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Don Warnement Army

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Don Warnement - 1744 Views
honored by Michael Ford

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Highest Rank: Corporal
Location of Service: Korean War
Gender: male
Military Position: Clerk
From City: Kalida
From State: Ohio
Current City: Ft. Jennings
Current State: Ohio
My War Stories
  1950 (Courtesy Michael Ford, Delphos Herald) By New Year’s Day 1950, the world was a different place than it had been. World War II had radically changed global politics and technology was reshaping both it and war. The Soviet Union had detonated its first atomic bomb and the Communist revolution in China had transformed Asia. A growing partnership between the two served as a precursor to the Korean War. Stopping the spread of Communism would require the active participation of many Americans. The call of duty required various forms of service. Many gave their lives on the frontlines but others were needed in other capacities. One of them was glad to serve but was also glad to do so safely. Rural Putnam County resident Don Warnement was drafted in to the United States Army in 1950. After basic training in Kentucky and extended training that included combat preparation in Missouri, he was sent to Korea the following year. “I landed at Seoul on Christmas Day 1951. I was with the 298th Engineer Battalion of the 101st Airborne, the ‘Screaming Eagles.’ Other than going up to Inchon for a couple of months and going back, I stayed in our camp near Seoul. We were in no-man’s land over there. We didn’t know South Koreans from North Koreans, so I didn’t go in to Seoul because you had no way of knowing who your friends were over there,” he said. Warnement worked as a clerk in the Army version of human resources, supplying troops to the frontline. Other than going to Japan for a week with four fellow-soldiers to get their minds off the war, he stayed in the camp. It was fenced in and on its outskirts was the only place he came near any natives. “Koreans would come up to the fence wanting cigarettes or sugar and that’s the only time I saw them,” he said. The war was its peak in 1952 and was taking a toll. Seoul had fallen to the Communists more than once. Truce talks were stalled and civilian casualties were now estimated at 2 million in the North alone. American forces were dropping nearly as much fire north of the 38th Parallel as had been used to fry Germany to a crisp in the campaign against the Nazis. Through it all, Warnement simply performed his assigned duties. He is grateful for having the opportunity. “I didn’t see any action and I was fortunate. I had a couple of buddies who left training the same time I did and they didn’t come back. Of course, I’m glad I made it home but I’m also glad I served. I had four brothers in World War II and our father was in World War I, so our family did its part in serving the country,” he said. Warnement and his wife, Barbara, had wedding plans in place when he was drafted but they put them aside. In case he would not return, he did not want her to be a young widow. The Kalida High School graduate was rewarded for displaying his noble character within the confines of his military orders. “I got the Korean Service Medal and the United Nations Service Medal. I also got the Bronze Star for achieving the highest rank I could get in the group I was with, I made corporal by the time I came home. I also got the Silver Star for my time in the war zone,” he said. Warnement was discharged in November 1952 and came home to make Barbara his wife the following year and raise three children. He went to work for the former Fruehauf Corporation. He retired from there in 1991.