Andrew Freeman Dunlap
Andrew Freeman Dunlap was born in Diboll, Texas on September 12, 1931. Before the war, he worked in Kalamazoo, Michigan as a supervisor in an ice cream factory. He volunteered to serve in the US Army in 1949 and was deployed to Okinawa, Japan before serving in battle in Korea. His time in Korea was short-lived as he was seriously wounded early in the war while serving in the Pusan Perimeter. He was sent back to the United States where it took thirteen months to recover from his wounds. He was discharged and returned to work at the ice cream factory he worked at before the war. Later, he moved back to the Dallas, Texas area.
Wounded in Korea
Andrew Freeman Dunlap describes being wounded in battle while serving in the Pusan Perimeter, 1950. His troop had been fighting North Koreans all night long on September 1st. At about 5:30 AM, he was hit by a machine gun by the North Koreans.
Recovery from the Battlefield
Andrew Freeman Dunlap describes his arduous recovery from the battlefield after being shot five times. After he was shot he was laying on the battlefield bleeding for several hours. He was found in a foxhole.
Convalescence in the United States
Andrew Freeman Dunlap describes recovering from his wounds back home in the United States. He was on bed rest for 13 months. He describes how his daily procedures and being moved from multiple hospitals.
Why We Fought in Korea
Andrew Freeman Dunlap discusses his thoughts about why the United States defended Korea and the legacy of the Korean War. He details how the United States participated to prevent the spread of Communism across the world. He also elaborates on how his service has allowed South Korea's government and economy to flourish.
[Beginning of recorded material]
A: Andrew Freeman Dunlap. I was born in Diboll, Texas, 1931, September 12, 1931. I left Texas when I was three years old, and we went to Michigan. So I didn’t stay here very long.
I: Your whole family moved?
A: Oh, yes. [Abrupt Start] I went to a ice cream company, and I worked for a year and a half.
I: What did you work? Did you make the ice cream?
A: I made ice cream. I was Head Freezer Operator.
[Abrupt Start] January, January 2 of 1949.
I: 1949. Did you enlist or
A: Enlisted, yeah.
I: Why? You had a good business there.
A: Well, there was a bunch of us guys, and we thought we was gonna go to Alaska and be the mule drivers on a, building an airport up there,
and we found out they wasn’t mules, so we turned it all off, and we didn’t, didn’t want to go anymore. Well, it was a government, and he says well, you’ve already signed up for government work, so now take a, one of the Army, Navy or the Marines and you’re gonna be in for a while. So I signed up for the Army. Ship Captain come on the PA and says you all is gonna
go to Hawaii are now going to Japan.
A: So that’s where I went. I went to, didn’t go to Japan. We went to Okinawa which is Japan anyway. But went to Okinawa, and about four or five weeks after that, I went to Korea. [Abrupt Start] Went to Pusan and stayed one night in Pusan, no, we got on the, got on trucks and
went up to another town. Then the next day we went to, towards another town, and when we did that we got ambushed there going through a big pass, and we got pretty well wiped out there.
I: Do you remember that scene?
A: Oh yeah. That was
I: Can you describe it?
A: I can even give you the, if I had my book, I could tell you all about it. [LAUGHS]
I: Did you publish book?
A: No, no. My, our head ma, uh, head medic man for the company, the Sergeant, he wrote a book afterwards. He gives a whole detail on the whole thing. I can remember being on the back of a truck jumping out and start shooting up on the side of the cliff, and that lasted a couple hours.
I: Couple hours.
A: Yeah. Then we’d pull back, and the other side of the gap.
I: You must have been scared to death.
A: I, I got hit there, but not, not during the fight. I got hit while we was on the rest area in the back after the next day even, after the fight. But it was, it was scary. We had guys, the guys in the tankers got shot up, and they was burning coming up the road. And is [Abrupt Start] wasn’t, it wasn’t good.
I, I can remember all that kind of stuff, but a lot of it I can’t. And, I remember coming back up, up to the top of the gap and, and, uh, being there and with the medics and all that and running another guy from where I come from, Kalamazoo, and we sat there and talked for a while and we went down the other of the mountain there and, and bivouacked there that night, and come back the next day and went down
and cleaned up everything we hadn’t cleaned up down there. But that was, hm, trying to think what they call the, we called it Ambush Gap, but it was, they had, the mountain had a name.
