Korean War Legacy Project

Clifford Petrey


Clifford Petrey served in the Army during the Korean War and made his entrance into Korea at Inchon Landing. He describes his experiences during both Inchon Landing and Chosin Reservoir and the injuries he sustained during those battles. He recounts his capture by the Chinese and the harsh living conditions he endured as a prisoner of war (POW). He comments on the correspondence he had through letters with his family while a POW and shares that his family members were relieved to hear from him as they were told he was simply Missing in Action. He is proud of his service and of what South Korea has transformed itself into today compared to North Korea and shares that his faith has helped him heal in many ways since his time there.

Video Clips

Injuries at the Inchon Landing and Chosin Reservoir

Clifford Petrey describes landing at Inchon. He recounts injuries he received as a soldier both at Inchon Landing and Chosin Reservoir. He details his subsequent capture by the Chinese and camp movements while a POW.

Tags: 1950 Inchon Landing, 9/15-9/19,1950 Battle of Chosin Reservoir, 11/27-12/13,Busan,Hamheung,Heungnam,Seoul,Chinese,Cold winters,Front lines,POW,Weapons

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Living Conditions as a POW

Clifford Petrey comments on the food rations provided by the Chinese. He recalls suffering through cold winters in North Korea as a prisoner of war even after being given Chinese uniforms by his captors. He describes the healing of his wounds he sustained at the Chosin Reservoir despite being a POW with little medical attention.

Tags: 1950 Battle of Chosin Reservoir, 11/27-12/13,Chinese,Cold winters,Food,Impressions of Korea,Living conditions,POW,Weapons

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POW Experience

Clifford Petrey further details his POW experience. He recalls there being little firewood and comments on the close sleeping arrangements. He shares that lice was an issue and how he and other soldiers picked lice off of each other. He details food portions and content and speaks of rampant dysentery.

Tags: Chinese,Cold winters,Food,Living conditions,POW

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Letters to and from Home

Clifford Petrey recalls being allowed to write letters home occasionally. He recounts his mother keeping three or four of his letters through the years as a means of assurance that he was alive after having previously been listed as Missing in Action. He shares that he received a few letters from his family during his time as a POW as well.

Tags: Chinese,Home front,Letters,POW

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Video Transcript

[Beginning of Transcribed Material]


C:        I’m Clifford Petrey, originally from Kentucky.  I moved to Texas in 1963, and I’ve been there since that date.  I retired from the military in 1977 in Fort Hood, Texas.

I:          So, you were born in Kentucky?
C:        Yes.

I:          What town?

C:        Corbin.

I:          Corbin?  COR
C:        BIN.

I:          CORBIN.

C:        Um hm.
I:          When were you born?
C:        Eleventh of January 1931.



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

C:        My parents were obviously country folks.

I:          Okay.

C:        They were farmers.  My dad was.

I:          Um hm.
C:        He also spent 45 years in the coal mines.  He was a coal miner as well as a farmer.  I have, or had, nine brothers and sisters.

I:          Nine brothers.

C:        Yeah.

I:          And you are?



C:        I’m number four.

I:          Number four.

C:        Yeah.

I:          Wow.
C:        Two of the oldest boys have passed on.

I:          Um hm.

C:        My mom and dad, of course, they’ve passed on.

I:          Um hm.

C:        And they are scattered all over the state of Kentucky and Ohio as well as Texas.  I’ve adopted that as my home, and I really enjoy living there.



I:          Um hm.
C:        It’s a beautiful country, beautiful state.  I know a lot of people there, and all my interests are there.

I:          Um hm.

C:        So, I stay there.

I:          Tell me about the school you went through.  Was it in Kentucky?
C:        The primary and secondary schools

I:          Yeah.

C:        Were in Kentucky.

I:          Um hm.

C:        I did get a high school diploma from Kentucky.

I:          Um hm.



What school?  Name.

C:        Whitley County High School.

I:          Whitley?
C:        WHITLEY.

I:          County High School.

C:        Um hm.

I:          Wow.  When did you graduate?

C:        Actually, I got my diploma in 1959.

I:          Nineteen fifty-nine.

C:        I left that school in, I guess 1948.

I:          Forty-eight.

C:        Um hm.

I:          And you joined the Army?



C:        Joined the Army and went to Japan in June of 1948.

I:          Wow.  What was your specialty?  Where did you get the military training, basic?

C:        Fort Knox, Kentucky.  I took my basic training there.

