Biloxi vet remembers Korea, Vietnam

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Ralph Krach is a veteran who lives in Biloxi. Even at 79, the long ago memories of war, and what he endured during that time are still with him.

We recently featured Mr. Krach on our Project Homefront.

He served in two wars, first Korea and then Vietnam. As bad as Vietnam was, Krach told us that Korea was even worse. The conditions were beyond miserable.

At his home, you can see a UPI photo of Ralph catching just a few hours of sleep one night in a foxhole. You can tell in the photo, that he was miserably cold. That night, the actual temperature went down to -28 degrees.

But as bad as the conditions were, that was not the worst thing about Korea. It was the death he saw all around him that he found so hard to deal with on almost a daily basis. Like the night he dove into a foxhole, and glanced up to see a dead American soldier, with a wisp of blond hair sticking out of his poncho.

The memory just never goes away.

"Where it gets to me," he told us fighting back tears, "Is every time I see a little cotton top kid, I go right back to that night in that foxhole. I just go right back."

Three days later, Ralph saw one of his best friends die on the battlefield.

"He was 17, he never, never knew what life was, never had grandchildren. I have my grandchildren," he said.

Then, another day Kroch had to carry a fellow dead soldier down a hill. Ralph said that day was his 18th birthday.

"I will never forget my 18th birthday. That is something that just won't go, just won't go away."

Ralph admits feeling guilty that he's alive, while so many others didn't make it. In fact, for a long time, he suffered from PTSD.

"I don't necessarily get angry, you just get sad," he said.

As difficult as his time serving in two wars was, Kroch, like many veterans, said he would do it all over again. He ended our conversation with a smile and told us that he knows he is a very, very lucky guy.

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