Korean War Legacy Project

Avery Creef


Avery Maurice Creef was born on February 4, 1932, in Virginia Beach, Virginia. He graduated high school from Portlock High School in Chesapeake, Virginia, in 1950. He recalls not learning anything about Korea in high school. He did remember hearing about the war as a high school graduate and eventually enlisted in the Army in January of 1951. He attended bootcamp at Fort Polk in Louisiana and Fort Benning in Georgia before being sent off to Korean in June of 1952. After landing in Incheon, South Korea, he was taken up to Old Baldy at the 38th parallel and served in the 2nd Infantry Unit’s 12th Field Artillery Division. He caught malaria in July of 1952 while in Korea. He recovered and continued to fight on the frontlines until the ceasefire on July 27, 1953.

Video Clips

Basic Training at Fort Polk

Avery Creef, after enlisting in the Army in January of 1951, went to boot camp in Fort Polk, Louisiana. He reflects on his experiences and what he learned. He spent twelve weeks there and recalls countless marching drills and learning to shoot different weapons. He then went to Fort Benning, Georgia, for more training. He landed in Incheon, South Korea, in June of 1952.

Tags: Incheon,Basic training,Food,Living conditions,Message to Students,Weapons

Share this Clip +

Share YouTube:

Share from this page:


Impressions of Korea

Avery Creef shares the image of Korea he has in his mind. He recalls seeing many mountains. He recounts landing in Incheon at dark but remembers the city being destroyed. He also recalls seeing Seoul on his way out of Korea and remembers it being destroyed.

Tags: Incheon,Seoul,Impressions of Korea,Living conditions,Physical destruction,Poverty

Share this Clip +

Share YouTube:

Share from this page:


Experiences from the Front Lines

Avery Creef speaks about his experiences on the front lines at the Kumhwa Valley, Old Baldy, and the Iron Triangle. He recalls fighting against both the North Koreans and Chinese soldiers. There were a few dangerous situations where he almost lost his life. He remembers constantly firing flares.

Tags: 1952 Battle of Old Baldy, 6/26-8/4,1952 Battle of Triangle Hill, 10/14-11/25,Chinese,Fear,Front lines,Impressions of Korea,Living conditions,North Koreans,Personal Loss,Physical destruction,South Koreans,Weapons

Share this Clip +

Share YouTube:

Share from this page:


Living Conditions, Daily Routine

Avery Creef recalls never being able take a shower. He recounts never being dressed properly for the freezing winter weather. He slept in a bunker and ate C-rations. He shares how he enjoyed eating the pork and beans and adds that everything else tasted terrible. He remembers receiving packages from home periodically which would include better food options. He also remembers writing letters home.

Tags: Cold winters,Food,Front lines,Letters,Living conditions,Message to Students,Physical destruction

Share this Clip +

Share YouTube:

Share from this page:


Video Transcript

[Beginning of Transcribed Material]


I:          It’s November 3, 2021, beautiful city of Villages in Florida.  My name is Jung Woo Han.  I am the President of Korean War Legacy Foundation which has more that 1,500 Korean War veterans from U.S. and also other countries that participated in the Korean War. We are doing this to commemorate the special occasion which is the 70th anniversary of the Korean War break out in 1950 supported by the Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs of Republic of Korea.



The main goal to do this interview is to preserve your memory because it’s been already a long time ago.  And we want to honor your service by preserving your memory and direct witness.  But most importantly we want to provide this interview to history teachers in our classrooms so that they can use this interview to talk more about the legacy of the Korean War.



Otherwise, it’s going to be forgotten.  And that’s why we’re making a lot of curricular resources based on the analysis of this interview.  And we have more than 1, 500.  Teachers are working for my foundation.  They analyze this interview and take out important parts of it.  And then we hire the best writers of the teachers, and they write the curriculum book, okay?  So that’s why we are doing this.  Thank you for coming.  It’s my great honor and pleasure to meet you, sir/



Introduce yourself.  What is your name?

A:        My name is Avery Maurice Creef.
I:          Can you spell it?

I:          MAURACE?

A:        MAURICE.

I:          ICE.

A:        Yes.

I:          Maurice.

