Harold W. Griggs (1928-2016) from Benton, KY was drafted into the Army November 10th, 1950. He had basic training at Camp Breckingridge, Kentucky. In February 1951 he left for Korea by way of Seattle Washington , Tokyo Japan, and Sasebo Japan. In May 1951 he faced his first battle. He was a Sergeant in 9th Infantry Regiment Company A. He was assigned to 57 Recoilless Rifle squad as ammunition bearer.
They were ordered to take a hill at all costs. One such hill resulted in a high cost. In the area of Tondul on September 29th 1953, an artillery or mortar fell within 3 feet of Harold. Harold was wounded in that blast, but his life was saved by the another soldier who took most of the blast. Part of his foot was missing and his left arm was broken and behind his back, but he was alive. 4 soldiers and 2 South Korean soldiers tried to help. He couldn’t walk even with their help and there was no medic. They had to hide in the bushes the rest of the night. At 7:30 AM he was put on a litter, strapped to a tank, then a jeep, then a helicopter and flew to the hospital. There they amputated his leg below the knee. He was awarded the Purple Heart while in the hospital in Korea. He was soon transferred to Tokyo General Hospital, then on to Hawaii. After that he was transferred to California. He was then relieved to be told he would be sent to Ft. Campell Kentucky to the new amputee center which was a couple of hours from his home town of Benton KY. He arrived in Ft. Campell on October 17, 1951. They amputated more of his leg and rebroke his arm to put a pin in it and set it properly. When the doctor put the pin in he left some gauze in which caused an infection which plagued him the rest of his life. Then in April of 1952 he got his new leg and started pulling duty. He was discharged from the hospital March 31, 1953.
He had fond memories of the USO shows by Bob Hope and Rita Hayworth who signed his cast when she visited while he was in the hospital in California. His other thoughts of the Korean War “I would like to say here what I think of the Korean Conflict. I do believe that if the U.S. sends troops that it should be a declared war and when we get there we should be allowed to win the war, not just go to the Yalu River or the 38th parallel. I was not regular army. I was drafted to fight in a war not a conflict. You can see I am a little bitter. I guess, if I had it to do again I would say if you declare war – we’ll go and if not I won’t go.”
Harold went on to have a very full life. He got engaged while in the hospital at Ft. Campbell. He married Mildred Johnston Griggs. They had 5 children. He later became Postmaster of Calvert City KY. He was also very involved church activities. He was a loving husband, father, grandfather and friend to many.
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Korean War - Key Events
July 10, 1951
Truce talks between the UN and the communists begin at Kaesŏng. The negotiations do not mark an end to the war, however; the fighting continues for two more years. In October the peace talks relocate to the village of P’anmunjŏm.
These events are taken from the Encyclopedia Britannica