Hall Summit Resident Honored

Recently Hall Summit resident Elmer Hickman was honored by the 2019 Woodmen Life Convention held in Lafayette.  Hickman told The Journal they sought him out as a military veteran and invited him to the convention.  He added he was surprised by the blanket and other awards.

The Journal thanks Milton Vining for assembling this story.  Vining is the pastor of Hickman’s church and he was recently elected Mayor of Ringgold.

Elmer D. Hickman’s story:

I was raised on a farm in Castor, Louisiana. I joined the Army Sept. 2, 1949 and went to basic training at Ft. Chaffee, Arkansas. After spending 13 weeks in training as a recruiter, they sent me back home for 10 days on my way to Ft. Lawton, Washington.

I was in a replacement company for thirty days, then deployed to Japan on a Troop Ship named the “St. Patrick”. We arrived in Tokyo and I was put in a shell company. My assignment was for training as a Combat Engineer. I was sent to the Third Combat Engineer in late January of 1950.

I was there for several months working in the motor pool as a mechanic when the Korean War started. North Korea invaded South Korea on June 25th, 1950. I was deployed to South Korea on a C-12 headquarters truck arriving in Taejeon, Korea July 10,1950.

We were given the task of building a Bailey Bridge (a floating bridge) in the mountains. It was a dangerous mission, so we were ordered to drive with full head lights on, and with all threats, equipment, and materials to build that 250 foot bridge.

We got 15 thousand troops across the Bridge. After this, we set TNT in the bridge, blew it up, then went back into the mountains, set more TNT and closed the roads behind us.

We then went to Taejeon,  Korea to a school house, circled the area with trucks, and had a rest. We were not sure how, but four Russian tanks got past, and we were attacked a little after sun up on the 20th of July 1950. We blew up three Russian tanks that Russia had loaned to North Korea, one got away.

Between 12 and 1 o’clock, it returned to the streets of Taejeon, Korea, and while trying to destroy it, I was wounded with an inch and a quarter long by quarter inch wide piece of spinning shrapnel. It hit my right eye.

They sent me to an aide station in South Korea, but North Korea shelled this station while me and seven others were in it. They injected me with Novocain. The captain said, “We have to get these men out,” so they sent us back to Pusan, South Korea. They then sent me back to Japan for eye surgery, then flew me back home first to California, then to Brooke Army Hospital in San Antonio, TX, where my eye was removed. Since then I have lived with one eye.

I came home, started back to church where my Dad was the pastor and met Ella Mae, married her and God blessed me with fifty seven years of marriage. I have been a Pentecostal Preacher for fifty seven years.

When Ella Mae passed away, I married Kay who died with a stroke after 2 years. I am now married again to Fay for two and a half years.

I am truly blessed at 87 years. I plan on living to be at least a hundred or more. The last time Doctors told me I was going to die, I quoted them a scripture. Psalm 118:17 says, “I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord.”

That is what I am doing today, declaring the works of the Lord! I currently attend the United Pentecostal Church of Ringgold, Ringgold, LA.

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