By Stephen Satkowski
USACE, Far East District
CHEORWON-GUN, South Korea - Remembering those who fought in defense of Korea is something the Korean corporate members of the Association of the United States Army say they take very seriously, which is why they felt the need to build a monument to honor the Soldiers of the U.S. Army Engineer units who fought here.
“Some of our members worked for the American Soldiers during the Korean War and we want their sacrifices remembered forever,” said retired Col. Jeong Kwang-choon, Association Vice President.
The monument was erected in an area nicknamed the Grand Canyon of Korea, outside the Hantan River Spa Hotel on Oct. 31 in Cheorwon, 50 miles northeast of Seoul and less than a dozen miles from the Demilitarized Zone.
“This region here is very mountainous, with many cliffs. It is a great example of our Korean terrain. Several of our members worked here with the U.S. Army Engineers during the Korean War and many visitors and tourists visit here as well,” said Jeong.
This is where some of the fiercest fighting of the Korean War took place and where the U.S. Army Engineer units were tasked with opening movement and supply routes, as well as staving off enemy attacks. A road dubbed "Route 33" runs south across the 38th parallel near the Hantan River, passes through Uijeongbu and eventually arrives at Seoul, an ancient invasion route. Jeong hoped the monument will be a symbol to the next generation.
“By erecting this monument our children will be reminded of the sacrifices [of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers]. They will better understand the importance of the alliance. “
Ninety-Five U.S. engineering battalions participated in the Korean War. Jeong said the bridges built by the engineers were very important for refugees coming from the north to freedom in the south. It is this legacy he hopes is never forgotten and that the friendship between the two countries continues to prosper.
“Maintaining our strong relationship is very important because the Republic of Korea and the United States Forces Korea alliance is most important for our defense now and in the future” he said.
Release no. 13-049