For Milton Walker and Henry Schafer, the piercing cold and sound of war that surrounded them remains as clear as if it were yesterday. Returning to the country where they had fought after decades, the two American veterans of the Korean War recalled their experience Friday.
"We were surrounded when we were attacked in midnight, and I was hit," Schafer told The Korea Herald in a joint interview in Seoul.
"I was shot four times, on my arms and in the back. The first three bullets hit me and knocked me down. Some guy grabbed me and slipped me down the hill," he recalled.
The war veteran, who lost one arm and a leg, underwent several operations and three amputations. He retired from his service in October 1951.
"I went home, went to school and made a life. I was one of the lucky ones," he said.
Showing just how far removed the war is from life at home, none of the Senators who questioned Army Secretary Mark Esper during his nearly three-hour confirmation hearing to become defense secretary asked about Afghanistan.
While Afghanistan was mentioned twice in passing, Esper did not face direct questions about the U.S. government's strategy of fighting the Taliban while simultaneously negotiating a peace settlement with them.
A total of 12 service members and at least two U.S. contractors have been killed in Afghanistan so far in 2019.