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, June 1951
By county of residence
(Source: U.S. Department of Defense records)
Champaign Cpl. Charles W. Wheatley, Army, June 20.
Clay SFC Virgil H. Volk, Army, June 1.
Cook 1st Lt. Thomas A. Baldwin, Jr., Marines, June 19.
PFC Henry L. Bruder, Marines, June 2.
PFC Jack J. Buchl, Marines, June 6.
Sgt. Richard D. Buns, Marines, June 8.
Pvt. Andrew E. Connor, Jr., Army, June 7.
Cpl. James S. Craig, Marines, June 19.
1st Lt. Edward D. Fischer, Marines, June 16.
Pvt. Albert P. Giguere, Army, June 17.
PFC Theodore J. Herman, Army, June 25.
Pvt. Gustavo Hernandez, Army, June 17.
PFC Winfred J. Holzman, Army, June 3.
PFC Robert J. Hunt, Marines, June 6.
PFC John F. Knight, Army, June 7.
Pvt. Horace McClennon, Army, June 2.
Pvt. Andrew McLaughlin, Army, June 5.
Pvt. Robert K. Miyamoto, Army, June 23.
PFC James A. Montoya, Marines, June 10.
Pvt. William L. Neil, Army, June 4.
Pvt. Vernon E. Schmiedl, Army, June 3.
Cpl. Donald S. Sereika, Army, June 7.
PFC Orville L. Simpson, Army, June 5.
PFC Ralph S. Stackig, Jr., Army, June 20.
Capt. Harold E. Willecke, Army, June 7.
DuPage Sgt. Walter W. Hoeltje, Army, June 2.
Franklin PFC Oren M. Odum, Army, June 11.
Fulton PFC Robert E. Davis, Marines, June 19.
Henry Cpl. James W. Bishop, Army, June 30.
SFC Robert L. Evans, Army, June 30.
Kane Pvt. Arnold E. Eggleston, Army, June 9.
Pvt. Robert L. Schubbe, Army, June 3.
Kankakee Pvt. Gerald J. Bertrand, Army, June 7.
Cpl. Theodore J. Wright, Army, June 6.
Lake PFC Primo A. Zanni, Army, June 2.
LaSalle MSG Edward Fristock, Marines, June 7.
Lee Pvt. George E. Dempsey, Marines, June 14.
Macoupin LTJG Paul L. Schaefer, Navy, June 20.
Madison PFC James R. Cawthon, Army, June 11.
PFC David L. Hampton, Army, June 11.
Marshall PFC John W. Lauf, Army, June 1.
Perry Cpl. Jackie McDonnough, Army, June 8.
Rock Island PFC Donald E. Rowe, Marines, June 13.
St. Clair PFC Thessaloni Adams, Army, June 1.
Sangamon Cpl. Clarence E. Gruber, Army, June 6.
Tazewell Pvt. Oscar F. Roth, Army, June 27.
Vermilion Pvt. Gerald W. Goodner, Army, June 6.
Winnebago Cpl. Joseph A. DeSanti, Marines, June 2.
PFC Robert C. Krueger, Marines, June 9.
Key events during the Korean War
June 1951 began with United Nations and Communist forces holding onto territory that had been claimed at a high price after two massive and costly Communist offensives were beaten back by United Nations forces.
United States Army and Marine units begin to move in early June from the Hwachon Reservoir area in South Korea to the vicinity of what was known as the “Punchbowl.” This was an ancient volcanic crater about five miles wide that was rimmed by hills between 1,000 and 2,000 feet tall. The Punchbowl was controlled by North Korean troops who had an ideal vantage point from which to observe and fire upon United Nations forces. By the middle of June, the Marines had gained control of the Punchbowl’s northern ridgeline. Fighting along the rest of the front raged on during June with U.S. troops engaged in small-scale but often fierce firefights with the enemy.
On June 23, the U.S.S.R.’s United Nations delegate, Jacob Malik, proposed that both sides in the Korean War begin cease-fire talks. On June 30, under orders from Washington, General Matthew Ridgway broadcast that the United Nations was willing to discuss an armistice.
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 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.