Inside Yongsan garrison there are various statues and monuments commemorating different events, persons,…including historical relics that were scattered around the site before the Japanese imperial army set up their camps.
Stone guardians, important Korean cultural resources, have been used as a decorative element at Korean burial areas. Notable stone guardians on Yongsan include two stone guardians in front of the Former Eighth (8th) Army Headquarter building (building 2462), two in front of the Seoul American Elementary School, one near the fire station, and two in front of Sorabol House (building 4433).
Note and photo from Historian and Veteran Kim Chunsoo @taebaek-kim
Statues of civil servants, called “muninseok”, meant to protect graves.
Before the establishment of the garrison begining of 1900s, there were many graves in the area.
At the time the area of Yongsan base contained 1,176 houses and 1,117,308 graves
Plaque unveiling honors Yongsan theater legend_
In Memory of John M. Wood, Music and Theater director USAG-Yongsan Seoul, Korea 1950-2008
December 2009 at Yongsan Garrison Theater
Photo source: photos usag-yongsan
AMERICAN AND KOREAN HISTORY! by Peter T Yeschenko, former ASHS student
Trivia: Who remembers Walker Hill in Seoul….but do you know who the hill was named after and what Korean President name the hill after him?!
ANSWER: The hill was named in honor of General Walton Walker.
Shortly after the North Korean invasion of South Korea on 25 June 1950, the Eighth Army was ordered to intervene and drive the invaders back across the 38th parallel, the border between the two countries.
With only four lightly equipped and poorly trained divisions, General Walker began landing troops on the southeast side of the Korean peninsula in July.
After his lead units, elements of the 24th Infantry Division were virtually destroyed in a few days of furious fighting between Osan and Taejon, General Walker realized his assigned mission was impossible and went on the defensive.
Pushed steadily back towards the southeast by the North Korean advance, General Walker’s forces suffered heavy losses and for a time were unable to form a defensible front, even after bringing the 1st Cavalry and 25th Infantry Divisions into the fight.
General Walker’s situation was not helped by unrealistic demands from General MacArthur in Tokyo not to retreat an inch.
Attempting to obey, General Walker gave a bombastic “not a step back” speech to his staff and subordinate commanders which did not go over well.
Nor did it stop the North Koreans from pushing back the Americans and the Republic of Korea Army (ROK), which had been badly mauled in the opening days of the invasion, even further.
As American and ROK forces retreated further east and south, they finally arrived at a defensible line on the Nakdong River.
They took advantage of shortened supply routes and a relatively good road network to exploit the advantages of “interior lines”. General Walker was able to quickly shift his units from point to point, stopping North Korean attacks before they could be reinforced.
A critical advantage General Walker had was that military intelligence had cracked the North Korean radio codes. So General Walker knew every major North Korean Army movement prior to the event.
His advance knowledge of enemy movements also allowed him to be able to employ artillery and airpower to great effect.
American forces gradually solidified this defensive position on the southeast side of the Korean peninsula, dubbed the “Pusan Perimeter”.
General Walker received reinforcements, including the Provisional Marine Brigade, which he used along with the Army’s 27th Infantry Regiment as “fire brigades,” reliable troops who specialized in counterattacking and wiping out enemy penetrations.
With General MacArthur’s amphibious flanking move, the North Koreans seemed trapped but General Walker’s rapid advance northwest towards Inchon and Seoul emphasized speed over maneuver and made no attempt to encircle and destroy the North Koreans after punching through their lines.
Although thousands of prisoners were taken, many North Korean units successfully disengaged from the fighting, melting away into the interior of South Korea where they would conduct a guerrilla war for two years. Others escaped all the way back to North Korea.
With the war apparently won, General Walker’s Eighth Army quickly moved north and, with the independent X Corps on its right, crossed the 38th parallel to occupy North Korea.
Fighting tapered off to sporadic, sharp clashes with remnants of North Korean forces.
By late October 1950 the Eighth Army was nearing the Yalu River, North Korea’s border with China.