I:          Um hm.

C:        And when I went to Japan, I joined the First Cavalry Division.

I:          Ah, you are the First Cavalry.

C:        Yeah.  At Camp McGill in Japan, just a little



west of Yokohama or Yakuska actually.

I:          Yakuska, yes.

C:        And stayed there for about a year.  And then when the 7th Infantry moved out of Korea

I:          Yeah.

C:        In 1949, I joined the 7th Infantry Division.

I:          Um hm.

C:        I think they had been in Korea for an extended period of time.

I:          Yes.
C:        I don’t know how long.

I:          They were from 1945.

C:        Something like



that, yeah.

I:          Yeah. So, you joined the 7th.

C:        Yes.

I:          What was your specialty?  Were you Infantry or Engineer?
C:        Infantry.

I:          Uh huh.  And just rifleman or heavy machine gun or

C:        Rifleman.

I:          Rifleman.

C:        Yeah.  I was a squad leader and part-time platoon Sergeant.

I:          I see.

C:        And that’s about the extent of it at that time.

I:          Tell me about the First Cavalry.


This is very, you know, kind of well-known unit, right?
C:        Yes.  We had no mission as such in the First Cavalry Division.  We were, I think, primarily a showoff division, and we did a lot of parade practice and stuff like that.

I:          I see.

C:        I’ve had five parades in downtown Tokyo, in ’48 and early ’49.

I:          Um hm.



C:        It was a good outfit.  If you enjoy parades.

I:          Yeah.

C:        And we didn’t have a lot of extra work as such.  But we did spend a lot of time on the parade field and a lot of guard duty and stuff like that.

I:          Um hm.
C:        But after I joined the 7th, we had a lot of field training.

I:          Um hm.

C:        A lot of maneuvers, a lot of



live firing, squad practice, platoon practice, stuff like that.

I:          Um.  So, when did you go to Korea?

C:        I made the Inchon Landing.

I:          Oh, you did?
C:        Yes.

I:          Um hm.

C:        On the 17th of September.

I:          Yeah.
C:        Nineteen fifty.

I:          Yeah.

C:        The Marines went in on one beach, and the 7th



Infantry went in on another beach.  I don’t remember if it was red or blue beach or what.

I:          Yeah.
C:        But we fought our way into Seoul.  And I got wounded in Seoul.

I:          Oh.
C:        And, I got a head wound.

I:          Head?
C:        Yes.  Head and ear, my left ear.

I:          Oh.

C:        And thought I was gonna bleed to death.



But fortunately, they were able to pull me out.  I had a blood transfusion on the, we had a hospital ship.

I:          Um hm.

C:        That was docked outside of Seoul

I:          Um hm.

C:        Of Inchon.  And I had a blood transfusion there.

I:          Um hm.
C:        And they shipped me back to Japan.

I:          Um hm.

C:        And I had additional



blood infused into me.

I:          Um hm.

C:        And, I stayed there for 35, 40 days, something like that in that area.

I:          Um hm.

C:        And at the end of that part, I boarded a Japanese luxury liner and went to Pusan.

I:          Hm.
C:        That was in October.

I:          Um hm.

C:        And then we made


0: 07:00

another landing at Hamhung.

I:          Um hm.

C:        Hungnam in that area.

I:          Um hm.
C:        Iwon I think was the beach we went in on.

I:          Um hm.
C:        In that area.  And then we fought our way over to the Chosin Reservoir.

I:          Yeah.

C:        And that was in late

I:          November.

C:        November

I:          Um hm.

C:        Of 1950.

I:          Um hm.

C:        And we



were still in summer wear.

I:          I know.

C:        And the temperature was something like 46, 47 degrees below zero.

I:          Ah hah.

C:        I was very, I got wounded there again.

I:          Again?

C:        Again.

I:          Where?
C:        In my face.  It was a hand grenade from the Chinese.  And then someone placed me in an



ammunition carrier.  A tank of sorts. They had a cargo area in the back of the tank, and they put me in there, and I was passed out then.  And I don’t know how long I stayed there.  But that’s where the Chinese found me.

I:          Oh.

C:        And that’s when they took me out of the tank.  Of



course, I was almost frozen.  I couldn’t ambulate with any degree of satisfaction or efficiency.

I:          When was it?
C:        On the second day of December 1951.

I:          No, 1950.

C:        Excuse me, 1950, yesh.

I:          Yeah.

