News>Osan unveils monument dedicated to fallen Airmen
A bust of Capt. James A. Van Fleet Jr. is revealed in front of the officers' club at Osan Air Base, South Korea, on June 12, 2012. U.S. and South Korea air force leaders gathered in front of the club to honor the memorial dedicated to the Airmen who died or were injured during the Korean War. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Adam Grant)
Airmen stand in formation during the Capt. James A. Van Fleet Jr. monument unveiling at Osan Air Base, South Korea, on June 12, 2012. The bronze statue sits in front of the officers' club and is dedicated to the 1,920 U.S. Airmen killed or wounded during the Korean War. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Adam Grant)
by Staff Sgt. Stefanie Torres
51st Fighter Wing Public Affairs
6/19/2012 - OSAN AIR BASE, South Korea (AFNS) -- U.S. and South Korea air force leaders gathered in front of the officers' club here June 12 to unveil a monument dedicated to the 1,920 U.S. Airmen killed or wounded in the Korean War.
The bronze bust depicts Capt. James A. Van Fleet Jr., who lost his life in 1952 during a night bombing mission near Haeju, North Korea, but represents all U.S. Airmen who sacrificed their lives during the war.
Lt. Gen. Jan-Marc Jouas, the 7th Air Force commander, hosted the ceremony with Suh, Jin Sap, the South Korea-U.S. Alliance Friendship Association chairman. Jouas spoke about the importance of remembering those who serve and about the U.S. and Korean friendship that remains strong today.
"The families of 1,920 U.S. Airmen were killed or wounded during the Korean War, and they all shared the Van Fleet family sacrifice and sorrow," Jouas said. "Today, we honor their sacrifice, which serves as a brilliant illustration of the U.S. commitment to the Korean people and our strong alliance."
Jouas also spoke about his pride in serving with the South Korea military, as the commitment in securing the safety and security of the peninsula is strong in both countries.
"I would also like to take this opportunity to convey how proud I am to be part of this alliance and to serve with you here in Korea," he said. "It is very clear to me every day that you all feel that same pride. I thank you for all of your service and the dedication to duty that each of you show in service to our great nations."
Fleet Jr. was a B-26 Marauder pilot declared missing in action April 4, 1952, and declared killed in action March 31, 1954. He was the son of James A. Van Fleet, who commanded the Eighth U.S. Army during the Korean War for two years starting in 1951. The pilot met with his father on his father's 60th birthday, March 19, 1952. That was their last meeting.
Suh spoke about his relation between the father and son as he was a witness to the memorial of Fleet's father more than 50 years before this monument.
"On March 31, 1960, 52 years ago, there was an unveiling ceremony for the Gen. James Van Fleet statue at the Korea Military Academy," he said. "I feel emotional because I am here today for another unveiling ceremony for his only son, Capt. James Van Fleet Jr.
"Our association erects a bust for late Capt. Van Fleet Jr. as a symbol of all U.S. Airmen who have sacrificed their lives in the defense of freedom and peace during the Korean War," Suh said. "This ceremony will remind us that with a lot of blood that many young Americans have shed, Korea has developed rapidly, and promote a stronger alliance between the Republic of Korea and the United States of America."
During the Korean War, 100,000 U.S. service members were killed or wounded. Of these killed or wounded, 1,920 were U.S. Airmen, and 910 Airmen are still missing in action.
6/22/2012 8:03:21 AM ET Good story however I'm curious if the fourth paragraph reads correctly? The families of 1920 U.S. Airmen were killed or wounded during the Korean War... That reads as 1920 US families were killed during the war.
6/20/2012 7:45:12 PM ET Shouldn't this be a Korean War era B-26 Invader like my dentist was a radioman on?
Robert F Cordes, Chillicothe OH
6/20/2012 2:33:08 PM ET Another somber reminder of what it takes to be free. GOD bless all those that have fallen and all those that have served and those that still are Thank you for keeping me free