CHINHAE, Republic of Korea (NNS) -- Senior leaders from the U.S. and Republic of Korea (ROK) navies paid tribute to the life of Lt. William Hamilton Shaw, a fallen hero of the Korean War, during a special ceremony at the ROK Naval Academy, Sept 29.
Cmdr. Lee Seung Eun, the logistics commander for the ROK Naval Academy, delivered a detailed history of Shaw's distinguished service during the Korean War to an audience including the superintendent of the ROK Naval Academy, the commander of U.S. Naval Forces Korea, the U.S. Naval attache for South Korea, and the president of ROK-US Friendship Association. A golden bust of Shaw was then unveiled on the grounds of the ROK Naval Academy, which will preserve Shaw's legacy for future generations of Korean naval officers and midshipmen.
"The bust unveiled today honors the legacy of William Hamilton Shaw, who helped shape the foundation of our alliance with the Republic of Korea through his incredible dedication and selfless service," said Rear Adm. Lisa Franchetti, commander, U.S. Naval Forces Korea. "This is a fitting tribute to a naval officer who made the ultimate sacrifice for his country and for the freedom of the Korean people."
The son of Methodist missionaries, Shaw was born and raised in Korea. Shaw returned to the United States to attend Ohio Wesleyan University. He earned a commission in the U.S. Navy and participated in Operation Overlord as the executive officer of PT518 during World War II. Following the war, Shaw returned to Korea and began work at the ROK Naval Academy as a professor of English and ship operations.
At the outbreak of the Korean War, Shaw was pursuing a Doctoral degree in Philosophy at Harvard University. He immediately volunteered to return to duty in Korea as an intelligence officer. With his extensive knowledge of the Korean language as well as the local geography and ocean environment, Shaw played a key role in the landings at Incheon, serving as a close aide to Gen. Douglas MacArthur.
Following the landings, Shaw volunteered to fight with the 5th Marine Regiment, leading a number of dangerous intelligence gathering missions behind enemy lines in the effort to recapture Seoul. He was killed in action while leading a patrol of Marines near Nokbeonrri, Eunpyeonggu.
For his actions, Shaw was awarded the Silver Star and the Gold Star Chungmu Order of Military Merit. The Eunpyeong borough of Seoul recently erected a peace park that has a statue of Shaw honoring his service to the Korean people.
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