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Illinois and the Korean War, December 1950

Posted by Admin On November - 16 - 2010
 
The State of Illinois is commemorating the 60th anniversary of the Korean War by supplying information each month about the state’s involvement in the conflict. 
 
The Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs, Illinois Korean Memorial Association, and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum are sponsoring “Illinois Remembers the Forgotten War” along with media partners the Illinois Press Association and the Illinois Broadcasters Association.  For more information, visit www.Illinois-History.gov or www.veterans.illinois.gov.
 
    Illinoisans killed in action in Korea, December 1950
By county of residence
(Source:  U.S. Department of Defense records)
 
Bureau          Cpl. Joseph K. Cieslak, Army, December 12.
 
Carroll         PFC Theodore P. Tracy, Army, December 1.
 
Christian       PFC Don F. Kinsey, Army, December 2.
 
Cook            Cpl. James L. Allen, Army, December 1.
                PFC James A. Baker, Army, December 1.
                Cpl. Robert C. Beth, Marines, December 2.
                Cpl. Floyd T. Bey, Army, December 1.
                Capt. Frank M. Brown, Army, December 1.
                Cpl. Thomas L. Clark, Marines, December 6.
                Pvt. Daniel Cunningham, Army, December 1.
                Pvt. Lee A. Dewey, Army, December 1.
                PFC William J. Dougherty, Marines, December 3.
                MSG Hosea L. Evans, Army, December 11.
                Pvt. Carlos Garcia, Army, December 2.
                Sgt. Frank D. Garcia, Marines, December 7.
                2nd Lt. David R. Gillespie, Army, December 11.
                2nd Lt. Peter T. Golden, Army, December 1.
                Pvt. Henry L. Gustafson, Army, December 6.
                Sgt. Albert S. Hlousek, Army, December 28.
                PFC Martin L. Howell, Army, December 1.
                Cpl. Norman R. Johnson, Army, December 1.
                Cpl. Leo Jurasi, Army, December 2.
                Sgt. Emil L. Kaczrowski, Army, December 6.
                SFC Robert A. Maas, Army, December 15.
                PFC Michael J. Mahoney, Marines, December 24.
                PFC Eugene L. Marks, Army, December 1.
                Pvt. Martin Marquez, Army, December 2.
                PFC Charles A. McAndrews, Marines, December 7.
                PFC David B. Milano, Army, December 2.
                SFC Eugene N. Miller, Army, December 5.
                Sgt. Albert Morgan, Army, December 1.
                PFC Charlie Mullins, Jr., Marines, December 18.
                Pvt. John D. Murphy, Army, December 19.
                Pvt. Yeichi Nakasato, Army, December 11.
                PFC Robert Nykvist, Army, December 3.
                Sgt. Patrick F. O’Connor, Marines, December 1.
                PFC Frank S. Ogden, Marines, December 5.
                HM1 William G. Payne, Navy, December 1.
                Cpl. Milo G. Paynovich, Army, December 1.
                Cpl. Paul M. Pieri, Army, December 5.
                Capt. Brown Sebastian, Army, December 1.
                PFC Richard S. Sleboda, Marines, December 2.
                PFC Robert B. Slotabec, Marines, December 7.
                Cpl. Edward Sommerfield, Army, December 6.
                SFC John L. Stumpf, Army, December 1.
                Sgt. John O. Symons, Army, December 14.
                Cpl. Alvin J. Tadlock, Army, December 1.
                PFC Joel A. Thinnes, Marines, December 3.
                Sgt. George S. Thorsen, Army, December 1.
                Capt. Stephen T. Uurtamo, Army, December 1.
                SSGT William G. Windrich, Marines, December 2.  (Medal of Honor)
                Cpl. Robert W. Zak, Army, December 1.
 
DeKalb  Capt. Warren G. Harding, Air Force, December 7.
 
DeWitt          Cpl. Marvin O. Walters, Army, December 12.
 
DuPage  Cpl. Thomas Cartalino, Army, December 1.
                PFC Thomas A. Duffey, Army, December 3.
                Pvt. William A. Frank, Army, December 3.
                PFC Thomas J. McGuire, Army, December 12.
 
Edgar           LTC James D. Bell, Army, December 1.
 
Franklin        PFC William L. Brown, Army, December 2.
 
Fulton          Cpl. David L. Finnie, Army, December 2.
 
Greene          Cpl. Herbert F. Vinyard, Army, December 2.
 
Henry           Sgt. Hayden Bennett, Army, December 3.
                Sgt. Philip W. Worm, Army, December 6.
 
Jackson Pvt. August Pritchett, Army, December 2.
 
Jefferson       Cpl. Howard G. Malcolm, Army, December 1.
 
Jo Daviess      PFC Kenneth R. White, Army, December 6.
 
Kane            Sgt. William J. Downs, Marines, December 8.
                SFC Harold F. Drews, Army, December 12.
 
Knox            PFC Arthur H. Rogers, Army, December 1.
 
