GEN DEAN VISITS THE WOUNDED
8—THE WASHINOTON DAILY NEWS, FRIDAY, OCTOBER 23, 1953; The Only Thing We Can Get Out of This Is to Help Each Other,’ By NEIL McNEILL
Gen. Dean, right, visits with some wounded Korea veterans, several of them from his 24th Division. The patients, left to right: Pfc Robert Peters, Falls Church, VA; Corp. Donald Schmincke, Baltimore, MD; Pfc. William Hannon, New York City; Pvt. Harold Bell, Passaic, NJ; Pfc. Walter Kroeck, Irvington, NJ, and Pfc. James R. Wendling, Cincinnati, OH—United Press Photo. Peters, who submitted the original of this article, is Life Member 1312, Hannon is Life Member 1836, and Kroeck is an annual member.
Maj. Gen. William F. Dean walked swiftly thru the wide corridor into Ward 33 at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. A squad of officers trooped behind him.
A Colonel introduced Gen. Dean to the doctor in charge of the ward and the head nurse. Gen. Dean shook hands and walked quickly into the ward proper.
The youth in the first bed sat up a little as Gen. Dean walked up. He shook the boy’s left hand--his right arm was missing—asking him his name, his outfit and where he was wounded.
“Keep your chin up,” the General said and moved to the next bed.
The General talked to every soldier on one side of the room. They stood if they could, or sat on their beds; they all looked embarrassed.
Gen. Dean moved swiftly.
In a recreation area at the end of the ward, the hospital public relations men had assembled some wounded men from the General’s 24th Division, the one he commanded when he was captured in Korea.
The first man was Pfc. William P. Hannon, 21, of the Bronx. He had a leg missing. Gen. Dean asked him what outfit he’d been with, wished him luck and then was introduced to Corp. Donald R. Schmincke, 22, of Baltimore.-
The General had more in common with the Corporal. He was Captured in July, 1950; he had been with the division while the General was still commander. Corp. Schmicke stood with his hands behind him.
What prison camp had he been in, the General wanted to know.
Was that the same prison camp in which Maj. Dunn had been?
“Yes, it was.”
“What about a Capt. Maddon, was that the name?” the General asked himself.
“What the hell, I’m getting a little dull in the mind,” he said to no one in particular, and turned around almost wildly. A captain told him the name.
“HELP EACH OTHER”
The General went back to questioning Corp. Schmincke about Maj. Dunn and what he did at the prison camp.
“Write it out, and go before the adjutant and swear to it. If I can, I’m going to get him a decoration. “The only thing we can get out of this is to help each other,” Gen. Dean said and looked around, asking for the adjutant.
Maj. Gen. Leonard D. Heaton, the hospital’s commander, assured Gen. Dean the corporal would be brought before the adjutant to swear to a statement.
The General moved on and told another 24th Division veteran who’d lost an eye that “ten years ago my wife lost an eye with a golf ball and they took it out here at Walter Reed.”
He shook hands with the others, and went back to finish the visit in the ward.
Five minutes later he’d come to the last patients—seven Turkish soldiers.
An interpreter was ready and Gen. Dean said, “Tell them I’m honored to meet a Turkish soldier.
“I didn’t fight with them of course. Everybody who did tells me they did an outstanding job. Nothing but admiration.”
The Turks—small dark men all—stood up, even the leg amputees, balancing uneasily.
Then the visit ended.
But out on the lawn, the 24th Division men were waiting with the public relations men and the photographers.
The men were arranged for the picture.
“Squat down here like this, General,” a photographer said.
“This is the way the Koreans do it,” Gen. Dean said, rocking back and forth on his heels.
“Sit down on the grass in front, General,” a photographer said. “That isn’t the way the Koreans do it,” Gen. Dean said.
“But remember, you’ve been repatriated, General,” the photographer said.
Gen. Dean sat down on the grass.
William J. Hannon, 14182 Delsilver Dr., Brooksville, FL, 34613-5918, 352-596-8908. wsallybill2002[at]yahoo.com
Walter W. Kroeck, 16 Parkway Pl., Red Bank, NJ 07701-5643, 908-741-0160. Pelicansfish[at]aol.com
Robert H. Peters, 1023 San Domingo Rd., Orlando, FL, 32808-7127, 407-298-4947. rpeters6[at]cfl.rr.com
The Taro Leaf, Vol 63(4) Fall 2009, pg. 16.