Ex-servicemembers push to build statue in honor of USFK

By Chang Jae-soon

WASHINGTON, July 27 (Yonhap) -- A group of former servicemembers of U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) have filed a petition asking for permission to build a statue in Washington in honor of American soldiers who helped defend South Korea after the Korean War, a project organizer said Sunday.

The group, led by Jeff Brodeur who served in South Korea in 1988-1989, filed the request with the Department of Interior earlier this year with the aim of building a soldier sculpture at the Korean War Veterans Memorial, according to Han Jong-woo, a professor at Syracuse University in New York.

If approved and built, the sculpture would mark the first statue erected in the United States solely in honor of USFK servicemembers, though there are many statues and memorials built in the U.S. in memory of veterans of the 1950-53 Korean War.

Two others working for the project are Albert McCarthy, a retired captain who served in Osan, south of Seoul, in 1971-1972, and Louis T. Dechert, a Korean War veteran, who is the president and chairman of Combined KOREAN-US Veterans Association, CKVA, according to Han.

"More than 3 million American soldiers served in South Korea for its defense, but there is no commemorative statue for them in the U.S.," said Han, who pushes for a variety of Korean War-related projects as head of the Korean War Legacy Foundation.

If the project is approved, the petitioners and Han's foundation plan to hold a campaign to raise the US$75,000 necessary to build the statue. They plan to ask sculptor Robert Shure, who designed the Massachusetts Korean War Memorial, to make the statue.

About 28,500 American troops are stationed in South Korea to help defend the Asian ally from North Korean aggression, a legacy of the Korean War that left the two Koreas still technically at war because the conflict ended in a truce, not a peace treaty.

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