C:        And


they kept us, we were separated, the three of us, for what reason I have no clue.  But, well I suppose since we were wounded, we couldn’t keep up with the march going north.

I:          Right.

C:        So, we went to a Korean farmhouse and spent four or five days




I:          With the Chinese?
C:        With the Chinese?
I:          So, they didn’t kill you.

C:        No.

I:          Oh.

C:        And uh,

I:          They kept you there?
C:        They kept us there.

I:          Um hm.

C:        And for whatever reason, we got the same food that they consumed.

I:          Wow.

C:        We stayed there about four, maybe five days.  Then we moved at night

I:          Um hm.

C:        Four, five, or six miles.

I:          Um hm.



C:        Into another community and spent two or three weeks

I:          Um hm.
C:        In that area.  And I never did get interrogated.  No one cared or asked me. I don’t know if they cared or not.

I:          Um hm.

C:        But we stayed there about two or three weeks.  And then we attempted to go someplace.  I’m not sure where.

I:          Uh huh.

C:        But we walked for two or three days



And came back to the same house, and I never could figure that one out. And we were kept separate from the main body of POWs.

I:          Um hm.
C:        Until the 15th of April of 1951.  Then we went back to Pyoktong.  That was Camp five, there.

I:          Yeah.



C:        And I stayed at Pyoktong for, until August of ’53, and I don’t remember the exact dates,

I:          Um hm.

C:        Eighth, ninth, tenth, somewhere in there.

I:          Did you know anything about Korea before you went to Korea?

C:        Only hearsay. I have no firsthand information at all.  But the people who came back from Korea in 1950



with the 7th Division.

I:          Hm.
C:        Of course, they you know, soldiers talk a lot.

I:          Um hm.

C:        And some grumbled and complained about this and that and this and that.  I really didn’t know a lot about Korea or the Korean people for that matter.  And all I heard was complaining.

I:          About what?



C:        Nothing in particular.  The duty primarily.  No one that I talked with, of course they were privates, PFCs and stuff like that.  And really didn’t have a good handle on the situation then.  Maybe by nature I guess didn’t have anything good do say about anything.

I:          Um hm.
C:        In Korea.



But I had been in Japan for 27 months.

I:          Um hm.
C:        When Korea started.  And I went to, we moved from Hokiado, not Hokaido, Hotchunoi

I:          Uh huh.

C:        Down to Mt. Fuji in preparation for the move to Korea.

I:          Yeah.

C:        And I was ready to come back to the States.  In fact, my First Sergeant called



me into his office, I don’t remember, in 1950, must have been early September, and advised me that I was going home and handed me my orders, or attempted to.  Then he took them back and tore them up.  And of course, I was hurt by that.  I wanted to go home.

I:          Um hm.

C:        And then he told me that all the orders had been



rescinded and that we were going to Korea.  As far as duty was concerned, I was, they decided that I was fully recovered.

I:          Okay.

C:        And

I:          But you were in a country you never knew before.  And there is nothing good at the time in Korea.  And you were captured.  What were you thinking?

C:        I think primarily that’s the opinion of all



young soldiers, where they’re faced with something that they have no knowledge of, have no clue what they’re gonna do or why they’re gonna do it.  And I’m sure that I had the same opinion.  And why not turn me loose?  Why not send me home?

I:          Um hm.
C:        But such is not the case.  So I took my medicine



and joined my unit and went with them north.

I:          Um hm.  How many meals did you have on the way to Pyoktong?  Once a day or twice a day?

C:        It’s kind of hard to say.  We ate the same thing the Chinese soldiers



were eating.
I:          So, you were actually lucky, right?
C:        I was.

I:          Yeah.
C:        There’s no question about it.

I:          Uh huh.

C:        We had ground up peanuts.

I:          Ah.

C:        And we would mix water with that concoction and drink it.

And that is the only substance we had.

I:          Oh, you mean something that Chinese had in their

C:        Yes.

I:          And was grinding.

C:        Little



sock-type things about so big.

I:          Yeah.  That’s a grinded pork.

C:        Yes.  And we did not get rice or very little vegetables of any kind because it’s the dead of winter, and they didn’t have fresh vegetables.

So, we were lucky to get anything for that matter.

I:          Exactly.



What was your outfit?  Was it summer outfit or you were ready for winter?

C:        Summer.  And we were dressed in fatigues of course, with a pair of field trousers and no long johns, no under, you know, no heavy underwear or anything like that, and a field jacket.  That does



very little to hold out the bitter cold.

