Korean War Veteran Presents Award to Burke Civil Air Patrol Cadet
The Korean war of 1950-1953 is known as the “Forgotten War” in public consciousness. However, many American soldiers served and died in that war on the peninsula; with nearly thirty thousand US military service members continuing to defend South Korea today. That is why it is vital to remember veterans and their stories from the Korean war, so future generations can learn of their service and valor. Burke Composite Squadron was honored to have Korean War veteran Colonel Warren Wiedhahn join the squadron to speak about his experiences and present a cadet with his Civil Air Patrol achievement award.
Colonel Wiedhahn is a Marine Corps Veteran who fought in the Korean war from his initial landing in Busan to eventually fighting in the Battle of the Chosin Reservoir. At the time, Colonel Wiedhahn was a Private First Class and 19 years old when he first landed at Busan. He recounted the weather causing many casualties during the fight around Busan, which would be a common theme during the entire war.
During the Battle of the Chosin Reservoir, the 1st Marine Division was surrounded on all sides by Chinese soldiers. Private First Class Wiedhahn saw brutal action for the next two weeks as ammunition, rations, and water were scarce due to the brutal cold and lack of supplies. The prospects of the Marines changed however as supplies began being airdropped by the recently established Air Force.
As Colonel Wiedhahn would state, "Beans, bullets, and bandages,” were crucial to keep the Marines fighting valiantly. The Air Force C-119’s airdropped lifesaving supplies and a portable Treadway bridge. A short dirt runway, carved out of the snow and ice was constructed by US soldiers during the battle so C-47's could land and evacuate wounded. The portable Treadway bridge allowed the Marines to create an exit from the enemy encirclement. Eventually, the 1st Marine Division was capable of “advancing in a different direction,” as the division commander Oliver P. Smith would state during the battle, and escape to the port of Hungnam.
Colonel Wiedhahn stood in front of the squadron to present the Mitchell award to Cadet Second Lieutenant Yacov Schwartz and congratulate him on earning it. The Mitchell Award is a milestone achievement for cadets that marks their first step into the officer ranks, which represents an elevated level of responsibility and commitment to the squadron and Civil Air Patrol as a whole. Cadet Schwartz earned that achievement because of his performance and drive to excel.
The Virginia Wing Commander, Colonel Elizabeth Sydow, was present at the meeting to congratulate cadets on earning their promotions. She personally awarded the Earhart Award to Cadet Captain William Lam. The Earhart Award is another milestone achievement, like the Mitchell Award, and it reflects gained knowledge and skill of a senior cadet leader. Only 3% of cadets in Civil Air Patrol have earned the achievement, making it indicative of someone who is motivated to strive for advancement and lead others. This award is very fitting as Cadet William Lam serves as the cadet commander, leading the over 70 cadets in the squadron. Colonel Sydow also presented the squadron with the Quality Cadet Unit Award and the Aerospace Education Achievement Award earned in 2022 for demonstrated excellence in the cadet program and aerospace education.
About Burke Composite Squadron
The Burke Composite Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol has approximately 100 members. The squadron meets at Irving Middle School, Springfield, Va. on Thursday nights from 1830-2100. For more information on the Burke Composite Squadron, visit the squadron’s webpage at https://vawg.cap.gov/units/Burke and Faceboook page at https://www.facebook.com/BurkeCAP
About Virginia Wing
The Virginia Wing of the Civil Air Patrol, with 22 squadrons spread throughout the Commonwealth has approximately 1,800 members, 12 light aircraft, and 29 multi-purpose vehicles. These assets are available to federal, state and local governments, emergency responders and law enforcement agencies to perform search and rescue, homeland security, disaster relief, humanitarian assistance and counter-drug missions. For more information on the Virginia Wing, visit the wing’s website at https://vawg.cap.gov/ and Faceboook page at https://www.facebook.com/vawgcap
About Civil Air Patrol
Established in 1941, Civil Air Patrol is the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force and as such is a member of its Total Force. In its auxiliary role, CAP operates a fleet of 555 single-engine aircraft and 2,250 small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) and performs about 90% of all search and rescue operations within the contiguous United States as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center. Often using innovative cellphone forensics and radar analysis software, CAP was credited by the AFRCC with saving 108 lives last year. CAP’s 58,000 members also perform homeland security, disaster relief, and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state, and local agencies. As a nonprofit organization, CAP plays a leading role in aerospace education using national academic standards-based STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education resources. Members also serve as mentors to 24,000 young people participating in CAP’s Cadet Programs.
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For More Information:
Capt. Sara Demyanovich <email@example.com>
Written by Cadet Senior Airman Dennis Choriyev and Cadet Senior Airman Heidi Luu