By Bob McElroy, USAG Humphreys Public AffairsJuly 8, 2016
CHEONAN, South Korea -- The city of Cheonan honored the American and Korean Soldiers who fought and fell in the Battle of Cheonan during a brief ceremony at Martin Park here on July 8. The Korea Freedom Federation, Cheonan Branch sponsored the ceremony.
About 40 Soldiers and leaders from Headquarters Company U.S. Army Garrison Humphreys and 4th Battalion 58th Airfield Operations Battalion participated in the ceremony. USAG Humphreys Deputy Garrison Commander for Transformation Col. Jon Nufable was one of the featured speakers.
The ceremony marked the 66th anniversary of the July 7-8, 1950 battle. More than 100 American Soldiers from the 34th Infantry Regiment died in a desperate attempt to slow the wave of North Korean tanks and infantry as it swept south.
During the battle, 34th Infantry Regiment commander Col. Robert R. Martin died when he fired a bazooka at a North Korean tank at the same time it fired at the building he used for cover. Martin's anti-tank round had no effect on the tank. He had commanded the 34th Infantry Regiment for only 14 hours when he died. The park in Cheonan is named in his memory.
Nufable cited the bravery of the 34th Regiment Soldiers and their commander during his remarks, noting that while they could not stem the North Korean advance, they helped to buy time for additional American and Korean units to set up delaying actions.
They fought against incredible odds because they knew it was right, they knew they had to take a stand against an enemy and ideology that was the opposite of everything that America stood for, everything they believed, he said.
Nufable said that because of them and all of the Soldiers who fought in the Korean War, South Korea is a proud, prosperous country where several generations have grown up in peace and freedom.
"We honor Col. Martin and his Soldiers today and can never thank them enough for their service and sacrifice," he concluded.
Following his remarks, Yu, Ga Young, a fifth-grade student at nearby Samgeri Elementary School read a letter which honored the Soldiers who fell during the Battle of Cheonan and thanked today's Soldiers for their service to the security of South Korea. She then presented Nufable with a box of letters the students at her school wrote.
The ceremony concluded with a floral tribute at the monument to the Soldiers. Civilians and Soldiers alike moved to the monument where a volunteer handed each a white carnation. The Soldiers laid their flowers on the altar, paused in reflection and rendered a slow salute.
After the ceremony, the KFF sponsored lunch for the Soldiers followed by a tour of the Korean National Museum in Cheonan.