MILLERSBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Korea is often called the forgotten war. On Thursday, a Dauphin County man who fought there was reminded that he and the sacrifices of his countrymen are very much remembered.
A military moment in Millersburg, 70 years in the making. “Hereby award the Ambassador for Peace Medal to Seargent Marvin Troutman,” Bob DeSousa said.
A medal from the Korean people to those who fought in the Korean conflict. “The people of Korea cherish in their hearts the memory of your boundless sacrifice,” DeSousa said.
For Marvin Troutman, the medal is nice. “It’s beautiful, it’s beautiful,” he said. But his memories, even more precious. He and sweetheart Doris graduated from Elizabethville High School in 1947. He went to mortuary school and then to Korea in 1951.
“This is my helmet. It’s a steel helmet by the way,” Troutman said. It protected his head, and more. “This is where we kept our toiler paper when out in the field.”
He jokes about it now. He wasn’t then. “His job was to pull the dead American soldiers out and leave the dead opposition soldiers behind,” Trudy Withers, Marvin’s oldest daughter said.
Marvin the mortician had the grim job of retrieving and preparing dead GIs for the sad journey home. Death was his daily toil. “There was thousands of them. It’s unfortunate that we lost so many young men there,” Troutman said.
But Marvin focuses on lighter moments, like trying to watch Gary Cooper’s 12 o’clock High in a makeshift theatre. “I never got to see the end of it because the Chinese started shelling us and we had to take cover and I never got to see the end of the film,” Troutman said.
But his movie played on. He came home and opened several theatres. He raised a family and at 91 is now enjoying honors like this peace award. “This generation is old-school tough. They never complained. They came back and want to work. It’s so meaningful to them now,” State Senator John DiSanto said.
The party had bubbly but not Doris who died in October after 69 years of marriage. “We’re sure she’s watching all this. She would have been the first one pouring the champagne,” Withers said.
All that’s left is a perfect toast that every child of every serviceperson would certainly drink to. “Thanks for making it out alive,” Withers said.
U.S. Senator Pat Toomey, also the son of a Korean War vet, has arranged for 800 Pennsylvanians to receive similar medals.