Korean War veteran John Lee dies at 95

John Lee, left, a Korean War veteran, poses with Seung Myung-ho, right, president of Korea University Alumni Association and chairman of The Korea Times, during a Korea University alumni event in Atlanta, Ga., in January. Courtesy of Korea University Alumni Association

John Lee, a Korean War veteran known for his role as the interpreter for Gen. Douglas MacArthur during the 1950 Incheon Landing Operation, passed away in Atlanta, Georgia, Wednesday (local time).He was 95.The Korean-American, whose Korean name was Lee Jong-yeon, was born on Nov. 23, 1928, in Yeonbaek, Hwanghae Province.He moved to Seoul and enrolled in Korean literature studies at Korea University in 1948.Lee answered the call to serve in the military when the Korean War (1950-53) broke out in June 1950, upon hearing that the Eighth U.S. Army was looking for a soldier with interpreting skills. He was assigned to the U.S. First Marine Division.He participated in the Incheon Landing Operation, also known as Operation Chromite, led by Gen. MacArthur on Sept. 15 of that year.

Lee served as the interpreter for MacArthur throughout the operation, which marked a significant turning point in the war, allowing South Korean forces to retake Seoul from North Korean troops.He also took part in the Battle of Lake Changjin, or the Battle of Chosin Reservoir, from Nov. 26 to Dec. 11, 1950, in South Hamgyeong Province, where approximately 30,000 U.N. troops faced off against 120,000 Chinese troops.Recognized for his contributions during the war, Lee was awarded the Legion of Merit by the U.S. government in April 1952.After being discharged from the military in 1954, Lee moved to America and studied law at Yale University. Following his graduation, he practiced law as an attorney in New York, Virginia, and Washington, D.C., serving as a senior lawyer for the U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. Department of Justice from 1967 to 1987.Later in life, Lee authored the book, “Old Chosin,” recounting his experiences during the Korean War.Lee’s funeral will be held at Jans Creek Korean Church in Atlanta at 10 a.m. on Saturday 스포츠토토존 (local time).

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