Another Look at the DMZ

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Russell Delauter Honored for Korean Service 

By Harry M. Covert

THURMONT, Md.

Of late eyes of the world have been intense on both the North and South Koreas.

None though moreso that Russell Delauter, the Thurmont and Frederick County icon who recently celebrated his 89th birthday.

He was a 20-year-old soldier sent to South Korea in 1950 as the bitter war dragged on until 1953.Russ was raised mostly in Myersville/Ellerton, Frederick County. He and his cousin Francis Delauter joined together, not drafted.  

Delauter survived the battles of the Chosin Reservoir.

In November the businessman and civic leader was honored for his distinctive military service. Making the presentation was Geun Seon Lee. Along with Delauter they were among the last to leave the Hungnam battle scene.

Delauter was given a chance to leave the Hungnam fighting early by superiors but declined as did others in his army unit as they faced a massive Chinese army. 

The Lee family created the award for Delauter, a neck medal made from fencing recently removed from the DMZ, the Demilitarized Zone.

During the surprise presentation in Annandale Virginia, Lee said: “if not for him and the Americans he and his family “wouldn’t be alive today.” It should be noted that the Chinese were then taking over North Korea. At Hungnam US soldiers faced Chinese hordes. 

Delauter’s neck medal is enscribed:

“Thank You.  In recognition of your dedicated serviceduring the Korean War.

This medal is specially crafted with a piece of the rusty barbed wire from DMZ in the center.

June 25, 1950 – July 27, 1953”

The Lee family and South Korean government are searching for Sgt. Delauter’s then 15-year-old ROK soldier Kim Kwon Joo and members of his family. He likely would be in his 80s.
Delauter, then a tank commander, recalls the young soldier as terrific. “I have always been fond of him, almost as a son. I miss him.” Delauter was “completely shocked to receive the recognition. It was touching.”

This story has appeared TheWoodsboro Walkersville Times

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(left to right) Delauter, Geun Seon Lee and Kirby Delauter at presentation.


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