Charles Otto Bellon, Jr. lived on Snake Hill Road in Averill Park and attended schools in New York City, Troy P.S. 10, Sand Lake Middle School and Averill Park Central School. Pvt. Bellon’s mother was Elsie Granick Fietz Bellon. She was a machine operator at Cluett-Peabody’s in Troy, NY. His stepfather was Julius C. Weisman. Pvt. Bellon enlisted in the Army on July 12, 1951 just a few days after he turned 17. He was in Company L of the 2d Infantry Division’s 38th Infantry Regiment when he was killed in action while fighting the enemy on “Old Baldy”, Hill 266 in North Korea on September 19, 1952. Pvt. Bellon was awarded the Purple Heart Medal, the Good conduct Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Korean Service Medal, Combat Infantryman Badge and United Nations Service Medal. The Disabled American Veterans memorialized Pvt. Bellon in a prayer of memorial service at the DAV's 32d National Convention held in Kansas City, Missouri. Pvt. Bellon is buried in the Sand Lake Union Cemetery, Sand Lake, NY.
Charles Otto Bellon, Jr.
Bruno Dominick Bevevino
Daniel A. Cary
Robert Martin Casey
Edward F. Coiteux
Edward John Collins
Francis J. Dunn
Arthur Roy French
William Paul Jones
Robert Herman Koehler
Howard D. La Dieu
John Francis Mahar
Philip Thomas McGowan
Donald Tilden Minkler
Robert Warren Minkler
Ernest Blaine Richard
James Joseph Romeo
John Edward Stammel
Thomas Harrison Stoliker
George Francis Wilson
Albert John "Jack" Wittmann, Jr.
Where and When
The following pages tell the "where and when" of the 22 Rensselaer County men who gave their lives on the Korean peninsula. Although Korea is not a large country--about the size of Florida--we felt a narrative that depicts the specific location and the military situation when each of these 22 men were taken from us, would be of interest to family, friends and fellow veterans in explaining the "how" of their deaths.
It started as a "Police Action" (in current terms, a "Peace Keeping Mission") in a small country that our Administration considered "not important" to our national interests. The Russian threat to Europe was, and continued to be, our primary concern throughout the entire conflict. Our "Policemen" were under strength--small units hastily moved from occupation duty in Japan. These units were under trained, poorly equipped and completely unready to face a determined enemy of overwhelming superiority in numbers. What started as a police action with a contingent of about 200 American infantrymen ended up three years later with UN ground forces totaling 302,483 Americans, 39,145 troops from other UN nations, and 590,911 ROK troops holding the battle line against the CCF and NKPA. It would take another 50 years before our government would officially recognize this as a War!
The US military has divided the Korean War into 10 campaigns, but it could be divided into just 5 phases:
The accounts of the deaths of our 22 Rensselaer County men make up the story of the Korean War. The timing of their deaths is indicative of the severity of the fighting during the five phases of this 3-year-long war. Eleven of the 22 men were casualties in the first 5 months of fighting and 8 occurred during 1951. From September 1951 until July 1953 (21 months), 2 infantrymen and 1 Air Force man from the County became casualties. [Casualty in this case does not include WIAs (Wounded in Action).]
Map Inset A
The "Police Action"
The first US unit to arrive in Korea was the under strength first battalion of the 21st Regiment of the 24th Infantry division. This unit would be known as "Task Force Smith"--named for its commanding officer, Lt. Col. Charles "Brad" Smith. This 440-man force arrived in Taejon on 3 July 1950 and immediately moved north. By 5 July they were dug in on the Seoul-Pusan road north of Osan. The rest of the division was still en route. The 34th Regiment moved by boat from Japan to Pusan and started moving north on 4 July. Their 1st Battalion deployed at Pyongtaek and their 3d Battalion (less L Company) deployed eleven miles east at Ansong. They deployed without artillery support. The rest of the 21st Regiment was still en route. The first to arrive, A and D Companies, moved north from Pusan and deployed two miles south of Chonan. So, the 1st Battalion of the 21st was divided between Osan and Chonan. The 3d Battalion of the 21st was still in Pusan. There was no communication between any of these units!
The first encounter with the tanks and infantry of the NKPA occurred at 7:30 a.m. on 5 July 1950 in Task Force Smith's positions. The task force was almost wiped out in a few hours. It was clear by mid-afternoon that the situation was hopeless.
The first week of combat saw the NKPA advance fifty air miles from Suwon to the Kum River. They had shattered two ill-trained, ill-equipped, ill-led and thinly disposed American regiments in actions at Osan, Pyongtaek, Chonan, Ansong and Chochiwon and were now preparing to assault the American line of defense at the Kum River.
Francis J. Dunn Co. A, 19th Regiment, 24th Infantry Division
By 12 July 1950 both the 21st and 34th Regiments of the 24th Infantry Division had sustained severe losses. They withdrew to the south bank of the Kum River and set up a defensive line in an attempt to save Taejon from falling into enemy hands. On the 13th of July the newly arrived 19th Regiment replaced the shattered 21st on the Kum River line. On 14 July the NKPA crossed the Kum and hit the 34th Regiment. This attack left the entire left flank of the 19th Regiment exposed. In the early-morning hours of 16 July the NKPA, supported by artillery, tanks and machine gun fire, crossed the Kum and hit the 1st Battalion, 19th Regiment. The 19th, being outflanked, was forced to withdraw. Their withdrawal was through the road blocks the NKPA had set up in the rear. Survivors were assembled in Yongdong, 30 miles east of Taejon. Of the some-900 men in the 19th Regiment originally on the Kum defensive line when the NKPA attacked on the 16th, only half that number could be found the next day.
In memory - Francis J. Dunn - POW 16 Jul 1950.
KIA = 524
WIA = 2,575
MIA = 2,746
Total = 5,845
Included in the above are:
|3d Infantry Division||
KIA = 50
WIA = 206
MIA = 147
Total = 403
|7th Infantry Division||
KIA = 70
WIA = 185
MIA = 2,505*
Total = 2,760
*This figure represents more than 30% of our total MIAs during the entire three-year war.
Map Inset F
Map Inset G
On assuming command of the UN forces in Korea, General Ridgway incorporated X Corps into Eighth Army and established a unified front across the Korean peninsula. He had inherited an army with a defeatist attitude. There was even talk in high places of evacuating Korea. But with changes in leadership and by example, he soon turned things around. By 11 February 1951 I Corps in the west had moved north to the southern banks of the Han River opposite Seoul and to the east X Corps units had advanced to positions north of Hoengsong. When the CCF attacked our line, it was decided that a stand would be made at Wonju. By 13 February all X Corps forces had withdrawn into positions just north of Wonju. Our infantry was backed by a substantial amount of artillery.
During the early hours of 14 February, with two full CCF Divisions spearheading the advance, the CCF began their attack in broad daylight in march formation. They were met with the most concentrated artillery barrage of the war to that date. This "Wonju Shoot," as it would later be called, proved to be a decisive one as four CCF divisions were shattered. A second attack on our positions during the night of 14-15 February was repulsed. On 15 February G/187 attacked a Chinese-held hill four miles northwest of Wonju. As Pfc. Minkler's platoon neared the crest of the hill they were pinned down by enemy machine gun fire and were taking casualties. On his own accord, Minkler charged the enemy position firing his weapon and throwing hand grenades. His actions resulted in wiping out one machine gun position and inspired the other men in his platoon to charge the crest and seize the hill. Minkler was killed by enemy fire during his brave attack and was subsequently awarded a Silver Star medal for his bravery.
Following the "Wonju Shoot" and the 23d Regiment's stand farther west at Chipyong-ni, it was apparent that the CCF had suffered a major defeat by the rejuvenated Eighth army. Their main forces were pulling back to positions just north of the 38th Parallel. An advance was ordered by both IX and X Corps. On 20 February the 9th Regiment, having relieved the 187th northwest of Wonju, started forward in a northeasterly direction. Their sector presented enormous problems: high mountains, no supply route, and the few trails were muddy quagmires from the recent rains and winter thaws. They also faced stiff enemy opposition from the rear-guard CCF units during the first five days of March but they stubbornly moved forward and by 6 March occupied a position 12 miles northeast of Wonju on the high ground along route 20.
Map Inset H
By the middle of February 1951 I Corps was established on the Han River. To the 25th Division's left, the 3d Division was opposite Seoul planning and training for the river crossing that promised to be a difficult task. However, in early March patrols from both the 3d and 25th Divisions crossed the river and found that the CCF was pulling out. Operation Ripper began.
On 7 March the 25th Division crossed the river against light resistance. Their crossing caused a rapid pull-out of the CCF from the Seoul area, and on March 14th the first units of the 3d Division crossed the Han just east of Seoul without encountering resistance. ROK troops entered Seoul and found no CCF. All units advanced north and by the 27th of March the 25th Division had drawn abreast of Uijongbu and continued north against moderate to heavy resistance. The 35th Regiment was astride Route 3, the main road between Uijongbu and Kumhwa.
On 30 March the 35th Regiment drew the task of capturing Changgo-ri, a large settlement on Route 3, 7 1/2 miles south of the 38th Parallel (8 miles south of Yongp'yong). It was not an easy task. The CCF occupied deep, log-covered bunkers in the hills overlooking Changgo-ri against which our artillery was ineffective. The town was heavily mined and resulted in the loss of several vehicles and personnel. But the men of the 35th, aggressively using hand grenades and explosive charges, were able to break through the CCF positions and capture the town.
On 31 March a tank/infantry task force from the division moved up Route 3 and cautiously crossed the 38th Parallel. The next three weeks saw the troops in I Corps advancing cross the entire front. The 25th Division, with the Turkish Brigade attached, moved north and occupied a broad front that extended from Route 33 in the west to a point just short of Route 3 in the east. There they tied in with the 24th Infantry Division. By 22 April their forward-most units were within 8 miles of Chorwon, the southernmost town in the "Iron Triangle." Intelligence reports indicated that there was a massive build-up of CCF forces to the north and northwest. Word was passed along the front that something big was about to happen, and it did.
22 April marked the beginning of the CCF Spring Offensive that would become the largest single battle of the three-year war in Korea. The initial thrust was against I Corps--the primary invasion route to Seoul--but would extend across the entire peninsula before Eight Army succeeded in turning back this last major effort to eject our forces from Korea.
Map Inset I
On the night of 22 April 1951 the 3d Division was defending a narrow front with the 65th Regiment's 2d and 3d Battalions on line east of the Imjin Rover. The attached Filipino Battalion was on the right flank on Route 33. They were about 10 miles south of Chorwon. The 7th Regiment occupied blocking positions behind the 65th and astride Route 33. (The 15th Regiment was in Corps reserve north of Seoul.) Attacking at 2200 hours, the CCF were able to penetrate the line between the Filipino battalion and the Turkish Brigade on their right. This penetration forced a general withdrawal that would, after successive holding actions, take our troops southward about 10 miles to the Hant'an River.
The 1st and 3d Battalions of the 7th Regiment occupied a ridgeline overlooking the Seoul/Chorwon road (Route 33) just south of the point where both the road and the single-track railroad cross the Hant'an River. This position was not more than 1,000 yards south of the 38th Parallel. The thinly disposed troops came under attack from the west on the morning of 24 April. Supported by our artillery, the position was held at heavy cost in casualties until early afternoon on the 25th at which time the two battalions were ordered to withdraw.
This rearguard action on 25 April earned the 1st Battalion a Presidential Unit Citation that credits the battalion with killing "over 3,000 enemy troops" and wounding "an estimated 5,500." Their holding action allowed the division artillery to stay in forward positions and continue its devastating barrage on the CCF. Such actions had a debilitating effect on the CCF, both in materiel and personnel, and finally on 28 April I Corps withdraw into a well-prepared defensive line north of Seoul. Eighth Army had savaged the CCF's greatest offensive and had inflicted 70,000 casualties and denied the enemy its primary objective--Seoul.
The 3d Division could now enjoy a brief respite in the Seoul area, but it would only last until 16 May when the CCF, having moved its main forces to the east, launched the second phase of their offensive. The 3d then decamped to move across the peninsula into the Taebaek mountains to help restore a deep CCF and NKPA penetration in the X Corps line.
Map Inset J
The CCF, promising to retake Seoul by May Day 1951, had failed. Now they turned to the east, moving units into the X Corps sector while two NKPA Corps moved to the south into the Taebaek mountains bordering the east coast where ROK troops were defending the line. The 2d Division would again be in the middle of things. The offensive against X Corps began on 16 May. Three CCF Armies attacked the 1st Marine and 2d Infantry Divisions forcing a withdrawal. By the 19th, the 23/2 was occupying a new line just south of Hangye astride Route 24, the main road running north from Hongch'on to Inje. To the east, the ROK divisions had become disorganized and retreated, leaving the 2d Division's eastern flank exposed to envelopment. The rapid reassignment of the 3d Infantry Division from their positions in I Corps succeeded in stabilizing the eastern front and the assignment of the 187th Airborne Regiment to X Corps helped strengthen the 2d Division's line.
By 21 May the force of the enemy attacks declined across C Corps' front. The combination of large concentrations of artillery and effective, frequent air strikes had inflicted tremendous losses on the CCF and NKPA.
A task force of infantry from the 187th Airborne Regiment and tanks from the 72d Tank Battalion had moved up Route 24 on the 24th of May destroying retreating CCF troops along the way. They had reached the Soyang River where a defensive perimeter was established. Enemy units were crossing Route 24 from the southeast and moving towards the Hwach'on Reservoir. To protect their passage, the CCF established a deep position extending over two miles in the Chaun-ni area. After a truck convoy which had been sent back for supplies for the task force was destroyed at this road block, the 23d Regiment was ordered to move forward at daylight on 25 May to clear this enemy position. At each strong point of the deep road block the CCF fought a dogged defense. But, by darkness on the 25th, the 23d Regiment had virtually annihilated the CCF regiment manning these positions.
The advance would continue across Eighth Army front and by 15 June our troops occupied positions close to the line that ultimately would become the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), marking the boundary between North and South Korea. In the year 2000--fifty years after the start of the Korean War--the 2d Infantry Division stands guard on this boundary.
Map Inset K
Following the failed Communist April offensive in the west, the second phase of their attack was targeted at X Corps units in the east. By 25 May 1951 it too had failed. The entire UN front then moved north until by 1 July it had reached a line that approximated the final line of demarcation that exists today, 50 years later. On 8 July the first truce talks between the UN and the Communists began at Kaesong (these would later be changed to Panmunjom) and would continue for the next two years during which time the tempo of operations on the battlefield slackened. Small-scale, limited-objective attacks were mounted so as to deny the enemy the dominant terrain from which they could observe and harass our positions.
