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The Forgotten Americans at Yanghwajin

Not too long ago someone on the blog asked me about the American service members and their families buried at Yanghwajin’s Foreign Cemetery and what exactly their status was. As many of you are aware I have an active interest in the cemetery and look upon the somewhat, arguably illegal, recent usurpation of the cemetery by a religious group as a severe threat to those buried within. The religious organization has in the past announced that they would remove graves they felt did not fit into the “Foreign Missionaries’ Cemetery” (note the name change), but when confronted with newspaper articles they tended to take a step backwards and the President of the organization stated that “no graves will be removed until Jesus returns to this earth.” Well, there were some strong indications that Jesus was returning last year – fortunately he postponed his return. But that hasn’t stopped other incidents. There is talk that an attempt was made to stop a funeral from taking place…fortunately it seems to have failed.

Battlelines seem to have been drawn and an effort is being made to return the cemetery to the true caretakers…in the next months we shall see. For the reader who asked – I believe it was Paul H., I am providing a list of the possible or known American military and government employees and their families who are buried there….please understand that there are many more Americans buried there that were not members of the military, and yet not members of the clergy – all are at risk of being removed sometime in the future.

Hopefully someone looking for their family will also find this list helpful. I should point out that I provided this same list to the American Embassy and 8th Army last year, one can only wonder what they did with it.

Randy A. Griffin — —-U.S. Army — 1955-1997
Floyd Williams — ——Civilian Employee — Mar. 12, 1923 – Feb. 10, 1974
Pak Kum-ok———— (wife of Williams) — Oct. 11, 1924 – Feb. 2, 1995
Floyd J. Keinhoter— —Military ? —-Jul 17, 1928 – Jan. 24, 1999
Herbert E. Kesler—- —Military ? —-Dec 23, 1940 – Jul. 29, 1998
Sgt Deborah Kim ——–U.S. Army —–1953 – 1997
David W. Arnold ———Military ? —-1933-1993 (inscription: Korea is his home)
Charles A. Wilson—- —-Military ? —-Dec. 6, 1938 – Nov. 3, 1995
John R. Raess ————Military ?—— July 25, 1929 – June 13, 1995
Albert C. Nielsen ——–U.S. Army MSgt —-Apr. 2, 1918 – Aug. 13, 1987
Vet of WWII & Korea conflict
Ollie Hunter ———–Military/ Contractor—- May 10, 1924 – Jan. 13, 1981
Robert E. Bryant ——-Ssgt, U.S. Army——– May 22, 1943 – Dec. 30, 1972
Wayne A. Garber ——-Sgt, U.S. Army——- 1938 – 1971 (died in combat – Vietnam)
Johnny M. Strong ——Sp4, U.S. Army ——-May 17, 1944 – April 26, 1969
Eldon T. Peterson— 8th Army Rod & Gun Club —Nov. 11, 1916 – Dec. 6, 1967
Charles Naffziger—— MSgt, USAF ——Feb. 6, 1919 – Mar. 28, 1971
Chong-ok Naffziger—- Wife————- Dec. 10, 1934 – Dec. 9, 2004
Robert Franklin——– Ssgt, U.S. Army —-1932 -1971 (died in combat – Vietnam)
Allen Lee Hays——— Military ? ———-June 27, 1909 – Aug. 20, 1970
Nicholas Rudko ——–Sgt, U.S. Army—— Mar. 22, 1922 – June 1, 1970
Edgar J. Bailey——— Dept of State——– 1912 – 1969
Chong-sik Duval——- Wife of SFC Joseph E. Duval— Oct 15, 1938 – March 7, 1975
Kingdon Adam Miller—- U.S. Army (KMAG)—- Mar. 5, 1895 – Nov. 22, 1967
Mi Yong Choi Avellone– Avellone’s wife–Oct. 20, 1937 – Aug. 20, 1967
(reserved plot for husband – Thomas Avellone – military)
John D. Burns ——–U.S Army / Detective Agency —-Feb 8, 1918 – Sept 8, 1967
(reserved plot for wife)
Hale Stanley——— Military – Army? ——1923 – 1969
Bobbie G. Wooten ——–SSgt ——–Apr. 18, 1942 – June 15, 1969
(died in combat – Vietnam)
Robert Lewis Stewart ——–Contractor——- 1899 – Apr. 7, 1959
John O. Bayer——– Army Engineer—— 1911-1965
Nam Sook Pelkey—– wife of Sp4 David G. Pelkey —-1938 – 1961
(reserved plot for husband – David)
Robert J. Gill ———Military ? ——Apr. 30, 1919 – May 19, 1965
William Handsome House —–US Army CWO Advisor —Sept. 25, 1928 – Feb. 28, 1964
(died in combat – Vietnam)
(reserved plot for wife)
William Ross Brady ——-Military ? ——-Mar. 31, 1913 – Sep. 23, 1964
Sunny Lee Murray—- Wife Philip Murray Contractor?– Mar. 27, 1929 – Aug. 21, 1963
(reserved plot of husband)
Archie J. Smothers ——Ssgt U.S. Army —–May 1, 1915 – Jan. 31, 1964
Jang Soo Nix ——–Wife of Sp4 Dalton Nix —-Died Oct. 10, 1961
Barry Dorscher—— Major, USAF ——Died in 2004

