St. Petersburg Times Online: Business

Weather | Sports | Forums | Comics | Classifieds | Calendar | Movies

The faces behind the fight

A half-century later, the experiences of local Korean War veterans are still etched in their memories.

Times Staff Writers
Published July 25, 2003

These interviews were done by Times staff writers Wes Allison, Robert King, Alex Leary, Babita Persaud, Jorge Sanchez and Matthew Waite. The flags used in some photographs were provided by All American Flag & Pennant in Pinellas Park.

TOM CARRICK, 70, New Port Richey

K Company, 8th Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division

Carrick was wounded by shrapnel in Pusan in August 1950. He returned to his unit, fought his way north, and was captured by the Chinese in Unsan that November. He glanced at his watch before they stripped it away - 7 a.m. When he was freed, he read the watch of the officer who greeted him. Then he did the math.

"One thousand fifteen days, two hours and thirty-seven minutes," Carrick said.

Carrick returned to his native Virginia after the war and held several jobs before moving to Florida in 1959. He and Ruth, his wife of 43 years, raised two children.

DON EDWARDS, 71, Largo

E Company, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division

Surrounded by the enemy and out of ammunition, Sgt. Edwards and about 15 of his men were captured on May 18, 1951. He was marched north to a camp where he spent a bitter winter in his summer-weight uniform. Of the 1,200 men in the camp, 300 died of cholera. In all, Edwards was held for more than two years.

"All we could think of was getting back home," said Edwards, a native of Cape Girardeau, Mo., who had been wounded earlier in the war. "Seeing loved ones. Getting away from there."

He and his wife, Juvata, raised a daughter.


George Company, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Division

In September 1950, Weeks, a corporal, and six fellow Marines were on patrol in Seoul when they found North Koreans hiding in a culvert, ready to ambush. A Marine fired a phosphorous grenade and white smoke covered the hole. The Marines were able to cross safely.

A Life magazine photographer captured the scene on film. Weeks is pictured in the Sept. 18, 1950, issue. The headline reads: "Fierce Street Fighting Brings Marines to City's Center."

That December, after climbing a hill near the Chosin Reservoir, Weeks was shot in the left leg. He wears a slightly raised shoe because of bone loss from the injury.

He and his wife, Shirley, raised two daughters.

Weeks can be heard talking about his war experiences at

LINARD LYNCH, 75, Crystal River

Fox Company, 19th Infantry Regiment, 24th Division

Surrounded by the enemy, Lynch grabbed a machine gun and blasted away until he ran out of bullets, helping his platoon to safety. Then, while running down a snowy hillside, he fell into a creek bed. "(It) was lined with Chinese soldiers. I fell into a group of about 50 of them," he said.

Lynch spent the next 32 months of the Korean War as a prisoner. He was held at two POW camps. He managed to escape twice but was recaptured both times. Lynch was released on Sept. 3, 1953, after the armistice was signed. He weighed about 107 pounds.

"They call it the Forgotten War and in a way, it was," he said. "The guys who were in it tried to forget about it when they got back. We weren't like the Vietnam guys, who let it be known what happened over there."

He and his wife, Virginia, have been married for 50 years.

ARTHUR MORGAN JR., 71, St. Petersburg

955th Field Artillery

Serving in the signal corps, Morgan's job was to lay and repair telephone lines between units so commanders could communicate. Snipers and enemy mortars were constant threats.

"Boy, they were good with those mortars. They could put one in your hip pocket," Morgan said. "If you were standing in a spot and they fired the first round, don't be there when they fire the next round, because they were going to hit that spot."

A native of Cordele, Ga., Morgan moved to Florida in 1955. He raised three children and has been married to his wife, Gladys, for 24 years.

LOU SCHNEIDER, 73, Spring Hill

74th Ordnance Battalion Headquarters

Late one night, the 725th Infantry Division unit called Schneider with an emergency request: They were being overrun by Chinese soldiers and were nearly out of ammunition.

Schneider, a supply clerk, looked around for a driver but found none. So - without an armed escort, and with only a vague notion of where he was headed - he drove a 21/2-ton truck full of rifle clips for an hour until he reached the front line. The unit he supplied survived the night.

"All I know was they needed help," he said. "They came out okay."

He and his former wife raised five children.

© Copyright, St. Petersburg Times. All rights reserved.