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May-16-2008 20:00printcommentsVideo

Remembering Two Marines and Two Korean War Soldiers With Very Different Stories

Two men fought in the Korean War and came home over 50 years ago; two others have been missing until now. They are all being laid to rest this week.

Salem-News.com
Photos including the images in the video courtesy of Q Madp -

(SALEM, Ore.) - "Some gave all and some gave some." That is a very fitting thought for this story about four Americans who served their country during a particularly horrific war in the early 1950's against Communism on the Korean Peninsula. Two of the men were U.S. Marines who fought and lived; two are soldiers who died in 1950.

One day after Northwest families laid two Korean War Marines to rest, an unusual coincidence considering how few of these Marines are alive today, the government announces the return of two soldiers who have been missing for decades, recovered from a mass grave in North Korea.

Two Korean War funerals in the NW

Q Madp from iraqwarheroes.org has dedicated his life to covering the services for fallen members of our military service. He primarily covers the veterans recently killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, and he spends the rest of his time making it to funerals and services for other war veterans. He photographs the events at no cost to the family and keeps a database of fallen war heroes that is immense and the only thing like it in the world.

Madp reports that he was joined by many members of the Patriot Guard Riders in attending the services for the two men. The service for James L. Freidel of Oregon was held at the Willamette Cemetery, the funeral for Eldon D. Heller was held in Washougal Cemetery.

"I had to fly across the river so I didn't miss the service in Washington." Madp says 21 Patriot Guard Riders, who almost always accompany military funerals in the NW, made it to the Oregon funeral. But then they doubled in number for the services in Washington.

"These are people who managed to get time off on a workday and make their way through the traffic just to bring honor to these people, it is very noteworthy," Madp said.

James Freidel, was born Nov. 7th 1930, in Watertown, Wisconsin. He moved to Portland in 1943 and graduated from Benson High School.

He served in the Marine Corps in the Korean War as noted, and was one of the "Chosin Few" who fought in sub freezing temperatures at the Chosin Reservoir during the Korean War.

After the war, in 1959, James married Myrtle A. Stokes who preceded him in death in 1989. He also survived a stepdaughter and a stepson, and today is survived by a daughter, a stepdaughter, a stepson, two sisters and and eight grandchildren. James died May 7th 2008, of a heart attack at age 77.

Eldon D. Heller was a staff sergeant in the United States Marines who also served in the Korean War in 1950. He was born March 16th 1927 in Clatonia Nebraska.

Mr. Heller's service was held at the Zion Lutheran Church and his internment followed at Washougal Cemetery.

Staff Sergeant Heller was one of the "Chosin Few" , he was a Staff SGT with the 5th Marine Regiment, 2 Battalion at the Chosin Reservoir in Korea. He died May 8th 2008 in Camas Washington.

The two Northwest veterans survived the war and died recently from natural causes. The two Army soldiers did not survive the war, they were overrun, captured and died from malnutrition and medical neglect in the captivity of Chinese soldiers. They are very different indeed.

Two Korean War Soldiers Who Just Came Home

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office announced today that the remains of two U.S. servicemen, missing from the Korean War, have been identified and are being returned to their families for burial with full military honors.

They are Sgt. 1st Class George W. Koon of Leesville, South Carolina; and Sergeant. 1st Class Jack O. Tye of Loyall, Kentucky; both combat soldiers in the U.S. Army. George Koon will be buried tomorrow in Leesville, and Jack Tye will be buried Monday in Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C.

In late November 1950, George Koon was assigned to the Medical Company, 9th Infantry Regiment, and Jack Tye was assigned to Company L, 38th Infantry Regiment.

They were both members of the 2nd Infantry Division advancing north of Kunu-ri, North Korea. On November 25th, the Chinese Army counterattacked the Americans in what would become known as the Battle of the "Chong Chon" River.

Those who survived called it some of the fiercest of the war, and the 2nd Division initiated a fighting withdrawal to the south. Both George Koon and Jack Tye were captured by Chinese forces during the intense enemy fire, and subsequently died while in captivity from malnutrition and medical neglect.

In 2002, two joint U.S./Democratic People's Republic of Korea teams, led by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), investigated and excavated a mass burial site located 20 miles northwest of Kunu-ri, along the route taken by captured U.S. POWs being moved to permanent POW camps along the Yalu River. The teams recovered remains at the site believed to be those of several U.S. servicemen, including George Koon and Jack Tye.

Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory and JPAC also used mitochondrial DNA and dental comparisons in both Koon's and Tye's identification.

We cherish too, the Poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led,
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies.

Moina Micheals - 1918 "We Shall Keep the Faith"

The video below features the photographs of Q Madp who took the time to add an extra tribute to the two NW Marines:

Video

Special thanks to Q Madp for these photos. To see his extensive coverage of our heroes and images of other recent services, visit: . Q can always use donations to help fund his never ending travels, people who support American troops should send him a contribution if possible, thanks.




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Christy Kimberlin August 4, 2008 1:45 pm (Pacific time)

James Freidel is my grandpa and I didn't know this article existed. I grew up hearing about the Korean war and all that he went through. This experience forever changed him. I really miss him and his stories; however he will forever hold a place in my heart.

Editor: We are glad to be able to carry that information about him, thanks for writing.


Karen Swanson May 17, 2008 5:39 am (Pacific time)

Wow, what a story! I had not heard of the Chosin Few until now. I'm 48 and still learning so much of our great country's history, and of those brave who fought to keep us and others free. Thanks, Q, for putting so much heart into this project!

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©2017 Salem-News.com. All opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Salem-News.com.


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