NORA SPRINGS | Quilts of Valor recently awarded six North Iowa military veterans with custom-made quilts on Wednesday, Dec. 26 at the Nora Springs Care Center activity room.
Among the recipients was Gene Morische, 91, U.S. Army, of rural Osage.
“The quilt was a lot more attention than when we got home from Korea. It was called a ‘Police Action’ and nobody paid much attention to it, except for those of us who were over there," Morische said. “I appreciate someone went to a lot of work to make the quilt.”
Morische, was raised on a farm west of Osage until he was 10 years old, when moved to a farm west of Orchard. In 1944, he graduated from Orchard High School. He then farmed with his dad until 1951. In January 1951, after just six months of marriage to his wife, Lea, he joined the U.S. Army during the Korean Conflict.
Morische joined his unit, the 516 Ordinance Company, at Fort Bragg, South Carolina.
“We were ordered overseas as a full unit,” he said. “We traveled across country by train and were shipped out from San Francisco. There were about a 100 of us all together.
“That was the sickest I had been in all my life, with the rough weather. We were all hanging over the rail.”
When Morische and his unit landed in Pusan, Korea, he drove his wrecker off the ship himself.
“They first housed us in a large hanger. That was the last time I had a roof over my head for more than a year,” Morische said.
He added in the field they were housed in six-men tents.
“I was assigned to a four-ton wrecker that had been used in the Second World War,” Morische said. “We had five wreckers and did maintenance on military trucks. I never saw a hard-surface road. They were just narrow, winding roads.”
He added the poorest of gravel roads in our area are far superior to the roads they traveled in the mountains of Korea.
“By the winter of 1952, we were north of the 38th Parallel. It was winter, and it was cold. The weather was a lot like Iowa. I was never colder in my life and I couldn’t get warm,” Morische said. “You could stand 10 feet from the fuel oil stove in the tent and never get warm. One had to work to keep from freezing to death.
“We weren’t prepared for that war. They had a hard time just getting us clothes and repairs.”
Morische said one of their small distractions from the harsh winter and war was their dog, Wreck.
“We called him Wreck because that is what he looked like,” Morische said. “Best of all he liked beer, but he didn’t get a lot of it, because there wasn’t much to go around."
He said he thought it was in February when a replacement came and said they could go home.
“We shipped out of Inchon, and in about two weeks, we arrived in the States,” Morische said.
“One thing I want to say, I couldn’t have made it without God,” Morische said. “When I walked up the gang plank to come home, I know God had a hold of my arm.”