(J. Robert Lunney attended the dedication of the Monument and contributed this Article)


 - Heungnam Evacuation Monument will be Unveiled on May 27th [2005] at the Korean War Refugees' Camp Site on Geoje Island -

- About 1,500 People will take part in the International Event-

*It will honor the significance of the operation and all those who were involved in the rescue. This event will not only solidify the alliance between Korea and the United States, but will also promote cooperation and friendship among United Nations allied countries who took part in the Korean War.

The Dedication Ceremony of the Heungnam Evacuation Operation will be held in the Historical Park at the Geoje Korean War Prisoners’ and Refugee Camp on the 55th Anniversary of the outbreak of the Korean War. The ceremony will be co-hosted by the Ministry of Patriot and Veteran Affairs and the Commemoration Association of the Heungnam Evacuation Operation.  Geoje City will honor and remember the humanitarian spirit of the operation which is regarded as one of the most inspiring and miraculous rescue operations in military history.

About 1,500 people will attend the ceremony including Minister Park, Yu-chul, Ph.D. of Patriots and Veterans Affairs, General Leon J. LaPorte, Commander, UNC, CFC, USFK, Retired General Paik Sun Yup, former Chief of Staff of the Korean Army and  representative for Korean War veterans, ambassadors from the 22 nations that fought for Korea during the Korean War, American veterans of the Korean War who were engaged in the operation and their families, refugees and their families from Hamkyung Province in  North Korea, the presidents of Patriot and Veteran Associations, and other Korean War veterans.

The ceremony is expected to honor the noble sacrifice and commitment of the Korean War Veterans who had fought with Sought Korea under the UN flag for the purpose of safeguarding freedom, peace, and democracy on the Korean Peninsula. The ceremony will also further enhance the friendship and cooperation of the 22 nations that had participated in the Korean war, and nurture the patriotism of the Korean People. In order to promote the significance of the Heungnam Evacuation Operation, the MPVA will do its best to make the ceremony an international event by gathering Korean Veterans and representatives from over 22 nations.

The Heungnam Evacuation Operation began in response to the involvement of Chinese Red Armies assault against UN forces from late November 1950 and stands as one of the greatest and successful humanitarian operations in history. Over one hundred thousand military personnel, 17,500 vehicles and 350,000 tons of cargo were pulled out during the operation. In addition to the military assets evacuated, some 98,000 North Korean refugees were also transported from the site. The SS Meredith Victory is remembered as the ship that completed what is registered as the “largest rescue operation by a single ship” in the Guinness World Records.  Captain Leonard P. LaRue of the SS Meredith Victory received the “Ulji Order of Military Merit”; the second highest military decoration from the Korean government.

The MPVA invites American veterans who played a leading role in the operation, and the SS Meredith Victory crew to the ceremony. Among the attendees is Mr. Hiroshi H. Miyamura; a recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor for his conspicuous intrepidity to cover an operation despite his painful wounds, and J. Robert Lunney who was a Staff Officer on the SS Meredith Victory and who is now working as a lawyer in New York.

The Monument is erected as part of the MPVA's effort to support the construction of Korean War monuments. With about $1.8 billion won including government expense of the MPVA, the local government of Geoje city, and donations by commemoration associations spent for the construction, the monument was completed in about one and half years since its ground-breaking ceremony on Dec. 26th, 2003.

The memorial includes a monument with the SS Meredith Victory and General Douglas MacArthur’s face carved on it, a mural relievo that explains the merit of those involved in the rescue operation, and a Lawn Plaza symbolizing the open sea.


*    *    *    *    *

Korean War Monument

(Article courtesy of Charles Ecker.)


J. Robert Lunney


J. Robert Lunney, staff officer of the decommissioned S.S. Meredith Victory, shows a picture of the rescue operation at Hungnam Port in South Hamkyong Province, North Korea, on December 22, 1950, during the Korean War.

Photo by Kim Hyun-tae Staff Reporter for the Korean Times.

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