Korean War Legacy Project

Charles Falugo


Charles Joseph Falugo, Jr., was born in Bristol, Rhode Island, on January 10th, 1928. In 1944, he graduated from Cheshire Academy in Connecticut and recalls never being taught about Korea in school. He only recalls learning about the beginnings of Korea War in the movie theaters before he was drafted. He was working at his father’s furniture business before being drafted on October 6th, 1950. He recalls giving all of his tools away when he found out he was headed to Korea, thinking he would not return alive. He attended boot camp at Fort Devins in Massachusetts before taking a train to Fort Lewis in Seattle, Washington. From there, he sailed on the USNS Marine Phoenix and landed in Pusan, South Korea twenty-two days later. Serving in the 402 Battalion Headquarters Quartermaster, his rank was Sergeant First Class. He worked in the MOS 1014 where he was in charge of motor pool, directing the transfer of supplies throughout the country.

Video Clips

What were living conditions like in South Korea?

After a twenty-two day trip from Seattle, Washington, Charles Falugo recalls being relieved that they finally landed in Pusan, South Korea. He recalls the poor living conditions he witnessed--all Korean houses were made of clay, the people used oxen to help them transport water, and they picked roots for food. He also recalls South Korean children taking his unit's leftovers home to feed their families. He felt very lucky relative to the South Koreans he encountered and feels immense pride for the advancements South Korea has made today.

Tags: Busan,Civilians,Food,Impressions of Korea,Message to Students,Modern Korea,Physical destruction,Poverty,Pride,Prior knowledge of Korea,South Koreans

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What is Korea like today?

Charles Falugo revisited South Korea in 2016 and was amazed at the differences he witnessed. The buildings, the highways, and other improvements he witnessed were so different from how he remembers Seoul in 1951. It was totally destroyed then, with only a couple of buildings standing.

Tags: Seoul,Impressions of Korea,Living conditions,Message to Students,Modern Korea,South Koreans

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What did you experience driving through Korea?

Charles Falugo recalls the roads being so bad that their truck chassis would constantly break. Every time his division would stop to fix its trucks, they would encounter starving children begging for food. He would give his rations to the children. He recalls moving into Seoul and only seeing the blue capitol building and the railroad station. All embassies were blown up. There was one Shell Oil Company building that was guarded, located right next to his company's housing.

Tags: Seoul,Civilians,Food,Impressions of Korea,Living conditions,Message to Students,Physical destruction,Poverty,South Koreans

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Communicating During and After the War

Charles Falugo does not recall what he was paid, but he does remember sending his paychecks home to his wife, Rosemary. He recalls writing and receiving many letters back and forth with her during his time in the Korean War. He also talks about a Korean man that he befriended and somewhat adopted. He seeks to reconnect with him.

Tags: Seoul,Home front,Letters,Living conditions,Poverty,South Koreans,Women

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Building Orphanages

Charles Falugo shares that some units would find bombed out schools and remodel them into orphanages for orphaned South Korean children. He recalls finding supplies for the units who rebuilt the buildings. He remembers working and living with a Christian missionary named Horace Grant Underwood, who was the founder of Underwood International College in Seoul.

Tags: Seoul,Message to Students,Orphanage,Physical destruction,Poverty,South Koreans

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Rest and Relaxation

Charles Falugo recalls that when he was not on duty, he would hang out with the Korean people. Often he would give them supplies not being used by his unit. He recalls a good life in the Underwood house. He enjoyed all of the food that his Korean cooks would make and enjoyed saki with his friends.

Tags: Seoul,Food,Impressions of Korea,Living conditions,Rest and Relaxation (R&R),South Koreans

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