I: When you were there, it was just about a month after the breakout of the Korean War.
I: Would you describe the whole scene?
A: It was, I never seen any brick buildings
outside of a school building, and that was the only thing I saw in the brick buildings. Everything else was, uh, with the, what is it, what do you call it
A: Well, that. It’s, uh, uh, I’m trying to think, the rice, the, the stems of the rice
I: Rice paddy?
A: Yeah, the rice paddies [INAUDIBLE]
I: Uh huh.
A: It was on the rice, of the rice grows on
I: Uh huh.
A: and the, it was on top of the houses and down the sides.
I: Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. You mean the, the, the house with the
A: Yeah, the houses.
A: That’s the only thing that was built that way. And
I: How about people? Did you see Korean, many Korean people there?
A: Oh yes. They was all coming from the north. We can, at night we’d be bivouacked on the road, and you’d look down, down through the valley, and the whole valley road
was nothing but lines of people. It was just as wide as the road and walking south. And, we had to shoot over their heads and make them stop coming because we couldn’t, couldn’t check them all. There were so many people we couldn’t check and see if they was carrying arms and ammunition stuff.
I: So you have to threaten them not to come down.
I: How did you feel about that?
A: It wasn’t good.
I mean a lot of it was women carrying stuff, strapped underneath their dresses and carrying weapons and grenades and radios and all that stuff. It wasn’t, it wasn’t good. And, you know, I’m only around 18 years old
I: Um hm.
A: It wasn’t, it wasn’t a fun job on that part of it. No. I felt sorry for them.
I: Were you able to eat regularly during that time?
A: I was 185 pounds when I went in there.
I: Um hm.
A: And I went back in the hospital I was only 123.
I: One twenty-three.
I: That’s almost 60 pounds.
A: Yeah. But that was, I was only there a month and a half, but I laid in the hospital a long time before I weighed myself, too. But that, uh,
I lost a lot of weight there.
I: That means that you skipped a lot of meals.
A: Well, yeah. The stuff you had to eat. We was eating C-rations, and some of the C-rations I didn’t think was worth eating because we had them in Okinawa from the Second World War.
I: Um hm.
A: And a lot of that stuff I didn’t think was good.
A: But you ate what you got.
I: Yeah. It’s during the War.
What can you do about it,
A: I never ate anything from the country. I never ate any of the food there.
I: From you mean Korea?
A: In Korea.
I: Um. So please talk about after that, what happened? That’s the day that you wounded?
A: No, I was, I was on the backside of it. I got shot right across the bottom of the leg, right here by the calf that just went across and put a little scar on there.
I still got the scar from it, and, we put a bandage on it and let it go. Then on the first of September, I got it real bad but
I: What, what happened?
A: I got shot five times then.
A: In, uh, what they call Homestead. It was in Masan, just north of Masan I think it was. But between Masan and,
is it Taegu?
I: Um hm.
A: Okay. That’s the next little town up from Masan, yeah. It was right in between them somewhere in there. I got shot five times there on the first of September.
I: In your body, where?
A: Got one in here, one here, one here, one here. Then I had that one down there. [Abrupt Start] We, we was up there, um, in Homestead.
We sat there for about three weeks. Then they, they, they came over one night about, I don’t remember it was after midnight, and I went down and I had, uh, at that time, we had the 3.5 rocket launcher. Me and some other guys went down, and we was shooting
at the tanks, the, the Russian, uh, what was it, uh, 34?
I: Um hm.
A: I think, 34, and we hit one of them right between the tracks and one of them hit that. It blew the turrets right off the thing, and it run down the road, around, around the little curve, and it sat there and burned. But when we
I: You mean at midnight, that all happened in midnight?
A: Well I got hit about 5: 30 in the morning.
I: Um hm.
