Korean Support Group
The planning and construction of the Korean War Veterans National Museum & Library in Tuscola, Illinois is a grassroots effort which is privately funded. No federal dollars are sought at this time because museum trustees want the national museum project to be completed expeditiously and with no government control over the design of the building or the exhibits found within. The Korean War Veterans National Museum & Library will be an educational facility built by, about, and for Korean War veterans. It must be built quickly because 100,000 American Korean War veterans die each year. Too many of these wonderful men and women died thinking that no one cared about the sacrifices they made for the sake of freedom. Many of the living feel the same way. The legacy of the кетанов must live on in the form of a national museum which will forever educate the world about the communist aggression that took place in the Republic of Korea, and about the veterans who stopped it from engulfing the entire Korean peninsula and, ultimately, the world.
Nearly 50 years ago, the people of the Republic of Korea turned to the United States to seek its help to preserve freedom below the 38th parallel. Americans responded to their call for help, sending over 1.5 million of its finest youth and military leaders to assist. During the ensuing war, the lives of over 33,000 American men and women were claimed. More than 100,000 Americans suffered injuries which required hospitalization, and thousands more were wounded, but did not seek treatment beyond immediate care from our fine medics who served on the front line.
Now American veterans are seeking the help of the Korean people who live freely in the Republic of Korea because Americans fought and died to preserve that freedom. The construction, exhibit design, and furnishing costs of the Korean War Veterans National Museum & Library is estimated to be $32 million. With the combined generous financial support of individual Koreans throughout the world, as well as contributions by Korean corporations and foundations based in Korea and the United States, a substantial portion of the estimated cost can be raised. Money from the Korean community, added to funds raised in the United States by the American people, will help see this honorable project to its completion by the 50th anniversary of the 1953 truce.
Museum Ambassadors - Korea
The trustees of the Korean War Veterans National Museum and Library are pleased to announce that KMC General Kim Song Jin, Marine Colonels Jung Mo Park, Woo Sang Koh, and Kwan Jin Kim of Seoul, Korea have been designated by the museum's board of trustees as our official Museum Ambassadors to Korea. Residents, business owners, and corporate leaders in Korea are asked to contact these men regarding financial contributions to the national museum project in Tuscola, Illinois USA. General Kim and Colonel Park, Colonel Koh, and Colonel Kim are the only persons authorized to accept money on behalf of the Korean War Veterans National Museum and Library in the Republic of Korea. From Korea, they will direct all funds to the museum's bank account in Tuscola. It is important for all potential contributors in Korea to understand that the Korean War Veterans National Museum and Library is a public trust which requires accurate accounting and bookkeeping of all incoming and outgoing funds. General Kim and Colonels Park, Koh, and Kim will supervise the paperwork associated with Korean financial contributions to the museum. Also, significant donors will be honored on recognition plaques in the museum's convention center, so the accurate spelling of names is of paramount importance to the museum trustees. The Marine colonels will handle this matter, also. Colonel Koh is vice chairman of the Korean Marine Corps Veterans Association. He can be contacted at the following address:
Woo Sang Koh
Colonel Park's letter reads as follows:
Dear Mr. Kenney:
The Korean Marine Corps Association is pleased to announce that its membership has decided to fully endorse and support the establishment of the Korean War Veterans National Museum and Library in Tuscola, Illinois USA. We will do everything we can in Korea and in the United States to help your board of trustees accomplish the goal of building a museum to honor Korean War veterans.
Park, Jung Mo
Jung Mo Park, respected Marine colonel of Seoul, Korea, is the recipient of four of Korea's highest combat medals Gold Star Chung-Mu; Silver Star Chung-Mu; Silver Star Woolge; and Gold Star Hwarang. Colonel Park is also the recipient of 15 other star medals from the Korean government. He is considered to be a national hero in Korea because of his activities in the Korean War. He, along with Che-Guck Pan and Yang Beyong-Soo, were serving in the Korean Marine Corps during the retaking of Seoul in September of 1950. The newly-organized Korean Marines were quickly trained on Jeju-do (island) southwest of Korea, and were then sent on American vessels to participate in the Inchon Invasion. The Korean Marines were attached to American Marine Corps regiments and other allied troops battling to reclaim Seoul and surrounding towns from the communists. Jung Mo Park was a second lieutenant and platoon leader in the 2nd Battalion at the time. During the street fighting in Seoul, Korean Marines were especially useful in routing out North Koreans who had changed from military uniforms to street clothes and who were hiding out in buildings in Seoul. Because they were familiar with local dress and language, Korean Marines could easily differentiate between a North and South Korean.