A:        Um hm.

I:          What is your birthday?

A:        Two, four, three two.



I:          Three two.  So, you are a young man.

A:        Yes.

I:          Eighty-nine, just 89, right?
A:        Yeah.

I:          Where were you born?
A:        In Virginia Beach, Virginia.

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

A:        Well, my father was a boat man.  So, he was gone a lot.  But we traveled with him going and coming sometimes.



I was eight, nine, ten years old, get on the boat and go with him for trips, you know, during the summertime when you’re out of school I did.  And then I worked most all my time all the way through nine, ten years old, right on through high school, I was working on some kind of job.

I:          How about your siblings?  How many brothers and sisters?
A:        I have two brothers and two sisters.

I:          So, okay.



And what school did you graduate high school?
A:        Port Lock High School in Chesapeake, Virginia.

I:          Port Lock?

A:        Port Lock.  PORT LOCK.

I:          LOCK.  Port Lock High School in Chesapeake.

A:        That’s it.

I:          Um hm.  When did you graduate from that school?

A:        Nineteen fifty.

I:          On the year of the breakout of the Korean War.
A:        Yeah.

I:          Yeah.  Alright.  Now here the question comes to you.



What did you learn from school about Korea when you were in high school?
A:        Zero.

I:          Zero.

A:        Yeah.

I:          You’re proud to say zero.

A:        I mean even our history books had, I don’t remember anything about Korea in our history books at that time.

I:          You didn’t learn anything about Korea.
A:        No.

I:          You didn’t know where Korea was on the map.

A:        No.  Probably not until I got in the Army, you know.  Once I got in the Army, I learned then about it real quick.



I:          Um hm.

A:        Yeah.

I:          So, what did you do after you graduated from high school?
A:        I worked during the summer and then ended up going in the Army.

I:          Army.

A:        Yeah.

I:          Drafted or enlisted?
A:        I enlisted, yeah.

I:          But you already knew that there was, the Korean War broke out?
A:        Yes.

I:          How did you know about it?
A:        Well, you know, newscasts and newspapers and tv and stuff like that you learned about it.  And at that time,



It was hard for us to get a job cause draft age, you know.  They don’t want to hire you cause they know you’re gonna be drafted.

I:          I see.

A:        Like that.  So, a lot of us went on and just joined, you know, cause you knew you were going, yeah.

I:          No matter what, you’re going to be in the Army, right/
A:        Right, yeah.

I:          So, you enlisted in the Army.

A:        Yes.

I:          But you knew the Korean War broke out.  So, you knew that, or you could imagine that you could get dragged in to the Korean War.



A:        Right.  You thought about it.  But you know, a lot of people went to Europe, too.  So

I:          Oh okay.  So, you just gambled.

A:        Yeah.
I:          You wanted to go to Germany?
A:        Well, I didn’t want to. I  just wanted to go anywhere.  I didn’t want to go to a War, you know.  But that’s what happened.

I:          There was no war in Germany at the time.  So, you wanted to go to Germany.

A:        Well, you know, Europe or that way or even Hawaii.

I:          Why not?

A:        You know, you think about all those places.

I:          When did you enlist in the Army?



A:        In January of ’51.

I:          Um hm.  And then where did you go to boot camp?

A:        Fort Polk, Louisiana.

I:          Fort?

A:        Polk, POLK.

I:          POLK.

A:        Yeah.

I:          Louisiana.

A:        Louisiana.

I:          Huh.  How long was it for boot camp?

A:        Twelve weeks.

I:          What did you learn?

A:        A whole lot about walking.

I:          You had to learn how to walk?



A:        Well, we had, you know, walking everywhere you went, march.  We were marching, you know, like that.

I:          You’re a very skillful man, right?
A:        Yeah, right.  So, we had to march everywhere you went, even go to eat.  You had to march into mess hall.

I:          Oh yeah, right.

A:        Yeah.  Like that.

I:          Okay.

A:        And then, you know, you learn how to shoot all  kind of weapons like that.  And you also learn the camaraderie of living with people, you know, in a barracks, 100 people living together all walks of life.  I mean, you had college students.