I:          I know.

C:        So, we were nearly froze, frozen, everyone in the Division.  They had shipped stuff up there, but it didn’t get to us.  We were still with our field jackets and two pair of trousers.

I:          When you were in Jangjin, Chosin Reservoir, right?

C:        No.  We



weren’t’ on the Reservoir at Pyoktong.  We did get padded uniforms, Chinese uniforms.

I:          Oh, when you were in Pyoktong.

C:        Yes.

I:          Oh, okay.

C:        They gave us a pair of padded pants and padded jacket.

I:          Good.
C:        But no cap, no hat of any kind.

I:          How would you



describe the coldness that you experienced there?  How would you?  Try every effort to find the right word for it.

C:        Miserable at best.  I mean, being a southern boy to begin with and not used to real cold weather and then I spent my time in Japan, of course it was cold in the wintertime in Japan.


But not like in Siberia.  Along the Reservoir was, that area was in Siberia as far as I’m concerned.  It was just as cold there as inside area I think.  It was miserable.  It was miserable at best.  You never get used to that kind of life. I didn’t.  I never did



adapt to that lifestyle.  Just couldn’t do it.  That’s, it’s just that simple.
I:          So, when you arrived at Pyoktong Camp Five, how was your wounds in your face?  Did it heal?
C:        Pretty much. I got hit right on the bridge of my nose with a piece of shrapnel.
I:          Oh.
C:        And the,



I took the, it was a concussion-type grenade.

I:          Um hm.
C:        But there were fragments from it. I got knocked out with that stuff.

I:          Yeah.


C:        I had one small area on the bridge of my nose.

I:          Yeah.

C:        And that had pretty well healed by that time.

I:          It’s amazing, isn’t it?  These days people, if they have something like that scar, they would just hurry into the emergency, and they



got every kind of medicine

C:        Oh yeah.

I:          Injections.  But your face clearly healed without any medicine, right?
C:        Right.

I:          Amazing, isn’t it?
C:        It really is.  I got, my first wound I thought was gonna do me in. I got shot through the ear.  Had a bullet go through my ear.  It shot the name out of my helmet, and I had shrapnel in here and up in here and



all in this area.

I:          Right.

C:        And inside the ear, I got two or three small fragments.

And I got all of it out except one small piece.  And two years later, it worked its way out.  And it was like a kitchen matchhead if you know what I’m talking about.
I:          Yeah.

C:        It finally worked out.  And as far as I know,



that is the only thing that remained for any length of time.  Now I had three or four pieces of shrapnel in my head, and they managed to cut those out.  And survival, I guess, was the next day.

I:          How was Pyoktong?
C:        Miserable at best.

I:          Tell me the details.  You know,



talk to young kids there and what you went through, details.


C:        Well actually, we didn’t have enough firewood to keep us warm. As you know, the Korean homes have a flue that goes under the floor that keeps the house



warm if you have enough wood to put in there and warm the place up.  Well in the winter of 1950 – ’51, they didn’t stockpile the wood, each of those homes that they, they were commandeered from the Korean people.
I:          Um hm.

C:        They took what they needed with them when they left their homes.  So, we had no wood to



heat the place up with.  And we slept 10 – 12, 15 people per room.  And that’s cozy if you know what I’m saying.  You get close.  And of course, lice were bad.

I:          Oh yeah.

C:        And everyone was lousy.  And we picked



lice off each other as best we could.  But you can’t get rid of those things.  We finally, those that were able would go into the field or forest if you will and gather firewood.  And we were able to gather enough wood to heat the floors in



the homes.  And I think that was the saving promise there.  Things did get better after, of course, the Reservoir was frozen.
I:          Um hm.
C:        And we had to walk across ice into the hillside. But after the Chinese



were able to get boats in there.  That came later, early in the year like March, April, May, somewhere like that, they were able to call in boatloads of wood.  But we gathered most of our firewood from the forest and from the hills.

I:          I see.

C:        But food was premium there at that time.


We were using millet, cracked corn.

I:          Um hm.

C:        And I’m not sure if it was maize or real fine grain.

I:          Did they actually give you grain so that you cooked it?  Or did they
C:        Yes.
I:          You cooked it?
C:        Yes.

I:          How?  Did you have a tool?




C:        Yes.  We had large pots, large vats like this and about so thick.

