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Illinois and the Korean War, November 1952

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[November 01, 2012]  SPRINGFIELD -- The state of Illinois is commemorating the 60th anniversary of the Korean War by supplying information each month about the state's involvement in the conflict.

The Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs, Illinois Korean Memorial Association, and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, along with media partners the Illinois Press Association and the Illinois Broadcasters Association, are sponsoring "Illinois Remembers the Forgotten War." For more information, visit or

Illinoisans killed in action in Korea, November 1952
By county of residence
(Source: U.S. Department of Defense records)


  • Cpl. James E. Friend, Marines, Nov. 8.


  • 1st Lt. Walter W. Winkler, Army, Nov. 2.


  • Pfc. James E. Higgins, Army, Nov. 4.


  • Pvt. R.L. Lindsay, Army, Nov. 15.

  • Pvt. Norman C. Plinske, Army, Nov. 21.

  • Pfc. Robert E. VanHook, Army, Nov. 16.


  • Pvt. Harley G. Gerth, Army, Nov. 3.


  • Pfc. Jack K. Pate, Army, Nov. 6.


  • Sgt. 1st Class Robert E. Ford, Army, Nov. 6.


  • Pvt. Karl R. Rosenbach, Army, Nov. 3.

Rock Island:

  • Pvt. James H. Woest, Army, Nov. 27.


  • Pvt. Dempsey E. Ray, Army, Nov. 23.


  • Cpl. Louis L. Campbell, Army, Nov. 18.

Key events during the Korean War, November 1952

November 1952 began as October had ended in Korea, with yet another deadly skirmish being fought along the ragged front line that divided North and South Korea. On Nov. 3, the 14th North Korean Regiment tried to seize Hill 851 in the Heartbreak Ridge area. United States troops, anchored by the 2nd Battalion, 160th Infantry Regiment of the 40th Infantry Division, held against the onslaught. Later that month, Chinese forces attacked U.N. positions at the Hook, an aptly named terrain feature defended by Great Britain's Commonwealth Division. A determined three-day assault by the Chinese was finally thwarted by a battalion from the famed Black Watch, along with a contingent of Commonwealth Division tanks.

One of the more bizarre events of the propaganda war the Communists waged occurred Nov. 15-27. The Communists held what became known as the "Prisoner of War Olympics," where prisoners from various camps competed in a variety of "sports." The Communists continually tried to portray the People's Republic of North Korea as a paradise and wanted the world to think that captured United Nations soldiers were well treated and enjoying healthy activities in the "Communist wonderland." This came at the same time that the North Koreans interrupted the ongoing armistice talks over the issue of POWs, since it was apparent to them that large numbers of North Korean and Chinese POWs wanted to defect to the South if given the freedom of choice (as some 7,900 North Koreans and 14,700 Chinese eventually did). Staging these "Olympics" was a transparent propaganda attempt that largely failed.

Back in the States, the American public was focused on the presidential election. They wanted little more than to find an honorable way out of Korea and to bring the troops home, and on Nov. 4 voters expressed as much when they elected World War II hero Dwight D. Eisenhower as president. Very soon, the man who vowed to visit Korea if he was elected president would be commander in chief of United States forces who had been mired in the Korean War for 2 1/2 years.

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Illinois Korean War Memorial

The Illinois Korean War Memorial is located in Springfield's Oak Ridge Cemetery, the same cemetery that contains the Lincoln Tomb. Oak Ridge is the nation's second-most visited burial ground, behind only Arlington National Cemetery.

Dedicated on June 16, 1996, the memorial consists of a 12-foot-tall bronze bell mounted on a granite base. At the circumference of the base are four niches, each with a larger-than-life figure representing a branch of the armed services. Inscribed on the base are the names of 1,754 Illinoisans killed in Korea.

The Illinois Korean War Memorial is administered by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency and may be visited daily free of charge.

Korean War veterans oral history project
Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum

The oral history program at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum offers "Veterans Remember," a collection of interviews with Illinois residents about their wartime experiences, at the library's website, The interviews concern the experiences of Illinois veterans who fought in several conflicts, including the Korean War, as well as the experiences of those on the home front. Visitors to the website can listen to or watch the interviews in their entirety. Several of the interviews have transcripts, and most have still images as well.

Website visitors will need a computer capable of playing MP3 audio files or MPG compressed video files in order to listen to the interviews. The transcripts and still images are also accessible. Volunteers conducted and edited many of the interviews and developed the transcripts that accompany them.

Korean War National Museum

The Korean War National Museum, or KWNM, celebrates the 60th anniversary of the Korean War with a new board of directors, new professional staff and a renewed focus on getting a world-class museum built now, in the lifetime of the Korean War veterans. Media reports have outlined a proposal of the KWNM to obtain 7,000 square feet of prime space at Navy Pier in Chicago for a state-of-the-art, world-class museum where visitors could come to honor and learn about the service and sacrifices of the Americans, South Koreans and their U.N. allies in the "forgotten victory." Those plans are continuing to be developed, and the KWNM hopes to be able to share more news soon.

Meanwhile, the Denis J. Healy Freedom Center, located at 9 South Old State Capitol Plaza in Springfield, is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free, but donations are accepted.

The KWNM welcomes donations of photographs, documents, diaries and artifacts of those who served in the Korean War. To learn more about the KWNM, or to volunteer or donate, visit or look for the museum on Facebook.

Korean War booklet

The Illinois Korean Memorial Association, an all-volunteer organization, has published a booklet, "A Brief History of the Korean War," copies of which have been provided free of charge to public libraries, high schools and junior high schools in Illinois. Individuals may obtain a copy by sending a $10 check or money order to: Illinois Korean Memorial Association, P.O. Box 8554, Springfield, IL 62791.

Tax-deductible donations are welcome. All donations go to the book project and to the upkeep of the Illinois Korean War Memorial.

[Text from file received from the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency]

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