Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

'Some Wounds Don't Bleed': Local Veteran Recounts War

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

'Some Wounds Don't Bleed': Local Veteran Recounts War

Article excerpt

Leonard Adreon of Clayton spent most of his post-collegiate years as a real estate consultant. But he started those years in Korea, as a naval hospital corpsman serving with a Marine infantry company in a bloody, stalemated war along the 38th Parallel.

Adreon's time in uniform began in World War II. After graduating from Soldan High School in 1944, he got his draft notice. Unlike most draftees, Adreon went into the Navy. After training as a corpsman, he spent most of the war in Chicago. Upon mustering out, he absent-mindedly joined the inactive Naval Reserve, figuring that the money would come in handy.

Then he enrolled at Washington University, earning a letter in basketball and a bachelor's degree in 1950. "The commencement speaker was Bernard Baruch, a prominent investor and philanthropist who I'm sure was a thoughtful guy," Adreon writes, adding: "I don't remember what he said."

More memorable was his summer of '46, spent as an usher at Sportsman's Park. There, he got to witness the Cardinals win the World Series.

If he all but forgot the Navy, the Navy remembered him. As the Korean War kept grinding on, the Navy needed corpsmen to tend to Marines on the front lines. Adreon got his recall notice and trained with the Marines at Camp Pendleton, Calif., before shipping off to Korea.

In his memoir, subtitled "A Marine Corpsman Fighting Through the Blood and Mud of the Korean War," writes a lot about blood, mud and snow as well. (Some former Marines may grouse about Adreon's use of the word "Marine" in his subtitle, given that he was a sailor, not a Marine. But others may grant him his choice of words, given that he lived and fought alongside front-line Marines.)

In his richly illustrated book, Adreon includes some of the poetry he has written about his time in Korea in 1951-52. One poem takes its title from its very last line:

Two hundred and ten went up the hill,

Eighty Seven reached the top,

Another hill, another day,

We own the hill.

We paid too much.

Adreon writes well, even of petty military matters. …

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