As various buildings were reclaimed in Seoul, the flags of conquering United Nations units went up and communist flags came down. Jung Mo Park, along with Beyong-Soo Yang and Che-Guck Pan, were part of an American/Korean Marine fighting force that attacked the capitol building at 3 a.m. on September 27, 1950. By 6:10 a.m. the same day, the building was secured. The three Korean Marines were given the responsibility to put the Korean flag back up on the capitol building roof. Unfortunately, climbing to the top proved hazardous because a wire leading to the roof was attached to a bomb. Instead of using the wire, Korean Marines made a makeshift line by connecting belts from members of the platoon. They climbed to the top of the building and put the Korean flag back into a place of honor. Che-Guck Pan and Jung Mo Park attended a ceremony in Seoul in 1998 to commemorate the raising of the flag. (Yang Beyong-Soo is now deceased.) Trustees from the Korean War Veterans National Museum and Library in Illinois were present as special guests for the ceremony and reception. Trustees Bob Kenney, Clyde Fruth, Yang Ho Song, Jae Won Lee, and Lynnita Sommer had the honor to dine with several Marine military officials, including Colonel Park and Che-Guck Pan. During the lavish dinner bestowed on the trustees by the Korean Marines, details of the national museum project were discussed, and printed materials about the museum were given to the Korean Marine Corps Association leaders for their consideration. Two days later, in the Korean War gallery of the national military museum in Seoul, our board members saw a sculpture and exhibit about the retaking of Seoul. Then on Saturday, the eve of our board members' departure from Seoul, a delegation of Korean Marines came to the Hotel Sofitel for one last visit with museum officials. The Marines announced to our trustees that the Korean Marine Corps Association had reviewed the national museum project in Illinois and had decided to support the Korean War Veterans National Museum and Library. Colonels Park, Koh, and Kim then made a reciprocal visit to the United States in April of 1999.
Colonel Kwan Jin Kim (left) and Colonel Woo Sang Koh (right) are two of three Museum Ambassadors to Korea who represent the Korean War Veterans National Museum & Library in the USA.
The trustees of the Korean War Veterans National Museum & Library were pleased to welcome Colonels Park, Koh and Kim to Central Illinois and Douglas County, Illinois in April of 1999. After leaving Chicago on April 18, board president Bob Kenney drove our honored Korean guests to Springfield. There, board member Walter Ade, and museum member George Pempek, hosted the group for the afternoon and evening. The Koreans visited the Illinois Korean War Memorial and went on a quick trip to see the Arch in St. Louis. On April 19, they briefly visited with the staff of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs, and then continued on to Tuscola.
In Tuscola, the group was based in the Douglas County Museum. They were greeted by the museum staff, and then went on to Tuscola High School where they were given a tour of the school by principal Mike Damler.
The group is pictured here reviewing information about the Young-il Foreign Language School in Inchon. The school in Inchon wants to establish an exchange program with Tuscola High School.
After leaving the high school, the group returned to the Douglas County Museum, which is the organizing headquarters for the Korean War Veterans National Museum & Library. The Korean Marines were given copies of the legal documents pertaining to the museum's incorporation and federal tax exempt status. From the museum, the group traveled on to the land site where our visitors saw the extent of the 22 acre land site for the future national museum, and where photographs were taken of those present. The group gathered around the sign caught the attention of a Korean War veteran from Colorado who was driving past the land site on Route 36. He and his wife stopped to see what all the excitement was about, and they were invited to join us for a buffet luncheon in Atwood, Illinois.