A: A good hit. This is when we went down and the tanks started coming in. That’s when we went down there. We hit, hit two tanks down there and some trucks. We hit the trucks, and all the, all the guys jumped off and went up the hill where we was at. By the time I got, they blew the whistle to retreat,
I run back up the hill with my men, and I got up there they had already took over our machine gun and cut down on me and the rest of my men, and I don’t know what happened to them cause I was out after that. Now that part I can remember. I can remember seeing the machine gun when it went off. But, but I found out later that it was the Koreans, North Koreans
was doing the shooting cause our men was gone, and he didn’t blow the machine gun up when he left. So I got that and, and I laid out until it must have been 3:00 in the afternoon when the, our troops come back and took the hill back over and got me out of there. But they put me up
I: So you, you being there injured for how many hours?
A: Oh it must, it was in,
in the noontime the next day of the, of this, would have been the first of September.
I: So you survived all the bleeding out of the injuries?
A: Yeah. They gave me eight units of blood when they got me. But I don’t know how much that is. They just said I had eight units. But then,
I: So must been a hell for you for several hours like that.
A: I was out.
I: You was completely out.
A: I, I, remember somebody walking over me and touching
me and moving me around. But then I don’t remember any more out of that until we had a, a Rodriguez and, uh, I think it was a Lieutenant Anderson come down and got me out, and when I got hit, I was going up the hill. That machine gun, when it hit me, it knocked me out, over, and, uh, over the slant of the hill going down, down
into a little, little valley between two hills, and that we had all mined. That was all land mines in there, and I laid in the middle of that, and they was afraid to come down and get me out, out of there. So when they finally come and got me out of there, they got me out of there.
I: Have you told this story to your wife?
A: I don’t think I ever told her
that, all of it.
I: Never? Is this first marriage?
A: Yeah, no, I, I went through two wives before I met this one.
I: And you never talk, told anybody about this?
A: No. It’s, a lot of it’s come back because I read the book. A lot of the book comes back from the medic that took care of me, the one, the one that
put me on the stretcher and took me back to Pusan. But, uh, that, uh, he wrote a book on it and I, that’s how I got a lot of it. But most of it, I can, it comes back to me, and I’m never, never had any trouble about any of that until I read the book. When I read the book, it started coming back.
I didn’t even talk about this war until, when I come down, I come back to Texas. And that’s been, what, 40 years ago. And I run into the KWVA, and I run into an outfit that my outfit got wiped out, the mine, the company I was with, got wiped out, and what was left of them went with
another group, and that group is our President of KWVA right now here in Dallas. I guess that’s what we call him, President, yeah.
A: Yeah. He was, he was in L Company. And I was in C Company.
I: So you rolled down to a valley where that heavily mined.
I: And you survived it.
A: Yeah. Then when they
finally got me out of there, they got me on a jeep, and there was four of us on that litter jeep, and I was on the top on the right side, I remember that.
I: You remember that.
A: I remember being
I: Did you feel the pain?
A: I feeled, uh, I couldn’t feel a lot of pain at the time. Mine was hit all over, but, but, uh, we was driving out, and we got shot at going out of there.
And we had a, had a general coming down the road, this is what the book, the general was coming down the road with his jeep, and he was making a lot of dust, and our medical officer or Sergeant stopped him, told him he couldn’t go any more because you’re making too much of a mess with all the gravel and stuff. Found out it was a general. He said he didn’t hear any more from that general for years later. [Laughs] that’s the one that stopped him on the road,
but he had to stop him cause all of us guys were shot up pretty bad, uh. There was guys who was, uh, with lungs shot out, and the [INAUDIBLE] was shut out. Oh, a really bad bunch of guys that was all shot up. Probably worse than I was.
I: Do you have sort of clear, visual memory of those?
A: Of the jeep, yes. Being on the jeep and
trying to get out. It was a bumpy ride all the way, and they had a heck of a time getting us off there.
I: How long did it take to get to the hospital? Was there a hospital?
A: Uh, I went clear back to Pusan, as far as I know.
I: On the jeep?
A: On the jeep, yeah.
I: Wow. That might had to been a long trip, right?
A: Right. If I remember right. I mean, I come to. I, I went out and come to, uh
I come to one time laying in the hallway of some building, and, and somebody telling me I was gonna be alright. And I guess they tell everybody that. But said I was gonna be alright, and they carried me out. First of September.
