Bernard Pular of Tionesta, Pennsylvania served in the Army during the Korean War. On a routine mission one day he engaged the enemy—Koreans, Chinese—it didn’t matter. They were trying to kill him, so he returned the gesture.
That’s when “The Pollack”—as his men called him—was cut down by a machine gun. His legs were torn up, but he was able to return fire, saving the mission and his comrades. For his actions Bernie was awarded two Purple Hearts and the Silver Star.
“I don’t think I deserved the medals,” he says demurely. “The boys up on the hill did. Some of them saved my life, and then some of them never came home. They’re the real heroes.”
Bernie’s short time in Korea ended after he was wounded and sent home to recover. What was Korea like? “I thought it was a beautiful country,” he says, “until we destroyed it.”
Despite being the first day of spring 2014, it snowed the day we preserved the stories of five veterans from Tionesta, Pennsylvania: Victor Miesel, Lew Weingard, Rick Witherell, Lewis Cooke, and Bernie Pular.
We were enthusiastically invited to Tionesta by Mr. Miesel, an energetic 94 year old veteran of the Army Air Corps. We set up our mobile studio at Mt. Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church. The quiet country location made for a perfect recording location.
We could not have asked for a more interesting day of amazing stories, the likes of which we’ve not heard before–ranging from the southern islands of the Pacific, post war Japan, the Kuwaiti desert, jungles of Vietnam, and the mountains of Korea.
“You’ve had a long day,” Victor consoled us. Sixteen hours from door to door. Sure, it was a long day, but we’re known to go the extra mile for a great story . . . or in this case, five of them!