Professional football players, professional golfer, you know, in our boot camp with us.  So

I:          Alright. Then from boot camp, where did you go?
A:        To Fort Benning, Georgia.
I:          Um hm.

A:        For more training.

I:          And?
A:        And from Fort Benning to Korea.

I:          When did you leave for Korea?

A:        In May of ’52.



I:          Okay.

A:        I got to Korea in June of ’52.

I:          And where did you land in Korea?

A:        Inchon.

I:          Inchon.

A:        Yeah.

I:          And from Inchon, where did you go?

A:        Up to the 38th Parallel to the 2nd Division at that time.

I:          So, you belonged to the 2nd

A:        Yeah.

I:          Sentry Division.

A:        Yes.

I:          And your unit?

A:        I was in 12th Field Artillery.

I:          Field Artillery.

A:        Yes.



I:          So, you were Artillery.

A:        Yes.

I:          And what was your specialty?
A:        Well, there you had to learn it all.  You had to be a gunner.  You had to be the firing man. You had to learn the fuses on the shells.  You had to learn the powder, the flections.  You had to set up all the aiming things for the weapon to fire.

I:          (INAUDIBLE)
A:        You had to learn all of it.

I:          Yeah.

A:        Yeah.

I:          So, from Inchon to the 38th Parallel, you didn’t learn anything about Korea in the high school.



You didn’t know where Korea was.

A:        Right.
I:          Now you are seeing Korea.

A:        Yeah.

I:          What was it?  What is the image that you still have of Korea that you saw in 1952?
A:        All mountains.

I:          How about Inchon?  How was it?
A:        Inchon, we came in, we had a 30’ drop in  tide,



And the ships had to get in and out quick.  And we landed right at dark, you know.  When we got off landing site and, on the shore, it had a man there that’d teach you everything and where you were going.  And they separated you and sent us forward in  nighttime.  When I got to my unit, it was the middle of the night.

I:          What about Inchon City.  Was it destroyed mostly?
A:        Yes.
I:          Tell me the details because the school children don’t have any knowledge about Korean city at the time.



A:        Yeah.  Well, we saw everything in the city was just like gone, nothing, you know. When we came ashore, they were like that.  And then we saw very little at night.  But I did see Seoul on the way back, and that was demolished, you know.  There was nothing there.  When I was over there, I guess about 10 months, 11 months, I caught malaria.

I:          You caught what?


A:        Malaria.

I:          Malaria.

A:        Yes sir.

I:          In Korea?
A:        In Korea.

I:          That’s a very rare disease in Korea.

A:        Not only that, I was up on the front lines, they sent me to the aid station.  The fever was so high you didn’t know anything going on.

I:          Uh huh.

A:        And put me in this aid station, and they poured alcohol all over me all night long and fanned me.

I:          To cool it.

A:        To try to get any.



And so, they didn’t do too well in decreasing the temperature.  And they put me on a helicopter the next morning and flew me back to Yeongdeungpo.

I:          Um hm.

A:        They tagged me at that time suspect, hemorrhagic fever.

I:          Um hm.

A:        And you know, there was no cure for hemorrhagic fever.

I:          Yeah.

A:        Right.  And I was tagged suspect.

I:          Um hm.

A:        For that.  But I got back to the hospital in Yeongdeungpo.

I:          Um hm.

A:        And I was there about three or four days and they come and told me I had malaria.



I:          Um.

A:        And they told us how we got malaria.  From the clothes.  In our fatigues, we’d get maybe one clean set a month

I:          Um hm.

A:        And they washed the clothes in the creeks.

I:          Yeah.

A:        And they said the mites would get in the double seem of the fatigues.  And that’s how the people were catching the fever.



But I got malaria from it.
I:          I thought that malaria comes from mosquitos.

A:        Right. I did, too.  But they said the fever came from those mites, the hemorrhagic fever.  And I mean it was, I don’t remember seeing any mosquitos in Korea to be honest with you.

I:          When was it?  When did you get that?
A:        In July.

I:          July of ’52?
A:        Yeah.

I:          So, you were able to ride in a helicopter.
A:        Yeah.  Not on it. I was outside.