In the west our troops were occupying the southern base of the Iron Triangle in the Chorwon/Kumhwa area. In the east the ROKs, the US 2d Division and the 1st Marine Division occupied the high mountains northeast of the Hwachon Reservoir.
Twenty miles northeast of the Hwachon Reservoir lay a circular valley--an ancient volcanic crater four to five miles in diameter and surrounded by terrain ranging from one to three thousand feet in elevation. On 31 August the 1st Marine Division began an attack to take several hills on the northeast rim of this crater called the Punchbowl. By 3 September the entire northern lip of the bowl was taken and by 20 September the Marines had advanced to secure most of the dominating hill masses northeast of the Punchbowl. The division's front now extended some 13 miles and despite desperate NKPA attempts to dislodge the Marines from these hills, they remained in place and the advantage of terrain remained in our hands.
Late September marks the turning point when warfare of position replaced the warfare of movement for the last 22 months of the war.
During this advance the 1st Marine Division had decimated the enemy's forces in eastern Korea and he never again recovered sufficiently to resume the offensive. For their performance in this final significant offensive action the division was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation (Navy).
Map Inset K (see Map Inset L for location of Map Inset K)
Map Inset L
In early October 1951 the US IX Corps made plans to launch an attack towards Kumsong. The objective was to improve defensive positions and maintain pressure on the enemy. The US 24th Division, the ROK 2d and 6th Divisions were selected to make the advance to a line about four miles south of Kumsong. The attack began on 13 October and made gains of about 2 miles the first day. Despite counterattacks, stubborn resistance and intense artillery fire, by 17 October the objective line had been reached. Then another advance began that carried the 24th Division close enough to Kumsong to allow tank forays into Kumsong.
The offensive petered out in late October as the truce negotiations resumed at Panmunjom. The improved military position of the UNC along the front was a help in strengthening the UN in the debate at Panmunjon over the demarcation line. Meanwhile, the battle for the dominating hills continued.
The Communists' man-power had been severely reduced during the UN forward push but as the battle line became static they were able to improve their fortifications and their defensive firepower with additional mortars and artillery. The new war had begun.
Combat patrols and probing actions were a daily routine but there was little change in the location of the battle line.
The 24th Infantry Division would maintain their positions on the line until the 40th Infantry Division moved from Japan to Korea in early February 1952. At that time the 40th Division relieved the 24th Division which then moved to Japan.
Map Inset M
By the Fall of 1951 the fighting had become a static, positional war with each side intent on improving their positions so as to influence the negotiators at Panmunjom in deciding the location of the final truce-line. Hills, formerly known only by their numbers (elevations) now acquired names. Some of these were named for their appearance on the contour maps used by the army. Arrowhead, Pork Chop, T-Bone, Alligator Jaws, Punchbowl, Greece and Italy fall into this category. Others, such as Camel Back, Dagmar, Jane Russell and Old Baldy got their names from their physical appearance. Outposts such as Tom, Dick and Harry, along with Reno and Vegas were army code names and others, such as Bloody Ridge, Sniper Ridge and Heartbreak Ridge were named for the action that was taking place on them.
Old Baldy became a familiar name to hundreds of men who served in Korea because it was the scene of constant battles for its possession during the stalemate war. In the two-year period from July 1951 to July 1953 four US Divisions competed with the Chinese for control of this important front-line position. The 1st Cavalry, 45th Infantry, 2d Infantry and 7th Infantry Divisions all saw action at Old Baldy. The hill changed hands numerous times, and each time there were casualties--sometimes heavy casualties--on both sides.
In November of 1951 two US National Guard Divisions were stationed in Japan. They had both been called to Federal Service on 1 September 1950 and then moved to Japan to act as the security force for the islands and to continue additional training. They had moved to Japan in April of 1951. Many of their members would come to the end of their service in August of 1952.
The rotation of individuals, based on a point system that evaluated time in Korea and type of service, was already in effect for the units in Korea. It was first proposed to take individuals from the two National Guard Divisions as replacements for the units in Korea, but instead it was decided to move both the 40th and 45th Divisions to Korea. The 180th Regiment arrived on 5 December, 179th Regiment on 17 December and by 29 December when the 279th Regiment arrived, the 180th Regiment had already seen action at the front. By the end of the month the 45th had completed their relief of the 1st Cavalry Division on the western front in I Corps' sector.
The defensive line that the 45th Division inherited from the 1st Cavalry Division ran from Hill 281 (Arrowhead), about 5 miles west-northwest of Chorwon to the village of Togun-gol, about 11 miles southwest of Chorwon. Except for Hill 281, all of the division's front lines lay south of Yokkok-ch'on. Included in the 179th Regiment's sector was Hill 266--Old Baldy--so named because it had been denuded of growth due to the amount of artillery fired on it in previous battles for its possession. Its position and height made it the dominating hill in that sector. It was, at that time, in Chinese hands.
On 23 January, A company of the 179th attempted an attack on Old Baldy so as to regain this important terrain. A Company's 2nd and 3rd Platoons were to assault the hill from the front (east) side while the 1st Platoon moved around the south side of the hill in order to catch any Chinese who might attempt to escape off the back side (west). The frontal attack was unsuccessful and the 1st Platoon was taken under fire by mortars and small-arms from the well-entrenched enemy positions on the hillside. The platoon was in an untenable position and forced to withdraw. It was not until the company returned to their own lines that a head-count revealed that Jack Wittmann, Squad Leader of the 1st Squad, 1st Platoon, was missing. The following morning a three-man detail returned to the dangerous area of the previous day's encounter and recovered Jack's body.
During mid-July 1952 the 2d Infantry Division relieved the 45th Division, at which time Old Baldy was in our hands. Taking advantage of the relief, the CCF launched two attacks against the newly-arrived 2d Division. Utilizing intense mortar and artillery fire they were able to seize the crest of the hill. By 1 August, after bitter fighting, the 2d had regained the hill and improved its defense with mines, bunkers and wire. There was a lull in the fighting from 4 August until mid-September. The lull was broken on 15 September when the 38th Regiment on Old Baldy began receiving heavy incoming tank, recoilless rifle and artillery fire. On 18 September a CCF battalion moved unobserved to within striking distance of the 38th and then hit their positions from all sides. The crest was quickly captured and two night patrols from the 38th Regiment were unable to dislodge the enemy.
Old Baldy would be recaptured by the 38th Regiment on 21 September. Until 29 December 1952 when the 2d Division was relieved by the 7th Division, this hill would be the scene of many fights, and this hill battle would continue until 27 July 1953 when all ground warfare ceased.
Although the Communist ground forces held a substantial advantage in manpower, the UN Command had control of the air space throughout the three-year war in Korea. Initially, in addition to close-in support for our ground troops by our fighter planes, our bombers roamed at will over North Korea with only occasional contact with enemy planes, but anti-aircraft fire from the ground was plentiful. North Korea's rail system was the primary target for our bombers, but it became apparent that the Communists, by employing coolie labor, could rebuild the damaged rail system as fast as our bombers damaged it.
If we were to influence the negotiations at Panmunjom other targets would be necessary. New targets to our medium bombers were airfields and supply/command centers. Although restrictions on bombing too close to the Yalu River were still in effect, our bomber targets were further broadened to include Pyongyang itself, manufacturing facilities, mineral mining operations, an oil refinery and oil supply center. Although the Chinese had a strong force of MIG-15s just across the Yalu, they at first showed little interest in challenging our planes. The anti-aircraft fire from the ground caused the majority of our aircraft losses. Later, perhaps with the help of trained Russian pilots, the MIGs became more active.
Airman First Class Nickles was the left Gunner on a B-29 Medium Bomber. On 30 December 1952 his squadron attacked an ore processing plant in North Korea northwest of Pyongyang when they were attacked by enemy fighters. Nikles' plane bombed the target and turned southward, still under enemy attack. The final radio transmission from the plane stated "crew bailing out." Two minutes later the plane was observed crashing about 25 miles north of Pyongyang. Five members of the crew survived to be repatriated during the prisoner exchange between August 5 and September 6, 1953. Nikles' fate remains unknown and he is listed as Missing in Action. It is possible that he stayed with the aircraft until it crashed. It is also possible that he jumped but was taken prisoner and died in enemy hands. His name, along with twenty-five others from the 28th Bomber Squadron, is memorialized on the marble panels of the "Honor Court" in the National Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, Hawaii.
The Certificate of Incorporation of the Korean War Veterans Association Inc., filed with the New York Secretary of State on June 25, 1985 indicated that the initial directors were Messrs. Norris, McCallion, Scarcelletta and Patterson.
As reported in the first issue of Graybeards (the KWVA's official newsletter), William T. Norris of Halfmoon, New York, and Joseph P. McCallion of Massachusetts were the first ones to come up with the idea of forming an association of Korean War veterans. He and Mr. Norris decided to become a team. Mr. Norris proceeded with the necessary paperwork to enable the Association to become a not-for-profit corporation in the State of New York and Mr. McCallion continued his efforts in Massachusetts to obtain some recognition for the Korean War veterans. On the same day (June 25, 1985) that Mr. Norris and Mr. McCallion were attending a ceremony in Boston in recognition of Korean War Veterans Day in Massachusetts, the State of New York approved the KWVA's charter.
On July 25, 26 and 27, 1985 Mr. Norris and other veterans journeyed to Washington, DC for a reunion. On July 26, 1985 the veterans attended a ceremony sponsored by the Postal Service in connection with its issuance of the commemorative stamp honoring the Korean War veterans. That afternoon, 39 veterans signed up to become members of the Association. (A copy of the original sign-up sheet may be found in the Appendix.)
On 24 September 1988 William T. Norris wrote to the Executive Board of the Korean War Veterans Association Inc. stating:
This is to clarify and prevent any and all future inquiries as to who the 11 original men that were so instrumental in forming the "Korean War Veterans Association Inc." in the State of New York. Two of these men resided in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts... As a direct result of these 11 men's initiative 'The Charter' brought to Arlington, Virginia in 1985 could be so changed and amended. Thus the "Korean War Veterans Association Inc." of the State of New York became a National Association.
Of the 11 veterans named, 9 were from New York State and 2 were from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, as follows: Kenneth E. Dame, Sr. (NY), Joseph P. McCallion (MA), Arthur L. DeVoe, Jr. (NY), William T. Norris (NY), Jack A. Furlow (NY), Arthur T. Patterson (NY), John A. Herbert (NY), Mario Scarcelletta, Jr. (NY), William Kingston (MA), Ira J. Singer (NY), Robert F. Marchillo (NY).
The KWVA was a leader in the lengthy efforts to see that a Korean War Veterans Memorial was erected in Washington. Over the years, the association formed state departments such as the Department of New York Korean War Veterans Association which came into being in 1991 with John Edwards as the first president. As time went on, the association came to be known as the "National" Korean War Veterans Association with an estimated membership as of 1998 of 14,763 of which 5,177 were life members. The KWVA publishes a magazine called Graybeards which is distributed to its members bi-monthly.
On January 13, 1988 John S. Edwards wrote to William Norris, President of the Korean War Veterans Association Inc. requesting permission to establish a local chapter of the association. Although Mr. Norris agreed that chapters should be formed, he felt that a committee should be appointed to set up terms, conditions and guidelines to be followed by chapters. Mr. Norris attempted to secure volunteers for such a committee during the 1986 and 1987 business meetings of the association without success.
Not knowing when, if ever, a committee would be formed, a few members of the Korean War Veterans Association commenced serious discussions about the possibility of forming a local chapter. On Tuesday, 17 May 1988 a group of veterans of the Korean War met at the Corp. Arthur Willi chapter, Military Order of the Purple Heart in Troy. Those present for the initial meeting were John S. Edwards, William F. Bradley, Thomas F. Sharpe, William C. Coe, Thomas F. Hulihan and Roland Baker. The purpose of forming a chapter was discussed and it was decided that a local chapter could better gain media attention by holding briefings and appropriate activities to acquaint the public with the association and to build public awareness of the Korean War and those veterans who participated in one of the bloodiest wars in American history. The veterans decided that it was time to be heard and by forming a local Chapter they could be visual as well as vocal. By grouping together they could promote the history and education of the Korean War, maintain historical records and no longer be but a short paragraph in children's school books. On 18 June 1988 a highly successful meeting and barbecue was held at the Watervliet Arsenal. At that time it was decided that the name of the chapter should be the Northeast Chapter of New York State. An election was held and John S. Edwards was elected the first President, William F. Bradley the 1st Vice President, Thomas F. Sharpe the 2nd Vice President, Thomas F. Hulihan its Secretary and William C. Coe as the chapter's first Treasurer.
When the chapter was first formed the officers decided to hold meetings at various veterans posts around the Northeast. The officers traveled to VFW Posts, American Legion Posts and to the Military Order of the Purple Heart Chapter to speak to the membership of those organizations about the goals and objectives of the newly organized chapter of the Korean War Veterans. The officers were well received at all posts. During the first few formative years meetings were held at the American Legion's E.T. Ruane Post in Cohoes, North Albany American Legion Post, Watervliet VFW, Glen Falls VFW, Stillwater American Legion Post, in Mechanicville, Green Island American Legion Post, Elsmere American Legion Post, Rotterdam VFW and several other posts in the area. Generally the host veterans organization served refreshments as the chapter's resources were very limited. Most of the officers spent their own money to keep things going. Former U.S. Congressman Gerald Solomon furnished the chapter with our Nation's Flag. The New York State Flag came from our Senator, Joseph Bruno. The United Nations Flag was donated by the United Nations and the South Korean Flag came from the Korean Consul in New York City. George Scott, on behalf of our Canadian members presented the chapter with the Canadian Flag and the POW/MIA Flag came from the Ex-Prisoners of War organization. Our chapter's banner was designed, made and donated by Gloria Coe. As the chapter members raised some funds, the chapter was able to purchase a chapter flag which was still in use as of this writing.
The chapter, an unincorporated association, became known as Department of New York Northeast Chapter, Korean War Veterans Association and by April 15, 1989 its Constitution and By-Laws indicated that the area encompassed by the chapter would consist of the area from Dutchess-Ulster counties to the Canadian borders and west to Utica, New York. By 1991 there were a sufficient number of chapters in the State of New York to warrant the establishment of the Department of New York, Korean War Veterans Association. At the present time (late 1999) there are 13 chapters in New York. As new chapters are formed in New York, the area encompassed by Northeast New York Chapter decreased to that now the Northeast Chapter covers primarily the counties of Albany, Rensselaer and Schenectady.
