Bernard J. “Brian” McParland
Bernard J. “Brian” McParland was born on April 6, 1928 in Portadown, County Armagh, Northern Ireland and immigrated to the United States in the late 1940s.
Brian served in L Company, 179th Infantry Regiment of the 45th Infantry Division. Brian started his service at Camp Polk, Louisiana for basic training. After basic, Brian had 30 days leave which he spent in New York where he proposed to his future wife, Phyllis.
Brian and his unit were first sent to Hokkaido, Japan where the company participated in battalion and regimental combat team excursions. But in December 1952, the company was transferred to Inchon, South Korea. Once they arrive in Korea, Brian and his company became part of the main line of resistance and were sent out on patrols. In June 1952, L Company was sent to Old Baldy. Brian was wounded at Old Baldy when he was hit with shrapnel in the right leg and left foot. He was transferred to the 8055 MASH unit and eventually air lifted to Yokohama, Japan where he received the Purple Heart.
After a couple of weeks at Yokohama, Brian was sent back to the US to Fort Deven’s Hospital where he was reunited with Phyllis. Brian underwent several surgeries and bone graft and extensive physical therapy. During that time, Brian received his US Citizenship in February 1953 and in October 1953, Brian and Phyllis were married.
After the wedding, Brian went to Walter Reed Army Medical Center for further treatment. After three and half years with over 20 surgeries, Brian was finally released from Walter Reed in December 1955.
After his release from the hospital, Brian enrolled in the University of Connecticut and after graduation, began his career at Airborne Instruments Laboratory. Brian went back to school at Hofstra University and graduated with a degree in Engineering Electronics. During that time, Brian and Phyllis expanded their family and had two children, Kevin and Brenda.
Throughout his life, Brian kept his Irish roots alive, participating in both the Saffron Kilts and the American Celtic Pipe Band. He was also involved with the Knights of Columbus and reunions with members of the L Company. Brian designed the L Company, 179th Infantry Monument that was installed on the grounds of the 45th Division Museum in Oklahoma City in 2002.
Brian and Phyllis travelled extensively, including many trips back to Ireland to visit his extended family. Brian was also part of the Honor Flight of West Central Florida in April 2017.
Brian wrote down his life memories, including his time in Korea, which is a wonderful treasure for his family. Brian passed away on May 10, 2021.
Korean War - Key Events
July 27, 1953
Mark W. Clark for the UN Command, Peng Dehuai for the Chinese, and Kim Il-Sung for North Korea conclude an armistice ending hostilities. A demilitarized zone is created that roughly follows the prewar border along the 38th parallel. South Korean Pres. Syngman Rhee announces his acceptance of the agreement, but no representative of South Korea ever signs the document.
These events are taken from the Encyclopedia Britannica