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The unknown Second Korean DMZ War

RAPID RIVER — Taken from an article at www.koreawar.org by Major Vander E. Jenerette, U.S. Army Retired (used with permission)

“From late 1966 through 1969, the Korean peninsula provided the background for a military confrontation that included guerilla warfare, sabotage and terrorism directed against the people of South Korea and the Americans serving there.”

“The point man gripped his M16 rifle tightly as he pushed through the underbrush. Carefully looking for booby traps along the trail, he strained his ears listening for the slightest sound to his front. It was dark as the patrol inched its way forward through the valley far below the guard posts on the hills of the demilitarized zone (DMZ). A branch snapped somewhere in the darkness. The point man turned to signal the patrol to stop, and then a shot rang out, hitting him in the chest. Grenades exploded, sending blinding flashes along with shrapnel into the night sky in all directions.”

“The battle scene described was Korea in the late 1960s. It was the United States other DMZ! A nearly forgotten place where soldiers from the 2nd Infantry “Indian Head” and the 7th Infantry “Bayonet“” Divisions were engaged in combat operations on a smaller scale, but no less deadly than the operations during the same time period by fellow “grunts” in Vietnam.”

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I am not a veteran. I am a United states citizen living a privileged, free life. However, my close friend is a veteran of the Second Korean DMZ war, a little known war fought from 1966 to 1969. He is like many others, currently suffering from the effects of his service there. It is imperative that awareness of the existence of this war be raised and a proper memorial or memorial plaque be erected in Washington D.C. recognizing the soldiers who died, and the war itself, before it is too late.

At my request, the local American Legion, Post 244, Powers, Mich., was kind enough to write a resolution to create a memorial or plaque at the Korean War Memorial in Washington D.C. to remember the soldiers that lost their lives in the Second Korean DMZ War. The resolution has passed at the local level and also at the state level. It now goes to the members of the National Executive Committee of the American Legion in May 2019 in Indiana. But it needs the support of citizens like us. There were approximately 235 U.S. Army soldiers killed and soldiers from other branches of service. That’s not even counting the many soldiers like my friend, and others, suffering from the sacrifices they made both physically and psychologically.

We as Americans today owe our freedom the these soldiers. Most people I have asked about this war never heard about it or what went on over there. It’s time we did! Are we satisfied that South Korea has a memorial wall with some of our soldier’s names on it, but no memorial to remember them in our own country? It has been 50 years since that war ended and those lives were lost. How many Second Korean War DMZ veterans have to pass away before we realize that their comrades must be remembered with their own memorial or plaque? It is my hope that everyone who reads this will agree…… it is time to honor our departed soldiers. I am personally ashamed and saddened that the have not received the recognition they deserve.

How do we help? Contact your local Congressmen and Representatives; post this editorial on your social media pages, talk to friends and veterans, contact local American Legion and other veteran’s organizations. Together we can honor our soldiers.

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Bob Nachtwey is a resident of Rapid River

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