of The Graybeards is an act harmful to the members.

(26) Issue: Manipulation of Judge Advocate rulings for Coon's self-serving purposes. This is an act harmful to the members.

(27) Issue: Year 2002 Election ballots destroyed with undue speed. (See November/December 2002 The Graybeards, page 7) in an "informal session" of the General Membership in Branson, MO. Thus, no validation or recount possible. This is an act harmful to members.

(28) Issue: Improper recording of minutes. Council members' voting records have repeatedly not been made public as required. Also, at Branson meeting, amount required for quorum changed from 100 to 75 (see page 7, Nov/Dec Graybeards). No business can be conducted in an "informal session" where no quorum of the general membership is present. This is an act harmful to members.

(29) Issue: Treatment of Florida Resolution. The Florida Resolution of July 2003 called for resignation of acting illegal president. Resolution chairman Don Byers recommended council not vote in favor of Resolution because Coon was referred to as the "acting" president. Resolution failed 8 to 2. Byers’ recommendation was harmful to Florida KWVA members seeking action by the council to address the illegality of Coon’s presidency.

(30) Issue: Failure to follow through on Maison insurance claim. Coon administration dropped the second half of the Maison insurance claim, causing loss of thousands of dollars of insurance money. This was a harmful act against the members.

(31) Issue: St. Louis meeting. Coon’s actions as related to St. Louis meeting (October 27-29, 2000): (a) Coon refusal to attend (copy of Coon-signed negative reply postcard in KWE files) – (b) Coon conspiracy to sabotage meeting by telling local chapter president to tell his members not to attend. This was a harmful act against the members.

(32) Issue: Failure to abide by approved motion. Coon refused to allow the payment of expenses of those council members attending the February 2001 meeting in Virginia. The minutes show that those expenses had been approved at that meeting, over which Coon himself had presided. This was an act harmful to members of the Executive Council.

(33) Issue: Frivolous expenditure of treasury money. KWVA treasury money was used to pay three expense-paid trips to send Coon to Hawaii during a single year time period. Expenses associated with 50th anniversary hotel expenses have also been questioned. Purportedly, Coon was asked to reimburse the KWVA for the third trip to Hawaii. Questions to consider: (a) Why was the money given to him for the third trip in the first place? (b) Has the Hawaiian reimbursement actually been made yet? (c) How much money (specifically) was spent on 50th anniversary hotel expenses for members in DC this year? (d) Other anniversary DC expenses? (e) Who were the members who benefited from (c) & (d)? What were the specific expenses of (d)? Frivolous expenditure of members’ money is an act harmful to the members of the KWVA.

(34) Issue: Falsifying/padding membership figures. In the May/June 2002 issue of The Graybeards (page 4), Harley Coon claimed that the membership of the KWVA was approaching 18,000. That was false. According to calculations based on KWVA membership figures from the annual Membership Reports, the KWVA is losing approximately 84 members per year under the Harley Coon administration. Since Coon took office, the KWVA has lost 6,668 members. (For further information, see KWVA News - Membership Reports.)

(35) Issue: Improprieties associated with Year 1999 election. (a) In spite of rulings from two KWVA judge advocates (Edward Magill and Sherman Pratt), Coon disallowed the immediate past president of the KWVA to cast a vote on matters associated with the Year 1999 election. Instead, Coon made a crucial tie-breaking vote that he should not have made and that the Executive Council members should not have honored. (b) Publishing error on the part of The Graybeards Editor Vincent Krepps that resulted in the rejection of votes from 259 members of the KWVA in the Year 1999 election. If their votes had been counted, the vote tally for candidates for a council position would have altered the outcome of the election. [KWE Note: Documentation soon to be posted on the KWE's KWVA News - Pratt Rulings section.]

(36) Issue: Malicious intent to harm an associate member of KWVA. On January 7, 2004, Bert Kortegaard website received a post from Harley Coon. Located at, Coon's post falsely stated that Brown was expelled from the "KWVAML" Claims in the same Coon's message about being the subject of "character assassination" from Brown were also false.

(37) Issue: Ill treatment of representatives of the Korea Deployment Respect and Recognition Committee (evolved into Korea Defense Veterans Alliance) in 2000, thus alienating thousands of potential members of the KWVA.

