Korean War Legacy Project

Doddy Green (Widow of Ray Green)


Doddy Green, widow of veteran Ray Green, describes her deceased husband’s experiences after being drafted into the military and serving in Korea during the war. Due to her husband writing letters to her while he was overseas, Doddy can recall his impressions, experiences, and thoughts during the war. She offers his account of digging lines for the present-day DMZ and living on C-Rations. She shares that he experienced a wound and developed some frostbite while in Korea and that he experienced malaria shortly after returning home. She even recalls her husband’s experience at the movies in Korea during monsoon season. She speaks highly of her husband’s service and remembers his impressions of the Korean people and their gratefulness for the sacrifices Americans made during the war.

Video Clips

Letters from Korea and Digging the DMZ

Doddy Green, widow of veteran Ray Green, recalls a particular letter from her husband at the developing DMZ. She shares that her husband spoke of the quietened guns after the ceasefire. She explains that her husband described the digging of lines at the present-day DMZ and living on C-Rations.

Tags: 1953 Armistice 7/27,Communists,Food,Front lines,Letters,Living conditions

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The Relationship between American and KATUSA Soldiers

Doddy Green, widow of veteran Ray Green, recalls her husband's feelings towards KATUSA (Korean Augmentation to the United States Army) soldiers and the Korean people. She expresses that her husband was truly impressed with the gentleness of the Korean people. She describes the Korean people as being grateful for the sacrifices Americans made.

Tags: Impressions of Korea,KATUSA,Letters,Pride,South Koreans

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Wounds and Ailments

Doddy Green, widow of the veteran Ray Green, describes a few of the physical abuses her husband either suffered during the war or shortly after returning home. She shares that he suffered a sabotage wound and developed a little frostbite in his ear while in Korea. She recounts a bout he experienced with malaria as well upon his return home.

Tags: Letters

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An American in Paris in Monsoon Season

Doddy Green, widow of veteran Ray Green, describes her husband taking part in a familiar American pastime while in Korea. She recalls, from one of his letters, him seeing the movie An American in Paris on Geojedo Island. She remembers him writing that he was drenched after the excursion due to it being Korea's monsoon season.

Tags: Geojedo,Letters,Living conditions,Monsoon

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Video Transcript

[Beginning of Transcribed Material]


D:        I’m Doddy Green, the widow of Sergeant Ray Green, US51217133.

I:          What is that?  ID number?
D:        His military number.

I:          Uh huh.

D:        And he served proudly and very bravely with the 40th Infantry Division, 160th Regimental Combat Team H Company in Korea.  He got there May 12, 1953, and served his first combat



Was Heartbreak Ridge.  I met him 8:30 at night Thursday, July 12, 1951.  I was 14 years old, and he was 19.
I:          Where did you meet him?
D:        In a state park in Connecticut.

I:          Connecticut.

D:        Yes.

I:          And?
D:        And I knew he was special.

I:          So, was he drafted or enlisted?
D:        Yes, he was drafted.

I:          At what age?



D:        Twenty.

I:          Twenty.

D:        He went into the service

I:          When?
D:        November 16, 1952.

I:          Fifty-two.

D:        Took his training at Fort Dix, New Jersey with the 9th Infantry Division 60th Infantry Regiment Company L.  And he was there until March 1953 when he had a seven-day pass.


He came home, and then he had to report the beginning of April to North Fort Lewis, Washington where he stayed for a short time.  And then from there, he was taken on the McRae which was a Navy ship.  I think it was a destroyer, and went into Yokohama, Japan.  And I have the date at home.



And he got his rifle at Camp Drake.  And then May 12, 1953, he went through the Port of Pusan. And then from Pusan, he went up to Seoul for a couple days and then reported as a replacement to the 40th Infantry Division.

I:          So, by the time that he arrived around Seoul,

D:        Yes.

I:          You

D:        He was only there for a couple days.

I:          Couple days.

D:        Yes.

I:          And then where did he go?



After, he went to Heartbreak Ridge which was the main line of resistance in the Punch Bowl.

I:          Uh huh.
D:        And then the 40th came off Heartbreak Ridge, and there were so many replacements because the 40th Division had been the main line of resistance for 100 days.  And then they went to Kojedo Island with the new replacements.

I:          Uh huh.



D:        And then in June, they went to Monsusi which is like a hurricane season in Connecticut, went to the main line of resistance.  And he was again at the Punch Bowl on Glenny Ridge before, during and after the cease fire.

I:          There had been a severe battle right before the Armistice on July 27.

