Omaha Hospital corpsman, U.S. Marines
Served from 1951 to September 1954, in Korea from May 1952 to '53.
Memory: “One Saturday morning on the front lines, mortars and artillery started coming in on us near a roadblock. One of the Marines got hit by a mortar or artillery, and his left leg was hanging by the skin when it was hit above the ankle. He yelled, 'Doc, I'm hit,' so I ran out. I first gave him morphine to ease his pain, and then another Marine helped me move him out of the line of fire to the back of a hill. Soon a helicopter arrived and took him to the rear to either go to a hospital or a MASH unit. He told me right after he got wounded that his girlfriend would be disappointed, because they both loved to dance. I never saw him again, but I'm sure he went home after surgery. I've often thought about him and whether the surgeon was able to save his legs.
“One night we were assigned to ... march out at dusk and go to the top of Tae Dok San hill and dig in and wait to see if the enemy was coming to the same place. One of the Marines wanted to take a shortcut to the hill and suggested we walk through the weeds instead of following the path. However, our leader straightened him out quickly by telling that Marine that the route off the path was filled with land mines. It was pretty quiet as our squad settled in on top of the hill — until about 1 a.m., when all of a sudden our point man with a BAR (Browning automatic rifle) saw Chinese troops coming toward us.
“The same Marine who wanted to take the shortcut went out of our perimeter and ran down toward the Chinese. He was shot in the left side and right arm and was calling, 'Doc, I'm hit.' I was shaking, but I knew I had to help him, so I went down to where he had fallen. I was wondering if the Chinese patrol was still hanging around.
“I helped the Marine, but in the process, our BAR man had killed the young Chinese officer when he fired on the Chinese patrol. When we left our position and went back to the front lines with our wounded Marine, we all saw the dead Chinese officer. We looked through his belongings and saw pictures of his wife and children. I thought how sad and how ridiculous to have to kill people because of warmongers and countries that fight for more control or land.”
Order 'At War, At Home'
The World-Herald's “At War, At Home: The Cold War” is a special look back at the Nebraskans and Iowans whose courage and commitment helped prevent nuclear war and lift the Iron Curtain. Its 330 pages include:
» Gripping stories and compelling photographs from the OWH archives.
» Service memories submitted by Nebraskans and western Iowans.
» Commemorative coverage of July's Cold War Victory Salute in downtown Omaha.
The book, which costs $29.95, can be ordered online at www.OWHstore.com
or by phone at 402-444-1014 for delivery in November.