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Republic of South Korea Awards Four
U.S. Veterans Its Nation’s Highest Military
Award: The Order of Military Merit, Taeguk

By on August 18, 2014

Awards Presented in Seoul on Anniversary of Korean War Armistice;
Veterans Include 97-Year-Old General Edward Rowny

Washington D.C. (July 28, 2014) – The office of former Ambassador Lt. Gen. Edward L. Rowny announced that South Korea Prime Minister Chung Hong-won, in a commemorative ceremony in Seoul on July 27th, awarded General Rowny the Order of Military Merit, Taeguk, South Korea’s highest military award. The award was presented for “outstanding and meritorious services rendered to the Republic of Korea during the Korean War with great sacrifice and commitment.” The announcement was made on the anniversary of the Korean War Armistice, signed 61 years ago on July 27, 1953. More than 35,000 Americans lost their lives in the Korean War. Rowny, age 97, is the oldest recipient to ever receive Korea’s highest military honor, whose previous recipients include Generals MacArthur, Twining, Lemnitzer and Westmoreland. Rowny was joined in Seoul by two fellow American veterans receiving the Order of Military Merit, Taeguk: Sergeant First Class (ret.) Ronald E. Rosser, age 84, and Mr. (former Staff Sgt.) Hiroshi H. Miyamura, age 88. A fourth award recipient, Sgt. (ret.) Einar H. Ingman, age 84, was represented by his daughter. Rosser, Miyamura and Ingman are also each U.S. Medal of Honor recipients, while Gen. Rowny is a recipient of the U.S. Distinguished Service Medal and four Silver Stars (America’s third highest award for valor), in addition to numerous other awards received among this illustrious group of United States veterans.

In Photo: r-l in center: LTG Rowny, SFC Rosser, Mr. Miyimura, Mary Ingman

“The years have advanced but the bravery of these men remains timeless,” said U.S. Army historian, retired Army Captain Monika Stoy, who assisted the Korean Ministry for Patriots and Veterans Affairs in arrangements with the U.S. veterans for the award presentation. General Rowny traveled from Washington D.C., Rosser from Ohio, Miyamura from New Mexico, while Ingman is from Wisconsin. Collectively, the veterans represent a cross-section of America’s finest.

Military dignitaries present at the ceremony included the Commander of United Nations Command/United States Forces Korea, General Curtis Scaparotti, as well as many veterans from among UN forces that fought in the Korean War.

Anne Kazel-Wilcox, who co-authored a book with Rowny that included his experiences in the Korean War, described some actions that led to the award: “General Rowny helped plan the Inchon Invasion to recapture Seoul following the North’s invasion, which turned the tide of war, and which is one of the crowning achievements of his career. He is prouder still of a major battle during which his troops captured a critical hill—by Bloody and Heartbreak Ridges—without Allied troops suffering a single casualty despite hundreds of enemy deaths.” Rowny also orchestrated the rescue of scores of stranded U.S. Marines in another significant Korean War battle. General Rowny (then a lieutenant colonel breveted to brigadier general) also served as General MacArthur’s official spokesman during the Korean War.

Kazel-Wilcox, together with PJ Wilcox, helped Gen. Rowny document some of these Korean War experiences in West Point ’41: The Class That Went To War and Shaped America (co-authored by the Wilcoxs and Gen. Rowny). Smokey Joe & The General, by Gen. Rowny, elaborates on the experiences further. Both books were recently published.

Scenes in the books include Rowny spearheading the rescue of stranded Marines in the Chosin Reservoir, an elevated lake set amid a forbidding mountain landscape. The rescue involved a C-119 cargo plane boldly, but precariously, dropping portable bridge sections to span a precipitous chasm so Marines could cross it to safety and transport casualties. Rowny also helped orchestrate “Operation Christmas Cargo” on Dec. 24, 1950—the rescue of nearly 100,000 North Korean civilians fleeing advancing death squads. They were evacuated aboard U.S. supply ships, tucked into every nook possible, and transported to safer territory south.

Gen. Rowny (USMA 1941) served as an advisor to five Presidents and was the Chief Negotiator for nuclear disarmament with the Soviets under President Reagan. He was also chief negotiator in the Strategic Arms Reduction Talks (START) and Joint Chiefs of Staff Representative to SALT II talks. Reagan awarded Rowny the Presidential Citizen’s Medal for being one of the “principal architects of America’s policy of ‘Peace through Strength’.” Previously, he headed the Army team that introduced the concept of armed helicopters to the military, beginning with Vietnam. He is a veteran of WW II, the Korean War and Vietnam.

– Submitted by Anne Kazel-Wilcox