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Korean War Veterans Association, Inc.

Incorporated June 14, 1985... Chartered by Congress June 30, 2008

*Korean War and Korea Defense Veterans...
A Continuity of Service in the Defense of Freedom

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Update... Official Message Board



Tom Stevens

Update is the official message board of Tom Stevens, National President of the Korean War Veterans Association. Messages that appear here are posted to keep the membership of the KWVA informed about the latest news concerning the organization and the president's itinerary. These messages are dated and posted from top to bottom, the most recent messages at the top.

         


President's Messages...

 

June 30, 2017

Several things have occurred since the previous issue of The Graybeards appeared that should be of interest to all KWVA members:

  1. a reception that was held on May 3rd at the Korean Ambassador Ho-Young Ahn’s residence, the Embassy of Korea in Washington DC.
  2. the dedication of a monument honoring “The Chosen Few” at Quantico Marine Base, Virginia. (See the picture on our front cover)
  3. the outcome of the KWVA elections.

Let’s take them one at a time.

A new organization surfaces

You may be surprised to learn that the purpose of that aforementioned reception was to announce formally the startup of a new Veterans Service Organization, the “Korean Defense Veterans Association.” This has been in the making for several years, but only recently have the organizers completed many of the necessary steps leading to announcing formally the organization’s activation.

Although the new VSO is only getting started, it was stated at the reception that they have bylaws and a website is currently under construction. Additionally, they have enthusiastic support from South Korea. Also providing important support and ground level involvement are retired U.S. Army Generals Sharp and Champoux and ROK General (ret.) Shin.

One of the stated purposes stressed in the several speeches was to strengthen the alliance between the USA and the Republic of South Korea. At this particular time the importance of that alliance looms large. To be honest, there are those among us in the KWVA who see this new organization, the KDVA, as a threat to our continued existence. The KDVA’s eligible members pool will be drawn from much the same pool of eligible members as the KWVA.

It is wholly understandable to take that view. However, if you’ve been watching our membership you must be aware that our numbers are in free fall. This, of course, is attributable mainly to members passing away and the reluctance of those eligible to become new members, regardless of various proactive recruiting efforts on our part.

The Korean War Veterans Association has six stated missions:

  • Defend our Nation
  • Care for our Veterans
  • Perpetuate our Legacy
  • Remember our Missing and Fallen
  • Maintain our Memorial
  • Support a free Korea

How long will our “ascending-in-age” members be able or willing to carry out those six missions? I don’t doubt that many of you are currently doing an outstanding job of it. That is confirmed with every issue of The Graybeards. But, what will that picture look like five or ten years from now?

I’m sure you see the point I’m making: there needs to be a younger veterans organization to pick up where we leave off. It is my belief that the KDVA needed to be started and will be the VSO of the future to carry on the mission that we started. So, rather than being a threat to the KWVA, I view them as a complementary organization that will become stronger with time.

I apologize if that sounds like defeatism with regard to KWVA. I prefer to think of it as being realistic. On a high note, we recently gained a regular member from the ranks of KATUSAs, Mr. Jong Song. I hope this will be the first of many to join our ranks.

I’ve asked Mr. Song to provide me with some background information about himself. I will pass that along to you in the next issue of The Graybeards.

The Chosen Few Monument

Here’s a brief overview of the ceremony dedicating the Chosin Few monument at Quantico, VA Marine Base. The ceremony on May 4th started promptly at 1400. The venue was a brand new, very impressive auditorium on the base. Master of Ceremonies duty was performed quite capably by Lt.Gen. Stephen Olmsted, USMC (ret.). USMC Lt. Gen. Richard Carey (ret.) told of his experiences in the battle at the Chosin Reservoir. He also recognized those who played important roles in the planning and building of the monument.

Other speakers included Ambassador Ho-Young Ahn and General Joseph Dunford, Jr., Chairman of U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff. As stated in the program, “The heroism, dedication and sacrifice of the Chosin Few is now addressed in the Monument. We can now be assured that we will not be forgotten. So on behalf of those dedicated warriors of this battle who gave it all and we who gave as much as we could … from the bottom of our hearts. THANK YOU AND SEMPER FIDELIS”

The Chosin Few Warriors

Election Results

KWVA election results are now public knowledge. Four seats on the Board of Directors were to be filled. Two existing directors won re-election, Tom McHugh and L. Timothy Whitmore. Two new directors will be coming onto the Board, Wilfred E. Lack and Eddie L. Bell, Sr. All are outstanding individuals. I offer my congratulations to the winners and look forward to working with each.

Memorial Day Parade

By the time you receive the May-June edition of The Graybeards, Memorial Day will be in the past for this year. Your KWVA was well represented in the parade on May 29th in Washington DC. At this writing there are 35 Korean War veterans who have signed up to participate in the parade.

In addition to the parade, a Memorial Day ceremony was held at our Memorial at 5 p.m. I hope you were able to attend this ceremony or one at an appropriate venue near you. It is a time to remember the fallen in all wars. I will share with you my first Memorial Day experiences as your KWVA president in the next issue.

