Korean War Legacy Project

Al Lemieux


Al Lemieux stayed active in Korean War legacy activities. He described the relationships he has developed with Koreans in his local area and the events they host together. He also explained what it was like returning to Korea on one of his two trips back to the area. He provided examples of the harsh weather that they experienced during the war. He was very proud of his military service in the Marines.

Video Clips

Koreans Supporting Veterans Today

Al Lemieux discusses the relationship he has developed with the Korean people in the greater Kansas City area. He describes the positive dynamic between the Korean community and veterans including attending luncheons, Thanksgiving dinners, and other activities. He has worked closely with these groups to carry on the legacy of the Korean War.

Tags: Modern Korea,Pride

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Return to Korea

Al Lemieux describes what it was like on his first trip back to the Punchbowl area where he had his last mission. He reports he was able to see the tunnels dug by the North Koreans as well as in the DMZ. He states it did not look like it did when he left Korea in 1951 as it is now heavily forested. Additionally, he is amazed at the "forest of the biggest buildings I've every seen in my life" and everyone carrying cell phones even back in 2001.

Tags: Seoul,Civilians,Impressions of Korea,Modern Korea,Physical destruction,Pride

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Harsh Weather in Korea

Al Lemieux describes the weather conditions in Korea. He explains how harsh the summers were for the young men who had to carry heavy loads. He also mentions being drenched during the monsoon season. Additionally, he describes the heavy snowfall they experienced, touching on the various types of harsh weather that they experienced during the war.

Tags: Cold winters,Impressions of Korea,Living conditions,Monsoon

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Many Opportunities to Die

Al Lemieux expresses his most dangerous time was while in the Punchbowl. In April 1951, he remembers his division was run over by Chinese forces. He says they knew the attack was about to happen when the Chinese and North Korea armies sounded bugles, chimes, whistles, and flares. He relates the attack began at night and the American forces primarily used hand grenades so we would not give away our positions by rifle fire. He argues this battle provided plenty of "opportunities" to die but the frostbite may have been more deadly.

Tags: Chinese,Cold winters,Fear,Front lines,North Koreans,South Koreans,Weapons

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Video Transcript

[Beginning of recorded material]

A: My name is Al Lemieux, and my last name is spelled L E M I E U X.

I: I’ve never seen it before.  And I guess that it’s, uh, French.

A: It is French name, yes.

I: How do you pronounce it again? One more time?

A: Lemieux.

I: Lemieux.

A: Yes.

I: What is your birthday?

A: One, January 8, 1932.

I: Where were you born?

A: I was born right here in the Greater Kansas City area.



I: And tell me about your family when you were growing up.

A: Well, I

I: Your sibling and your parents.

A: Yes.  Uh, my, I have, uh, I have had a half-sister and a half-brother, uh.  My mother was married previously.  So, I was the only child of my father now.

I: And what did they do, parents?



A: I’m sorry?
I: What did they do, parent?

A: Oh.  My, my parents, uh, uh

I: At the time.

A: My mother, uh, particularly during World War II, worked at the General Motors Company in, uh, Fairfax region of Kansas City, Kansas and, and helping building, uh, B25 bombers used during World War II.



I: During the World War II?

A: Yes.  And, and my father worked for Fairbanks Morris Company.

I: Um.

A: That made scales and motors and pumps.

I: So even though it was the Depression era, you didn’t, your family was alright.

A: My family was alright, yeah.  Dad lost everything in 1929.  (LAUGHS)



I: So, you know I know there are much difference in terms of the perception of the American people about the World War II and the Korean War.  

A: Yes.
I: And one of, one example is that whole nation was mobilized to work for work and to support for the veterans in World War II.

A: Yes, absolutely.

I: And your mom is one of them, right?

A: She was one of those, yes.

I: Tell me about it.



A: Well

I: How radically different it is.

A: Well, yes.  Well, uh, during World War II, I was, uh, a Cub Scout and a Boy Scout, and uh, we collected, uh, uh, materials for the war effort like old metals of any kind, old furnace, old tires, any kind of metal that people would give to us.  