I:          Uh huh.
C:        And we would build fires.  Of course, under the pots and boil the water and add the grain or whatever we had.

I:          Um hm.

C:        And of course, there was very little substance in cracked corn. Diarrhea was bad.



I:          How many times a day?  Twice?
C:        Constantly.

I:          No.  I mean the food. Were you able to eat twice a day?
C:        Twice, yeah.  Of course, it was limited to, the amount was limited.  They didn’t have stuff,

I:          Right.
C:        And you couldn’t cook it if they didn’t have it.

I:          Right.

C:        And it was very strictly rationed.


We would get maybe a cup or a cup and a half of cracked corn or millet or whatever we had, (INAUDIBLE) I think they called it.  And our systems just weren’t adapted to that type food.  And diarrhea was rampant.
I:          Yeah.



C:        We spent a lot of time.  But then in late ’51 before the winter set in.

I:          Uh huh.
C:        We did get an increase in our rations.

I:          Oh.
C:        We got pork.
I:          Really?
C:        Yeah.

I:          Are you sure?

C:        I’m positive.

I:          The meat.

C:        Meat, yeah.

I:          They gave you meat.

C:        Yeah.



I:          Oh.

C:        And of course, we had to pick the hair out of it. It wasn’t thoroughly cleaned, you know.

I:          I see.

C:        Yeah.  And it wasn’t appetizing at all.  But if you’re hungry, you’ll eat.  So, but we did start getting a little pork.  And I think they began to issue rice at that time.



I:          Ah.
C:        We didn’t get rice for the first several months of the year.  And we ate a lot of peanuts.
I:          Um hm.

C:        Ground up peanuts.  And the rations did improve, not dramatically, but it did improve.  And dysentery had slowed down.  It wasn’t as rampant as



originally because we were getting used to that type of food.  I don’t recall ever getting beef.  But we did get pork, quite a lot of pork. They would bring in whole hogs that were frozen, and they’d been cleaned the outside, you know.  Most of the hair had been removed, and all the innards had been removed.



And we just got pork as you see it there, you know.

I:          How did you cook?
C:        We had pots that we cooked it in.

I:          Boil it?
C:        Boiled, yeah.  We did get two potatoes.

I:          Hm.
C:        We did get some turnips.

I:          Yeah.

C:        And that was about the extent of it.

I:          Very good.

C:        Yeah.  We thought it was excellent,



you know, after having pure cracked corn and millet, yeah.  Some of us survived. I don’t know how. I really can’t put a lot of emphasis on that.  But fortunately, I’m here.

I:          What was the most difficult thing in the camp?  What really bothers you and



really you craved for?

C:        Heat in the winter.

I:          Heat?
C:        Heat.  Yeah.  And of course, food.  That was a constant thing.  We just simply didn’t have enough to fill our desires, you know, our needs really.  And we had no fishing gear.  We couldn’t



catch fish.  Had no hooks or rods or anything like that.  But a little ingenuity on the part of some of our troops.  They were able to make musical instruments.  One guy made a guitar.
I:          Um hm.

C:        It had no guitar strings, but we used wire, or he used wire from whatever.  It didn’t sound like a guitar, but it was



something to make a noise.

I:          Uh.

C:        To make what they called music.  But things did improve.  In late ’51 or early ’52, we began to adapt you might say to the conditions and knew what we had to endure



to survive.  So, we did the best we could do.

I:          What made you get through it?  What was it, hope, God, whatever?
C:        My faith in God, I think, yeah.
I:          Were you Christian at the time?
C:        Not as such, no. I did attend church services regularly.

I:          When?
C:        Before



I got into Korea.

I:          Okay.

C:        I did go to chapel back in Japan.
I:          Um hm.

C:        And I did attend a lot of church when I was a child growing up.  So, I had the basic knowledge of the Supreme Being.  And it did sound good to me at the time, you know.


0: 31:30

And I had a lot of faith.  I had a lot of faith in the Supreme Being.  And of course, we had Norman Hale who was our Chaplain here.  He was a spiritual leader.  Richard Bassett was also one of the, and they were both young.  They were as young as me.  But they



delivered a good service as well I guess as they knew how.

I:          Um.

C:        And the good thing about it is they still embrace, to this day, what they taught back in them days, you know, back in those days.  And of course, I’m now an ordained deacon of the church, and I go regularly.



Every time the door’s open, I go.  And my wife is also, she’s an inspiration to me.

