By: Pat Grant
Moving to La Costa Glen from Ocean Hills in 2016, Wayne Strunk is a Californian, born and educated in Los Angeles, and a Korean War veteran. He has two children, two grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren. He enjoys traveling and made a recent trip to South Korea as the guest of the Ministry of Veterans and Patriots.
By June 1950, President Truman’s concern about communist China called for defending S. Korea against N. Korea’s invasion. After President Truman went to the UN for action, many nations aided S. Korea, with 16 of those countries assisting the U.S. with combat troops. General MacArthur, commanding U.N. forces, was unsuccessful until he executed a strategic amphibious maneuver at Inchon. And that’s where Wayne comes in, a 17-year-old enlisting out of high school into an army amphibious force serving in Inchon, S. Korea, in 1950.
Recently Wayne learned about a trip to Korea honoring Korean War veterans from countries that had sent combat troops to S. Korea. Wayne was one of 31 U.S. veterans taking the October trip. S. Korea paid all expenses and 50% airfare for the six-day stay for Wayne and resident Patty Burke, who accompanied him.
The group toured the country, honored everywhere as heroes. At the final ceremony, the veterans were each presented with medals and thanked for their sacrifice in helping to save S. Korea from communism. “They wined and dined us,” Wayne noted. “They treated us well.” He will tell us more about Inchon and his experiences at the November Veterans’ Day program in Catalina Hall.
Wayne has visited 84 countries and wants to visit more. But this trip was different. Wayne’s return to Korea has to be a poignant reminder of a time in his life when each day brought danger. “Well,” says Wayne, “I survived.” And really, that says it all.
Join us for our Veterans Day Program on Monday, November 11th at 11 am in the Catalina Hall.