And uh myself and, and a companion used my wagon and went door to door to collect those items which would be, uh, used in the, in the war effort in World War II, yeah.

I: Even yourself?

A: Yes.  

I: And did you actually

A: I was very young, yeah.

I: Did you make the money out of it?

A: Oh no, no, no, no, no.

I: It was just

A: We, we collected those materials, our scout troop did, for the war effort during World War II.



I: Wow.  

A: Yeah. 

I: Not being paid.  But you were collecting those metals to make and to support.

A: Yes, yeah.  And uh, but and, and it put us a very patriotic period, yeah, for our country.  So yeah.

I: And everybody paid attention to World War II, right?

A: Yes.  They sure did.

I: Can you give me some example, like what you just did, but give me another example how whole nation was concentrate on this, uh, World War II and then pat attention to it.



A: Well of course, with the bombing of Pearl Harbor, immediately after that, enlistments and Armed Services were, were really tremendous, yeah.  Just thousands and thousands of men and women, you know, volunteering for the Armed Forces.  And uh, I guess that was probably the biggest thing that went on.  



But then industry just, you know, stopped what they were doing, like they didn’t build cars anymore, you know.  And they went into the manufacture of all the implements that were needed to carry on the War.  

I: Yeah. You mentioned about Japanese attack of Pearl Harbor in 1941.  But what about war in Europe?  Did that make Americans much more focused on the War and make them feel proud of what they are doing?



A: Very much so because, you know, we started losing ships at sea right away during World War II.  Even, even before in the Declaration of War by the United States, you know.  We were shipping armaments to Great Britain and uh, and Russia in, in the way of tanks and trucks and munitions and guns or all sorts.  Yeah.

I: How that is different from the Korean War case in your opinion?

A: Well, I uh, I volunteered for the Marine Corps.



I: No, I’m talking about the whole nation’s attitude about the Korean War compared to the World War II.

A: Oh yeah.  Well, it, you know, the Korean War started just barely five years after the end of World War II.  And quite frankly, our nation had, uh, had uh, you know, ceased, you know, we were down turning the, our Armed Forces tremendously, and uh Army, Navy, Marine Corps.



And, and even uh, the new Air Force, you know, that we called them then, but and uh, I, I, I can’t say that I knew a great deal about what was in the newspapers because I enlisted, uh, very shortly after the War started.

I: Did your mom continue to work in GM to make B29 or during the Korean War or did she stop?
A: No, no, those were B25’s.

I: B25, yes, I’m sorry, yeah.



A: Yeah.
I: Did she?

A; No, no, no, no.  That activity started in, you know, with the War and stopped immediately with the uh, Japanese

I: With the end of

A: Yeah, the end of World War II, that’s right.  

I: So, every nation was all working in World War II.  But right after that, they all stopped, and then Korean War broke out, and nobody pay attention to it much.



A: Well, that’s true, you know.  Uh, you know, politically it was deemed the, uh, the, beyond our sphere of influence to for, to protect, you know, the uh, South Korean people.  And uh, it was, it was just not mentioned hardly.  But with the start of the War, uh, you know, uh, our, our President at first called it a Police Action. 



But uh you know, and, and uh, the period of time through the four years, real active four years in Korea, the ’50 – ’53, uh, about a million and a half people, uh, joined the Armed Forces and, and took part in Korea in some way or another.  

I: I went to Truman Library with Tom Stevens which is the

A: Yeah

I: the Pres, who is the President of Korean War Veterans Association,

A: Uh huh.



I: And I found, I mean Truman Library is beautiful.

A: Um hm.

I: Well, done.  But I was disappointed to see that there is not much about the Korean War there either.
A: But there will be.  There will be shortly, I hope.  I believe the, the whole level, uh, lower level will, is going to be turned into, uh, history lesson if you will, about the Korean War.  



We, um

I: How do you know?

A: Well, we had a gentleman, uh, Paul Edwards, who is a, a, a great author of many books about the Korean War.  He was in the Army during that, and took part and is, uh, Infantry I think, in Korea.  And uh, he’s had a museum dedicated to the Korean War in Independence for many years.  



And then I believe because of his age, he’s given that up. And all those materials have gone to the Truman Library.