In early 1992 some of the members decided that the unincorporated association should consider becoming a corporation. After numerous meetings at the Menands diner and other places, it was decided to proceed with the incorporation of the association as a Not-for-Profit Corporation. The Certificate of Incorporation was prepared and filed with the New York State Secretary of State on May 11, 1992 at which time the official name of the chapter became N.E.N.Y. Chapter Korean War Veterans Association, Inc. The directors named in the Certificate were William F. Bradley, Thomas F. Sharpe and John S. Edwards. Subsequently the Corporation obtained its Employer Identification Number and its sales tax exemption number. On July 22, 1994 the Internal Revenue Service approved its application as a tax exempt organization under Section 501c19 of the Internal Revenue Code.
In 1998 the chapter celebrated its 10th anniversary as the first chapter in the National KWVA by honoring its chapter presidents. Among the presidents of the NENY Chapter are: 7 recipients of the Purple Heart, 1 National Commander of Ex-Prisoners of War, 2 Department of New York KWVA state presidents, 1 National Commander of the MOPH, 2 New York State Commanders of the MOPH, 2 Ex-Prisoners of War and 1 member of the Chosin Few. The chapter is also proud to count among its members two New York State Senators, two New York State Assemblymen, Marine Lieutenant General (Ret.), a former director of the KWVA, a former chairman of the KWVA and a Federal Judge (now deceased).
The chapter was instrumental in the creation of two memorials: the New York State Memorial in Albany, N.Y. and the Rensselaer County Memorial in Troy, N.Y. The chapter is also very active in veteran and civic affairs and participates in parades and other ceremonies in the Capital District.
|1988-89 John S. Edwards||1994-95 Paul R. Cloutier|
|1989-90 William F. Bradley||1995-96 Joseph F. Rinn|
|1990-91 Thomas F. Sharpe||1996-97 Emmot "Gus" DeMars|
|1991-92 James H. Busher||1997-98 Raymond G. Bucci, Sr.|
|1992-93 Donald J. Kruse||1998-99 Thomas J. Flavin|
|1993-94 Robert J. McCormack||1999-00 Bernard A. Dombroski|
|2000-01 Louis E. LeFevre, Sr.|
There are many memorials throughout the United States honoring the more than 54,000 deaths by hostile and non-hostile means which occurred worldwide during the period June 25, 1950 to January 31, 1955.
The memorials which may be of particular interest to the reader are those in Honolulu, Hawaii; the National Memorial in Washington, D.C.; the New York State Memorial in Albany, N.Y. and the Rensselaer County Memorial in Troy, N.Y.
One of the first memorials dedicated to the Korean War veteran is the one in Honolulu which was dedicated on May 1, 1966. On the tablets in its Court of the Missing appear the names of 8,195 Korean War veterans including four from Rensselaer County--Edward F. Coiteux, Francis J. Dunn, Howard D. La Dieu and Rudolph Nikles.
The New York State Korean War memorial in Albany was authorized by the legislature in 1986 for the purpose of honoring approximately 235,000 New Yorkers who served during the War and the 2,243 who lost their lives. It was dedicated on June 25, 1990--40 years after the start of the War.
Some 5 years later, on July 27, 1995, the memorial in Washington, D.C. was dedicated. A visitor to that memorial may visit the computer kiosk and check the "Korean War Veterans Honor Roll" database to see whether the name of a particular deceased veteran or one missing in action is on file. The names of each of the 22 Korean War casualties from Rensselaer County appear in the data base.
The Rensselaer County Korean War memorial dedicated on May 30, 1966 contains a bronze plaque upon which appears the names of all of the 22 casualties from the County, of whom fourteen were classified as killed in action, four as having died while prisoners, three as missing in action and one as having died of wounds while in action during the Korean War. A more detailed description of the four memorials follows.
The American Battle Monuments Commission erected the Honolulu Memorial at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, Hawaii in 1964. It was dedicated on May 1, 1966. The Veterans Administration administers the cemetery and the American Battle Monuments Commission administers the Memorial. It was originally erected to honor the sacrifices and achievements of American Armed Forces in the Pacific during World War II and in the Korean War. In 1980 it was enlarged to include the names of those missing during the Korean War.
The Memorial consists of a non-sectarian chapel, two map galleries (one extending laterally from each side of the chapel), two flagpoles in a Court of Honor, a monumental stairway leading from the crater floor of a volcano to the Court of Honor, ten courts of the missing, five flanking each side of the stairway and a dedicatory stone centered at the base of the stairway.
On the tables of the Courts of the Missing are engraved the names of 28,788 American heroes of World War II, of Korea and of the Vietnam Wars, each of whom were Missing in Action (MIA), including the names of 8,195 Korean War MIAs from the various services, as follows:
|Branch of Service||Courts||Names|
|United States Army||4, 6, 8||6,324|
|United States Navy||8||289|
|United States Marine Corps||8||663|
|United States Air Force||8||919|
Unlike the MIAs of World War II, the names of all of the Missing in Action or lost or buried at sea of the Korean and Vietnam Wars are recorded here. The names of those identified servicemen and women whose remains are buried in the cemetery do not appear on the Court of the Missing.
The names of four of the Rensselaer County Korean War casualties engraved on the tablets are Edward F. Coiteux, Francis J. Dunn, Howard D. La Dieu and Rudolph Nikles.
Legislation authorizing the construction of the National Memorial (PL99-752) was signed on October 26, 1986. Nearly nine years later the memorial was dedicated. On March 28, 1988 Congress approved a site on the Mall for the memorial. On September 16, 1988 the official location of the memorial was determined to be Ash Woods, an area directly across the reflecting pool from the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
On June 14, 1989 President George Bush unveiled a model of the winning design concept. Groundbreaking took place on June 14, 1992 and site preparation began on April 28, 1993.
The column of troops (the powerful, central feature of the winning design concept) constitute a multi-service formation, clad in ponchos with the cold winter wind at their backs, arrayed for combat, their symbolic objective the American flag, which waves aloft at the highest point of the memorial. The setting is dynamic: individual statues reflect the diversity of America while their faces convey the trauma and emotions generated by front-line service in war. An etched mural wall, 164 feet long recognizes the totality of the Armed Forces effort. On the wall, an inscription reads "Freedom is Not Free." Recognition of the role played by the Republic of Korea's Armed Forces and the 20 other nations which rallied under the United Nations banner is evident. The memorial is a grand and glorious salute to all who served.
Cooper-Lecky Architects, PC of Washington, DC
Frank C. Gaylord, of Barre, Vermont, whose larger than life works are displayed throughout the nation, and who saw action in World War II with the 17th Airborne Division.
Louis Nelson of New York City who was a World War II Army veteran.
Over $18 million which was raised by veterans, their families and friends and corporations.
The dedication of the memorial took place on July 27, 1995.
The computer kiosk was officially open on February 17, 1997. It is located at the right of the Lincoln Memorial and directly in front of the Korean War Memorial. The kiosk provides a place where visitors may query "The Korean War Veterans Honor Roll" database to see whether the name of the deceased or the MIA sought is on file. If the name of the veteran is in the database, an Honor Roll Certificate may be printed showing the name, home of record, birth date, service, rank and serial number, cause and date of death and a short description of the circumstances of the action where the death occurred. If a photograph was made available to the American Battle Monuments Commission in Arlington, Virginia, the photograph also appears in the database and on the Certificate.
As of May 2000, the NENY Chapter of the KWVA, Inc. has submitted information and photos to officials at the National Korean War Memorial and there is now on the computer database photos of all of the casualties from Rensselaer County except for photos of Robert H. Koehler, Donald T. Minkler, and John Edward Stammel.
Anyone having a photograph of any of the three casualties mentioned above are urged to submit them to the NENY Chapter, Korean War Veterans Association, P.O. Box 360, Lansingburgh Station, Troy, N.Y. 12182-0360 for submission to the American Battle Monuments Commission or, in the alternative, contact the Director, American Battle Monuments Commission, Courthouse Plaza II, Suite 500, 2300 Clarendon Blvd., Arlington, VA 22201 and request the form entitled The Korean War Honor Roll.
The ABMC is also looking for information and photographs of non-battle casualties (regardless of where they died) during the period of the War and one year thereafter or from June 25, 1950 to July 27, 1954. Some members of the Chapter have been scouring the microfiche of old newspapers in the Capitol District and submitting information and photographs, if found, to the ABMC for non-battle casualties.
Upstate Transit, Inc. provided a great package deal for us which proved to be truly worthwhile. Our accommodations at the Double Tree Hotel in Arlington, Virginia were great. The bus driver shuttled us around to the events in the great comfort of plush seats and blessed air condition which saved us from complete heat exhaustion. The heat and humidity did their best to hold us back, but it could not kill our determination to see the events through.
Each day's activities started with discussion over our delightful breakfast buffet as to the schedule of events. There was a lot of discussion and considerable confusion as to the meeting locations, times of departure, mode of transportation and proper attire. (We sure did miss our Organizer--Paul Cloutier.) (Ed. note: Paul was unable to attend because of illness.) However, we managed to proudly represent our chapter by our enthusiastic attendance at most of the functions.
The first official event we attended was the wreath laying ceremony and memorial services at Arlington Cemetery on Thursday, July 27 at 10:00 a.m. Some of our members melted from the heat of that event and were unable to attend the dedication ceremony later that afternoon at the Memorial itself.
At 3 p.m. that same day retired Marine Corps General Ray Davis served as master of ceremonies at the dedication. Main speakers were Vice President Al Gore and republic of South Korea President Kim Young-sam. The Memorial was formally dedicated by President Bill Clinton. As soon as the political dignitaries finished taking all their pictures, the real VIPs of this event--the veterans, along with their families--proceeded to plow through the roped off areas and finally got to look at, touch and photograph "their Memorial."
It's difficult to describe the memorial without the fear of not truly conveying the deep emotional experience. It consists of 19 statues in full military uniforms covered in rain gear, marching through a rice paddy and heading toward the American flag at the end of a triangular formation ending with a circular pool. The wall next to the figures has beautifully carved images. The unique photographic appeal of that wall is that if the veteran stands directly in front of it while you take a picture, it comes out looking as though that person is part of that wall of images; it's one of those things you have to see to appreciate. The entire slogan portrayed throughout the events and the Memorial itself is that "Freedom is Not Free." This Memorial truly symbolizes that slogan to me. Although it is beautiful, many veterans expressed disappointment over not being able to have the names carved on the wall. Perhaps someday...
There were many sights to behold and many pieces of memorabilia available through various vendors in the area adjacent to the Memorial that was labeled as "Tent City." Through the purchase of a "Passport" we were provided with pins, decals and patches as mementos of this wonderful, long awaited event. Thank God and the Republic of Korea for the supply of bottled water which was constantly being handed out throughout all of these events. I'm sure it saved a lot of lives. Rumor has it that they provided over 600,000 cases of water!
Friday, July 28th started off with the mass muster near the Washington Monument at 10:00 a.m. where my husband and all the other veterans in attendance were able to meet up with folks from their old outfits--the people they fought with in that now "Unforgettable War."
Due to a severe thunder and lightning storm Thursday evening the fireworks display was delayed until Friday evening and proved truly delightful. We could see it clearly from our hotel and everyone enjoyed them.
Saturday, July 29th is a day I won't soon forget. The parade that extended from Constitution Avenue and 17th Street was to me the most exciting event of all. I have no idea exactly how many veterans marched in that parade, but it seemed like hundreds of thousands from all over the world. Our own military bands representing the various branches of Army, Marines, Navy and Air Force, led each of the various groups with a toe-tapping marching beat. Just seeing the many proud faces of our veterans as well as those from all the other countries that were represented was a wonderful experience. My husband told me of a woman in the viewing audience who kept yelling out "Welcome Home guys" and that he and the other fellows were awfully happy to hear those words, even if it did come over 40 years late. One young man on the sidelines across from us yelled "Hi Dad" to a very proud and happy veteran from the 3rd Infantry Division. Jim Long marched along with the Chosin Few, "Tucker" Hulihan marched with his old outfit, and the rest of our chapter marched behind our banner and fearless leader Joe Rinn.
Saturday evening our chapter gathered in the Van Buren Room of the hotel for our own banquet. The meal and service were truly elegant and for one last evening we all felt like VIPs.
Now for some of the sideline events...
There were some unscrupulous characters on the trip (probably those Marines who sat in the back of the bus) who corrupted our poor innocent Gus and caused him to take up such bad habits as drinking Coors instead of his usual Budweiser, and gambling! (That's what happens when Shirley lets him travel alone!)
Poor Bill Bradley had what you could call a "tough break"--a bone in his foot actually. And all he was doing was trying to stand up. Of course the fact that it happened in our Hospitality Room doesn't look at all suspicious.
After the parade on Saturday a few fellows "missed the bus" literally and had to fend for themselves to get back to the hotel. Most did fine, but Jim Busher forgot his compass (not to mention his wallet); since his wife has played the "Where's Waldo" game many times, she caught a cab from the hotel and went back to rescue him. He had met up with the company clerk from his old outfit who he hadn't seen since the war, and got reminiscing about those "good old days" and lost track of time and direction.
I don't think Mary McCormack will be visiting Tent City anytime again soon nor will she want a repeat performance of lunch in the mess tent--their tables are not very secure, and fell down just as she set her lunch on it.
I thought it was very nice of Washington, DC to give a parade for Art LaJeunesse on the occasion of his birthday. There was a nice cake for him at our banquet that evening.
All in all, the dedication of the National Korean War Memorial was a glorious event. It was great to see our country finally paying tribute to these great people, even though it was long overdue, but at least we all lived to see it finally come about. Throughout the events of those 4 days, I was able to overhear several conversations of various groups of veterans. Many "war stories" were pouring out as though they finally felt free to talk about it after having to bottle it up for so long. It was truly heartwarming to see the great sense of friendship that prevailed. I am very grateful to have been able to attend and witness all these wonderful events and am truly proud to say that I am the wife and also a sister of a Korean War veteran.
To all of our Korean War veterans I would like to personally say thank you and welcome home!
[Editor's Note: Marie Busher is the wife of our past president, James Busher.]
