Home : Media : News : News Article View

Namhae Memorial, a Legacy of Humanity

By So, Ki-chun | U.S. Army, USAG DAEGU, South Korea | Nov. 20, 2017

USAG DAEGU, South Korea -- Every fall when the leaves begin to turn and the air takes on a chill, one man sets about his work in honoring the memory of 11 fallen U.S. Airmen by keeping a promise his father made more than 70 years ago. This year, the Namhae memorial ceremony was held on Nov. 3 in Namhae County, marking its 72nd anniversary since 1945.

On Aug. 7, 1945, during the colonization of Korea by the Japanese and just 8 days before the end of the war in the Pacific, a U.S. Army Air Corps B-24 'Liberator' bomber from the 868th Bombardment Squadron departed from Okinawa to conduct an armored search from Hwa-do Island near Jeju up the southeastern coast of Korea to Busan and back to Okinawa. The plane never returned. Instead, the bomber, piloted by Lt. Edward Mills Jr. crashed into the side of Mangwoon mountain, a 3000-foot peak on Namhae Island.

Kim, Duk-hyung, who was working as a civil servant for the Namhae County government at the time, joined Japanese and Korean laborers in climbing the mountain to strip the site of usable parts, but upon discovering that no one intended to inter the men, Kim took it upon himself to bury them, gathering as much identifying material as possible before stacking a mound of rocks atop the grave and topping it with a pine cross.

The next day, when the Japanese police heard about the burial, Kim was arrested, confined and tortured. Fortunately, the war ended shortly thereafter on Aug. 15 and he awoke to an unlocked cell and an abandoned jailhouse.

In time, he informed the U.S. of the burial location and helped to repatriate their remains, bringing closure to family members who might otherwise never have known the fate of their loved ones.

As a tribute to their sacrifice, Mr. Kim raised enough funds by 1956 to erect a 12-foot granite monument atop Mangwoon Mountain, and by 1989, he had established a memorial hall in Namhae City. Kim held the ceremony each year from 1945 until his death in 2010 when his eldest son, Mr. Kim, Jong-ki, took over. He has continued to honor the tradition, stating "My father always told us the reason he continued this memorial. He emphasized the U.S. Soldiers' sacrifices which helped our country to be liberated from Japanese rule and protected our country from North Korea during the Korean War."

Lt. Col. George S. Crockatt, a representative of U.S. Forces Korea, and commander of the 837th Transportation Battalion, said in his memorial remarks "This occasion should remind all of us that freedom and peace must not be taken for granted."

The 11 Airmen were the only known casualties in Korea during World War II.
Like Us
Follow Us



Exercise Enhances Trust, Cooperation between U.S., Indian Air Forces
U.S. Air Force Gen. CQ Brown, Jr. Pacific Air Forces commander, prepares for an orientation flight in an Indian Air Force Mirage 2000 at Cope India 19 at Kalaikunda Air Force Station, India, Dec. 14, 2018. Brown attended the closing ceremony of CI19, a Field Training Exercise focused on enhancing mutual cooperation and building on existing capabilities, aircrew tactics and force employment.
Dec. 18, 2018 - KALAIKUNDA AIR FORCE STATION, India -- Airmen from the U.S. and Indian air forces marked the

Marines Showcase Marksmanship Skills at the 2018 Far East Marksmanship Competition on Okinawa
A U.S. Marine competing in the Far East Marksmanship Competition fires a round at Range 1 on Camp Hansen, Okinawa, Japan Dec. 13, 2018. The M9 is the standard issue pistol for the Marine Corps and fires a 9mm round.
Dec. 18, 2018 - CAMP HANSEN, OKINAWA, Japan -- The competition allowed Marines stationed in Japan to test and

Joint Communications Support Element Provides Global Support
IC1 Jonathan Kelly and IC1, 1st Squadron, Joint Communications Support Element check a communications satallite dish on Camp Higashi-Chitose, Japan during exercise Yama Sakura, December 12, 2018.
Dec. 18, 2018 - CHITOSE, Japan -- Whether on a hill, in a dale or on a dusty trail, battlefield communications are

Japan Minister of Defense visits Yama Sakura 75
Japan's Minister of Defense, Takeshi Iwaya, tours the command post during Yama Sakura 75 at Camp Higashi-Chitose, Hokkaido, Japan.  Iwaya visited the exercise and talked to U.S. Army and Japan Northern Army Soldiers about the significance of the alliance between the two forces. Yama Sakura is an annual, bilateral exercise that brings the two Armies together to strengthen their capabilities and share military tactics and techniques. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Erica Earl
Dec. 18, 2018 - CAMP HIGASHI-CHITOSE, Japan-- The Japan Minister of Defense, Takeshi Iwaya, visited Yama Sakura 75

Inspiring Performance: PACAF F-16 Demo Team Wows Crowds in Tsuiki, Nyutabaru
U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Steven Pedrick, a Pacific Air Forces’ F-16 Fighting Falcon Demonstration Team crew chief, signals to Capt. Jacob Impellizzeri, the incoming PACAF F-16 Fighting Falcon Demonstration Team pilot, prior to a flight at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, May 4, 2018. The team consists of three crew chiefs, a superintendent, an electrical and engineering specialist, two avionics specialists and an engines specialist, a demonstration pilot and a safety observer who travel across the Indo-Pacific, showcasing the capabilities of the F-16.
Dec. 18, 2018 - TSUIKI AIR BASE, Japan -- The Pacific Air Forces' F-16 Fighting Falcon Demonstration Team from