Korean War Legacy Project

Ben Schrader Jr.

Bio

While conducting basic training at  Texas A&M University (at the time was a military school), Ben Schrader Jr, would obtain 2 years in the Chemical Corps and he was commissioned as a 2nd Army Lieutenant before being place on active duty.  After attending Mortar and Chemical Office Corps school at Fort McClellan, Alabama, he received his orders with the 4th Battalion Smoke Generator Chemical Corps bound for Korean in Spring of ’52. The crucial task of the Smoke Generator Company as Combat Engineers was to lay smoke over harbors and bridges in the event of an air attack.  Ben Schrader also laid smoke screens while building pontoon bridges over rivers. After his initial project, Ben was reassigned as Platoon Leader to the 2nd Battalion 4.2 Mortar Company that provided 24 hour supplies & artillery support for the Korean Infantry. Since Ben’s return to Korea, he is amazed at the infrastructure, the Koreans’ love for their country, and respect civilians had for America’s involvement in the Korean War.

Video Clips

Duties to Ensure Safety

The Combat Chemical Engineer Corps developed smoke screens over the rivers which would allow the battalion to lay the bridges without being attacked by the enemy. The worry was that while placing these bridges, the enemy would lay mines in the river bottoms, so the engineers were hoping they had done their job well without risking the lives their fellow soldiers. Ben Schrader hoped that all the bombs had be deactivated prior to coming so close to these rivers.

Tags: Seoul,Chinese,Fear,Front lines,Impressions of Korea,North Koreans,Physical destruction,Weapons

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yvjf6lr8iPE&start=320&end=386

Language Acquisition was Crucial

Communication was difficult when working with the Korean infantry, so US Army trained Korean soldiers in Arabic numerals & map reading. They could help provide the coordinates to fire on the number of units, battalion or regiments they anticipated coming in. It proved crucial to know which weapons worked with the right fuse and how these weapons would effect the enemy.

Tags: Seoul,Front lines,Impressions of Korea,Physical destruction,South Koreans,Weapons

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yvjf6lr8iPE&start=486&end=643

Learning Japanese Headed to Korea and the Army Point System

While on the troop ship going over to Korea, the loud speaker system on the ship was only playing conversational language in Japanese, not in Korean. This showed the soldiers that no one had the opportunity to learn Korean before landing in this combat zone. While stationed in a war zone, the Army gave out 4 points for soldiers at the front lines, 3 for troops farther back, 2 for soldiers in Japan providing supplies, and 1 point for troops on the home front. Ben Schrader was earning 4 points a month, so he was able to rotate off the front lines after a year.

Tags: Incheon,Panmunjeom,Seoul,Front lines,Home front,Impressions of Korea,Living conditions,Physical destruction,Prior knowledge of Korea

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yvjf6lr8iPE&start=793&end=936

10 Days and a Much Needed Shower

Everything was provided for the soldiers, so pay was always sent back to the US. Combat fatigues were provided and showers were only provided every 10-12 days. Charcoal was provided for heat and since you had to carry your water for drinking, water was scarce. Ben recalled the trucks carrying large containers of hot water pulled up and they had installed pipes that sprayed hot water to produce a "shower" effect for the men as they stood under in 20-degree weather.

Tags: Incheon,Panmunjeom,Seoul,Cold winters,Food,Front lines,Impressions of Korea,Letters,Living conditions,Physical destruction

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yvjf6lr8iPE&start=1004&end=1186

We Suffered Together

Ben Schrader remembered before going up on the hill, they would stop over at the kitchen and pick up whole raw onions and potatoes. He remembered while cooking the C-Ration that contained some form of meat, they would eat the whole onion raw and potato uncooked to add flavor. Koreans would have double rations so that they could share with the American military and the meals consisted of rice with fish.

Tags: Incheon,Panmunjeom,Seoul,Civilians,Food,Front lines,Impressions of Korea,Living conditions,Pride,South Koreans

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yvjf6lr8iPE&start=1196&end=1362

Closure to the Present Hostilities with North Korea

Ben Schrader believed that the hostilities will continue because North Korea continues to threaten the US with bombs. It is just like the Cold War the lasted for many years. He would support reunification between North and South Korea since he went back to Korea for a revisit and he saw first-hand the civilian desire to become one country again.

Tags: Seoul,Chinese,Communists,Fear,Food,Impressions of Korea,Living conditions,Modern Korea,North Koreans,Pride,South Koreans,Weapons

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yvjf6lr8iPE&start=1732&end=1891

Photos

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