Ottawa resident and Korean War Veteran Dave Yoder (left) was presented with an Ambassador of Peace medal from the Korean Consulate of Chicago in a ceremony at the Dayton Korean War Veterans Memorial on July 19. Yoder was on active duty in South Korea from January 1953 to July 1954. (Photo submitted)
Ottawa resident and Korean War Veteran Dave Yoder (left) was presented with an Ambassador of Peace medal from the Korean Consulate of Chicago in a ceremony at the Dayton Korean War Veterans Memorial on July 19. Yoder was on active duty in South Korea from January 1953 to July 1954. (Photo submitted)

OTTAWA — Dave Yoder, of Ottawa, was among the 193 Korean War Veterans who were honored in a ceremony in Dayton on July 19.

The 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.

“Every 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 action.

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.

“I 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 ceremony).”

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’ help.”

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.”