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Current KWVA National Officers

The national board is made up of seventeen (17) members, including five officers (President, First Vice President, Second Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer) and twelve (12) directors. Four of the directors are elected annually prior to the annual meeting. Each director is elected for a three-year term.

Votes of the Executive Council are by simple majority, with a quorum being at least eight elected members in attendance. The President has a tie-breaking vote only. Appointed officials of the Executive Council do not have a vote.

The following background information about KWVA officers was gleaned from pre-election issues of the Graybeards magazine.

Executive Officers -

Harley J. Coon, President
Harley Coon is the first third-term president of the KWVA, having ran for that office after the bylaws were changed illegally in 2001. He was held prisoner of war for 33 months and 4 days in Korea (11/27/50-08/31/53). He has served in the following veterans' organizations: Korean War Veterans Association; past state president and founder of the Department of Ohio; two terms as National POW/MIA chairman, KWVA past national director and past president, of Korean War Ex-POW Association; national Jr. Vice Commander, American Ex-POW's two terms; two terms, national director of American Ex-POW Association; past president, Greene County Veterans Service Commission and currently serving second term on commission. He was inducted in the Ohio State Veterans Hall of Fame on November 1, 1994. He is a Purple Heart recipient. [More information about this KWVA president can be found under the "Miscellaneous Information" heading.]

John "Jack" Edwards, 1st Vice President
Jack served with the US Air Force from September 1949 until November 1957. From December 1951 to December 1952, he served in Korea with the 5th Air Force as communications sergeant attached to the 452nd Bomb Wing L., assigned to 1993 ARCS Squadron, attached to MAG 33 of the 1st Marine air Wing. After Korea, he entered the active USAF Reserve until resuming full active duty from 1954 until 1957. He was employed with the FAA, IBM, Link Aviation Space Program, GE Helicopter Program, Bendix Radio Tech Rep with the USAF; and the NYS Law Enforcement Agency, retiring as Chief Officer. He is a life member of the American Legion, VFW, AFSA, KWVA, AACS Alumni Association, DAV, 1st Marine Division Association, Mosquito Association, and AMVETS. He was a KWVA national director in 1997 and 2000-2001 to present. He is a past AFSA first vice president; past president of the KWVA Department of Florida; and founder and president of the Sunshine State Chapter, KWVA. He and his wife Jean celebrated their 48th wedding anniversary in 2002. They are the parents of seven children and 12 grandchildren.

Kenneth B. Cook, 2nd Vice President
Ken Cook failed in his bid as second vice president of the KWVA in 2002, but was then later appointed to his position by Harley Cook when the 2nd Vice President resigned due to health issues. Born in Danville, Illinois, on January 12, 1930, Cook was drafted into the Army on August 15, 1951. He took his basic training at Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Aberdeen, Maryland. He attended the C.B.R. (chemical, biological, and radiology) Warfare School in Japan. He arrived in Korea on May 1, 1952, and was assigned to the 195th Depot Ordinance Company, 74th Ordinance Battalion, and 8th Army Main Depot, in Ascom City, Korea. He departed Korea on June 1, 1953 and was discharged on July 9, 1953. He is a life member of the KWVA, having joined in 1988. He is past state president of the Illinois KWVA. He served as a national director of the KWVA from 2000 to 2002. He previously held the office of 2nd Vice President 1998-2000, and national director 1993-1998. He is a past president of the Robert Wurtsbaugh KWVA Chapter in Danville, IL. He is a director of the Amerasian Children's Orphanage (MACK) in Chicago, Illinois. He is a past museum board member.

Thomas J. Gregory, Treasurer

Howard W. Camp, Secretary

Directors -

Don Byers 2001-2004
Don began his military career by enlisting as a private in the California National Guard at age 16. He enlisted in the Regular Army in May of 1950, and after completing basic training was shipped to Korea in September of 1950. There, he served as an ammo bearer in a machine gun platoon, Co. D, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division. He received the CIB Bronze Star medal with "V" device and the Purple Heart. He served a total of five years as an enlisted soldier, rising from private to battalion sergeant major before he was 21 years old. After serving nine years as a Warrant Officer, he was granted a direct commission as a 1st lieutenant in the Army Reserve. He volunteered for active duty as a captain in 1967, was promoted to major one year later, and served one year in Vietnam from April 1969 to April, 1970 as adjutant general, U.S. Army Support Command, Danang. In Vietnam, he received a second Bronze Star Medal. His later assignments included two years at Ft. Monroe, VA; five years in the Pentagon in the Office of the Secretary of Defense; five years in Heidelberg, Germany; five years with Army Personnel Center, Alexandria, VA; four years back in Korea with the 2nd Infantry Division; and one year with the U.S. Army Operational Test and Evaluation Command, Alexandria, VA. Among his other awards are the Legion of Merit, two Meritorious Service Medals, the Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, and the OSD identification badge. He retired from the regular army at the age of 60 as a lieutenant colonel on July 1, 1992, after completing 44 years of active military service. At the time of his retirement, he was the last Korean War veteran to retire from active duty. He is a graduate of the U.S. Army Command and General Star College, and the Industrial College of the Armed Forces. He served one year as Commander VFW Post 9985, two years as vice president and two years as president of the 2nd Infantry Division Association, and three years on the board of directors of the KWVA. He is married with four children and five grandchildren, and resides in Woodbridge, Virginia with his wife, Joyce.