I: Yes.
A: And they will be used to, uh, make, uh, something. I think we’ll be proud to see in the, in the lower level.

I: Director Groh mentioned about it.

A: Good.  Very good.

I: But those are the documents, right, pictures and documents and so on.  I don’t know how they’re gonna make it as a exhibition downstairs and do more about, you know, 



More physical exhibition about the Korean War.

A: Well, everything that was at the, at this museum was strictly about the Korean War.  So, I would be very surprised if it doesn’t turn into a very good, good display.

I: I really hope so, I really hope so.

A: Uh huh.
I: So, when did you graduate high school?

A: I didn’t graduate.

I: Oh.

A: I joined the Marine Corps on two August, 

I: When?

A: 1950.



I: August 1950?

A: Two August, 1950.  That happened to be the same day that the first, uh, professional Marine brigade landed in Korea.  Two August, 1950.

I: 1950 August 2.

A: That’s correct.

I: Yeah.  And where did you get the basic?

A: At the, in San Diego.  That’s where our basic training was.



And then uh, those of us, uh, uh, that either were assigned or volunteered for Infantry training, we went to Camp Pendleton at Oceanside, California.

I: Um hm.  And let me ask this question.  Did you learn anything or did you know anything about Korea before you joined the, uh, Marine Corps?



A: Absolutely nothing.  Had no idea where it was at.  (LAUGHS) And that became, uh, a famous phrase.  I don’t know if I can repeat it, uh, when Bill Clinton, uh, uh, was President, you know, and dedicated the Korean War Memorial in Washington.

I: Um hm.

A: Yeah.  We were going to a place we didn’t know or didn’t know where it was.  And the people we didn’t know or something like that.  Yeah.



I: Yeah.  That’s the country that not many Americans actually knew.

A: Absolutely.

I: But now Korea is strongest ally to the United States.

A: Absolutely.  And the Korean people here in the greater Kansas, Kansas City area, support Korean veterans tremendously.

I: Tell me about it.

A: Well, for, for about seven years, uh, Korean American, uh, Foundation of, uh, men and women provided luncheons, breakfasts and other activities to honor Korean veterans.



And, and they, they just devoted, they were just thoroughly devoted to that activity, yeah.  And uh, Kansas Mission, Mission Church, uh, let’s see, I forgot the address now.  But they provide and invite us to a Thanksgiving dinner, uh.  We are also in contact with the, uh, Korean liaison officers at the, up at Fort Leavenworth. 



And right now I’m putting together a luncheon at the request of the Colonel up there that we’ll have this month for sure.  

I: So, what do you think about this?  Before and after you didn’t know anything, and now you really like Korea, and you are proud of your service.

A: I’ve been back to Korea twice.

I: When?



A: Uh, the first time was in 2002.  I was, uh, uh, approached by two Korean gentlemen in 2001.  The Korean American Association, uh, from Korea, and uh, and with those, uh, gentlemen I put together a program at the, our Blue Valley, uh, Northwest High School where we had well over a thousand people in attendance.



I: And what did you see in Korea when you go back 2002?

A: Well, I was specifically, uh, wanted to get back to the Punch Bowl region of Korea, uh, because that was my last action.  And uh, and the uh, Marine, uh, that were there at the 8th Army Headquarters made arrangements for us, uh, and, for myself and two other companions to uh, to go all the way across the peninsula, uh, to the Punch Bowl area.  And they took us into one of the tunnels that had been, uh, dug by the North Koreans.



That was quite an experience to see that.  And then actually got back to the North rim of the Punch Bowl which was the DMZ period, or location there.

I: What were you thinking when you see those battleline again?

A: Well, when I left there, most of the trees had been blasted away by artillery from both sides and had been completely reforested by the South Korean Army, yeah.  



It didn’t look anything like it was when I, when I was, uh, taken that way, uh huh.

I: Many successes that South Korea accomplished.
A: Absolutely.

I: One of them is successful, global benchmark of the reforestation.

A: That one’s big.  When I went back, it was unbelievable.  Of course, I was never in the Seoul area or Seoul, however you pronounce it.  I was always in the, uh, Central East and then the far Eastern section where the Punch Bowl is.



