Jose Hinojosa - Korean War Vets Recognized
Sgt: 1st Class Jose Hinojosa was on a reconnaissance mission in South Korea when his company was ambushed during the Korean War in July 1951.
After taking heavy fire from all sides, most men of his unit were killed Hinojosa and four other men were taken prisoner by the North Koreans.
Hinojosa was a prisoner of war for two years before he stood on U.S. soil again.
"It's indescribable," said Hinojosa, who has lived in San Antonio most of his life. "I went around the camp to see the conditions of the men. Very few could barely walk. Others, they just, lay there waiting for death, a death that never came. I won't say it was a nightmare. It's something that I cannot forget because I witnessed it."
The Korean American Association of San Antonio hosted a Comfort and Appreciation Event for Korean War veterans Friday at Randolph AFB, commemorating the 60th anniversary of the war.
Six former POWs, including Hinojosa, and other Korean War veterans received plaques from South Korea in honor of their ser-vice.
Retired Col. Jai Yang, who was an Air Force flight surgeon and is chair-man of the event's preparation committee, said it is important to honor those who served in what is sometimes called the "forgotten war"
Yang, who was 11 and living in South Korea when the war began, said seeing the suffering under the Communists in North Korea makes him especially appreciate the sacrifices soldiers made in the war.
"We have to understand the history" he said. "Their sacrifice and devotion makes a difference. If they don't do that, we don't have any freedom, we don't have any independence, we don't have any democracy. I'm really appreciative for the Korean War veterans."
Yun-soo Cho, consul general of South Korea, in opening remarks thanked all Korean War veterans for helping his country prosper in ways that never would have been possible without their help.
After addressing the crowd, Cho said the more than 37,000 U.S. soldiers who died during the war, including more than 1,700 from Texas, are responsible for the survival of South Korea.
"It is because of those reasons that we Koreans will never forget," he said.
Hinojosa said events such as Friday's are important because people need to remember the sacrifice Korean War veterans made.
"To me, they were all heroes," he said. "We were soldiers, we were sailors, we were Marines, we were Air Force.
“American, we were all American."
Members of the Randolph AFB honor guard take part in a POW-MIA ceremony to remember fallen soldiers, symbolized by an empty table,
during a dinner held by the Korean American Association of San Antonio to honor Korean War veterans.
Korean War veterans and former prisoners of war Jimmy Chavez (center)
and Oscar Cortez toast to mark the war's 60th anniversary.
More than 60 veterans were among the event's guests.