Veterans

July 27, 2012

Panetta salutes Korean War vets at 59th armistice observance

Tags:
by Terri Moon Cronk
American Forces Press Service

A member of the honor guard brings a wreath to Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta as South Korean Ambassador Choi-Young jin looks on during a ceremony to mark the 59th anniversary of the signing of the Korean War armistice at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va., July 27, 2012.

Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta observed the 59th anniversary of the Korean War Armistice July 27 by reminding a gathering of Korean War veterans that America will not permit cuts to the military to again “allow us to lose our edge,” as he says happened on the eve of that conflict more than 60 years ago.

Panetta was the keynote speaker at an observance of the armistice that ended the 1950-1953 conflict, held at Arlington National Cemetery, just across the river from Washington. It was an opportunity to remember the more than 50,000 U.S. service members who lost their lives in the Korean War, and to celebrate the “sheer grit, determination, and bravery” of those who fought for a noble cause in a distant land to make the world a safer place, he said.

“For three long, bloody years, American troops fought and died in Korea, in difficult conditions, where the country’s mountainous terrain and the unrelenting cold of winter were bitter enemies in themselves,” Panetta said.

“It was an uncompromising war, where capture by a vicious enemy often meant summary execution. In Korea, American troops and their allies were always outnumbered by the enemy, awaiting the chilling sound of bugles and horns that would signal another human wave attack.”

Panetta said the troops that fought during that Cold War conflict will never forget the battles waged in the country’s mountains and at Massacre Valle, Bloody Ridge, Chosin Reservoir and Pork Chop Hill. Those fights, he said, “became synonymous in our lexicon with the heroic sacrifice and the grim determination of the American fighting man.”

Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta delivers keynote remarks at the 59th anniversary of the signing of the Korean War armistice at Arlington National Cemetery, July 27, 2012.

The Korean War caught America unprepared, Panetta said, and the mighty military machine that liberated Europe and conquered the Japanese empire had been rapidly demobilized. Only a few years of under-investment had left the United States with a hollow force, he added.

“The American soldiers and Marines initially sent to Korea were poorly equipped, without winter clothing and sleeping bags, with insufficient ammunition and inadequate weapons, including bazookas that weren’t strong enough to stop North Korean tanks.”

But those green troops sent to stem the tide of communism soon turned into savvy combat veterans, he said, and what they weren’t taught before their baptism by fire, they quickly learned on the unforgiving battlefield. They soon became a battle-hardened force, Panetta said, that fought from one end of Korea to the other, halting repeated drives to capture the peninsula, and in the process inflicting massive casualties on the enemy.

“As we honor our Korean War veterans we must also remember the more than 7,900 Americans missing in action,” he said. “The Department of Defense is dedicated to resuming the search [to find] the remains of fallen service members missing in action in Korea. We will leave no one behind … until all of our troops come home.”

South Korea has grown strong and has become independent, and the Korean War’s moniker as “The Forgotten War” no longer holds true, he added.

“Thanks to the service and sacrifice of our veterans six decades ago … South Korea is a trusted ally, an economic power, a democracy and a provider of security in the Asia-Pacific region, and in other parts of the world.”

Panetta contrasted the South’s progress with “the bleakness” of the North, which he said remains a dangerous and destabilizing country bent on provocation, “and is pursuing an arsenal of weapons of mass destruction while its people are left to starve.”

Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta delivers keynote remarks at the 59th anniversary of the signing of the Korean War armistice at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va., July 27, 2012.

Two crucial lessons were learned from the Korean War, Panetta said.

“Too many American troops paid a heavy price in Korea because they were not provided the necessary training and the right weapons. They were sent into a tough fight with little preparation …Only a few short years after World War II, dramatic cuts to the force made us lose our edge – even though the world remained a dangerous place. We will not make that mistake again. That’s why today, coming out of a decade of war, we have put forward a strategy-driven defense budget to meet the challenges of the future. The world remains a dangerous place, and America must maintain its decisive military edge.”

America “must remain the strongest military power in the world, and … make no mistake: We will be ready to defeat aggression – anytime, anyplace.”

Panetta said the second lesson taught by the Korean War is the service and sacrifice made by a generation that bravely fought on its battlefields.

“Some 60 years ago, a generation of Americans stepped forward to defend those in need of protection and to safeguard this great country. America is indebted to them – to you, for your service and your sacrifice. Sixty years ago, the bugles sounded and you helped strengthen this country for 60 years. America will never forget you.”

Following the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, another generation stepped forward to lead, and its strength will be America’s strength for decades to come, Panetta said.

“Over the past decade of war this new generation has done all this country has asked of them and more,” he said. “They take their place alongside all of you – another greatest generation of heroes that exemplifies the best that America has to offer. Our nation is great because generation after generation after generation, when the bugle sounded, our [military] responded.”

In commemoration of the Korean War, Panetta said America should always remember “the sacred call to duty,” and to “renew our commitment to honoring those who have fought, who have bled, and who have died to protect our freedoms and our way of life.”




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Headlines March 27, 2015

News General Dynamics withdraws as T-100 prime contractor General Dynamics Information Systems and Technology has withdrawn itself as the prime contractor on the T-100, the offering for the T-X trainer replacement program based on the Alenia Aermacchi M-346 design.   Business SpaceX’s fight with U.S. Air Force called a clash of perceptions Billionaire Elon Musk’s...
 
 

News Briefs March 27, 2015

Contractor extradited from Iraq pleads guilty in bribes case A man extradited from Iraq in a military contract bribery case has pleaded guilty to three charges in an agreement with federal prosecutors. U.S. District Judge Thomas Rose has scheduled sentencing for July 1 for Metin Atilan. His attorney, Nick Gounaris, says the two sides agreed...
 
 

Ninth Boeing GPS IIF reaches orbit, sends first signals

Boeing Global Positioning System (GPS) IIF satellites are steadily replenishing the orbiting constellation, continuing to improve reliability and accuracy for users around the world. The ninth GPS IIF reached orbit about three hours, 20 minutes after launching today aboard a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta IV rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., and...
 

 

F-35 Lightning II costs drop, report shows

A recent account of F-35 Lightning II aircraft program costs shows decreases, the Air Force’s F-35 program executive officer told reporters in a media roundtable March 24, 2015. Lt. Gen. Christopher C. Bogdan, citing this year’s selected acquisition report on the aircraft, called the roundtable to clarify cost and performance facts. He also acknowledged the...
 
 
NG-growler2

Northrop Grumman delivers center/aft ‘shipset’ for first international EA-18G Growler

Northrop Grumman photograph Northrop Grumman mechanics perform final quality inspections on the center/aft fuselage shipset produced by the company for the first Australian EA-18G Growler. The subassembly will be delivered to B...
 
 
Navy photograph by Monica McCoy

Navy conducts production acceptance test of Tomahawk missile

Navy photograph by Monica McCoy Members of the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technology Division team at Naval Surface Warfare Center, Indian Head prepare a Tomahawk missile for a functional ground test at the Large Motor Test Fa...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>