I:          Um hm.

C:        And I think she is a big influence; in fact I know she’s a big influence on me. I did get to say, I did get baptized.  And as I said, I am an ordained deacon of the church.  And I enjoy that.



I:          Did you pray at the time in the camp?

C:        Absolutely.

I:          What did you pray?  Can you share?

C:        Yes.  For the ability to withstand the rough winter or the rough life we were living at that time.  We always prayed for more food.  We always prayed for heat.  We always prayed that the Lord



would come to our rescue and provide us or give us the ability to provide for ourselves substance.  And I think that was a big thing. I really do believe that.  And I try to live by that today.

I:          Were you able to write a letter back to your family in the camp?



C:        Yes.  I think I had four or five letters that my mom did get from me.

I:          Did get from you?
C:        From me.

I:          Okay.  So, you were allowed to write.

C:        Yes.

I:          Did they give you the paper and pencil?
C:        Yes.  We would get paper in large sheets like this



I:          That long?
C:        Yes.

I:          Wow.  And we would, that would bend it and fold it and dampen the seam and would be able to attach straight.
C:        Yeah.  And make sheet sized, you know.  And I think if memory serves me correctly, my mom kept those three or four letters that she got from me, and I



read those many times after I came home.  And yes.  She’d gotten them.  And I got three or four letters from home.  They, my sister wrote to me every three or four days and mailed it into whatever address they gave us.  I don’t know where.  But we didn’t get all the mail that was sent to us.  I know that for sure



because my family members, a lot of them wrote letters to me, but I didn’t get that many.  I got a few.

I:          Did you keep those letters?
C:        They are at my mom and dad’s house.

I:          When did your parents and your family know that you were in the camp?

C:        Well as you may know, we were carried as MIAs.

I:          Uh huh.

C:        For a long time.



They had no confirmation of my status until about August or September of ’51.

I:          Uh huh.

C:        And there was an exchange of information between the Chinese and our government that they did have a



large number of POWs.  And I don’t know exactly when this information was passed or when either side honored what the other side said.  As far as the status of the troops.  I don’t know.  But I believe that



my mom and dad got word that we were no longer MIAs, but we were

I:          POW.

C:        POW and, but they didn’t know where.  They knew we were in North Korea.

Or Manchuria or someplace.  And they, mom didn’t really



believe that information until she got a letter from the, which was in the late 1951.

I:          Um.
C:        I don’t recall now the exact date that she got it.  But it was confirmed.  She knew for a fact that I was not dead.

I:          What did your parents say to you when you returned home?

C:        Thank God.



Pardon me.  It’s very hard.

I:          Looking back all those years, how do you put all those things,



all your suffering, unbelievable coldness, everything into a perspective? How do you do that?

C:        I try my best not to think about it.

I:          Not to think about it?
C:        Not to think about it.  But there are times when, I used to do a lot of hunting.

I:          Hunting?
C:        And I would go out into the field and freeze my backside off.  And



during some of those times, I would think m an, I’ve endured this stuff in Korea in 1951, 1950, 1951, ‘2, and ‘3.  And it got to a point where I quit hunting

I:          Uh.

C:        Because I didn’t want to be reminded of, and it did remind me.  When you get out there, and you’re



freezing, it’s raining and you’re cold and miserable and hungry.  And it’s my own fault because I didn’t dress properly. I didn’t take something to eat with me. But I told myself I don’t need this.  I simply do not need this.  And I quit hunting.  I don’t hunt anymore.

I:          Um hm.

C:        But today, I eat when I’m hungry,



and I get warm when I’m cold.

I:          Um hm.

C:        And I get cold when I’m hot.  I get cooled off.  So, I’m living now like I want to.  I go where I want, when I want, do what I want to do.  And money is not a problem.



And I still love the Army and would go back today if I could.  And I’m 83 years old.  And I would still go back, but I know I can’t.  I’m at 100% disability for 25 years.  I would give that up if I could go back in the military.

I:          This ordeal,



your experience in the camp makes you

C:        It makes me, yes it does make me a better person.

I:          How?

C:        It put me closer to God.  I don’t know how I could get much closer than I am now.  I’m an early riser. I get up sometimes 3:00 in the morning.

I:          Um hm.

C:        And I retire to my back patio, turn the lights out,



drink my coffee, and I have a cup of coffee with me, and I talk to the Lord every day.

