Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

Columns

October 2, 2013

Korean rats were deadly

(Continued)

I would suppose if you had other humans shooting at you a big old rat wouldn’t seem so intimidating but Norbert sure doesn’t remember the deadly Korean rats with any affection. “Rats were a serious problem in Korea,” he said. “They were nearly as big as cats. When we finished with our C-Rations we’d roll the cans down the hill hoping the enemy would kick them while they were trying to get up the hill to us. It would be an advantage to hear the enemy coming. Unfortunately, the rats loved those cans and any food left or the maybe the smell.”

Norbert said the rats had lice but they were especially dangerous because they carried Hemorrhagic Fever. At the time there wasn’t a cure for it and many soldiers died from the fever until a cure was found. The symptoms could be hemorrhages, shock and kidney failure. He said, “I slept on the top bunker and one night the rats broke through the ceiling and landed right on me. I got off the bunk pretty quick!” One of the men in Norbert’s regiment got the fever after they had found a cure only days before.

It was while he was on the hill the men had named Jane Russell that he met one of his friends from Millhousen. “I knew Herb Wenning was in the group at the bottom. I started running down the hill and got about half way. Herb saw me and started running up the hill. We met halfway. It sure was good to see a friend from home. Herb was engaged to my cousin.”

My gratitude to Norbert.

NOTE: Swing Dance classes at the YMCA start Nov. 4. There will be two classes a week, Monday’s from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. and Wednesday’s from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

Please help get this class going by spreading the word. It’ll be lots of fun! The seven week session costs $50 for Y members and $80 if you are not a Y member.

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