Captain Richard Andrew Koldenhoven (1923 - 1964)
Honored by Major Andrew DeRosa
Read the Citation Below CLICK HERE
Los Angeles, June 20, 2010, Father's Day: Air Force Major Andrew DeRosa (now Col.), presented Grammy winner Darlene Koldenhoven with this beautiful, hand made, Shadow Box that Major DeRosa made in honor of her deceased father, Army Captain Richard Andrew Koldenhoven. (Koldenhoven passed when he was only 41 from complications caused by the malaria he contracted while serving in WWII. Darlene was 14 and her sister Joan was 5 at the time.)
As you'll hear the Major tell it, on his worst days while serving in Iraq but especially in Afghanistan, he would listen to Darlene sing the "Aria" from "Yanni, Live at the Acropolis" repeatedly, to help him heal from the day. Once he was stationed in So. Korea, he got his first computer and looked her up on YouTube and first contacted her through Facebook in December. When he learned about her dad's heroism, he offered to make this Shadow Box because he said that her father never really got his due, nor his memory honored properly with a Shadow Box and several of his medals were missing as well.
Major Andy researched and located all Koldenhoven's medals and had the funeral flag flown in both theaters Koldenhoven fought in, Japan in WWII, then in South Korea, he even took it up in an F-16 at Mach 1.2, flying all over South Korea, breaking the speed of sound. The major's tour of duty was finished in Korea so on his way back to New York, he stopped off in LA to properly and personally present this beautiful hand made Shadow Box. Not only did Major DeRosa get all Captain Koldenhoven's medals, he also included the medal given by the Korean government in 1968 to those US service personnel who served there, which Koldenhoven would have received had he still been alive.
Major DeRosa tells us that in the history of the Distinguished Service Cross, our country's second highest medal of honor, it has been received by only a few hundred, not in the thousands. Major DeRosa says all the guys he showed it to were very impressed with her father's service record and achievements, especially because, as Andy explained, that very, very rarely has anyone received this combination the Army's highest honors, much less as a first Lieutenant, which was his rank when Captain Koldenhoven was awarded them. He left the service as a Captain, was promoted to Major, but left before he took the commission. He also received a Silver Star, two Bronze Stars, one with valor commendation and more. The story is quite amazing. Someone should make a movie.
For Darlene, this was the best Father's Day in a very long time. Many thanks to Major Andrew DeRosa (Bronze Star-V) for all he has done, to Master Sergeant Marcus Hughes for his fine oak woodworking on the box and to all of Major DeRosa's team that worked on making and assembling the shadow box. And mamy thanks to all men and women in service of our country. You honor us in so many ways. Hope you enjoyed this Father's Day true life story.
Listen to Koldenhoven’s Record Voice Dated April 2, 1946 - 1st Lt. Richard Koldenhoven made a recording of his voice to his wife through the Navy Dept. in San Francisco before shipping out to be stationed in Japan, WWII., along with a letter he wrote to his wife living in the far south side, Roseland area of Chicago.
Richard A. Koldenhoven
Co. G, 38th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division
Date of Action: May 17, 1951
The Distinguished Service Cross is awarded to First Lieutenant Richard A. Koldenhoven, Infantry, United States Army, for extraordinary heroism in action while serving with Company G, 38th Infantry Regiment, Second Infantry Division, on May 17, 1951, in the vicinity of Saoring-chi, Korea. On that night, the enemy launched a desperate offensive against friendly positions. Lieutenant Koldenhoven's company was well out in front of the main line of resistance where it bore the brunt of many fanatical attacks. Later, when the numerically superior enemy cut off segments of his company, which he was leading to a predetermined position, Lieutenant Koldenhoven, realizing that only the most drastic action could check the hostile advance and save his greatly outnumbered company from annihilation, unhesitatingly called for artillery fire to be brought on his own position. He then ordered the two platoons that were with him to withdraw to an assembly area while he proceeded through the artillery barrage to reach the remainder of his beleaguered company. Heedless of the murderous fire sweeping the entire area, he calmly rallied his scattered men and withdrew them from the trap. After reorganizing his company, in a display of dauntless courage and inspirational leadership, he again led his men against the enemy, personally deploying his platoons and squads and encouraging his men to hold their positions. His gallant and determined efforts in the face of tremendous odds prevented the enemy hordes from encircling and annihilating the entire battalion and enabled the friendly troops to recover from the fierce hostile onslaughts and repulse the enemy.
The Night of May 17
The army communication received by the soldier’s parents described the action for which their son received the army’s second highest award:
“Lieutenant Koldenhoven distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action against the enemy in the vicinity of Saoring-chi, Korea. On the night of May 17 the enemy launched a desperate attack. Lieutenant Koldenhoven's company was well out in front of the main line of resistance where it bore the brunt of many fanatical attacks.
Takes Desperate Action
"Later, when the numerically superior enemy cut off segments of his company which he was leading to a predetermined position, LT. Koldenhoven, realizing that the only the most drastic action could check the hostile advance and save his greatly outnumbered position from annihilation, unhesitatingly called for artillery fire to be brought upon his own position. He then ordered the two platoons that were with him to withdraw to an assembly area while he proceeded through the artillery barrage to reach the remainder of his beleaguered company. "heedless of the murderous fire sweeping the entire area, LT. Koldenhoven calmly rallied his scattered troops and withdrew them from the trap. After reorganizing his company, in a display of dauntless courage and inspirational leadership, he again led his troops against the enemy, personally deploying his platoons and squads and encouraging his men to hold their positions.
"His gallant and determined efforts in the face of tremendous odds prevented the enemy hordes from encircling and annihilating the entire battalion and enabled the friendly troops to recover from the fierce hostile onslaughts and repulse the enemy. The extraordinary heroism displayed by LT. Koldenhoven was in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service".
Two months before this action which brought him the DSC, the lieutenant, in the face of mortar and small arms fire which had disrupted company G, had reorganized his weapons platoon, directed fire upon the enemy position, and supervised aid for the wounded.
Another army communication to the lieutenants parents described the action, for which he was awarded the bronze star:
Lieutenant Koldenhoven distinguished himself by heroic achievement March 14 in the vicinity of Yulsi-li, Korea.
"Company G, in which LT. Koldenhoven was serving as weapons platoon leader, was attacking an enemy entrenched on the mountain sides near Yulsil-li. Although from his advantageous position the enemy was delivering heavy and accurate mortar and small arms fire on friendly troops, causing heavy losses and temporarily disrupting the attack, LT. Koldenhoven calmly guided the fire of his platoon and at the same time directing administering of first aid to the wounded."
Rescue Five From Captors
Fully exposed to intense enemy fire, he organized his men into an effective fire unit which brought such accurate fire to bear upion the enemy as to force the latter to withdraw and to enable the company to advance speedily to its objective. The outstanding leadership and courage displayed by LT. Koldenhoven reflect great credit upon himself and the military service.
Attached to the bronze star was a "V" for valor, awarded to the lieutenant for patrolling action which he led into enemy lines two days after the action for which he was awarded the bronze star. In the later action, the lieutenant and a squad of volunteers crossed the front lines and rescued five prisoners from the enemy camp.
Richard's Letter to the congregation at his church
The 4th Christian Reformed Church of Roseland. (Chicago south side)