ICYMI: Manchin Joins Bipartisan, Bicameral Coalition to Investigate Korean War Memorial Inaccuracies

March 8, 2023

To read the full letter, please click here

Washington, DC - U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV), Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and Ranking Member John Barrasso (R-WY), joined House Committee on Natural Resources Chairman Bruce Westerman (R-AR) and Ranking Member Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), and House Committee on Armed Services Chairman Mike Rogers (R-AL) and Senate Committee on Armed Services Ranking Member Roger Wicker (R-MS) in sending a letter to U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) Secretary Lloyd Austin, seeking answers regarding the hundreds of inaccuracies on the Korean War Memorial's recently-unveiled Wall of Remembrance. 

“It is inconceivable to me how the DOD would let this many errors be set in stone when the Department of the Interior constructed the Korean War Wall of Remembrance last summer. The service members this wall was meant to memorialize made the ultimate sacrifice to defend freedom and Democracy not just in the United States, but for our friends and allies across the Pacific. Instead, the wall now stands on the National Mall as an embarrassing reminder of the DOD’s failure to correctly honor these fallen soldiers. I will continue to demand answers from the Secretary of Defense as to how DOD intends to correct these errors, prevent mistakes like this from happening again and regain the trust of the family members who lost loved ones and the veterans who served alongside the brave Americans that gave their lives in the Korean War,” said Chairman Manchin.

“To remember the fallen is the duty of every American. The ultimate sacrifice given by our armed forces during times of war is a solace occasion. The fact that mistakes were made on such an important staple of the Korean War Memorial is a travesty and this travesty must be rectified immediately,” said William Elkins, State Commander of the West Virginia division of Disabled American Veterans.

"The Korean War Veterans Wall of Remembrance recognizes the ultimate sacrifice made, and provides a place of honor, of our Korean War Veterans.  This undeniable error needs swift resolution by DoD and other responsible agencies so the Families, and other visitors to the wall, have a place to reflect on their honorable service to our country,” said Dr. Corrina Boggess, Veterans of Foreign Wars State Commander for the Department of West Virginia.

“The American Legion, Department of West Virginia, shares the concern of U.S. Senator Manchin, regarding the immediate and meticulous attention needed for a correct, faithful listing of all our Veterans, whose names will grace the Korean War Wall of Remembrance. Properly honoring those who served our country is our duty and our privilege,”  said The American Legion, Department of West Virginia.

“While I had no relatives in the Korean War, I believe it is vital that the families have their loved one's names spelled properly or if they are missing from the Memorial, put on there. I didn't serve in Viet Nam but saw the way our heroes were treated when they returned. Our veterans need to be respected and honored in every way possible,” said Albert Martin, President of the West Virginia Chapter of the Paralyzed Veterans of America.

"It saddens me to think that something this egregious has taken place. The thought of family members of the ones we lost traveling to our nation's capital to see this monument only to see their loved one's name either misspelled or not there at all is disheartening. This needs rectified with the utmost urgency it deserves," said Lawrence Mullins, Secretary of the West Virginia Chapter of the Paralyzed Veterans of America.

The members wrote in part: 

"Nearly 1.8 million courageous Americans valiantly served in theater during the Korean War, and their legacy of service and sacrifice is enshrined in the Korean War Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. Since the Memorial’s dedication on July 27, 1995, millions of visitors have paid tribute to the bravery of our Korean War veterans. In 2016, Congress authorized a new Wall of Remembrance to honor more than 36,000 American servicemembers who died in theater in support of what is often called 'The Forgotten War.'...

"Recent reports, however, claim that the newly unveiled Remembrance Wall may contain more than 1,000 spelling errors and hundreds of additional inaccuracies.  As part of the law enacting the Remembrance Wall, Congress directed the Department of Defense (DOD) to develop criteria for including names on the Remembrance Wall and transmit a complete, accurate list based on such criteria to the Department of the Interior (DOI).  The law also prohibited the use of federal funds to construct the Remembrance Wall.  A non-profit organization, the Korean War Veterans Memorial Foundation (Foundation), constructed the wall using official information from DOD for the names of the fallen and worked with DOI for the design and placement of the Remembrance Wall.  Discrepancies related to the number of names listed on the Remembrance Wall for both American veterans and members of the Korean Augmentation to the U.S. Army remain today on the websites of DOD, DOI, and the Foundation.

"Errors of this magnitude should not have made it past the initial blueprints, much less carved into stone, and certainly not erected and unveiled to the public. We find these errors deeply concerning and write to seek accountability on how the Remembrance Wall’s glaring flaws went unnoticed until post-construction." 

To read the full letter, please click here.