Korean War Legacy Project

Carroll F. Reusch


Carroll F. Reusch was drafted into the United States Army in early 1952. His regiment was garrisoned near the 38th Parallel in the Kumhwa Valley on the eastern edge of the Iron Triangle. He began his service as a litter carrier but was quickly promoted to medic. Over time, he developed into an accomplished medic, receiving the Bronze Star for his service. He remained in Korea even after the armistice was signed as troops were still trained in the case of a possible invasion. He has revisited Korea on two occasions. The transformation the country has undergone makes him proud of his service.

Video Clips

Serving with KATUSAs

Carroll F. Reusch reminisces about the KATUSA (Korean Augmentation to the U.S. Army) soldiers that served with his unit. He remembers three in particular and notes that he had a good time with them especially after the armistice was signed.

Tags: 1953 Armistice 7/27,KATUSA,Living conditions,South Koreans

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On Patrol on the Front Lines

Carroll F. Reusch explains he served as a medic on the front lines in Korea beginning in 1952. Despite his role as a medic, his role encompassed more than taking care of medical issues. He notes that a medic always accompanied any groups larger than three soldiers on patrol at night. He recalls not really knowing what to expect on the first night but that the fear ramped up with later patrols.

Tags: Fear,Front lines,Impressions of Korea,Weapons

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The Job of a Medic

Carroll F. Reusch remembers his division getting hit pretty hard on July 16, 1953. He explains how men were evacuated by chopper and the items he carried in his aid bag. He notes that he received the Bronze Star for reasons he does not know since he felt he was simply doing his job.

Tags: Front lines,Living conditions,Personal Loss,Pride

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Remembering the Armistice

Carroll F. Reusch remembers being stationed in Korea at the time of the armistice. He recalls eating some of the best food they had while they were there on the day the ceasefire would go into effect and then being told they were going out on patrol. He recollects the patrol quickly ended as the ceasefire took hold at 10:00 a.m. on July 27, 1953. He notes that the Korean armies were quickly moved off the lines and replaced by United Nations forces.

Tags: 1953 Armistice 7/27,Front lines,North Koreans,South Koreans,Weapons

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Amazed by Progress

Carroll F. Reusch shares he took part in a revisit program in 2010 along with other Korean War veterans from the United States, Greece, Australia, Canada, and Ethiopia. He recollects Seoul, at that time, being the most beautiful city he had ever seen. He describes the city and notes that he had no idea things would shape up so quickly when he left Korea in 1954.

Tags: Seoul,Civilians,Impressions of Korea,Modern Korea,Pride,South Koreans

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Video Transcript

[Beginning of Transcribed Material]


C:        My name is Carroll Reusch.

I:          And could you spell that?

I:          And you have the middle name of Frederick.

C:        Frederick, yes.

I:          Yes.  So, it sounds like you’re of German origin.

C:        I am, yes.

I:          Yeah.  So, tell me, oh.  What is your birthday?
C:        April 12, 1932.
I:          Twelve, nineteen thirty-two.  So, you are 78?



C:        Eighty-eight.

I:          Eight, your face is cheating.

C:        Yeah

I:          You don’t

C:        Eighty-eight and a half really.

I:          But your face looks like 68.

C:        I did good up till, you know.

I:          Yeah.
C:        Catch up to you after a while, you know.

I:          Wow.  And where were you born?
C:        In Valley City, Ohio.  It’s Medina County.
I:          What is the name of the city?
C:        Valley City.

I:          VALLEY City in Ohio.



C:        Yeah.  It’s Medina County.

I:          And tell me about your family, your grandpa and your parents, your siblings when you were growing up.

C:        Oh.  Everyone I believe was farmers pretty much when they first came here, you know.  I mean, some had different things going for them.



But ours were here starting in like 17 something.

I:          Um hm.

C:        So, it was strictly farmers as far as I know.  And that’s how my grandfather had a farm, and my father grew up there.  And then he, when he got off the farm more or less and got married, was like a miller, worked in a mill.

I:          Um hm.



C:        That type thing.

I:          And you said that your grandfather was in World War I?
C:        No, my

I:          Your father.

C:        My father, yes.

I:          Father?  Tell me about it.  What was his name, and what did he do?

C:        His name is Claude, CLAUDE.

I:          C

C:        LAUDE

I:          Claude

C:        DE

I:          Yeah.

C:        Reusch, REUSCH.

I:          Yes.

C:        He was in the First World War.



And he ended up in France and was only there kind of a short time, and the War ended.  So, he lucked out real well.

I:          Um hm.

C:        And I had a brother.  He was the Second World War in the Anti-aircraft Division whatever, and he ended up in Belgium his last year or so.