Lake            Sgt. Henry M. Foster, Marines, December 8.
                PFC David L. Lundberg, Marines, December 6.
 
LaSalle         Cpl. Roy C. Johnson, Army, December 1.
                PFC Samuel K. Meagher, Army, December 1.
                PFC Fredrick E. Schroen, Army, December 13.
 
Lawrence        Sgt. Alva E. Catt, Army, December 1.
                GSGT Hugh F. Newell, Marines, December 7.
 
Macon           PFC Asa E. Vance, Army, December 2.
 
Madison PFC Floyd G. Bryant, Marines, December 24.
                1st Lt. Edgar T. Snipes, Jr., Army, December 1.
 
Marion          PFC Charles E. Bone, Army, December 1.
                SFC George E. Hartwell, Army, December 1.
 
McLean  PFC Jerry J. Kerns, Marines, December 6.
                Sgt. Carl R. Mosson, Army, December 21.
                PFC Eugene F. Sommer, Marines, December 2.
 
Monroe  MSG Richard D. Fresen, Army, December 1.
 
Peoria          Cpl. Gerald F. Day, Army, December 2.
                PFC Dale A. Hoerr, Army, December 1.
                PFC David L. Rodden, Marines, December 7.
                Sgt. Andrew B. Shane, Army, December 1.
 
Perry           PFC William J. Moak, Army, December 2.
                PFC Vernon D. Presswood, Army, December 2.
                Cpl. Donald E. Purdy, Army, December 3.
 
Pope            PFC Bill Carnett, Army, December 2.
 
Pulaski         SFC Ernest D. Denham, Army, December 2.
 
Randolph        PFC William C. Grove, Marines, December 2.
 
St. Clair       Cpl. F.C. Fox, Army, December 1.
                PFC Artheria M. Harris, Army, December 1.
                Maj. Orville W. Pierce, Army, December 1.
                Cpl. John D. Rucker, Marines, December 6.
                PFC James C. Simpson, Army, December 1.
                PFC Maurice H. Weidemann, Marines, December 10.
                PFC James L. Wiedau, Marines, December 6.
                Cpl. Robert Williams, Army, December 1.
 
Sangamon        Pvt. Hoy E. Hobbs, Army, December 28.
                PFC Paul E. Myers, Army, December 12.
                Sgt. John W. Poor, Army, December 6.
 
Stephenson      1st Lt. Richard W. Haas, Air Force, December 20.
                Cpl. Paul R. Reynolds, Marines, December 3.
                SFC Burton A. Wagner, Army, December 2.
 
Tazewell        Maj. Marvin W. Carius, Army, December 9.
 
Vermilion       PFC Larry R. Cimino, Marines, December 1.
 
Warren          Sgt. Chester J. Papineau, Army, December 1.
                PFC Donald W. Strickler, Army, December 6.
 
Will            1st Lt. John J. Hartong, Army, December 1.
                PFC Frank Ruzon, Army, December 3.
 
Williamson      Pvt. Earl N. Johnson, Army, December 25.
 
Winnebago       PFC Bruce L. Clark, Marines, December 2.
                PFC Johnny C. Graham, Army, December 2.
                Sgt. Joseph E. Stewart, Marines, December 1.
 
Woodford        Capt. Frank J. Roberta, Army, December 1.
 
Illinois Medal of Honor Recipient
Staff Sergeant William G. Windrich, U.S. Marines
Chicago, Illinois
 
        Staff Sergeant William G. Windrich of the U.S. Marine Corps, a resident of Chicago, Illinois, was an infantry platoon sergeant during some of the most savage action of the Korean War, the Battle of the Chosin Reservoir, on December 1, 1950.
Chinese forces attacked at night in overwhelmingly superior numbers and were about to overrun Sgt. Windrich’s unit.  Windrich first led a counterattack against the enemy on a hillside, taking intense automatic weapons, mortar and grenade fire, while the rest of his company withdrew to a secure position.  Although he suffered a severe head wound from an exploding grenade, Windrich and a small group of volunteers returned to the frozen hillside to evacuate their wounded and dying fellow Marines.  When the group returned to the hilltop, Windrich organized a defensive position, from which the unit repelled a fierce enemy attack.  Despite suffering a severe leg wound and being unable to stand, Sgt. Windrich refused evacuation and continued to direct his men during the battle.  Weakened by the bitter cold and loss of blood, he died on the hilltop his men had refused to yield.                 
        Sergeant Windrich became the fifth of eight Illinois recipients of the Medal of Honor during the Korean War.
 
