Camp Humphreys, Republic of Korea. –
Capt. Benjamin White
UNC Honor Guard
Capt. Benjamin White, Executive Officer for the United Nations Command Honor Guard, has been asked to participate in the MPVA “Turn Towards Busan” event to honor the descendants of veterans of the Korean War, scheduled to be held 9-11 Nov, 2020.
Originally from Buffalo, New York, Capt. White’s grandfather, George White served in 2nd Logistical Command in the Korean War, from 25 Aug, 1952 to 19 Dec, 1953, spending time in Busan, Yeongdong-po, Incheon and Seoul, in South Korea.
“I had two grandfathers in two different wars,” said White. “So it definitely had an impact on me and was a part of the reason I decided to serve in the military.”
Capt. White commissioned in 2016, after graduating from the ROTC program at the University of Tampa, Florida, with a degree in Government and World affairs. After spending time serving in the Guard he accepted an active duty position at Camp Humphreys in Pyeongtaek, South Korea.
“I listened to my grandfather’s stories about his time here,” said White. “He had such a fondness for the Korean people and Korean culture, but he also talked about the devastation; how parts of Seoul had been reduced to rubble and ashes,
the people that had become homeless and the children that begged for food.”
For Capt. White serving in Korea has extra significance, because of his grandfather’s service, and because of the way that service affected his entire family.
“He said that he wished there had been a way he could help those children, and now all these years later he has two Korean grandchildren. Both my sister and I were adopted from Korea, my family has given us such an amazing life, and I don’t know where I might have been had my family not had this involvement in the Korean War.”
Capt. White will be attending the three-day MPVA event which is to take place at various locations around Korea, recognizing both the sacrifices that veterans of the Korean War made, and honoring their descendants.
“Events like this are important because they remind us of the sacrifices these veterans made,” said White. “Time goes by so quickly, it’s so precious, and the stories of these veterans should be heard while they are still around to tell them, so that they are never forgotten.”
Maj. Michael Lawry
Maj. Michael Lawry, with the New Zealand Army, currently works with the United Nations Command as a UNC Mine action Staff officer. Maj. Lawry has been asked to participate in the MPVA “Turn Towards Busan” event to honor the descendants of veterans of the Korean War, scheduled to be held 9-11 Nov, 2020.
Maj. Lawry’s grandfather served aboard the HMNZS Pukaki, in the New Zealand Navy, during the Korean War. The HMNZS Pukaki was one of the first Royal New Zealand Navy ships sent to Korea in July 1950. This vessel, along with the HMNZS Tutira were initially responsible for escorting supply ships and then took part in the successful Operation Chromite; escorting the troopships carrying an attack force into the port of Incheon and then forming a part of the protective barrier around Incheon during this massive counterstrike effort.
“Although he died before I was born my Dad told me the stories my grandfather had told him about the war,” said Lawry. “He stressed how cold it had been, now I’m out here and it’s starting to get pretty cold, so I don’t think those stories were exaggerated!”
Although he may not have intended to follow in his grandfather’s footsteps the Lawry’s certainly have a legacy of service, from his grandfather’s service during the war, to his father’s position in the New Zealand police force, and now Maj. Lawry himself is here to do his part in ensuring continued peace in Korea.
“Understanding history allows a better understanding of the present situation and the future we are moving towards,” said Lawry. “It’s important to acknowledge the sacrifice of those who came before us, so an event like this is something I am more than happy to be a part of.”