And myself in Korea.

I:          Yes.

C:        I was there for my 21st and 22nd birthday.

I:          Birthday.

C:        And I was there about 15 months.

I:          Um.
C:        And my two sons were in the Navy.  One six years and the other four years.  My granddaughter, one of my son’s daughters, retired from the Air Force with 23 years.



I:          Wow.

C:        So, you know I’m getting older here.  And her sister is in the Reserves now, and she’s been doing this two-month deal for almost ever it seemed like.  So, I don’t know just when she started that.  But we have served our country the best we could.

I:          You are the family of military tradition.

C:        Pretty much.



Now I was drafted. I didn’t join.

I:          Right.

C:        I was drafted.  So.

I:          So, it’s a military tradition to answer the call from the State, from the Country.

C:        Right.

I:          Yes.  That’s very good.  So, tell me about the school you went through when you were growing up, elementary, middle, and high school, and so on.

C:        Okay.  We were on one.

I:          One grade school?
C:        One big building.  It was, and we had no kindergarten when I went.  Our children all went through that.



We had 12 grades, and I graduated in 1950 at 18 years of age.  And after about two or three more years, the schools, three different schools got together and they had, ours turned into Buckeye High School.  But we had like four big schools instead of,



Four times, say 12 schools or whatever it might have been.

I:          It’s Buckeye High School?

C:        Yeah.

I:          Buckey High School, right?

C:        Yes.

I:          Where?

C:        In Medina County.

I:          Medina.

C:        Yes.
I:          Would you spell it?
C:        It’s a Medina address.  It’s

I:          And that was 1950?  So, before the Korean War broke out, right?



C:        No.  This was after 1950.

I:          When did you graduate high school?
C:        Nineteen fifty.

I:          Right.  So, you graduated from Buckeye High School.

C:        No.  In Valley City, actually Valley City.  But three years later, everything changed over.  So, our kids all went different, you know, than

I:          Yeah.  So, did you learn anything about Korea from school?



C:        Well, I just, no because I got out, I graduated in 1950 in Mar.

I:          Um hm.

C:        And this happened on the 25th of June the following  month.

I:          Well, my question is did you learn about Korean history, where Korea is on the map from school in World History class or anything?
C:        No.  I was gone from all that.  So, no one knew anything about Korea.

I:          No one knew anything about Korea.

C:        Not in 1950.

I:          Um hm.

C:        Or less.



I:          Yes.

C:        Cause I graduated in 1950.

I:          So, why did you decide to go into the military?

C:        I got this letter in the mail.

I:          Draft notice?
C:        Congratulations.  You whatever, you know.  So that’s when I.

I:          When was it?
C:        Fifty, in the early part of ’52.



I:          So, you got the draft notice from the country in early ’52, right?
C:        Right.

I:          And so, were you drafted, or did you enlist?
C:        I was drafted.

I:          You were drafted.
C:        Got called for two years in and six years in the Reserves after.

I:          I see.  So where did you go for basic military training?

C:        I started off, I went to Fort Mead, Maryland.



That’s where they told me I was gonna be a medic.

I:          Hm.

C:        So, from there, we went to Camp Pickett, Virginia.  That’s where I got my training.  Two months of Infantry training, and then two months medical training.

I:          Medical training.

C:        That was all we got there.

I:          And so, what kind of medical training did you get?



C:        Well, how to give shots and this and that.  It was very basic.  But when the doctor has to go like six years and we go in two months, our job is, where I was, I was a combat medical technician you might say.  I was in the Infantry the whole time just like I was in the Infantry other than I was the medic.  We had five medics in our company once we get to that.



One in each platoon and then one that’s kind of like the senior medic.

I:          Um hm.

C:        So, the training was pretty sketchy.  But once we got to Korea and got involved with the doctors and this and that, you kind of learned a lot of stuff fast.  And our main thing was being the medical doctor in the Infantry was to stop the bleeding, get them back to MASH or wherever you might,



Depending on what the seriousness of the injury might have been.

I:          Um hm.
C:        We had three MASH hospitals in Korea.

I:          Um hm.  So, when did you leave for Korea, from where, in the United States?
C:        I left from Camp Stoneman.

I:          Camp Stoneman.

C:        California.
I:          Yeah.

C:        Underneath the Golden Gate Bridge.
I:          Yes.