I: First of September.
A: That’s when I got shot.
I: So then how long did you stay in Japan?
A: It was after the 15thbecause I was in, I was in Japanese hospital when, uh, when MacArthur went into Inchon.
A: And that was on the 15th, and I think I left there 17th or 18th cause I had to have a special aircraft to take us back cause it had, had, head injuries, and they didn’t want, they wanted to have the atmosphere in the plane going back
cause if it didn’t feel it was right to ship us that far back without having the, the air in there or something,
A: pressure. Probably I guess it’s the pressure on it or something.
I: So you came back to the United States.
A: I come back, we stopped at, uh, I think it was Guam,
I: Um hm.
A: refueled in Guam, re, I stayed a night in Hawaii, my second time in Hawaii, at the hospital. Then
I: You weren’t playing golf. [LAUGHS]
A: Right. And I, I stayed that night there. Then we, next day we flew to San Francisco. I stayed there at some Army base there one night, or Air Force base. The next day we went to San Anton, stayed there on day. The next day I went to Washington, D.C. and went to Walter Reed.
Uh, I don’t know what dates those were when I
I: Yeah. But why you moving so often?
A: No, it’s on a plane was supposed to be going, flying, to Washington, D.C.
A: and we, they had to stop at night or whatever they did. That’s where they took us. I don’t know what, why it took one day to fly from Hawaii to San Francisco
A: and the other one, but we stayed
a night each place we went until I got to Washington, and they told me I was gonna go to, uh, oh, the Naval hospital in Washington and, uh, they guy said no, you’re Army. You’re staying here. So I went to Washington, went to Walter Reed. They said you’re not Navy, you’re not going there.
I: So how serious was that, uh, your bo, you know, situation
by the time that you were in Washington, D.C.?
A: In a wheelchair.
I: You were in a wheelchair.
A: I, I laid in a, I laid in a, on a bed that they could flip me over cause when I was laying down, I had a place in back here where I, when I turned over, and my face would be down. Then they, they’d flip me back over
the other way every so often. I was on that for a couple weeks. I was there 13 months.
I: Thirteen month.
A: Yeah. I didn’t stay in one hospital. I went, I went to another hospital I went to Percy Jones up in Michigan where it’s a, it’s a VA hospital now, but I went to the Army hospital up there cause it was 23 miles to my house.
So I stayed there until September of 30
A: Yeah. ’51. September 30, ’51.
I: And then, when after you got out of hospital, what did you do? You were
A: I come back to my old job.
I: Went back to what?
A: Went, went back to my old job. I was, went back to the Ice Cream Company.
A: When I went in the service,
at that time, the government says you got to hire a man back if he went into service. So they hired me back, but when I went in, the ice cream business is run by a, a lot of high school, not high school but college kids.
I: Um hm.
A: And we had one of the bosses there was a college kid, and he’s gonna quit,
and he was in a job above what I had before I went in the Army. So when I come back out of the Army I got that. So I stayed there for, I worked from about 19 years altogether. Then they closed up and went, went to Detroit, and I says I’m not goin to Detroit. I could’ve gone to Detroit
and been a supervisor of, of trucks and all that stuff, and I says these guys that’s working there have got 25 and 26 years’ seniority, they wouldn’t even talk to me. I said you’re gonna come over and take my job? We don’t want you, so I didn’t go. But, I stayed, stayed in that area and went from ice cream to making ink.
If you got any on you, if you got any ice cream on you, you wasn’t supposed to lick your fingers, and you didn’t do it in the ink when you started. If you got ink on you, you didn’t lick it off like with ice cream, I’ll tell you that.
I: How did it happen, that kind of drastic transformation?
A: Well, when I, I went, I went into, uh, working in the gas station for my brother-in-law.
He had an accident, and, he had an accident where he couldn’t work, so I went out and run the station for him, and a guy come in there and knew I was looking for a job. He says well, come on down where I’m at, and he said we’re gonna hire somebody. So I went down there, put in an application, and I was making ink. And it was the same price I was, same wages as I was getting in the ice cream, so I just went down and took it.
I: Have you known anything about Korea before you went?
