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BG man travels to D.C. with Honor Flight, recalls time in Korea PDF Print E-mail
Written by PETER KUEBECK Sentinel Staff Writer   
Tuesday, 02 July 2013 09:43
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Richard Converse
Upon viewing the Korean War Memorial in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, veteran Richard Converse was struck by the look on the face of one of the 19 helmeted, poncho-draped statues of soldiers there.
"One of the steel men, I always thought he had the 1,000-yard stare" of a soldier awaiting the enemy.
"You could see it in his eyes," he said.
Converse visited the monument as part of Honor Flight Northwest Ohio's trip to the nation's capital last week.
"The first time I saw it, I got the feeling I was there with them," he said of the monument, "like they were coming across the rice paddy on maneuver."
Converse, of Bowling Green, was in the Ohio National Guard in 1952 when he and a friend signed up to serve in Korea. He went to Camp Polk, La., for eight months before going overseas.
Converse was assigned to drive two-and-a-half-ton Army trucks, and "hauled ammo up to the front lines, and on the front lines hauled troops back and forth."
"Our biggest fear was mortars," said Converse, fired over the lines by Chinese and North Korean forces, who targeted the trucks.
Converse said he came under fire "more or less. I was up there about every day, doing something. There were firing mortars at us every day. They were good at it, but not good enough to hit my truck."
Converse said that, decades later, he learned that U.S. planes were assigned to protect trucks like his, and keyed in to enemy mortal fire in order to attack North Korean and Chinese positions.
He served in Korea until August of 1953.
Converse was impressed by the way the Honor Flight trip was run.
"They really babied us. They really treated us well," he said. "It's a great organization."
"It was appropriately named the 'Honor Flight,'" said Diana Converse, his daughter, who served as his guardian on the trip. Each Honor Flight veteran is assigned a guardian, usually a family member, to accompany them. She noted that "they did honor the veterans from 6:30 a.m. to 9 at night."
Converse noted the large crowds of onlookers who greeted the veterans throughout the trip.
"They all wanted to shake my hand, you know," he said.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 02 July 2013 12:17
 

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