Korean War Legacy Project

Conrad R. Grimshaw


Conrad Grimshaw grew up in Los Angeles before moving to Beaver Canyon, where he joined the National Guard to earn a salary and benefits. He shares that he found himself shipped to Korea in January 1951 where he served resupplying ammunition. He recounts some of the challenges dealing with 2.5 ton trucks during the resupplying efforts. He recalls the destruction of Korean houses from his tour and the willingness of American soldiers to share with the Korean people. He recounts the burning of Chinese rifles when found in order to keep them out of circulation. He speaks highly of his time in the service and expresses that he received an education through his experiences.

Video Clips

The Houses of the Korean People

Conrad Grimshaw describes arriving in Korea and seeing the devastation of the Korean households. He recounts their homes being burnt and crudely replaced by stones, straw, and dirt. He shares that American soldiers were empathic and took care of the Korean people any way they could.

Tags: Civilians,Impressions of Korea,Living conditions,Physical destruction,Poverty,South Koreans

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The Burning of Chinese Rifles

Conrad Grimshaw briefly shares his thoughts on South Korea in comparison to North Korea. He describes the Chinese soldiers being killed by the hundreds. He recounts the burning of Chinese rifles to keep them out of circulation among the Chinese troops.

Tags: Chinese,North Koreans,South Koreans,Weapons

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Joining the National Guard and Duties

Conrad Grimshaw recounts joining the National Guard and the training that followed. He describes being in charge of 12 2.5 ton trucks and chaining the wheels due to mud issues in order to get up to the firing batteries. He recounts a switch out of trucks later on.

Tags: Basic training,Front lines,Weapons

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Video Transcript

[Beginning of Transcribed Material]

C:        I was born in Los Angeles, and my birthday is August the 26th, 1929.

I:          Okay.  You were born in LA?
C:        Yeah.  My folks went down there to work.  And my mother was a telephone operator, and my dad got a job working in the Harper’s Battery plant.

I:          Um hm.  How about your




C:        What?
I:          Siblings.  Your brothers and sisters.

C:        Okay.  I have one brother Neil, and three sisters.

I:          Um hm.  So, you are the eldest?
C:        Um hm.

I:          What school did you go to?  Did you go to school in LA?
C:        No.  They moved back up here.  My father had a,



They didn’t like living in California.

I:          Huh.
C:        So, they moved back up here.  And out here in the north, they started a fish hatchery.

I:          Ah.

C:        And my dad lived out there until I was six years old, and they worried about how they were gonna get me into school cause there wasn’t any school buses out there.



So, the thing, they just had this fish hatchery store right good.  And then a drought came and dried up the springs.  So, that was the end of their fish hatchery.  So, we moved to town.  And My dad got a job as a plant operator up at the Telluride Power Company was 12 miles up the canyon.  And we had to come down that old road every day to school



on an old school bus.  And I was the only one in class that hadn’t missed a day of school. And on this particular day, there was a snowstorm came, and we couldn’t’ get down.  So, all the kids in school thought that was the day I was gonna miss a day of school.  But we got down the middle of the afternoon, and it was quite a time.  We lived up



there about 12 years, and we had to come down that old dirt road every day in an old school bus.  And in the spring, the high water washed the bridges out.  So, we had to come to town and live with somebody until they got the bridges back in.

I:          Um hm.

C:        But it was a nice place. It was a cool place to live up there in the summertime.

I:          What is the name of the place?

C:        Telluride Power



Company was the power company up there.

I:          Up there where?
C:        It was 12 miles up to Beaver Canyon.

I:          Beaver Canyon.

C:        It was a lower station there three miles down.  And there was a spring down at the bottom of the hill where they furnished water to the residents.  And there were three homes there at the lower station.  And we called it the rattlesnake



spring cause it was a little, when the tank would get filled, there was little trickle would go out a pipe, and the little rodents would go there to get a drink, and this old rattlesnake would be waiting there for them.  So, we had to be careful when we went up there if we ever stopped at the spring for water to put in our vehicles or something, we had to watch out for that old snake.