(38) Issue: Second illegal attempt to remove Associate Member Lynnita Brown. Charges were preferred by Harley Coon and he called for a vote to remove Brown from membership in the KWVA a second time, again without notice of hearing and due process, on February 26, 2004, at an executive council meeting in Arlington, VA. Council members voted 8-2 in favor of Brown’s double removal from the KWVA.

(39) Issue: Inappropriate Year 2004 electioneering on the part of Harley Coon, Vincent Krepps, and Jack Edwards. Use of Graybeards for prejudiced, one-sided electioneering by Coon for one candidate over another. Shell game tactics (switching names on endorsed slate of candidates) of Edwards to deceive the voting members of KWVA (see KWE - KWVA News - Election 2004).

(40) Issue: Attempts by Harley Coon and Jack Edwards to discredit members. This includes totally false comments by Coon about certain members of the KWVA claiming former POWs were traitors to their country, as well as Edwards' attempt to discredit Lou Dechert and his CENLA Chapter, Korean War Veterans.

(41) Issue: Executive Council member Warren Wiedhahn's referral to certain KWVA members as "bastards who need to be sued." Wiedhahn's statement was made at the February 2004 Executive Council meeting, and tape recorded by KWVA member Bill Scott.

(42) Majority of executive council members acquiesced to #1-#41. Why? Failure to protect the members of the KWVA from acts harmful to the members of the KWVA is an act of harm itself.

*This RECAP has been reviewed without correction by several members of the Executive Council who received it numerous times in draft form in December 2003/January 2004. The executive council members (Harley Coon, Jim Ferris, Warren Wiedhahn, James Jones, Jack DeLap, Jack Edwards, Bill McSwain, Mike Mahoney, and Dot Schilling Wenzel) received the drafts as members of the KWVA Ad Hoc Yahoo Group, and their input on this document was invited. Please distribute the Recap widely, particularly while campaigning for KWVA reform in the upcoming election. Caveat: The Recap is subject to additions, since nobody knows when the next Coon outrage (historically sanctioned by executive council/judge advocate apathy) will occur. If any information in the various points is found to be inadvertently erroneous, it will be corrected if documentation is supplied. - Lynnita Brown, Founder, Korean War Educator, 111 E. Houghton St., Tuscola, IL 61953; ph. 217-253-4620; e-mail

[IMPORTANT KWE NOTICE: The most recent update of this Recap was made 3 April, 2004, when issues No. 39-41 were added. Also, an error found in Issue #35 was corrected. During the 1999 election, 259 members, not "259 Ex-POW's" as previously stated, were disenfranchised by the Executive Council. The error was discovered by former KWVA president Nick Pappas, and the incorrect information was corrected by Lynnita Brown.]

On Wanting More Stars

Not happy with claiming only ten "battle stars" that the United States government has informed Harley Coon are not even owed to him, Coon announced in an e-mail message that appeared on the KWVA Ad Hoc Message Board: "We POW's should be awarded a campaign star for each day we survived.  I would have 1,009 stars."

Korean War veteran and KWVA member John Sonley of Chandler, Arizona, had finally had his fill of Coon's constant habit of  publicizing and seeking attention for his former POW status.  On May 28, 2004, Sonley responded to Coon with the following letter.  The Korean War Educator received permission from the author to publish it on the KWE.  Sonley's letter to Harley Coon reads:

