WINNIPEG — For two days, 700 Canadian soldiers were surrounded by enemy forces in a narrow Korean valley.
Winnipeg veteran Michael Czuboka remembers what it was like 69 years ago during the Battle of Kapyong.
“When you’re in that kind of circumstance, you’re too busy operating your weapon to really think about it,” recalls the 88 year-old.
“It’s scary leaving, after we were relieved by an American unit, then it suddenly dawned on us, we almost got wiped out. Out of 700 men, only 70 survived.”
Czuboka said he was just a young teenager when he served with the 2nd Battalion of the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry in April 1951.
According to Veteran Affairs Canada, The Battle of Kaypong, the pivotal point in the Korean War, took place between April 22-25.
Czuboka said the only way to describe the feeling of the battle was terror. Nearly 70 years later, he still remembers it vividly.
“We really didn’t think we were going to survive,” he said.
But that only made them fight harder.
He said they saved Seoul, the capital of South Korea, from being taken by the Chinese army.
“The people of South Korea have been very generous. I have been back several times. It’s a kind of reunion they paid for in order to thank us,” said Czuboka.
He said when he went back to the area of the battle it was like a miracle.
“South Korea, when I was there, was totally destroyed. The buildings were destroyed, everything was gone. But now South Korea has developed into a very vibrant democracy and a world economic power,” said Czuboka.
He would like Canadians to remember the Canadian military got a very powerful reputation from the Battle of Kapyong. But most especially, he wants Canadians to remember the ones who never came home.
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