Stadium bears name of war hero
January 7, 2014
CAMP CASEY -- Cpl. Daniel D. Schoonover was awarded a Medal of Honor after he was killed in action at age 19 during the Korean War, and it's in his memory that the Schoonover Bowl stadium here is named.
The Schoonover Bowl serves as venue for Area I soccer and football games. It was built in the late 1950s when the 7th Infantry Division was headquartered at Camp Casey.
Schoonover was serving with the 7th Infantry Division when he was killed July 10, 1953 in what's known as the Second Battle of Pork Chop Hill. His death came just over two weeks before fighting ceased with the signing of the armistice on July 27.
Pork Chop Hill stood 300 meters high and was named for its shape. Situated southwest of Chorwon, it was in what was known as the Iron Triangle area, above the 38th Parallel, said Ron Miller, Eighth Army command historian.
It was the scene of two fiercely contested battles in 1953 between UN and Chinese Communist forces. The first battle was fought in April; the second, from July 6 -- 10.
Schoonover was awarded the Medal of Honor for his "heroic actions…superb bravery, and willing self-sacrifice" over a two-day period, in action against Chinese Communist forces.
During the Korean War Schoonover was a combat engineer in charge of a demolition squad attached to an infantry company.
The company was ordered to drive the enemy from a vital hill.
Heavy fighting was under way and enemy fire was intense.
Schoonover decided that the best way to accomplish his mission was to deploy his unit as a rifle squad and get uphill to close with the enemy.
They made their way up the steep, barren slope and assaulted the enemy positions. An artillery round exploded on the roof of an enemy bunker. With that, Schoonover bolted for the bunker and leaped in. He killed one enemy infantryman and took another prisoner.
But his heroic actions were hardly over.
When, later in the fighting, fierce firing from another enemy bunker kept friendly forces pinned down, Schoonover charged forward under a hail of hostile fire, got grenades in through the nearest aperture, rushed to the doorway and there, emptied his pistol, killing the rest of the enemy.
With that bunker out of action, friendly troops were able to resume their advance to the crest of the hill.
The enemy counterattacked, and Schoonover needed to direct his men's fire and put artillery fire on the enemy. To do this, he exposed himself to heavy bombardment and called in an effective artillery barrage.
Although the company was relieved early the next morning, Schoonover did not move out with them. Instead, he volunteered to stay in the area, and for several hours manned a machine gun.
Later, when another assault was mounted on enemy positions, Schoonover joined the attack.
"When last seen," his Medal of Honor citation reads, "he was operating an automatic rifle with devastating effect until mortally wounded by artillery fire.
"Cpl. Schoonover's heroic leadership during 2 days of fighting, superb personal bravery, and willing self-sacrifice inspired his comrades and saved many lives, reflecting lasting glory upon himself and upholding the honored traditions of the military service."
Schoonover was born Oct. 8, 1933 in Boise, Idaho. At the time of his death he was serving with Company A, 13th Combat Engineer Battalion.
The Medal of Honor was awarded in January 1955.
He is buried in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, Hawaii.
The 7th Infantry Division was headquartered at Camp Casey from the post-Korean War period until 1971, Miller said.
The Schoonover Bowl was built in the1950s, opening in Sept. 1958 as a football field with natural grass turf, according to real property records of U.S. Army Garrison Red Cloud and Area I.
Only a year earlier, one of the Army's installations in Uijeongbu had been named in honor of another Korean War Medal of Honor recipient, Cpl. Mitchell Red Cloud Jr. That installation is the present-day Camp Red Cloud, now headquarters of the 2nd Infantry Division and USAG Red Cloud and Area I.
USAG Red Cloud and Area I recently renovated Schoonover Bowl, which has all-new synthetic grass, new score boards, fencing and state-of-the-art lighting. The stadium's 400 meter track has been newly rubberized.