A friend just recounted a story told to him about a battle in Korea. The story is sketchy as I haven’t personally spoken to the guy who lived through it, but I’ll get the full blood and guts facts later. Just the high spots for now. On some obscure hill in Korea a sailor somehow wound up in the middle of a fight and found himself the last survivor of his unit. Don’t ask how a sailor wound up as a survivor in a firefight on a hill. It was dark and the sailor was out of ammo. Maybe he was a corpsman. Maybe a signal corps guy. I don’t know those details, but I do know he was alone. Maybe not a corpsman because he was black and there may have been some lingering silliness about blacks not being capable of fighting…in spite of the fact black troops had shown their strong capability to handle the warrior’s role starting with Breed’s Hill when a black American killed a British colonel. (Killing officers just wasn’t done. Particularly not British officers. Particularly if the killing was done by anyone besides another officer. Particularly if the killing was done by a slave or someone who had been a slave. Somebody just forgot to brief the black militiaman on battlefield etiquette. It happens, particularly if you don’t think someone is smart enough to fight. Why brief them? Right? Stupid. Right?)
Back to the Korea story. The sailor had no ammunition. And maybe he had no rifle issued to him since he “couldn’t fight.” So he improvised and gleaned the hill for weapons and ammo from the corpses of his comrades. It was dark. He moved from one location to another finding rifles and pistols with which to harass the Commies. When he ran out of ammo he would crawl to another spot where he could pick up another weapon and pepper the enemy. When he exhausted that ammo source he crawled somewhere else. This went on for a long time, at least a full night. His actions halted the enemy advance and when the local Marine commander heard someone was still alive on that hill he immediately sent a rescue group to assist and recover the fellow who was still fighting. Hopefully, he was still alive. When the Marines arrived they quickly found the sailor and rushed past him to engage the enemy. But as they passed the sailor, one Marine, who actually stepped over the sailor, who had been wounded several times by then, looked down at the sailor, smiled and said, “Don’t worry. We’ll be back to take care of you. We gotta’ kill the Commies first.” Which they did. Both.
The sailor had moved from one position to another all night and when he began firing from a new position the Commies would focus their fire on him and he would have to roll or crawl somewhere else. But he caught a lot of lead as a result. The Commies kept their heads down instead of rushing the sailor. They apparently had no idea there was only one (live) American on that hill. The sailor was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions. The Medal of Honor does not care about the color of the neck from which it is suspended.
Of course, my favorite veteran was an Army tank commander from Indiana. But I honor all veterans. Thanks for Freedom.
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