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Remembering Korea and More

Book focuses on West Point class of 1950 that helped to win the Cold War.

March 26, 2000|ANN SHIELDS | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

It's been called the forgotten war. But Hollywood Beach resident Phil Bardos and other veterans are trying to ensure that the Korean War--which began June 25, 1950--will not remain forgotten.

Bardos' book, "Cold War Warriors," (Xlibris, $25) features some of his West Point classmates in the graduating class of June 6, 1950, who fought in that war.

"The Korean War was the first real conflagration between the Soviet bloc and the free democracies, so the timing of it sent that class over as the Cold War heated up," Bardos said recently.

The timing was unfortunate for many. "The initial wave of our class that went to Korea by July and August numbered 114. Of that group, 41 were killed," Bardos said. All 41 names are listed in the book.

Bardos arrived in the second wave. He was wounded, sent to a hospital and returned to battle. His book highlights the men who served with him and the camaraderie shared by fellow West Pointers.

Eleven men earned the Distinguished Service Cross--the second-highest award for bravery. Many others went on to become leaders in the Cold War.

In particular, Bardos noted Frank Borman, who became an astronaut, and Fidel Ramos, who became chief of staff of the Philippine army and later was elected president of the Philippines.

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Two others--Army Gen. John Wickham and Air Force Gen. Charles Gabriel--became chiefs of staff of their respective services at the same time. Along with Ramos, they were chiefs of staff between 1980 and 1985.

"These three men happened to have been in the right place at the right time for both nations--for the United States, it was a unique arrangement," Bardos said.

Normally, there might have been rivalries among branches of the service, but that was avoided because of relationships between the classmates, Bardos said.

"They sat down and worked out 31 initiatives that made a major change in the way that the Army and Air Force planned, organized, funded and prepared for future wars," he said. "They no longer had huge fights over jurisdictions."

Bardos originally began to write about his classmates, but as he interviewed more than 100 of the 670, that theme became interwoven with the Cold War. He narrowed the number to those men who had positions of authority and who contributed to the winning of the Cold War, he said.

A chapter called "Unsung Warriors" recognizes people such as Maj. Gen. Grayson Tate. He became one of the key leaders in the country's missile buildup and the booster programs for the Army's space efforts, Bardos said.

The publication of the book was planned to coincide with activities scheduled in the United States and Korea to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the war. The book may be ordered after May 15 through the publisher, Xlibris.com or through Borders, Barnes & Noble or Amazon.com. It will be available in hard copy at $25 or paperback at $18.

Bardos retired from the Army as a colonel and went on to become an entrepreneur. He has owned a high-tech company and has been active in civic and community affairs. For now, his energy is centered on gaining recognition for his fellow warriors. He can be reached through his e-mail address: pbardos148@aol.com.

HAPPENINGS

* Sunday: 3 p.m. Tim Cockey will discuss and sign "The Hearse You Came in On." Mysteries to Die For, 2940 Thousand Oaks Blvd., Thousand Oaks, 374-0084.

* Sunday: 6 p.m. Poetry discussion, followed by featured poet at 7 p.m. and open mike at 8 p.m. Borders, 125 W. Thousand Oaks Blvd., Thousand Oaks, 497-8159.

* Monday: 11 a.m. The "Little House on the Prairie" series celebrates its 65th anniversary with stories and crafts. Dress in prairie garb for picture taking with the "Little House" family. Borders, 497-8159.

* Monday: 7 p.m. Conversations with God Discussion Group, centered on Neale Donald Walsch's best-selling series. Borders, 497-8159.

* Tuesday: 4:30 p.m. Life & Times, a biography program for school-age kids, celebrates Joe DiMaggio with stories and games. Thousand Oaks Barnes & Noble, 160 S. Westlake Blvd., 446-2820.

* Tuesday: 7 p.m. Monthly Poetry Workshop led by Pepperdine University professor Michael Collings. Borders, 497-8159.

* Tuesday: 7 p.m. The Caldecott Award-winning "Joseph Had a Little Overcoat" by Simms Tabak will be read. Ventura Barnes & Noble, 4360 E. Main St., 339-9170.

* Wednesday: 9:30 a.m. "Let's Play Ball!" by Marty Allen will be the story of the day. Ventura Barnes & Noble, 339-9170.

* Wednesday: 7 p.m. Sci Fi/Fantasy Group will focus on "Stardust" by Neil Gaiman. Borders, 497-8159.

* Wednesday: 7 p.m. American Girls Club Meeting will focus on Kirsten. Ventura Barnes & Noble, 339-9170.

* Friday: 7 p.m. "April Fool" by Harriet Ziefert and "Arthur's April Fool" by Marc Brown will be read. Ventura Barnes & Noble, 339-9170.

* Saturday: noon. Martha Lawrence will discuss and sign "Pisces Rising." At 2 p.m., Jerilyn Farmer will discuss and sign "Killer Wedding." Mysteries to Die For, 374-0084.

Information about book signings, writers groups and publishing events an be e-mailed to anns40@aol.com or faxed to 647-5649).

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