Nam Pyo Park

I am a live witness of our whole history.


As a young lieutenant. Park collection

Left: General Park points to a decoration he received from President Eisenhower. John Hughes photo

Right: General and Mrs. Park at the Korean War Memorial in Olympia with other “Forgotten War Remembered” honorees. At left, Army Lt. Col. Barbara Jean Nichols. At right, Marine Cpl. Jim Evans and Mrs. Evans. Ben Helle photo

ROK Major General Nam Pyo Park, now living in retirement near Fort Lewis, was a South Korean Army colonel on the front lines during the war. He was born in Vladivostok, Russia, in 1923 when his parents were evading the Japanese ruling their country. Park’s childhood was a series of close calls. At 7, he watched the Japanese kill his grandmother for aiding the guerrillas.

A bright, athletic youth, Park graduated from the Korea Military Academy and the U.S. Army’s Infantry School at Fort Benning, Georgia. In the brutal back-and-forth battles that punctuated the war, Park’s unit was pushing north when it was ordered to fall back. “Everybody cried!” he remembers. They felt victory was within reach.

In the postwar era, Park rose steadily to twostar general. Retiring to Tacoma in the 1970s, he soon became active in Korean-American programs. “I have lived in six countries,” Park says. “America is freedom country!” One of his sons studied engineering at WSU, he notes proudly. The general raised $58,000 for the Korean War Memorial dedicated in 1993 on the Capitol Campus in Olympia.