New York State veterans worked long and hard to initiate a Korean War Veterans Memorial for the State of New York. Legislation introduced in the Assembly by Vincent G. Graber Sr. and in the State Senate by L. Paul Kehoe was capably supported by the Legislature's Veterans Affairs Committee. In 1986 Governor Mario M. Cuomo signed into law what became Chapter 628 of the Laws of 1986 directing that a monument be erected to honor approximately 235,000 New Yorkers who served during the Korean War. Of that number, more than 6,500 were wounded and nearly 2,250 lives were lost. The State Memorial was designed and the construction supervised by the State Office of General Services which received technical assistance from members of the Korean War Veterans Association who subsequently became members of the Northeast Chapter, including William F. Bradley, William Coe, John S. Edwards, Thomas F. Sharpe, and Harry C. VanZandt. In addition to members of the Chapter, the State received assistance from other veterans organizations including the 369th Veterans Association, American Ex-Prisoners of War, Military Order of the Purple Heart, Amvets, Jewish War Veterans, American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Gold Star Mothers, and the Eastern Paralyzed Veterans Association.
On June 26, 1989 a groundbreaking ceremony was held in Albany. The ceremony attendees included Gov. Mario M. Cuomo, Ro-Myung Gong, Consulate General of the Republic of Korea, Dorothea Rockenstyre of the American Gold Star Mothers as well as members of Northeast Chapter.
In early 1990 great progress was made culminating on Monday, June 25, 1990 with the official dedication. The State Memorial features a reflecting pool surrounded by flags set in bronze of the 16 Nations that sent troops to Korea. Adjacent to the pool is a semi-circular wall with three plaques on which there is an historical narrative of the War; statistical information on New York State residents who served as well as maps of North and South Korea depicting the 38th parallel and the locations of decisive battles. (The historical narrative is contained in the appendix.) After an early Monday morning memorial service at St. Peter's Episcopal Church Governor Cuomo officially dedicated the New York State Korean War Veterans Memorial and stated that Korea "is not in any way forgotten" in New York State.
While Paul and Joan Cloutier were taking a walk on a beautiful Sunday afternoon in Troy's Riverfront Park in 1991 shortly after the Vietnam Memorial was dedicated, Paul and his wife saw a piece of vacant land on the riverfront behind Troy's City Hall. At the time Paul thought that the land would be a great place to have the Korean War memorial and believed that it would not take much effort to draw up preliminary plans for the monument, raise funds, secure the appropriate permits and do what was necessary to have the Memorial erected in a short time. Boy, was he wrong. A great deal of help was needed. Bill Bradley became part of the team as co-chairman. His experience in the construction business was extremely helpful. Tom Sharpe became treasurer of the committee. The State of New York, the City of Troy (HUD), and the County of Rensselaer were, as they should be, very particular about the proper accounting of moneys donated or allocated to veterans organizations such as ours. Our secretary, Harry C. Van Zandt's expertise in his knowledge of Korea and the war also proved invaluable. Rich Coate, a chapter member, was very enthusiastic when he authorized us to use his silhouette on the face of the memorial. Subsequently a meeting was held at the site with Paul, Bill and Tom for the purpose of discussing plans for a memorial. Martin G. "Marty" Mahar (then Mayor of Troy) whose brother John was one of the twenty-two casualties from Rensselaer County was consulted and assured us that he would do whatever was possible to assist the chapter in fulfilling its objective.
After numerous meetings with governmental officials and other veterans groups the committee decided that the completion of the project was not going to be an easy task. During meetings with representatives of the City of Troy members of the committee discovered that there were some officials opposed to the erection of a Korean War memorial in Riverfront Park. Michael J. Rock, himself a Korean War veteran and a then member of the Rensselaer County legislature, was tremendously helpful in dealing with the County officials. Donald Kruse, then chapter president, was of great help with the City of Troy officials. Over the next three years the committee met almost weekly to iron out thousands of details and problems they encountered such as presentations before the Troy Planning Commission, selection of an engineer, final monument design, fund raising, etc.
On Thursday, January 14, 1993 the committee, represented by Bill Bradley, advised the commission that they wished to construct a rectangular granite monument and base with a map of Korea on one side and a rendering of a soldier in Korea on the other side. Bill also advised the commission that the plans called for the installation of a retaining wall and making the area handicapped accessible. The chapter's request was tabled to give appropriate agencies an opportunity to respond in accordance with environmental and other laws. After learning of the tabling of the matter, Dave Millard, then Director of the Rensselaer County Veterans Service Agency, wrote a letter which appeared in the February 5, 1993 Troy Record newspaper's "Pulse of the People" stating that:
Bill Bradley recently delivered drawings and site plans to me of the proposed memorial. They are very dignified, subtle and respectful, and would be in my estimation a suitable addition to the park at any location. For the city to donate a 100-foot circle of this beautiful waterfront landscape should not be considered as a burden to the aesthetics of the park but an enhancement, and a show of respect to those who gave their lives and served in Korea. If you consider the sacrifice of the real estate as coupled with the sacrifice of lives to be honored, the point seems muted...
The committee, realizing that it would be helpful and might speed up things if it were to retain the services of a consulting engineer familiar with obtaining approvals of planning boards, zoning boards, coastal management and flood plain oversight agencies and Troy's Historical Commission, consulted Westfall Associates. On May 12, 1993 the chapter entered into a contract with Westfall for engineering services in connection with the design of the site, preparation of plans and specifications and bidding documents, all preliminary to the erection of the granite monument in Troy's Riverfront Park. In early July 1993 Harry Van Zandt reported that through the fine cooperation of both the City of Troy and the County of Rensselaer, the use of a prime site in Troy's Riverfront Park was permitted and that the plans for the memorial had received the approval of the Troy City Planning and Zoning Boards as well as other agencies. On July 16, 1993 Grethen-Cahrenger Memorials was chosen to actually arrange for the fabrication of the granite monument. Other companies involved were Heritage Construction and Development, Inc. for site preparation; Perennial Company of Nassau for landscaping; Sentry Uniform and Equipment, Inc. of Chicopee, Massachusetts for flags and poles; Edison Electric of Cohoes for electrical work and John E. Snyder Signs of Troy for painting.
Fund raising continued for years. Individual chapter members contributed not only money but their time to the committee's efforts to raise funds through 50-50 drawings, breakfasts at Germania Hall, many functions sponsored by American Legion post 1489, bingo games sponsored by the American Legion's Melvin Roads Post and money-raising functions at other Posts and organizations. In addition, through the efforts of Senator Joseph L. Bruno and Assemblyman Ronald J. Canestrari contributions came from the taxpayers of the State of New York. In addition, Henry F. Zwack, the County Executive of Rensselaer County and Mayor Mark P. Pattison of the City of Troy were instrumental in obtaining funds for the memorial as were many veterans organizations and civic and corporate groups. The first major contribution came from Veterans of Lansingburgh, Inc. Other needed and well received donations of time and money and money-raising events came from American Legion Post 1489 and its Color Guard, Italian Community Center of Troy, Westfall Associates, Pioneer Savings Bank, Bonded Concrete, Inc., Germania Hall Association, Troy American Legion Post 628, Sun Oil Company, Tri-County Council Vietnam Era Veterans, Troy Savings Bank, Adirondack Chapter Korean War Veterans, Ross Valve Manufacturing Co., Troy Detachment Marine Corps League, Troy Sand & Gravel Co., Inc. and Fraternal Order of Eagles.
Part of the dreams of the committee, chapter members and others came to fruition when, on Saturday, October 21, 1995 the official groundbreaking ceremony took place on a small plot of land behind Troy's City Hall. About 30 Korean War veterans, family members and local political dignitaries gathered for the groundbreaking of the memorial. It was reported that a bronze plaque on the granite would bear the names of the 22 Rensselaer County men who died during the "forgotten war." Mike Rock reported that he had waited 42 years for a national monument to be built in Washington and that Rensselaer County veterans and the families of the casualties should not have to wait too much longer for a monument to be erected honoring the 22 casualties.
The Department of Defense supplied the names of 22 individuals who entered the service from Rensselaer county who became casualties of the Korean War. After learning that at least two of the names of the casualties were misspelled, the committee requested volunteers who could embark on an investigation to ensure that the names on the plaque were properly spelled, and that there were no other Rensselaer County casualties whose names may have been omitted from the official Defense Department list. One of the volunteers was Kenneth E. Page. Another problem facing the chapter after so many years since the armistice was signed on July 27, 1953 was in locating members of the families of the casualties. After searching through the Troy City Directories found in the basement of the Court House and other available records, it became evident that more help was needed. The chapter then contacted the Scout Master of Boy Scout Troop 516 for assistance. Subsequently, a candidate for Eagle Scout received the approval of the troop committee and the Twin City Council to lead other scouts in the project of locating the names and addresses of members of the families of the casualties. C. Michael Zaffuts with assistance of other scouts in the troop was able to furnish the chapter with the names and addresses of relatives of 13 of the casualties. On March 4, 1997 Mr. Zaffuts became an Eagle Scout.
Finally, on May 30, 1996 after over five years of extraordinary effort by the committee and many others, the memorial to Rensselaer County's twenty-two residents who were casualties of the Korean War was dedicated. Ralph Vartigian, Chairman of the Rensselaer County Legislature's Veterans Committee was the Master of Ceremonies. The main speaker was Stephen G. Olmstead, Lt. Gen USMC (Ret.). Troy Mayor Mark P. Pattison extended a welcome to the City. County Executive Henry F. Zwack dedicated the Memorial. The unveiling was under the direction of the Monument Committee with the chapter president, Emmot "Gus" Demars, presiding. The four men in the chapter who worked tirelessly in the planning of the memorial, Bill Bradley, Paul Cloutier, Tom Sharpe and Harry Van Zandt, did the unveiling.
Music was provided by the Yankee Doodle Band of the Fort Crailo American Legion Post 471. The rifle salute was given by the Tri-County Council Vietnam Era Veterans and the Colors were presented by the Troy Detachment, Marine Corps League.
Congressman Michael McNulty was instrumental in obtaining medals earned by the casualties which were presented to the families at the dedication ceremony. The Congressman's father, John McNulty, Mayor of the Village of Green Island and the Congressman presented flags which had flown over the Capitol in Washington in honor of the casualties, to the families of Bruno D. Bevevino, Daniel A. Cary, Robert M. Casey, Edward F. Coiteux, Edward J. Collins, Francis Dunn, William P. Jones, John F. Mahar, Philip T. McGowan, Robert Warren Minkler, Rudolph Nikles, James J. Romeo and Albert "Jack" Wittmann, Jr.
Thanks to the efforts of Harry C. Van Zandt, the chapter was able to obtain from the Division of Military and Naval Affairs the New York State Conspicuous Service Cross which General Olmstead presented to the families. In addition, the General presented other medals to the families, the names of which are listed in the biographies of each of the casualties.
With the assistance of Major Alan Murray, CWO Jeffrey Borges and Msgt. Matt Powers a fly-over of UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters was arranged by the 142d Combat Support Battalion.
On August 29, 1996 Troy Mayor Mark P. Pattison wrote to Bill Bradley and Paul Cloutier to advise them that:
The City of Troy is honored to be responsible for the maintenance and care of the Memorial in perpetuity and you may consider this letter as the City's commitment in that regard... I also wish to take this opportunity to reaffirm the support of our entire community for this most important project and am grateful to you and other members of your Association for seeing this matter through to fruition.
(A complete copy of the City of Troy's acceptance letter appears in the Appendix.)
[Editor's Note: Anyone with access to the internet may view the County's Korean War Memorial by going to the following web site: www.koreanwar.org/html/rensselaer_county_memorial.html.]
As revealed in the archives, in a startling blatant act of aggression the North Korean Army, trained and lavishly equipped by the Soviet Union, broke the world's peace when they crossed the 38th parallel on June 25, 1950 and brutally invaded South Korea. This was the ultimate test of the west by the Soviet Union using, as was their custom, a non-Russian surrogate, to rearrange the global balance between communism and a free world. The UN Security Council immediately adopted a resolution calling for the withdrawal of the communist aggressors and recommended member nations provide military aid. Sixteen nations responded with military assistance--the bulk of forces and material being supplied by the victor of World War II and the bastion of world freedom--the United States. Americans had long been indignant at the Soviet's cold war tactics and they were proud of the country's response.
Here in the Capital District hundreds of young men--many of these fresh with memories of service in World War II, were enthusiastically responding to their County's call to stop the worldwide spread of communism. Local recruiting offices and reserve and national guard units worked feverishly preparing our young men for military service.
Most of us in that age group were inspired by overseas service in what was being called a police action. In August 1950 one pundit remarked--as the Marine Reserve Unit embarked at Albany's Union Station--they will be back in 30 days!! Little did he know what we faced! Over the next three years, in some of the bitterest, dirtiest fighting in our Country's military history, while enduring the sub-zero temperatures of the Korean Winter, these young men stopped the human wave of Chinese and North Korean communists who sought to tyrannize a peaceful neighbor and intimidate the free world.
America's blood and muscle provided the strength to deny victory to the Soviets and their puppets. The fact that South Korea is today a free nation, politically and economically secure and considered by many as America's strongest friend in Asia is testimony to the sacrifices that your sons, brothers and friends made 46 years ago.
Some say that in the memory of America--Korea was the Forgotten War. I disagree! Today's dedication of this impressive monument forever memorializing 22 of Rensselaer County's sons, properly says "We have not forgotten you -- We are indebted and humbly proud of your services to our County and Country -- We weep for the future you lost -- We weep for the life achievements you never had a chance to make -- We weep for the families you never had."
From the solace of historical reflection, your ultimate sacrifices do have meaning. Because they helped draw the line against the spread of smothering communism, our children and grandchildren have enjoyed a period free of the threat of world dominance by the forces of communism.
No, Korea wasn't the Forgotten War. The bravery and sacrifices of the men whose names adorn this monument says they shall not be forgotten. We must and we shall remember. God bless these gallant warriors and God bless America.
[Editor's Note: After graduation from Bethlehem Central High School, Delmar, N.Y., in 1947 Stephen G. Olmstead attended Champlain College in Plattsburgh, New York. In August 1948 he enlisted in the Marines and participated in the Korean War as a squad leader with the 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division. During his combat service in Korea he took part in the fighting and epic withdrawal from Chosin Reservoir. Being selected for commissioned rank, he attended the Basic School in Quantico and was commissioned a second lieutenant in June 1951. General Olmstead's career entailed command and staff assignments as an infantry officer, serving in the U.S. and overseas, including combat action in Vietnam and in the Dominican Republic. His military service culminated with his assignment as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Drug Policy and Enforcement in August 1986.]