Doug Fargo of Charles Town, West Virginia (32nd Inf. Regt.-Korea) presented caps and tee shirts to our visitors from Korea (left to right) Colonel Koh, Colonel Park, Fargo, and Colonel Kim. Keith Tingley (far right) of Tuscola is a World War II/China Marine who served with the 6th Division. Tingley volunteers in the Korean War Museum headquarters.
A group of Korean/American veterans are pictured at the site of the proposed national museum east of Tuscola. They are (left to right) Yang Ho Song, Col. Woo Sang Koh, Col. Jung Mo Park, Doug Fargo, Col. Kwan Jin Kim, Keith Tingley, Bob Kenney, and Jae Won Lee.
Tuscola city administrator Drew Hoel (left) was present in the Amishland Country Buffet in Atwood when Colonel Park presented Tuscola Mayor Dan Kleiss with a gift from Korea.
In Atwood, a buffet was hosted by Jim and Margaret Stilwell, owners of Amishland Country Buffet. Mr. and Mrs. Stilwell are developers who are just now beginning construction work on the multi-million dollar "Amishland Country Village" mall, to be located south of the existing 60-store outlet mall in Tuscola. "We want to welcome the Korean War National Museum as our neighbors," noted Mrs. Stilwell. "We are honored and delighted to welcome such distinguished foreign visitors to our town and country." Following a noon meal, the Stilwells presented certificates of appreciation to Colonels Park, Koh and Kim, as well as museum trustees Yang Ho Song and Jae Won Lee. She also gave our visitors from Seoul towels embossed with the Amishland Country Village name and which depict an Amish buggy. Douglas County has the largest Amish/Mennonite population in the State of Illinois, and there is a large tourist industry based on the Amish presence here.
Following the buffet, a Taekwondo demonstration was given by area martial arts students. The instructor is Teresa Jones and the students are Robert Mann and Megan Stilwell.
Tuscola Mayor Daniel Kleiss received a pewter chalice from Colonels Park, Koh and Kim while at the buffet. The City of Tuscola was also represented by Drew Hoel, city administrator.
The trustees of the Korean War Veterans National Museum and Library are pleased to announce that four retired Korean military officers in New York have been designated Museum Ambassadors to New York and the east coast area. The designation was made thanks to the efforts of Colonels Jung Mo Park, Woo Sang Koh, and Kwan Jin Kim who flew to New York on April 20, 1999 to share the good news about the national museum project with the Korean community in New York.
Museum Ambassadors to New York are Col. (Ret.) Jong Gag Park, Lt. Col. (Ret.) Sung Ho Kim, and Lt. Col. (Ret.) Han K. Tark. Also serving as Museum Ambassador to New York in an honorary capacity is Brigadier Gen. (Ret.) In-Myong Song of Teaneck, New Jersey. As with Koreans who live on the Korean peninsula, it is important for all potential Korean contributors in the New York/east coast area to understand that the Korean War Veterans National Museum and Library in Tuscola, Illinois is a public trust which requires accurate accounting and bookkeeping of all incoming and outgoing funds. Colonel Park will supervise the paperwork associated with Korean financial contributions to the museum from his area. Because significant donors will be honored on recognition plaques in the museum's convention center, our Museum Ambassadors to New York will also handle the matter of accurate spelling of names to be inscribed on the plaques.
Colonel Jong Gag Park
Retired from the Republic of Korea Marine Corps as a full colonel, Colonel Park is honorary chairperson of the Korean Veterans Association
of Northeastern American Division. He is also honorary chief advisor of the Korean Marine Veterans Association of Greater New York. Park was born April 24, 1929. During the Korean War, he participated in the Inchon Landing, To-sol Mountain Operation, and the Iron Triangle and Punch Bowl operations. He holds the following combat medal awards Gold Star Chung-Mu, Silverstar Chung-Mu, Hwarang, and Distinguished Service Medal. Donors wishing to contact Colonel Park can reach him at 9 Coolidge Road, Maplewood, NJ 07040. His e-mail address is and his telephone number is (973)761-6537.
