Coast Veteran Remembers Two Wars - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

03/10/03

Coast Veteran Remembers Two Wars

As America builds up to war, we thought it would be interesting to talk to a man who knows all too well, what war is all about. Biloxi resident Ed Horstman lived through the Korean and Vietnam wars. What he has to say is important for all of our young military men and women, to hear.

Horstman was 19 years old, when he was sent to Korea. It did not take long before he learned of the horrors of war. While sitting while a group of men in a military transport truck, a Korean peasant woman approached the vehicle asking for food. Horstman says he will never forget what happened next.

"The same woman I gave sea rations to, she reached into her blouse, pulled out a hand grenade, and blew me right out of the truck, killed four guys in the back of the truck."

Horstman was in the infantry in Korea and in Vietnam he served in the special forces. He was a good soldier. On a table in his Biloxi home are countless medals including a purple heart, silver star, and distinguished service cross.

Horstman estimates he killed hundreds of men, sometimes in hand to hand combat.

"The first one I stuck a bayonet in, could not get it out of his chest, stuck between ribs, so I had to blow it out," Horstman said.

The native of New York, says he is proud of what he did for his country, but he also knows, despite how the Hollywood movies make it look, there is nothing glamorous about war.

"I think the hardest part that I felt in the war, in Vietnam as well as Korea, is when somebody is wounded, and you can't do nothing for them, and they die in your arms," said Horstman.

This former Green Beret says he watches with interest the developments is the Middle East, his advice to our soldiers, if we go to war, understand the experience will haunt you, forever.

"It is awful hard to talk about war, if you been there, and done it, uh, uh, people are not happy about talking about it, really," Horstman says.

by Jeff Lawson

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