Korean War veteran honored

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U.S. Army PFC Carroll Smith, 84, was honored last week for his service in the Korean War by The Korean Veterans Assn. of the South Western Region of the United States.

President James S. Lee and Vice President Jae Sung An were on hand Thursday, Aug. 28, at the Emeritus at Garden Manor, 10200 Chapman Ave., in Garden Grove, to present an "Ambassador for Peace" official proclamation and the Korean Medal for Ambassador for Peace.

U.S. Army PFC Carroll Smith, 84, was honored last week for his service in the Korean War by The Korean Veterans Assn. of the South Western Region of the United States.

President James S. Lee and Vice President Jae Sung An were on hand Thursday, Aug. 28, at the Emeritus at Garden Manor, 10200 Chapman Ave., in Garden Grove, to present an "Ambassador for Peace" official proclamation and the Korean Medal for Ambassador for Peace.

The proclamation (in part) read: "In grateful recognition of your dedicated contributions, it is our privilege to proclaim you an Ambassador for Peace with every good wish of the people of the Republic of Korea…. It is a great honor and pleasure to express the everlasting gratitude of the Republic of Korea and our people for the service you and your countrymen have performed in restoring and preserving our freedom and democracy."

Smith's wife of 64 years, Jacqueline Dominguez Smith, and their two sons, Stephen Smith and Greg Smith, attended the ceremony.

"We want to thank David Lee for pursuing our father's story and bringing it to the attention of Vice President Jae Sung An at the Southwest Region of  The Korean Veterans Office," said Greg Smith.

"David and I met five years ago; he's a painter and came into the store with a Korean article, saying he was pursuing finding living American Korean veterans because they wanted to present them awards and so without David's interest in our father having fought in Korea, and seeing his story as worthy of acknowledgement, this event today wouldn't have happened," said Greg Smith.

Smith's family shared the following:

Some of the medals Smith received include the "Purple Heart."

On March 23, 1952, Smith received a Combat Infantry Badge which, according to his sons,  he says is his  most cherished award.

Smith joined the ROTC in high school, serving three years with the organization.

At age 19, in 1948, he joined the Army State Guard Reserves and was based in Fort Ord, near Monterey, Calif., advancing to Basic Training in1950.

The Korean War began in 1950; in 1951 Smith was deployed and taken by ship to the port of Inchon, Korea.

Smith was wounded Sept. 21, 1951 in the outskirts of Chipo-ri, Korea, during combat and was taken to the Osaka Military Hospital in Japan. He suffered shrapnel wounds from an enemy mortar as he was climbing up on the back of a tank. The shrapnel went through the bottom of his right foot;  many of his squad did not survive the explosion.

On Sept. 26, 1951, Smith was presented a Purple Heart and after surgery, he was transferred to Nara Hospital for recovery and then transported back to Fort Ord, honorably discharged and returned back to Long Beach to rejoin his wife.

Carroll and Jacqueline are the parents of three sons, Stephen, Greg and Les and they have 11 grandchildren and one great grandchild.

Carroll Smith also worked General Telephone, retiring in 1984. However, he continued to pursue his passion of music, photography and aviation and traveled the world with his wife, visiting 57 countries, according to his sons.

"He always provided a stable home for his family," said Stephen Smith. "We never wanted for food, shelter, medical care nor educational opportunities, things our father didn't have while growing up."

Greg Smith said, "I'm hopeful my father's story will be read and more Korean War veterans will be sought out, found and acknowledged for their service as well."