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Home of the free because of the brave

by Erin Ganz

I spoke with Bill Ganz of Verndale who saw combat action in the Korean War from 1950-1953.

He was first drafted into the Army in 1950. He attended boot camp in Fort Riley, Kansas, where he received combat infantry training. From there, his unit left Seattle, Washington on a ship. They spent seventeen days at sea before arriving in Japan. Then they traveled to Korea which took another three days.

Ganz fought for our country in his first major battle at Chosin Reservoir, also known as the “Frozen Chosin”. This battle consisted of the Army and the Marines, who fought the Chinese, only having to fall back due to the enormous casualties and inclement weather.

His service continued as he partook in a second major battle at Bloody Ridge.

It was given its name by the soldiers due to the 2,700 United Nations soldiers and 15,000 Communists killed or wounded. With a combination of frontal attacks, flanking movements and a relentless barrage from artillery, tanks and airstrikes, Ganz shared that himself and four others in his unit were “pinned down and had to hold their position and continue to fight”. This earned all five of them the Bronze Star for Valor.

To this day, he still has nightmares stating, “I remember watching all the dead bodies being taken away by the semi load”. . .

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