C:        As we get out, the bridge gets smaller and smaller, and I wondered what’s gonna happen to me now?  Where are we going, you know?  We knew where we were going.  We started off, we ended up going to Formosa first, dropped off supplies for the Navy, it’s Taiwan now.  And then we went to Okinawa and then to Tokyo,



Got rid of our Class A uniforms in Tokyo.  We had fatigues which I was gonna be wearing now for the next over a year, 15 months.  We got on a Merchant Marine ship from there and went up to Pusan which they changed the name to Busan I guess. I don’t know what it is right now, if it changed back or not.  And then a 200 and some mile railroad trip up to North Korea.,



We went through Seoul which was all burned out.  A few people were around there scavenging through rubbish trying to get food. And it was a real sad situation, you know.

I:          Can you tell me more about the sad situation in Seoul and in Korea that you saw in the beginning?

C:        Right.  Okay.  So, we, of course, went right through.  We went right up to the rail had ended, where the rails ended.



That’s where we got off, and that’s when we got on trucks, six by trucks or whatever they called them.  And I went up to the third repo depo.

I:          Um hm.

C:        That’s the Third Division where they assigned where you were gonna go.  So, at that point, they assigned me to the 65th Regiment, Third Division.



And I ended up in the First Battalion,

I:          Um hm.
C:        Charlie Company.  But when we first got there, we were in kind of a big group of people before we really got assigned to where I just mentioned.  I was the litter bearer. I started out as a letter bearer for probably.

I:          What is that?



C:        You carry a litter which carries the wounded.

I:          Oh.
C:        So, I had to work my way into being a medic, you know.

I:          So, when did you leave for Korea from Camp Stoneman? When was it, 1950?
C:        Nineteen fifty-two, about the 20th of February.

I:          Twentieth of February.

C:        That’s real close.



I:          Fifty-two, right?
C:        Cause I reported into Camp Stoneman Friday the 13th. And I was there probably about a week, you know.  I liked that, starting out on Friday the 13th, you know.

I:          You said you don’t remember. But you remember even the dates.

C:        And I went over on the USS Mitchell troop ship.  A lot of, I don’t know how many were on it.



And we, where do I go from here?

I:          My questions, I have a lot of questions.  So, you saw Seoul completely destroyed, and people were

C:        We saw, we went through kind of the edge of it you might say.

I:          And people were looking for anything to eat, right?
C:        Yeah.  Saw some of that, yeah.

I:          What were you thinking about it?

C:        What am I doing here?

I:          What am I doing, right?
C:        Yeah.

I:          Yeah.

C:        What can we do?  What do we have to do, you know?



I mean, I don’t really think of all this good stuff, you know.

I:          Um hm.

C:        But I found out how good the Korean people were.

I:          How?

C:        Oh just, they’re nothing but excellent.

I:          Tell me more about it.

C:        I might be going ahead a little bit.  But in our company, we had 38 Korean Katusas from the regular Army.  In our 200 that we had, 38 of them are Korean.



I:          Um hm.

C:        Jin Byung Han, Am Mun Mo, and Jahan Sicky.  Now all the rest of the other  35 or whatever, I swear most of them had Kim in their name.  And the ones I knew the best didn’t have Kim in their name. I never did figure that one out.

I:          Yeah.

C:        But Jin Byung Han was a schoolteacher by trade.

I:          Um.

C:        And just the nicest person you’d ever want to know.



And I’m sorry I didn’t get his address from him when I left.  But I didn’t.  But he had the Bible out transferring, going back and forth in English to Korean, you know.  And he could speak pretty darn good English, you know.

I:          Really?

C:        Yeah.  An Mun Mo was a little bit, and Jahan Sicky just about nil, you know.



I:          So, you had a good time with the Korean soldiers there.

C:        Yeah.  I got in with them after the War more so because they spread them out a little bit more in our outfit.  I think they kept them kind of together the other time, and they weren’t in my platoon.  So, I didn’t know them.  All I knew was my people.

I:          So, Katusa means Korean Augmentation to the US Army.  So it’s a Korean soldier attached to the U.S. unit working together, right?



C:        Yes.  And Sergeant Kim was more or less in charge of them. If they got them all together, he was, you know, he was in charge.

I:          So, you went to the C Company of the First Battalion, 5th Regiment of the Third Division.  So, your main duty in the beginning was to carry the people, wounded soldiers.

C:        Yeah.



That didn’t last too long.  And I got into Charlie Company at that point.

I:          Yeah.
C:        But we went over before that happened when I was in the pool of people, we went over and helped Fox Company bring some wounded back from the front lines.  We went up to bring a couple back, and we ended up bringing more than a couple.  I guess we had a couple wounded doing our duty to bring back some of the wounded.



I:          Do you know where you were?

C:        Near the Kumhwa Valley.  I was to two different, I mean, they moved you around there.  And there were no signs saying where you were at.

I:          Kumhwa and then

C:        Chorwon I believe.

I:          Chorwon.

