ELLINWOOD — Sixty years after the Korean War, Cpl. Milton Sittingdown, received his Purple Heart medal on Sunday at the Ellinwood American Legion for injuries received during battle.
Sittingdown was in the 14th Infantry Company K 25th Division in 1951 in Korea.
He grew up in Hoisington and graduated from HHS in 1946. He has six brothers, and his family has a history of military service. Several of his schoolmates volunteered, but Sittingdown waited.
“If I had to win the war for them, they’d give me a call,” said Sittingdown laughing. They did indeed call, and the soldier spent 21 months in the army.
After being drafted, his father gave him some advice. “Make the best of it,” Sittingdown repeated. “I made a game out of it.”
After he had been in Korea about nine months, Sittingdown’s company had been marching about three days while running patrols in the bitter cold of the Korean mountains. He heard an explosion of what he thought was a concussion grenade, which were specifically designed to cause injuries.
The Army corporal had received wounds to his leg, back and face by what he believes was shrapnel. He doesn’t remember being in pain.
Two men helped him walk a quarter mile over the hill to the Jeep where he got a ride to aid station. He was taken to England, although his memory of this period is spotty.
He does remember, though, getting shots of white penicillin which “stings like a bee,” he said.
When the soldier got out of the service, he worked for a while in Hoisington, and then travelled working around the country. He and his wife, who is from Liebenthal, retired to Ellinwood. They have five children, three of which have passed away. He does have lot of grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
“I wouldn’t take a million dollars for the (Army) experience,” said Sittingdown. “I wouldn’t take a nickel for more.”