So I, I never saw the devastation that was present.  But then I heard a lot about it from, uh, veteran friends of our, of my company, uh, and uh, because we started having reunions, the veterans did, of the company, uh, in 1992 when guys started retiring.  We had, uh, over 20 of those reunions here and there and everywhere.  So, I got to visit with veterans that were there before me and uh, and they got to visit with some of us that were there after they left.  So, and we, and then of course I’ve seen the devastation of, uh, newsreel wise and uh, and from photographs, yeah.



I: And when you saw Seoul, Korea, what did you feel?

A: I never saw absolutely a forest of the biggest buildings I’ve ever seen in my life (LAUGHS), very, very popular.  And everybody walking around with a cell phone.  And this was in 2001.

I: Even dogs in the Seoul strip carries their own cellular phone.



A: Right.

I: It’s just kidding. I mean

A: Yeah.  

I: But

A: I wouldn’t doubt it.

I: Korea is really strong in IT, Information Technology, too.

A: Very much so, yeah.

I: And you went back to Korea 2002, and then what, when did you go back again?

A: Uh, I went back again.  My, my uh, youngest daughter wanted to take dad back one last time.  And I went back in the, uh, uh, Fall of 2010.



I: So, you didn’t go there through Korean government’s revisit program.

A: I, I well, the first time that I went was because of my, uh, activities of putting together this large, uh, program that we had in 2001, July 16 I believe it was.  And so, I got a call from the gentleman, uh, personal call from him in, uh, like August of 2002,



And I was invited to come back.  And so, when I got there with another gentleman, uh, that worked with me on that program, uh, we were invited outside the regular, uh, revisit program.  But we joined that program when we got to Korea.  

I: In 2010?

A: No, in 2002.

I: Two.

A: Uh huh.  In 2010, of course I went with my daughter, on a

I: Just private trip.

A: Yeah.  No, regular revisit program.

I: Again.

A: Yes, uh huh, yeah.



And of course the Korean people treated us tremendously..

I: What did your daughter say about that trip?
A: She was amazed cause she had seen photographs that I’d shown her about the devastation when we got there.  We stayed at, in a most beautiful hotel that, uh, that they put the veterans up in.



Absolutely first class.  

I: So, did you feel proud of your service?
A: Very much so.  And I’m still proud of my service, yeah.  And I’m still a Marine, just a very old one.

I: Semper Fi.

A: Right.

I: And why we don’t teach about the successful case that U.S. has ever involved in, since World War II?  Why?

A: I, I, I really don’t know.  It’s probably because of uh, not a declaration of war on the part of the U.S. government.



But it was every much a war as any, any war anyplace in the past.

I: But don’t you think that it’s because Korea not European so that World War II was a big thing for Americans because that’s their came from, and that’s where that they share all civilization and religion, Christianity, Western Civilization.  



Korea is remote.  Nobody knew.  It’s Asia, miserable.

A: Well, it, it, that could be possible in, in some people’s thought.  I, it wasn’t in mine because I am a Marine, and the Marines were extremely in the Pacific Theater all during, you know, World War II.  So, but I can’t say that I do or heard anything about Korea.  I really didn’t.  



But I think we, maybe we drove a, a nail in that coffin at the cause of this, for this service we performed in Korea.  

I: When did you leave for Korea?

A: Well, I, I was wounded in, in September of 1951 in the Punch Bowl

I: No, no, no.  When did you leave for Korea?
A: Oh, leave for Korea.  I’m sorry.

I: Yeah.  No.

A: Well, let’s see.



I, we actually shipped from San Diego on January 31, I think it was.

I: Wow.

A: Uh huh.  Or January 3, right around there.  And uh, we stopped

I: Pendleton.  You, you mean left from Pendleton?
A: Well, we actually left from San Diego.

I: San Diego.

A: That’s where the harbor was for, uh, uh, for shipping. 



And uh, and we shipped, we went to Kolbe, Japan and left our sea bags there, and then on to Korea by an LST that was operated by the Japanese.  