John H. (Jack) DeLap 2001-2004
Jack entered the Korean War just prior to the Chosin Reservoir campaign, where he received a Purple Heart. He served in Korea in S-1, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines as Administrative Chief. He left Korea in November of 1951. He was the charter commander of the Kansas Chapter #1, KWVA, and was re-elected for another two-year term. He served as Administrative Officer for the City of Kansas City, Kansas, from 1951-1954. His degree was in Public Administration from Park College, Parkville, MO. After he left the city job, he was a real estate broker for over 25 years. Most of that time he was owned the company, and also served the Kansas Association of Realtors as a Director and as first vice president. He is now retired.

Jerry Lake 2001-2004
Jerome (Jerry) Lake was in US Naval Aviation from February 1945 to July 1954. His duty assignment during the Korean War (1951-52) was Commander, Fleet Air Japan, Naval Air Station, Atsugi, Japan. He retired in 1988 after a career in marketing and sales as an executive with Alcoa and Continental Can in the headquarters in New York City. In 1995, he was involved with the Telex Art Foundry, manufacturers of the 19 statues for the KWVA Memorial. It was his assignment to organize the dedication of the statues prior to leaving for the Washington DC location. He was also responsible for seeing that they left the Beacon, NY location on time and was part of the escort to the final location. He is a life member of the KWVA, life member of the VFW and member of the American Legion. He organized and served as president of the Eagle Chapter #90 of Rockland County, NY. He served a full term as the President of the KWVA Department of New York. He also served as the Judge Advocate General of the Department of New York. For over 14 years, he served as the VFW Post Commander in Tappan, NY, and served a term as National Deputy Chief of Staff of the VFW along with other elected and appointed offices.

Michael Mahoney 2001-2004
Michael E. Mahoney has been am ember of the KWVA since 1986. During the Korean War, he served on B-29s with the 19th Bomb Group, 28th Bomb Sqdn., with over 26 months duty. He is a life member of the Korean War Veterans Association, American Legion, and the VFW. He holds membership in the 40/8. He is also the past president of the Central Ohio Chapter of the KWVA, past commander of American Legion Post 134 and past Chef De Gare of Voiture 43 of the 40/8. He served on the following committees at local and state level with the American Legion: Boys' State, Child Welfare and Americanism. He served two terms as Department of Ohio's President and in 2001 was nominated for the office again. He is the National Representative VAVS. He also held the offices of National Deputy Representative VAVS, Executive Vice President, Dept. of Ohio, President and Vice President of the Central Ohio Chapter. He has represented the KWVA in many capacities on both the state and national level.

James F. Jones, Jr. 2002-2005
During the Korean War, Jim served as Security NCO, Repeaterman, and later as acting Sgt. Mgr. Of a high frequency radio relay battalion under the 8th Army, and for a period, was attached to I Corps. He served in three campaigns. Now in his second term as a KWVA director, he helped to organize the Greater Richmond, VA chapter 143 of the KWVA in 1997. He has served as chapter president since. He led the fight to persuade the Virginia governor and the Commonwealth General Assembly to designate, maintain, and erect signs along Interstate 295 in Virginia and to rule that it be permanently called the Korean War Veterans Memorial Highway. During his first term on the KWVA board, he served on the Budget and Finance Committee. He also served as Chairman of the Bylaws Committee.

William F. MacSwain 2002-2005
William is a life member of the KWVA and a charter member of the General Walton H. Walker Chapter 215 in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area. He is currently serving as Secretary/Treasurer of the chapter. He served in Company B of the 179th Infantry Regiment of the 45th Division as a M/Sergeant in the Weapons Platoon from 1950-52. He received the CIB and other service medals while in Korea serving in the Chorwon area. After the service, he received a college degree and worked for General Electric in their Aircraft Gas Turbine Division and then with General Dynamics Aircraft Division. He has been active in Management Clubs, Institute of Environmental Sciences, Church, Little League Baseball, Meals on Wheels, and many other community projects.

