Dignitaries joined survivors of the Korean War at the Dallas Fort-Worth National Cemetery on Monday to break ground on a new memorial honoring the "Chosin Few."
The Chosin Few Memorial, which commemorates the 1950 Battle of the Chosin Reservoir in North Korea, was designed by Dallas artists Mark Austin Byrd and Jenelle Armstrong Byrd and will soon be erected in the assembly area of the cemetery, immediately east of Veterans Lake. The memorial is expected to be completed this spring.
“We’ve been working for more than four years to get approvals and funding for the DFW Chosin Few Memorial,” said Mark Byrd, a Marine helicopter pilot in the Vietnam War who received the Distinguished Flying Cross. “We are focusing on portraits of individuals who made a significant impact in the battle, including the 17 Medal of Honor recipients.”
Organizers released the following statement about the significance of the battle and how the memorial will honor those who fought in the campaign.
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The Chosin Few Memorial will be a 12-foot-tall, polished black granite wall with text engravings on both sides telling the story of the battle that occurred when the People's Republic of China sent more than 100,000 troops to infiltrate the northeastern part of North Korea and trap the 18,000 UN forces, including U.S. Marines and Army soldiers, at the Chosin Reservoir.
Bronze sculptures on the wall will depict portraits of about 40 men who distinguished themselves in the battle. The memorial will be topped with a stainless-steel Star of Koto-Ri, based on a star the Marines saw shining through a blizzard the night before moving out. The star gave them hope the skies would clear so they could have air support the next day as they evacuated 100,000 Koreans in what is known as the "Christmas Miracle.
The Battle of the Chosin Reservoir is considered by military historians to be one of the most significant battles in the history of the Marine Corps. From November 27 to December 13, 1950, the U.S. Marines and Army soldiers fought their way through the lines of Chinese troops in frigid temperatures as low as 36 degrees below Fahrenheit. Survivors of the battle are known as the "Chosin Few."
In attendance Monday, on his 94th birthday, was Lt. Gen. Richard E. Carey, USMC (Ret.). He was a 22-year-old rifle platoon commander when he fought in Korea, including fighting in the Battle of the Chosin Reservoir where he earned the Silver Star and Purple Heart medals.
“Had it not been for the brave men who fought through the most brutal conditions, South Korea would be under Communist rule today,” said Carey. “Even today, South Korea stands in the balance between the United States and China. But the brutal weather was an even more formidable enemy than the Communist forces. We lost many good men on that march to the sea.”
Carey was joined Monday by the artist as well as representatives from Metroplex Military Charitable Trust, North Texas Chapter of the Chosin Few, Dee Brown Inc., who is supplying the granite, stone materials, and pavers, as well as the labor to build the monument and Childress Engineers, who provided the architectural drawings and engineering for the project.