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After 50 years, images still seared into memory

Of all his experiences in the Korean War, there are two things Edward Pfieffer will never forget.

Published July 20, 2003

BEVERLY HILLS - Edward Pfieffer says two memories from the Korean War always will stick with him.

The first incident took place on a march along a snow-filled road.

"We were moving north in a column," Pfieffer, 75, recalled. "It was cold, and I mean really cold. We saw groups of North Koreans headed south.

"There was a group with a little boy walking, and he was just shivering," Pfieffer said. "I had gloves on with a leather liner underneath, and I just remember the little boy staring right at me. I gave him the gloves and said "Hi'. He kept one glove, ran over to another little boy and gave him the second glove. I'll never forget that."

Pfieffer was in Korea from 1951 to '52, serving with an Army artillery battery. His job was to use a .50-caliber machine gun to protect the big artillery guns and those manning them.

The glove incident was one of Pfieffer's peaceful memories from the war.

The other image is terrifying.

During a night gun battle, Pfieffer was firing the machine gun. He didn't hear the bullet that nearly killed him.

After the battle, Pfieffer went back to the command post at daybreak. He discovered that a bullet had nicked the crest of his uniform on top of his left shoulder. A few inches lower and it would have hit him in the heart.

"I still have the crest," he said. "It's something to remind me of the war."

After leaving the military, Pfieffer found a job where he made large pipes for carrying water or sewage.

Pfeiffer, now retired, and his wife of 50 years, Amelia, have lived in Citrus County for 21 years.

In 1996, he went back to Korea.

"When I went to Seoul in 1951, there were maybe 1,000 people living there," he said. "In 1996, there were 14-million people, and the people were wonderful.

"When I crossed the Han River in the war, they were firing bullets at me," he said. "But when I went back the second time, it was so quiet and peaceful. It really was amazing ... the difference."

[Last modified July 20, 2003, 07:29:33]

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