I:          Yeah.

C:        And I remember we



finally got tired of watching for him.  So, we waited there once, and he showed up, and we killed him.

I:          Rattlesnake?
C:        Yeah.  A rattlesnake.

I:          So, when did you graduate, did you graduate high school?
C:        Yeah.

I:          What year was it?

C:        Nineteen forty-eight I believe.  And then we went to school over to Cedar, over at the college, LBAC.  And I remember I had a 1936 Ford



car, and every Monday I used to load up the kids, and we used to go to school. And on Friday night

I:          You went to college?
C:        College?
I:          What was your major?
C:        Woodworking.  They had a program over there where they went out and built houses.  And you had an experience of doing everything.  And I was



real interested I that cause that’s what my father had done and my grandad.  And I got, in the garage up there, I’ve got my grandfather’s old toolbox and my dad’s, and I’ve got a lot of tools in there.  I’ve got a garage full of junk.

I:          So, what were you doing when the Korean War broke out?

C:        Was I what?
I:          What were you doing?  You were working on houses and



so on when the Korean War broke out?

C:        We had the college over there built a house every year.  And then they auctioned it off.  And that was where you got the experience of building.  You got to do everything, cement work, finish work.  And it was quite a deal.  But we just finished over there and decided to



get married.  We was gonna go back to school, and this Korean War come along.  And so, we decided, we went to the bishop and we said should we get married now or should we wait?  And he said you get married now, you’ll be more cautious.  And so, we said well, we’re gonna get married and the temples were all closed.  And he said let’s see what I can do.  So, he came the next day and he said they’re gonna open a (INAUDIBLE)



temple in two nights just to do weddings.  And so we got married

I:          What did the bishop say to you?

C:        What?
I:          What did the bishop say to you about the marriage?
C:        Well, he said you get married now, and you’ll be more cautious.  And so, in the Service.  And that’s what, we had exceptionally good officers, and we didn’t



lose anybody.  But boy, we was in the thick of things.  And I had the ammo section.  I had 12 of these maybe 2 ½ ton trucks, and we had to haul all the ammunition to the firing batteries.  And sometimes they’d go for days.  And then they’d haul a bunch of these Chinese soldiers got involved.  And



some of those little guys were only 14 years old.  And they told them if they go and fight that their families would be taken care of.

I:          When did you know about the Korean War?

C:        Well, we, like I said, we all joined the National Guard to make some extra money to go to school on.

I:          You got pretty nervous or what?

C:        We all, well, we went to summer camp up



to, south of Salt Lake, Camp Williams I believe it was.

I:          Um hm.

C:        We’d go up there and stay for two weeks.  And we’d go through all the artillery practice and everything.  And so, we knew what we had to do.  We had Section Service Battery was in Beaver, and they had to maintain their vehicles,



furnish the supplies.  And we all had this ammunition section.  I had 12 of those big old 2 ½ ton trucks.  Sometimes we had to chain up the front wheels to get to, boy, thank you, to get up to the firing batteries cause mud was too deep.



And we had to, we always had, first these, first trucks they gave them were those long wheelbase.  And the roads were so rough that we’d break the front springs on them and couldn’t get springs.  So finally, we had a chance to turn them in and get these short wheelbase ones.  And they held up longer on the roads.

I:          Um.  So, you married,



and you had to leave for Korea, right?

C:        Yeah.

I:          When did you leave for Korea?

C:        Well, we all, the National Guard Armory was in the community center up at Beaver now.  And we all met down there, and they called the role, marched us up the front door and put us on a bus and hauled us to Cedar City and put us on a train



up to Fort Lewis.  We was on that train for two days.  We got up there and we found some little apartments right close to the base.  And so, we got our wives up there.  That’s how we, we didn’t have any cars up there.  But we used to, on the weekends we’d go into town.



