Lt. Col. Walter Minor, a Korean War veteran who missed Vietnam, is back on active duty in Saudi Arabia, hoping for peace but ready for war.
The 59-year-old country doctor from Fuquay-Varina, N.C., is one of the oldest members of Operation Desert Shield and possibly the only Korean War vet in an army whose average age is closer to 20.``I didn't get called up. I just volunteered to come,' he said Saturday. ``I was in the army back during the Korean War, and I've been in the reserve ever since. In September, I volunteered to come back for a four-year tour and came over here.'
``I thought there was a job over here that needed doing. I thought I was trained to do it, willing to come and do it. I'd rather do it than have my kids have to come and do it someday,' he said.
The doctor, who has a son in the army in Fort Wayne, Ind., arrived in Saudi Arabia three weeks ago to serve with the Army's 56th Medical Battalion. He flew home late Saturday to attend his mother's funeral but he said he would definitely be back.
``We got good troops out there,' he said. ``The morale is good. They're hot and tired and dusty, but they're working hard and doing a good job. I'm very proud of the boys I've got in my unit.'
Minor said being one of the army's old men didn't bother him a bit.
Married at age 18, he said his wife was ``a good old trooper' who accepted his decision to return to the military.
His biggest complaint was about the slow mail service.
``It's a morale factor,' he said. ``I've been here for three weeks and I haven't gotten anything yet."