Babies of American military that are buried at Yanghwajin

Kenneth Dillard Clouse —-Son Sp5 John T. Clouse—- Died 1963
William D. Rives ———-Son PFC William T. Rives— Died 1961
Eugene Metcalf———– Son Sgt Leon Metcalf——- Died 1962
Meir ——————–Son Sp4 Edward L. Meir—– Died 1962
Brian C. Wert ———–Son Capt. Craig C. Wert—— Died 1971
Chadrue—————- baby of Capt. R.G. Chadrue —Died 1962
Melanie Susan Chung— Mrs. Bessie Chung US Army Civ– Died 1961
Donald Palmer———- Son Walter Palmer US Army Civ– Died 1961
Rederth [Twins] —–PFC Arthur Rederth— Died 1961 within days of each other
King—————— baby of David King U.S. Navy —–Died 1961
Ellen L. Gwin——— Daughter SSgt Silbert E. Gwin—– Died 1961
Roth —————–Daughter Sgt Ervin Roth———- Died 1961
Tony Ruiz———– Son Sp4 Blas Ruiz—————— Died 1960
Pierce————— Son SFC Edgar Pierce————– Died 1959
Kashiwabara Son —-Sp5 John M. Kashiwabara ———-Died 1959
Kuroki Daughter—– Sp4 Roy Kuroki—————— Died 1959
James Eddins III—– Son Airman 2nd Class James Eddins— Died 1959
Deborah Anne Hack— Daughter of Capt. Joseph S. Hack (Marines)
Linda Lee Stunkard—- Daughter Sgt Richard L. Stunkard—– 1967-1969?
Phillip Sibley———– Son Sgt Daniel Sibley———- Died at the age of 7
Dunn—————– baby of Capt Hames L. Dunn USAF —-Died 1967
Aileen Kern———– daughter of Irwin S. Kern USIS——– Died 1967
Susan Sunmi Elrod—- daughter civ. cont. Jewell W. Elrod —–Died 1966
John Ernest Reaney—- son of Ssgt Leland Reaney———— Died 1966
Johnson————— daughter of Capt. Ransom Johnson—- Died 1965
Richard Geraldi——– son of 1st Lt. Gerald A. Gerardi USAF– Died 1965
Linda F. Berdish——- daughter of Sp5 Frank V. Berdish Army Civ. —1964
“Might Mouse” Williams– Son of Sp5 Alfred E. Williams ——-Died 1964
Anita Elsie Mannfolk—- Daughter of Ted Mannfolk Civ. Contr?— Died 1964
Ginchi Paddock Illegitimate daughter of Gordon Paddock – Consul General in Seoul – later went on to become consul in Iran. Daughter born Feb 13, 1903 died Mar. 1, 1908

  • SomeguyinKorea

    What were their plans for the would be vacant plots?

  • snow

    Having recently visited the cemetery for the first time, I must thank you for the post about this. I recognize many of the names on tombstones. Touching and fascinating to wonder about their many stories.

  • Paul H.

    Thanks for the detailed response. Didn’t expect an individual listing of each grave, just your categorization of general categories, perhaps with a few samples.

