He’s a proud American who didn't back down after facing the unthinkable on the battlefield. Awarded the Combat Infantry Badge and Korean Service Medal along with 2 Bronze Campaign Stars, the Purple Heart and Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation, James Weber dedicated his life to our nation.
Today at 85 years old, Weber calls The Springs in Muskogee, Oklahoma home. When talking about his accomplishments, for Weber it was like it was yesterday when he enlisted in the Army "I wanted to get away from home, the women were getting fussy," said Weber. At the time, he was only 18 years old, being sent half a world away to South Korea for the Korean War. Weber spoke very little of his time in the war, since so many years had passed making it harder to remember, but what he did share still stirred strong emotions within him. He mentioned a group of 500 soldiers going into battle, but only 50 returning and how brutally cold the winters were in South Korea. He too was wounded during battle by steel fragments presumably from a mortar that lodged in his right thigh and hip on September 6, 1950. Even after being wounded, Weber, voluntarily extended his tour another two years before being discharged on September 23, 1952.
Back on American soil, Weber’s life was about to flourish. He met the love of his life Irene in California. The two were married, bought a house and then did something remarkable, adopted a daughter who they named Laurie. In a tragic turn, Irene died at age 51 after battling breast cancer. Their daughter Laurie was only 9 years old. It’s been decades since her passing, but his face still lit up when talking about his wife’s passion for gardening. “Our yard was filled with flowers,” said Weber. And to this day, he still has her picture on his bed side table. Once Laurie was older, Weber traded in his army boots for dancing shoes and became a professional ballroom dancer. He was so passionate about ballroom dancing, “I remortgaged my home to pay for dance lessons,” said Weber. He is still very close with his daughter, Laurie and talks with her several times each week.
Most recently, Weber was honored by Oklahoma Honor Flights with a trip to our nation’s capitol to visit memorials dedicated to our veterans, who’ve sacrificed so much for our freedom. Weber even got the special privilege to meet First Lady, Michelle Obama. As you can imagine, he was all smiles along with the other 85 veterans who also went on the September 10, 2014 flight. Now more than 60 years later after the Korean War, his hair may be gray and his face may be filled with more wrinkles, but the same infectious smile remains. Thank you Mr. Weber for your service.