Ohio town's Korean War memorial under fire for blunders

by Reuters
Thursday, 29 May 2014 20:25 GMT

By Jon Herskovitz

May 29 (Reuters) - An Ohio monument unveiled this week to Americans who fought and died in the Korean War has drawn calls for it to be replaced because of glaring omissions and historical inaccuracies including images from the Vietnam War and Desert Storm.

The black granite slab at Ross County Veterans Memorial Park in Chillicothe, Ohio, has sparked criticism from some families of those killed in the 1950-1953 Korean War because names of locals who died in the fighting were left off a plaque honoring area war dead.

Herman Strausbaugh, 81, a Korean War veteran who helped get the memorial built, said he wants to memorial to stay despite the complaints of "nit pickers."

"It represents the people that went over there and fought. The idea was that we put up something about a war that was forgotten and now all of the sudden, it is remembered," Strausbaugh told Reuters.

Among the other mistakes are images of fighter jets introduced in the 1970s flying over soldiers from the Vietnam War standing near a tank introduced in the 1980s that is rolling toward soldiers who look like they are from the Desert Storm campaign of the early 1990s, military historians have said.

Production was outsourced to India, where imaging was done and sent to the veterans group in Ohio before the engravings were made. Strausbaugh said the committee members did not notice the inaccuracies when they saw an image of the planned memorial.

"It was made out of black granite. It was just beautiful," he told Reuters by telephone.

For some, the biggest gaffe was omitting names of those who died in fighting.

"My family was insulted on the day it was unveiled," said Tina Kutschbach, whose uncle John E. Kutschbach was fatally wounded in 1953 by a grenade in fighting on the Korea peninsula.

He died a few days later at a military hospital in Japan and was buried less than a mile away from the new monument.

Kutschbach's name was one of a half dozen left off the list of 18 on the plaque, she said.

Strausbaugh said the veterans committee used a list of war dead provided by the Department of Defense, but Kutschbach said the names of those killed from the era can be found in a local library and have been known for 60 years.

"It is astonishing that veterans committee did not listen to warnings of inaccuracies or gather easily available information before putting up something that is shameful," she said. (Reporting by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

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