Eighth Army, Korean War Veterans Honor Venerated Korean War Commander
YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea (Dec. 3, 2014) -- Eighth Army officials and Korean War veterans honored Gen. Walton "Bulldog" Walker, the first Eighth Army commanding general of the Korean War, during two separate ceremonies today to commemorate his legacy here in the Republic of Korea.
The ceremonies sponsored by the Memorial Foundation for the Late U.S. Army General Walton Harris Walker (Walker Foundation) were held in Seoul, South Korea near the site of Walker's fatal car accident and at the Walker Statue, Yongsan Garrison, South Korea.
Walker's quick thinking and charismatic leadership at the precipice of defeat early on during the Korean War played a major role in preserving the last line of defense and a critical supply port at the Pusan Perimeter.
Major General Brian McKiernan, Eighth Army deputy commanding general for operations, spoke to attendees about the impact Walker had on the eventual success later in the war.
"General Walker was exactly the right kind of leader at the right place at the right time," said McKiernan. "His tireless efforts to support the Korean people and its military with the resources available to him in the earliest days of the war won him the undying love and affection of the Republic of Korea."
It was that same adoration that led Chairman Kim, Ri-jin, founder and chairman of the Walker Foundation, to search for a way to recognize the revered commanding general's tremendous contributions to the Republic of Korea.
"If it were not for the sacrifices to defend our country from the communist invasion on June 25, 1950, the miracle on the Han would not have existed," said Kim. "How many heroes have laid (down) their lives in order for us to have the freedom all of us are enjoying today? We must never forget that."
Walker and his fellow Soldier's selfless commitment to fight on against insurmountable odds for the preservation of Korea led Kim to locate the site of the fateful accident and establish a day to memorialize their contributions.
"Right here where you stand in Dobong-gu, Seoul, is where General Walker died in a car accident with a military vehicle", said Kim. "We are here to show our gratitude to our friends who offered helping hands when it was needed the most. There is no way to pay back what we received, but I would like to commemorate our heroes through this memorial ceremony."
Lt. Gen. Bernard S. Champoux, Eighth Army commanding general, attended the closing ceremony at the Walker Statue and commended Kim for his persistent efforts to remember Walker and other Korean War veterans. As the ceremony came to a close he assured attendees the spirit of our partnership lives on.
"What Chairman Kim has done to establish the Walker Foundation and a day to memorialize Gen. Walker's contributions to the Republic of Korea, demonstrate the true spirit of cooperation and partnership that is at the heart of our relationship with Korea," said Champoux. "As our Alliance moves forward to face new threats, we will continue to work together with the same tenacity and determination as those defending the Pusan Perimeter under General Walker's leadership…and if deterrence fails, we will fight and win."