Honor Flight brings back memories of war and life for Korean War vet
MILWAUKEE - Al Konrath and his daughter Cheryl Vogt made the trip to Washington DC on the 20th Stars and Stripes Honor Flight on Saturday, Nov. 2. They were standing at the edge of the Korean War Memorial when Al he talked about his nearly 10 months with the Army on the frontlines of Korea.
Konrath is a sweet looking man with kind eyes and a willingness to share his story as a part of the larger sacrifice of his brothers in arms. He said fighting the North Koreans was not the worst if it.
“At night there were rats crawling around once in a while,” Konrath explained.
When asked what his strongest memory was of his time in Korea, he knew his answer right away. His team was north of the 38th parallel, and it was his birthday.
“It was June 30, I was 23 years old, and that night a bazooka hit us in our bunker. And it blew it all up,” Konrath remembered. “And I didn’t see [anything] for about a week.”
But he quickly went back to the lines, eventually earning something he had with him on his cap this day.
“They called off our names and I was one of them, there were 11 of them,” Konrath said. “We were handed the Rifleman’s Badge and I’m proud of it to this day.”
But Vogt said something changed about 20 years ago when her dad suffered a pretty massive stroke. He was finally able to open up, but some of the memories were not good.
“Mom said he would wake up in the middle of the nigh yelling ‘They’re coming, they’re coming,’” she said. “For many, many years that went on.”
Konrath has been an active member of Legion Post 483, making sure his service legacy and others are passed to school children. He’s also attended more than 200 funerals and parades with the legion. Vogt said the Honor Flight really was a trip of a lifetime for him.