OTTAWA — Dave Yoder, of Ottawa, was among the 193 Korean War Veterans who were honored in a ceremony in Dayton on July 19.
Korean War, which began June 25, 1950, was initially a civil conflict
between North and South Korea. As it progressed, the conflict became a
war against the forces of international communism. The United States
joined twenty other United Nations countries in defense of South Korea,
and provided 88 percent of the soldiers. The war officially ended on
July 27, 1953. Over 36,500 Americans lost their lives during the war. It
has been referred to as “The Forgotten War” or “The Unknown War”
because of the lack of public attention it received both during and
after the war.
Yoder, who served in the United States Army from
January 1953 through July 1954, was a corporal stationed in Busan
(pronounced pus’ an), South Korea, in a construction engineer outfit,
behind enemy lines. He worked near Incheon, Yong Dong Po, and on Geoje
Island, which was a prison war camp.
Yoder recalled his company
built two big airstrips, and a smaller one. One of their more lengthy
projects was building a road around a mountain. The mountain was used as
an ammunition dump, the troops had to come up with a unique solution.
twenty yards or so, we made a bay to store the ammo,” Yoder described.
“If it (the mountain) got bombed, the only ammo that would blow up would
be in one bay.”
The Dayton Korean War Veteran Memorial and All
Veterans Walkway were dedicated on September 9, 1995, to honor Veterans
of the Korean War. This is the only memorial in the continental United
States with a complete listing of the 8,182 soldiers who are missing in
This year, The Dayton Veterans Administration Medical
Center joined the Dayton Area Korean Association and the Korean Veterans
Memorial Association to recognize the veterans. The VA had invited all
Korean War Veterans they serve.
Yoder did not realize there was a memorial in Dayton until he received a letter in early July about the ceremony.
e-mailed the lady, and she e-mailed me right back,” he related. “Later
that day, a man called to confirm my application (to attend the
Yoder and his daughter, Tona Franz, of Miller City,
traveled to the event. “Dad was probably one of the youngest vets
there,” she noted.
The Korean Consulate thanked the veterans and
their guests for attending. “They were very appreciative of what was
done for them (the country of South Korea),” Franz recalled. “South
Korea would not be the country it is today, if not for the veterans’
The Deputy Consul General of the Korean Consulate of
Chicago personally presented one veteran an Ambassador of Peace medal
during the ceremony. The rest of the medals were distributed to veterans
at booths. The medal was an expression of appreciation from the Korean
government to the United States servicemen and women who served during
the war. The veterans must have served during the dates of the war in
order to be eligible for the medal.
Six people spoke about the
accomplishments the veterans had made to South Korea. In addition,
Korean women from the Dayton Area Korean Association Staff executed a
native dance and musical performance.
“All in all, it was a very nice ceremony,” Yoder concluded. “It was very well done.”