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Subject: Korean War memories 60 years on rss

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Robert Ridgeway
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Greenville
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By Anna Simon

Jim Bredenkamp, of Anderson, SC celebrated his 21st birthday on a military ship headed to Korea in January of 1951, helping fight a war many have all but forgotten.

“We were wherever the heaviest fighting was,” said Bredenkamp, now 82, who served with the 8th Army Artil­lery and has vivid memories of his 11 months in Korea. “We were no place more than two weeks. We were always in action during that time.”

He was one of 58 Upstate Korean War veterans honored Tuesday with Certificates of Appreciation signed by Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta as part of a three-year national effort by the Department of Defense 60th Anni­versary of the Korean War Commemo­ration Committee to honor the service and sacrifices of Korean War veterans.

Bob Philyaw, the 79year-old pastor of Due West Baptist Church, was a forward observer with the Army infantry in Korea. His job was to find the enemy, “which was easy because they found us,” he said.

He also has memories.

One day he was sent back from the front lines for supplies, and his lieutenant was captured by the enemy.

He and the sergeant “went up into the battle zone and climbed up on a mountain. I was driving a jeep, and we were stopped by a tree across the road but we freed the lieutenant, and brought him back to safety,” Philyaw said, without further embellishment. Back in South Carolina, Paul Dichard, 81, of Mauldin, was stationed near Beaufort with the U.S. Marine Corps 2nd Air Wing, at a momentous time in aviation technology, transferring propeller-powered aircraft returning from Korea to stateside reserve units as they were replaced by new jets.

Philyaw recalls seeing one of the first jets fly past where he was sitting on a Korean hillside. He was amazed by the power of the aircraft as it dropped napalm that burned through the jungle to expose the enemy.

Herb Hand, 80, of Anderson, spent the Korean War years with the U.S. Air Force keeping the Russians out of West Germany. Then President Dwight D. Eisenhower had equipped the aircraft with nuclear weapons and the Cold War was beginning. “It was very tense. We were on call 24 hours a day seven days a week,” he said. “We never knew when a call came in whether it was real or a test. The Russians were always jamming our radar.”

John Skaug, 78, of Greenville, was in the Pacific Ocean with the U.S. Navy on the USS Florkin ASR9, a submarine rescue ship. Their mission was to rescue personnel if a submarine went down. They had to be ready to do whatever was needed. Fortunately, he said, the need never came. Dick Sorby, 79, of Anderson, was with the Army engineers working all over the U.S. and part of the time on Grand Turk Island in the Caribbean building air strips, water purification systems and highways as the military tested captured German missiles in the Caribbean and began building a neglected domestic infrastructure after going through a depression and a world war. Women were also part of the effort. Robbie Kutchman, 81, of Anderson, stayed stateside serving in communications with the Air Force. Six decades ago, “they stood up to tyranny,” said U.S. Army Lt. Col. Timothy Washington, deputy director of the Department of Defense 60th Anniversary of the Korean War Commemoration Committee, who personally handed each of the 58 honorees a certificate. He shook the hands of some and carefully place certificates in the hands of others brought in wheelchairs to the front of the room at the Richard M. Campbell Veterans Nursing Home in Anderson. Although some were too frail to shake hands, pride showed in most of their eyes. The Korean War is sometimes called “the Forgotten War” because it fell between World War II and Vietnam, however Amanda Burke, spokeswoman for the commemoration committee and a former Spartanburg resident, likes to call it ‘the Forgotten Victory.”

A short film presentation before the certificates were awarded made the point that Korea transformed itself from an aid recipient to an aid donor. The U.S., South Korea and 21 nations banded together against communism, and the Armistice signed in 1953 remains in effect today The service and sacrifice of veterans who served during the Korean War made a difference that is obvious today when comparing the strong economy of South Korea with the still impoverished economy of North Korea, Burke said. Bredenkamp and Philyaw traveled back to South Korea in recent years and enjoyed seeing the changes. “It’s right up there with us. It’s not the Korea we saw at all,” Bredenkamp said.
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Jim Ransom
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Jacksonville
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"The only thing worse than fighting with Allies is fighting without Allies." Winston Churchill
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sassypickle wrote:

I can't let a mention of the Korean War pass by without recommending this excellent memoir.