"Harley, I know you went through hell as a POW, just as I went through hell every day and night, digging gun emplacements or  foxhole to foxhole, mountain top to mountain top trying to survive.  I think you at least had a mattress of some type in the camp, while I slept in a damp hole in the ground, that in winter time had frost down the sides.  When it rained, I spent my waking hours, bailing out the water. I could not even have a fire for warmth, as it could draw "fire." Bullets whizzing around my head like angry bees. I suffered though this for all most a year, as we fought our way north, and in hopes of liberating some of the POW's.  Believe it or not, we were trying to recover POW's. You can never say we did not try, as the ground going north had American bodies here and there. Sgt. Jackson who was leading an attack, was killed just 4 feet from me.  Yes, I was lucky, the Sgt. was not. Another friend gone.
Then there is the Misery Factor  with long unending marches on foot, carrying all you own on your back.  We trudged on, through swamp, stinking rice patties, rain, snow, suffocating heat of 120 degrees where your clothing turned white from the sweat and salt pouring out of your pores, just about dying from thirst, or freezing cold of 50 or more degrees below zero weather on the mountain tops.  I remember sharing my canteen of water with a Korean Laborer in July 1951 on a mountain top as he did not have a canteen of water. He was helping us, carrying ammo for the machine gun, so I gave him water as he was ready to collapse. My fellow soldiers refused to help the man who was carrying their ammo.  Yes, war is hell.
 I remember not having winter clothing in January, 1951, only a Field Jacket, no winter overcoat. As you, our bodies were tormented with lice and other vermin.  Not having a bath in months nor shaved in days. Food eaten from C Rations dated 1943, but served in 1951, to be eaten cold from the can, after you scrapped off the frozen grease and let the food warm up in your mouth. yes, I know Harley, I had it pretty good in comparison to a POW, as I did get to go home in Oct. of 51 because I was a reservist called back.
 Nights as well as days, where you went without sleep, but maybe if you were lucky, you might be able to sleep for twenty minutes, now and then, until it was time to move out again, stumbling along the trails, begging for the chance to rest.  Suffering from frostbite as well as trenchfoot due to the cold.  Walking through snow that was chest high, streams of cold water or falling  through the ice into the water,  which then went through your clothing to your skin.  Holding your rifle over your head, so as not to get water in the bolt due to the freezing as you fell through the ice.
On guard at night, one hour on, one hour off and of course, on my hour off, was when the Chinese would try a small attack.  Now everyone was up and alert. By the time the alert was over, the sun was up and it was time to pack up and move out to who knows where.
Under constant mortar and artillery fire, night and day, as well as the enemy attacking at night and us attacking during the day. Bugles, whistles and gongs going off all night as the Chinese tried to hit a raw nerve as well as cut down our time to get some rest.  Watching a friend  every day or so being blown to bits or just simply falling to the ground, never to rise again. Day after day, never an end to the killing.  Every time we got to the top of a mountain, there was always a higher one up ahead.
On April 22nd of 1951, I saw guys fight to the death, rather then surrender, and as they died, took some of the enemy with them and we had to leave their bodies behind in hopes we could get them later.  I think we all had it rough Harley, with some, more so than others. That is what happens in a war.  I do not fault you for surrendering, as that was your choice at the time and I at times when I look back, I wonder if I would have surrendered or fought to the death on 22 April.  Who really knows.  I try not to think of about any more.  It is very hard trying not to remember, what you are trying to forget.  Like you Harley, I had been to Hell and back. Only your trip was just longer then mine was. I am tired of your POW status as if it means you are owed something by us who were not a POW.  I do not owe anyone anything except the God Almighty."   - John Sonley  Korea 1951

[KWE Note:  Sonley also offered this advice to other Korean War veterans who have a story to tell about their Korean War experiences:  "All you have to do is clear your mind, then start typing as you think back to 1950 or whenever.   Once I started, it all came back so fast that I could not type fast enough. It was like watching a movie in my mind.

For anyone to think WE, I am including the guys that brought up the mail, the rations, the food, or whatever, had it easy, is short a few cards in his deck.   From the docks of Pusan to the 38th, we were in a war.  We all agree, being a POW was the worst that could happen to you, but as you remember and read, we did not have it easy either.

May all those who gave up their lives rest in peace
." - John Sonley, Korea 1951


Thacker Chapter Letter

The Charles B. Thacker Chapter #250
Korean War Veterans, Inc.
Ray Wells, Commander
6228 Josephine Road
Norton, VA 24273
Ph. 276-679-1096

January 9, 2003

Harley J. Coon
President, National KWVA
4120 Industrial Lane
Beavercreek, OH 45430

Dear President Coon:

Our Chapter is slightly over a year old and I'm proud to say that we have 53 faithful members who belong to our chapter and the National KWVA.  We are presently working to organize a Chapter in the Tri-City area of Eastern Tennessee.  In three months we should have that Chapter in place.  Our chapter is most interested in the growth, promotion and recognition for all Korea veterans.  We are proud of our achievements. 

