OPINION | Barry Richard: What Would Uncle Buddy Think of Trump-Kim Summit?
What would my Uncle Buddy say about the summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korea's Kim Jong Un?
Bud was among only a handful of survivors of the Battle of Pork Chop Hill, one of the bloodiest of the Korean conflict. He rarely spoke of his experience until much later in life. It was often too difficult. Who cared to hear about it anyway?
In 1950, only five years after the end of World War II, America found itself chin deep in Korea. Thirty-four thousand American troops were killed. An additional 8,000 are still listed as Missing in Action. A cease-fire or armistice brought hostilities to a close in 1953, but the undeclared war has never been officially brought to a close. It is hoped that it will be as a result of this summit.
My Uncle Bud, known to most as Howard "Howie" Prescott, Jr., was an infantryman in the army in Korea. He suffered frostbite in both feet that would bother him the rest of his life. Like many soldiers, he would relive his experience over and over each night in the darkness of his room.
When Uncle Bud's bunker was destroyed by enemy fire, he was sent out to collect the bodies of other soldiers who didn't survive. The bodies were hoisted upon a truck and taken down the hillside for eventual shipment back home The first two bodies he encountered were Charlie D'Andrea and Junior Macedo, his two best pals from back home in New Bedford.
D'Andrea and Macedo were among 29 New Bedford men who died in Korean. Seven others from Acushnet and Fairhaven also perished. Their names are listed on a Korean War memorial at Clasky Common Park for which Uncle Bud and other survivors fought and won funding. As many as 9,000 servicemen remain missing in action in Korea.
Uncle Bud was awarded the Korean Service Medal with two Bronze Service Stars. He returned home, had a family and spent most of the rest of his life working at Revere Copper and Brass. He and the others just melded back into the society they left for a brief eternity to defend freedom in the hills of Korea.
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Howard Prescott, Jr. retired in 1993 and passed away in 2015 at 83.
As I watch the images of President Donald Trump and North Korea's Kim Jong Un float across my TV screen in the predawn darkness I can't help but wonder what Uncle Bud would say about all of this.
Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.