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Standard bash pays tribute to veterans
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Before bands played and festivities got under way yesterday at the Standard’s second Back to the ’60s Bash at Warren County Fairgrounds, there was a fitting tribute to World War II and Korean War veterans.
Col. James A. Dillon served 12 months of active duty with the Army Engineers and told of the horrors he experienced in Korea.
“War is not good and you can’t erase the images imprinted in your mind,” said Dillon. “Those who survived appreciate the fact we’re still living. I think it’s appropriate for us to keep in our minds the boys we have in Afghanistan and Iraq and keep them in our prayers.”
Dillon said anyone who served in Korea will remember the stench that was overpowering until you got used to it. Upon first arriving, he said it was common for soldiers to vomit for about a week after meals the smell was so strong.
The overall filth, terrain, and harsh climate also presented challenges.
“There’s not a Korean War veteran who doesn’t remember how the mountains impeded everything you did,” said Dillon. “Then there was the winter with temperatures 20, 30, and 40 degrees below zero. As a Southern boy, I didn’t know sea water could freeze, but I saw it over there.”
Dillon said none of the Koreans, even the allies, could be trusted and that was something soldiers quickly learned.
“He might be your best friend, but he’d steal everything you had,” said Dillon.
Capt. Howard Locke spent over four years as an Air Force pilot during World War II. He flew planes throughout the European Theater dropping paratroopers and supplies.
Locke said he landed in places that barely had room for an airstrip and escaped some tight spots flying a plane that wasn’t equipped with weapons.
“We didn’t have guns so we’d have to hide behind some clouds,” said Locke when talking about his evasive tactics. “If you got shot down, the best place you could land was in a canal if you could get there. The Navy had PT boats that would rescue you in about 15 minutes.”
Locke said he was fortunate to have never been shot down, although his planes did get hit by enemy fire many times. He said during D-Day he dropped paratroopers into heavy machine gun fire in what were some tough battles.
Of the invasion of Normandy he said, “We knew it was coming, we just didn’t know when.”
Once the ceremony was complete, visitors enjoyed food and craft vendors set up around Grandstand Arena. There was a car show, inflatables for the kids, a cornhole tournament, and even a firefighter’s competition.