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Korean War veterans recognized during visit Tuesday in Walsenburg

 WALSENBURG — Major General H. Michael Edwards, the Adjutant General for Colorado from the state Department of Military and Veterans Affairs made a special presentation to Korean War veterans at the Colorado State Veterans Nursing Home – Walsenburg on Tuesday. Major General Edwards and a contingent from the department arrived in a pair of Blackhawk helicopters Tuesday morning bearing gifts of a stunning book ‘Korea Reborn-A Grateful Nation’ produced and distributed free of charge by the South Korean government. The book honors war veterans for 60 years of the Korean nation’s growth. Two dozen Korean War veterans, residents of the nursing home, were presented copies of the book during the general’s annual visit. General Edwards told the Huerfano World Journal he has

been to the Korean peninsula three times beginning in 1976. “For a farm boy like me, I was very interested in the agriculture,” Edwards said, “back then they were still hand planting crops and using oxen.” He said he saw a marked change in agricultural technology use by his last visit in 2006. Edwards and staff members met with the Korean War veterans and other veteran residents of the nursing home during the lunch hour session. Before arriving in Huerfano County, the group had met with veterans at Fitzsimmons, Florence, Rifle and Homelake in Rio Grande County. Edwards is responsible for the command administration of over 5,000 Colorado Army and Air National Guard members. He also serves as the Executive Director of the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs and is a member of the Governor’s cabinet. He has responsibility for the Colorado National Guard’ primary missions of national defense and state emergency response. In addition, he is responsible for supporting the missions of the Civil Air Patrol’s Colorado Wing, consisting of over 2,500 volunteers. General Edwards was commissioned a Second Lieutenant upon graduation on 6 June 1973 from the United States Air Force Academy. He attended undergraduate pilot training at Reese Air Force Base, Texas and earned his pilot wings in September 1974. He served as an F-4 Pilot and AT-38 Fighter Lead-in Instructor Pilot at Osan Air Base, Korea and Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico, respectively. He joined the Colorado Air National Guard in August 1980. He has served in numerous assignments in flying and operations, as well as command positions at squadron, group, and wing levels. He also served as Combined Air Operations Center Commander, Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar from May to June 2003. Major General Edwards is a command pilot with more than 4600 military flight hours, including 135 combat hours. He has flown the A-7, AT-38, C-21, F-4, F-16, T-37, and T-38 aircraft. The South Korean government has produced 500,000 copies of the book, and the Colorado Department of Military and Veterans Affairs has obtained 5,000 copies. They are being distributed at National Guard armories throughout the state and through the United Veterans Committee. In July 2013, Park Guen-hye, President of the Republic of Korea said in the dedication of the book, “ This book portrays the brutal scars of war and captures the Republic of Korea arising from such hardship to achieve its remarkable development. Each photo in this book bears witness to the greatness of freedom and democracy and embodies the hearts and souls of the Korean War veterans who fought for freedom and peace. Sixty years ago, those veterans risked their lives to safeguard freedom in the Republic of Korean. In subsequent years, Korea emerged from the ranks of the poorest countries in the world and has made the unprecedented achievement of both economic development and democratization”. Korean War veterans who are interested in obtaining a copy of the book may contact the department’s historian, Major Adam Morgan at adam.a.morgan2.mil@mail.mil. The Colorado Division of Veterans Affairs mission is to assist veterans, their dependents, and their survivors obtain the state and federal benefits they are qualified for. Colorado Division of Veterans Affairs. Those interested may contact them via email at : CDVAinfo@DMVA.state.co.us or by calling 303-284-6077.