Korean War Legacy Project

Calvin Karram

Bio

Calvin Karram grew up in Lawrence, MA. His father was a firefighter and died in the line of duty when Calvin Karram was 3 years old. Calvin Karram saw little promise in his hometown, where most people worked at the nearby textile mill, so his mother agreed to sign for him to enter the military when he was just 17. He was in basic training at Fort Dix when the Korean War broke out in June 1950.  Calvin Karram spent his year in Korea assigned to an M Company, which used heavy artillery machine guns. He started as an ammunition bearer, worked his was up to First Gunner and was promoted to Sergeant. He describes almost continuous combat, often sleeping under trees and without tents or warm blankets. Overall, he is extremely proud of his service.

Video Clips

First Night of Combat

Calvin Karram remembers his first night of combat. They were hit by the Chinese when they were on a hill. The Chinese surrounded them and they were cut off. Calvin Karram and a friend grabbed their rifles and ran down the hill, reporting to the commanders what had happened.

Tags: Chinese,Front lines

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YTFnFX7KD7E&start=804&end=901

Calvin was only 17

Calvin Karram remembers how his superiors found out that he was only 17, which meant that while he could be in the service, he was too young to be in a combat position. Since it was only 10 days until he turned 18, they did not want to send him home as he then he would be assigned somewhere else. Instead, they sent him for 10 days of R & R and then back to his unit.

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

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YTFnFX7KD7E&start=902&end=1060

The Army taught me about Life

Because his unity constantly on the front lines, Calvin Karram explains that there was often no place to sleep even during the winter. Often they would sleep under trees or in foxholes and only sometimes were able to carry their sleeping bags with them. Despite this, he says he had no regrets about joining the army as it taught him a trade and about life.

Tags: Cold winters,Food,Front lines,Living conditions,Pride

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YTFnFX7KD7E&start=1251&end=1423

Video Transcript

[Beginning of Recorded Material] 

C: My name is Calvin Karram. I was born in North Andover, Massachusetts June 6th, 1933. Getting to be an old man. 

I: Uh huh. You’re pretty young. Many Korean War veterans born around 1930. 

C: Yeah. 

I: Yeah, yeah. So. 

C: I know. I’m the captain of the color guard for the Korean War vets here on the Cape 

I: Uh huh. 

C: And it’s myself and maybe two others out of nine [0:00:30] that can still march in the parade or still do the. . .stand for the ceremonies and that. 

I: Tell me about your family background around the time that you were growing up. 

C: Well, I was born in North Andover, but we lived in Lawrence, Mass. And uh, my father was a fireman. He died in a fire when I was about three years old. 

I: Oh 

C: And my mother brought myself and my brother up and it’s a mill town

[0:01:00]

it’s nothing but shoe shops and woolen worsteds. And uh, when I was in high school I decided that I wasn’t gonna stay in, in town. I don’t want to be a mill worker. So the army offered education and see the world, more or less. And uh, I decided I wanted to go in the service ‘cause they’d give you help with your education

[0:01:30]

and uh, learn a trade besides working in a mill. 

I: So when was that uh 

C: I went uh, I went in the service in June of ‘50, about eighteenth of June ‘50 

I: Uh huh. 

C: Korean War broke out on twenty-fifth of June. 

I: Yeah. 

C: I was at uh, Fort Dix getting my basic training. 

I: Mm-hmm. 

C: And they came out and made the announcement [0:02:00] there was gonna be no inspection. That uh, there had been a conflict in Korea. 

I: Mm-hmm. 

C: And uh, sixteen weeks of training was going to be cut to eight weeks. 

I: Mm. 

C: And some of us went off to school and some was transported to uh, the west coast and then uh, went from there to Korea. 

I: So did [0:02:30] you enlist or are you drafted? 

C: I enlisted. 

I: Enlist. 

C: Yeah. RA. Regular Army. 

I: Mm-hmm. And what was your specialty? 

C: At that time, heavy weapons. 

I: Heavy weapons. Tell me about that. What do you mean by heavy weapons? 

C: Well, uh, when you go in you get regular infantry training and then from there I wanted to be a mechanic like my brother. 

I: Mm-hmm. 

