VFW Post 9182 recently held a remembrance of the 59th anniversary of the signing of the Korean Armistice, the Korean War ceasefire agreement. Five members of the post who saw action in the Forgotten War were honored and shared their experiences defending freedom in that far corner of the world.
The first to retell one of his memorable experiences was Joe Reynolds, who served as an Army artillery officer with the 45th infantry division. He related a story that while directing fire on the Chinese communist positions near what would later become the Korean DMZ, his unit brought retaliation on our British Allies. It seems the communists were firing back on the British positions, rather than the Americans.
Sergeant Charley White was with the second infantry division not far from Reynolds near Panmunjom when the Armistice was signed. He told stories of some Americans literally interacting with the Chinese for a short while. He was skeptical of the former enemy and did not allow his men to engage in this sort of activity.
Pat Adams, the former Katy police chief and a former member of the seventh Marine regiment, first Marine division, told of riding a train from Pusan to the eastern side of northern South Korea. He told stories of the bitter cold conditions (30 and 40 degrees below zero) that the troops encountered.
This was also the same theme that was echoed by former Post Commander Todd Spiller. Spiller was one of those rare soldiers promoted from the enlisted ranks to become an officer, known as a Mustang. Like Adams, he was a member of the seventh Marine regiment, first Marine division. He was in the mountains not far from Adams in a place known as Mun San-Ni.
Spiller also related an interesting piece of history. In 1955, they were loaded upon vessels to join the fight in Vietnam. These orders were later changed several days after leaving Korea, and it would be 10 years before a full-scale landing of Marines would take place in Southeast Asia.
Louis Mehr, the commander of the Post 9182’s honor guard, related experiences while serving in maintenance with the first Marine Air Wing, MAG 12 Hq Squadron. He related how the first Ace of the Korean War was credited with five "kills" flying a Corsair. However, the planes he shot down, all at night, were unarmed single-engine types. He also told of meeting one of America's greatest baseball heroes, Ted Williams.
One of the guests in attendance was Duane Offe, a Katy resident, who is a member of Tomball VFW Post 2427. Offe shared stories of serving aboard U.S. Navy APA's at the landings at Inchon and Pusan (a place with a 24-foot swing in the high-low tides). He told how once the Marines were discharged ashore, his vessel was loaded with communist prisoners of war who were taken to Koje-do, a hilly 150-square-mile island some 20 miles off the southeastern coast of Korea.
Commander Dave Brasell had opened the remembrance by stating that America has come to call this the Forgotten War, however, this war will never be forgotten by those that participated in that conflict. He also stated that Korea is the only nation that has ever formally thanked the U.S. for coming to the aid of their country. He displayed a copy of the document that so thanked America. It was also noted that since a peace agreement has never been signed, technically we are still at war. American service personnel who currently serve there gain eligibility for membership in the VFW.
For more information about VFW Post 9182, contact Commander Dave Brasell at 281-391-8387. Post meetings are held at the VFW Hall on the first Monday of each month at 7:30 p.m. Monthly meetings are preceded by a potluck dinner.