May 26 – As the nation prepares to remember those lost in service on Monday, this year may hold deeper significance as it marks the 70th anniversary of the end of the Korean War.
According to the Pentagon, approximately 37,000 American soldiers were killed during the three-year war. The Korean War took place between June 1950 and July 1953 when North Korea and South Korea suffered at least 2.5 million deaths. The war began when North Korea, supplied by the Soviet Union, invaded South Korea.
Prior to Kim Il-Sung’s invasion, the United States was involved in rebuilding Korea south of the 38th parallel and in forming a South Korean army. The United Nations Security Council has called on its members to protect South Korea. US General Douglas MacArthur headed the United Nations Command. The United States constituted the majority of the UN Expeditionary Force in Korea.
The United Nations joined the war to defend the South Koreans and China helped North Korea. After more than a million combat casualties between the two sides, the war ended in July 1953 with Korea still divided into two states.
US President Dwight D. Eisenhower participated in the conclusion of an armistice which accepted the front line of the war as the border between the two countries. The war resulted in the deaths of approximately 2 million Koreans, 600,000 Chinese, 37,000 Americans, and 3,000 Turkish, British and other UN forces. The front line has since been accepted as the border between North Korea and South Korea.
Members of the troops from Creston and Southwestern Iowa were part of the conflict.
Don Mosman, 92, of Creston served in Korea, but not in the war-torn country. He enlisted in January 1951 and was sent to a training camp in Texas. Subsequently, he was assigned to an Air Force base in New York and was assigned to electronics. It was then sent to a radar monitoring station in what is now known as Alaska, as it was not officially named a state until 1959.
“It was in the northwest corner of Alaska, not as far north as you go, but as far as the northwest,” Mosman said. His duty was to monitor air traffic as the Soviet Union was only 200 miles away and the United States was also in the Cold War with the Soviets.
“You could see it,” he said of the other country.
Mosman said cold is also a literal meaning, as some winter nights the mercury drops to -50 degrees. Having to adapt to the hours of sunshine was also part of the environment. The sun essentially only moved across the horizon during the summer and never fully set as blackout curtains were used for sleeping. During the winter, “there was no sun,” he said.
Mosman believes he was one of 70 Union County members who joined around the same time. An enrollment office was at Creston. After a year in Alaska, he was sent to complete his service in South Carolina. When honorably discharged in 1955, he returned to Creston and continued electronic work. He was in the early days of television at Creston as he does not remember a television when he enlisted. He retired in 1991.
The following articles about the end of the war are from Creston News Advertiser July 26-27, 1953.
Families of 3 Creston area prisoners of war applauded by truce
“It’s a great day,” say the families of three Creston-area men who are being held as POWs by Communists in Korea when they hear of the signing of the truce agreement in Panmunjon.
But, after months of waiting, they are still waiting for word of the men’s actual release.
The men from there whom the Communists detain are Captain Clarence Anderson, son of Mr. and Mrs. PK Anderson of Creston; Pfc. Donovan D. Waller, son of Mrs. Golds Waller of Creston and Pv. Robert W. Mahrenholz, husband of Mrs. Doris Mahenrholz of Mount Ayr.
Captain Anderson’s wife has a new home waiting for her in Long Beach, Calif., her mother said. “This news is a wonderful thing. Anderson said today. “It’s hard to realize that it happened after waiting so long.”
Captain Anderson, an army doctor, was captured by the Communists in bitter fighting on November 2, 1950. He had remained behind during a United Nations retreat to treat the wounded.
Ms. Waller is waiting for more words before she thinks too much about it. She has been in poor health for some time and has had many disappointments. “We look forward to Donovan’s release and hope it will happen soon,” family members said.
Pvt. Waller was captured on November 1, 1952. His family had not seen him for five years. He joined the army in 1948 and went to the Far East the same year. The family received seven letters from him in one month. One was written on Mother’s Day. In one of them, he recounted having undergone a hernia operation performed by Chinese doctors. he has recovered and is in good health.
A 2.5 year old girl who was only 2 months old when he last saw her is expecting Pvt. Mahrenholz. he has been a prisoner since April 21, 1951, and returned home for the last time in December 1950. “This truce seems too good to be true.” said Madame Marehnolz. “But I can’t say too m
uh-I’ve been hoping for so long.”