C: But they sent me down to Fort Knox

[0:03:00]

which had tanks and I said to the fellow, I said, I was supposed to go to mechanic school. He said, well, it’s got an engine in it. So I went from there to uh, I think it was ten or twelve weeks of training. I finished there. I had, I think it was five days leave, and then they flew me to uh, I took a train from there to California. From there they flew me to,

[0:03:30]

supposed to be flying to Japan. The plane, uh, got engine problems. And they dropped the center with all our gear and they asked for fifteen volunteers to jump to lighten the plane ‘cause they lost one engine and they were having a hard time making it to Hawaii. So they said they were going to drop us into the bay, which they did. I volunteered. And I get to stay in Hawaii a week. 

I: What do you mean, [0:04:00] you jumped? 

C: Yeah. 

I: You mean the parachuting? 

C: Yes. 

I: Did – were you trained to do so? 

C: No. No. But you sat, they had a section in the bottom of the plane in the floor they dropped out. You sat there and the men, they hooked you up to the floor and the parachute and they’d come by and they’d tap you. He said he’d tap me. He didn’t tap me he kind of pushed me. And you automatically – shoot opened automatically. 

I: And you landed with your two foot? 

C: In the water. 

I: Two feet? No. In the water.[0:04:30] 

C: In the water in the bay. 

I: Uh huh. 

C: And they had a lot of boats out there they’d “shhhup.” Just get you out of the water. 

I: I’ve not seen – never been trained to parachuting. And you just. . . 

C: Nope. Nope. They just told you what you to do, you know. Just go like this and keep your legs together. I was seventeen. I didn’t care. [Laughter] 

I: [Laughter] Unbelievable. 

C: So, I get from there. . . 

I: How was it when you fell down, what did you. . . 

C: I was a jerk on the jacket first but afterward it was sort of nice. 

I: [Laughter] [0:05:00] This man is crazy. 

C: They got to uh, I went from Hickam Field, Hawaii to uh, Osaka, Japan and I, we spent a few days there and then we ended up in, I forgot where we came in. I think we came in to Pusan. And uh, from there they had a lot of troops and they were uh, interviewing different ones. I was supposed to go to

[0:05:30]

the First Armored Division, First Cav. And they had lost a lot of tanks and they didn’t need any crew men. So, I went into the tent and this – I don’t know what he was, a sergeant or who he was. And he said what can you fire? I said anything from a forty-five to a ninety millimiter. He said okay. He said you’re going to M Company. Machine guns. I said, oh good. I’m going to be a machine gunner. 

 [0:06:00]

I: Mm-hmm. 

C: He said go outside and look for Sergeant Kialoa. And I said okay. So I went out. He said stand over there [unintelligible]. Let’s go. I said, where are we going? He said up there. And I look up and there’s nothing up clouds. He says, grab them boxes. I said, what’s that? He said, that’s your ammo. I said well, I’m a machine gunner. Where’s my machine gun? He said you’re an ammo bearer. Let’s go. 

I: So, basically you carried that heavy ammo. 

C: Yeah. 

I: [0:6:30] But, let me go back to the time. When did you leave for Korea from California? Remember? 

C: Uh. . .it was, I dunno, probably October. 

I: Of 1950? 

C: 1950. Yeah. 

I: Did you know anything about Korea? 

C: Nope. Didn’t know where it was, had never heard of it. 

I: [0:07:00] Didn’t you learn anything from your history class about Asia and Korea? 

C: Not much. No, all my schooling that I recall was all about South America. 

I: Hm. 

C: At that time. 

I; So you were headed to a county that you never heard about before. 

C: Never heard about, didn’t know where it was. The only thing I knew was that they said it was near Japan. 

I: How did it – how did that make you feel about your mission. 

C: Well, at the time I was in the military and we were there to protect and uh, the country was being invaded and my government said you’re going to go and help ‘em and that’s what you did. You went as you were ordered. 

I: Do you know anything about Korea now? 

C: Well, yes and no. Like I said, I was there fromI guess late in December.

[0:08:00]

By the time I got there it was late in December and I stayed there until, I guess it was the first part of December ‘51. Since I was the Fifth Regimental Combat Team, the only team that’s mentioned with all the Divisions, because we were what they call a bastard outfit. We didn’t belong to a division. We were our own regiment. We had our own tanks, our own supply lines, our own troops.

[0:08:30] 

I: What’s, what’s the number of your regiment? 

C: Fifth Regimental Combat Team. 

I: Do you know anything that’s happening in Korea right now? 