Those attending the ceremonies for the dedication of the Korean War Memorial located in Riverfront Park behind Troy City Hall included the relatives of Bruno Dominick Bevevino, Daniel A. Cary, Robert Martin Casey, Edward F. Coiteux, Edward John Collins, Francis J. Dunn, William Paul Jones, John Francis Mahar, Philip Thomas McGowan, Robert Warren Minkler, Rudolph Nikles, James Joseph Romero and Albert John "Jack" Wittmann, Jr.
On Friday, May 30, 1997, the Northeast New York Chapter of the Korean War Veterans Association held a memorial service dedicated to the Rensselaer County members of the Armed Services who were killed in action during the Korean War. The public and all veterans organizations were invited to attend. The Director of Veterans Services for Rensselaer County, Gary Taylor, was the master of ceremonies.
Congressman Michael McNulty presented flags which had been flown over the Capitol in Washington in honor of those killed in action, to the families of Ernest B. Richard, Donald T. Minkler and Howard D. La Dieu.
Colonel Robert L. Cornute, Deputy Commander, 10th Brigade, New York Guard presented medals to the family. The names of the medals awarded to the families are listed in the biographies of the casualties.
After the ceremonies a reception for the families of the casualties and others was hosted by the Veterans of Lansingburgh, 777 1st Avenue in North Troy.
A copy of the official program may be found in the appendix.
In April 1995 a committee was formed by the Veterans of Rensselaer County for the purpose of honoring a deceased Rensselaer County veteran. A ceremony is held on the second Monday of each month by flying the American flag on the County flag pole for 30 days. The family is then presented with a proclamation from Rensselaer county Government as well as any military and New York State medals, awards and citations not previously presented to the deceased or to the family. Subsequently, the flag is delivered to the family. For many years the Chairman of the Committee was Gary Taylor. The current Chairman is Robert Reiter.
The names of the veterans honored were compiled by the staff of Neil J. Kelleher, Chairman of the Rensselaer County Legislature, and furnished to the Chapter for inclusion in this book. As of the printing date of this book, the following veterans have been honored:
July - Alfred J. Ferguson
August - Stanley H. Barrett & Stephen Clark Barrett
September - Clarence J. Morse
October - Peter M. Guenette
November - John JoJo
December - Robert C. Felter
January - William W. Dickerson
February - Melvin E. Roads
March - Paul J. Baker
April - Matthew S. Maguire
May - Bruno D. Bevevino*
June - Frederick Wm. Hart
July - No ceremony
August - Robert M. Minkler*
September - Charles E. Moore, Jr.
October - Chester Heffner
November - Thomas H. Stoliker*
December - Harold Peter Goodrich
January - Albert "Jack" Wittmann Jr.*
February - Anthony W. Steen
March - John F. Mahar*
April - Paul K. DeVoe
May - Paul J. Higgitt, Sr.
June - Frank E. Halligan
July - Richard N. Hastings
August - Martin Joseph Williams
September - John L. Quigley
October - Francis J. Dunn*
November - James A. Lombard, Jr.
December - Daniel A. Cary*
January - Peter Petrizzo
February - George T. Archambault
March - Joseph A. Lauria
April - John F. Kane
May - Bernard J. Kolenberg
June - Bernard J. Wait
July - Walter I. Passineau
August - John W. Kilgress
September - George S. Robinson
October - Dr. James W. Barrett
November - Lawrence Friend
December - Herbert J. Sweet
January - Louis A. Smart
February - Bruce R. Hussey
March - Robert F. Fox
April - No ceremony
May - William C. Walsh
June - Francis Brown
July - Thomas Doyle
August - Thomas A. Baker
September - William J. O'Brien
October - John Blair
November - Charles O. Bellon Jr.*
December - John F. Overlook
January - James Lance
February - Anne Mihalko-Behan
March - Joseph A. Murphy
April - Stephen A. DeWitt, Jr.
May - Peter Andrew
June - Kathryn Scott
July - Kathryn T. Scott
August - Gladys Gullick Regan
September - Howard D. La Dieu*
[Editor's Note: *These veterans were casualties of the Korean War.]
Wayne Archer "Johnnie" Johnson, an 18-year-old private first class in L Company, 21st Infantry Regiment, 24th Infantry Division was captured by the North Koreans on July 11, 1950 near Chochiwon, South Korea. He was held for nearly 38 months by the North Koreans and then by the Chinese Army. He became part of what became known as the "Tiger Survivors" group. Johnson started keeping a record of the men so that the families back home would know what happened to their loved ones. The fact that he could have been punished or even killed for keeping such a list did not stop him. Along the way, buddies would tell him about someone dying and others would stand guard while Johnson recorded the deaths. When he was released in August 1953 he told the authorities on the ship about his list and the debriefing officer noted it in his file. But nothing was done about it until 1994 when Johnson mentioned to some of his buddies that he still had the list. Shortly thereafter the Government became interested. In August 1996 Johnson was awarded the Silver Star. Subsequently his list of 24 civilians and 455 military deaths was placed on the internet by Ted and Hal Barker of Dallas, Texas who started an online service to veterans, researchers and students of military history which they called "The Korean War Project." The list of civilians includes nuns and priests, engineers, doctors and others, young and old with the oldest being a 82-year old nun and a 76-year old priest.
There were a number of casualties listed from New York State including one Rensselaer County casualty, Francis Dunn, listed as follows:
Dunn, Francis PFC RA12115873 500716 501027 DIE A Co 19th Inf. 24 Div Troy, NY
[Editor's Note: DIE means died in prison. Anyone wishing to view the entire list may do so by going online to website: http://www.kwva.org.]
by John C. Kacharian
The flag code is contained in Title 4, U.S. Code which is entitled "Flag and Seal, Seal of Government, and the States." However, there are sections pertaining to the display of the flag in Title 36, U.S. Code. There are only five occasions (listed below), all in Title 36, that pertain to lowering the flag traditionally to half-staff every year. Otherwise, the flag at half-staff is done by direction of the President, Governor of a State, territory, or possession (refer to Title 4, U.S. Code, Section 7m).
An extract of the Flag Code (Title 4, U.S. Code) and reference to the POW/MIA flag may be found in the Appendix.
[Editor's Note: Mr. Kacharian of West Sand Lake, N.Y. is a nationally recognized authority on flag protocol.]
President Truman called the fighting in Korea "a police action," avoiding the word "war." Many others in high government places refused to call the fighting a war, while Americans and their allies were being killed, wounded or suffering on the battlefield, this deceiving misnomer continued. Several years after the 1953 armistice the war was still not recognized as such. It takes a long time but gradually things change. In 1995 the United States Congress enacted legislation establishing a National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day. This proclamation appears in Title 4, U.S. Code, Section 127 as follows:
Section 127. National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day
July 27 of each year, until the year 2003, is designated as "National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day," and the President is authorized and requested to issue a proclamation calling upon the people of the United States to observe such day with appropriate ceremonies and activities, and to urge the departments and agencies of the United States and interested organizations, groups, and individuals to fly the American flag at half staff on July 27 of each year until the year 2003 in honor of the Americans who died as a result of their service in Korea.
More recently, the Congress, in Section 1067 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1999 (H.R. 3616) relating to the Program to Commemorate 50th Anniversary of the Korean War stated, among other things, that the account in the Treasury known as the "Department of Defense Korean Conflict Commemoration Account" was redesignated as the "Department of Defense Korean War Commemoration Account." Other references which had been made to the Korean conflict were to be changed by striking out the words "Korean conflict" and inserting in lieu thereof the words "Korean War." The President signed the act and it became law on 22 September 1998 (P.L. 105, Section 261).
There is no higher government authority than the U.S. Congress and in Section 127 and H.R. 3616 the words "Korean War" are officially recognized.
As of the writing of this book in mid-2000, no permanent treaty exists.
URGENT PRESS UNIPRESS NEW YORK
25095 James Fragmentary Reports Ex Thirty Eight parallel indicated North Koreans launched Sunday morning attacks generally along entire border. Para. Reports at zero nine thirty local time indicated Kaesong forty miles northwest Seoul and headquarters of Korean Army's first division fell nine AYEM. Stop. Enemy forces reported three to four kilometers south of border on Ongjin peninsula. Stop. Tanks supposed brought into use Chunchon fifth miles northeast Seoul. Stop. Landing EX sea. Also reported from twenty small boats below Kangnung on eastern coast where reportedly offcut highway. End item. Note should stressed this still fragmentary and picture vague. Syet James
PRESS UNIPRESS NEW YORK
25103 James. Add 25095. Reports said attacks launched in heavy rain after mortar artillery barrages which began four AYEM Sunday morning. Stop. Kaesong which lies practically on parallel only major city reportedly taken. Stop. Tanks supposedly brought into plan there para Kaesong about fifth miles along one Koreas best roads from Seoul. Stop. Militaryers here however said northern forces could probably stopped at Imjin River which can crossed by vehicles either along single railway bridge or by handpower ferry. Para. There apparently nono action directly north Seoul at Chosongni which provides shortest route for invasion sudKorean capital and is one of traditional routes throughout Korean history. Stop. There some opinion here that attacks which been heaviest in east and western portions of peninsula might be feints designed draw SudKorean strengths away from this route. Para. North Koreas superior airforce notnot used. Stop. Weather too bad if use intended. Para. Observers Seoul say major attack this time notnot in norths favor. Stop. Rainy seasons just beginning rice paddys are full water roads can become morass making transport supply and operations of tanks and airforce difficult to impossible. Para. Still notnot certain what scope or strength of attacks are but one officer said quote this looks like the real thing unquote. Para. There been nono unusual activity reported recently from north of parallel regarding troop movements or concentrations supplys which would indicate major attack starting however. Ends. James.
[Editor's Note: The United Press system was to number each day's cable with the day of the month and the hour, broken up into ten-minute intervals. "25095" indicates the first cable was written about 9:50 a.m. on June 25th. "25103" is about 10:30 that same day.]
On June 25, 1950 Ambassador John J. Muccio sent the following cable to the United States State Department:
Seoul, June 25, 1950
According to Korean Army reports which are partly confirmed by Korean Military Advisory Group field adviser reports, North Korean Forces invaded Republic of Korea territory at several points this morning. Action was initiated about 4 a.m. Ongjin was blasted by North Korean artillery fire. At about 6 a.m. North Korean infantry commenced crossing the (38th) parallel in the Ongjin area, Kaesong area, and Chunchon area, and an amphibious landing reportedly was made south of Kangnung on the east coast. Kaesong was reportedly captured at 9 a.m. with some ten North Korean tanks participating in the operation. North Korean forces, spearheaded by tanks, are reportedly closing in on Chunchon. Details of the fighting in the Kangnung area are unclear, although it seems that North Korean forces have cut the highway. I am conferring with Korean Military Advisory Group advisers and Korean officials this morning concerning the situation. It would appear from the nature of the attack and the manner in which it was launched that it constitutes an all-out offensive against the Republic of Korea. MUCCIO.
The Security Council,
Having determined that the armed attack upon the Republic of Korea by forces from North Korea constitutes a breach of the peace,
Having called for an immediate cessation of hostilities, and
Having called upon the authorities of North Korea to withdraw forthwith their armed forces to the 38th parallel, and
Having noted from the report of the United Nations Commission for Korea that the authorities in North Korea have neither ceased hostilities nor withdrawn their armed forces to the 38th parallel and that urgent military measures are required to restore international peace and security, and
Having noted the appeal from the Republic of Korea to the Untied Nations for immediate and effective steps to secure peace and security,
Recommends that the Members of the United Nations furnish such assistance to the Republic of Korea as may be necessary to repel the armed attack and to restore international peace and security in the area.
Sec. 4. Pledge of allegiance to the flag; manner of delivery
The Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag, "I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all," should be rendered by standing at attention facing the flag with the right hand over the heart. When not in uniform men should remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart. Persons in uniform should remain silent, face the flag, and render the military salute.
Sec. 5. Display and use of flag by civilians; codification of rules and customs; definition
The following codification of existing rules and customs; definition use of the flag of the United States of America is established for the use of such civilians or civilian groups or organizations as may not be required to conform with regulations promulgated by one or more executive departments of the Government of the United States. The flag of the United States for the purpose of this chapter shall be defined according to sections 1 and 2 of title 4 and Executive Order 10834 issued pursuant thereto.
Sec. 6. Time and occasion for display
- Display on buildings and stationary flagstaffs in open; night display. It is the universal custom to display the flag only from sunrise to sunset on buildings and on stationary flagstaffs in the open. However, when a patriotic effect is desired, the flag may be displayed twenty-four hours a day if properly illuminated during the hours of darkness.
- Manner of hoisting: The flag should be hoisted briskly and lowered ceremoniously.
- Inclement weather: The flag should not be displayed on days when the weather is inclement, except when an all weather flag is displayed.
- Particular days of display: The flag should be displayed on all days, especially on New Year's day, January 1; Inauguration Day, January 20; Lincoln's Birthday, February 12; Washington's Birthday, third Monday in February; Easter Sunday (variable); Mother's Day, second Sunday in May; Armed Forces Day, third Saturday in May; Memorial Day (half-staff until noon), the last Monday in May; Flag Day, June 14; Independence Day, July 4; Labor Day, first Monday in September; Constitution Day, September 17; Columbus Day, second Monday in October; Navy Day, October 27; Veterans day, November 11; Thanksgiving Day, fourth Thursday in November; Christmas Day, December 25; and such other days as may be proclaimed by the President of the United States; the birthdays of States (date of admission); and on State holidays.
- Display on or near administration building of public institutions: The flag should be displayed daily on or near the main administration building of every public institution.
- Display in or near polling places: The flag should be displayed in or near every polling place on election days.
- Display in or near schoolhouses: The flag should be displayed during school days in or near every schoolhouse.
Sec. 7. Position and manner of display: The flag, when carried in a procession with another flag or flags, should be either on the marching right; that is, the flag's own right, or, if there is a line of other flags, in front of the center of that line.
- The flag should not be displayed on a float in a parade except from a staff, or as provided in subsection (i) of this section.
- The flag should not be draped over the hood, top, sides, or back of a vehicle or of a railroad train or a boat. When the flag is displayed on a motorcar, the staff shall be fixed firmly to the chassis or clamped to the right fender.
- No other flag or pennant should be placed above or, if on the same level, to the right of the flag of the United States of America, except during church services conducted by naval chaplains at sea, when the church pennant may be flown above the flag during church services for the personnel of the Navy. No person shall display the flag of the United Nations or any other national or international flag equal, above, or in a position of superior prominence or honor to, or in place of, the flag of the United States at any place within the United States or any Territory or possession thereof: Provided, That nothing in this section shall make unlawful the continuance of the practice heretofore followed of displaying the flag of the United Nations in a position of superior prominence or honor, and other national flags in positions of equal prominence or honor, with that of the flag of the United States at the headquarters of the United Nations.
