Korean War Legacy Project

Delbert Tallman

Bio

Delbert Tallman was born on June 30, 1935 in Dearborn Michigan. He had plans to attend college after graduating from High School, but was drafted into the Army in May of 1955.  He received training as a machine gunner and was sent to Korea in November of 1955.  Upon his arrival in Korea, Delbert Tallman was assigned to drive a truck supplying the line batteries with their needed supplies of rations, water, ammunition. and other necessities. He shares what it was like in Korea right after the war. He completed his service in Korea in late December of 1956 and was discharged from the Army on 11 January 1957.

Video Clips

Food, Entertainment, and Money

In this clip, Delbert Tallman describes the food he had while in Korea. He also talks about going to a British run club during his time of service. He also shares how he sent money home.

Tags: Food,Living conditions

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gxq7rAzXNJE&start=1087&end=1350

Letters Home and Christmas in Korea

Delbert Tallman describes staying in contact with home, leaving around the age of 20. He talks about being in Korea for Christmas away from his family. He shared that it was very hard being separated.

Tags: Home front,Letters

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gxq7rAzXNJE&start=1462&end=1682

Suwon in 1955

Delbert Tallman remembers that there was not much left in Suwon in 1955. He shares that there were very few houses left, describing one house that was better than the others. The countryside at that time was “pretty much barren.”

Tags: Suwon,Living conditions,Physical destruction

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gxq7rAzXNJE&start=359&end=414

