Korean veterans wanted for face-to-face interviews
FALLS CITY – Orville Dean of Falls City volunteered to serve his nation during the Korean War and is volunteering again to help veterans tell their stories.
Dean took Ryan Walkowski up on his offer to travel anywhere in the United States for a face-to-face interview with a Korean War veteran for his book “Forgotten, the Korean War.”
As he recalled his experiences and shared photos, he was inspired to commend Walkowski and offer to help find any other veterans.
Dean: “What you’re doing really is a great thing. There isn’t very many Korean veterans left around anymore. So I told him, I’ll do everything I can. I’ll get on the Internet, TV or whatever I have to do and see if I can find anymore veterans for you.”
Dean was living in California when he received a message from his friends back in his hometown of Hiawatha, Kan., that they were going into the Army. Dean himself made the trip back and volunteered.
Dean: “In December of ’53 they moved me up, put me in my unit, gave me my flak jacket, my web harness had rings on it, hung a grenade on each one of the rings, gave me a carbine, two 30-round clips taped back to back. Six 15-round clips and handed some loose shells in my pocket.
… the outpost was getting to be attacked so they moved us up. We sat probably as far from here to corner from the battle, behind the hill, waiting to see if we would be used. I mean, just getting there, we didn’t need to hear that right off the bat.”
From there he went to the Pork Chop Hill area, where he remained for the rest of his combat duty.
He was there for the last battle July 6 to July 11, 1953.
Dean: “The lieutenant came in, they weren’t sure what they were going to do. They didn’t know if they wanted to hold the hill or not, but anyway, that last five or six days we were about ¾ a mile behind the main battle. Our bunker was bunkered up against the hill, where artillery shells couldn’t get to us, but they were exploding from where we were to about where that house is across the street.”
He said Stars and Stripes later reported that the area got 170,000 artillery shells.
Dean: “Then the 11th of July 1953 they just walked off the hill and let the Chinese have it.”
Dean said few people today know anything at all about the Korean War, but he says there are some things Americans should know.
Dean: “They should know that we were fighting for Democracy, that’s what was going on in Korean. That’s what we were fighting for. Most of them we’ve talked to would do it again. I would. I mean right now, if I was able, I’d be over there in … If was able I’d be with some of these veterans in the Ukraine, helping them against Russia.”
There are 122 Korea War veterans listed on Richardson County records and Dean said he once attended a reunion in Grand Island with 1,500 veterans.
Dean: “After they go through with everything on Sunday we started to leave and they hollered at us and say, ‘hey, wait a minute.” So we wall went back in and sat down and a bunch of the young people in Grand Island, they got up on the platform, and said we hear you guys have never been welcomed home from Korea, so we welcome you.”
Dean encourages Korean War veterans to contact Walkowski of Birnamwood, Wisc., or ProjectSoldier KWV.
and Rami Huym at Project Solider KWV