WASHINGTON, March 19 -
It was June 1950 when the North Koreans decided they would invade their neighbors to the south, South Korea. The war had started – even though the world community called it a “police action” – but it was a war, and of course South Korea was in trouble. They called 911, and as it has been in history, when you call 911, the United States answers. The Americans went to South Korea to protect our ally South Korea.
In August of the same year, some Americans were occupying Hill 303. Most Americans have never heard of Hill 303. Let me tell you about it.
Hill 303 was being occupied by the 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division of the United States Army. It was a small group because America didn’t have a lot of troops in South Korea. We weren’t ready for this war. The North Koreans, with the aid of the Communist Chinese later, overran the hill – and the Americans, some stayed, some withdrew. One of the individuals who stayed on that hill was a friend of mine by the name of Donald Foisie.
Donald Foisie and his other comrades refused to give ground. The hill was overrun. The North Koreans took the hill. Donald Foisie and one of his friends hid in a rice paddy. They used bamboo canes to get air, and they stayed there for a long time. Unbeknownst to him, 45 other American soldiers had been captured by the North Koreans. And after they were captured, they were lined up in front of a ditch, with their hands tied behind their backs, and they were machine-gunned down in that gully. Later, the Americans retook the hill. They found Donald Foisie and found his murdered comrades.
That was in August of 1950. Things haven’t changed much in the Koreas. The North Koreans still have sights on South Korea, but that’s another story.
Sergeant Donald Foisie was wounded several times, and received the Purple Heart that day. He stayed in the United States Army until 1962. He came back to Atascocita, Texas – down the street from me – and he had several businesses. He worked for a corporation in Houston. That corporation was an international corporation, and from time to time they would fly the flag of the country that they were hosting that day. When Donald Foisie saw that one of those flags, on one day that he was working, was the Red Chinese – as he called them – Communist flag, he refused to go to work. He didn’t believe that the Chinese flag ought to fly on American soil. That’s the kind of guy he was.
He spent the rest of his life letting Americans know about the Korean War. Last year, he was at Creekwood Middle School in Kingwood, Texas, where the Creekwood Middle School kids honored the veterans of Hill 303 – those who were murdered – and had a memorial. He was there, along with many South Koreans, and Ambassador Park from South Korea and myself were there.
Last year, he also attended the Memorial Day service at the veterans cemetery in Houston, and this is where that photograph was taken. He was saluting a crowd of several thousand who had given him a standing ovation after his story was told. You see, he looks pretty good. He’s 81 in this photograph. This week, Donald Foisie, United States Army, 1st Cavalry Division – he’s still wearing his hat – died. He will be buried this Friday at this same cemetery that he was standing in and honoring on Memorial Day.
He was quite a guy. He was married to Rita for 60 years. He had three kids – Donna, Daniel, and David. He wrote several books. He was in the air-conditioning business, and he worked as a security guard when his knees got bad. But he spent most of his life letting America know about his buddies in Korea in 1950 – “the forgotten war,” as he called it. He wants us to remember what occurred many years ago when young Americans – kids – went over to lands they’d never seen and fought for people they had never known, all in the name of securing liberty and America’s interest.
So, today, we honor Sergeant Foisie and his family for his service in the United States Army, for being a true patriot, a true American, a great Texan, and a person who never gave ground.
And that’s just the way it is.