Video Transcript

0:00
delbert tallman was born in dearborn
0:03
michigan mm-hmm way in 1935 june
0:10
thirtieth 1935 shoot artists 1935 right
0:14
oh and i work for the fort i’m retired
0:19
from the Ford Motor Company now I work
0:21
for 4th before I went in the service but
0:25
I only had 60 days there so I lost my
0:28
seniority all night my father worked for
0:32
the Ford Motor Company for 45 years he
0:36
was a data to my gate attendant or
0:42
whatever you want to call it on they
0:44
dated Fairlane estate for Henry Ford
0:46
mm-hmm and he worked at the bomber plant
0:51
and I guess that was its Lenny they made
0:57
to be 24 at that time and my mother
1:05
worked for the Ford Motor Company too
1:07
good for just a short time he had great
1:11
way from Clinton High School in 1954
1:18
1954 thank you I was going to go to
1:22
college but the government had different
1:27
ideas so when I got drafted in natural I
1:33
was drafted in May nineteen fifty-five I
1:39
went in in april fifth of nineteen
1:44
fifty-five and got out eleventh of
1:46
january in 1957 coming home ahead you
1:52
have to ditch army right yes i was in
1:55
the army come on so what kind of basic
1:57
training did you receive and what was
1:59
your specialty well i was trained for
2:07
the quad fifties well in twin forties
2:12
there was automatic
2:13
South paypal but when I got the career
2:18
they put me driving truck uh-huh so I
2:23
drove a deuce-and-a-half and the
2:24
five-ton for pretty much of the whole
2:28
time that I was there I worked in the
2:30
motor pool in headquarters battery of
2:34
the 50th artillery automatic weapon so
2:38
propelled battalion and this gentleman
2:44
here straighten me out on this I thought
2:48
I was in the little time to chew on but
2:51
it’s sooo lon just outside landed
2:56
actually I landed in Incheon mm-hmm that
3:00
was an experience right there the tide
3:02
comes in and goes out so quick than yo
3:04
we really had to get off the ship in a
3:07
hurry but other than that well the
3:15
brakes went out on the one of the trucks
3:16
on that and I wasn’t brave enough to
3:19
write it down I jumped up and I got a
3:24
few pictures of before we talk about
3:29
your service in Korea when did you leave
3:32
for korea from where i left from korea
3:37
from i was in Fort Lewis Washington for
3:42
two weeks I took actually took basic
3:45
training the second eight weeks and Fort
3:48
Bliss Texas mm-hmm and head and then I
3:54
was in Fort Lewis Washington for two
3:57
weeks then we sailed for Korea from
4:06
there when do you remember any chance by
4:09
any chance month what month was it
4:15
I think it was a November November of
4:20
1955 yesterday but i don’t i don’t
4:27
remember the day that we arrived there I
4:29
know that it was cold and that but town
4:35
I went over on it generally head of the
4:40
generates be Freeman and then it was it
4:47
was a slow shape you just stop by Japan
4:51
no was it direct uh it was direct from
4:55
Washington to Incheon yes okay I got to
5:00
Japan on our arm oh there are enough so
5:06
you arrive in Incheon and you drop the
5:09
truck right yes yes in Suwon from well
5:15
from chew on out to the line battery to
5:17
hit for line batteries they at that time
5:20
they call them ABC indeed better ok and
5:24
then but then I drove adducing if I drew
5:28
rations and water and ammunition and and
5:33
and I out to the line batteries I mean
5:38
at that time they call the library ok so
5:41
you arrived in Korea after the war yes
5:45
tell me about though the life there what
5:49
was like being sooo on in 1955 what was
5:53
the scenery is everything was everything
5:56
they’ve asked ated tell me about that
5:58
please well there wasn’t much there at
6:05
that time there was only about six or
6:10
eight houses at the very most and
6:17
I remember one to one house and that
6:21
would C be better than the rest of them
6:23
issues the way I put it but I mean now
6:28
they said it was when I got the soul
6:34
though the house there was on one house
6:36
like the house that I seen it soul so
6:43
other than that I don’t remember much
6:49
about the countryside it where it was
6:52
buried mm-hmm so nothing much left their
7:00
know how old how about the people there
7:03
that you saw the Koreans there was the
7:09
buses I never seen people crowd ama on
7:13
the bus like they did they would have be
7:16
hanging out that be sitting on top and
7:19
hanging on the back and all their
7:25
belongings was up they throwing up on
7:27
top of the bus and and it was kind of
7:32
comical to salmon head and then that you
7:35
couldn’t smell the honey way fucking
7:38
wagon big long before you can see him
7:42
but other than that I don’t remember
7:48
much my memory is is really gotten bad
7:54
oh what a li friend of mine says I
7:59
should have wrote it down and that but I
8:02
didn’t I wrote some things down in my
8:04
strep ok I got about six or eight
8:08
pitches oh the countryside
