20. November 2004 · Comments Off on My Dad, the Korean War Vet · Categories: General

I have a personal blog, which I’ve mentioned before, that I use for a variety of things, primarily thinking out loud, dealing with Mom’s death, etc (next month will be the one year point since she left us). Sometimes I wish I had a wider audience for the stuff I write there, and that’s when it finds its way over here to be cross-posted. I try not to *just* cross-post… I like to be original when I’m writing over here, as well.

I posted something to my personal blog yesterday, because it belongs there, but as I was writing it, I was wishing I was posting it here, because I want to hear from the veterans, and the history-buffs, and my personal blog has a regular readership of 1-3 people, as far as I can tell. LOL I was writing about my dad and his time in Korea, and realized how very little I know about the Korean Conflict (we never got that far in my school history classes. Sometimes we were lucky to get as far as WWII).

My dad, who turned 74 last week, has been having flashbacks to his time as a Marine in Korea. Or so my sister tells me. Thing is, anything my sister says has to be taken with a HUGE grain of salt (or maybe a bushel of salt?). So I called my aunt last night, and she told me that Dad had told her the same thing, but she doesn’t know if it’s true, or if it’s the power of suggestion, because some guy at the AmVets told him he could get more VA money if he was having flashbacks.

Dad has never mentioned flashbacks to anyone before, and has never had them before, so far as any of us know. But he’s never lost a spouse before either, and since she died peacefully in her sleep, he was the one who found her and realized that she would never wake up again.

My sister asked what we could do if Dad really was having flashbacks, and I told her we can pray that God will give him peace. She didn’t like my answer, but there’s really not a lot you CAN do, as I understand it, unless he’s willing to go to a psyhchiatrist, and I don’t see Dad doing that, unless it gets really bad.

Dad never talked about the war when I was growing up. Last year, after the funeral, as he and I were sitting around the kitchen table sharing a beer (well he was drinking beer – I might have been drinking coffee, because I have a self-imposed one beer limit), he talked about Korea.

Dad got over there in time for the push that went clear into… .some city that he can’t remember the name of. Anyway, they got there, but then got pushed all the way back to the beach, or something like that. (Any historians around here that can help me out?)

He fought in the Chosin Reservoir, he says, and didn’t have a bath/shower for several months, from the time he landed to the time he was medevaced out. Yeah, he was injured over there.

He and his buddies were hunkered down in their foxhole, keeping an eye out for any activity in front of them. It was stooopid cold, but they were doing ok, and there was no action to speak of.

Until some idiot parked a tank near their foxhole.

Suddenly they were taking enemy fire from every which-way. The enemy eventually managed to hit the tank and destroy it, and Dad caught some shrapnel in his right wrist.

He stopped a moment, telling me this story, poured himself another beer, and took a long drink before he continued. He caught shrapnel in his wrist, but one of his buddies was hit in the hip. It entered him in one hip, just above the thigh, and exited somewhere above his hip joint on the other side of his body. Dad said his buddy was alive when they left there, but he has no idea whatever happened to him. at this point, I don’t think Dad even remembered his name. I forget what he told me about the 3rd guy that was with them. I thought he said that all 3 of them survived the tank explosion, but they were all wounded.

My aunt told me that Dad told her about seeing his buddy’s head blown off right in front of him, there in the foxhole. I know that’s not what he told me last year, but he might have been trying to spare me, ya know?

Does anyone know about combat flashbacks, and if so, can you shed some light on this for me? Is it common for them to be suppressed until over 50 years later? Should we be worried about him, do you think?

Comments closed.