Hometown Hero Herb Wong

By John Clay

Published 07/10 2014 04:38PM

Updated 07/10 2014 09:54PM

This Hometown Hero served in the Korean War, and spent the last 44 years making an impact in State College. On July 16th, he'll be helping to lay a fellow marine to rest at Arlington Cemetery.

Herb Wong was a forward observer and scout in the Korean War. In 1951 and 1952 his job was to go on combat patrols to capture intelligence, or enemy soldiers. In January, 1952, he was shot by an enemy sniper and was awarded the Purple Heart.
In August 1952, his unit was outnumbered at Bunker Hill and a marine officer sent him reinforcements.
Wong recalls, "He sent reinforcements to help our outfit out. If he hadn't, I wouldn't be speaking to you now."

He got out of the service, got a degree in Wisconsin, then came to State College in 1970. He opened the town's first Chinese restaurant and called it "Susie Wong's" after his daughter. It was famous for egg rolls.
Wong raised 4 children, who went on to give him 9 grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren.
And he met Col. Gerald Russell, and found out that Russell was the officer that sent the reinforcements in Korea. The two became close friends.
Herb Wong was devastated when Col. Russell died in February. "I feel we're losing a great man. He did a lot for the community." Wong said.

Wong is one of the many from State College heading to Arlington Cemetery on July 16th for Russell's burial.
"I feel like I owe that to him. We were good friends. I want to pay tribute to him." Wong said.

Herb Wong has dedicated his life to service of his country, his family, his community and his fellow marines.
He takes the Leathernecks motto seriously. "Valiant service is not limited to combat."

The burial of Col. Gerald Russell at Arlington National Cemetery is set for July 16th. It's open to the public and a large gathering is expected. The Commandant of the Marine Corps will be there. Services at the Old Fort Chapel are set to start at 12:15. Following services, there will be a procession to the grave site and burial with full military honors.

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