David Lopez was born in Santa Paula, CA. Before he was drafted in 1951, he was working at Port Hueneme Naval Base as a longshoreman. His military service was carried out from 1951 to September 1953. During his service period, he went to Pusan, Korea, where he was stationed at the Kansas line with the 24th Division, 19th Infantry Regiment, 2 BN Geo. Company. By the time of his discharge, he had become a Sergeant First Class (SFC). He played a role in the Defense of Korea, the Punchbowl, and the Iron Triangle. For his commitments, he received the CIB, Purple Heart, UN Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Korean Service and Occupation Medals. After coming home to California, he returned to work as a longshoreman at Port Hueneme Naval Base.
Peace and Trust Among Former Enemies
David Lopez has mixed feelings about the possibility of meeting up with the North Koreans that he fought against during the Korean War. Soldiers on both sides were just doing their jobs and following through on orders, so David Lopez would meet with his former enemy. He remembers taking prisoners during the war and one of them was really tall and David Lopez believes that it was a Chinese soldier, not a North Korean.
Camping in Korea
David Lopez felt that being in Korea was like camping because of the daily living conditions, meals, and terrain. There were still many dangers while being stationed in Korea, but David Lopez tried to not let them get to him. Some soldiers hated the conditions so bad that they injured themselves to be taken off duty because the atrocities they experienced became too severe to handle.
The Korean War Draft, Training, and Landing
David Lewis was a longshoreman just like his father, but he was drafted in 1951. He took infantry training and left for Korea from California, but it took 18 days to get to Korea while sailing on the USS Black. There was a storm during his travel and many of the men threw up due to the pitching of the ship, but David Lewis didn't let that stop him from winning $1,800 from playing cards. At the end of June 1951, he arrived in Pusan and he thought the peace talks would end the war, but there was still more fighting to take place.
Prior Knowledge About Korea and David Lopez's First Battle in the Korean War
David Lopez did not know anything about Korea before he was drafted. When he arrived at Pusan, he was living in tents and was given food rations to eat while waiting to be sent to the Kansas Line which was a few miles from the 38th parallel. After the Chinese pulled out of peace talks, he took trucks from Pusan to the Kansas Line while worrying about incoming artillery. He loved receiving help from young Korean boys who would help him carry supplies, wash clothes, and help when he was short on soldiers. David Lopez was injured in his right arm when he fought with the 2nd Platoon against the Chinese and North Korean troops.