C:        I believe.  We move to different areas sometimes.



I:          And when did you arrive in Pusan?  Do you remember?  Was it March?
C:        March 19.

I:          Wow.

C:        I know that for a, My birthday’s April.  So that’s when I got my first of two birthdays.

I:          You remember everything.

C:        Yeah, well.

I:          You remember everything. So, you are

C:        You know, I dropped that from my memory after about a year at home, after I started getting nervous.



But now that the United States and Korea honors the veterans from all nations whatever, you start to think now that, you know, when people start thinking that they’re giving us some credit, you know, and made us all feel better, I’m sure.

I:          So, you are such a bad liar.  You said that you don’t remember.  Everything is in your memory there.
C:        There’s some stuff I’m not gonna tell you, too.



I:          So, how was the situation in the front line Kumhwa and Charwon.  It’s one of the most, that’s the area where most of the severe battles took place.  It’s the Iron Triangle.

C:        Yeah.

I:          Tell me.  Tell me about the battle situation at the time when you were there.

C:        Well, luckily a lot of that was over with, but they still tried to come, as time went on and they were going to have an Armistice,



The North Koreans and the Chinese are here and we’re here.  Well, they tried to push on.  So, when everyone had to go back, they would get maybe our highest land.  So, they were always trying to get a little more land.

I:          Yeah.  Even an inch, right?
C:        Right.  So, my part was more or less holding what we had.  It wasn’t, but we did go in their territory a few times.



I:          Were many soldiers wounded and killed when you were there?
C:        A few, yeah.

I:          Tell me more about it.  What was it, and how did you feel about it?

C:        I can only tell you my platoon.  I don’t know, you know, cause it seems like our platoon did different things as a platoon.  We did a couple as a company which was about 800 of us or so.  We had that, too. And there were a few wounded.

I:          Um hm.


C:        None in my group.

I:          So, were you in the rear area or were you in the front line, and were you with the soldiers together all the time?
C:        Well, yeah.  It went back and forth.

I:          Tell me about it.

C:        Every time you went back, you trained.  The minute  you got to wherever, you trained.  They called it, you’re on the line or in blocking position would be the next.



You got four points if you were on the line, on the going home thing, four points.  Three points in the blocking position, and two points if you were in Korea.  This was in Korea I believe.  So, when the War ended, I had 19.  And I think you needed 38 or, I don’t know what you needed. So, I spent another year there is what it amounts to.

I:          So, you told me that in the medics training, you just learned very simple stuff, to stop the blood.



But what were the things that you did mostly in the far front line where you got the four points?  What did  you do?
C:        I was out on patrols.  Every night we went on patrol.  Always had a medic if you had over three on a patrol, and I never saw a patrol go out without three.

I:          Um hm.

C:        Usually a squad, at least eight or ten maybe, you know, or it could be more.  It depends on what they’re drumming up, you know.




But no man’s land in between is, it could be a mile. It could be a half a mile, quarter of a mile.  It could be, quarter of a mile would be real close.

I:          Um hm.

C:        But more like a half a mile.  So, at night, we’d go on patrol.

I:          Were you scared?

C:        Not the first time.

I:          But the more you know about it,



C:        To be, I’ll be honest here.

I:          Yes, please.

C:        I was more scared the second time.

I:          Yeah.

C:        And third time.  And after that, I took whatever, you know.  But I was more scared the second time.  I didn’t know what to expect the first time.  Now I pretty much stayed with the platoon leader and the radio man.  I usually kept somewhere close to them.



The best I could, you know.

I:          Did you carry the gun?
C:        Yes, I had an M2 carbine.

I:          M2 carbine.

C:        Which I didn’t know ahead of time that they carried guns.  I didn’t know.  I had that.  And that was the biggest mistake.  I should have had a 45 cause how am I gonna hang onto that and have to have a strap and work on someone.  The thinking there wasn’t too good.

I:          That’s not your mistake.  But it’s a military mistake.



C:        Exactly.  That’s my opinion.

I:          Yeah.  Absolutely.

C:        I know I’m right there.

I:          Any disastrous or very dangerous moments that you could have been killed during your service?
C:        Yes.

I:          Tell me.  Give details.  When was it, how did it happen, what did you do?  Details because our young students will listen to your interview.



And not many of them that I interview are medics.  So, you have a very unique mission to explain to them.

C:        Yeah.  I can tell you, July, let me think, July 16th I believe it was.

I:          Sixteenth?
C:        Yeah.  That was a bad one.
I:          Fifty-two?

C:        Three.

I:          Fifty-three.

C:        That last month, June and July were a little bit on the rough side.



Where we had a few wounded and this and that.