- The flag of the United States of America, when it is displayed with another flag against a wall from crossed staffs, should be on the right, the flag's own right, and its staff should be in front of the staff of the other flag.
- The flag of the United States of America should be at the center and at the highest point of the group when a number of flags of States or localities or pennants of societies are grouped and displayed from staffs.
- When flags of States, cities, or localities, or pennants of societies are flown on the same halyard with the flag of the United States, the latter should always be at the peak. When the flags are flown from adjacent staffs, the flag of the United States should be hoisted first and lowered last. No such flag or pennant may be placed above the flag of the United States or to the United States flag's right.
- When flags of two or more nations are displayed, they are to be flown from separate staffs of the same height. The flags should be of approximately equal size. International usage forbids the display of the flag of one nation above that of another nation in time of peace.
- When the flag of the United States is displayed from a staff projecting horizontally or at an angle from the window sill, balcony, or front of a building, the union of the flag should be placed at the peak of the staff unless the flag is at half staff. When the flag is suspended over a sidewalk from a rope extending from a house to a pole at the edge of the sidewalk, the flag should be hoisted out, union first, from the building.
- When displayed either horizontally or vertically against a wall, the union should be uppermost and to the flag's own right, that is, to the observer's left. When displayed in a window, the flag should be displayed in the same way, with the union or blue field to the left of the observer in the street.
- When the flag is displayed over the middle of the street, it should be suspended vertically with the union to the north in an east and west street or to the east in a north and south street.
- When used on a speaker's platform, the flag, if displayed flat, should be displayed above and behind the speaker. When displayed from a staff in a church or public auditorium, the flag of the United States of America should hold the position of superior prominence, in advance of the audience, and in the position of honor at the clergyman's or speaker's right as he faces the audience. Any other flag so displayed should be placed on the left of the clergyman or speaker or to the right of the audience.
- The flag should form a distinctive feature of the ceremony of unveiling a statue or monument, but it should never be used as the covering for the statue or monument.
- The flag, when flown at half-staff, should be first hoisted to the peak for an instant and then lowered to the half-staff position. The flag should be again raised to the peak before it is lowered for the day. On Memorial Day the flag should be displayed at half-staff until noon only, then raised to the top of the staff. By order of the President, the flag shall be flown at half-staff upon the death of principal figures of the United States Government and the Governor of a State, territory, or possession, as a mark of respect to their memory. In the event of the death of other officials or foreign dignitaries, the flag is to be displayed at half-staff according to Presidential instructions or orders, or in accordance with recognized customs or practices not inconsistent with law. In the event of the death of a present or former official of the government of any State, territory, or possession of the United States, the Governor of that State, territory, or possession may proclaim that the National flag shall be flown at half-staff. The flag shall be flown at half-staff thirty days from the death of the President or a former President; ten days from the day of death of the Vice President, the Chief Justice or a retired Chief Justice of the United States, or the Speaker of the House of Representatives; from the day of death until interment of an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, a Secretary of an executive or military department, a former Vice President, or the Governor of a State, territory, or possession; and on the day of death and the following day for a Member of Congress. The flag shall be flown at half-staff on Peace Officers Memorial Day, unless that day is also Armed Forces Day. As used in this subsection
- the term "half-staff" means the position of the flag when it is one-half the distance between the top and bottom of the staff;
- the term "executive or military department" means any agency listed under sections 101 and 102 of title 5; and
- the term "Member of Congress" means a Senator, a Representative, a Delegate, or the Resident Commissioner from Puerto Rico.
- When the flag is used to cover a casket, it should be so placed that the union is at the head and over the left shoulder. The flag should not be lowered into the grave or allowed to touch the ground.
- When the flag is suspended across a corridor or lobby in a building with only one main entrance, it should be suspended vertically with the union of the flag to the observer's left upon entering. If the building has more than one main entrance, the flag should be suspended vertically near the center of the corridor or lobby with the union to the north, when entrances are to the east and west or to the east when entrances are to the north and south. If there are entrances in more than two directions, the union should be to the east.
Sec. 8. Respect for flag: No disrespect should be shown to the flag of the United States of America; the flag should not be dipped to any person or thing. Regimental colors, State flags, and organization or institutional flags are to be dipped as a mark of honor.
- The flag should never be displayed with the union down, except as a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property.
- The flag should never touch anything beneath it, such as the ground, the floor, water, or merchandise.
- The flag should never be carried flat or horizontally, but always aloft and free.
- The flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery. It should never be festooned, drawn back, nor up, in folds, but always allowed to fall free. Bunting of blue, white, and red, always arranged with the blue above, the white in the middle, and the red below, should be used for covering a speaker's desk, draping the front of the platform, and for decoration in general.
- The flag should never be fastened, displayed, used, or stored in such a manner as to permit it to be easily torn, soiled, or damaged in any way.
- The flag should never be used as a covering for a ceiling.
- The flag should never have placed upon it, nor on any part of it, nor attached to it any mark, insignia, letter, word, figure, design, picture, or drawing of any nature.
- The flag should never be used as a receptacle for receiving, holding, carrying, or delivering anything.
- The flag should never be used for advertising purposes in any manner whatsoever. It should not be embroidered on such articles as cushions or handkerchiefs and the like, printed or otherwise impressed on paper napkins or boxes or anything that is designed for temporary use and discard. Advertising signs should not be fastened to a staff or halyard from which the flag is flown.
- No part of the flag should ever be used as a costume or athletic uniform. However, a flag patch may be affixed to the uniform of military personnel, firemen, policemen, and members of patriotic organizations. The flag represents a living country and is itself considered a living thing. Therefore, the lapel flag pin being a replica, should be worn on the left lapel near the heart.
- The flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning.
Sec. 9. Conduct during hoisting, lowering or passing of flag: During the ceremony of hoisting or lowering the flag or when the flag is passing in a parade or in review, all persons present except those in uniform should face the flag and stand at attention with the right hand over the heart. Those present in uniform should render the military salute. When not in uniform, men should remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart. Aliens should stand at attention. The salute to the flag in a moving column should be rendered at the moment the flag passes.
Sec. 10. Modification of rules and customs by President: Any rule or custom pertaining to the display of the flag of the United States of America, set forth herein, may be altered, modified, or repealed, or additional rules with respect thereto may be prescribed, by the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the United States, whenever he deems it to be appropriate or desirable; and any such alteration or additional rule shall be set forth in a proclamation.
Sec. 301. National anthem; Star-Spangled Banner
- The composition consisting of the words and music known as The Star-Spangled Banner is designated the national anthem of the United States of America.
- Conduct during playing: During rendition of the national anthem when the flag is displayed, all present except those in uniform should stand at attention facing the flag with the right hand over the heart. Men not in uniform should remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart. Persons in uniform should render the military salute at the first note of the anthem and retain this position until the last note. When the flag is not displayed, those present should face toward the music and act in the same manner they would if the flag were displayed there.
Sec. 304. National march
The composition by John Philip Sousa entitled "The Stars and Stripes Forever" is hereby designated as the national march of the United States of America.
Sec. 902. National League of Families POW/MIA flag
The National League of Families POW/MIA flag is designated as the symbol of our Nation's concern and commitment to resolving as fully as possible the fates of Americans still prisoner, missing, and unaccounted for in Southeast Asia, thus ending the uncertainty for their families and the Nation.
Pub. L. 102-190, Div. A, Title X, Sec. 1084, Dec. 5, 1991, 105 Stat. 1482, provided that:
- Display of POW/MIA flag--the POW/MIA flag, having been recognized and designated in section 2 of Public Law 101-355 (104 Stat. 416) [this section] as the symbol of the Nation's concern and commitment to resolving as fully as possible the fates of Americans still prisoner, missing, and unaccounted for, thus ending the uncertainty for their families and the Nation, shall be displayed
- at each national cemetery and at the National Vietnam Veterans Memorial each year on Memorial Day and Veterans day and on any day designated by law as National POW/MIA Recognition Day; and
- on, or on the grounds of, the buildings specified in subsection (b) on any day designated by law as National POW/MIA Recognition Day.
[Editor's Note: The above is a portion of Section 902. The full text of Section 902 may be found in Title 36 of the U.S. Code.]
|Jun 25||135,000-man North Korean Army (NKPA) invades Rep. of South Korea. (ROK)|
|UN Security Council calls for an end of aggression and withdrawal of NKPA forces, and on June 27th asks member nations to assist ROK.|
|Jun 28||Seoul, Capital of South Korea, falls to NKPA.|
|Jun 29-30||President Truman commits U.S. ground forces to Korea. Eighth Army (EUSA) in Japan is only 48% of authorized strength. The draft is extended and national guard units and reserves are called up.|
|Jul 5||One under strength battalion of the 24th Infantry Division (Task Force "Smith") arrives in Korea from Japan and delays NKPA forces at Osan.|
|Jul 7||At UN request, U.S. forms UN command under General MacArthur.|
|Jul 8-19||Under strength 24th and 25th Infantry and 1st Cavalry Divisions move to Korea from Japan. Delaying actions are taken at Chochiwon, Pyongtaek, the Kum River and Taejon.|
|General Walton Walker assumes command of EUSA in Korea.|
|Jul 20||Taejon, temporary capital of South Korea, falls to NKPA.|
|Jul 24||U.S. Fifth Air Force relocates from Japan to Korea.|
|Jul 25-31||U.S. 7th Fleet is ordered to blockade the straits of Formosa. Armed forces enlistments are extended and draft call is issued for 50,000.|
|Aug 1-8||Elements of 2nd Infantry and 1st Marine Divisions arrive in Korea.|
|30,000 reservists are recalled to active duty. Congress authorizes army strength to be increased to 1,081,000 men.|
|I (First) Corps, IX (Ninth) Corps and X (Tenth) Corps are activated.|
|8,000 Army Reserve captains and lieutenants are called to active duty.|
|In Korea, a defensive line is established at the Naktong River. This line, the "Pusan Perimeter," marks the deepest penetration by the NKPA into South Korea.|
|Aug 9-31||Attacks along the Pusan Perimeter are repulsed by bitter fighting during which the NKPA suffers heavy losses.|
|Four National Guard divisions enter active service. Two of these, the 40th and the 45ths, will see action in Korea.|
|An additional 77,000 Army and Air Force reservists are called up.|
|Sep 1-14||Fighting continues along the Pusan Perimeter line. The NKPA has lost strength and initiative.|
|Sep 15||D-Day for the Inchon Landing by X Corps. A beachhead is established by the 1st Marines, followed by the 7th Infantry Division.|
|Sep 16||EUSA divisions break out of the Pusan Perimeter. X Corps takes Kimpo Air Field near Seoul.|
|Sep 18-26||X Corps moves inland from Inchon and EUSA units move father west and north, linking up with X Corps units.|
|Sep 27||Seoul is liberated and reestablished as the capital of South Korea.|
|Sep 30||ROK troops cross the 38th parallel in pursuit of the NKPA.|
|Oct 1-31||I Corps crosses the 38th parallel north of Kaesong, capturing Pyong-yang, the North Korean capital on Oct. 19th, then continue northward.|
|ROK forces advance northward to Wonsan, Hamhung and Hungnam.|
|X Corps lands at Wonsan and Iwon, move towards the Chosin Reservoir.|
|Chinese forces (CCF) infiltrate into North Korea. By Oct. 25th there are six 30,000-man armies facing UN forces, first contact is made at Unsan, Chosin and Kunu-ri.|
|Ground troops from Puerto Rico, Australia, Thailand, Turkey, the Netherlands and Great Britain arrive in Korea.|
|Nov 1-30||CCF launches attacks near Unsan and at Sudong.|
|U.S. 3rd Infantry Division arrives at Wonsan and Canada's Princess Patricia Light Infantry Regiment joins UN forces. CCF continues all-out attack against EUSA and X Corps. X Corps withdraws to the Hungnam Perimeter. EUSA withdraws to positions at Pyongyang. Epic battles occur at Kunu-ri and the Chosin Reservoir.|
|Dec 1-24||CCF advances along entire front. Pyongyang and Inchon are abandoned.|
|Troops, equipment and civilians are evacuated from Hungnam to Pusan.|
|EUSA establishes the Imjin River Line north of Seoul.|
|President Truman declares a state of emergency with a call-up of 8,000 more inactive reserve army officers.|
|General Walker, EUSA commander, is killed in a jeep accident.|
|Dec 26||General Matthew Ridgway arrives in Korea to take command of EUSA.|
|X Corps is incorporated into EUSA under a unified command.|
|Dec 31||CCF launches their third-phase offensive.|
|Jan 1-5||Seoul and Inchon are abandoned.|
|Jan 7-15||Enemy offensive is halted.|
|Jan 25||EUSA launches counterattack to push CCF north of the Han River.|
|Feb 11-20||CCF initiates fourth-phase offensive in central Korea.|
|Feb 21-28||EUSA counterattacks. The last enemy resistance south of the Han River collapses. General Ridgway has turned EUSA around.|
|Mar 7-31||EUSA crosses the Han River liberating Seoul and reaching the 38th parallel in some sectors.|
|Apr 5-14||EUSA advances to Line "Kansas" that runs across Korea from the Imjin River in the west, northeastward to Chorwon to the Sea of Japan at Yangyang.|
|Apr 11||General MacArthur is relieved. General Ridgway succeeds him as Far East/UN Commander. General James Van Fleet assumes command of EUSA.|
|Apr 22-30||CCF launches an offensive along the 40-mile front north of Seoul. This begins the largest single battle of the Korean War. The CCF offensive is contained north of Seoul and the Han River.|
|May 16-20||CCF and NKPA offensive starts in X Corps sector in eastern Korea.|
|May 21-30||EUSA counterattack restores front-lines to "Kansas" line.|
|Jun 1-16||I and IX Corps advance to Line "Wyoming" that runs through the southern part of the "Iron Triangle," a rolling plain between the cities of Chorwon, Kumhwa and Pyonggang. Despite two more years of intensive fighting, Line "Wyoming" will become the final line of demarcation between North and South Korea.|
|Jul 1||NKPA and CCF agree for armistice talks to start July 10 at Kaesong.|
|Jul 1-Dec 30||Sporadic truce talks drag on with frequent breakdowns. Talks finally resume at Panmunjom in October.|
|The war continues with each side intent on improving their field positions so as to influence the ultimate truce line.|
|Battles for terrain such as Bloody Ridge, Heartbreak Ridge and Old Baldy result in heavy casualties.|
|On Nov. 12 EUSA ceases offensive operations and begins "active defense."|
|In December the 45th Infantry Division arrives in Korea and replaces the 1st Cavalry Division.|
|Jan-Dec||40th Infantry Division arrives in January to replace the 24th Division.|
|The 24th moves to Japan, but will return to Korea in July, 1953.|
|Truce talks continue at Panmunjom. The central issue has become the repatriation of POWs. A stalemate is reached in May.|
|On May 12th General Mark Clark replaces General Ridgway as commander UN/U.S. Far East Command.|
|Far East Air Force carries out strategic bombing of targets in North Korea including Pyongyang and as far north as the Yalu ("MIG Alley").|
|In October the Communists reject the final UN offer on POWs and again break off the truce talks.|
|The stalemate war continues with heavy artillery duels, outpost and patrol base operations and battles for dominant terrain, but there is little change in the existing line of battle.|
|Jan-May||Trench warfare continues, relying on heavy artillery exchanges. The "Nevada" complex, a series of outposts on the western front comes under attack.|
|Jan 20||Dwight Eisenhower assumes office of President of the U.S.|
|Feb 10||General Maxwell Taylor replaces General Van Fleet as EUSA commander.|
|Apr 26||Truce talks resume at Panmunjom.|
|Jun-Jul||CCF attacks with 6 divisions against the ROK II Corps and the U.S. IX Corps. Attack is contained at the Kumsong River Line. Heavy fighting continues for terrain at Sniper Ridge, T-Bone, Jackson Heights, Kelly, Arrowhead, Heartbreak Ridge and Pork Chop Hill.|
|The 24th Infantry Division and 187th Airborne RCT move from Japan to Korea. U.S. ground force strength stands at 303,000.|
|Jul 27||Final settlement is reached on the POW issue and the location of the demilitarized zone. An armistice is signed at Panmunjom.|
|Between Aug. 5 and Sep. 5 the UNC exchanged 82,483 communist POWs for 13,444 UN prisoners, including 3,747 Americans. There were 50,000 communist POWs who refused repatriation, so as to remain in South Korea or go to Chinese Nationalist Formosa.|
|UN defensive||27 June to 15 September 1950, inclusive|
|UN offensive||15 September to 2 November 1950, inclusive|
|CCF intervention||3 November 1950 to 24 January 1951, inclusive|
|First UN counter-offensive||25 January to 21 April 1951, inclusive|
|CCF spring offensive||22 April to 8 July 1951, inclusive|
|UN summer-fall offensive||9 July to 27 November 1951, inclusive|
|Second Korean winter||28 November 1951 to 30 April 1952, inclusive|
|Korea summer-fall 1952||1 May to 30 November 1952, inclusive|
|Third Korean winter||1 December 1952 to 30 April 1953, inclusive|
|Korea summer-fall 1953||1 May to 27 July 1953, inclusive|
Source: Above per General Order No. 80 - Department of the Army, 22 November 1954
Combat zone: Territorial limits of Korea and adjacent waters
-dong village, settlement -chae mountain pass -gol village, settlement -jae mountain pass -kol village settlement -lyong mountain pass -li village, settlement -nyong mountain pass -ni village, settlement -ryong mountain pass -ri village, settlement -myong township -tong village, settlement -gun county -bong mountain -do province -pong mountain -san mountain -ch'on river
[Note: This poem/song honors all that served at the Chosin Reservoir, November-December 1950.]
