Korean War Veterans Encourage New Members to Join

On July 27 many Korean War Veterans paused momentarily to remember the Korean War Armistice Day. After all, it is a national day of recognition to commemorate the more than 35,000 U.S. Service members who lost their lives during the Korean War. The war began on June 25, 1950, when the North Korean People’s Army crossed the 38th Parallel, which divides Korea into North and South.

Three years later, on July 27, 1953, military commanders from the United States (representing the United Nations Command), the Korean People’s Army, and the Chinese People’s Volunteer Army signed the Korean Armistice Agreement, ending the fighting of the 1950-1953 Korean War. The armistice ended the third most significant war in American history. There was no clear-cut victory on either side, and neither was completely satisfied with the situation. Still, they were willing to accept it as the end of a conflict unprofitable to the policies of the Communist and non-Communist worlds.

Although Korean War veterans are now in their 80s and 90s, they remember their service to our country. Some suffered horribly during the battle at the Chosin Reservoir, while others had different duties. One of them with a unique service element is Wes Stapleton of Chandler. During the war, the U.S. Army assigned him as the Fire Chief of the City of Pusan, Korea. He belonged to the only Firefighting Company in the Army, and he led this unit with nine stations and 140 men. They responded to an average of 14 fire alarms a day.

“Some fires were from sabotage, and some were due to thin housing made from cardboard materials and straw. Each response meant an opportunity to help the South Korean people we were trying to support. I am proud of that service to them,” said Stapleton.

The Korean War veterans are now coming together to rebuild their associations after the devastating disbanding due to COVID-19. Many of these older veterans don’t use virtual platforms like the younger veterans and prefer in-person meetings. Our last meeting was on July 29 in the Lakeview Room of the SunBird clubhouse.

Don Taylor, Korean War Department Commander, hopes that all Korean War veterans and other younger veterans who served in Korea from 1953 to the present will attend our meetings. They especially need younger veterans to support their camaraderie and community efforts. Interested veterans who served in Korea from any branch can contact Don Taylor via email at [email protected] or 602-803-9598.