Small town living helps vet deal with harrowing experiences along Korea's DMZ

Small town living helps vet deal with harrowing experiences along Korea's DMZ

REPUBLIC, OH (WTOL) - The sleepy little hamlet of Republic in Seneca County is a long way from Korea.

But as North Korea rattles its sabers these days, with nuclear threats and missile launches, the thoughts of Korea are not so distant, especially for one man living in Republic.

His name is Floyd Adams.

Adams thinks about Korea a lot after spending much of his Army career in South Korea along the DMZ, the rugged demilitarized zone between North and South Korea.

Adams' job was removing land mines.

This was not during the war of the 1950s, but in the 1980s and 90s, long after the guns fell silent between the warring north and south.

Sergeant Adams was deployed there as combat engineer to help find and remove some of the millions of mines still lurking, still dangerous and still potentially deadly.

On Friday morning, many years after his Army retirement Adams received a long awaited honor, a Korean Campaign Ribbon.

At the VFW-Amvets hall in Tiffin, Congressman Jim Jordan bestowed the ribbon to Sgt. Adams on behalf of a grateful nation.

As Adams' friends, family and fellow vets looked on he told them he was "honored and a little overwhelmed".

But perhaps nothing is more overwhelming for Adams than the 21 missions he served in Korea's DMZ and the invisible wounds he endured from the constant fear of war that is always palpable in that region.

"I suffer from PTS"(Post Traumatic Stress) said Adams, whose experiences in Korea were harrowing at times, whether it was when he rescued a young officer from a raging river, or the constant reminder of the lethality of the landmines.

Adams says at night, while on patrol, the hidden mines, which were old and unstable would often explode by self-detonation.

"When that would happen, the first that would go through our mind is oh boy, the war is starting, so it was a constant fear, it was like my teeth were clenched the whole time I was there, just tense," said Adams.

So the war in Korea has never really ended for Floyd Adams.

He is very open about how he undergoes treatment and how he copes with the fear, but the respite comes slowly.

Floyd, who grew up in North Toledo in the Polish Village, and in Woodville, now finds that respite in the very tranquil community of Republic where he says he spends his time "mowing his lawn and drinking a beer".

But even though, this little town is far removed from the dangers on the other side of the world, Adams says he still feels them.

"I don't have much crime out here, I've got locks and alarms, all my windows, I sleep with a bayonet under my pillow," said Adams, looking out at his backyard. "I have no reason to,  other than fear.  And I don't know what I'm afraid of."

Floyd Adams' story is hardly unique.

Many veterans from many wars, or even peacetime deployments still deal with these inner torments.

But the youthful-looking Adams, despite the personal and emotional war he fights within his mind, he is still grateful he was able to answer a call to duty and serve his country.

"I felt it was my obligation, the country that has given me and my family so much, this my way of giving back," said Adams.

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