It was two stretchers on the outside of it, a bubble.  There was a bubble and two stretchers  like that.  And I was in one of those.

I:          So, you were cured?

A:        Yeah.  Well not really no.  I still have it in my system.  And every year I’ll have one or two attacks from it just about.

I:          Still now?

A:        Yeah.  No, until I moved to Florida.  When I moved to Florida, maybe the first two years I had an attack of it.



And I haven’t had it since.

I:          Okay.  So, you left Korea in July of 1952 because of the malaria.

A:        No, in ’53 I left Korea.

I:          What did you do then until ’53?
A:        Back on my unit firing the weapons.

I:          Were you able to

A:        Yeah.  I mean mu strength got back somewhat.

I:          So temporarily cured, right?
A:        Yeah.

I:          So pow.  You are the only one so far telling me that you got malaria in Korea.



A:        Yeah.

I:          But anyway.  So, tell me about where were you located in the 38th Parallel?  Do you remember the camp name?
A:        On Old Baldy mostly.

I:          Old

A:        Old Baldy.
I:          Old Baldy.

A:        Yeah.  And Kunwa Valley.

I:          Ah.

A:        Kunwa Valley.

I:          I know.

A:        And Charwon.

I:          Charwon, too?

A:        Yeah.



I:          So, you were there in Iron Triangle.

A:        Right.

I:          Tell me about that battle because that’s one of the most sever battle areas, right?
A:        Well, it was just constantly firing those weapons 24, 36, 48 hours at a time.  Never a cease fire.  Just constantly going with them.  And we were firing 155 Howitzers like that.
I:          Who was the enemy, North Koreans or Chinese?

A:        Both.
I:          Both.

A:        Yeah.

I:          Hm.  Were they good?



A:        They were.  But see, they’d come in such droves.

I:          In what?
A:        Droves, when they come, you know.  Like our division would be here.  They would have maybe three divisions attack at one time.  So, they’ve got about 150,000 men, but we got 25 or 30,000 men.

I:          That’s it.

A:        And they would come at you.  And they’d push us back off of Baldy in 24 hours or 36 hours.  It’d take us two weeks to get it back.



I:          Two weeks to get it back.

A:        Get it back, yeah.

I:          But you were fighting with enemies to get several inches of the land.

A:        Right, yeah.

I:          How stupid that was.

A:        I beg your pardon?
I:          How stupid that was.

A:        Very.

I:          People are dying of it, and they’re trying to gain a few inches of the land.
A:        Right.  Yeah. It was something else.  I mean, and when you go back, all the dead we buried them.  And they had to be hauled off you know like that.

I:          Um.



Were you wounded other than malaria?
A:        I didn’t get any wounds, no.

I:          You were lucky.

A:        I was lucky.

I:          Were there any dangerous moments where you might have been killed/
A:        Yes.  There were a couple of those like that.

I:          Tell me, when did it happen and how did it happen?

A:        I guess it was in March, April of ’52.

I:          Uh huh.

A:        Fifty-three.

I:          Fifty-three.

A:        Yeah.

I:          Yeah. That’s when there was a very significant battle, right?
A:        Yeah.



I:          Yeah.

A:        And the mortar rounds were hitting over the top of us, you know, like that.  And we were still firing at the same time at them.  It was pretty scary at that time like that. Yeah.

I:          So you were scared.

A:        Oh yes, constantly. You never knew.  And we had the planes.  We got scraped by our own planes.  I had Air Force planes come on in shooting at us cause we were so close to the line, you know.



They’re traveling 500 miles an hour.  They can get off course a little bit.  So, we had to put up with that, too.

I:          Yeah.  And but because you are the artillery unit, you were in the back war, right?
A:        Right.

I:          Yeah.

A:        You’re firing.  But they put us right up in the front, the base of Old Baldy.

I:          Hm.

A:        Over, fire right over the top and drop it.



By then, the very front of the enemy right there.

I:          Um hm.

A:        Firing all night long.  We’d shoot the flares al night so you could show what the enemy was doing at nighttime as well.

I:          Um hm.

A:        We fired them constantly.

I:          So, tell me about daily routine.  Where did you sleep? What did you eat?