C: The people themselves, uh, I’ve met a lot of them. They’ve seen my uniform. Um, we collect on weekends in the summer down here to help raise money to help us, our organization. We have a couple of memorials that I take care of.

[0:9:00]

I do the grounds work on some and do the flag for it, the maintenance of them. And I’m standing out there a lot of times and people come up and see that their sons, grandsons, nephews from Korea come up and thank us, which makes you feel good, too. That they – that they know about us and appreciate what we’ve done. 

I: Mm. [0:09:30] So let’s go back to the Korea. So, you carried that heavy ammo and where did you go? 

C: Up. 

I: Up? [Laughter] 

C: Up and down, up and down. I don’t think there was a flat spot there. But I was uh, what they called an ammo bearer. And I spoke with the Sergeant one day and they said, how come that guy only carries one? He said because he has to stay with the machine gun for the ammo.

[0:10:00]

So, one day they was coming up the hill and the Chinese and North Koreans opened fire on us and the one fellow that was carrying one, he was taking a break down the hill and he shouted, give me ammo I need ammo. So I went running with the two. And, a long story short I get there and I says, I’m carrying two and I stayed with the gun. So the guy carrying one, so I moved up. [0:10:30] So he made me first ammo bearer. And then through process the, people get hit and killed and uh, I went from first ammo bearer to what they call second gunner and then first gunner. 

I: Where was it? Where did you station? 

C: We, we fought al, all over. Because like I said we were a regimental combat team and we would be assigned to different divisions. We fought with the Seventh, we fought with the First Marines,

[0:11:00]

with the Twenty-Fifth. We fought with the Greeks, the Turks, the Korean uh, army there. We were attached to, we did a lot of fighting with the Seventh while we were there and uh, I guess just about every outfit that was there we were attached to one time or another.

[0:11:30]

They would have a break through and they would take us and say, go fill a hole, kick ‘em out of there. And we’d go. One time we were with the Seventh. We, we took the hill, I think it was four different times. We’d take it during the daytime and they’d lose it at night and we’d have to go back that day and the next day and recapture the hill. And. . . 

I: You were part of that combat? 

C: Yep. All of the time I was there. That’s why I only spent [0:12:00], I spent just a little under a year there but it was all combat time. 

I: What was the location? Do you remember the name of the area? 

C: No, I don’t know, it’s too long ago. 

I: What about camp name? 

C: I’m sorry? 

I: Camp. Your camp name. 

C: We didn’t have a camp, that’s why. We moved too much. 

I: So was it east or west or where? Was it near to thirty-eighth parallel or. . .? 

C: Oh yes. Yes. We went across the thirty-eighth up north [0:12:30]. And then we got chased back. 

I: Was it porkchop belly or any. . . 

C: It was near there. 

I: Anything that you remember? 

C: No, I don’t. I don’t remember. We, this was the first part of the war. We didn’t have like, I see a lot of these people they have cameras, they had pictures. A lot of them remember it. I don’t remember any major city that we. . . Well, we went through Seoul.

[0:13:00]

and there was hardly nothing there. And, uh, we were on the, like I said we were on the line all the time. They’d take us back and we were supposed to have three days. 

I: Tell me about the combat. How severe, how dangerous that was, and how close to the enemy, and what happened to your friends. 

C: Well, I can remember my first night of combat. Well, I don’t know about the first, but the most important to me at the time.

[0:13:30]

We were, I don’t know where we were but, uh, we get hit, I don’t know what time it was. Dark. Maybe ten o’clock at night. The Chinese I think it was and uh, long story short, they surrounded us and we were cut off and they were coming in and they were collecting our weapons. We were more or less prisoners at that time. And, uh, for some reason or other they called in for

[0:14:00]

the artillery. We had decided that they were on the hill now. They didn’t know we were still there, I guess. And they had two artillery rounds come in. Well, everybody went and ducked. When they ducked, myself and a friend of mine, we grabbed our rifles and we ran down the hill and went back to the rear and reported in what happened. And they said, all right, fine. And they reassigned me. I stayed there for the night and I went back up

[0:14:30]

to the line in the morning. That was my first night of combat. It was quite scary. Uh, I still remember it now. But there was a big rock that was separating us from part of it. And there was uh, North Korean or Chinese up at the top, and I fired at them. I don’t know if I hit them or not. Uh, the other thing that reminds me that.

