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Voices of Our Veterans: John Richard Swaim

BEECH BLUFF, TN (WNBJ) - It’s time for the new 39 News series of stories on the men and women who have served our country. We call these stories Voices of Our Veterans.

Thousands of veterans all across west Tennessee have sacrificed for us and these are their stories. Tonight, 39 News introduces us to John Richard Swaim III, who served in the army during the Korean War.

John Richard Swaim III was a first lieutenant in U.S. Army Infantry. He was drafted into the Korean War and served from April 1951 to December 1953.

Swaim spoke about his time spent in Korea.

“The lines for North Korea and South Korea, North Koreans and the Chinese and the South Koreans were stabilized. The action was at night so often that the Chinese and the North Koreans would come in and attack us at night and so at night what we would do on the United Nation's side is we would go out on patrol,” said

John Richard Swaim, the first Lt. Infantry in the U.S. Army.

One night the Dyer County native was injured while on patrol.

“I had only been there in the country for maybe two weeks when a mortar round got me. It not only got me but killed 3 of the men with me and wounded 2 or 3 others. I had 26 holes in me, the size of a half-dollar or bigger, so I lost a lot of blood and two men that were there with us were medics and they put me on a litter. One of those stretcher things and they carried me battalion aide station. I had to have a number of different surgeries in Fort Campbell, Kentucky,” said Swain.

Swaim says the military contributed to his growth as a man.

“I’ll tell you what the military really did mature me. I was too immature when I started college and I didn’t do well. But, getting the military experience and acquiring a wife will certainly mature a fellow,” said Swaim.

When Swaim returned to the states he graduated from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville with a degree in agriculture. He then worked for the Madison County 4-H Youth Development Program, where he was able to give back to the community.

“I’m in contact with a bunch of those 4-H kids from time to time and I feel like I am just a part of those families because I just love them like they were my family,” said Swaim.

Mr. Swaim giving out some advice to people as they go through their own personal journeys in life.

“Just make do with or do without. Do the best you can and that’s all you could ever expect to do. And remember who you are and who you belong to,“ said Swaim.

In June, Swaim will be celebrating his 91st birthday.

Be sure to keep watching 39 News each month for our voices of veterans stories.

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