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After ferrying troops into enemy fire, WWII veteran was glad to be in the Navy

Morton Korn has always been a practical and industrious man.

At 94, he still runs a sportswear  and promotion company.

As a senior at Ohio State University back in the early 1940s, Korn put his college education on hold and enlisted in the Navy's officer training program.

He had to wait awhile before entering basic training, so he put the idle time to good use by enrolling in astronomy and navigation courses at Ohio State University. He figured he would be better off with the knowledge than without it.

After all, he said, he was headed out to sea and it would probably be a good idea to know how to steer a ship. As an ensign, it turned out, that was one of his duties.

"The courses helped me do my job," Korn said. "You had to know where you were going."

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Morton Korn, 94

Hometown: Columbus, Ohio

Residence: Williamsville

Branch: Navy

Rank: lieutenant

War zone: World War II, Pacific Theater

Years of service:  1943-46

Most prominent honors: Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal, Philippines Liberation Medal, World War II Victory Medal

Specialty: navigation and supply

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Assigned to the smallest of the Navy's ocean-going vessels, a landing craft infantry ship, Korn said the name belied a major task.

"We would pick up infantrymen from troop ships and then bring them ashore for invasions," Korn said of his duties in the Pacific Theater.

The troops often landed under enemy fire, and Korn was not without appreciation for his decision to join the Navy.

"I was glad I was in the Navy and not the Army."

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He says he participated in several of these operations to drive the Japanese out of the Philippines, before the war in the Pacific ended in August 1945.

When Korn returned to the United States, his parents had moved from Ohio to New York City and then to Buffalo to expand their jewelry display business, but he made it his business to complete his college education at Ohio State before joining them.

With his degree in business administration, the young man started working at William Korn & Co., named after his father.  The company prospered and soon merged with Buffalo Jewelry Case. At that point, the name of the business changed to Bufkor Inc.

"We sold displays all over the country," Korn said. "I was in sales and on an airplane four days a week."

For 25 years, he worked for the family business and then established his own company, G-S Sales and Promotions, which handles sportswear and other promotional items.

"I remain active in my business," Korn said, explaining that work is the key to his longevity. "If you don't stay active, you dry up and go away. Activity keeps you alive."

Yet he says he cannot take all the credit for what he describes as a long and rewarding life.

He had many good years of marriage with his wife, the former Annette Rovner, who has since died.

"We were married 54 years and raised three children," Korn said.

A man of few words, he ended the interview by saying: "I'm alive and I'm well."

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