Korean War Legacy Project

Albert R. Sayles


Albert Sayles was drafted into the United States Army and served with the 6th Tank Battalion in Japan during the Korean War. He recounts his infantry and tank training experiences on both the home front as well as at the base of Mt. Fuji. He recalls his living conditions while in Japan, a surgery he underwent during his time there, and a tragic accident–the Tachikawa Air Disaster–which took place during his recovery period following surgery. He describes his return home which consisted of no reception and how he took advantage of the GI Bill, utilizing the funding to attend Community College. He is proud of his service as he feels it had a positive impact on his life and is glad the U.S. offered assistance.

Video Clips

Japan: Living Conditions and the Tachikawa Air Disaster

Albert Sayles offers an account of his time spent in Japan training with the 6th Tank Battalion of the 24th Division at the base of Mt. Fuji. He describes his living conditions and the cold winter he and others endured. He recalls a tragic accident known as the Tachikawa Air Disaster which took place while he was stationed there, killing one hundred twenty-nine servicemen who were returning to Korea following R and R in Japan. He shares that the images of the bodies lined in the hangar and thoughts of how quickly their lives ended are with him even today.

Tags: Living conditions,Physical destruction,Rest and Relaxation (R&R)

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Tank Training

Albert Sayles recounts being drafted into the Army and the training he was provided. He shares that after infantry training he chose to proceed with tank training. He recalls spending eight weeks learning all five positions in the M4 Sherman tank and elaborates on the changes made to the weapons on the tank between WW2 and the Korean War.

Tags: Basic training,Home front,Weapons

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GI Bill Benefits

Albert Sayles recalls receiving GI Bill benefits of $600 to attend Hagerstown Community College upon his return. He describes working for the post office while also attending accounting courses. He adds his thoughts on how wonderful the GI Bill was at the time and the opportunities it provided.

Tags: Civilians,Home front,Pride

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Impact of Service

Albert Sayles recounts returning home, stepping off the bus, and not a word being said to him regarding his service. He emphasizes that he simply went back to work and shares his thoughts on why the war was not a topic of conversation on the home front. He acknowledges that his service had a positive impact on his life and is glad the Korean people are appreciative of American efforts.

Tags: Civilians,Home front,Pride

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