POLAND — Korean War veteran Joseph J. Locicero Jr. still can’t watch the “M.A.S.H.” television show.
Even 57 years later, the operating room scenes in the show’s Mobile Army Surgical Hospital are a too-powerful reminder of the death and destruction Locicero witnessed during a year of combat as a tank commander.
It’s those people — the ones who were wounded and the ones who didn’t make it back— that Locicero said he wants to recognize and honor by talking about his experience during the Korean War.
Locicero, 81, was drafted into the Army on Sept. 1, 1950, just over two months after the war began on June 25, 1950, and just two days after he married the former Susan Catullo, a 1944 graduate of East High School.
Locicero grew up on Summit Street and his wife on Albert Street in Youngstown, and they lived on Boston Avenue in that city for 37 years before moving to Poland 15 years ago.
“Looking back, [getting married] was a stupid thing to do because he was going to war and we didn’t know if he would come back. But, it all worked out,” Susan said.
Locicero sustained a severe concussion when his vehicle set off a land mine.
“I wouldn’t let them send me to the rear because I didn’t want a telegram going home to my family telling them I was in the hospital. So I walked around with bad headaches for almost a month,” he said.
Locicero credits his “miraculous medal,” which depicts the “Blessed Mother,” for getting him home unharmed. He said he found the religious medal on his mother Mary’s altar at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Youngstown, and wore it around his neck with his “dog” tags all through the war.
Read the full story Monday in The Vindicator and on Vindy.com