How was the living condition there?  How often were you able to take a shower and so on?

A:        A shower.  A shower, we never saw.

I:          So, you must have been very stinky.

A:        Oh yeah.  I mean, like I said, we’d get a change of clothes maybe once a month or more.

I:          Uh huh.

A:        Trying to get some to you.  So, you had the same clothes on all the time.

I:          Um hm.

A:        And we were never dressed properly for the temperature of Korea.

I:          Um.


A:        We weren’t prepared for it.  That’s why so many people got frostbite.

I:          But because of the clothes, you got malaria, mites, right?
A:        Yeah.

I:          What did you eat?  Where did you sleep actually?  Was it in tents or bunkers?

A:        We had bunkers.  And we could alternate, you know, go out, a crew of like eight would be working all the time.  And maybe we could release one or two to go get a quick nap if possible.



A:        Like that.  And that’s the way it worked.    Like that.  Eat, C-rations.

I:          C-rations.

A:        Yeah.

I:          No hot meal.

A:        Once in a while we might get one, but not regularly.

I:          What was your favorite items in C-rations?

A:        Pork and beans/

I:          Huh?
A:        The beans.

I:          Beans.

A:        Beans.  Cause everything else was terrible.  They had sausage patties.

I:          Yeah?
A:        And they would be frozen in the can.

I:          Yeah.

A:        And you know, they had white grease all over them.  You can’t eat that.



I:          It was made during World War II.

A:        Yeah.  Right, yeah.

I:          But you loved the beans.

A:        Yeah.

I:          Yeah, I love beans, too.

A:        I still eat them today. I  still love it.

I:          So, you were a happy man at the time.

A:        Yeah.

I:          I’m just kidding.

A:        And once in a while, we’d get packages from home that had food in them.

I:          What did you get from your family?


A:        Most times it was like Vienna sausage, Beanie Weenies and things like that.

I:          Um hm.

A:        You know, crackers.

I:          So, nobody would steal in the middle, delivered to you.

A:        Yeah.

I:          Yeah.  And you were able to write letters back to your family?

A:        Yeah.  Occasionally we’d write letters and send letters home, yeah.

I:          What did you write about?
A:        That I wish I was home.  You know, you didn’t explain everything going on over there, you know.



Just tried to be neutral in your statements, hope to see you soon, things like that.

I:          What did you miss most?
A:        Just your everyday life, sleeping in a bed, you know cause you didn’t have none of that.  You almost lived like an animal out there in the wilderness like that.

I:          Eight animals in the bunker.



A:        Right, if you get in there.

I:          You were not married at the time.

A:        No.  And in my squad, I had two Indians, natural Indians, one from South Dakota and one from Arizona.  I had a black from Texas, a black from North Carolina, two Koreans

I:          Two Koreans?

A:        Yeah.

I:          Why were they there?



A:        They were assigned to us.  And I had Kim Jerook; I remember the boy’s name.

I:          Wow, really?
A:        Kim Jerook.

I:          So, keep telling to the camera, how did you find the Korean people? Did you like them?

A:        Yeah.  Oh, they were good.  And we had two Puerto Ricans that were the other.  That as our crew over there.  So, it was a lot of mixture, you know, into Korea.

I:          Okay.

A:        But that’s just the way everybody got assigned, you know.



You just, cause one guy rotates out, somebody else comes in, see, like that.  On a rotation basis.

I:          And were you able to have some kind of weekend off so that you can go around the city?  Have you been to Seoul?
A:        No.

I:          Not at all?
A:        Not at all.

I:          Oh.

A:        Not at all.  When we left Korea,

I:          When did you leave Korea?



A:        When we left,

I:          When was it?

A:        It was in August of ’53.  It was like a week or two weeks after the War ended.

I:          Yeah.

A:        Jully 27, but a week after that.  But I’d been ready to rotate anyway cause I’d served my time over there.

I:          Right.

A:        When they put us on trucks and took us back to Inchon, they put us in a compound, just like being in prison.