General Walker, informed by General MacArthur’s headquarters that the Chinese would not intervene, did not insure that his troops maintained watchful security.
Due to a lack of coordination between General Walker, General Edward Almond, Commander of the X Corps, and General MacArthur’s headquarters in Tokyo, a gap had opened between Eighth Army and X Corps as they moved close to the Chinese border.
Eventually, the weather had turned savagely cold, and most American units had no training and inadequate equipment for the bitter temperatures.
General Walker was killed in a military connected traffic accident on 23 December 1950, near Uijeongbu, South Korea, when his command jeep collided with a civilian truck at high speed as he inspected US military positions north of Seoul.
His body was escorted back to the United States by his son, future US Army General Sam S. Walker, who was also serving in Korea.
General Walker was buried at Arlington National Cemetery on January 2, 1951.
NOTE: General Sam Walker (son) passed away on 8 August 2015.
In 1963, South Korea President Park Chung-hee honored the general by naming a hill in the southern part of Seoul after General Walker.
Today, Walker Hill is the site of the Sheraton Walker Hill, a five-star international resort and hotel, and Walker Hill Apartment in Gwangjin-Gu.
In December 2009, the mayor of Dobong-gu district, Choi Sun-Kil, unveiled the Walton Harris Walker monument to mark the site of his death.
The memorial, which is near Dobong subway Station, pays tribute to General Walker and to all those who defended South Korea in the Korean War.
Coulter Statue by Peter T Yeschenko,
I know a lot of you remember “Coulter Statue” leading into Itaewon….this statute was right outside Gate 12.
The Post Run use to stop almost right in front of this statue and right outside gate 12.
I use to catch the Post Run there all the time when I lived in Itaewon. 🙂
SOMETHING YOU MIGHT NOT KNOW!
Trivia: Who was Coulter?! 🙂
ANSWER: John Breitling Coulter was a Lieutenant General in the US Army. General Coulter served during WW I and II and the Korean War.
In 1948 he went to Korea as commander of the 7th Infantry Division.
In 1949 he was appointed deputy commander of US Forces in Korea, and then commanded I Corps until its deactivation in 1950.
General Coulter was then assigned as deputy commander of Fifth Army, headquartered in Chicago.
After the June, 1950 invasion of South Korea, General Coulter was assigned to command I Corps, reactivated as part of the Eighth Army.
As the commander of Task Force Jackson, an ad hoc force of South Korean and US troops, General Coulter was credited with a key role in halting North Korea’s advance.
In September, 1950 General Coulter assumed command of IX Corps, and led his organization as the supporting effort to I Corps in the US counterattack against North Korea.
In 1951 General Coulter was promoted to Lieutenant General as deputy commander of the Eighth Army, and was Eighth Army commander General Matthew Ridgway’s liaison to the South Korean Army and South Korean President Syngman Rhee.
General Coulter retired from the Army in 1952.
Following his retirement, General Coulter was appointed the Washington, DC representative of the United Nations Korean Reconstruction Agency (UNKRA), the organization formed to direct the international effort to rebuild South Korea after the Korean War.
In 1953 he was named to head UNKRA, with the rank of UN Assistant Secretary-General, and he remained in this position until 1958.
During his tenure, he directed the expenditure of more than $200 million for rebuilding South Korea’s industry, schools, hospitals, roads and housing.
During 1956 General Coulter also advised UN Secretary General Dag Hammarskjöld on peacekeeping forces during the Suez Crisis.
In 1959, Syngman Rhee, still the President of South Korea, erected a statue of Coulter to recognize his efforts to rebuild South Korea.
The statue originally stood in the Itaewon District of Seoul. It was rededicated in 1977, and now stands at Seoul’s San 18, Neung-dong, Kwangjin-gu.
In the 1960s, General Coulter was President of the Korean Cultural and Freedom Foundation, an organization formed to recognize Korean War veterans and foster cultural exchanges between the US and South Korea.
General Coulter died in Washington, DC on 6 March 1983 and was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.