Sunday, March 23, 2003

Some Good News

Marine gets his medals at long last


Each war has its surprises, scary moments, acts of courage and bravery.

John Dickhaus, 72, experienced a grateful moment one week ago when he received medals for something he did 50 years ago.

He and another Marine had to play dead for about 15 minutes, lying underneath two other deceased Marines in a trench in North Korea.

"I was scared. We were attacked while serving as medic corpsmen with the Marines," Dickhaus said. "A concussion grenade exploded. I passed out. When I came to, I was lying underneath the other dead men. I had a choice of trying to kill the enemy, surrender and be taken as a prisoner or play dead."

Dickhaus said he didn't want to be taken as a prisoner, so he and the other Marine chose to play dead.

[photo] John Dickhaus receives his military honors, through the efforts of his granddaughter Kristie Dickhaus and Lt. Andrew Hunt.
(Photo provided)
| ZOOM |
That incident was ignored as Dickhaus was discharged and went on to work at Ford Motor Co. for 30 years as a supervisor. His military records showed service with the 1st Marine Division and the 7th Marines as a Navy corpsman. But he never received the eight medals, ribbons, Purple Heart and the Korean Citation he earned.

But the recognition Dickhaus deserved didn't get past his granddaughter, Kristie Dickhaus, a junior at Lakota East High School.

She noticed it while preparing a paper on her grandfather for Veterans Day.

After Kristie completed her paper, she didn't stop. She contacted a relative, Lt. Andrew Hunt, a recruiting officer at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas.

Lt. Hunt began gathering the medals, ribbons and citations. It all ended with a ceremony at Parker's Restaurant in Blue Ash last week, when Dickhaus was recognized with family and friends and received his honors.

"It was a big surprise to me," Dickhaus said. "I thought the gathering was for our 50th wedding anniversary, but when they started reading off stuff, they never mentioned my wife, Janet. I started thinking, hold on here, she was part of these 50 years. Then they told me about the military honors."

Dickhaus, of Colerain Township, is not too fond of this war.

"I feel sorry for the soldiers there. We had a lot of mountains and cold weather. In Iraq, they have a lot of flat land, sand and it is hot."


For her efforts in keeping neighborhoods clean, Pakkiri Rajagopal, director of community service for Hamilton County, was honored by the Monfort Heights/White Oak Community Association.

Hamilton County Municipal Court Judge Ralph "Ted'' Winkler accepted the award at the association's general meeting last week.

Allen Howard's "Some Good News'' column runs Sunday-Friday. Contact him at 768-8362, at or by fax at 768-8340.

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