I'm writing this letter following our Quartermaster and my attendance at the October meeting in Branson.  The meeting was our first.  We enjoyed the opportunity to visit the Directors meeting on Sunday and Monday.  We also appreciate the opportunity to participate on occasions.  However, there are some negative impressions about this meeting that we want to relate to you and the board.  My Quartermaster and I were appalled at the general negative attitude and lack of knowledge about what was going on within the National Organization by some of the Directors.  Our second impression was that there doesn't appear to be the comradeship among some board members to run a national organization.  Our third impression was the attitude by some board members that they were the ultimate authority. 

Our fourth impression came during the general session meeting.  Mr. President, NO BOARD MEMBER OR ANY OTHER MEMBER SHOULD EVER TELL A FELLOW COMRADE TO SIT DOWN AND SHUT UP AND HE (THE BOARD MEMBER) WILL DEAL WITH THE COMRADE LATER.  In my chapter, I would have had that board member or any member removed from our meeting.  Later he/she and I would have had a long, hard conversation about who we are elected to serve.  We all went to the same "hell hole" of Korea and every person deserves respect.  If an officer or Board Member is unable to disagree agreeably, they should not take the position.  I guess this attitude concerns us more than anything.  I have never witnessed this type of attitude at the National VFW, DAV or numerous other organizations I have had the pleasure of serving. 

As a Staff Property Claim Manager with one of the largest insurance companies in the US, I conducted numerous board meetings and never seen a meeting conducted like this one.  This brings me to a suggestion regarding future board meetings.  Members should sit facing one another as much as possible.  I suggest you try this in the next meeting.  Board meetings should always be conducted in harmony with the ultimate goal of making decision for the benefit of EVERY member of the organization.  I suggest that in General Meetings no one should be at the front stage except for the president (conducting the meeting), the 1st Vice President and the Secretary.  No one is comfortable with 12 or 14 people people sitting in a long row facing them down.  This creates BAD vibes from the general audience.  Only in the hearings of our National Lawmakers do we see such seating arrangements and that is usually during an investigation.  Once the general meeting begins the Board of Directors, are members just like everyone else and should sit in the general seating.  If the President needs a Board Director to speak on a subject manner then call him/her to the podium. 

Mr. President: Our Chapter is very much concerned about our National Charter.  We feel that until we get our National organization operating in an organized manner the charter will never come about.  What we don't need is "good ole boys" who are not doing their job.  We got the impression some members just sit around waiting to attend board meetings.  This is a tough thing to say and put in print but it is true.  We need officers and committee members who can rise above petty things and present themselves as professionals and do the job they are elected, and who can speak and lead our people with respect and confidence.  If our members lack the confidence in our leaders, how can we progress.  No wonder there is no quorum. 

Our Congressional leaders and the Administration will never allow us a Charter until our leadership attains respectability.  Recently I spoke with our Government leaders from Virginia.  I am cousin to one Congressman.  Please rest assured that today we are not looked upon as a well run, professional organization.  Too many problems on hand.  My chapter specifically wants you and the Board to know that we are disappointed with Kenneth B. Cook.  He was not worth a "hoot" as the Quartermaster, yet here he is as 2nd Vice President.  We realize this came about because Thomas Clawson had to step aside because of sickness but, did he need to be placed in this high level position?  When I reported his election to our chapter they were in shock and disbelief.  We also recognize that Ken Cook has been faithful over the years but that does not make him a leader.  As leaders these things need to be considered if we are to ever achieve the credibility that we deserve. 

Mr. President, you all voted in October to begin a membership drive by awarding a person who submitted the most membership applications an expensive trip to Washington in July.  Nothing has appeared in the Graybeards about this award.  Other than the 75 or so that was at Branson in October, no one knows about this.  Some 15,000 members need to be told about the promotion.  Here it is January and in a few weeks we'll be in Washington.  That sir is a problem and whomever has that job has failed miserably. 

Some of the issues we mentioned will resolve with the election of new officers.  However, in the interim we can all help with a change of attitude and a new look at things.  We placed our head on the block to say what thousands are already saying and I hope this is received in the right attitude.  I hope we can all go forward in 2003 with a new outlook.  Attached is our recommended changes to Bylaws for consideration. 

Sincerely yours, (signed) Ray Wells

[KWE Note: Attachment not available to KWE for inclusion.]