8:13
and like that of the motor pool and that
8:16
I remember one time they they tried to
8:24
blow the date on the motor pool mm-hmm
8:29
but we don’t know who was an end but
8:39
mm-hmm other than that I can’t can’t
8:44
tell you much more I need L she is the
8:49
great-granddaughter of bill Baker who
8:53
was the prelude better and also poww she
8:57
is sitting with me helping me taking
8:59
your interview and I think I put to know
9:02
that you are from the same place yes why
9:05
goodness yes you’re saying we don’t even
9:08
know each other but our acquaintances so
9:12
I created kwb youth corps it’s like a
9:15
Peace Corps created by the President
9:17
Kennedy and continue on your legacy and
9:20
I hope that she will help me to bring
9:23
more interviews from her place and the
9:25
region do you have any question to him
9:27
very general kesha whatever they channel
9:31
warm all right let’s see it when you say
9:35
that they tried to okay what is a use of
9:37
the motor pool what is the motor pool
9:40
it’s where they parked all of the trucks
9:45
the jeeps and semi trucks Deuce and a
9:51
half that’s a two-ton truck in case you
9:54
didn’t know and that’s where we parked
9:58
them at night it was all enclosed
10:03
Zimbabwe and that you just he couldn’t
10:08
come and go as you please we had a ID
10:14
guard you might say that was on the gate
10:17
24 hour 24 7 so you had to have a pass
10:24
to get out and hit the head
10:26
pass to get in nobody just come and go
10:29
as they please it says a truck driver
10:33
you like an equipment hauler or what
10:36
what did you exactly have to do I hoped
10:38
I would actually I drill for F s
10:42
forehead supply and I hauled ammunition
10:47
water and rations I went to the ration
10:53
points and dhruv rations than that for
10:55
the mainly for the headquarters company
11:00
but though sometimes we took them out to
11:03
the lion batteries too I made it up to
11:13
the DMZ a couple of times one of the
11:16
kids I grew and one of the boys I grew
11:18
up with in a small town he was stationed
11:22
up there and I was able to take a
11:24
cheapen and go up and see him and and it
11:31
was kind of surprising i met him at the
11:33
supply devil and we was all parked in
11:38
line to get rations and that and we had
11:44
to wait quite a while I got out was
11:46
stretching my legs and walked up and
11:47
down in here I’ve seen this here kid I
11:49
grew up with in one of the trucks and
11:55
that so I was able to go up and see him
11:58
and that other than that the DMZ they
12:03
they didn’t have anything up there that
12:05
I care to see right it wasn’t much of
12:10
anything just yet or it seems really
12:13
what did you think about it what I think
12:16
about it yeah well it’s a good place to
12:20
be away from yeah you can sit there you
12:23
can see them watching it but
12:25
after watching our site of course we did
12:30
the same thing so I guess you can’t
12:32
really complain too much but down I do
12:39
remember a couple rates across that they
12:42
came across the border they they denied
12:45
it but we knew that they were for doing
12:53
it but it didn’t do any good to complain
12:59
because I remember just shortly after i
13:04
read that a sergeant and a corporal and
13:13
I truck got ambushed Ned just shortly
13:18
after I left in it and so I was I made
13:25
two or three trips to the would they
13:31
come ROK soldiers are young catoosa yeah
13:35
caduceus yeah well we had a con tus
13:38
right with us all the time in the in the
13:41
truck too you might say as an
13:47
interpreter and like that I never
13:53
learned much of the language in that but
13:56
I learned enough from the KATUSA that I
14:01
wrote with all the time and I meant one
14:04
Korean officer net and I wish that I
14:06
could have remembered his name I’d like
14:08
to see if he’s still living today I had
14:15
to go and pick up some ketosis and that
14:18
from their company to bring back to ride
14:26
shotgun I recalled it in the trucks but
14:32
maybe one of these days it will come to
14:35
me just what
14:35
name is minh but then i have no way of
14:39
contacting anybody over there to find
14:42
out anyway so let me ask you this
14:48
question it’s a little bit soft side of
14:50
it you so you were there as since
14:53
nineteen fifty-five were there any
14:55
dangerous encounter that you might lost
14:58
your life no no okay it was pretty young
15:06
settled right settled yeah at that time
15:10
there was there was several conflicts
15:14
going on but not not near where I was
15:18
okay what was your rank by the way well
15:23
I made PFC and I lost PFC walk well I
15:29
was going places I wasn’t supposed to go
15:32
and then I got my rank back and I would
15:37
threaten to put zippers on it because
15:41
they had I kept getting it and losing
15:43
its 00 other than that though I mean I
15:49
was PFC multicenter okay how much you
15:53