"6 February 1951

When I first saw them, about a thousand yards to our front, the enemy looked like little black ants racing from the village toward snow-covered hills. It was a clear, cloudless morning; the temperature hovered around zero as the tanks kept rolling, closing on the ants and the hills set astride the road dead ahead."


Hackworth the soldier earned my thanks and respect for serving his country. Hackworth the crappy newspaper columnist: not so much...
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Adam Siler
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I don't remember many of LtCol Hackworth's columns, but his books are excellent.
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Robert Ridgeway
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"Unforgettable: The Korean War" uses historical movies and personal photos combined with emotional remembrances to reveal the individual stories, the pride, the patriotism, the gallantry, the sacrifice and heartache behind 'the Forgotten War':
http://www.pbs.org/programs/unforgettable/
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Adam Siler
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A good title for a documentary! I think that Korea isn't forgotten because of what has happened since, but because it was never really acknowledged as it should have been, even when the war was taking place.

John Toland's book on Korea does a good job at portraying it as the conventional war that it was, and even "Under the Loving Care of the Fatherly Leader," which has its focus on the regime, gives anecdotal experience on how the war was something that people thought about, but one that was pushed into the back pages of a newspaper. In that respect, it's sort of like Afghanistan in the wake of non-stop Iraq coverage.

The massive public involvement of World War 2 was gone, and the whole Red Scare was mostly limited to movies and suspected conspiracy plots. I wasn't alive back then, but from reading, it appears to me that there was more hysteria about possible chemical or other weapons attacks on the US in the last decade than there was about communist aggression. This isn't to say that people weren't concerned about the subject, or didn't know what the North Korean invasion was about, but the bigger fear (whether it was misplaced or not) was on super-weapons and space flights. This is probably because people lived in the shadow of Hiroshima and had a primal fear of weapons like that rather than an ideological or nationalist way of perceiving the war, as was the case in WW2.
I think it can be summed up by contrasting two movies: Matinee, starring John Goodman, did a much better job showing what people were really concerned about than the new Indiana Jones, where sign-holders are out rallying against communism (because they have nothing better to do).
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Robert Ridgeway
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Sailor recalls 1968 North Korean capture of USS Pueblo:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-16650683
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Bert Schneider
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That documentary was incredible! Arizona Public Media created that documentary from the one they created the year before (Tucson Remembers: The Korean War). I feel blessed, because I was able to donate my father's photos along with Color and Black and White 16mm movie film for these documentaries. Not only did the Producer use my father's photos and movies, but my father is in the documentaries! They even included my name in the credits, for donating the materials. On the day of the special screening, at the University of Arizona - I had no idea if they were going to use any of the footage or not. Tom Kleespie (the Producer) gave a short talk, before the special screening. He said that in World War II, there were so many photographers and journalist around the globe that we now have many films and photos from that era. The Korean War however, was a different story. Because the U.S. thought it was going to be a short "Police Action", the Army and Marine Corps didn't send over many journalists. As a result, Tom said he could hardly find any materials in the National Archives. He had me stand up and thanked me for donating my father's materials, at the screening event. I was in shock. That day was five years to the day that my father passed away and went to Heaven! It was a very emotional experience, for me. At several other events, my wife and I got to meet all of the Veterans, who were in the documentary - very neat and impressive people. My wife and I feel blessed to have had the honor of getting to know these fine people.

Bert Schneider
Oro Valley, AZ


http://www.azpm.org/news/spotlight/2010/5/24/1232-unforgetta...
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Keith Plymale
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Huddleston
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I've haven't forgotten it. I've thanked the vet's when I knew they had served. I've studied it and I've gamed it.
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