[0:15:00]

It was in May. I’d been there since December. And we were sitting around the fire getting something to eat. Trying to get something to eat and get warm. And my platoon sergeant came up and one of the guys said, you take care of Cal like he was your son, kind of ripping him, like I could be his son. And, somewhere in the conversation he said, how old are you? I said seventeen. He said, are you seventeen now?

[0:15:30]

I said, yeah. So, the next thing I know he left and what we called a company run. I came up from the command post. And I had made sergeant then and I was in charge of the machine gun section. I had four guns and, I dunno, eighteen, twenty guys. And they said go down to the CP. So I thought we were going to go out on patrol that night and there’s the

[0:16:00]

company commander, the chaplain, and the battalion commander, I guess it was. And, my first, my sergeant there he said, and he said tell them what you gold me. I said, what’s that? Tell them how old you are. I said, seventeen. So the, I dunno who it was, the company commander said, what are you doing here? I said, the army sent me here. 

I: [Laughter] 

C: Did you sign up for this? I said, well, I signed up to go in the army, yes. My folks signed for me. No, to come here to Korea in this war.

[0:16:30]

I said, no. Not that I know. So they sent me outside the tent, so I wasn’t supposed to hear or whatever. So they said, what are we going to do with him? He’s not supposed to be here. How long has he been here? So, to make it short, uh, they called me back in and said, you’re not supposed to be here. And I said, well, can I go home? He said, when are you going to be eighteen? I said, about ten days. He said, well, we could try and get you home. You might get to Japan. [

0:17:00]

When you turn eighteen they’ll send you back to a new unit. You’ll have to start your points and your system all over again. So, we’re going to send you on R&R for twelve days. So, when you come back from R&R you’ll be eighteen and you’ll stay here with this unit, because I didn’t want to go to another unit and I’d have to start my point system all over again. So, that’s what happened and, uh,I went to Japan.

[0:17:30]

Had R&R. And I came back, served the unit, like I said somewhere around the first, somewhere around the first of December 1951. 

I: Wow. That’s a story. 

C: Yeah. It’s a little different. 

I: So, did your parents sign for you? 

C: No, they signed for me to go in. You have to, you can enlist at seventeen. 

I: Who do you mean by they? 

C: My father and mother. 

I: Right. They had to sign, right? 

C: For me to go in the service. 

I: Right. 

C: Yeah. 

I: [0:18:00] But why is that, why does, did that become problem? 

C: Because I wasn’t, at seventeen, I wasn’t supposed to be in a combat 

I: Oh. 

C: position, especially on online. I dunno what, I probably could have been in the rear at seventeen, which might have been legal. But, as of, I don’t know the, at the time, uh, if you were seventeen you weren’t supposed to be in a combat front line. 

 [0:18:30]

I: Hm. 

C: And I had already been there over six months and had made sergeant. Like I said, I had six to eight guns that I was responsible for, to set up when we were in our positions. 

I: You never been wounded? 

C: Yep. I never got shot, but I’ve been hit with our, our hot stuff. We had, uh, mortar shells. They were setting a mortar and the plate slipped and went straight up,

[0:19:00]

came down and I got nicked two or three times with shrapnel. This stuff up here, my face, couple of nicks here or there. Nothin’. 

I: You’re not qualified for the medal for that? 

C: Yeah. 

I: You? 

C: I didn’t put in for it though. I should have. Now they [unintelligible] because it does count. But at that time, like I said, we didn’t, we didn’t have much at that time when we first got there.

[0:19:30]

We were using uh, Second World War boots and uniforms. You did what you could to try to keep, try to stay warm. And we didn’t have the supplies that they had later on. I think in March they finally came out with some winter boots first, but by that time it was starting to get warm. You didn’t need them. 

I: How cold was that winter? 1950. 

[0:20:00]

C: It was well below zero. I still snow ski. I go every year. I’ve been to Europe, I got out West. It’s uh, last January I was out in Colorado skiing out there. I’ve skied at minus twenty-five degrees and uh, I was never as cold as I was in Korea. 

I: [Laughter] 

C: And it’s hard up there.

[0:20:30]

You would stand in a fox hole with water and ice, ice in there with you. I’d get frostbite in the hands and feet a little bit. But, uh never been that cold in my life. Never again. I said, this isn’t cold. And I was young, man, the blood ran a little faster then. 

