‘I’m glad to be here,’ Korean War veteran reflects 70 years later

This is a recurring recording of WBNG's 6am Morning Newscast.
Published: Oct. 20, 2022 at 3:24 PM EDT
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(WBNG) -- “It pays to advertise and that has been my theory all my life,” said Korean Army Veteran Everett Elbrecht. “It pays to advertise what we have done and nobody recognized us.”

Of the 49 veterans, part of the Twin Tiers Honor Flight Mission 13, Elbrecht is sure to leave an impression.

“This is the uniform that I had when I was on the frontlines when I got discharged, and when they said I was coming home from the military,” he said. “I had the same clothes on then as I do now.”

Elbrecht wears his uniform every chance he gets; Including fairs, parades, military holidays, and Mission 13 is not different.

Originally from New Milford, Penn., Elbrecht said he had difficulty when it came time to enlist in the military.

Not only was the U.S. cutting forces after the end of WWII, but he also didn’t have a way to fingerprint.

“They thought I was a criminal because I had no fingerprints,” Elbrecht said. “Working in a stone quarry, I lost all of my fingerprints.”

From there, Elbrecht went on to basic training and engineering school before being sent to Japan and Korea where he served in the 13th Combat Engineers as a demolition man.

“I was the one who found the first wooden mine during the war,” he said.

However, that dark olive green uniform is more than just a piece of clothing for Elbrecht. He said out of his outfit, it’s all he has left to remember the people he served beside.

“I last saw them when the colonel told them to go up on the hill,” he said. “That was the last I saw that group of people that I took all my basic training with. That’s where I ended up; All by myself.”

It’s a way to remember the sacrifices he, and his Brothers and Sisters in Arms, have made.

“I’m glad I’m here today and it pays to advertise, but so many people don’t understand what I’ve been through,” Elbrecht said.