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July 27, 2013

Local Korea vets reflect after 60 years


Oneonta American Legion Commander Len Carson said while the Korean War is not acknowledged by most people, “it is not forgotten.” It’s unfortunate that those veterans as well as others who served their country don’t get more recognition.

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel said in a media release that “Korean War veterans stepped forward to serve at a defining time in our history, and they deserve our thanks.”

The United States remains committed to ensuring peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula. More than 28,000 American soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines serve in Korea today.

Oneonta resident Norman Anderson, 83, lived in West Babylon when he was drafted, He served from April 1951 through April 1953 in the 23rd Signal Construction Battalion that was part of the 8th Army. He worked on building the copper telephone lines from Pusan to the front lines, ending north of the 38th parallel that divides the two Koreas.

The war may have been forgotten by the press or media, but he sees it as important in stopping “communist imperialism.”

But, he noted, the cease-fire that was signed to stop the fighting was just a “worthless document” that he compares to the armistice that ended World War I. Just as the latter did not stop World War II, there is an uncertain peace that requires tens of thousands of U.S. troops today. Because the West did not achieve a “total surrender,” the world still has to endure the military threats, and actions from North Korea.

Sidney resident Raymond Haag, 83, said he graduated from Columbia College and received a commission in the Navy in 1952. He had been living in Albertson at the time. He served during the Korean War on an oil tanker in the 7th Fleet.

“I learned a lot and got see a lot of different things,” but today “I don’t give it much thought.” He has no problem with the recognition he received for his service. He left the Navy in 1956.

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