Got doors all around it and everything.  You wasn’t allowed out.  They took you in, stripped you completely, sprayed you with DDT all the way over, and you walked out, and they’d give you clean clothes like that.  They don’t want you now to associate with anything in Korea at that time before you got on that ship and start home.  So that’s why you didn’t get to see anything, you know.

I:          Right, but when there was an Armistice on July 27, what were you doing?



Day before July 27, there was severe.

A:        They were still firing, still, like the War was still going on.  It was no different.  Then all of a sudden on the 27th, they said okay, it’s over.  They signed it.

I:          So, tell me more about what happened the day before July 27.

A:        The day before, it was like any other normal day, just firing your weapon and you know, like that continuously.



And then the next day, the 27th, about the middle of the day, I think is when it was announced if I remember, middle f the day, early afternoon, and at that time, everybody was jumping up in joy, you know.  Hey, it’s over.  We don’t have to fight anymore.  So, it was a happy time.

I:          What did you do on the day of July 27th, yourself?

A:        I just remember we were jumping for joy like that, and everybody’s shaking everybody’s hand and everything and said get me out of here.



Send me home, you know.  That’s what everybody wanted to do at that time.

I:          But did you know why you were there in Korea?
A:        Oh yes, we knew.

I:          Why:
A:        We knew that the Communists had crossed that Parallel and invaded South Korea.

I:          Um hm.

A:        And all about the War being pushed all the way down to Pusan and then coming back up right there.  We knew about all of that.

I:          Um hm.

A:        We did get that much education when we got into the military.



I:          Yeah.
A:        Yeah.

I:          So, have you been back to Korea after that?
A:        No sir, I haven’t.

I:          No.  Do you know what happened to Korea after that in terms of economy and democracy?
A:        Yeah. I know Korea done come along big time, South Korea.

I:          How do you know?  You’ve never been back there.

A:        I’ve never been back.  But I mean I just read all the history of it.  Like here they are making cars and everything there, and they’re selling many cars in this country as General Motors and Ford Motor Company.



And look at the input that they had from it. I  mean, look at how much of the pie they’ve taken.

I:          Um hm.

A:        And I’ve seen a lot of pictures of you know, of Seoul and how it’s all built up.

I:          What do you think about that transformation?  Even though you were not in the city all the time, but still you know what Korea was in 1953.

A:        Yeah.
I:          Now you know by reading and



A:        It’s  unbelievable.  It’s really kind of unbelievable.  But I did see, you know, when we were in Korea, you did get R and R and I was sent to Japan for five days.

I:          Yeah.

A:        And we saw how Japan was built up at that time, and that’s in five years, six years, over there.  I mean, it was such modern buildings all around there in Tokyo, Yokohama.  And we saw that.



And then Korea just followed suit and did the same thing.

I:          Yeah.

A:        Yeah.

I:          But you have to know that Japan was destroyed.

A:        Yeah.

I:          Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 with a nuclear bomb.

A:        That’s right, yeah.

I:          But because Korean War broke out right away in 1950, so that they have a special economy opportunity.

A:        Yeah.

I:          With everything that older fighting U.S. government provide the supplies to the American soldiers in Korea.



So that was a boosting economy.

A:        Right.

I:          Yeah.

A:        I learned from Kim Jerwook, the Korean that was in the, they take the beer cans in Korea, and they make watch hands from the inside of that can was good looking, was it, and they made watch hands of it.  I remember him telling me that, yeah.

I:          Yeah.  They’re good at those things, yeah.

A:        Yeah.

I:          So, the rank of Korean economy now is 10th largest economy.

A:        Yes.



I:          Korea has no natural resources much.

A:        Right.
I:          No drops of oil for all the coal and gold and iron is mostly North Korea.

A:        Um hm.

I:          Now it became 10th largest economy in the world and 6th or 7th largest trading partner to the United States.

A:        Right.
I:          Did you imagine that Korea would become like this today?
A:        No sir.

I:          When you left?
A:        No sir.

I:          Why not?
A:        All you saw, everything was destroyed, you know.  That’s what you saw, you know.



And so, for them to be able to go and build it like they did and get it where it is, and I’ve said all along, you know, with the cars coming from Korea and all the other merchandise coming to this country, they’re like more ahead of the United States in many ways.

I:          Yeah.