I:          Yeah.

C:        And I got the Bronze Star for some reason. I don’t know. I was just doing my duty.  I don’t know how that came about.  Who put me in for it, I have no idea anything about it.
I:          You have a Bronze Star.

C:        Yeah.

I:          Oh.

C:        (INAUDIBLE)

I:          But what happened on July 16 of 1953?
C:        We got hit pretty hard.  And I don’t know, I never did hear how many got killed or whatever.



I don’t know.  It was more than just our platoon.  And when we have wounded, how do you get the chopper in there?  The radio man has to call for it.  And then they come up and say we’re gonna throw the red flare, yellow, green, blue or whatever, as they’re coming, they don’t know who’s where.  And that’s how they spot our area.


Someone else might be asking a quarter of a mile or a mile away.  So that’s how they know where to come to, cause we’re out in the middle of nowhere  There’s no signs on.

I:          You were wounded at the time?
C:        No.  My aid bag got wounded, shrapnel came in and hit my Methylate, and it was bleeding.

I:          Um.

C:        It’s red.  It soaked up my bag.  So, and the thing of it is it comes down to about here.  It’s nice to know that it hit the bag and not something somewhere else maybe, you know.



I:          Yeah.

C:        But no, I did not get wounded. I  was fortunate.

I:          So, you must have seen many of our soldiers being killed in action or heavily wounded.

C:        Some, not that much, you know.

I:          Okay.  What were you thinking?



C:        I wasn’t, just did our job, you know , and not, was happy when things were settled down and we got back to where we belonged, you know.

I:          In your medical bag, what did you carry?  What items were in your bag?

C:        APC’s.

I:          What is APC?
C:        It’s like aspirin.  We had all that stuff.  Maalox, something for the stomach.   Then you got all your bandages and all that kind of stuff, you know.



I:          Morphine?
C:        Yeah, actually only once I used that.  I mean, that was it then, you know.  They only evidently allowed us one, you know.  I don’t know what the deal was there.

I:          So, there was only once that you had to use Morphine?
C:        Yeah.
I:          Wow, that’s pretty good.

C:        It, and uh,

I:          When did you use it, for what occasion?

C:        A soldier was hurting bad, really bad.

I:          Um hm.



C:        He says doc, he says, I’m hurting.  And yeah.  I see, you know, there’s not much I do but get them back and just hope for the best.

I:          Uh huh.

C:        Never did know the outcome,  you know.  I don’t know.

I:          Um hm.
C:        If they made it okay.

I:          When they gave Morphine, is the pain just instantly gone or what is going to be happening?
C:        Well, it goes away probably pretty quick.



But, and how we know when they give them Morphine,  you put the thing in and on their shirt, so they’d see that he has had Morphine.
I:          I see.

C:        So, when he gets back, they don’t give him another big dose or something, you know, or whatever, you know. There’s different things that you learn as you go on, you know.  I always thought I should have had more training.  But I did work with doctors already when some got wounded, and I was patching them up,



And they took me in there and I did everything but throw up seeing all the wounded.  And after that, a couple times, that never bothered me anymore which it was a good way to get started that way,

I:          Right.
C:        Not get sick out in the field, you know.  So, I mean that

I:          Were you in a chopper to carry the wounded soldier back to the MASH unit?

C:        No, all we had was a pilot.

I:          Pilot.

C:        One pilot, and they had room for two, one on each side.



I:          And did you have any chance to work in the MASH tent?
C:        No.
I:          No.
C:        No.

I:          Okay.

C:        We went back there one time to get some supplies.  And I saw one of my old cadre from basic training.  Cadre, they’re like Corporals, and they have their stripes pinned on.  They’re just Private E2 like we are after we get out of basic, you know.



Anyway, he was a Corporal really then, and I was a Sergeant.  I won’t say what he said when he saw I was a Sergeant, and he was a Corporal.  And he was over me in basic training, you know.  We had a lot of fun, you know, sometimes.

I:          How much were you paid as a Sergeant?
C:        Oh boy.  I got $130 or something like that a month.



I:          Did you get more pay because you were a medic than

C:        No.

I:          It was the same?
C:        No. I tried, overseas pay, you get, I don’t know if that was 12 cents an  hour a day or 20 cents or something. Combat pay was $45.  Now I think it’s a few hundred or whatever they have.  I don’t know, I’m not sure.  It was $45.



So, you got that extra.  As soon as the War ended, they chopped that right off, right that, even though you were still on the front lines.

I:          So, you got $130 per month plus $45 combat pay.

C:        No. I started out at $70, something like $72 or something.

I:          Uh huh.

C:        And then with the overseas, maybe that got it maybe up to $80, just guessing, you know.