I: During that winter, where did you sleep? 

C: Under a tree, in the foxhole. We didn’t have no tents. [0:21:00] 

I: No tents? 

C: No tents. You didn’t’ sleep on the. . . Well, on the front lines, you slept in a hole or you went just over the ridge and crawl under a low tree or something. 

I: Did you have a sleeping bag? 

C: Sometimes. 

I: What do you mean, sometimes? 

C: Sometimes we had some part of it we had a sleeping bag and sometimes we didn’t. 

I: What do you mean? You didn’t carry that? 

C: We did at the time but when we first got there, well, we got overrun a few times and I lost all my gear. I lost my watch, my ring.

[0:21:30]

My school ring and that. 

I: So, going through the night in that cold, without sleeping bag? 

C: Yeah. We didn’t have uh, I forgot when it was, uh, I guess it was last of January they finally came up with what they call a down, a winter sleeping bag. Other than that, all we had was the old army World War II

[0:22:00]

sleeping bag, which was just a blanket with a canvas cover, you rolled up and you could carry on your back. And then sometimes we were on the move. You’d, we’d go on patrol or we’d make an advancement, we’d leave the stuff in the Jeep. We had a machine gun Jeep and trailer. We’d leave it in there and we’d be stuck out in the hills somewhere and we didn’t get back to it, so you just. . .

[0:22:30]

curl up and go under a tree or wherever. 

I: What did you say to yourself when you went through that whole night over and over and over again? 

C: Uh, I think it was the first, well, the first night or the first day they were firing upon us, I said, what the hell am I doing here? I could be in school and the teacher could be throwing a book at me for me doing something wrong. But these guys out here they’re trying to kill me. I was a nut. I should have stayed in school.

[0:23:00] 

I: But you volunteered to join the army. 

C: Yep. 

I: Did you regret? 

C: Nope. No. 

I: You sure? 

C: No. The army, uh, taught me a trade. They taught me a lot about life. I thought it was great that I grew up poor. It was in a uh, what we call a coldwater flat. It’s just an apartment with just one line of water coming in.

[0:23:30]

Cold water. And here I went in the service and boy they gave me two pair of boots, shoes, four, five uniforms. Got three meals a day. I thought it 

was great. And uh, of course I didn’t like Korea but after that I came back to the States for a while and I turned around, went to see my company commander in [unintelligible] and told him, said, I volunteered with [unintelligible] they told me I wanted to go to Germany, I wanted to see Germany.

[0:24:00]

And they told me I could go and they sent me to Korea instead. A long story short, he finally, he said, all right, let me see if I can get you there. So he did. I did end up going to Germany. I only stayed about a year and a half and came back. And then I decided I’d reenlist. So I reenlisted for another six years and I put in, I went uh, back to Germany. Over there for, four years, ‘till,

[0:24:30]

I don’t know, ‘fifty-six. About ‘fifty-nine I came back and then I got out. But no, I, uh, appreciated the service that brought me up from a kid to a man. And, uh, that taught me a trade, three trades, educated me, and uh, I figure I got along fine through life and I’m, a lot of it was from military training.

[0:25:00]

So, I’m a military brat you could say. 

I: Were there any other dangerous moments that you might lose your life during the service?

C: Well, we had a little close, didn’t actually happen but, when I was in Germany I was, went to the —

I: During the Korean War C: During the Korean War? Yeah, we got in a couple of spots. We got cut off once and the,

[0:25:30]

we did the delay in action when the Chinese came across the border. We did the delay in, what you call the delay in action. We’d hold the line while the rest of the troops moved back and then we’d fall back behind them. And we got cut off there once or twice but we managed to get out of it. Fight our way out.

I: Did you write back to your family? C: Yeah, when I had a chance. Like I said the, that first night

[0:26:00]

we lost most everything. Uh, well, for a long time I wrote back with a little ink pen that I found on a, I don’t know if it was Chinese or North Korean. And, uh, because they used to search our bodies, our troops, and we searched theirs because I looked. I got a watch there that I’d taken off of one of them that was an American watch, so I know he took it off of one of our guys.

[0:26:30]

Yeah uh, we had, I think it was one time down by the, one of the rivers there, I don’t recall what it was now but it was a night fight. I had, uh, I was firing a machine gun and we’d fired so many rounds that the barrel actually, I had to twist the belt to stop it from firing and when I did that it melted the cartridge into the barrel.

