Unexpectedly Intriguing!
May 30, 2005

I recently received a solicitation from Buzz Aldrin asking for support for the Korean War Veterans National Museum. It included what can only be described as an incredible story - one as much about survival and triumph as it is about the horrors of that war - which I believe deserves special attention this Memorial Day. The story, which I'm quoting from the letter, is that of Roy Manring:

Roy joined the Army on a $500 bet and he wound up in Korea in July of 1950. His regiment was in 31 days of fighting and they found themselves deep in enemy territory.

Roy and other members of this unit were taken prisoner by the North Koreans and were forced to march for three days and four nights with little food and almost no water.

One American slipped out of the bonds that tied him to the other prisoners. When the North Koreans found out, they beheaded him.

Then, on the morning of August 18, 1950, Roy and the ohter 47 or so POWs were lined up and machine-gunned by their North Korean captors.

Roy was hit 5 times and was bleeding heavily. Somehow, he maintained conscoiusness, and knowing the enemy would be back, he managed to crawl underneath the body of one of the dead GIs.

When the North Koreans returned, the started sticking bayonets in the bodies, checking for survivors.

Roy grunted when they stabbed him in the leg, but the North Korean soldier thought the sound came from the dead body on top of Roy, so he shot the corpse two more times.

Both bullets passed through the body and struck Roy, giving him a total of 7 bullet wounds.

As the North Korean troops moved on, Roy struggled to get away, and he was shot 5 more times in the back.

Unbelievably, he was able to keep going until he came across an American patrol, which started firing at him, believing him to be the enemy. One of the bullets actually grazed his head before he managed to yell at them and tell them he was an American.

While Roy spent the next 18 months in hospitals recovering from his wounds, news of the massacre of the POWs spread and he became a national celebrity.

In spite of his celebrity, however, there was no big party to honor him when he came home - because there were no parties or parades for any Korean War veteran.

Fifty years later, it's hard to even find significant mentions of the Korean War in school textbooks. While I don't have a website address for the Korean War Veterans National Museum, you might find more information through the Korean War Educator site, as well as much more history.

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