did you gather at the time monthly gem
15:58
ninety seven dollars a month that was
16:01
overseas paid and what did you with that
16:05
money said it home there was nothing to
16:09
spend it on there but you were able to
16:11
do tambellini I mean now drinking or go
16:16
out to about town right well yeah but I
16:20
mean now what I kept I kept some money
16:23
but most of it went home ah and that
16:27
down so who who kept their money my dad
16:32
your that I send it home to him and I
16:37
had he put it in a bank for me and then
16:42
so on
16:44
that way I’d have a little bit when I
16:47
came home although I did spend quite a
16:53
bit in Japan when I went there I was
16:55
there for two weeks I don’t know on R&R
16:59
I flew out of k14 at that time that was
17:11
an experience in itself right there when
17:15
I got to Japan there was um I spent two
17:19
weeks over there and that was bad
17:21
weather so I couldn’t get back in time
17:25
and so when I did get back they
17:27
overloaded the plane and the pilot had
17:34
to make three tries to get off the field
17:38
and when he did get off the field and
17:40
had he trimmed the breaker the leaves
17:43
off the top of the trees I was willing
17:47
to get off and lighten the load but he
17:50
but they had to get us all back and um
17:56
how’s life there where did you sleep
17:59
what kind of food did you eat you can
18:01
add some are all sessions about the soft
18:04
Cyril well the food wasn’t tap greatest
18:11
priority although we got a good cook in
18:15
when I was halfway through my tour and
18:19
it got a little bit better but what did
18:24
you tell me the menu the menu mashed
18:31
potatoes and spam we had steak once in a
18:39
great while we had a lot of lamb or
18:42
mutton the army was famous for serving
18:50
mutton uh-huh that’s something you can
18:54
eat today and no ma’am
18:56
mashed potatoes oh hey I like still like
19:00
mashed potatoes spam oh I like spam just
19:05
you just got through it the mutton hey
19:07
burnt out is down rice I can I can take
19:12
it or I can leave it I know they I was
19:18
to a meal at the ROK soldiers compound
19:25
in that and they serve fish heads and
19:30
rice and to this day I can’t I can’t
19:39
stomach that yeah no reflection on you
19:45
but I mean fish eyes doesn’t get it I
19:53
understand that completely it’s not in
19:55
your culture I don’t what did you do for
20:00
entertainment keep you occupied I mean
20:04
when you a new work when you weren’t
20:05
busy and come to the club oh there was a
20:08
British club about a mile and a half
20:14
away and we used to hitch a ride down to
20:19
the to the limeys club to go to their
20:26
club they had it was like year there
20:30
than was it ours so I spent quite a bit
20:34
of time down there and add the money
20:39
that’s the money that you kept they went
20:41
towards go to the club what’s wrong I’m
20:45
get at that time yall court osc I think
20:50
I got 89 hours actually ah that was with
20:57
overseas pay mm-hmm and
21:04
and if i remember correctly i took i
21:07
kept out about twenty dollars and at
21:12
that time we didn’t use our own money we
21:15
had to they had script and had to change
21:23
it and every three or four months they
21:31
would change the script and so we’d have
21:34
to trade in all her money that we got in
21:39
the native issue different script if you
21:47
use the greenback’s it went out on the
21:49
black market so they didn’t they paid us
21:57
whenever they paid as they paid us in
21:59
script yeah we when we use over there we
22:06
had to sign up to what we want to send
22:08
home and and then they just issued
22:13
whatever money that you plan on keeping
22:17
their on on your person and they didn’t
22:23
encourage you to keep much of it for
22:29
yourself the net was time I remember I
22:32
had a mouse I’ll do my laundry in that
22:34
and I had a hard time talking her into
22:38
not putting starch on my underwear she
22:45
always wanted to start my underwear yeah
22:48
you don’t need it no convince you
22:53
comfortable no it’s not comfortable that
22:59
was one nice thing we didn’t have to do
23:01
our laundry week mama son came up to the
23:05
gate net and she’d do it for a couple
23:10
packs of cigarettes a month i know the
23:13
cigarettes went out on the black market
23:16
but do you know what mama son is I don’t
23:20
those gonna the next question it’s the
23:25
women korean lady that’s how they call
23:28
it mama means it’s like a mother okay
23:32
working and she was a mother too because
23:35
she had four little ones that sometimes
23:41
she would come to the the gate to pick
23:44
it up and then she’d pick up five or six
23:48
guys laundry and I remember the little
23:52
ones would carry it and I could never
23:57
figure out how a papasan would have an
24:02
a-frame and he could put so much on the
24:05
bat a frame and carry around it it was
24:10
heavier than our backpacks but yet he
24:14
