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Korean War Veterans Recall Horrible Conditions, Sacrifices

Two of the six Korean War veterans at the Charlestown retirement community in Catonsville share memories from what is often called The Forgotten War for its 60th anniversary, which was Saturday.

Albert Medeiros holds his Korea-Vietnam veteran cap. Credit: Sonia Su.
Albert Medeiros holds his Korea-Vietnam veteran cap. Credit: Sonia Su.
Albert Medeiros recalled holding a soldier's head riddled with bullet holes in the emergency room, as the doctor gave him orders to help him.

It was during the Korean War that he worked with injured soldiers.

President Obama declared in a proclamation signed Tuesday that July 26 would be Korean War Veterans Armistice Day.

Medieros, 83, is among the 1.8 million U.S. service members who fought in the war about 60 years ago. It involved the US, South Korea and their UN allies against North Korea and the Chinese Communists.
About 34,000 died in combat and more than 100,000 were wounded, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Medeiros and Lyle McCullough, also 83, are residents at the Charlestown Retirement Community on Maiden Choice Lane in Catonsville. They say they will always remember what has been called The Forgotten War.

Six Korean War veterans reside at Charlestown: Joseph Maddox, Edward Miller, Carroll Files and Willis Barton, Medeiros and McCullough.

Watch the video with the veterans to learn more about their experiences.

"I remember getting off that boat, there was a terrific smell," Medeiros says, who was 21 at the time. "And I think that stayed with me until the day they got back on the boat and back to the States."

Medeiros says the conditions were not conducive to American living.

Being on the ship to and from the war took its toll on McCullough, who said he experienced typhoons that lifted the ship in waves of 40 to 50 feet.

In his work, McCullough typed orders and oversaw that the families of those killed were properly transported home and that "the bodies were taken care of," he said.

"The further we went into the war, the busier I got," McCullough says.

After returning from Korea, McCullough says he told himself that he would never get on another ship. But his wife, Gloria, had wished to go on a cruise—and so he did.

"Otherwise, I never wanted to see a ship again," he says.

McCullough said that, despite learning to never volunteer in the army, he ended up being a hospice volunteer visitor after the war. He says he would still volunteer in the community if he were able.

Medeiros remained in active reserves for four years after the war and then fought in the Vietnam War that had begun in 1955.

"I'm sure that there are things that occurred to me that if it wasn't for the Lord, I wouldn't be here," he said.

"The thing that I appreciate is at public functions, somebody stands up and says,  'Let's have a hand for the veterans,'" McCullough said. "I always feel proud to be able to stand up amongst those that served. ... A little recognition goes a long way."

Watch the video with the veterans to learn more about their experiences.
Buck Harmon July 28, 2013 at 08:24 AM
Most of these great Veterans have extreme difficulty getting the VA benefits that they qualify for...it can take years of bureaucratic dealings, while the vets have no choice but to wait ...or in many cases die before the benefits are issued...not really a fair shake for such distinguished American Citizens...guess that would be another story though..

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