Veterans Voices

Veterans Voices: Korean War Veteran Reflects On Air Force Service

Veterans Voices

BISMARCK — Despite not getting the press that it so rightfully deserved, the Korean War featured many firsts for the U.S. Military, including the use of jet planes.

But one member of the Air Force had a much more important job than taking to the skies.

Sometimes referred to as the “Forgotten War”, the Korean War was sandwiched between World War II and the Vietnam War.

But for the hundreds of thousands of Americans who fought overseas for three years, it was a battle most will never forget.

And that includes Bismarck’s own Walter Rehling who was a member of the U.S. Air Force.

Walter’s Story begins at 17 on his father’s farm in late 1950. When his father allowed him to enlist, he told us that many people, including one of his country school teachers, tried to talk him out of it.

“She met with me and my father, and she said, Walter’s got, I hate to say it this way, but he’s very intelligent, and I’d hate to see him do something where he couldn’t use his schooling.”

With Walter being a member of the Air Force you probably think he was tasked with dropping bombs over such places like Yultong or the Imjin River.

Instead, Walter was asked to put his high intelligence to use. Walter was an intelligence electronic warfare crypto-maintenance specialist, meaning he was the middle man between those on the ground and Washington.

“I had a top-secret clearance, so I was able to go and handle classified stuff, matter of fact everything we did was classified really,” said Rehling

Walter would spend over a year near the South Korean capital of Seoul and told KX News even though he wasn’t in the air, he needed to be ready to fight at a moment’s notice.

“We had to learn how to use hand grenades, and heavier artillery a little bit, See that was one of the things we didn’t get trained on as part of our original training, we didn’t learn how to throw hand grenades, or how to set up a perimeter defense, those were all things we learned on the job,” said Rehling

He adds many people think of Korea as a warm location, but in fact, it can be just as cold and brutal as North Dakota, with soldiers on both sides suffering from hypothermia and freezing to death.

“Winter’s got so cold that we set our cots in circles, and we had a potbelly stove just in order to keep warm,” said Rehling

Walter’s time in Korea would last 13 months, before his duties were done. His responsibilities in the Air Force would send him across the globe including such places as Italy, Germany and Turkey.

He retired from the Force in 1971 after serving 20 years and two days, turning down a promotion and the opportunity to return to Korea.

He’s also written a 356-page memoir detailing his entire life, from the earliest days of his childhood, the marriage to his wife and all the fun that retirement brings.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Veteran's Resources

Recent Videos

What is the difference between high and low pressure in weather?

Thumbnail for the video titled "What is the difference between high and low pressure in weather?"

Amber's Wednesday Morning #OneMinuteForecast 2/19

Thumbnail for the video titled "Amber's Wednesday Morning #OneMinuteForecast 2/19"

Wednesday Forecast: Sunny & cold before a big warm-up

Thumbnail for the video titled "Wednesday Forecast: Sunny & cold before a big warm-up"

Big and Loud Program

Thumbnail for the video titled "Big and Loud Program"

High School basketball

Thumbnail for the video titled "High School basketball"

Mandan-Minot girls hockey

Thumbnail for the video titled "Mandan-Minot girls hockey"

Shiloh Christian Boys Bball

Thumbnail for the video titled "Shiloh Christian Boys Bball"

St. Mary's Girls Bball

Thumbnail for the video titled "St. Mary's Girls Bball"

Hettinger-Scranton

Thumbnail for the video titled "Hettinger-Scranton"

Boys Hockey

Thumbnail for the video titled "Boys Hockey"

Tuesday, February 18th, 2020 - KX Storm Team Evening Forecast - Dave Holder

Thumbnail for the video titled "Tuesday, February 18th, 2020 - KX Storm Team Evening Forecast - Dave Holder"

Minot Bike Lanes

Thumbnail for the video titled "Minot Bike Lanes"

Coronavirus in Animals

Thumbnail for the video titled "Coronavirus in Animals"

KX Storm Team Full Evening Forecast w/Tom Schrader

Thumbnail for the video titled "KX Storm Team Full Evening Forecast w/Tom Schrader"

Remarkable Woman

Thumbnail for the video titled "Remarkable Woman"

Fish Kill

Thumbnail for the video titled "Fish Kill"

Hemp Flowers

Thumbnail for the video titled "Hemp Flowers"

KX Storm Team #OneMinuteForecast w/Tom Schrader 2/18

Thumbnail for the video titled "KX Storm Team #OneMinuteForecast w/Tom Schrader 2/18"

Spill

Thumbnail for the video titled "Spill"

Standing Rock Head Start

Thumbnail for the video titled "Standing Rock Head Start"
More Video

KX News Trending Stories

Don't Miss

Daily Pledge

More Daily Pledge