I: Where did you landed?

A: I landed at Pohang.

I: When:

A: Uh goodness.  Now you’re really testing my memory.

I: Yeah. I will help you.



A: Well, let’s see.

I: February.

A: It was February 14.

I: See?  You can do that.

A: Yeah.  February 14.

I: You have to that more often so that you don’t

A: Yeah.  It, it’s, it’s stuck up there in my brain some place, yes.

I: How was Pohang when you first saw it?  That’s the Korea you never knew before.  What did you feel?  What is the image?  What is the smell of it?  What were you thinking about this strange country?



A: Well, there was a, there was a smell far at sea, there was.

I: What is it?

A: Well, you know, I think it was the rice paddies.  But uh you know, as we went ashore, the buildings close by, uh, fishing was a big, uh, a big, uh, thing there.  And they had fish, you know, like hanging all around the eaves of the house to dry.

I: Yeah.  That’s very actually

A: Yeah.  (LAUGHS)  



I: Tasty one.  And we love it.

A: I guess so, yeah.

I: But that was very strange smell to you, right?
A: It was, very st, a very different smell.  Honest that it was, yes, uh huh.  And uh, and of course we joined, uh, the, my first Marine, unit so the first Marine to finish

I: Oh, by the way.  What was your unit?



A: Uh, How Company.

I: What?

A: H, How, How Company, 3rd battalion

I: Um hm.

A: Fifth Marine Regiment of the First Marine Division.

I: Um, what was your MOS?

A: 0311.  

I: What is it?
A: I was a rifleman.

I: What about people in Pohang?  How was it?



A: Well, we worked, we only, uh, had like uh, a few days of just getting, getting used to the countryside.  We took, uh, four-man patrols, uh, because there was a lot of, uh, guerrilla warfare going on at that time.  And, and uh, and just like two or three days before my small group, you know, joined the company, we had, uh, uh, one of the gunnery sergeants killed, uh, that was leaving in a, uh, uh, a patrol with a tank, yeah.  



I: So from Pohang, where did you go?

A: Well, from there we actually jumped off in the attack, uh, right at March, about March 1, uh, at Wonju with our first objective being Hoengseong.  And then all up through, uh, Central Korea.

I: In Wonju, you faced Chinese, right?



A: In Wonju, we chased, we actually were seeing North Koreans and Chinese.

I: How bad, how battle was it?

A: Well, it wasn’t all that bad for myself because we were actually in a Reserve, our Regiment was, in the 7th Marine Regiment. But then, uh, right away, I saw the results of warfare.


And that was Marines, dead Marines wrapped in ponch, ponchos along the trail, yeah.

I: So, from Wonju, where did you go?

A: To Hoengseong.

I: Hoengsong, yes.

A: Yeah, yeah.  However you pronounce that. Hoengsong is the way we pronounced it.  And then, you know, and then it was just, you know, mountain after mountain, hill after hill.

I: How do you like Korean mountains?



A: Oh uh, very much up and down, up and down.

I: (LAUGHS) You hated it, right?  It was so difficult, right?
A: Well, we were young.  We were young then, you know.  And uh, and we carried heavy loads in the Infantry.  But we were young men, and we could do it, yeah. I, I, I, we didn’t do it as good as, uh, many of the South Koreans, though.  (LAUGHS)



I: And do you, so from Hoengsong, you went to Pork Chop Hill?
A: No.
I: Punch Bowl?

A: Punch Bowl.  That was our, that was my final destination, yes, uh huh.  And like I said, I got to go back there.  That was, you know, special.

I: So, in only 1951, describe the situation in Punch Bowl.  Who was the enemy?  How dangerous?  How intensive, and what was your duty and so on?  Describe in detail as students will listen to you.



A: Okay.  Well perhaps I should start with, you know, as we advanced, you know, through Central Korea and uh actually the largest, uh, uh, enemy offensive took place in April of 1951 where I read the numbers of, uh, our opposing forces which were primarily Chinese, uh, and ac, you know, they attacked and overcame, uh, South Korean forces and American forces.  


And uh, and so we went back, set up new defensive lines and then started North again.  And then North took us, for me, as, as far as the Punch Bowl region.

