On Tuesday, May 12, Captain Luis Guillermo Peláez Isaza died in Barranquilla, Colombia, retired Army veteran who was part of the contingent of soldiers that integrated the Colombia Battalion during the Korean War, the only Latin Americans who fought in that warlike conflict in the middle of the last century.
Few days before dying, Captain Peláez shared with Infobae his incredible stories of the war and his military life, which was marked by iron fights against the first Colombian guerrillas, and against ironclad Chinese, Russian, and North Korean troops, the communist bloc that faced the United States, South Korea, and their allies for control of the Korean peninsula .
Death always haunted him during his years in the Army and being in Korea a grenade almost managed to take his life. This is how Captain Peláez told Infobae:
I touched the first line and from then on it was no man's land. One saw the positions of the Chinese in the distance, they had long-range artillery and hoped to break our line to invade with 140,000 soldiers on their side.
One day they sent us to take a position, I was going with my troops, ahead in a hill (small mountain) were the Chinese, there they had the ditch and they were waiting. It was more dangerous for me to withdraw than to take the position, but I had to wait for the tactical plane that was on us to provide us with air support. I was already involved with people when they threw the grenade, the Chinese do not have that grenade like a pineapple that the United States has, they had some sticks of an inch in diameter - use your hand to show the length and demonstrate how the launch was - they volleyed that, they threw it and where it fell, it exploded.
That blew me up in the back, hurt me and I dumped a lot of blood, the shards sank. There the plane was already upstairs giving them lead to take our position, but they had to take me out, they took me by helicopter. I spent 32 days in Japan recovering, when I was well they returned me to the same position on the line, nojoda- laughs- there they put me, there it was my turn ”.
That was in 1951, when he defeated death, determined to return to Colombia, get married, dedicate himself to the fields and have a family. He fulfilled all that, renouncing the military life, but never the honor of having been part of it.69 years after his visit to Korea, Captain Peláez found his final rest, from natural causes and lucid until the last day.
This is how his son Carlos Mario Peláez told it to Infobae, who was with him until the last moment.
"After the note came out we found the baptism certificate and it turns out that he was not 100 years old but 101 years old”Carlos Carlos specifies as a curious fact.
She says that her father began to feel some discomfort since Saturday, May 8, and that on Sunday, May 9, the same day that the note of his memoirs was published, he was admitted to the clinic for an intestinal obstruction.
"He had a very high pain threshold, nothing bothered him, all his vital signs were perfect, the pressure, the hemoglobin, the cholesterol. He suffered for years from the colon, a disease of the Peláez"Says Carlos Mario.
The days in the hospital passed between examinations and gastric lavages, but he never lost his spirit or lucidity. "He did not stop being captain Peláez"Says his son.
In the Carlos Mario clinic read the chronicle that Infobae published about him, he did it with military intonation to put more emotion and he tells that every time a war anecdote came, the captain grasped his hand and stuck out his thumb in approval. "When I got to the part that talks about my mother, some tears came out ", Add shaken.
The memory of his wife Lucila Dangond Lacouture took him with him to the end, and one of the last things he said to his son was that He wanted to rest to meet her, who would have turned 90 on May 13, one day after the captain's death.
"He was in good spirits, we joked several times about going to the farm, he told me to hide it among some lumps and take it with me. I said dad, the police take me and put me in prison for hiding you with 100 years for violating the quarantine laws"; says Carlos Mario, who even managed to receive encouragement from his father: "Be handsome, be strong, you have to take it for granted", the captain told him hours before he died.
Captain Peláez's death occurred on Tuesday, May 12 at 6 p.m. He lived 101 years in which he faced the Colombian guerrillas, fought against communism thousands of kilometers from his homeland, left four children, had a happy marriage, lived fully and finally reunited with his beloved Lucila, the love of his lifetime.
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Incredible memories of the Colombian captain who fought in the Korean War, almost died from a Chinese grenade and just turned 101