Key events during the Korean War
December 1950
 
        December 1950 began with greatly outnumbered United Nations forces in full retreat in brutal winter conditions as Chinese forces pushed them out of North Korea.
The United States X Corps, led by the Marines and 7th Infantry Division units, fought their way out of the seemingly hopeless Chosin Reservoir area, where they had been completely surrounded by a determined enemy.  Their goal was the port city of Hungnam on the eastern coast of Korea where the Navy and evacuation awaited them.  Fighting Chinese troops, bitter cold temperatures and heavy snow the entire way, X Corps units, with their equipment plus the dead and wounded in tow, reached the coast by mid December.  The U.S. Navy soon began a well orchestrated evacuation operation under a protective umbrella provided by the 3rd Infantry Division.  A total of 108,000 soldiers, 17,000 vehicles, 91,000 Korean refugees and 351,000 tons of cargo were evacuated from Hungnam.         
  On the western side of Korea, meanwhile, the U.S. 8th Army was withdrawing in the face of 180,000 attacking Chinese “volunteers,” most of them hardened veterans of the Chinese Civil War, who recaptured the North Korean capital of Pyongyang on December 5.  The U.S. Navy began to evacuate the retreating United Nations forces from the port cities of Chinnampo and Inchon while the bulk of the 8th Army retreated south on the primitive and refugee-clogged roads of North Korea.  Only the speed of their withdrawal saved them from disaster. 
Faced with this new escalation of the war and major defeats across the Korean peninsula, the United Nations passed a resolution on December 14 calling for a cease-fire.  The Chinese rejected the cease-fire proposal one week later.     
Meanwhile, the commanding officer of the 8th Army, General Walton H. Walker, was killed in a vehicle accident on December 23, and was succeeded by General Matthew B. Ridgway.
The largest battle of the Korean War drew to a close by late December.  A total of 17 Medals of Honor, 70 Navy Crosses, and numerous Distinguished Service Crosses were presented to United States servicemen who fought in and around the Chosin Reservoir, the largest number of such honors ever presented for a single battle in U.S. history.  Sadly, the story in the west was less heroic, but General Ridgeway was already making his presence felt, steeling the resolve of the battered 8th Army soldiers.  American forces suffered more than 7,300 cases of severe frostbite in addition to the scores of dead, wounded and captured men during the November and December 1950 battles in Korea.  The Chinese and North Koreans suffered even heavier losses, but by the end of December their forces were ready to push the fighting back onto South Korean soil.            
 
Illinois Korean War Memorial
 
The Illinois Korean War Memorial is located in Springfield’s Oak Ridge Cemetery, the same cemetery that contains the Lincoln Tomb.  Oak Ridge is the nation’s second most visited burial ground behind only Arlington National Cemetery.
        Dedicated on June 16, 1996, the memorial consists of a 12-foot-tall bronze bell mounted on a granite base.  At the circumference of the base are four niches, each with a larger-than-life figure representing a branch of the armed services.  Inscribed on the base are the 1,754 names of Illinoisans killed in Korea.
        The Illinois Korean War Memorial is administered by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency and may be visited daily free of charge. 
 
Korean War Veterans Oral History Project
Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum
 
        The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum’s Oral History Program offers “Veterans Remember,” a collection of interviews with Illinois residents about their wartime experiences, at the Library’s website,  www.alplm.org/oral_history/home.html.  The audio interviews concern the experiences of Illinois veterans who fought in several conflicts, including the Korean War, as well as the experiences of those on the home front.  Visitors to the website can listen to or watch the interviews in their entirety.  Several of the interviews have transcripts, and most have still images as well.
Website visitors will need a computer capable of playing MP3 audio files or MPG compressed video files in order to listen to the interviews.  The transcripts and still images are also accessible.  Volunteers conducted and edited many of the interviews and developed the transcripts that accompany them.   
 
Korean War National Museum
 
        The Korean War National Museum (KWNM) celebrates the 60th Anniversary of the Korean War with a new Board of Directors, new professional staff, and a renewed focus on getting a world-class museum built now, in the lifetime of the Korean War veterans.  Recent news media reports outlined a proposal of the KWNM to obtain 7,000 square feet of prime space on Navy Pier in Chicago for a state-of-the-art, world-class museum where visitors could come to honor and learn about the service and sacrifices of the Americans, South Koreans and their UN Allies in the “forgotten victory.”  Those plans are continuing to be developed, and the KWNM hopes to be able to share some exciting news soon.  Meanwhile, the Denis J. Healy Freedom Center, located at 9 South Old State Capitol Plaza in Springfield, is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Admission is free, but donations are accepted.  The KWNM welcomes donations of photographs, documents, diaries, and artifacts of those who served in the Korean War. To learn more about the KWNM, or to volunteer or donate, please visit www.kwnm.org or look for the Museum Facebook.
 
Korean War Booklet
 
        The Illinois Korean Memorial Association, an all-volunteer organization, has published a booklet, A Brief History of the Korean War, copies of which have been provided free of charge to public libraries, high schools and junior high schools in Illinois.  Individuals may obtain a copy by sending a $10 check or money order to:  Illinois Korean Memorial Association, P.O. Box 8554, Springfield, IL  62791. 
        Tax deductible donations are welcome.  One hundred percent of all donations go to the book project and to the upkeep of the Illinois Korean War Memorial. 
          
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