I: Tell me about how you felt in the middle of that battle.  What, I mean were you scared? How intensive that was?  How close?  Give us more details.



A: Well, you know,

I: Typical battle scene.

A: Okay.  You know, a typical battle scene, uh, like when the Phake Offensive, uh was in April by the enemy forces were, before they attacked our positions in the hills and mountains, they, they blew bugles and hit chimes and blew whistles and, and put up flares, and we knew the enemy was gonna attack us right away, yeah.  So we used a lot of hand grenades so as not to give away our positions by firing our rifles at night.



And uh, but they, they had many more forces at hand than what we had to defend with at that particular time.  So, we, we had lots of, of our people wounded, and had lots of our people killed.

I: You went through all this, and you saw so much loss of your people.

A: Very much so.  

I: What were you thinking?



A: Well, obviously I thought about survival.  But we were a very, uh, we were a very close unit and uh, we, we were, had very much, uh, care about our individual forces, the guy in the next fox hole, you know.  And the same way when we were attacking enemy positions.

I: Were there any dangerous moments that you might have been killed?



A: Well, there were, there were many of those opportunities, yes, yeah.

I: You don’t call it opportunities.  (LAUGHS)

A: Yeah, yeah.  But I, I was never wounded, you know, until, uh, uh, the 16th of September.  And I only found out that when we, uh, went to the reunion.  I never knew what date, we never knew what day it was.

I: I was in, uh, Chosen Few reunion in San Diego last year.

A: Uh huh.



A: And you know, the winters, you know, were absolutely bitter. I think that it was worse during the Chosen Reservoir action.  And of course, I got to share those stories with a lot of my comrades that were still in the Company.  And the frostbite was terrible, yeah.  It was even worse for the enemy.

I: But actually helped people bleeding from.

A: That, that, that’s true.  



Wounds would coagulate in the cold weather, and that really I’m sure it kept a lot of guys from bleeding to death.  

I: And that tells the brutality of that cold war in 1950.


I: Yeah.

A: I still read the, the, it, it was, uh, a very record -setting period of time cause uh, the winds blowing down out of Manchuria were, well, they were something else.



I: So would you say that it was a winter if I ask you to pinpoint just one, the most difficult or things that you really hated while you were in there?
A: Well, you know, the summer, the summer heat in Korea is, uh, I, I just knew it to be extremely hot because we had guys, uh, fall out, uh, because of heat exhaustion.

I: Um hm.



A: And because we were carrying heavy loads, you know.  We didn’t, we, you know, we had a small backpack.  But we had sleeping bags that were carrying.  We were carrying extra ammunition for ourselves, extra ammunition for the machine guns and also mortar shells, you know.  And uh, so we had terrific loads.  And then in the summertime, that was really work, attacking those mountains with that kind of activity going on, you know.



If we had, and we had a lot of, a lot of guys just absolutely pass out from heat exhaustion.  So, and then we nearly drowned from the monsoon, uh, rains that got you just drenched, you know, from everything you had on.  And then we went into winter.

I: Again.

A: Again, yeah.  When I first got there and we were first moving toward Hoengsong, we had very heavy snows. 



And uh, that’s very difficult climbing mountains in the snow.  And wind blowing.

I: You born in the flat part of America, Kansas.

A: Yes.  It, it’s

I: And you went

A: That’s true.

I: Most mountainous

A: Everything is up and then down and then back up and then back down.

I: And then cold weather.

A: Uh huh.

I: And monsoon.

A: And very, uh, very high, uh, rivers, uh, fast flowing rivers, uh, from melting snow and trem, and the monsoon reason, you know, made it very difficult around the streams, you know,  



There’s streams everywhere in the mountains, and yeah.

I: So, can you say that was the most hardest part of your life?
A: Well, yeah.  You know, uh, you know.  The crack of bullets and explosion of mortars and artillery and hand grenades, you know, during battle was extremely difficult.  



But the, the climate in Korea was difficult, too, on, on uh, on the foot soldier, yeah.

I: When did you leave Korea?

