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franklin county times

Korea is more than just a forgotten war'

By By Steve Gillespie / staff writer
June 30, 2002
Over the years, the Korean conflict has been described as "The Forgotten War."
But American soldiers and sailors who fought there including Billy L. Sykes of Meridian said it was something that they'll never forget.
Sykes said he believes the outcome of the Korean conflict left questions in the minds of some Americans who saw it as a non-decisive victory over a small country.
Nevertheless, he and other Korean War veterans said, they believe in what they did and are proud to have served their country all part of the price people pay to preserve and protect freedom.
They talk with pride about their time in Korea even though the war ended in a stalemate that still exists today between the governments of South Korea and North Korea.
Jim Crawford, 66, of Meridian, served as a medic in the U.S. Army. He joined the military after high school and spent time in South Korea shortly after the cease-fire as part of a clean-up commission.
Crawford said many Americans didn't want to be involved with another war so soon after World War II.
Jimmy Gower, 69, of Meridian, was sent to Korea as part of a U.S. Marine Corp reserve unit in Meridian. He sees the war as a combination of a stalemate and a victory.
James E. Slayton, 69, of Meridian, joined the U.S. Air Force when he was 17 years old because he was nearing draft age and wanted to select the branch of service he would be in.
In Korea, from 1952-1953, he was responsible for inspecting the personal gear of the soldiers in the 35th Fighter Bomber Squadron, such as their parachutes and survival equipment.
Slayton said the U.S. accomplished what it set out to do by defending South Korea from the North.

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