Korean War Legacy Project

Curtis Lewis


Curtis Lewis was born in Wilson, Arkansas on December 23, 1932.  He enlisted in the Air force in 1952 after high school graduation and he was stationed at an Air force base in San Antonio.  During basic training, he was screened, and earned high scores in techs specialty, so he primarily did maintenance work, took care of military personnel, and he was a carpenter by trade.  On Oct 13, 1956 he was discharged as a staff sergeant, section head.  Through conversations he had with returning military personnel, he concluded that soldiers did not have adequate guns to compete with the North Korean guns, and US soldiers were overrun by the sheer numbers of North Korean soldiers.  Curtis Lewis believed that there was discrimination against African Americans in the military, especially in the navy since African Americans were relegated to jobs such as the navy motor pool, food service, supply, and trade jobs.

Video Clips

African Americans in the Korean War

African Americans that were in the military during the 1950s faced discrimination. Curtis Lewis noticed that African Americans were relegated to jobs such as navy motor pool, food service, supply, and general trade jobs. Unfortunately, African Americans were still subjected to institutionalized racism in America.

Tags: Food,Home front,Living conditions

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Basic Training and MOS Training in California

Curtis Lewis graduated high school in 1952 and jointed the Air Force right away. He attended basic training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. After earning high scores in the technology industry, he was sent to California to learn his military operational specialty. While in California, he was able to see many of his Army friends leave for Korea, but not all returned.

Tags: Basic training,Civilians,Depression,Fear,Home front,Living conditions,Personal Loss,Pride

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Travis Air Force Base During the Korean War

Curtis Lewis was not sent to the Korean War during his time in the military. He heard that the US Army didn't have enough guns and ammunition while fighting against the North Koreans. Many of the US regiments were run over by the North Koreans due to lack of weapons. He was stationed at Travis Air Force Base in California to perform maintenance and was paid 200 dollars a month and he earned his way up to Staff Sergeant.

Tags: Home front,Impressions of Korea,Living conditions,Pride,Prior knowledge of Korea

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