O'Callaghan saluted during Korean War tribute


At a U.S. Capitol ceremony today marking the 60th anniversary of the Korean War, former Nevada Gov. Mike O'Callaghan was given a salute by his friend and protege, Sen. Harry Reid.

"The stories I know of Korea are the stories of Mike O'Callaghan," Reid said. The two met when O'Callaghan was a teacher and Reid a student at Basic High School in Henderson, and they stayed close through their personal and professional lives until O'Callaghan died six years ago. 

O'Callaghan served as Nevada governor from 1971 to 1979. But long before that, he joined the Marines, and later the Air Force, then transferred to the Army. 

"He was a sergeant and platoon leader in Korea," Reid said of O'Callaghan.

"In the bitter cold winter of 1952, while in combat in what has been called the coldest war, he ran headfirst into enemy fire to bring back his men from the trenches. A mortar round struck his leg, broke his hip and killed others in his squad," Reid said.

"Mike kept going. He turned a telephone wire into a tourniquet. He took command of his unit, and he refused to leave before the enemy did.

"Mike took home a couple of Silver Stars for his courage, as well as a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart. But he left behind his left leg.

"That didn't stop him either. By the time the winter turned to summer, Mike was back home, getting an education to teach kids like me."