Brown Formal Complaint

111 E. Houghton St., Tuscola, IL 61953
Ph. 217-253-4620; e-mail

August 8, 2004

Col. Louis T. Dechert, President
Korean War Veterans Association
1144A Jim Meyer Drive
Alexandria, LA 71303

Dear Lou,

I am Associate Member #A021105 of the Korean War Veterans Association, dues paid through Year 2005. At this time, I would like to submit the enclosed formal complaints and charges against former KWVA president, Harley J. Coon. The substantiating evidence also included in this packet will show just cause to permanently expel Coon from the Korean War Veterans Association for his role in causing enormous harm to me personally, as well as enormous harm to the Korean War Educator Foundation and the members of the KWVA. His harmful actions were public, deliberate, and unprofessional.

The enclosed complaint is actually only the "tip of the iceberg" when it comes to the illegal and improper conduct of Harley J. Coon in his role as president and illegal president of the KWVA. It does not cover the harassment of John Kronenberger; meetings conducted illegally and meetings ignored; Coon insults and taunts on the KWVA Ad Hoc message board; and a host of other improprieties unbecoming an officer of the nation’s largest and wealthiest Korean War veterans organization.

I urge council members to review each and every allegation against Harley Coon, and expel him from the KWVA for the good of the order. He is a disgrace to the organization and to Korean War veterans in general. Furthermore, I request the return of the correct amount of advertising money owed to the Korean War Educator; credit for those months in which Coon and other Executive Council members removed my name from the KWVA membership roster; reinstatement of the link to the Korean War Educator pulled from the KWVA website by Vincent Krepps and Harley Coon; and public acknowledgement in the Graybeards and on the KWVA website that neither Lynnita Brown nor the Korean War Educator are now or ever have been working against the principles upon which the Korean War Veterans Association was founded.

You will note that I have not asked the members of the Executive Council to "reinstate" me as a member of the KWVA. There are reasons for this. (1) The third term presidency of Harley Coon was an illegal one, and therefore any business he conducted under the title of "president of the KWVA" should be deemed null and void, including all of Coon’s attempts to use that esteemed, yet ill-gotten title to "get rid of the competition." (2) Harley Coon and the Executive Council members bypassed the KWVA bylaws in their attempt to remove me as a member of the KWVA. Coon’s "Executive Order" to purge an associate member in good standing from the KWVA membership roster was illegal. The council vote to attempt to remove me from the KWVA, guided by the illegitimate president of the KWVA, was equally illegal.

My dues in the KWVA were paid two years in advance. Since joining the organization several years ago, I have adhered to the principles upon which it was founded (as required of associate members per the bylaws), and I have never once wavered in that respect. To ask for "reinstatement" might be construed by the membership and the general public as somehow legitimizing Harley Coon’s illegal third term as president of the KWVA, as well as legitimizing his illegal attempt to publicly discredit me. It would also legitimize his attempt to take away my right of due process, granted to all members in the KWVA bylaws, but denied to Associate Members by Coon and other council members. That I will not do.

The immediate past leaders of the Korean War Veterans Association had no foundation for their unethical, illegal actions against me, other than the fact that their boss, Harley Coon, simply wanted to get rid of me. "Just cause" was "just cause we want to," rather than the fact that there was actually any just cause to remove me as a member based on any violation I might have committed against KWVA bylaws. Consequently, the present leaders of the Korean War Veterans Association need to deal with the shameful conduct of those past leaders in a manner that will reflect integrity and fair mindedness on the part of the newly elected leaders of the KWVA, and that will restore my good name as an advocate for Korean War veterans and an educator on the subject of the Korean War.


Lynnita Jean Brown
Founder, Korean War Educator


Charges against Harley J. Coon
Submitted by Lynnita Brown, Associate Member #A021105

(1) That on September 22, 2003, Harley Coon conspired with Vincent Krepps, pulling the two-year, pre-paid advertisement of the Korean War Educator Foundation from the Graybeards based on the contents of a letter that appeared on the KWVA Ad Hoc message board that day, as well as based on the contents of the introductory page of the KWVA News page on the Korean War Educator website. This is a violation of my constitutional right of Freedom of Speech.

(2) That on September 25, 2003, Harley Coon threatened Ron Janowski, webmaster of the Korean War Educator, with possible legal action for posting factual information on the Korean War Educator website. This incident occurred at 1:08 p.m.

(3) That on September 25, 2003, Harley Coon made a second threat to Mr. Janowski at 3:40 p.m.