[0:27:00]

And I went around. They had some tanks there. We didn’t have an extra barrel so I went to the, there was a tank behind me. So I went behind me and the fellow was up on the back of the tank firing the .50 at the enemy. And he seen me coming and he slung that .50 down on me and I swear it was this big [raises arms in a circle]. I could have crawled in it. I thought [imitates stuttering], I’m an American. What the hell are you doing here? I said, I need a barrel

[0:27:30]

for my machine gun. I said, we got a welded cartridge in it. But, I had what they call and A-6 gun, which is a light, light barrel. It cools easier than the regular A-4s. They, all they carried was A-4s, so. The next day we ended up trading that A-6 gun and got an A-4 gun, so. That was another close encounter. 

I: What was the most rewarding [0:28:00] moment during your service in Korea?

C: When I got my slip I was rotating to go home.

I: When was that?

C: That was like, in December, first part of December of ‘51.

I: Uh huh.

C: They came up, they said you have enough points you are going to rotate to turn to go home.

I: How much were you paid during your service in Korea?

C: Not much. I don’t remember getting paid. We didn’t have any place to

[0:28:30]

spend it, anyways.

I: What did people do with their, um, paper, I mean the US trip, I mean, the money?

C: I don’t recall. It’s like I said, uh. We were on line ninety-nine, ninety-five I think, I can’t recall right now but, I think on the back of the Korean book

[0:29:00] there that shows that somewhere around ninety, ninety-five, ninety-six percent of the time that the Fifth was there we were online actually doing the fighting. Because we’d leave, like I said we’d be with the Seventh, we’d pull back from them and they’d send us and put us with another outfit.

I: [camera zooms in on shirt logo which reads, “Fifth Regimental Combat Team Korea” and depicts a red pentagon] You’re proud of. . .

C: Used to call it the little red shithouse.

[0:29:30]

I: And you said that you worked with the, the soldiers from Greece, Turkey, and what else?

C: Uh, Aussies.

I: Aussies?

C: Australians.

I: Mm-hmm. Tell me about your experience working with them. How was it?

C: Good. We got along fine. We used to, maybe it was the Turks that uh, we’d ask them to see their knife because we were told that if they took their knife out they had to

[0:30:00]

draw blood.

I: Yeah.

C: So we’d hedge them into somehow and they’d have to, we’d get them to do it, and they’d have to come out and they’d sit there and they’d take the tip of their. . .nick themselves. They drew blood. Then they’d put there, they could put it away. If they took it out they were supposed to draw blood.

I: [Laughter]

C: Even if it was their own. So, we used to do that to them. But no, we got along good with all of them. They all did their job.

[0:30:30]

I: What kind of food did you eat?

C: Well, that was a good one too because like I said we were always on the move. And there was, uh, two or three times that I recall that we didn’t have any food all day. And it’d be the next morning um, we’d send a couple of guys down into the nearest village

[0:31:00]

and they could  try to get some rice and some kimchi. ‘Cause we were moving so fast. So they were moving us around so quick, um, food that was supposed to get to us didn’t get to us and then. Well we did have the C rations. Those are canned foods you’re supposed to get those in the morning and you’d stick them somewhere on ya. Tried to keep them, especially in the winter time you’d try to keep them inside your jacket so they wouldn’t freeze

[0:31:30]

solid. But I’ve eaten, I’ve eaten beans in every shape, form, or whatever, frozen. Heat it on the campfire or whatever but everybody wanted the beans and spaghetti.

I: Did you find kimchi and rice from the village?

C: At times, yes. But they were poor. They, you know they didn’t have hardly anything to eat either, but. . .

I: Did you eat, did you like kimchi?

C: It was all right, yeah. It was a little warm.

[0:32:00]

I remember one time that we were in the rear. And, uh, we could hear this woof, woof. I said what in the hell’s that? It sounds like a grenade but it sounds muffled. Myself and a couple others went walking where the noise was coming from and there was some Korean soldiers down the hill in the river. And there were two standing downstream and one

[0:32:30] upstream and one upstream. And the one upstream would take a grenade and pull the pin. He’d throw it in the water and it would go off, whoof.

I: Catching fishes.

C: And the fish would blow up. And the guys down the line, they would catch the fish. They’d go make a soup and they asked us if we wanted some. I was gonna try the soup and then I found out that they didn’t even clean the fish, they just cooked them up whole.