A:        Yeah.  So, you got,

I:          So, you never imagined that.

A:        No.  I couldn’t believe it.



I:          And you got malaria.  You really suffered from your service in Korea.

A:        Yeah.
I:          And now we all know that South Korea came out beautifully out of nothing.

A:        Right.
I:          But still, it is known as the Forgotten War.

A:        Yes.

I:          Why do you think it’s the case?
A:        Education, you know.  People just don’t get educated about it, you know.  It’s like in the Korean War Veterans Association we have, you know.



People just don’t come out and get involved.

I:          So, what do you think we have to do to go beyond and overcome this forgottenness of the Korean War?

A:        I think more education is the key to it, even with the little ones and coming on up.

I:          Yes.

A:        Yeah.  And that.

I:          That’s why we are doing this.

A:        Oh really.



I:          I mentioned in the beginning that we are going to analyze this interview.  Teachers are doing this.  And then they’re going to write the curricular book like that, right.

A:        Um hm.

I:          So that we can give this teaching material to teachers so that they can talk about the War

A:        Right.

I:          And also malaria.

A:        Yeah.

I:          In the Korean War.

A:        War, yeah.

I:          You are  a very special man.  You are chosen.

A:        Yeah.

I:          How much were you paid at the time?



A:        Say that again?
I:          How much were you paid?  Your salary.

A:        I think when I first got over there, it was about $75 of $85 a month.

I:          That’s it?
A:        Yeah.

I:          Including combat pay?

A:        Yeah.  Well, no, fluff that.  But I got elevated, I went over as a Private.
I:          Private.

A:        Got elevated to Corporal.

I:          Corporal.

A:        To Sergeant to Sergeant First Class.

I:          Um hm.



A:        So, I did elevate in rank because if you were able to keep doing what’s gotta be done, you become the leader, cause you lose people, you know.  So, you become the leader, and then you take over.  That’s what I was doing.

I:          You made more money as you went up.

A:        Yes, yes.

I:          And what did you do what that money?
A:        I just had it sent home.

I:          Home?
A:        Yeah.

I:          To whom?
A:        To my mother.

I:          Uh huh.

A:        Yeah.

I:          And what did you do with that money when you returned?
A:        I bought a car.

I:          What car?
A:        A Chevrolet.

I:          Chevrolet.



A:        Yeah.  Nineteen fifty-three Chevrolet.  And I

I:          (INAUDIBLE)

A:        Yeah.  And I had, I told my

I:          Brand new one?
A:        Brand new.  And I told my mother to go ahead and buy it so it’d be sitting in the yard when I got home.  And she did. And there.

I:          Oh, she bought it for you.

A:        Well, I sent, she took my money and bought the car, yeah.

I:          Excellent.

A:        Yeah.

I:          So, putting all these things into a perspective, you didn’t know about Korea.



Now you know about Korea.  You were there suffering a lot.  What do you think about the whole place of Korean War in the world history?  Why is it important to learn about it?
A:        Well, you’re fighting Communism, so you need to know that number one.

I:          Yeah.

A:        Especially with Korea, how they were invaded by it.  I mean, that was a big-time invasion when it came south.

I:          Um hm.



A:        And South Korea wasn’t prepared for it.  So, they learned from that.  And so, I think the United States has been a big companion to South Korea.

I:          Absolutely.

A:        Yeah.

I:          Our strongest ally to each other.

A:        Right, yeah.

I:          Your enemy was Chinese or North Koreans?

A:        Say that again.

I:          In Old Baldy, who was your enemy?



A:        North Koreans originally, but most of the Chinese came in later in the later part.

I:          Right.
A:        Yeah.

I:          So that was the first occasion where the U.S. fought against China.

A:        Yeah.

I:          First time.
A:        Right.

I:          In history.

A:        Right.
I:          And now China is challenging the United States.

A:        That’s right, yeah.
I:          What do you think about that?

A:        It’s bad.

I:          Bad.

A:        Yeah, it’s very bad because I don’t think we have the leadership in our country.

I:          Right now.

A:        To counteract against, yeah.



