October 23, 2008 08:48
A Vietnam War veterans memorial village will be dedicated on Thursday in Hwacheon, Gangwon Province, where a total of 300,000 Korean troops underwent training prior to their departure for Indochina in the 1960s and 70s.
Weapons used during the undeclared U.S. war will be put on display, and a Vietnamese village and a replica of the network of tunnels used by the victorious Vietcong as their hiding spots and communication and supply routes will be on display.
The training camp was built in spring 1965 to prepare troops for combat in Vietnam. That year, more than 90 percent of troops underwent training here prior to their departure. About 30 years after the war ended, all facilities except the skeleton of a cinder block mess hall, have been removed and turned into a farmland.
The governments of Gangwon Province and Hwacheon-gun began construction of the memorial village in 2000, in the belief that it was necessary to build an educational center offering lessons about war.
The provincial and county governments spent a total amount of W18 billion on a 140,000 sq.m lot in Oeum-li, to build a memorial hall, a monument, mock barracks, and six traditional Vietnamese houses, an exhibition hall for field combat equipment, a mock training camp, a drill ground, and a picnic site (US$1=W1,363).
Early this month, the local governments completed a replica of a 157 m-long tunnel furnished with six exhibition halls, including an armory and war council room. Gangwon Province and Hwacheon-gun said they have agreed with a nearby Army unit to operate mock training classes, including a ranger school and a rifle range.
At the dedication ceremony on Thursday, the flags of the eight military units that participated in the war will be hoisted, with troops to be attired in combat fatigues of the period.
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