(4) That on November 28, 2003, Harley Coon rendered an "Executive Order by the President of the Korean War Veterans Association" to remove me from the rolls of the Korean War Veterans Association effective January 1, 2004. This precedent was done in direct violation of KWVA bylaws rules for the removal of members of the KWVA. Coon’s "Executive Order" was an attempt to remove me from the KWVA without due process.

(5) That Harley Coon conspired with unnamed other persons to publish a fraudulent photograph of the headquarters of the KWVA in the May/June 2003 issue of the Graybeards magazine in a deliberate attempt to deceive the members, including associate members such as myself, prior to a national election.

(6) That on or about September 12-13, 1999, Harley Coon entertained a motion by Dot Schilling (seconded by Jack Edwards) to sell the quartermaster inventory of the KWVA to a member of the Executive Council. This is self-dealing, an act in violation of the terms in the certificate of incorporation of the KWVA. When Coon entertained the motion, he failed to uphold the code of conduct for trustees specifically stated in said document.

(7) That in the November/December 2003 Graybeards, Harley Coon publicly called for a boycott of the Korean War Educator in his President’s Message. Furthermore, in the same column, Coon blatantly lied to the members of the KWVA, causing harm to my reputation when he stated that I was "attacking" the KWVA. That statement was utterly false. Furthermore, Coon also blatantly lied when he told members that I was personally soliciting money from veterans – something I do not and never have done.

(8) That on March 14, 2004, Harley Coon sent a letter to Ted Barker of the Korean War Project, slandering me by referring to me as "neurotic and a habitual liar." I am neither.

(9) That at the February 2004 Executive Council meeting, Harley Coon entertained a motion to remove me from the roster of the KWVA without due process and in violation of the rules for member removal that are included in the governing bylaws of the KWVA. Said vote was published in the Graybeards (March-April 2004, page 26), causing harm to my reputation. There was no "just cause" for any attempt to expel me.

(10) That Harley Coon caused to be published and distributed widely to the members of the KWVA a "Special Bulletin" (an official publication of the Korean War Veterans Association) on April 1, 2004. That on page two of that document, Harley Coon referred to me as "vindictive in her pursuit to malign the Korean War Veterans Association with false accusations." Coon further stated that a list of wrongs committed by the Coon Administration was a document without merit. That is a blatant lie. Each point on the list of wrongdoings is backed with substantiating evidence, most of which came from the minutes, official documents, and/or the Graybeards of the KWVA.

(11) That on July 25, 2001, Harley Coon entertained a motion for an illegal change of the bylaws that called for a change in election guidelines.

(12) That Harley Coon ran for an illegal term as third-term president in the Year 2002 election, knowing that the bylaws had been changed illegally, and ignoring the ruling of Judge Advocate Sherman Pratt. He was aided and abetted by Kenneth Cook, chairman of the Nominations Committee, and other Coonite council members.

(13) That Harley Coon entertained motions for the removals of Nick Pappas, Skip Rittenhouse, and Rusty Tramonte (either as officers and/or members of the KWVA), knowing full well that the motions were in violation of the terms of the KWVA bylaws for member removals.

(14) That Harley Coon interrupted the fair and legal election process of the KWVA by allowing and participating in self-serving electioneering in the Graybeards magazine during the Year 2002 and Year 2004 elections.

(15) That Harley Coon has brought disgrace upon the KWVA by wearing honors not due to him from the Korean War. Mr. Coon was informed by U.S. government officials that he is not entitled to wear certain medals, but Coon has steadfastly refused to comply with said notification. This sets a poor example for the members of the KWVA, as well as severely damages the credibility of the leadership of the organization.

(16) That on January 7, 2004, Harley Coon posted a message on Bert Kortegaard’s website, announcing to the public that I had been expelled from the KWVA. With several years service in KWVA office, Coon knew full well that his "Executive Order" to attempt to remove me as a member violated the specific rules for member removal spelled out in the KWVA bylaws.

(17) That in July of 2004, Harley Coon conspired to damage the reputation of the Korean War Educator by calling the McCormick Tribune Foundation in Chicago, claiming that the Korean War Educator was full of lies, and encouraging the McCormick Tribune Foundation to disassociate itself from the Korean War Educator.


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