    I expect many of these people are forgotten by anyone now alive But if we as a country (I mean the USA) spend millions to search for the lost remains of our MIA on formerly enemy soil, the least we can do is try to look out for known graves on presumably “friendly” soil as well, even if they are just the normal deceased that come with a substantial long-term presence in a foreign country.

    USFK isn’t going to take an official position IMO, though you might get the informal support of USFK commander (ie his signature on a letter of concern, given that some of the graves appear to be deceased US military who were on active duty at the time of death, possibly at least one killed in a war zone). But the US military isn’t involved in running cemetaries.

    Political/legal pressure, presumably led by the US embassy (if they can be gotten to take an interest) would have to be brought on bear on whoever “owns” the cemetary; it would be interesting to know exactly what Korean law has to say about the subject.

    The “subject” is the potential disinterment and “removal” of non-missionary graves; again a question that comes to mind is what “removal” actually means in practice. If it’s merely a matter of moving the graves to another location, that may be a prerogative of the owners.

    However, if it’s a matter of the graves suddenly “disappearing” into a crematorium and the ashes being disposed of anonymously, I think that would be an outrage; I wonder if that’s legal under Korean law, if living descendants can’t be found or are uninterested in paying for a reinterment elsewhere.

  • http://21cseonbi.blogspot.com sewing

    Robert, what happened to Don Clark’s Hongik-sponsored group two years ago that was going to spruce the place up? Was that or Mapo-gu’s involvement the source of friction with the Seoul Union Church? I thought there was a discussion of the threatened disinterments recently on the KS List, but I could only found a mention of the cleanup effort from two years ago.

  • robert neff

    Sewing-

    Actually I think the KS list thread was started by me…but can’t remember. I have spoken with Prof. Clark in the past, who has a personal vested interest, but this new push is coming from a different quarter and has a heck of a lot more power. I am pretty sure they are going to eventually win. As to the cleanup effort….propaganda from the un-named religious organization……

  • http://21cseonbi.blogspot.com sewing

    No, I meant “cleanup effort” as in what the Hongdae group wanted to do, not “cleanup effort” as in some kind of twisted euphemism for removing graves!

  • Warren

    Robert, can you link to another article/post that explains the problem for clearly? I don’t know what’s going on. Maybe others are familiar with the issue but reading your post was like joining a conversation well after it started. I’d like to understand the issue more thoroughly.

    What “religious group” are you taking about? Are they Korean? Are they American?

    What incident are you describing as a “recent usurpation?”

    Who is this “President of the organization?”

    Was this formerly a military cementary? Why are so many service members buried there? Was/is this cementary under the authority of the U.S. Embassy?

    Who are the “true caretakers” that you mentioned?

    Please take a moment and fill in the gaps for me.

  • Pingback: The Showdown of Yanghwajin Foreigner Cemetery at ROK Drop

  • http://smurray@socaladmin.com Sunny Murray

    I am so thankful you posted these tombstone names. My name is Sunny Murray and I’m the daughter of Phil and Sun Shil (Sunny) Lee Murray. My mother died during childbirth on Aug 21, 1963. My father Phil died 2 years after he moved me to the States in 1970. I did not know my mother’s family and have never returned to Korea since. You have given me the gift of information I can hopefully build upon. Thank you so much.

  • Pops

    Thank you for this posting. I was able to honor the memory of these service men and women with a visit today.

  • Caroleann

    My grandfather is Edgar J. Bailey and is buried in this cemetery. He was a cook in the Army. My grandparents divorced when my father was 9 years old and Edgar ended up living and dying in Korea. No one in my family had ever visited his grave until a couple of years ago when my nephew was able to visit while on business. The grounds were beautiful and well kept and it’s amazing to see my grandpa’s headstone in photos. Even though we are not able to physically be involved, my family still has a connection to Edgar and we are always interested in what happens to his remains. He is not forgotten.

  • Geo

    Mr. Neff thank you for your article in regards to our fallen heros buried in South Korea and almost forgotten about. I am George G Wooten the son of Bobby G Wooten and we like to thank you Mr. Neff!! I don’t know how to express my gratitude to you for writing this article.