Picture of the Memorial dedication in Korea to this and 2 other crashes. The memorial has an inscription that reads:
"This memorial was created not only to praise the noble souls of Marines who made the ultimate sacrifice during ROK and US combined amphibious operations, but also to remember the tragic Korean War and the blood shared relationship between the Republic of Korea and the United States. We, the civilians, officials and military of Kyung Buk Province erect this memorial here, where the late Marines' noble souls are alive."
Below is a copy of the pamphlet from the Pohang, Korea memorial.
The memorial before a make over in 2002.
Monument receives deserved attention
Cpl. Ryan D. Libbert
KYUNG BUK PROVINCE, Korea (Sept 6, 2002) -- Lance Cpl. Herman L. Osceola hasn't had a visitor in quite some time. This Marine is perched atop a lonely hill looking over the Pacific Ocean. Though he doesn't have any visitors, he does have neighbors. Osceola and many others have been resting in the sometimes forgotten and overlooked pages of Marine Corps history until now.
Osceola and 12 Marines were victims of a helicopter crash during Exercise Team Spirit in September 1989. Their names, along with their efforts, are immortalized on a monument that stands tall in Kyung Buk Province, Republic of Korea.
The past 13 years has taken its toll on the monument, however. The marble steps leading up to the monument are laden with barnacles. The paint on the walls has slowly chipped away. The grass stands two to three feet high. But all this is coming to an end, because today Herman Osceola is finally getting some visitors.
Thirty-five Marines and Sailors participating in Exercise Ulchi Focus Lens 2002 arrived with scrub brushes, garden tools and paint buckets in hand to clean up the memorial near Pohang, Saturday, Aug. 24.
The memorial is dedicated to the memory of both U.S. and Republic of Korea Marines who died in three separate helicopter crashes in the 80s during the various Team Spirit exercises. Team Spirit took place in the same area where the monument now stands.
Various chaplains, who deployed here to participate in the UFL exercise, organized the clean-up project. According to Navy Capt. Bill J. Bartz, chaplain, 3rd Marine Division, the group was prepared to go the extra mile.
"I visited this monument in previous exercises," Bartz said. "After seeing what condition it was in, we decided to bring a handful of young men and women out here to not only physically clean it up, but also honor our brother Marines."
The group began their efforts by splitting up into four different groups: one for painting, another for cleaning the marble steps and two others for cutting the tall grass. The teams tackled the project head on despite a few obstacles.
"One of the biggest obstacles we faced out here besides the heat was lack of tools to complete the job," Bartz said. "Thankfully, we got an extra hand from the ROK Marines who decided to join us in our efforts."
A few hours into the job, a group of ROK Marines stationed in the area gave the Marines and Sailors a helping hand. The Korean natives stood beside their American allies to pay tribute to their fallen comrades in a joint service held by chaplains from both countries.
The names of the crash victims were read as taps played. The small ceremony was emotional for service members from both countries - some even shed tears for their lost bretheren.
"It's something else to see these young Marines come out and not only pay respects to the men who died here 13 years ago, but also to the ones who died in the Korean War so many years ago," said Maj. Mike R. Brown, CH-53 pilot, Marine Aircraft Group-24.
Brown was the watch officer for Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron-363 on March 20, 1989 -- the day a CH-53 crashed, claiming the lives of Osceola and his fellow Marines. This is the first time the Denver, Colo., native has visited the monument since it was erected.
"It's admirable to see these young Marines volunteer their time to clean this place up. It definitely shows that they have a unique and unified mind," he said.
While giving their time to an important cause, Marines are also showing an interest in what the monument represents says Lance Cpl. Ross P. Nolan of Marine Aircraft Support Squadron-2.
"This is a decent and well-deserved monument to the Marines who perished in the crash, and the Korean War as well," said the Fortuna, Calif., native.
"Reading about what Marines have done in the past in this part of the world is inspiring, and it also gives the younger Marines a standard to achieve and uphold."
After seven hours of labor under the hot sun, the Marines and Sailors and their Korean partners completed their project.
Lance Cpl. Herman Osceola's name, etched into the marble face of the monument, now shines a bit brighter.