Personal stories from local veterans

Gordon Woods / Journal — Local military veterans Marc Rogers, Jesse Owens, Ron Devore and program emcee Nelson Thorp talked on Saturday about their military experiences and life back home. The presentation was sponsored by the DeWItt Clinton Daughters of the American Revolution and hosted by Clinton AMVETS and American Legion at the Clinton Legion hall.

Local DAR program part of 2022 Clinton Veterans Day recognition

CLINTON — Three local military veterans gave some insight on Saturday into their active service days and the reasons they served.

The program was presented by the DeWitt Clinton Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR) and hosted by the Clinton American Legion and Clinton AMVETS at the Legion hall

U.S. Marine Corps veteran Ron Devore, U.S. Army veteran Jesse Owens and U.S. Navy veteran Marc Rogers spoke before a crowd of 40-50 people about their time in the service and about their life after returning to the civilian world.

U.S. Marine Corps veteran of the Korean war Ron Devore initially worked for the railroad after finishing school. 

“My goal was to become an engineer, which I eventually did,” Devore said.

With some influence from returned World War II veterans, Devore thought joining the military might be a good move.  He was able to choose his specialty, and he was told he qualified for a military railroad assignment.

Unfortunately, the reality was he completed basic training as a Rifleman.

“So, I went to Korea with a Rifleman’s MOS” (Military Occupational Specialty).

“I went to Japan and then flew to Korea,” Devore said.

Devore faced the threats of combat almost immediately; troops were advised to lay on the floors of the train cars because of potential firing by enemy forces.

He was assigned as part of a mortar group.

During a convoy, Devore helped move a truck during an enemy attack.  The truck carried a load of mortar shells.

“I knew if that truck was hit, we’d all be cinders,” he said.

They were able to move the vehicle before Chinese troops began “raining mortars down on our position,” Devore said.

China heavily supported North Korean forces during the war.

One of the Chinese mortars knocked out communications for Devore’s unit, which led command to believe the unit was wiped out.  U.S. commanders ordered an airstrike on the enemy position, which stopped the shelling.

For him, the winter conditions were the worst part of his experience in Korea, Devore said.

“The only place you could get any warmth at all was in a sleeping bag,” he said. 

Devore said, even in sub-zero conditions, troops still had to perform the duties they normally would have to conduct.

“But, we got through it.”

• Read the complete story in the Friday, Nov. 18 print edition of the Clinton Journal or now in the Journal E-Edition for subscribers.

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