|Dickman saluted with Honor Flight|
|Saturday, June 29, 2013 12:07 AM|
BY STACY TAFF
DELPHOS—Korean War veteran Elmer Dickman, 84, was among those saluted this past April with a trip to Washington, D.C., on the Honor Flight out of Dayton.
One of Dickman’s favorite parts of the Honor Flight was coming off the plane and being welcomed by servicemen.
“There were at least a hundred of them and they all wanted to shake hands with us,” he said. “They were playing the bagpipes and by the time I was done, I felt like my hand was paralyzed. Then the big shots got up on the stage and said a few words.”
While in Washington, D.C., Dickman got the opportunity to see the many memorials and share in camaraderie. One face in particular has stayed with him, that of the young volunteer who stayed by his side.
“His name was Max, I can’t recall his last name. He’s from Kettering and graduates this year. He stayed with me all day and he was right there if I wanted to get up and look around,” Dickman said. “He made the Honor Flight possible; worked the last couple of years collecting money. He raised $92,800 total, and the honor flight cost $30,000. Everyone enjoyed him; he was always smiling. You don’t meet too many kids like that these days.”
The experience gave him a chance to share his war stories, some he tells fondly and some he keeps off the record.
He remembers the day he got his orders with crystal clarity, as it was shortly after he married his wife, Mary.
“It was 1951 and we got married on Jan. 3. We went to Canada for our honeymoon; we were back by Jan. 13,” he said. “Then on Jan. 16, I went to see mom and she told me there was a brown envelope waiting for me and said, ‘This doesn’t look good.’ It was my induction papers.”
Dickman was in Korea for six months and three days, most of which he spent without a roof over his head.
“We slept on the ground; no roofs and no tents,” he said. “Mess gear, our forks and spoons and bowls, wasn’t necessary enough to carry with us, so we would eat out of our helmets. We would take the lining out and just eat out of the outer metal part.
“Usually we would eat things like corned beef hash but I remember one time we were going down the line, grabbing a biscuit and some other things and when we got down to the end they had a ladle for you to pour soup over it all, in your helmet,” he continued. “Boy, you want to talk about a bunch of guys cussing. They liked to keep you bitter.”
After sustaining an injury during an artillery strike, Dickman spent some time in a hospital on one of the Japanese islands.
“I got hit with something on the side of my face, felt like it left a hole,” he said. “It knocked two teeth loose, I spit one out and called a medic over and had him look at me. He looked in my mouth and said there was another one loose in there and we could either leave it in or pull it. I said, well it’s no use to me if it’s loose, so we pulled it.
“After that, I spent a week in a hospital on Hokkaido Island. The 1st Calvary was there because things were getting tough with Russia and other countries. In 1952, we were leaving from Yokohama Harbor and I remember there were fireworks for the Fourth of July that night.”
Dickman lives in Delphos. He lost his wife to cancer 25 years ago. They had two children together: David and Debbie.
|Last Updated on Saturday, June 29, 2013 12:47 AM|