I:          Okay.  Any other story that you didn’t tell me when you were in Iron Triangle and Old Baldy and so on?
A:        You know, we did support other things besides the 2nd Division.

I:          Yeah.

A:        We had to support the, I think it was the 9th ROK.  We were with them for a while, you know.

I:          Um hm.



A:        We was with the Greeks for a while.

I:          Greeks.

A:        Yeah.  You know, they moved us around.  We never came off the line.

I:          I see.

A:        The Artillery.  The Infantry, they would bring them back and regroup, replenish.  But we stayed up all the time.

I:          All the time.

A:        Yeah. Our Division would go back, they’d move us over with somebody else like that.

I:          Um hm.

A:        Yeah.  So, it was constant 24 hours a day, you know, you’re firing those weapons.



I:          Did you ever think that you would not survive that War?
A:        Yes.  And everybody felt that way at times, you know.

I:          Um hm.  And when the weather was just unbearable, and I was in it 24 hours a day.  We fired those weapons so much, we had to take snow and put down the barrel to cool them off so they wouldn’t overheat.



I knew I was in it, and you weren’t dressed properly.

I:          Right.

A:        You know. So, it made it, the War was one thing, and then the weather was the second thing you’re fighting, yeah.  That’s why so many people got frostbite over there.

I:          Did you get frostbite?
A:        I didn’t get it, you know.  I took care of myself, you know.  You had to. Keep a pair of dry socks.  If you could, keep them down in your pants.  That’s the only place you had that was dry, yeah.



You know, the rain would come.  You’d be soaking wet in the rain, you know.

I:          Um hm.

A:        Freeze from the snow.  You were there in the elements all the time.

I:          You look very healthy.  Go ahead.  What do you want to tell me?  Go ahead.

A:        I was gonna say you know, every time there’s weapons firing, you got the back blast. You get a muzzle blast from every round that’s fired.

I:          Um hm.

A:        And a muzzle blast would just shake your whole body up.



You’d have to hold your ears and open your mouth and chest and your body.  I mean, just torture on your body.

I:          Yeah.

A:        Now when the weather comes bad, the powder freezes, and everything is wet.  You put it in the breech, close the breech up.  Now when that weapon is fired, you got the muzzle blast.  Then you got a breech blast.  So, you get a double whammy from the weapons when everything’s wet like that.



And that’s why so many people, my hearing is not the best today because of it.

I:          You’re still good.

A:        Yeah.

I:          Yeah, you’re still good.

A:        Yeah

I:          Considering that you were there for

A:        And see, we had no earmuffs or nothing, you know, no cover, no nothing.

I:          Oh, I see.

A:        Just the ears wide open.  You had to put your fingers in your ears.

I:          You have a big eye, I mean big ear.  You could catch every

A:        Yeah.

I:          Um.



So, what would you say to Korean people in the context of 70th anniversary of the breakout of the Korean War and still divided and still at war technically?

A:        Right

I:          With North Korea.  What would you say to the Korean people?

A:        Keep doing what you’re doing because it seems to be good.

I:          Um hm.

A:        Seems to be in the right direction from what, everything going on over there.

I:          Um hm.

A:        The people that’s leading that country are doing a great job I’d say.



I:          Any other things that you want to leave for this interview?

A:        You know I’d just say you know, when our squad was kind of in a national light

I:          Yeah.
A:        You know, sometimes you had victims within, you know.  Black didn’t get along with the Indians.  The Indians can’t get along with the Puerto Ricans and you had that.  The two South Koreans loved to sleep.  You had to keep them awake.  Yeah.  But you know, they did, everybody did what they had to do, you know, under the conditions, yeah.



I:          Excellent.  Avery, I want to thank you for your sacrifice and fight for Korean people.  And that’s why Korean people were given opportunity to build their nation.

A:        Yeah.

I:          And that is really good now.  So, you must be proud of yourself.



And we are going to use this material to teach more about your war, the Korean War, not to be forgotten but to be remembered.

A:        Right.

I:          And to learn from this, okay?
A:        Yeah.
I:          Alright.

A:        Yeah.
I:          Thank you so much, sir.

A:        Yes sir.

I:          Yeah.

A:        You’re welcome.