Merced resident and Korean War veteran Fred Runnells, 82, lived to tell about one of the war's most infamous battles -- the Battle of Chosin Reservoir.
It happened in late 1950, and at the time Runnells was just 20 years old.
He served in the Army's L Company, 31st Infantry Regiment, 7th Army Division. Although there is much Runnells doesn't remember about his time in the service, he still recalls being injured during the battle.
He still carries a plate in his head from damage caused by a "rifle or mortar."
"I was laying on my belly, firing my gun when I got hit," he recalled. "When I got hit, I fell down."
While unconscious on the ground, Runnells said he envisioned himself walking in his hometown of Joplin, Mo., without his right arm. "When I came to, I had it," he said.
Runnells said one of his proudest moments was being thanked by a South Korean family for his service.
"That's worth a whole lot, when people do that," he said, smiling.
Runnells served for "two years, seven months and 26 days," in the Army.
He was awarded the Purple Heart and received the Distinguished Sterling Silver Cross of Malta from Veterans of Foreign Wars.
"I am very happy that I served," Runnells said.
"I think every young man and (young woman) at age 18 should have two years of military service."