A: Well, I left Korea, let’s see.  I think, I think it was in October. I have,

I: Fifty-one?

A: Fifty-one, uh huh. 



And I came home, uh, on an emergency leave, uh.  If, if, if you had a pending death, uh, of a family member and this was, uh, my father was, uh, gonna die.  And, and so the Red Cross, you know, brought, uh, troops home, uh.  And uh, so I came home, my father didn’t die until two years later.  



But uh, and then I went back on another ship to Japan and back to Korea.

I: Again?

A: Again, yeah.
I: That’s not fair.

A: Well, as a result of, uh, that extra trip, uh, I uh, you know, I, I flew home, you know, on the emergency leave and came back by ship again via Japan and then back to Korea.



And then was there a very short time, and the replacement track that I mentioned, our 5th, uh, our 5th track for the Marine Division, was, uh, it was time for that to be, uh, for those men that were left to be returned home, uh, rotation program.  



And since I had just recently arrived, they asked me if I wanted to, you know, just go back home instead of going back to my company, and I said sure.  I’ll go back home.

I: Go back home.

A: So, I flew back home again.

I: When did you leave for Korea again?

A: Well, it was, it was around I think the first of November.



I: Oh.

A: The second winter.  That would have been, uh, that would have been 1951, uh huh.

I: So, you came back to see your father.  But you went back right away.

A: Yes, went back right away after that leave, uh huh.

I: Did, didn’t you complain?

A: No. You know, uh, you don’t complain.  You might complain to yourself.



I: And did you?

A: No, I never did, no, no. I was actually, actually to get back and see some of my companions, you know, yeah.

I: Huh.  You’re a crazy man.

A: But I, you know.  I, it, as it turned out, I never got to see them because I wasn’t returned to my company because we were due to be rotated.

I: Where did you go in that second trip?

A: Let’s see.  Let’s see.



We landed, trying to think where we landed.

I: Inchon?  Pusan?

A: No.  It was, it, it was Inchon area, yes, it was, uh huh.

I: And where did you serve?  From Inchon, where did you go?

A: Well, I went, you know when you come back to Korea like that, there’s transit area that you, uh, report into.  



And then, you know, you’re, you can be returned to your Infantry company, or you can be stationed there for a while and put wherever you’re needed, you know, at the time.  And I never got back to my company.

I: So where did you go?

A: I went back home.  And, and uh

I: When did you leave Korea again then?

A: Well, I, yeah.  I left in uh, in, I don’t actually remember the date.



But it was November.  And uh, and I went, uh, you know, by air to Japan and from there to Guam, and from Guam to Quadulin, and from Quadulin to Johnson Island and then to Hickam Field and then was in a guard unit, you know, another transit situation.  And I was, and I was there to close, close to Christmas.  



And when the Admiral of the base was coming home and uh, he had lots of room on his airplane, he, he, he put as many of us, uh, veterans from Korea, uh, on his plane, and we flew into Miramar Air Base in, uh, San Diego.  And from there I went up to, I went up to Camp Pendleton.



And from Camp Pendleton got leave right away, got home on Christmas Eve, 1951.

I: Oh.  

A: Different, different than lots of other veterans.

I: Yeah.  You are the only one that I, yeah

A: I made it home.

I: Yeah.

A: That was the main thing, yeah.

I: Good.  What is Korea to you now?

A: I read about Korea all the time because, you know, I, I’m associated with Korean people, you know.



And uh, you had, you know, like the uh, Korean Army Colonel up at Fort Leavenworth and uh, they, they have uh, their Armed Forces Day, uh, program every year for we veterans.  And uh, we’re very good friends with the Korean people, yeah, all the time.



I: Personally

A: I still, I still communicate via the email with a Korean gentleman, uh, that, uh, we planned the program in 2001.

I: What is the legacy of the Korean War?

A: Well, the legacy for me is I had a part in the memorial that was built in Kansas City right across from the Union Station.



I: Any other message that you wanna leave to this interview?

A: Well, I, I, I think it’s very important we support Korea in every way because there’s a fellow up there in North Korea that’s very dangerous and a danger to the whole world, yeah.  I, I highly respect the Korean people.