I:          Are you still thankful?
C:        Yes.  And I thank him every day.  I never eat a meal (INAUDIBLE)

Regardless of where I



am, what restaurant I’m in, the wife and I always say a table grace.  And people have commented on that.

I:          What is your message to the people who are in trouble like you, somebody who is really sick, somebody who is really in need of help, you know, somebody going through



unbelievable sufferings and old ills and difficulties.  What is your message to them?
C:        Lay your burdens at the feet of Jesus.  Pray.  It’s good therapy.  You can, people say I don’t know how to pray.  You don’t have to know how to pray.

I:          Um hm.
C:        Talk to the Lord in a language you understand.

I:          Right.
C:        And I say



lay it on him.  Lay your, lay your burdens at the feet of Jesus.

I:          Um hm.

C:        Pray hard.  Never forget.  That’s good therapy for me.

I:          Have you been back to Korea?
C:        No.  I got back to Japan in 1991.



I:          Um hm.

C:        And the wife said to me would you consider going to Korea?

I:          Um hm.
C:        And I said no.  I would not consider going back to Korea.  I’ve since changed my mind.  I carried a chip on my shoulder for a long time against the North Koreans.

And then,



and you pardon me for saying this.  But I had in my mind a thought that Korea was and is Korea, the same breed of people who have gone through so much turmoil with the Japanese.



That they became hardened and brutal like the Japanese were.  And I do know that some of the North Korean soldiers were brutal.  They did many atrocities that I know about.  And I will never forgive



those guys for that.  I’ve been in therapy for 16 years.

I:          PTSD?

C:        Therapy.

I:          Yeah.  PTSD therapy?
C:        Yes.  And I finally found it in my heart that all people are not the same.
I:          Um hm.

C:        They’re not all brutal.  They’re not all sadistic.



And it did take me a long time because I had it bad. I mean, I really had a chip on my shoulder.  And I could think of nothing good to say about Korea.
I:          Um hm.
C:        North or South.  But I started reading different articles that I’d seen published of the progress



that the South has made.  And I read also and listen to the news media that, of how backward the North still is.  And I kind of believe that.  I don’t know how, it’s tough for me to understand how an individual



like that bunch in the North. Could be as unconcerned about their nation, about the people in their nation.  They’re starving to death.

I:          Right.

C:        How the President or whosever could disregard the conditions



of their country and spend all the money on war materials.  Rather than feed the population.  And I finally came to the conclusion that some of those people in charge of the nation are only in it for



what they can get, just as long as they are surviving, fat and sassy, have everything they possibly could want, and they’re depriving the population of the meager substance that it’s not the people.  It’s the people in charge.  But I still didn’t want to go back to Korea.  I can



see from everything I read, the South are doing the things that, everything they can do for their people.  I can see that.  And I can believe that.  They’re got a road system that is second to none.



And they have a transportation system that’s second to none.  They no longer, well I’m sure that they still have a lot of the older folks that are gonna stay with what served them best, things that they want to do.  Whereas in the North, the people were still starving.

I:          Um hm.
C:        And they’ve got a bunch of idiots up there who want only for



themselves.  And that has changed my total outlook.  They’re all not the same.

I:          Do you forgive?
C:        I have.  But there are some things that you cannot forgive.  But when I see soldiers



with his penis cut off and stuck in his mouth, and his lips sewn together with cammo wire, you don’t forget that.  You can’t forget that.  That’s brutal.  That’s sadistic.  And I’ve seen that.  But in one side of my mouth, I can say some soldiers will do anything if it would relieve him of the stress that he is enduring at that time.  And I know that our soldiers did some brutal things.  I know that.  I didn’t see it,



but I know in my heart that they did.  But yes, I have forgiven a lot of things.  But forget, no.  I will never forget.  And I have forgiven the Chinese.  They did some things that I’m not please with at all.


And I suffered from them and by their hands, I suffered.  And I don’t think what they did was called for.  And I know it wasn’t called for.  But I survived, and I prayed a lot then.  I’ve been thinking a lot about returning to Korea.  I can’t compare the North with the




I:          Yeah.

C:        No way I can do that.  In my wildest dream, I can’t do that because I could see, and I could read, and I can hear.  And nothing good is coming out of the North.  On the other hand, what I read, see and hear about the South, I’m impressed.  I really am impressed.  I think my guard is just about down.



And I do believe that one day I will go back to Korea.  Thank you, sir.  I appreciate that.

I:          Thank you.