Korean War vets group disbands

HUDSON–Chapter 283, Columbia County Korean War Veterans has disbanded due to a decline in membership. The announcement was made in a release from the group.

The release said that Commander Bill Wood thanked Commander Vince Grimaldi and the members of Columbia County VFW Post 1314 for the use of the post to hold its meetings. Chapter 283 has been active over the past 15 years to keep alive the memory of the “Forgotten War” from 1950 to 1953.

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Pictured (l to r) are veterans John Neary, Bill Wood, Vince Grimaldi and Jack Hallenbeck. Mr. Neary, Mr. Wood and Mr. Hallenbeck are veterans of the Korean War and are the last members of their local group. Mr. Grimaldi is commander of VFW Post 1314. Photo contributed

The remaining group members are: Bill Woods, United States Navy; John Neary; United States Marine Corps; and Jack Hallenbeck; United States Army. They are among the 1,789,000 U.S. service members in Korea during the war.

There were 33,739 U.S. battle deaths, including seven of men from Columbia County. During the week of December 2, 1950 to December 6, 1950, two Columbia County residents were killed in action, one taken prisoner and one reported missing in action.

Nineteen-year-old Pfc. Donald McNaughton was killed in action December 2, 1950 by machinegun fire. He died in the arms of his friend, a Corporal DellaValle, who wrote to Pfc. McNaughton’s family the following letter:

Just before he died his last words were ‘Please write to my mom’, and I told him that I would and I held his hand until he died. Donald was a very good soldier and he knew his job and he did it well, He was hit by a machine gun bullet…He did a wonderful job in protecting a lot of wounded and that’s when he got hit. It sure hurts me to write this letter…”

Pfc. McNaughton’s remains were never recovered.

Pfc. Richard Milton Powell, 21, while heavily engaged with overwhelming number of Communist Chinese troops, was killed in action December 3, 1950. His remains were never recovered. Along with his childhood friend Donald McNaughton, a memorial was dedicated in his honor at the Philmont baseball field.

Cpl. William Henry Doss Jr., 19, was taken prisoner December 6, 1950 and subsequently died while a prisoner at Camp #5, Pyongyang, North Korea. He was buried in 1956 in the Punch Bowl, Hawaii.

Cpl. Clifford Stanley Johnson, 20, was reported missing December 6, 1950 while engaged in hostilities in the vicinity of Hagaru-ri, North Korea. His remains were never recovered and he was presumed dead December 31, 1953.

Pvt. Edward J. Aiken, 22, was killed in action by enemy sniper fire August 28, 1951 while fighting the enemy near Tanggok, North Korea. He is buried in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, East Greenbush.

Captain Norman William Schneidt, 30, after serving in the United States Army Air corps from 1942 to 1947, was called back to serve in Korea. While piloting a B-29 over North Korea, he was shot down by enemy MIGs on November 9, 1952. His remains were never recovered. A plaque was placed in the Punch Bowl Cemetery in Hawaii in his honor.

Cpl. Lawrence Morrison, non-hostile death. During the Korean War, On July 27, 1953 he was found dead at the foot of a cliff in a rock quarry.

The release ends with the words: “Korea, ‘The Forgotten War’–may it never be forgotten.”

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