Lt. Col. Sung Ho Kim
ROK Army veteran Sung Ho Kim served 22 years in the Republic of Korea Army. In February of 1951 he was a first lieutenant in the 1st Division ROK Army. In April of 1951 he was in KMG Training with the 8th Army.
May of 1952 found him with the ROK Army 3rd Division 18th Regiment, and in December of 1953 he was with the ROK Army's 21st Division, 66 Regiment, 1 Battalion, 12 Co. Following the Korean War, in July of 1960, he was with the 2nd Division, 8th Army USA. He was still with the 8th Army USA, but in the Chemical Division, on June 1964. From June 1966 to 1968 he was with the Chemical Department of the Tiger Division, Vietnam.
He is currently serving as the president of the Korean Veterans Association, Eastern USA. His address is 26-40 213 Street, Bayside, NY 11360 (ph. 718-423-0199).
Han K. Tark, Ph.D.
Lt. Colonel Tark served in the Korean Marine Corps in 1951, and went into the Marine Reserves in 1960. Between those years, he helped with the USMCS Junior Course (1953-54) and was an instructor in Korean Marine Corps schools 1954-55). From 1956 to 1959 he was an LVT Battalion Commander. In 1953 he was awarded the Order of Military Merit medal and has twice received the Hwarang. In the United States, he was New York CAUSA president from 1990 to 1992. Also since 1990, he has been an advisor for the New York Korean Marine Corps Veterans Association. From 1992-1994 he was president of the KVA in New York. He began duties again in 1999 as president of the KVA in New York. His address is 136-80 41st Avenue, 2nd Floor, Flushing, New York 11355. His telephone number is 718-886-8095 (office), 914-472-5807 (home), and 718-886-3529 (fax).
Brig. Gen. In-Myong Song
Former commander of the Jinhae Marine Corps Base, Brigadier General Song is now the honorary president of the Korean Veterans Association in New York. During the Korean War, he was the recipient of the Legion of Merit for his outstanding performance as commander of the Chinhae Defense Corps during operations against enemy aggressor forces in Korea from 25 June to 9 October 1950. During that time frame, he participated in the defense of Masan and in the assault landings at T'ongyong and Yosu on 18 August and 26 September, respectively. Song then served with a Korean Marine Corps regiment in Korea from March 16 to August 18, 1953 as a battalion commander, regimental operations officer and, again, as a battalion commander. His outstanding leadership was again rewarded by the United States with a Bronze Star. After the cessation of hostilities in the Korean War, he was instrumental in strengthening the main battle positions.
It is with the greatest respect and pleasure that the trustees of the Korean War Veterans National Museum and Library recognize Brigadier General Song, Dr. Tark, Lt. Col. Kim, and Colonel Park as official Museum Ambassadors in the New York area.
Koreans in Chicago, Illinois formed the first Korean Support Group for the Korean War Veterans National Museum and Library in 1998. Three of the museum's board members, all of whom reside in the Chicago area, are Jae Won Lee, Yang Ho Song, and Chung Sik Rodrigues. Mr. Lee is a veteran of the Korean War, serving as an interpreter with the 5th RCT at the time. Mr. Song is currently the president of the Midwest Region Korean Veterans Association. Mrs. Rodrigues is president of the Mission for Amerasian Children in Korea.
These three Koreans are decision-makers on the board of trustees. They help develop the policies and procedures which are currently being set in place for the well-being of the national museum. Mr. Lee in particular is the contact person regarding donations to the Korean War Veterans National Museum and Library. His address is 4710 N. Keystone, Chicago, IL 60630. He can also be reached by E-mail at or by telephone at 773-286-0533 after 4 p.m. Mr. Lee is in frequent contact with our Ambassadors to Korea and New York, reporting all Korean activities to Lynnita Sommer, who is the National Museum Project Director. Mrs. Sommer, in turn, reports to Bob Kenney, president of the board of trustees.
Korean Community - Phoenix, Arizona
More to follow in this section.
More to follow in this section.
In 1998, the Korean community in Chicago began to mobilize efforts to assist our board of trustees to heighten awareness of the museum project and to raise funds on a national and international level. Initial fundraisers in the form of a bowling tournament, informal parties, and appreciation party for American Korean War veterans were held in the Chicago area.