We used to have a good bus service out there and we’d go into Tacoma. So we went in there shopping, and it was just a place to relax and be with our wives.  And we had, like I said, we had some good officers and they watched out for us. But we were just a bunch of spoiled kids.  And they had a lot of headaches keeping track of us.



I:          So, you were in Tacoma?

C:        I was what?
I:          You were in Tacoma, right?
C:        Yeah, Tacoma.

I:          Yeah.  And when was it?

C:        It was in 1951 I believe.  And we had a, well, everybody from this hometown, we were always up there together.  So, everybody looked out for one another.



And it was quite a thing.  If somebody needs some help, there was always somebody there to help them, financially or

I:          So, how many of you were from the same town?
C:        There was about, oh, there was close to 50 or 60 guys.  And they came from, we had two guys from Millford, two from Minersville.



And the Service Battery was one of those batteries that they put everybody in.  We had some problem guys that had come in.  And we didn’t know how to take care of them, country kids.

I:          Um hm.  So, when did you leave for Korea?
C:        We left, let’s see.  We got home for Christmas.



And then when we got back right soon, they alerted us that we were going overseas.  And we had saved enough money that we had, we took our wives over to the airport and flew into Salt Lake.  And that’s how we got them home.  And what stuff we had, we mailed, put in boxes and mailed home, clothes



and so.  But like I said, we had good officers, and everybody watched out for one another. If somebody needed some help, they got it.

I:          But when did you leave for Korea?  From where and how?
C:        Well, we landed in Pusan.

I:          By ship?
C:        We had, by ship.
I:          When did you leave?
C:        We were on that old boat for I think



21 days.  And I think in that history, I kept track.

I:          Was it 1952 when you left for Korea?

C:        Yeah.  We left, we had some good officers, and they watched out for us kids.  We were just a bunch of young kids.  They had a lot of pressure from the towns people to take care of them.



And everybody knew that we weren’t too experienced in war.  And we had these officers we had were, had been in World War II.  And so, they knew what we had to do, and the old trucks we had, they were pretty beat up, you know.



They were left over.  And I said we got all the old wrecks with a new coat of paint on them.
I:          Yeah.  But Conrad, when did you leave for Korea?
C:        Well, let’s see.  I’m trying to think.  It’s in that history.

I:          Was it 1951 or ’52?
C:        It was ’51.

Female Voice:  Fifty-one.  January, ’51.

C:        And so we were, like I said, we were



lucky.  But we were just a bunch of dumb, country kids that had to learn the hard way, you know.  And we did. But we got over there, and we saw the Korean people.

I:          How was that?

C:        Well, they were pretty beat up, you know?   They got their homes burned up.



And they didn’t, their little homes were pretty crude, you know.  They had to build homes with what they had to build out of.  And some places were just rocks laid up and logs laid up and straw, and stringers across the top.  And they’d lay this straw on top of that and then dirt.  And that clay



dirt on top, the water, when it rained, the water ran off.  And so, they had a dry place to live.  And, it was, our guys felt real sorry for those Korean people, and they took care of them any way they could, you know.  They’d feed them.  We had a lot of extra rations, and we’d see that they had food to eat.  It was



a lot different than the food that they had been used to.  So, they had to be kind of careful.  It made them sick.

I:          So, from Pusan, where did you go?

C:        What?
I:          From Pusan, where did you go?

C:        Well, from Pusan, we went north.

Around the 38th, was it 38th Parallel?
I:          Yeah.

C:        And that was the kind of dividing line.  And sometimes we’d go above



that.  Our Artillery, we had 105 Howitzers on M7 tanks, and they were armored.  So, they’d throw those guys in the truck quite a bit.  And we’d have to haul ammunition to them.  So, we had to be real careful how we got to them.  We’d go in, unload and get back out there right quick.

I:          What was your specialty?

C:        My specialty



was, I had the whole ammunition section.  And I had to make sure that everything, you know, was working right, the trucks were working so we could get to batteries.  And we had to locate the ammunition (INAUDIBLE).  And we had to go back and load the trucks.  And we had ammunition stored on trailers and everything we could to,



you know, to haul what we could because when those firing batteries at night, when those Chinese moved around, they used sometimes they would fire 500 rounds at night.

