Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

Columns

October 2, 2013

Korean rats were deadly

Norbert Meyer came from Cincinnati to Decatur County with his family when he was three-years old.

He graduated from Greensburg High School in 1949. He worked at American Kitchens in Connersville and at Eckrich. Last week he shared what he knew about his friend and hero Alfons Felis. He said Al called him Nob and always treated him like an adult. Lois McLaughlin said he baked her wedding cake so many years ago and it was perfection.

Norbert was reluctant to talk about his experience in the Korean War but because I had recently heard about a Korean War Veteran (Patrick Sbarra of New York) who may be given the Medal of Honor for what he did on T-Bone Hill more than six decades ago I asked Norbert a few questions about Korea.

Fellow soldiers remember, no matter how long ago it was. The truth is however, many of us nonveterans know little about the Korean War that caused the deaths of 11 Decatur County men from June 25, 1950 to July 27, 1953.

Norbert was also on T-Bone Hill. I asked him how it got the unusual name. “The men that fought there named it,” he said. He was in the Ninth Infantry Regiment, Second Division. He chooses not to talk about the horror of war and things he saw while in Korea during 1952 and 1953.

He did agree to talk a little about a couple of the “hills” that he was on. You’ve heard the names, the unusual American names, such as T-Bone, Pork Chop, Jane Russell, Heartbreak Ridge. Hill Eerie, Outpost Harry and so on.

On T-Bone Hill for 67 days, Norbert said that’s where a can of spaghetti scared the soldiers nearly as bad as the enemy. He said, “Our C-Rations might be cans of soup and crackers, beans and franks or canned spaghetti or whatever. Just about everything came in cans and the way we warmed them up enough to eat was to poke a hole in the can, put napalm jelly on it and then light it. That warmed the food right in the can. We were in our bunker one night and this British guy decided to warm his can that way. He put the Napalm Jelly on the can and lit it. The thing blew up and we had spaghetti all over us, all over the bunker including the ceiling. It was a mess but most of all, the noise scared us. Here we had always tried to be quiet and eat our meals in peace and that can exploding made quite a noise. It turned out that he hadn’t poked a hole in the can.”

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