I:          And then you are additionally paid $45.

C:        Just the months that I got four points.



I:          Yes.

C:        That  wouldn’t have been not too many months, you know.

I:          Um hm.
C:        But when I got out, it was, seemed like it was $135 or something like that.

I:          Yeah.
C:        When I got discharged.

I:          So, what did you do with that money?
C:        Well, when I got the rest of it, I got a car as soon as I got home.

I:          What did you buy?

C:        Oldsmobile.

I:          Oldsmobile, brand new one?



C:        I worked, yes.  I worked for GM, and I ended up 36 years with them.

I:          So, like Gene.  He worked in GM.
C:        Yeah.  We ran the company.  And once we left, things got tough there with GM, didn’t they?  They went bankrupt a little bit for a while and all that good stuff.

I:          So, how much was that new Oldsmobile that you bought?
C:        Thirty, I’m guessing $3, 200 or $3,400.



I:          That’s quite expensive.  But you were able to do it because you saved.

C:        Yeah, Oldsmobile was a little bit up, you know, it’s a little more than what I could have bought.

I:          So, let me ask this question.  What was the most difficult thing during your service in Korea?  If I ask you to pinpoint only one thing that was very difficult?



C:        I, let me see.  It wasn’t working with the people, with our people.

I:          You told me.

C:        That all went well. And the Infantry, they took care of me.  Being a medic, they watched over me the best they could hoping that I would watch over them the same way, which I did, you know.

I:          Was it weather or something, eating or anything?


C:        No.  well, the food sometimes wasn’t the greatest.  But we didn’t get sick.  So evidently it was all good for us that we got.  I can tell you more later on what we had to eat near the end of the War and all that, you know.
I:          Yeah, tell me now.

C:        Okay.  See, the Armistice was supposed to be signed at

I:          Yeah.



C:        This certain day, the 27th of July

I:          July.

C:        So that day we had C-rations.  For the whole month, we’d been eating not so good, you know, for a while.  They called sometime in the morning, they said there’s gonna be food down there.  You had to go back about a mile.  And they said go down in three’s, something like that,  no more than three people at a time.  So, I went down, and I thought we had turkey the best I could tell.



I don’t know where that came from like that.  But it was really good.

I:          Hm.
C:        I came back up about, a lot of the people that were gonna get rotated home, they stayed in their foxhole, or they weren’t gonan be up because both sides were firing over our heads, and they were getting a lot of wounded back five miles or more, 10 miles sometimes they said.  So, both sides seemed like they were getting rid of their artillery shells.



So about 3:00, they announced again there’s more food down there.  Tell me.  I go down the second time.

I:          Yeah.
C:        Went down the second time.  Everything went fine.  Came back.  They said going out on patrol.  I said well, not tonight. This is the end, you know, this is it, 10:00.  So no, we kind of blackened our face up a little bit, and we’re getting ready to go out.



Sure enough, soon as it got dark, somewhere between eight and 9:00, whatever it was, I don’t pay any attention there, I go out and I asked the Lieutenant, I says why are we going out tonight, you know?  And he said

I:          It’s Armistice Day, right?
C:        Yeah.

I:          Yeah.

C:        At 10:00, right.  So anyway, he says well we got orders. I said I know that.  But you know I mean, that’s a little common sense there, you know.



So anyway, we got out there, and we weren’t there probably 15, 20 minutes and they says come back in.  So, we came back in like a herd of elephants, fast.  And by my watch, five minutes to ten, silence.  No more firing. No more noise at all.  Then all night long, they shot flares up in no man’s land in case the enemy was gonna stake in.



So, the next morning, they got all the Korean Armies off the line, and they filled in with United Nations.  We were kind of right on the edge.  But we took over one area.  And during all that time, the Greeks, Greece was the company or the whatever, I’ll say company right next to us. And that all was bothering me a little bit on the communication between us and who’s, you know.



But everything evidently worked out okay.  You asked me if I was concerned about anything.  I was concerned about that slightly but not really, nothing developed there.  But after the War, after it ended, they gave us each two cans of beer.  And over next to us over there, they had a party like for three days.



So evidently, they got more than two cans of beer.   That was what we got out of

I:          So, when did you leave Korea?

C:        It was July, don’t know the date.  It’s about 2 ½, probably three weeks, the very first part of July.



I got out, the 24th of July I got out. So, I was only in 23 months, 22 months even.
I:          So, you left Korea July 1954?

C:        Yes.  It had to be right the first of July.

I:          But why did you stay longer than regular soldiers?


C:        I had more time, you know.

I:          Did you volunteer to stay longer?
C:        No.

