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Three generations honor, remember the 'Forgotten War'

by Airman 1st Class Shen-Chia Chu
436th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

2/7/2008 - DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. -- Imagine being surrounded by enemy forces and having orders to retreat through a foreign land, fighting through the mountainous terrain in frigid temperatures for 78 miles, with little or no food, water and supplies.

Many Korean War veterans experienced this and more in what has become known as the 'Forgotten War.' The 9th Annual Ruck March held at the Air Mobility Command Museum Feb. 2 here commemorated those veterans.

Four-person ruck march teams, comprised of Air Force, Army, Marine and civilian competitors, walked or ran 6.2 miles to finish the race, each carrying 30-pound rucksacks.

One competitor was retired Army Cpl. Charles Yetter, 23rd Infantry Division, Co. I, who served in the Korean War.

"I don't go lookin' into the memories," said the retired corporal, who shared a few words about a war he said he didn't want to remember. "It was bitter cold with a lot of snow."

"I received medals from the war, but I wasn't worrying about those or anything else at the time, I was worried about getting out alive," he said, overcome by emotion. The corporal served in a war that took nearly 37,000 American lives in three years.

"I surprised my father with this trip as part of a healing process for everything he's been through," said Senior Master Sgt. James Yetter, the 166th Maintenance Squadron fabrication branch chief of the Delaware Air National Guard, New Castle, Del. "My sons knew how emotional it was for their grandfather to discuss about the war and I wanted them to learn more about it and what it meant to their grandfather."

This was a unique event because three generations of a single family competed as one team. The team of Charles Yetter, his son Sergeant Yetter and the sergeant's two sons, Luke and Alex Yetter all wore the number 15. Charles Yetter's number was pinned to the back of his wheelchair.

Sergeant Yetter said his sons were very dedicated because they knew that when they entered the race, there was no quitting or backing away from the challenge.

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Air Force Link  (Posted 2/10/08)