Although born in New York City, “Fritz” grew up in Boys Town, Nebraska at Father Flanagan’s Boys’ home. Shortly after joining the Marine Corps, Herbert Werner was assigned to Division Headquarters as a messenger runner, and would work along side the Chief of Staff as the Direct Messenger and Runner for the entire brigade of the 1st Marine Battalion during the Pusan Perimeter Campaign. Herbert Werner completed a total of 3 tours , 2 during the war, and on his final tour, he was assigned as a 1st Marine adviser to the Korean Marine Corps Recruiting Center and enjoyed hunting and delivering Geese to the orphans. He went back to Korea after the war and it had a different meaning than most since he was a Professional Boxing Referee. Herbert Werner shared his experiences, his many medals, including 3 Purple Hearts, and he continued to be marveled by the changes the Korean people have made.
Refugees During War
Herbert Werner became very emotional as he described being an 18 year old seeing war first hand. He said witnessing the wounded, being under fire, civilians fleeing, and children affected by war made him overcome with emotion. He never saw as much fear as he did while there and it still gets to him even today. Herbert Werner made an instant personal connection with the refugees during the Hamheung Evacuation since he was an orphaned child himself.
Korea Is My Second Home
After returning home from his service in Korea, it wasn't long before Herbert Werner was back in Korea as a professional boxing referee. He described after spending 3 full years of his life there, he was amazed at the resilience of the people despite the terror of war, how much the country of South Korea has improved, their patriotism, and the respect the civilians had for the soldiers who fought for South Korea. He felt like he was treated with so much respect and built an unconditional friendship.
What Serving in Korea Meant to Herbert Werner
When Herbert Werner was still in an orphanage during WWII, the boys that left to fight during that war had such a lasting impression on him, so he joined the Marine Corps. Originally, he wanted to go to China as a Marine, but after the war broke out in Korea, he was so caught up in the moment and excited that he wanted to go to be a part of this war. Much of what Herbert Werner saw was terrible including the treatment of refugees during the Korean War.
The Chosin Reservoir Brotherhood
Herbert Werner stated that the conditions were terrible due to confusion, miscommunication, and constant attacks by the enemy at the Chosin Reservoir. US soldiers were given insufficient clothes and with so many layers they put on to keep from freezing to death, they didn't want to take them off to urinate. Herbert Werner never knew if/when their next warm meal would come. All the US soldiers in the Chosin had to form a brotherhood, or else they would die. They never knew what was going to happen next.