"The Chosin Reservoir" - a song/poem by Bob Hammond (A/57FA/7th Div.)
In the hills of North Korea
by a lake of azure blue,
rides a farmer in his ox-cart
on the road to Hagaru.
He is singing songs of history
that his father taught to him,
as his eyes survey the scenery
that's no longer gray and grim.
In his mind he hears the cannons,
the recoilless rifle's roar,
and the chatter of the Burp guns
all around the Reservoir.
Mortars crashing, Carbines flashing,
Screaming men and boys,
Bugles, flares and Howitzers,
A symphony of noise.
He is thinking of his childhood
when he saw the soldiers come
to this peaceful mountain valley
that had never heard a gun.
And he's never understood it,
he will always wonder why, why so
many men had come there from
so far away, to die.
How they fought with savage fury
agonizing through the snow,
fingers turning black with frostbite,
Death was sweeping to and fro.
MacLean and Faith, Commanders;
Hodge, and thousands more,
fought and froze, and bled to death
at Chosin Reservoir.
In the hills of North Korea
by a lake of icy blue,
there's no monument to witness,
and no crosses are in view.
Just some land of little value
covered well by falling snow,
but they say to listen carefully
when the wind begins to blow.
And you will hear the ghostly bugles
from the mountain pass, nearby,
You may hear the battle spreading
from the mountains to the sky.
Lives were ending, futures pending,
Fate was casting dice.
some would live and some would
die, Karma, carved in ice!
The battle long is over now,
but fought each night anew,
in dreams of those who can't forget;
They're called "The Chosin Few."
So, let the Veterans tell the stories,
let the legend live and grow,
let the Chosin be remembered
with the Men of Alamo.
With Bastogne and with Wake
Island and the Bunker Hill
Command and wherever there's
courageous men to take a valiant stand.
once they fought to save a nation,
they could not have offered more
than the sacrifices made there
at the Chosin Reservoir.
In the bitter bloody battles,
at the Chosin Reservoir.
[Note: Reprinted by permission of LCDR Kelly Strong, USCG, Mobile, AL 6/17/97]
Freedom is Not Free
by Cadet Maj. Kelly Strong, Air Force Junior ROTC
Homestead Senior High School, Homestead, FL, 1988
I watched the flag pass by one day.
It fluttered in the breeze.
A young Marine saluted it, and then
He stood at ease.
I looked at him in uniform
So young, so tall, so proud,
With hair cut square and eyes alert.
He'd stand out in any crowd.
I thought how many men like him
Had fallen through the years.
How many died on foreign soil?
How many mothers tears?
How many pilots' planes shot down?
How many died at sea?
How many foxholes were soldiers' graves?
No, freedom is not free.
I heard the sound of taps one night,
When everything was still.
I listened to the bugler play
And felt a sudden chill.
I wondered just how many times
That tapes had meant "Amen,"
When a flag had draped a coffin
Of a brother or a friend.
I thought of all the children,
Of the mothers and the wives,
Of fathers, sons and husbands
With interrupted lives.
I thought about a graveyard
At the bottom of the sea
Of unmarked graves in Arlington
No, freedom is not free.
The silhouette on the Rensselaer County Korean War Memorial is an Associated Press photograph of Pfc. Richard Coate, 15th Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division, taken in early March 1951 near the south bank of the Han River opposite Seoul, Korea. Pfc. Coate is a frequent contributor to the National Korean War Veterans newsletter "Graybeards." In referring to Pfc. Coate, Susan Giesselmann, an Associate Member of the Northeast New York Chapter wrote:
I didn't know him then
I know him now.
He is proud. He stands for something.
To many he is just a silhouette
a stone image on another monument.
Look closer. What the man and the monument
represent are the same.
Not only honoring those who fell but
representing those who came home
Unsung and soon Forgotten.
His silhouette represents the Soldier,
Sailor, Marine, the proud "They" in:
You Stand Free Because They Fought.
[Editor's Note: The muddy fields of the picture are now the site of high-rise apartments, office buildings, department stores and hospitals, adjacent to the Olympic Park--part of prosperous present-day Seoul.]
- Governor Mario M. Cuomo, State of New York
- Mayor Thomas M. Whalen, III, Mayor of the City of Albany
- Senator Paul L. Kehoe, Sponsor of Senate Bill No. 8346
- Assemblyman Vincent J. Graber, Sr., Sponsor of Assembly Bill No. 10045
- Captain Thomas Hudner, USN (Ret), Guest Speaker and Medal of Honor Recipient
- New Zealand
- South Africa
- United Kingdom
- United States of America
Music is being provided courtesy of the United States Military Academy Band,
Lt. Colonel Frank G. Dubuy Conducting
American Gold Star Mothers - Special Recognition and Appreciation
- American Ex-Prisoners of War
- American Legion
- American Military Retirees Association
- Army & Navy Union of USA
- Blinded Veterans Association
- Catholic War Veterans
- Disabled American Veterans
- Eastern Paralyzed Veterans Association
- Italian American War Veterans
- Korean War Veterans
- Jewish War Veterans of the USA
- Marine Corps League
- The Military Order of the Purple Heart
- National Association of Concerned Veterans
- Polish Legion of American Veterans
- 369th Veterans Association
- Retired Officers' Association
- Veterans of Foreign Wars
- Veterans of World War I
- Vietnam Veterans of America
- Vietnam Veterans in Government
Music - United States Military Academy Band
Massing of Colors - Veterans Organizations
* * * *
Welcome and Posting of Colors - John F. Hudacs, Commissioner of General Services
Albany Welcome - Mayor Thomas M. Whalen, III
Invocation - Father Frank Gilchrist, St. Madeleine Sophie Parish, Schenectady
Introduction of Honored Guests & Origin of Memorial - John F. Hudacs
Prayer for Peace - Bishop David S. Ball, Episcopal Diocese of Albany
Remembrance of the War - Tom Lewis, Director, NYS Division of Veterans Affairs
Legislative Sponsors - Senator Paul L. Kehoe, Assemblyman Vincent J. Graber, Sr.
Korean War Medal of Honor Recipient - Captain Thomas Hudner, USN (Ret)
Introduction of the Governor - Dorothea Rockenstyre, President, NYS Department Gold Star Mothers
Dedication of Memorial - Mario M. Cuomo, Governor, State of New York
TAPS - United States Military Academy Band
Benediction - Rabbi Michael M. Szenes, Temple Gates of Heaven
Retire Colors - John F. Hudacs
The public is welcome to attend a buffet following the ceremony. Fourth floor patio of Cultural Education Center located immediately east of the Memorial.
A Tribute from a Fellow Veteran - LTG Stephen G. Olmstead, USMC (Ret)
Unveiling Memorial - N.E.N.Y. Chapter, Korean War Veterans Association Memorial Committee
Memorial Dedication - Henry F. Zwack, Rensselaer County Executive
Honoring our Deceased Veterans
- Martin G. Mahar, KIA's Family Surrogate
- Michael J. McNulty, US Congressman, Flag Presentation
- LTG Stephen G. Olmstead, Medal Presentation
Placing of Wreaths - KWVA and Other Veterans Groups
Rifle Salute - Tri-County Council, Vietnam Veterans Honor Guard
TAPS - Yankee Doodle Band
Benediction - Rabbi Aryeh Wineman, Temple Beth El, Troy
Farewell and Retire Colors - Ralph Vartigian
- Hon. Henry F. Zwack, County Executive
- Richard M. Amadon
- William L. Dedrick
- Marilyn K. Douglas
- Stephen P. Golden
- Neil J. Kelleher
- W. Warren McGreevy
- Robert E. Mirch
- Louis R. Polsinello, Jr.
- Edward C. Swartz
- Ralph Vartigian
- James J. Brearton
- J. Willard Doran
- Francis J. Flynn
- Philip H. Herrington
- David A. Little
- Ralph P. Miccio
- Virginia O'Brien
- Martin T. Reid
- Margaret VanDeusen
- Mark P. Pattison, Mayor
- Victor DeBonis
- Michael Harrington
- Frank LaPosta
- William J. Pascarell
- Daniel J. Doran
- Leo Hart
- Carmella Mantello
- Christine Stone
- Elizabeth M. Walsh
- Westfall Associates Consulting Engineers, 225 North Greenbush Road, Troy, NY 12180
The members of the Northeast New York Chapter of the Korean War Veterans Association extend their heartfelt thanks to the individuals who, by their contributions, helped to bring this memorial to Troy. We owe particular thanks to the veterans organizations and civic and corporate groups that contributed so generously to our cause.
- State of New York
- County of Rensselaer
- City of Troy
- North Greenbush American Legion Post #1489
- Veterans of Lansingburgh, inc.
- Italian Community Center - Troy
- Westfall Associates Consulting Engineers
- Pioneer Savings Bank
- Bonded Concrete, Inc.
- Germania Hall Association
- Troy American Legion Post #628
- Sun Oil Company
- Tri-County Council Vietnam Era Veterans
- Troy Savings Bank
- Adirondack Chapter Korean War Veterans
- Ross Valve Manufacturing Co.
- Troy Detachment Marine Corps League
- Troy Sand & Gravel Co., Inc.
- Fraternal Order of Eagles
From the beginning, we received wholehearted support from our County and City leaders and without their help this memorial could not have become a reality.
- John L. Buono
- Steven G. Dworsky
- James Kilgallon
- Joseph Manupella
- Robert Martin
- Sean Casey
- J. Willard Moran
- Martin G. Mahar
- John P. McGraw
- Michael J. Rock
- Walter L. Webster
Massing of Colors - Veterans Color Guards
* * * *
Welcome - Gary Taylor, Director, Veterans Services, Rensselaer County
Posting of Colors
Troy Welcome - Mark P. Pattison, Mayor of Troy
Pledge of Allegiance - Michael Rock, Korean War Vet
Invocation - Rev. Frederick F. Leach, Trinity Church of Lansingburgh
Introduction of Honored Guests
- Hon. Michael McNulty, Congressman
- Hon. Joseph Bruno, State Senator
- Hon. Patrick Casale, Assemblyman
- Hon. Ron Canestrari, Assemblyman
- Hon. Henry Zwack, County Executive
Tribute to Fellow Vets - Hon. Joseph Bruno
Honoring our Deceased Veterans
- Gary Taylor to introduce Martin G. Mahar, KIA Family Surrogate
- Michael J. McNulty - Flag Presentation
- Col. Robert L. Cornute, Deputy Commander, 10th Brigade, NYS Guard
Placing of Wreath - NENY Chapter, KWVA Inc.
Rifle Salute - Veterans Groups
Benediction - Rev. Frederick F. Leach
Farewell - Gary Taylor
* * *
This is the story of an event, significant only to those who experienced it, and one of thousands that must have occurred during the Korean War, illustrating how human lives can be affected by circumstances beyond their control.
On January 19, 1952 I was ordered to take a reinforced squad to relieve a unit that had been occupying our outpost. This outpost, now known as Westview, directly faced "Old Baldy" to the immediate front and was attached to this infamous hill by a saddle on the Northwest side. The objective was to deny the enemy access to Baldy, the valley and the outpost for the night.
