DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – One of the men behind the DFW National Cemetery in Oak Cliff is now spearheading creation of a new national memorial. It honors the men who fought a pivotal battle during the Korean War in 1950.
“As a result of that battle, South Korea survived,” said retired Marine Corps Lt. General Richard Carey in Dallas on Friday.
Facing an enemy ten times as strong, United Nations forces — including U-S Marines and Army — fought a pitched, 14-day battle at the Chosin Reservoir before moving to the coast of what is now North Korea. They crippled the Chinese army, which ultimately allowed South Korea to exist, he said.
“They (South Koreans) would not have survived had we lost that battle,” Carey stated. “Today, of course, that’s the balance between the United States and China,” he said. “That provides our balance to China to hold them down; otherwise, they’d be controlling the Orient right now.”
But the battle had a frightful cost. “We roughed it, and it was terrible,” Carey recalled. He was a 22-year-old Marine on that terrible march, where the wind chill dropped to 60 below zero. “It was worse than the enemy. It was the number one enemy — the weather.”
The battle was nicknamed the Frozen Chosin; survivors call themselves the Chosin Few. General Carey is senior adviser to group that wants a memorial to honor them at the National Marine Corps Museum at Quantico. The group has already been awarded space at the museum, and the memorial will be built when the fund-raising is finished.
The memorial will be created by Dallas sculptor Mark Austin Byrd. “A memorial should tell the story; it should have the names and a little bit of the history,” Byrd told CBS 11 News.
Byrd focuses on combat scenes, something he knows well as a Marine helicopter pilot in Vietnam. “Show their emotions,” he said of the fighters, “their feelings, their gestures.”
His eight-sided, 20-foot tall memorial will be built with granite stone and bronze base relief panels like earlier ones he created. It will all be towered over by a polished stainless steel star that represents a star marines claimed to have seen through a blizzard the night before moving out; it was important because it gave them hope the skies would clear the next day so air cover could be provided for them.
Both men want people to remember the sacrifice show that they care. “I want them to feel pride in what happened there and gratitude for what happened there,” Carey said.
“I want them to think about what those men experienced and ask themselves why did they do that? “ Byrd added. “And I want them to realize some of us may have to do that in the future.”
Paperwork provided by Gen. Carey’s group says donations are received and held by the “Metroplex Military Charitable Trust,” identified as an IRS 501(c)(3), tax ID 75-6413738.
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