On April 17, 1999, a fundraiser/appreciation party was held in the World Buffet in Niles. Spearheaded by officers and members of the 6/25 Dongyee, over $10,000 for the general operating fund of the Korean War Veterans National Museum and Library was raised above expenses. A total of 295 American veterans, members of the Korean community, and guests attended. Special speakers, museum trustees, the Illinois governor's assistant for Asian American Affairs, politicians, and fundraiser organizers were on hand to enjoy Korean/American food, music, and dance.
Dancing was part of the entertainment at a fundraiser dinner party in Chicago for the museum on April 17, 1999.
Memberships, general operating funds, and building fund money has also been raised for the national museum project by other activities held by the 6/25 Dongyee (Korean baby boomers). Organizers (pictured below, left to right - Joon Dokko, Hannah Mitter, and Miran Lee) chose November 22, 1998 for their first fund-raiser for the museum. The Illinois Korean Bowling Association staged a bowling tournament at the Classic Bowl bowling alley in Morton Grove. Enough money was raised to purchase a $500 tile for the building fund.
Another fund-raiser was held on November 29th, 1998 at the home of Hannah Mitter. Jae Won Lee, a Korean War veteran and museum trustee, was guest speaker. He showed a video of the Korean War and discussed his wartime experiences.
Getting Koreans Involved
The trustees of the Korean War Veterans National Museum and Library invite Korean people from all over the United States, Korea, and the world to get involved with this noble effort to establish a national museum to recognize and honor Korean War veterans. It is important that the world does not forget what happened in Korea. Remember - although a long-standing truce is in effect, the Korean War has not officially ended because no peace treaty has ever been signed. American troops are still stationed in the Republic of Korea, and the DMZ remains one of the most highly armed and mined hostile zones in the world. Although a cease fire was called in 1953, a significant number of American veterans serving in Korea and the DMZ since then have lost their lives due to sniper fire, axe murders, and tragic accidents. If the younger generation of Americans (who tend to take their own freedom for granted) are not taught the history of the Korean War -- if they do not understand the volatile conditions that still exist today in Korea -- if they do not understand the high price of freedom and learn that veterans who came before them gave them their own freedom in America -- will they be willing to sacrifice their lives if the Korean War breaks out again? Always remember our gallant Korean War veterans. Never forget Korea!! Please - make a call or write today to get involved in our efforts to establish the Korean War Veterans National Museum and Library.
Hyundai Engineering & Construction Co., Seoul Korea
The trustees of the Korean War Veterans National Museum and Library are pleased to announce support from one of the leading international engineering and construction firms based in Seoul, Korea. Hyundai Engineering Co., Ltd., which merged into Hyundai Engineering and Construction Co., Ltd. on May 14, sent the following letter to board president Bob Kenney and national museum project director Lynnita Sommer
May 13, 1999
Subject Korean War Veterans National Museum
Dear Mr. Kenney and Mrs. Sommer
It was my pleasure to discuss with Mr. Woo Sang Koh (vice chairman of Korean Marine Corps Veteran Association) and Mr. Kwan Jin Kim (director of the Standing Committee of the Korean Marine Corps Veteran Association) for captioned project on May 6th, 1999. He explained about the plans to build the national museum for Korean War veterans and gave us information about the museum and status reports.
We, the people of the Republic of Korea, are extremely grateful for the sacrifices made by Korean War veterans (including American veterans) during the Korean War. I really appreciate very much for your efforts to build the museum at Tuscola, Illinois site.
As one of the leading engineering and consulting firms as well as general contractor, Hyundai Engineering and Construction Co. Ltd. has executed multi-disciplinary services to global clients all around the world. With these backgrounds, we will receive the information Mr. Koh gave us. If you need any help in the process of preparing this project, please do not hesitate to contact me.
(Signed) Rim-Taig Lee, Ph.D.
Senior Executive Vice President & CEO
Copyright © 1998 Korean War Veterans National Museum and Library
Copyright © 1998 Korean War Veterans National Museum and Library