Just before dark, reinforced by a machine gun squad, we relieved our platoon's second squad. The relief was accomplished so quickly that I did not have an opportunity to ask them where they had placed the radio. A quick search of the perimeter failed to turn up a radio. As it was already dark, it was not prudent to send a man back to the MLR for fear that he would be shot by our own troops.
I stationed my squad in bunkers around the perimeter of the hill (an inverted cone) and placed the machine gun to the immediate left of the saddle. from there it would cover the entire length of the saddle, the UN side of Baldy, and the valley.
The night was frigid, around zero, and snow was being driven sideways by a strong wind. Suddenly, on this little outpost in the middle of nowhere, a bell rang. It seemed to be the loudest bell I had ever heard. Before we could react, the bell sounded again. My God, someone had hung a field telephone in a tree. By the time we located the phone it had rung a third time. Big Ben could not have sounded louder. I answered the phone and was informed that Baker Company had a patrol out in the valley and they were lost. We were ordered to challenge anyone who came up our hill, lest it be this lost patrol. What a situation. Instead of being able to fire on anyone coming up the hill, which was the order that I had given, we first had to challenge them. This new order was relayed around the hill.
I informed the individual on the other end of the line that I would be monitoring the phone and they were not to ring the telephone under any circumstances. We tried to remove the phone from the tree but it was firmly fastened. As we were silhouetted against the sky we decided to just dangle the headset into the trench.
Guessing that if a Chinese patrol was coming to the outpost that night they would come up the saddle rather than climb the steep slopes of the hill, I had positioned myself at the point where the saddle entered the outpost. The machine gun was to my immediate left. I noticed that the sandbags had been removed from the area where the saddle entered the outpost, thus making it easier to enter or leave. As this also left a gap in our defense line, I replaced the bags.
About 0300 hours, we heard the sound of footsteps crunching in the snow. Almost immediately a figure appeared in front of the sandbags and there was no mistaking that this was a pointman for a Chinese patrol. I had already slipped the safety off my M-2 carbine and was just pulling the trigger when I heard a voice to my left say, "HALT." True to his orders the machine gunner challenged this intruder. Instantly there was the ear-shattering chatter of a burp gun as the Chinese soldier sprayed the area directly to the front and the sides of his position, including the sandbags that I had replaced and was now standing behind.
I fired at the figure and at that range (12-14 feet) I knew that even I could not have missed him. The figure disappeared and I waited for the chatter of our machine gun... NOTHING! I later learned that the ammunition box had been blown off the gun by the first round of fire. There followed, pardon the expression, dead silence for what seemed like hours. My only thought was, "Where are they?" In answer to my silent question a potato masher hand grenade came out of the night and landed in the trench beside me. Before I could react it exploded and shrapnel hit my head. Looking around I could not see anyone on the saddle or on the hill but we lobbed some grenades down the hill anyway.
Again there was complete silence. What happened next? The telephone in the tree rang--very loudly. After groping around I located the headset and a voice said, "What's happening out there?" I replied, "We've been hit!" and the voice came back, "By who?" The rest of the conversation cannot be printed, but I did request flares over Baldy. The flares arrived within seconds and not an enemy was in sight.
At that point the machine gunner requested permission to test fire the weapon and I replied, "What the hell, you might just as well." Shortly thereafter we were ordered off the hill and we made an orderly withdrawal. If you can call climbing up the next ice covered hill on our hands and knees orderly.
When we got back to the MLR we learned that the B Company patrol had returned to our lines soon after they were reported lost. This information had not been relayed to our outpost. On many occasions since that night I have wondered what would have happened if we had received the notification.
Would we have been able to kill all of the men in the Chinese patrol? Who knows.
If we did kill them all, would it have made any difference in the outcome of the war? No.
Were they coming to the outpost to lay in wait to ambush our next patrol? Probably.
By not killing the men in the patrol, did they later go on to kill American and other U.N. soldiers? I pray not.
If I had not replaced the sandbags would I have been killed by that first burst of fire? Probably.
Would anyone other than my family and, hopefully my buddies, have cared? Probably not.
Were the Chinese alerted by the ringing telephone? We will never know.
If my cap had not been folded up, and had the shrapnel not hit a double fold, would I have been killed? Probably.
As I grow older and mellower I find myself praying not only for my friends that were wounded or killed in this war but for all the men and women who lost their lives in the service of their country.
I am reminded of a song that my dear mother used to sing while we were doing the dishes after the evening meal:
I didn't raise my boy to be a soldier.
I raised him up to be my pride and joy.
Who dares to lay a musket on his shoulder,
to kill some other mother's darling boy.
Let nations arbitrate their future troubles,
it's time to lay the swords and guns away.
There'd be no war today if mothers all would say,
I didn't raise my boy to be a soldier.
Wouldn't that be wonderful!
[Editor's Note: The writer is a former platoon sergeant for the Second Platoon of "A" Company, 179th RCT, 45th Infantry Division, and served with Albert "Jack" Wittmann, one of the 22 casualties from Rensselaer County.]
Korean War Statistics
Battle Deaths by States*
Top 10 (Source: Korean War Project)
California - 2,496
Pennsylvania - 2,333
New York** - 2,243
Ohio - 1,774
Illinois - 1,744
Texas - 1,720
Michigan - 1,455
Missouri - 919
Indiana - 887
Kentucky - 868
*The Battle Deaths by States include those killed in action, died while captured, died while missing and died of wounds. Those figures also include members of armed forces (8,177) who were, as of 1954, listed as missing in action.
**The New York casualty figure of 2,243 includes 1,766 Army, 382 Marines, 76 Air Force and 19 Navy.
[Editor's Note: The reported figures on the number and type of casualties changes over the years. See new figures compiled by Martin J. O'Brien as of June 1, 2000 and set forth in the Appendix.]
Battle Deaths by Members of United Nations:
(Source: Summers, Harry G. Korean War Almanac. NY: Facts on File, 1990)
Nation - Killed in Action:
Turkey - 717
United Kingdom - 710
Australia - 291
Canada - 291
France - 288
Greece - 169
Colombia - 140
Ethiopia - 120
Thailand - 114
Netherlands - 111
Belgium - 97
Philippines - 92
New Zealand - 34
South Africa - 20
Major U.S. Combat Unit Casualties in Korea, 25 June 1950 to 27 July 1953
(Source: VFW Magazine June/July 1993 and Battle Casualties of the Army, 30 September 1954, Office Assistant Chief of Staff, G-1, Department of Army)
Unit - Killed in Action:
2nd Infantry Division - 7,094
1st Marine Division - 4,004
7th Infantry Division - 3,905
1st Cavalry Division - 3,811
24th Infantry Division - 3,735
25th Infantry Division - 3,048
3rd Infantry Division - 2,160
Far East Air Force/5th Air Force - 1,200
5th Regimental Combat Team - 867
45th Infantry Division - 834
Naval Forces Far East/7th Fleet - 458
187 Airborne Regimental Combat Team - 442
40th Infantry Division - 376
1st Marine Aircraft Wing - 258
Other Army KIA - 1,432
29th RCT was attached to the 24th ID and later assigned to the 27th and 35th Infantry Regiments of the 25th Infantry Division. It lost 313 men KIA on July 25-26 1950 alone.
Korean War Casualty Data
[KWE Note: The Rensselaer County casualty book lists Korean War casualty data on pages A69-A70. The data was collected by Martin J. O'Brien, a Korean War veteran who served with the 1st Cavalry Division in Korea in 1950-51. Since the Korean War Educator's Casualty pages already include the entire text of O'Brien's book, The Korean War: Forgotten Soldiers of a Forgotten War….No longer forgotten!, pages A69-A70 have not been copied.]
U.S. Ground Force Strength in Korea:
June 30, 1951
July 31, 1953
(Air Forces only)
|- 0 -||- 0 -|
Hospitals, Medical Detachments and Hospital Ships:
June 30, 1951
July 31, 1953
|Denmark - ship only||- 0 -||- 0 -|
|Italy||- 0 -||- 0 -|
|Total, other than Republic of Korea||281,311||341,625|
|Republic of Korea**||273,266||590,911|
|Total, all U.N. Ground Forces||544,577||932,536|
* Includes Marine and Navy Personnel under control of U.S. Army.
** Includes KATUSA, ROK Marines and civilian trainees.
Source: Comptroller of Army, October, 1954
Squad: A rifle squad had nine soldiers, including a sergeant first class as squad leader, a sergeant as assistant squad leader, a corporal armed with a Browning automatic rifle (BAR) and six riflemen.
Platoon: Commanded by a lieutenant with a master sergeant as platoon sergeant and a sergeant as assistant platoon sergeant. The Korean War era platoon had three rifle squads and a weapons squad of two sections, one armed with a .30-caliber light (air cooled) machine gun and the other armed with a 3.5 inch rocket launcher (bazooka).
Company: Commanded by a captain, a rifle company had three rifle platoons and a weapons platoon with a 60-mm mortar section and a 57-mm recoilless rifle section with three five-man squads each. A rifle company was authorized six officers (a Commanding Officer, Executive Officer and four platoon leaders) and 195 enlisted men. Included in this 195 enlisted men were kitchen, supply and administrative personnel.
Battalion: Commanded by a lieutenant colonel, an infantry battalion had 40 officers and 935 enlisted men who were organized into a headquarters company, three rifle companies and a weapons company. The weapons company included a machine-gun section armed with .30 caliber water-cooled machine guns, an 81-mm mortar section and a 75-mm recoilless rifle section. Headquarters company included a communications platoon and headquarters staff personnel and was commanded by a captain. Battalion staff officers were an S-1 (Personnel), S-2 (Intelligence), S-3 (Operations) and S-4 (Supply). The battalion also maintained its Motor Pool with a lieutenant in command.
Regiment: Commanded by a full colonel, a regiment included three battalions and a headquarters and headquarters company, which included an I&R (intelligence and reconnaissance) platoon, a Pioneer (engineer) platoon and signal communications units. Headquarters had the same four staff officers and sections as the battalions. Additional regimental troops included a heavy mortar company (4.2 mortars), a medical company and, in some cases, a heavy tank company.
Division: Commanded by a major general, a division consisted of three regiments and three 105-mm howitzer battalions, one 155-mm howitzer battalion, an anti-aircraft artillery battalion, an ordnance company, a quartermaster company and a signal company. Division staff officers are denoted by G-1, G-2, G-3 and G-4.
Corps: A Corps is commanded by a lieutenant general. Corps size is not fixed. The number of Divisions in a Corps will vary depending on the combat situation. Each Corps had "heavy" artillery attached. The three Corps in Korea were I (1st or "eye") Corps, IX (9th) and X (10th) Corps.
Regimental Combat Teams (RCTs), in contrast to normal Infantry Regiments that were integral units of a division and under division control, were independent units and included an infantry regiment plus a battalion of artillery and, in some cases, armor and engineer elements. Most were temporary ad hoc organizations put together for a specific combat mission or a particular operation.
Three separate RCTs were sent to Korea. First was the 29th RCT. This unit, stationed in Okinawa, had only two battalions but was rushed to Korea on 15 July 1950 and immediately went into the line at the Naktong River. Following heavy casualties, the surviving personnel of these two battalions were integrated into the 25th Division.
The next RCT sent to Korea on 31 July was the 5th RCT from Hawaii. This RCT included the 555 Artillery Battalion and a Heavy Tank Company. When the 34th Regiment of the 24th Division was decimated in early fighting, the 5th was attached to the 24th Division to replace the 34th Regiment and would remain with the 24th until January 1952. When the 24th was relieved on line by the 40th Division, the 5th RCT remained in Korea until the armistice--a separate and independent unit under first IX Corps and then X Corps control.
The other RCT in Korea was the 187th Airborne Regiment. The 187th included the 674th Airborne Field Artillery Battalion. Arriving on 25 September 1950, and still officially part of the 11th Airborne Division (still Stateside), they officially became an RCT on 1 February 1951. During their service in Korea they remained under Corps control.
At the start of the Korean War only the Fifth Marine Regiment and the artillery units of the 11th Marine Regiment were on active duty. It was necessary to rebuild the division by transferring Marine personnel from units scattered throughout the world and by the call-up of personnel from the Marine Corps reserve.
Ultimately, the First Marine Division included the First, Fifth and Seventh Marine infantry regiments along with the four artillery battalions of the 11th Marine Regiment, the First Tank Battalion, the First Engineer Battalion, the First Marine Aircraft Wing and other service and supply units including Amphibious units.
The Marine organization was similar to the Army's, but was somewhat larger. At the squad level there was more fire-power inasmuch as each squad was divided into "fire teams," each of them armed with a BAR.
Having the First Aircraft Wing as a part of the division was a distinct advantage. Trained in ground-to-air communications and control methods allowed for effective support to the front-line troops. It would later become apparent that this same coordination was required between the Army units and the Fifth Air Force and Air Force liaison teams were then attached to army units on the front lines.
The First Marine Division returned to Camp Pendleton in April 1955. Just 10 years later the division would again be in the battlefield in Vietnam.
American Association of Retired Persons: http://www.aarp.org
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC): http://www.abmc.gov/index.shtml. Has responsibility for the care and maintenance of certain cemeteries as well as memorials, monuments and markers.
Chosin Few: http://home.hawaii.rr.com/chosin/
Defense POW/Missing Personnel (DPMO): http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo/. Contains information to assist readers in understanding the U.S. Government effort to achieve the fullest possible accounting of MIAs from all wars. Additional case-specific information, both classified and unclassified, is available to the primary next-of-kin of missing Americans.
KIAs/MIAs of New York State: www.nara.gov/nara/electronic/nyhrlist.html
Korean War Historical Information: http://www.geocities.com/Pentagon/1953/index.html
Korean War Project of Dallas, TX, a non-profit corporation devoted to the study of the Korean War: www.koreanwar.org
Korean War Veterans Association, Inc.: http://kwva.org
Military Order of Purple Heart - National Organization of Combat Wounded Veterans: www.purpleheart.org
Rensselaer County Korean War Memorial: http://www.koreanwar.org/html/rensselaer_county_memorial.html
Second Infantry Division: The purpose of this site is to provide services to members by keeping them advised of past, present and future events. Members will be assisted in locating other 2nd Infantry Division Korean War veterans, etc. http://www.2id.org
Veterans Affairs Department: http://www.va.gov/
What is a Vet: http://mrmom.amaonline.com/special/whatisavet.htm
[Editor's Note: The information contained above was checked in April 2000 and the editor was able to reach the sites. However, by the time you read this the website locations may have changed. If so, you may wish to use your search engine to locate the new site.]
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