I: Yeah.

C: Didn’t want none of that, I guess.

I: [Laughter]

C: That was a good time at the time.

[0:33:00] I: Have you been back to Korea?

C: No. I keep thinking about it, but I just haven’t got around to doing it.

I: You’re still strong and healthy and the Korean government has a revisit program. Are you aware of that?

C: Yes, I know. I am, yep.

I: Yeah. So they’re going to cover seventy percent of your airfare and everything else is free. And you know that the Korea become very strong in its economy and one of the most substantive democracies in Asia.

[0:33:30]

C: Yep.

I: What do you think is the legacy of the Korean War and Korean War veterans?

C: Well, I wish them well and, uh, I hope they don’t have any more problems with the north. I’m too old to go back now.

I: We’d love to have you mustache, you know. 

C: I’m contemplating it, but my other half isn’t the wellest

[0:34:00] in the world so I don’t want to leave her. [unintelligible] And sometimes they ask me, don’t you want to go back. And I said, no, I had enough of it when I was there. I didn’t enjoy it then. I said I probably would now, but I didn’t enjoy it when I was there.

I: Would you support for Korea, for the reunification and for the strong alliance between the U.S. and Korea?

C: I’m very happy that we still are close

[0:34:30]

and uh, that the country is doing so well from what it was when I was there. And I’ve seen pictures of it and I have friends of mine that have been over there. Uh, we have uh, a reunion once a year and uh, I get together, we’re getting few, few at a time now but uh, they’re passing away. But a lot of them

[0:35:00]

uh, are happy that they went over there and said that they got treated very very well and encouraged me to go over and uh, see it. I’m, I’m planning on it but I just haven’t got to, to do it as yet.

I: Do you have any message to our young generation about your service, about the war, and the war that we are involved right now

[0:35:30] with Afghanistan and other countries?

C: Well. . .as far as the wars that we’ve been into, conflicts as they call them, I agree that when Kuwait was invaded, I agreed on going there. But I feel a lot of our politicians stopped us from going into Baghdad and finishing the job then.

[0:36:00]

I don’t agree with, uh, the present Afghanistan and Iraq. I don’t agree with that. I feel we should have stayed out of it. Those countries have been fighting for centuries. From Christ was, on, they’ve been fighting all these years between them. I think we should have stayed out of it. It was the, the uh, inter-countries themselves

[0:36:30] fighting between themselves or the border residents and uh, I, the only one I don’t agree with. And I feel bad for our troops there because, at least when I was in Korea, I knew the enemy, or most of them, were in front of me. There I feel bad for them because it’s awful hard I would say to tell who’s the good guy and who’s the bad guy. I had that, uh, somewhat

[0:37:00] problem when I first got to Korea, but you’ve got to know the difference between the South Korean, North Korean, and the Chinese. But at least they were in front of us ninety percent of the time.

I: Mm-hmm. Do you know where this interview will be uploaded?

C: No, I don’t.

I: Do you go to Internet?

C: No, I’m too old. I haven’t got to the new world

[0:37:30]

of, uh, computers and that.

I: Mm. Tell your friends about this, uh, website there. www.kw.vdm digital memorial. And that’s in the website and your interview will be uploaded to there so that many people can see it.

C: Oh.

I: Okay?

C: Yeah.

I: I want you to have your hat on, so that I can have

C: A shot with it on.

[0:38:00]

I: Yeah. Beautiful, huh? 

C: Yep.

I: This man can be in the movie.

C: Yeah.

I: Look at this beautiful mustache. Let me zoom in.

C: I didn’t fix it this morning, either.

I: Ah!

C: My wife was supposed to wake me up at six and she didn’t wake me up at six. Got up at quarter of seven, so I had to rush a little bit.

[0:38:30]

I: Very good. Any other message or comments that you want to leave?

C: No, I guess we covered it pretty good. I think, anyways.

I: Thank you very much again, Calvin, for coming for the interview. And I want to thank you on behalf of Korean nation, that you sacrificed for us. And now, we Korea, is the strongest ally

[0:39:00]

to the United States.

C: Good. I’ve been to Boston a couple of times, uh, your ambassador had us up a couple times for dinner, uh, luncheon, whatever. I’ve been there, enjoyed that very much.

I: Thank you again.

C: Okay. 

[End of recorded material]