I:          No?
C:        But that’s, it worked out real well cause if I had to serve another year, why not do it right there while, you know, you’re not going somewhere you maybe train other ones or do this or do that.  And we were ready to go back on the line, you know.  We were training the whole time, you know.  There was no rough spot there.



I:          So, what did you do mostly after the cease fire of July 27 of 1953?
C:        Training.

I:          Training.

C:        Or going up on the line for a short time and then come back again.  They moved people around a little bit, you know.  After about, after I was in the company about a year I’m guessing, I got, I was senior medic there for a long time.  Then I went to,



I was at our headquarters, our company headquarters you might say.  One platoon of medics took care of a battalion of Infantry. So, I was assistant platoon leader there for just a short time.  And then he went home, then I was platoon leader until I rotated home which gave me different responsibilities, you know.



I:          Um hm.  And there should be other casualties not from the skirmish or the fighting.  But there should be wounded soldiers out of their practices or by mistakes, right?
C:        Could be.

I:          There are some incidents.

C:        We had, when the War ended, they got rid of almost all the doctors.  We had one doctor that went from one battalion to the next.



And then we had the Regimental Surgeon which is at MASH at one of the MASH hospitals anyway.  But they did get the medical people out of there relatively fast.  Now we had a doctor and a pharmacist in our battalion.

I:          Um hm.

C:        Our four companies.  And I got to work with them off and on.  Very interested.  Treated you real good, and you could learn a little bit here and there.



I:          Um hm.  Were you able to go out of your tent and go visit Seoul or any other city in Korea?

C:        No.
I:          No.

C:        No.

I:          Have you been back?
C:        Maybe you could. I  don’t know.
I:          You didn’t go see Seoul?
C:        No.

I:          While you were there?
C:        It wasn’t in no shape.  I’m sure at a certain point it got built up pretty fast.



Cause when we went back on a revisit program in 2010

I:          Tell me about it.  What did you see? What did you think about it?  Tell me the details.

C:        I couldn’t believe what I saw.
I:          Tell me.

C:        I could not believe.  I saw some of our Greek friends.  They had them from Australia, Canada, Ethiopia



United States.  They had like probably six different countries at the time I went.  They wined and dined us for six days.  Got to see a lot of different things.  Then after that, we went to China.  We walked the wall, and we paid extra for the extended trip.



I:          Let’s talk about the Seoul that you saw after a long time.  Tell me about the details.

C:        It was the most beautiful city I’ve seen.  It was everything.  Just plush, you know.  It was really nice.  And right across from, of course, a five-star hotel we were in, it had heated toilet seats which I couldn’t believe.  My wife, well she was my girlfriend back then.



But she didn’t believe it was that cold there or that maybe we didn’t have heated seats all that time we were there.  I don’t know. I think I got her to believe that this is different from a lot of years ago, you know.  So, we went there in October which was beautiful cause once you get up North Korea, it seems like just a mile or two more north being so hilly, the temperature just drops so much more in such a short distance.



So, we noticed the difference a little bit when we traveled to different areas, you know.

I:          Where did you go?  When did you revisit in 2010 in Korea?
C:        Seoul.  We came in the airport which is near Inchon.

I:          Inchon. And how was it?
C:        What?
I:          The airport.

C:        Yeah.

I:          Was it bigger than the one in Crossville?



C:        In Crossville?  It was probably a little better than the one in Crossville.  Crossville International, you mean here?  Anyway, yeah.  And then the bus, I’d say it was about 45 minutes bus to Seoul.  And I was very surprised.  It had all these condos, condominiums, high rises.



No single family houses.  But we saw lean to’s and different, everyone seemed to have a nice, they had nice housing.  And it was altogether, you know. It’s not spread out.

I:          What did you think about those changes?
C:        I thought that was different, you know.  I expected to see some of the stuff I saw before.

I:          Yeah.
C:        To a certain degree at least, you know.  But I didn’t see a single-family house that I know of, you know.



It was all high rises in clusters, you know.  And I asked the gal, our guide, what’s the cost for that?  She come up with $200,000 or something. I  don’t know if she knew for sure.  And I guess the higher up, it costs more.  And maybe you’ve even got more room.  I guess you have more of a family if, if I understood it right, it was more space.



I:          With a view.  Better view of the Han River.

C:        We crossed that Han a few times, yeah.

I:          Yes.

C:        Yeah.

I:          So, you left Korea in 1954, right?
C:        Yes.

I:          And you had a pretty good chance to know about Korea at the time, right, how Korea was at the time in 1954, right?

C:        Yeah, it wasn’t too good yet. I had no idea that things were gonna shape up so fast.



I:          See, that’s it.