could Peter pick it up and read he kind
24:17
of show you with it so see you’re about
24:22
20 whenever he were drafted give or take
24:25
did what you’re about 20 years old and
24:28
every year drafted give or take yeah 19
24:34
20 right around there cuz I was married
24:37
when I got back and I was 21 so it it’s
24:40
about them I was about 19 or 20 you
24:44
weren’t married though when every year
24:45
jockey you knew you came back yeah I
24:48
married after I came back did you write
24:55
back to your family deciding a letter oh
25:01
yeah she wrote all the time you mom too
25:06
well oh my wife that I was going with
25:12
her before I went overseas I sing and I
25:20
wrote them both in that our company
25:23
commander I insisted on us writing home
25:26
at least once a week
25:30
and it so I mean in order to stay in
25:35
good frame shut up you did as you’re
25:41
told but must be very hard for you to
25:47
leave a part such a long distance and
25:51
and working a very dangerous oh yeah out
25:55
of the world it it was no picnic and
26:00
come Christmas it was very hard of
26:07
course I was I come from a family of
26:14
sister and two brothers and we were
26:20
fairly close and so of course I was only
26:25
a way for actually to Christopher but
26:32
the second Christmas the the folks left
26:34
a Christmas tree out for me to when I
26:39
got back and I got back home I got out
26:41
on the eleventh of January and the folks
26:45
left a trio so therefore i had a little
26:51
Christmas of the second year but the
26:53
first year Christmas I was in Korea
26:57
mm-hmm and I was on guard duty Christmas
27:05
Eve so it didn’t wasn’t very enjoyable
27:13
because i am down in korea reading
27:25
celebrate Christmas
27:29
and I don’t think the villagers didn’t
27:36
even know what Christmas right was in it
27:41
so I mean we mentioned a mama sama papa
27:46
son when we seen him in that and they
27:50
didn’t even know what Christmas was so
27:54
therefore we didn’t have it we get there
27:59
was no such thing as a Christmas tree
28:01
over there do you have any pictures or
28:05
anything for when you’re stationed in
28:07
Korea good wife do you have any pictures
28:11
or anything from young I’ve got down and
28:21
I’ve got a pictures of some of the guys
28:23
that dumb that I was with I spent last
28:33
to reach trying to locate him and with
28:39
no avail okay so anything that you want
28:47
to add to this interview about your
28:50
service in Swan Korea anything that
28:54
particular you want to mention and leave
28:56
it to the interview method eyes that i
29:00
can think of anything so you left Korea
29:05
January 11th of 1967 no I I left the
29:11
service Annette but I left I had to
29:16
Christmas or New Year’s Eve leaving
29:22
Korea really so thank you i crossed the
29:25
International Date Line and add and so I
29:29
hey I ended up having to New Year’s Eve
29:32
when you wait when did you leave or
29:35
state from korea december twenty filter
29:48
mm-hmm 426 the day of christmas earth
29:54
day after yeah it just it was some
29:57
actually oh I left Korea a week early
30:05
because um the guy ahead of me when a
30:10
wall and so they moved me up and I was
30:15
able to I had to really hurry around to
30:23
get everything packed an ad to get over
30:26
to the replica palash com city to ship
30:33
oh so 57 right yes that was in 56 that I
30:38
left Korea you left 56 in 56 champagne
30:44
then I got out in January of 57 I was
30:55
spent a week getting mustered out and
30:59
add and I landed in in San Francisco on
31:08
the fourth of 50 January I remember that
31:17
distinctly because that was Presley with
31:19
was had a concert in San Francisco did
31:28
anybody ask you where have you been when
31:33
you return to your home oh yeah all my
31:37
classmates and that one to know where I
31:40
would
31:41
so basically what that means that they
31:43
didn’t know where you want know when I
31:47
when I left town I lived in a small town
31:51
of clinton michigan a population about
31:54
1,200 people know when I left I knew
31:58
everybody in town when I came back I
32:01
didn’t know a third of them all you be
32:05
gone for two years an album hmm things
32:09
really changed have you been back to
32:13
korea since no no they I see they’re
32:19
offering a trip yeah to Korea but down
32:24
the price a little steep for me right
32:29
now I’d love to go back just to see how
32:34
it it was her he is mm-hmm but it’s just
32:43
a little bit out of my price range right
32:46
now they’re they’re asking 2,500 hours
32:48
of peeps no no that’s not true oriental
32:53
government is providing you the airline
32:56
tickets and so on you need to pay five
32:59
hundred dollars just if you are going to
33:02
go through some kind of travel agents in
33:05
ko EBA but otherwise you can go for it
33:08
the 450 here credit on graveyard well
33:16
not only have anything the the one that
33:19
they sent me a flyer and add 2500 hours