I:          Where were you located?  Do you remember?  Was it Pork Chop Hill or Heartbreak Ridge, or where were you?

C:        Well, I don’t remember.  I kept track of it.  It’s in that diary.  But we moved, we’d move ahead.



But the roads were so bad sometimes.  But we’d have to chain up the front wheels on those old trucks to get up the road and back.  And when we were, we went up, we were loaded going up, but we were empty coming back.  So, we had a hard time sometimes getting down the road and having a harder time getting down the road than we did up the road.

I:          What was the most difficult thing



for you?
C:        Well, I think the thing, mail was quite a thing for us.

I:          Mail?
C:        Mail from home.

And one of the first things that, one of the first letters I got, my wife said she was expecting a baby.

I:          Oh boy.

C:        And I thought am I ever gonna get home to see my kid?  And I got home



I think about a month before she was born. Everybody thought that everything we’d done was our enlistments were up at the right time.  We’d served that year’s extension.  Everything worked out just right.  And I was one of the first ones home, and I thought some of those old mammas gonna be (INAUDIBLE) cause I got home.  I remember I worked, I liked coming to work, and



I worked in Cedar City for a while.  And then I, it was kind of seasonal, building construction, you know.  It was cold and we had to get right with it.  And the first thing you had to do was get the basement in for the house.  And then you worked and closed it in and hopefully you could get it closed in enough before wintertime.


And then there was always a period in the winter when you was laid off.  But we had unemployment built up enough so that we could always have grocery money if we stayed through the winter.  It was kind of hard hit.  And so, I had a chance, we had a friend.  He



wanted to sell his store down on Main Street.

I:          Um hm.
C:        Beaver Home Furnishings.

I:          Yeah.
C:        And he, we run that for 10 years.  And then we had a chance to put in a Sears catalog store.

I:          Yeah, okay.

C:        And we run that for 10 years.  And then we had a chance to sell the business, and we did.

I:          Good.  Have you been back to Korea?
C:        I have been back on one of those visits. I’d like to go,



but after I left, it was just artillery outfits.  They moved them where they needed them.  And a lot of times, it was just place them where, for strength, you know.  And sometimes, they’d move them.  It wasn’t far around.  And then sometimes they’d be called on to fire a whole bunch.  And then we had to replenish their ammunition for them.



I:          Are you proud of your service?
C:        Yeah.  We all belong to the American Legion Color Guard.  And we do all the military burials in the cemetery and on the program for Memorial Day.  And these three or four guys in the American Legion went to Korea with us.  So,



it’s good to be active and to do those things.

I:          You know, now Korea is a very strong economy.  And it’s a free country.  What do you think about that?

C:        Well, they were more oriented, you know.  They had little factories going, and I don’t know.  We never did get into North Korea to see.  But it was,



these Chinese soldiers may talk them into fighting for them. I don’t know what the deal was that they.  But these little Chinese soldiers would be killed by the hunters, you know.

I:          Yeah.
C:        Like I said, they had a rifle, you know, (INAUDIBLE) gun, rifle.  And we used to



take them and put them in a pile and burn them just to get them out of circulation.  We had, I was issued a 40’ pistol once, and I had, I wanted something to shoot further than that.  So, I put a little 30 caliber carbine together, and we were always around parts and pieces and those. I had two of those, and also



I sent them home.  And my boys got that one out to (INAUDIBLE) now.  He’s still got it in the family.

I:          Any other message you want to leave to this interview?
C:        Well, I just said you know, it was an experience that us dumb kids got involved in.



And we got an education real fast.  But we had some good officers, and they kept us safe, especially the Service Battery was always moving all the time.  The Firing Batteries would be in location, and Service Battery had to get all the supplies to them, food, and ammunition. And so, we were always moving.  And we had things going for us.  We, I said it was quite a time and