NEW CUMBERLAND, Pa. (WHTM) — Some veterans speak about their experiences only reluctantly. Others not at all.
Then there’s Cpl. Herbert Kern (Ret.), 92, who served as a medic in the Korean War.
“I want to tell my story of being in Korea,” Kern said Friday.
He’ll tell it to anyone who will listen. He especially likes telling it to children, who he thinks don’t know enough about what’s sometimes called the “forgotten war.”
“I could talk to you for hours, actually,” Kern said.
Kern, who spent his childhood in Lemoyne, saw 85 days of combat in 1952.
“I was in pure hell at times, not knowing whether i was going to live or not,” Kern said.
Plenty of men around him did not. He said being a medic probably improved his chances.
“Because I had a white band on my left arm and a red cross and the good Lord upstairs is the only reason I can sit here and talk to you guys today,” Kern said.
Sure, medics work to help injured soldiers survive. But the grim reality is, sometimes all they can do is help them die comfortably.
“I don’t know what they give for pain now, but they gave me morphine,” Kern said. And he gave shots of that morphine to badly wounded men.
“How do you take care of a guy who’s going to die?” Kern asked rhetorically.
But how could he not? So he did.