Horace Mann

Horace Mann stands beside some mementos from his career with Shreveport Police following his military days.

SHREVEPORT, La. -- Running the mess hall operation sounded like safe duty during the Korean War. Until Horace Mann found out where that kitchen was.

The Air Force needed someone to run the kitchen on the small island of Choto, where the Air Force had set up a radar station to watch for enemy planes.

And the North Koreans aimed to take it out. Horace was one of three men in food services already at headquarters in Seoul.

"The sarge says, 'I'm going to need one guy to go to this island. But I don't want to assign anybody to it because it's behind enemy lines. So I'll let you draw straws,'" Horace recalled. "I drew the long strong straw."

That put him on a plane to Choto.

"We got there that evening and got bombed at night," Horace said, adding that bombings and shellings happened regularly on the cold island just off the mainland.

"You couldn't get comfortable," he says. "You could hear when that thing went off. You could hear it come whistling."

One time was when Horace was outside talking with two lieutenants.

"I heard the thing coming. I said, 'Y'all hit the ground. So we got in behind a big walk-in icebox in the front. That thing fell about 20 feet to the side of where we were standing.

"We was real lucky. I thank God for it. He really blessed me," Horace added.

After the war, and Horace's three years in the Air Force were up, a family connection lead him to Shreveport. He joined the police department, and worked patrol and drove ambulances for 20 years.

For Horace, it was another another way to help.

"I was just there to serve our country."

After his police days, Horace got behind the wheel of charter and school buses.

He was one of four boys who grew up on a farm in Alabama, and served our country's military, going back to World War II and then Korea.

Horace and his wife, Mary, just celebrated their 64th wedding anniversary.

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