I: And, so that, were there any moment that you feel like why do I have to go through this for the country that you never knew before?
A: Only thing we, only thing we thought about was there, It was gonna be something that could be taking place in our country at, next time. We, we had to stop it here before it got to us over here in this country.
Not just talk between us, us people, you know, that wasn’t no government saying anything about it. No, never even knew anything about the people, but you couldn’t really holler about the North Koreans because most of the North Koreans were South Koreans because they’d pick them up and make them go in the Army. But, that’s, uh,
rifle and it was pointing at me, an
I: Just way it was.
A: Yeah, I mean it was, you’re gonna shoot me, I’m gonna shoot you, you know. But, uh, but I, I never had any bad feeling against them. They treated us good here. That’s everybody in the Korean, from, from Korea here,
treated us real good. Keith can tell you about that kind of stuff cause there was, we have a church here that feeds us every Christmas.
I: flourished and have a vibrant democracy there in Korea?
A: Well, I thought that one of the best countries around right now.
I: Um hm.
A: Uh huh. I mean I, I seen the pictures and, uh,
I, I think, well, I, what I did here I was gonna go down to the KIB Motor Company and tell them, I said you guys couldn’t even sell these things here if it wasn’t for my dying over there for you.
I: Um hm.
A: [LAUGHS] That’s funny. Right.
A: But I, I says I think I should have a car [LAUGHS] and go to Samsung and say I, I need a tv.
A: I says I, I know, I know you got it, and I says the phone’s look good, too.
I says, I kind of helped you get there. But they wouldn’t do it.
I: But what do you think is the legacy of Korean War and Korean War veterans to yourself? What is it? What is, why is it important? What to remember, things like that.
A: I think it, with their organizations that keeps everybody remembering of the Korean War, and I
think we’re the only ones that really know what was there
I: Um hm.
A: because the schools don’t teach it.
I: Um hm.
A: And, they had, they have a good, uh, system to tell them about the schools. But, uh, school books don’t say that much about,
I: Um hm.
A: about Korea. But, I think it’s nice to have the Korean War Veterans Association just for that,
I: Uh huh.
A: to keep it going. [Abrupt Start ] I went, I went to one, uh,
J.D. and I went to one up in, uh, Sherman. We went to school up there
A: and the kids, kids was only about like this.
A: And the only thing they want to know is the medals.
A: What, what kind, what’s the medals for?
I: Um hm.
A: What, what’s all these medals for?
I: So what, what medal to you get?
A: I got Purple Heart, and I got a couple of Korean things, medals and stuff. But
I don’t really, really know what they all are.
I: Um hm.
A: Uh, I have a belt buckle from your, uh
I: Yeah, I noticed that it’s Korean.
A: Yeah. Uh, it’s a, I don’t know if Keith got one of those or not, but
A: did you get one? I have a award in every pair of pants I’ve put on since we got it . [LAUGHS]
A: But, uh,
I: So that looks fine.
A: We had a guy working in the hospital and he says man, where’d you get that belt from?
I said that come from the Korean President. He said North or South?
A: But if we’d go to a big war, you gotta go to the draft because you won’t have volunteers for that. They have a lot of volunteers now, but that whole, uh, our whole Army right now is all volunteer. I mean that’s all services. None of them are drafting.
I: Any other comments that you wanna make?
A: Not really. I don’t know of anything I could say about it that, I don’t have any hard feelings [Abrupt Start ] Well, the war’s not over yet.
I: Not over yet.
A: Well no. But we never signed the Peace
A: There’s never been a peace signed.
A: So we just, they went their way, and we went our way, and there’s still people being,
being killed over there.
I: Um hm.
A: For, I think we did em good job, and I think we by being there and what we did and a few other countries around, I think, think we got everything straightened out with the north. But now he’s he’s got that country over there in the north to the point that if they wanna eat, they’ve gotta go in the army
so he can have a million, two-million-man Army because they gotta eat, so they go in the service. And we might, if we ever have to fight them, we’re gonna have a heck of a time on that. There’s no way we can put a million men, million people on land quick enough to save South Korea. It’s just not with his Army. And he’s
he’s a young President, and he might try it.
[End of Recorded Material]