NEW CUMBERLAND, Pa. (WHTM) – Some veterans are reluctant to talk about their experiences. 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 about my stay in Korea,” Kern said Friday.
He will tell anyone who will listen. He especially enjoys telling it to children who, in his opinion, don’t know enough about the so-called “forgotten war.”
“Actually, I could talk to you for hours,” Kern said.
Kern, who spent his childhood in Lemoyne, saw 85 days of combat in 1952.
“I was in hell at times and didn’t know if I was going to survive or not,” Kern said.
Many men around him didn’t do that. He said his chances as a paramedic were probably better.
“Because I had a white ribbon on my left arm and a red cross and the good Lord above is the only reason I can sit here and talk to you today,” Kern said.
Sure, medics help injured soldiers survive. But the grim reality is that sometimes all they can do is help them die comfortably.
“I don’t know what they’re giving me for the pain now, but they gave me morphine,” Kern said. And he gave injections of this morphine to seriously wounded men.
“How do you care for a man who is going to die?” Kern asked rhetorically.
But how could he not? He did.