Elmer Dickman, 85, of Delphos traveled to Dayton on July 19 to participate in a ceremony to honor Korean War veterans. While there, Dickman received the Ambassador for Peace Medal, left on table in front of Dickman, an expression of appreciation from the Korean government to U.S. service men and women who served in the Korean conflict. He also received his Korean War Service Medal. (DHI Media/Nancy Spencer)
Elmer Dickman, 85, of Delphos traveled to Dayton on July 19 to participate in a ceremony to honor Korean War veterans. While there, Dickman received the Ambassador for Peace Medal, left on table in front of Dickman, an expression of appreciation from the Korean government to U.S. service men and women who served in the Korean conflict. He also received his Korean War Service Medal. (DHI Media/Nancy Spencer)

DELPHOS — In July, Elmer Dickman and his son, Dave, traveled to Dayton for the 64th anniversary of the beginning of the Korean War.

During the ceremony, the Deputy Consul General of the Korean Consulate of Chicago distributed the Ambassador for Peace Medal to 270 veterans. The medal is an expression of appreciation from the Korean government to U.S. service men and women who served in the Korean conflict. Dickman was one of those recipients. He said he didn’t agree with the politics of the war but he did his duty.

“We had a job to do,” he said. “I feel sorry for the guys that have to go. I know what they are going through. I hope what we did made a difference.”

“The honeymoon is over” couldn’t have been more true for 21-year-old Dickman on Jan. 13, 1951. He and his bride, Mary Beatrice (Warnecke), had just returned from a wedding trip to Canada and had stopped at his mother’s house on the way home.



“She welcomed us back and told me there was a brown envelope that had come in the mail for me,” Dickman recalled. “I knew what it was so I told my mother goodbye and headed home with my new bride.”

When he opened the government missive, he learned he had just three days to report to the Ottawa Courthouse on Jan. 16. He had been drafted.

“I really hadn’t thought much about the war and what was going on. I didn’t think I would have to go, but they got me,” Dickman added.

After basic training at Fort Knox, Kentucky, and some delays in orders, Dickman headed to California to board the ship that would take him and 4,000 other US troops to Japan. From there, they took a smaller vessel to Incheon, South Korea, on June 17, 1951.

“They just dumped us off just near the beach and we waded in belt-high water to shore. We were loaded onto trucks and taken to the front line,” Dickman recalled. “When we got there, we climbed Hill 166. We thought we would have a good vantage point of the area from the top of the hill. What we found up there made me grow up right now.”

Dickman was reluctant to go into detail.

“War is hell,” he said with a slight shake of his head. “Anyone who’s been there knows.”

Dickman was the forward scout for his men who were part of 1st Calvary Division. He led the group on their missions and it was his responsibility to look for signs of the enemy and warn his men. He took pride in keeping the outfit safe.

Dickman was transferred out of South Korea on Dec. 18, 1951, and spent the next seven months in Hokuto, Japan, until he boarded the General Gordon and headed back to the U.S.

“Even though we weren’t at home, the sky was lit up with fireworks for July Fourth,” he recalled.”That was a great send-off for us.”

When Dickman returned stateside and rejoined civilian life, he found it difficult to find and keep a job.

“There just weren’t that many jobs to be had then,” he said. “I worked at Baldwin Lima Hamilton until I got laid off and then I went to Westinghouse and got laid off. I ran the Sinclair filling station at State Street and 66 for eight years and then I delivered groceries to stores for E. J. Evans in Van Wert and I spent 15 years at Central Soya as a boiler firer until I retired.”

He had his wife had two children, Dave (Robin) of Tiffin and Debbie (Hank) Quatmann of Lima. He also has three grandsons.