John W. Sonley, Wounded, 5th RCT and Dominic DiGiovanni, Wounded 555 F.A.
Unbeknownst to the citizens of Scottsdale and the state of Arizona, on October 25 over 400 Korean War veterans and guests invaded the area without casualties to either side. These veterans and their guests were invited to attend the presentation of an Ambassador Peace Medal from the grateful nation of South Korea of their liberation from North Korea.
North Korea had attacked the nation of South Korea on June 25, 1950 without warning. America sent forces from Japan and other locations to help repel the attack, as well as forces sent by the United Nations organization. The so-called Korean Conflict raged until North Korea and the Chinese People’s Army who had joined North Korea in late December 1950 tried to push the U.N. forces into the ocean at Puson, South Korea without success. It was then agreed to start peace talks at a location called the 38th Parallel which separates South and North Korea. After all was said and done, a truce was agreed to on July 27, 1953 which still remains in place.
At the end of the war, the casualty number stood at 54,245 died, 103,284 wounded and 8,177 MIA.
A high ranking South Korean government official, Minister Park, traveled from Korea to America to attend the largest gathering of Korean War veterans in the history of Arizona. Minister Park was a three-star general in the Republic of Korea’s Army and presented to each Korean War veteran the Ambassador Peace Medal of South Korea.
As a side note, the Korean Conflict was the name used for years until the Korean veterans wrote Congress and the White House to call it what it was, the Korean War. President Clinton agreed and changed it to the Korean War.
The following were special guests: Director Ted Vogt, Arizona Department of Veterans Services, Col. Kurt Gallegos, Commander of the 994th Fighter Wing of Luke AFB, Commander David Praisler of Naval Reserves in Luke AFB, General John Burk of Arizona National Guard and Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane.