West Mifflin man's story will be included in Korean War documentary
A West Mifflin soldier's story is part of an upcoming documentary on the Korean War.
At Tuesday's borough council meeting, Mayor Chris Kelly said Cpl. Bob Harbula's experiences in the battle of the Chosin Reservoir will be part of a March 31 episode of “Against All Odds” on the new American Heroes Channel.
Kelly reported on the borough's veterans observances past and present, including plans for this year's “Soldier Salutes.” That includes banners that go up along borough streets in time for Memorial Day and remain up through Veterans Day.
The borough observes both, with a Memorial Day event scheduled for May 31 at Mitchell Paige Park along Commonwealth Avenue near the old borough police station.
Harbula had been part of a Marine unit assigned to security for what now is known as Camp David, a retreat that was used at the time by President Harry S. Truman.
He was an usher at the Washington premiere for the John Wayne movie “The Sands of Iwo Jima.” Seeing it twice inspired him to volunteer for active duty.
He became part of a force of 15,000 Marines known as George Company, or “Bloody George.”
The network describes this “understrength, undermanned, Marine rifle company, hastily called to serve their country in 1950.”
Those Marines faced an enemy 10 times their company's size and fought for weeks on end in subfreezing temperatures.
“The Chinese instructions were to annihilate us,” Harbula, 83, said in a 2010 interview. “Well, the Marines don't like getting annihilated. We're against that. They say they teach you how to kill in the Marine Corps. That's not really true. They teach you how to stay alive.”
Still, Harbula said, “I don't consider myself a hero. Heroes are the ones who died.”
Kelly recalled Harbula's role as keynote speaker at the 2012 Veterans Day observance at West Mifflin Area High School.
Kelly referred to another chronicler of Harbula's story. Author Patrick K. O'Donnell included the West Mifflin native in his book, “Give Me Tomorrow: The Korean War's Greatest Untold Story - The Epic Stand of the Marines of George Company.”
It took five years to collect the stories that wound up in “Give Me Tomorrow,” many from veterans who didn't know the entire story.
“Bob is a remarkable guy,” O'Donnell said in a 2010 interview. “He knows what he's talking about. He's read every single book out there.”
American Heroes Channel, formerly known as the Military Channel, is part of the Discovery Communications stable of networks and can be seen in 62 million homes.
“Against The Odds” is described by the network as a showcase of “awe-inspiring stories of bravery, solidarity and strength on the battlefield.” It is a six-part series narrated by actor Rob Lowe that airs Mondays at 10 p.m.
Locally AHC can be seen on channel 106 on Comcast systems in West Mifflin as well as communities like North Versailles Township, McKeesport and Irwin, and on Channel 112 in such communities as Clairton and Duquesne.
It is on channel 125 on FiOS in such communities as West Mifflin, North Versailles and Irwin, channel 287 on DirecTV systems in the Pittsburgh region and channel 195 on DISH systems regionally.
In addition to annual events, the borough honors Harbula and other West Mifflin veterans at the www.troopbanners.com/WestMifflin/website.
Patrick Cloonan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1967, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- International Trade Commission says 6 nations dumped gas, oil in U.S. market
- North Versailles commissioners question spending procedure
- FBI closes police brutality case against Clairton
- West Jefferson Hills students return to classes on Monday
- McKeesport’s Neal to seek musical career in Los Angeles
- Elizabeth Township man violates probation in forgery case
- Mon River Arts joins the hunt for RAD funding
- Family, friends gather in McKeesport to remember cousins on 1-year anniversary of their murder
- UPMC McKeesport receives bomb threat, investigation continues
- Former state constable scheduled to repay stolen funds
- Elizabeth Township road likely to reopen in September