Dorothy "Dot" Schilling 2002-2005
The only female on the board of directors of the KWVA, Dot served in the U.S. Army from 1950 to 1952. She served most of her tour in Germany in EUCOM communication headquarters. She worked for eight years as a DAV VAVS Deputy Representative at Milwaukee VA Hospital, putting in about 10,000 hours. She has been the finance chairman for the National KWVA for many years. She is the President/Treasurer of Wisconsin Korean War Memorial, and she has served on the National Disabled American Veterans Executive Committee. In one of those years, she was elected to the DAV National Finance Committee. She went through all the chairs in both her chapter and department and became the Department Commander for the State of Wisconsin. She belongs to VFW, AmVets, Cooties, WAC Vets, American Legion, and the Women in Military Service Organization. She also belongs to the Milwaukee Allied Veterans Council. She was selected as Milwaukee County Veteran of the Year in 1994.

Warren Weidhahn 2002-2005
A life member of the KWVA, Warren served in Korea in 1950 as PFC at the Pusan Perimeter, Inchon Landing, Liberation of Seoul, and the Chosin Reservoir. He served honorably for over 33 years in the U.S. Marine Corps. He is Chairman of the KWVA Revisit Korea committee. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Korea 2000 Foundation.

Joseph Pirello 2003-2006
Joseph has been a Director of the KWVA for the past three years, as well as a member of the Finance Committee. Pirello was one among many Irish Korean War veterans who helped in the KWVA fight to pass HR2623 passed to have citizenship granted to all non-citizen soldiers who were killed while serving in the armed services of the U.S. He is presently working to have a monument on Ellis Island to recognize those non-citizen soldiers who fought in the armed forces of the U.S. He supports the care of Amerasian children of Korea. He is the only officer of the KWVA to have attended all called meetings in the last three years. He is a life member of the KWVA.

Charles R. (Ray) Wells 2003-2006
Charles Wells served with the 8th Army in Korea with the 59th Ordnance Group, 74th Ordnance Battalion, 195th Ord Company. He is the commander of the Charles B. Thacker, Chapter 250, of Korean War Veterans, Norton, VA. He organized the KWVA Chapter 250 in Southwest, Virginia, and is presently working towards organizing a Chapter in Eastern Tennessee and Eastern Kentucky. Wells was one of the original organizers of the Greater West Melbourne Athletic Association, serving as its president and chairman of the board. He was president and chairman of the board of directors of Optimists International, Dawsonville, GA. He was vice chairman of the Dawson County school board for four years. He was property claim manager with a major insurance company for 30 years. He has a master's degree in insurance. He has served on the board of directors of the Lonesome Pine Arts and Crafts, Big Stone Gap, VA. He is chairman and director of the State Youth Board of Free Will Baptist, Florida, for ten years. He served on the board of directors and Finance/Budget Committee, the Church of God, Norton, VA, for five years. He is a past and present high school substitute teacher. He is president/owner of Abet Emblem, Uniform and Cap Company, Norton, VA. He is senior adult minister of the Freedom of Worship Church, Norton, VA. In 1989, he was emcee for the National Governors Convention, Macon, GA. He has also emceed for numerous activities in the region, including the well-known Virginia Sugarcane Cloggers.

Thomas Nuzzo 2003-2006
Thomas served in the 101st Division, 10th Corps, Eighth Army. He is a retired educator who devised, implemented, and supervised district-wide school programs. He has served as a Director in the Fordham University Alumni Association. He is a past Vice-President of the Empire Chapter, New York. He was on the committee which erected the Korean War Monument in New York City. He has been a member of the KWVA since 1988. He has served as President of his children's PTA, as well as head of his church's parish council.

James E. Ferris 2003-2006
Jim Ferris served in the United States Marine Corps from 1952 through 1955, and served 17 years in the New York Guard. He was employed for 35 years with American Telephone and Telegraph Company, where he was in a managerial position. He is a charter and life member of the KWVA, and a charter and life member of the Central New York Chapter, KWVA. He served as a board member of the Central New York Chapter for six years, and was elected commander of the chapter for two consecutive terms. He is currently the president of the New York Department, reelected four terms. He and his wife Felice have been married for 45 years, and they have three daughters and five grandsons.

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