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Veterans of Korean War visit Korea in 70 years

Posted September. 15, 2023 08:03,   

Updated September. 15, 2023 08:03


"I'm filled with all sorts of emotions,” said Vincent Sorrello, a 91-year-old veteran of the Korean War, during an interview on Thursday with Dong-A Ilbo at the War Memorial of Korea in Yongsan when asked about how he felt to visit South Korea again after so many years.

Mr. Sorrello served as a Private First Class in the Weapons Platoon of the 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Division of the U.S. Marine Corps during the Korean War. He fought hard on the strategic frontlines, actively participating in the Incheon Landing Operation that reversed the tide of the Korean War on September 15, 1950. This time, Sorrello was invited as a guest of the Korean Navy. His purpose was to attend the commemorative event marking the 73rd anniversary of the Incheon Landing Operation, scheduled to take place in the waters off Incheon on Friday.

Following the success of the operation in Incheon, Sorrello was involved in various other crucial missions such as the recapture of Kimpo Airfield and the reclaiming of Seoul. "The Korean people welcomed us warmly,” he fondly recalled and said, “When we reached Mapo, everything in sight was engulfed in flames," adding, "But we believed we would eventually prevail."

Afterwards, he participated in the Wonsan Landing Operation, the Battle of Chojin Reservoir, the Heungnam evacuation, and other campaigns, contributing to repelling the massive Chinese communist offensive. He suffered injuries and returned to the United States in April 1951. After serving in the military for 23 years, he retired as a Lieutenant in 1971.

Having joined the Korean War at the age of 18, and now at 91, Sorrello asserted, "I have never regretted my decision to participate in the war. I would make the same choice if I could go back in time." Alfred Kim, 94, a Korean War veteran of Korean heritage, and Ronald Foyle, 89, a Canadian military veteran who served in post-armistice deployments and border patrol operations in South Korea, also joined Sorrello on this visit.

Sorrello had a heartfelt message to convey to the Korean people: "I am truly grateful to the Korean people for making me and my comrades believe that we did the right thing."

Hyo-Ju Son hjson@donga.com