Veterans

July 24, 2013

Anniversary marks milestone in U.S.-South Korea alliance

The Korean Demilitarized Zone and Joint Security Area were created by the armistice that was signed in 1953.

American and South Korean officials and veterans will commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Korean War armistice agreement in the United States and South Korea this week.

Signed on July 27, 1953, the ceasefire agreement brought the brutal three-year conflict to an end.

The negotiations took place during 158 meetings over two years and 17 days while fighting continued to rage across the Korean Peninsula. Ron Miller, 8th U.S. Army historian, said language differences complicated negotiations as discussions were translated into English, Korean and Chinese.

The armistice agreement created the Demilitarized Zone – 155 miles long by 2.5 miles wide – that serves as a buffer zone and de facto border between totalitarian North Korea and democratic South Korea.

The armistice agreement also established the truce village of Panmunjom, where negotiations are still held between the two Koreas.

The Korean War armistice has never been followed by a peace treaty, and the two Koreas technically are still at war. Miller said North Korea has violated the armistice thousands of times. More than 450 South Korean and 100 American troops have been killed in the line of duty during North Korean provocations since 1953.

As a part of the South Korea-United States alliance, 28,500 American troops serve in South Korea to provide security on the Korean Peninsula and stability in Northeast Asia. Arriving in 1950, 8th Army commanded all United Nations Command ground forces as the only U.S. field army in the Korean War. Eighth Army has served in Korea since the armistice was signed.

Miller credits the armistice with South Korea’s success today.

“The Korean War armistice agreement has successfully suspended full-scale hostilities on the peninsula for 60 years,” said Miller, a native of Odessa, Texas. “As a result, the Republic of Korea has developed into a full-fledged, modern democracy. It is a prosperous, productive and responsible member of the global community.”

Navy Lt. Cmdr. Daniel McShane, the joint duty officer for the United Nations Command Military Armistice Commission, said UNCMAC continues to fulfill its mission of armistice implementation.

As one of the few U.S. military officers who maintain contact with the North Korean military, McShane works out of an office just 27 feet south of the border.

“This anniversary is very important,” said McShane, a naval aviator from Charlotte, N.C. “The commemorations of the armistice anniversary can be seen as a clear signal that the sending nations of the United Nations Command are still dedicated to upholding the agreements that we made 60 years ago to preclude hostilities and maintain peace on the Korean Peninsula.”

Lt. Col. Lee Seok-jae, who commands the Yongsan Garrison-based Republic of Korea Army Support Group and the 3,400 Korean Augmentation to the U.S. Army troops who support 8th Army, expressed his gratitude for the U.S. military’s contribution to security in Korea.

“A true friend can be defined when you face a difficult situation and the friend does not just ignore the situation, but comes in assistance and even takes the risk of sacrificing oneself for you,” Lee wrote in a message to 8th Army leaders. “This is how the Korean people during the Korean War in 1950 came to recognize who their friends were.”

“In the midst of being under attack by the North to the point where the country was on the verge of crumbling down, forces of 350,000 men from 16 nations led by the United States joined in the war in aid of the Republic of Korea,” Lee added. “Especially, more than 300,000 United States soldiers participated in the war.”

Lee said the U.S. military continues to serve with South Korean forces on the Korean Peninsula almost 60 years after the armistice was signed.

“The U.S. military continues to have its presence in the Republic of Korea to deter the aggression of North Korea and guard the liberty and democracy we enjoy in the Republic of Korea,” Lee wrote.

 




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


 
 

 

Remains of U.S. soldier killed in ’53 identified

Lawrence Jock’s surviving relatives in northern New York knew next to nothing about the Army combat veteran who was declared missing in action at the end of the Korean War more than 60 years ago. Now that his remains have been identified and will be brought back to the North Country for burial, his relatives...
 
 
Army photograph by Lisa Ferdinando

President awards Medal of Honor to former Army staff sergeant

Army photograph by Lisa Ferdinando President Barack Obama awards the Medal of Honor to former Army Staff Sgt. Ryan Pitts at the White House, July 21, 2014. Pitts received the nation’s highest military honor for his action...
 
 
Army photograph by Lillian Boyd

Medal of Honor recipient Ryan Pitts inducted into Hall of Heroes

Army photograph by Lillian Boyd Former Staff Sgt. Ryan M. Pitts, Medal of Honor recipient, is inducted into the Hall of Heroes during a Pentagon ceremony, July 22, 2014. Former Staff Sgt. Ryan Pitts was inducted into the Pentag...
 

 
Marine Corps photograph

DOD identifies missing World War II Marine

Marine Corps photograph Marines wounded during the landing on Tarawa in November 1943 are towed out on rubber boats to larger vessels that will take them to base hospitals. The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office...
 
 
Air Force photograph by SrA. Sarah Hall-Kirchner

Airman’s remains returned home 62 years after his death

Air Force photograph by SrA. Sarah Hall-Kirchner Members of the Scott Air Force Base Honor Guard transport the remains of Airman 3rd Class Howard Martin during a dignified arrival July 10, 2014, at the Indianapolis Internationa...
 
 

Acting VA secretary outlines problems, actions taken

In testimony before the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs July 15, Acting VA Secretary Sloan D. Gibson outlined serious problems regarding access to health care and key actions the department has taken to get veterans off waiting lists and into clinics. “The trust that is the foundation of all we do – the trust of...
 




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>