MORRIS COUNTY, NJ – The signing of the Korean Armistice Agreement 69 years ago Wednesday, 10:00 a.m. on July 27, 1953, officially ended the brutally destructive, large scale military actions that defined the Korean War, which left more than 5 million dead after three years.
But no peace treaty was ever signed, and hostilities continued over the decades, particularly from Oct. 5, 1966 to Dec. 3, 1969, when North Korea launched dozens of violent, armed incursions into South Korea. United States military personnel were on the ground to repel the attacks each time, and they have remained there with nearly a hundred Americans making the ultimate sacrifice in what are called America’s “Forgotten Wars.”
Morris County’s Office of Planning and Preservation is documenting its “Veterans of the Z,” those who served in the formal Korean War and those who have served since 1953 along the volatile and dangerous Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) – a 2.5-mile wide, heavily militarized dividing line between North Korea and South Korea by the 1953 armistice.
“The Korea veteran listing is anticipated to be a unique one, encompassing not only the Korean conflict from 1950 to 1953, but the considerable tensions in the ensuing decades,” said Jan Williams, Cultural and Historic Resources Specialist for the planning and preservation office.
“Along with the original soldiers that served during the 1950’s, many veterans in the 1960s were sent to Korea instead of ‘Nam. The expectation is that the public will be submitting names of Korean veterans from 1950 all the way up to soldiers that served in ‘The Z’ quite literally through yesterday,” Williams said.
In 2012, the Office of Planning and Preservation began the task of listing Morris County veterans from several conflicts. The undertaking was inspired by a WWII veteran from Rockaway, Mr. Peter Chipko, who said that history would forget the military service and sacrifice that the men and women of Morris County rendered to the country.
The list, known as the Morris County Veterans Compendium, is releasing this latest effort to capture veterans’ histories regarding Korea.
To add a soldier or sailor to any of the lists, send an email to Jan Williams at email@example.com.
The criteria for listing in the Morris County Veterans Compendium remains the same as what has been established for listings of Morris County Veterans who served in Vietnam, WWI, WWII and other conflicts. They must have been born in Morris County or lived in the county for ten years. If a veteran meets the criteria, but has retired out of state or passed away, they remain eligible for listing.
The basic information required for listing is the veteran’s name, Morris County municipality of birth or residence and the military branch in which they served.
If you would like to donate your personal Korean War items or provide original or scans of photographs and documents, contact The Morris County Historical Society, located at 68 Lafayette Avenue in Morristown, NJ 07960, at 973-267-3465 or email Amy Curry at firstname.lastname@example.org or Anne Motto at CollectionsMCHS@gmail.com.
Other ongoing projects involving Veterans and data collection on Morris County’s rich history may be found at the Cultural Resources Survey section at the Morris County Office of Planning and Preservation.
To enroll in the National Purple Heart database, visit the website of The National Purple Heart Hall of Honor. To apply for a Morris County Distinguished Service Medal, visit the Morris County website.
If you have lost a medal, award or decoration, please visit the Veteran’s Service Records section of the National Archives website.