CHAPTER CHATTER

The Official Newsletter of the
Shenandoah Valley Chapter #313
Korean War Veterans Association
Paul E. Bombardier,  Editor
         March, 2018

Korean War veterans return to South Korea for Winter Olympics.

·         Sixty-five years later, the U.S. Army and Navy veterans have come back to the country where they once served to watch the Olympic Games in Pyeongchang.

·         For them, the international celebration of sports is also an affirmation of the huge economic progress South Korea has undergone in the last six decades.

·         The Korean War is often referred to as "the forgotten war" because of how little attention it received during and after the conflict.

Courtesy of Jack Keep and Lewis Ewing

Left: Third Class Petty Officer Jack Keep on watch at sea aboard the USS Gatling, off the coast of North Korea, 1953. Right: Corporal Lewis Ewing, serving with the 6th Helicopter Company in Chuncheon, South Korea, 1953.

At 83, it would be understandable if Jack Keep and Lew Ewing didn't feel like braving a long-haul flight to the sub-zero temperatures of South Korea's Pyeong-chang.

But that's just what these two Americans, veterans of the 1950-1953 Korean War, did when they traveled to the 2018 Winter Olympics this week.

In 1951, 17-year-old Jack Keep enlisted in the U.S. Navy, and in early 1953 was assigned to Task Force 77 as a petty officer aboard a ship

patrolling the North Korean coast.

That same year, Corporal Lewis Ewing was stationed at Chuncheon as a helicopter crew chief with the U.S. Army, responsible for maintaining the aircraft that sent supplies to troops on the ground and transported the wounded to hospitals.

Sixty-five years later, they've come back to the country where they once served to watch the games in Pyeongchang. For them, the international celebration of sports is also an affirmation of the immense economic progress South Korea has undergone in the last six decades.

"I've never seen an Olympics firsthand, so I'm looking forward to the opening ceremony because that's always impressive. I'm just ready for whatever they give us the opportunity to see," Ewing told CNBC earlier this month over Skype from his home in Virginia.

"I'm too old to get giddy about things anymore," Keep said during the same call, laughing. "But it will be quite a thrill it be able to attend the Olympics."

Courtesy of Jack Keep and Lewis Ewing

Left: Jack Keep during his first revisit to South Korea, Seoul, 2015. Right: Lewis Ewing, present day