Tom Stevens, President
Korean War Veterans Association, Inc. (KWVA/US)


 

April 30, 2017

I’ve often heard the word, “Legacy” used in reference to the aftermath of the Korean War. There are family legacies, individual legacies, organizational legacies and on and on. One of the stated objectives of KWVA is to “Perpetuate our Legacy.” One of the ways we do that is through our “Tell America Program.” But, our numbers to carry out this mission are declining. We are losing more members than we gain. That trend gets steeper as the years pass.

Some chapters have turned in their charters for lack of members or at least members who are willing to serve as officers. The obvious and inevitable outcome of this trend is the eventual demise of KWVA as we know it.

Recruitment of War and Defense veterans has been emphasized over and over since I’ve been involved in KWVA. Unfortunately, we haven’t reversed or even slowed our declining membership trend. As the saying goes, “Don’t keep doing the same thing and expect a different result.”

There are those who maintain that is as it should be. They reason that there are no Civil War or WWI associations left, and none, or very few, WWII associations exist. It is inevitable that the KWVA should also just fade away. I disagree and hope that there are many others who share my opinion.

This begs the question of what to do to maintain and grow the KWVA so our existence will be assured into the future and members will continue to “Perpetuate the Legacy.” First, all of us need to continue being proactive with our efforts to recruit new members, including War and Defense veterans and KATUSAs, who are now eligible due to our recent by-laws change.

Over and above I’ve asked our by-laws Chairman, Narce Caliva, to prepare a bylaws revision that would allow direct descendants of War/Defense veterans’ eligibility for Regular Membership. Radical? Maybe. But there are a lot of our offspring, especially first and second generation, who show genuine interest in and are appreciative of what their dads and granddads (in some cases, mothers and grandmothers) did and are still doing in Korea. They are searching for ways to “Perpetuate the Legacy!”

Therefore, I am recommending that we open our membership doors to these wellintentioned, patriotic, energetic, and vibrant individuals to become regular members of the KWVA.

The Graybeards magazine has a section called, “Feedback/Return Fire.” I’d really like to get your opinion of this recommended by-law revision. The Board will be discussing and voting on this proposed revision in June. Let them know how you feel about revising our eligibility requirements for regular membership in KWVA to include direct descendants.

Another departure from the past that will be considered by the Board in June is how to use electronic media to reach a younger generation of potential members. Our Membership Chairman, David Clark, has found and is continuing to seek vendors who can help us move electronically into the 21st century. Hand in hand with that is a proposed redesign of the KWVA website.

I’ve heard it said that the KWVA website is too busy, making it hard to find a specific subject for which the user may be searching. At this time, two competing proposals will be presented, discussed, and voted on. The Board will listen, ask questions, discuss, and vote for one. I would be remiss if I did not inform you upfront that these proposals carry a significant price tag. As Yogi Berra allegedly said, “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.” That is exactly what I hope we do. We’ll find the money.

This is one other step we need to take to enhance our membership. To do otherwise will result in KWVA going the route of the proverbial old soldier and just fade away. Our legacy is too important to let that happen without being innovative and finding creative ways to make a course correction. Let us not join the dinosaurs. On this idea, too, I’d like your feedback.

Lew Ewing intends to step down from the KWVA Secretary’s position. This is a huge loss! Lew took over as Secretary from Frank Cohee while Larry Kinard was our President. He had served a three-year term on the Board, most of which was in the position of By-laws Chairman, before assuming the position of Secretary.

We have been privileged to have Lew as our Secretary. He has done an outstanding job. I relied immensely on his judgment and exceptional ability to prepare for and keep our Board and Membership meetings running smoothly and efficiently. Lew leaves huge shoes to be filled. I am appealing to our members to recommend candidates for KWVA Secretary to replace Lew.

I would appreciate being notified if you know of someone who is qualified and willing to assume this responsibility. Lew will fulfill the duties of Secretary in preparation for our June Board meeting, but has indicated that he would like to have his replacement in place in time for the October membership meeting.

By a recent vote of the KWVA Board of Directors, the Korean War Veterans Memorial Foundation was given the “go ahead” to reach out to our chapters directly for contributions toward making the Wall of Remembrance (WOR) a reality. This is yet another step in “Perpetuating our Legacy.”

When the WOR is completed and dedicated, literally thousands who visit the Memorial each year will look upon a visual presentation of those who gave their all in the cause of freedom. The WOR, as you may recall, will list the names of the 36,574 US soldiers killed in action (KIA) during the Korean War, as well as the number of casualties of both the UN and Korean Augmentation to the U.S. Army (KATUSAs), those who were prisoners of war (POW), and those who are missing in action (MIAs).

My chapter, Kansas #181, recently gave $500 toward the WOR. Take a careful look at your chapter’s finances and make a decision to contribute according to your resources. Be proactive! Don’t wait to be contacted. Act now!

I urge each chapter and each KWVA member to consider a donation to the WOR. This is our Memorial; it should be made as meaningful as possible. The mailing address is KWVM Foundation, 10301 McKinstry Mill Road, New Windsor, MD 21776-7903. KWVM is a 501c3, nonprofit.

“Life sends us a challenge to test our willingness to change. At such moments, there is no use in pretending that nothing has happened or in saying we are not ready. The challenge will not wait.” Paulo Coello

Thanks and: VOTE! VOTE!! VOTE!!! VOTE!!!!

Tom Stevens, President
Korean War Veterans Association, Inc. (KWVA/US)


 
 



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