Korean MemorialKorean War & Korea Defense Service Veterans, Lake Co. (FL), Chapter 169

St. Paul's Catholic School, Feb. 3, 2011

February 3, 2011, saw the Chapter’s Tell America team again at St. Paul’s Catholic School on Sunshine Avenue, Leesburg. We again enjoyed enjoyed a lively dialog with St. Paul’s students, and being photographed with all of the students participating. Seated from the left are Tom Thiel, Dick Pfahler, Don Van Beck and Al Schuetz.

St Paul Catholic School Principal Lynn Green tells students about the Tell America KWVA Chapter 169 Essay ContestSt. Paul Principal Lynn Greene began the program by telling students about the Korean War Veterans' Essay Contest being offered to St. Paul students this year. (click on photos to enlarge)

Dick Pfahler tells about his experience on USS St Paul.Dick Pfahler (left) told the students the story of the U.S.S. St. Paul and the Korean orphans of Fushi -to island. A member of St. Paul's parish, Dick came to Leesburg from Ohio at the age of three. He spent a career in the U.S. Navy.

Al Schuetz telling St Paul students about his time in the Korean WarAl Schuetz told about how he received a letter from President Harry S. Truman telling him that he had been selected by his friends and neighbors to represent them in the armed forces of the United States. He was then a student at the University of Wisconsin, and had never been more than 100 miles distant from his family's farm. He had not ridden on a plane, train, or ship before the service. Al served in the 40th Infantry Division, the unit that Mr. Thiel said had replaced his 24th Infantry Division in January 1952. Al told of him going to Korea with two other draftees from his basic training and that he was the only one to come home alive.

Don van Beck tells St Paul Catholic Schools that Freedom is not Free, Korean War Veterans Tell America ProgramDon van Beck tells St Paul Catholic School students that "Freedom is not Free." Mr. van Beck gave statistics about deaths in the various wars to preserve our freedoms, and asked students to tell their grandparents that if they served in wartime they should be sure to have their names inscribed on the Veterans Memorial at Fountain Park in Leesburg, which will begin construction in Feb. 2011. The Freedom is not Free panel of that memorial has already been constructed and stands on Main St. in Leesburg; it had information about casualties in the various wars.

Tom Thiel of the Korean War Veterans Chapter 169 tells St Paul students about the Korean WarTom Thiel tells students how he too received the letter from President Truman drafting him into the Army. He told of his ship rides to Korea and being assigned to the 24th Infantry Division, the first Division to fight in Korea. He also showed pictures. He was in the recoilless section of the weapons platoon of an infantry company, Easy Company, 19th Infantry Regiment, 24th Infantry Division; his unit used 57mm recoilless rifles and 3.5-inch rocket launchers on enemy bunkers. Tom told about the many casualties in his squads, and his loss of two men who were Killed in Action. He said he now views his Korean Service much more positively than he did when he first came home. He spoke about what Korea meant, saying that he now believes that we won the Korean War, and that Korea was the "first nail in the Communist coffin." He mentioned how appreciative the South Korean people and its government are of those who defended freedom in Korea some 56 to 60 years ago.

Students at St Paul school at the Korean War Veterans Chapter 169 Tell America program.Students at St Paul school at the Korean War Veterans Chapter 169 Tell America program.We were most happy to have had another opportunity to come to St. Paul's School, and the warm welcome we received. We look forward to receiving your "essays," and hope that we can come again next year. Thank you. (Photos by Vi Pfahler with D50 Nikon) The Korean War Veterans of Lake County, Chapter 169.