33:25
of peeps so long it may have something
33:27
else in there or extended tour or
33:32
something like Wall Streeters want to
33:34
try not yeah all those kind of stuff
33:36
added on to it Oh
33:39
you anything I didn’t leave anything in
33:41
Japan I don’t care that your pain well
33:44
and I just joined a Korean veteran
33:48
chapter all three months ago and no the
33:59
lady friend the a guy that talked me
34:04
into joining is mm-hmm he just got back
34:07
in Korea dad and he said that he
34:09
wouldn’t you wouldn’t know the place now
34:12
exactly in it but i really like to go
34:21
back to see how it is now and how it was
34:27
then I never they confiscated my camera
34:35
when I took a picture of the DMZ mm-hmm
34:43
in pork chop hill and like that they
34:48
took it away from me I mean naked my
34:52
camera they took the women day who are
34:55
they the MPs and peas okay when you were
34:59
in Korea yes so now Korea is 11th
35:03
largest economy in the world fortunately
35:08
there was nothing right you remember
35:10
honey pot oh gosh yes and mama son and
35:13
everybody was trying to steal right yeah
35:16
now hurry up with the size of Indiana
35:20
State is very small country you know
35:22
young and just south korea its 11th
35:25
largest economy in the world and we are
35:28
the most free democracy in Asia is there
35:34
any how about that tell me about it what
35:36
do you feel that huh I’m amazed um
35:43
of course when I was there the people
35:48
were were really destitute excuse the
35:52
way I put it why we won’t there like
35:55
that and then um every place they they
36:00
went they walked these old buses like
36:05
I’ve got a picture of here people are on
36:10
top and and hanging out the windows and
36:14
if the bus wasn’t full the end or liya
36:18
they had chickens and creeps inside the
36:22
bus and it’s hard to believe that that
36:29
they’ve come so far although I rear I
36:31
didn’t realize it’s been 50 years all
36:34
the way it’s it don’t seem like that
36:37
long but it’s been over 50 years since
36:41
I’ve been there far as that goes the 60
36:45
years yeah but it’s just hard to believe
36:52
that the economy has come that far
36:55
though unbelievable isn’t it yes it is
36:58
and we were able to do that because you
37:02
protected us and fought for us yes but
37:09
we thought Germany and they haven’t come
37:12
back that much of course that was World
37:16
War two but it’s hard to believe that
37:22
the economy and Korea has gone that far
37:25
I will let you know how you can go back
37:30
to creo que
37:31
yeah and you have to see you have to see
37:35
what’s being done by the blood and
37:38
sacrifice of the criminal barons so we
37:41
create never forget crinimal veterans
37:44
and that’s why i doing it this one okay
37:48
well I that makes me feel better because
37:53
in this country careers ER is a
37:56
Forgotten War and even though I was
38:03
there I haven’t forgotten but yet the
38:06
rest of people have and it makes me feel
38:11
good that Korea has come back and that
38:19
they’ve thinking of us you know what I’m
38:22
talking about so it does my heart good
38:28
to hear that so
38:38
it just it blows my mind that they’ve
38:43
come that far especially after what I’ve
38:47
seen over there and is so really that
38:52
baked down is so one of the 10 biggest
38:55
metropolitan city in the world it’s
38:58
bigger than New York City is that right
39:01
oh yeah oh come on you and put me I
39:04
don’t know come on i’m professor in a
39:06
circus you yeah it’s much bigger than
39:10
New York City I hope it’s better than
39:14
new york city it’s really big any
39:19
message do you want to leave to this
39:20
interview as a lesson of your service to
39:24
the young generation or anything that
39:26
you won’t leave well no I think I’m
39:32
gonna leave it alone I’m glad the Korea
39:41
is come back and it better than a whole
39:48
lot better than it was and I’m glad that
39:53
Korea is an allied now but just between
40:00
you and me I think we should have
40:02
finished a job when we were there that’s
40:04
only my opinion now it isn’t shared by
40:06
all but I think we should have finished
40:09
a job when we were there instead of but
40:14
Congress seen fit to lead to go the
40:20
other way same way of Vietnam yeah and
40:23
and and they made a mistake in Vietnam
40:26
and I think they made it was taking
40:27
career too yeah um I think South Korea
40:33
be a whole lot better off of if North
40:38
Korea was
40:44
how should I put it civilized yeah yeah
40:46
is it South Korea yeah but I could get
40:53
in trouble by saying that I know but
40:59
just don’t let it go to partner again
41:02
Korean nation never forget your service
41:07
okay and will continue to do this so
41:11
that your memories and service and
41:13
sacrifices will be kept forever in the
41:16
website and your interview will be
41:19
uploaded to the website where you can
41:21
see