Korean War Legacy Project

Alex Saenz


Alex Saenz grew up in Burbank, California, in an era where he witnessed segregation as a member of the Mexican community. He worked as a spray painter before enlisting in the Navy and used those skills in Japan at a ship repair facility. His duties entailed sandblasting and painting ships and performing glass and mirror repairs. He describes his impressions of Japan in great detail and why his experiences there were mostly positive ones. He shares that while he was not exposed to great danger during his service, he is proud of his service and feels he did the best for his country.

Video Clips

Enlistment and Basic Training

Alex Saenz recalls having graduated from high school and working as a spray painter when the Korean War broke out. He recounts quitting his job and enlisting in the Navy. He describes his basic training in San Diego and shares that it was an experience as he had never been away from home.

Tags: Basic training,Home front,Pride

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Ship Repairs

Alex Saenz provides a few examples of the conditions of ships returning from Korea in need of repair. He details working in the dry docks where repairs from shelling would be made as well as sandblasting and painting following the repairs. He recalls a ship needing repair after running over a whale and shares a more personal story regarding the Boxer CV-21, an aircraft carrier that suffered a plane's crash landing.

Tags: Pride,Weapons

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Little Danger

Alex Saenz shares his thoughts on serving in Japan rather than in Korea closer to danger. He states that all servicemen were assigned work, and they simply did it. He shares that, in the military, he did the best for his country. He comments on meeting soldiers who had served in Korea and hearing their stories.

Tags: Home front,Pride

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