A new museum exhibit honors Army Medal of Honor recipient Cpl. Rodolfo Hernandez graphically capturing the essence of combat warfare in the Korean War.
The exhibit, which opened Friday at the Airborne & Special Operation Museum in Fayetteville, N.C. uses special effects and mannequins to accurately depict how Mr. Hernandez defeated overwhelming enemy forces in a one-man bayonet charge.
On May 31, 1951, after his rifle was damaged, Mr. Hernandez sprung from his foxhole, yelled “Here I come!” and charged the enemy. He killed six men during the bayonet charge and subsequent hand-to-hand combat, the Army Times reported Thursday.
Mr. Hernandez was wounded severely during the fight for his survival, taking a bayonet to the mouth, shrapnel to the skull, and a bullet wound. He was approved for the nation’s highest combat valor award in 1952.
So far no one has made any objections to the graphic nature of the display, according to museum director, Jim Bertlinski.
“We vetted this through veterans; we vetted it through Fort Bragg leadership, people in the community,” Bartlinski told Army Times. “We’re the Airborne & Special Operations Museum. It’s a war museum. It’s not too graphic. It’s more of a representation — a suggestion of the action.”
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Mr. Hernandez, who died in December at age 82, personally had a hand in creating the display, describing the scene in extensive detail.
“He said ‘we need more blood,’ so we were making little notes: ‘Okay, we’re going to put more blood here’ ” Bartlinski said, Army Times reported. “He was bayoneted through the arm; he was shot in the hip and the leg and so we so also indicated those wounds on the mannequin. We wanted to be true to his wishes and to make it as accurate as we could but, then again, we don’t want to make it too graphic.”
Museum curators hope that the exhibit will remind people of the importance of the Korean War, often called “The Forgotten War.”