Charles Francis Jacks
Charles Jacks was born into a farming family in Alabama in 1933 and later moved to Huntland, Tennessee, with his parents and siblings. He attended Huntland High School and enlisted in the United States Navy in 1951 where he was trained as a Corpsman. He recalls his journey to Korea, the Korea he saw, his time spent tending to the wounded, and his unique journey home with released POWs following the Armistice in 1953. He reflects on what Korea has become since the war and lessons learned during service. He is proud of his service and of the United Nations’ efforts during the war.
Ready for More
Charles Jacks describes his enlistment in the United States Navy and basic training location. He shares that he was trained as a Hospital Corpsman and was assigned to St. Albans Veterans Hospital in Long Island, New York. He recalls growing tired of his duties there and explains that he asked to serve elsewhere. He remembers being told there were no ships open for a Corpsmen, but, alternatively, he was offered a position with the Fleet Marines. He accepted the offer, was sent to Camp Pendleton, and was later shipped to Korea aboard the USS Serpent.
Journey to Korea and Main Line of Resistance
Charles Jacks recounts his journey to Korea. He describes the vessel on which he traveled and recalls enduring a typhoon during the twenty-one day voyage. He remembers stopping in Japan for a twelve-hour break before sailing on to Korea. He describes landing at Incheon in 1952 and moving up the Main Line of Resistance (MLR).
Assignment, Living Conditions, and Patrol Dangers
Charles Jacks speaks of his assignment with the Marines and shares how they used a trench line for protection from incoming fire. He explains that Corpsman were sent where they were needed, and he recalls being sent to various locations via jeep transport. He remembers the dangers he and others faced while out on patrol.
Charles Jacks recounts bandaging the wounded on the battlefield. He recalls jeep ambulances transporting the wounded to field medical stations. He describes serving with Dog Medical Company (D Company) stationed between Seoul and Incheon and remembers assisting two doctors--one Korean and one American--at a hospital. He shares that they treated minor to more serious wounds which occurred on the front lines.
Returning Home with POWs
Charles Jacks recalls his return home on the USS General Walker with the first group of released POWs. He shares how after the Armistice was signed in 1953 both sides exchanged Prisoners of War (POWs). He details the voyage back to the United States and arriving in California to fanfare and TV cameras ready to greet and capture footage of the POWs returning.
The Korean I Saw
Charles Jacks describes the Korea he saw in the 1950s. He remembers small villages and rice paddies. He describes civilian housing and recalls the unique heating system they used to keep their houses warm in the winter.
Korea Today and Lessons Learned
Charles Jacks draws comparisons between 1950s Korea and Korea today. He shares that South Korea today is far more modern than it was during the war and contrasts it to North Korea. He reflects on lessons learned from his time serving.