C:        And how fast I don’t know.  I know in 2010 they expected to be where they were then in about 2020.  No, 2050 maybe, say in 100 years or whatever. And they got there in a lot less than that, you know.



Which was amazing, you know.

I:          So, when you left Korea in 1954, you never imagine that Korea would become like that today.

C:        I said I would never want to come back. I changed my mind. I changed my mind, and glad I did cause things weren’t good there, even when I left there, you know.  They were still looking for food.  They were still, you know, you see that a little bit, you know.


It was sad, you know.

I:          Did you like Korean food  at the time when you were there?

C:        We had almost all American, yeah. Now the tough part was some of the, like the houseboys, whatever, or the soldiers that might have got moved around, they might have been with another country, and they got used to that food.  And the next thing they come to, starting to eat the American food, they get used to that.



Now where’s their next move, you know.  So, they did mention that, that there was some slight problem with their stomachs.  That’s why I had that other Maalox and stuff I guess.

I:          So, are you proud to be a Korean War veteran?
C:        Am I what?  I’m sorry.

I:          Proud.

C:        Yes.

I:          Why?

C:        I’m proud I served my country and did the best I possibly could.



And so, you know, I can’t.

I:          And this is the 70th anniversary of the Korean War.  It has never been replaced by a peace treaty.  Technically, the Korean Peninsula is at war.  What would you say to the Korean people? Special message to your Korean friends like Jin Byunghan and An Mum Mo.



C:        I was glad I met them and got to know a little bit more about the, even though they were taken over by the Japanese, rather their sayings were something in Japanese, maybe I didn’t get much of a chance to get a little more education in the Korean language, you know.

I:          What would you say to Jin Byunghan, your friend.

C:        What would I say to him?
I:          Yeah.



C:        I was honored to meet him.  And I just thought he was the greatest.

I:          You said you didn’t know anything about Korea in your high school days.

C:        No.
I:          And now you know Korea, right?  Twice, you’ve been there twice.  What is Korea to you personally?
C:        A pretty smart bunch of people.  Yeah.  Evidently you don’t get to be great without having good education or something.



Something went really great for them.  And I know the United States had a lot to do with it.  But there’s a lot of countries involved, 22 or 24 or whatever that figure was. As far as ground troops, it might have been 19 or 20 or whatever.  But we had medical and had different areas for the other few countries that didn’t have soldiers to

I:          That’s right.

C:        To donate to the cause.



I:          Any other special memory you had during your service in Korea?

C:        When I got to Tokyo, all we got was fatigues.  So, I had fatigues on for the next over a year,  you know.  And going home, we went home on the USS Gordon.  They painted the whole ship outside so things were off limits quite a bit.


But when we went, we went the Southern route.  When we came back, we went the Northern route by the Aleutian Islands and landed in Spokane, in Washington and went to Camp Drake, Fort Lewis, excuse me.  Then about four days train ride to Chicago to Fort Sheridan is where I got out of service.

I:          Um hm.




C:        And we had so many come, two ships come in, one behind the other.  There were so many getting out of the service.  So, I was there probably almost about a week before we got processed out.  They processed 250, 500 a day, 250 in the morning, and in the afternoon 250.  So everyday 500 people they processed through.



And any other, just trying to think.  It was, we had no one, you know, we had free mail there.  All you had to do was write free where the postage stamp goes.



It’s Army, APO, Army Post Office number out of California, APO 468 or something close to that anyway.  But we had no phone, we never talked to anybody, talked to anyone I knew.

I:          You didn’t have a cellular phone at the time?
C:        No, didn’t have any of that.



I did send dishes home to my mother and my girlfriend which is my wife of 65 years now.

I:          Wow.  You are an endangered species. Do you still keep that letter you wrote to your girlfriend and now your wife?

C:        You mean, if I wrote to her, then she’s got it.  She probably got rid of it real quick, you know.  I don’t know.

I:          Okay.



I:          Alright.
C:        I never did question her if, how soon she threw all my letters away.

I:          You know, in the beginning you said that I don’t remember much.  I don’t know how many stories that I can give you.  But you gave me full stories.  And it’s been an hour already.  You know, it’s, that is the point, that Korean came beautifully out of your service as you saw in 2010.



And that’s why we want to tell this story for our younger generations in the classroom, for the teachers so that teachers can use your video interview in their classroom, okay?
C:        Okay.

I:          Carroll, thank you so much for your service for the Korean nation.  On behalf of the Republic of Korea, I want to thank you.

C:        You’re more than welcome.

I:          And we’ll make sure that your interview will be heard by the young generations in the United States.  Thank you, sir.

C:        Okay.  Thank you.