Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 19/4/2013 (1557 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Korean War veteran Stanley Jaworski lied about his age to get into the military.
Too bad Jaworski's lie wasn't big enough.
"I said I was 18," he said Friday, a day before joining 35 other Canadian Korean War veterans heading to the Asian country to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the end of the conflict.
"I was 17 at the time. They asked me for my birth certificate many times, but I just ignored them. They never did see it.
"But it turned out I didn't lie enough. They wouldn't let anyone go to Korea until they were 19. I didn't get there until April 1952.
"I should have said I was 19," he laughed.
Despite not getting to Korea in 1951, the now 79-year-old Jaworski saw plenty of action. His rank was trooper and he was a driver, mechanic and then a tank gunner with Lord Strathcona's Horse (Royal Canadians).
He said he was never injured, but people around him were -- or worse.
"We lost one tank -- it was a direct hit," he said.
"Who knows what a young guy thinks when he enlists? All I know is most of the time when things are happening, you don't think then. Often all you can think to say is 'holy mackerel.' "
The Korean War broke out on June 25, 1950, when North Korean troops crossed into South Korea. Fighting ended on July 27, 1953, with the signing of an armistice.
In between, more than 26,000 Canadians served in the Korean War and 516 Canadians died.
Canadian troops fought in the Battle of Kapyong in April 1951, which saw 10 Canadians killed and 23 injured while they maintained their position. The 2nd Battalion Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry later received the United States Presidential Unit Citation for their actions in this battle.
After returning to Canada, Jaworski joined the RCMP and through the years was posted across the country.
He has been married 58 years and has two daughters and one son.
He said this trip is the first time he's gone back to Korea. The trip is being led by Minister of Veterans Affairs Steven Blaney.
Jaworski said the veterans will go not only to Kapyong, but back to Hill 355, also known as Little Gibraltar, another place where Canadian soldiers showed valour. The troops there held their ground even under intense enemy bombardment and assaults.
As well, Jaworski said they will be going to cemeteries where Canadian troops are buried.
He said he is following the news in recent days about sabre-rattling by the North Korean leadership, but it doesn't worry him.
"They didn't get me the first time, so I doubt they'll get me this time," he chuckled.
"I think he's (Kim Jong Un) just full of hot air -- but I better be right."