D:        For one week, two weeks before the cease fire,



the Communist Forces sent six divisions against three American Divisions, the 40th, the 45th and I believe it was the 3rdDivision.  And it was a weeklong battle that determined what is today the DMZ.  And right after Ray wrote after the cease fire, Jully 27, Ray wrote being on bloody ridge and how quiet it was.



The big guns were quiet.  They were digging the new lines which was today’s DMZ.

I:          Um hm.

D:        And the hills were so steep that the helicopters were bringing up the equipment and food.  And they were thankful for the food because they had been on C rations which they couldn’t eat, but they drank their coffee.

I:          Um hm.  You seem to remember everything like you participated in the Korean War.  How did you



come to know such details?

D:        Just for love for my husband.

I:          If your husband

D:        That’s how I shared his life.

I:          Did your husband tell you all those details?
D:        That’s in his letters.

I:          Letters.

D:        Every letter.  And I’m just repeating what was in his letters.

I:          You told me right before the interview that you got how many letters?
D:        One hundred and twenty-six.  I didn’t realize that until last year when I was being interviewed by the Defense Department.


And somebody, a Navy submarine or a friend asked me how many letters did I have.  And I never counted them until last year, 126 letters, one Christmas card and one telegram.  The telegram came from Tokyo.  After he was in the 40th, after the cease fire, then the 40th Division returned to the States, and my husband was sent in the end of May ’54, to, and I have the paper from the government,



He was sent as a replacement to the 7th Infantry Division, 17th Infantry Regiment Headquarters, 2nd Battalion.  And he stayed there until July 12, 1954.

I:          Where?

D:        It was at the DMZ.  It was the 7th.  And he stayed there until July 12, 1954, came home but reported to, he got off at Seattle, Washington.



And he was on the Gordon which was an Army troop ship which I have pictures of.  And then he went to North Fort Lewis for a short time.  And then he came back by train to Connecticut.  He had a 30-day leave.  And then he reported to Belleville, New Jersey which was, and I couldn’t repeat.  But now that it’s declassified, it was the Nike



Hercules Missile Project that he worked on for three months.  He couldn’t even tell his mother and father about it.

I:          Um hm.

D:        And I was there twice.  Not on the base, but at the main gate.  We married February 19, 1955.

I:          Fifty-five.

D:        Fifty-five.  I had to get a high school diploma before we got married.  And that was the only thing that disappointed Ray, that he wasn’t able to come to my high school graduation cause he was still in Korea.  He was very disappointed in that.



But his whole family, his mother and father, brother, sisters-in-law, they came to my graduation. Ray

I:          Oh, Ray’s family.

D:        Ray’s family.

I:          So,

D:        We weren’t married yet.

I:          Uh huh.

D:        They represented Ray.  But Ray always said when he came home from Korea how wonderful the South, there were two Katusas in his unit.  And he said,



someday I’m gonna take you back.  I’m gonna go back, and I’m gonna take you with me.  And he was truly impressed with the gentleness of the Korean people.  And we could see that they were, to this day, they’re very grateful for the efforts and the sacrifices.  And the Americans made many sacrifices.  They left comfortable homes to go to a foreign country.



And to stay in a dirt trench 40 degrees below zero.  No indoor plumbing.  No electricity.  He wrote by candles.  He had to hurry up and finish a letter because the candle was getting low.  He couldn’t write sometimes because he had no writing paper. But it was a wonderful experience.  And he was so proud to be able to do it.


I:          So, he felt rewarded, right, when he went back to Korea in 1979.

D:        Oh yes.  It was very difficult when Larry said the next morning, I made arrangements to go up to Panmunjom.  At 2:00 in the morning I woke up and Ray wasn’t in bed.  What happened was he was out on the porch.  And I went out to him and said what’s the matter.  And he said I don’t know if I can go.



I:          Um.

D:        And I said well if you can’t, I understand I said.  But don’t forget Larry went through a lot of trouble to make these plans to take you up there.  And being the highest-ranking officer of the United States and to go up to 8th Army Headquarters was risky for an Admiral also.  And Larry was proud to do it for Ray.


And Ray said in the end he would go.  And we went in the Admiral’s van.  And the Admiral, his aid and a Chief of Staff, they were with us.  And Ray walked the tunnel with the Admiral, and Ray was quite impressed with the engineering that they had done.  I’m more impressed after I have seen the artwork that the South Koreans have done centuries and centuries



Ago with little Buddhas.  And unfortunately, it’s not in South Korea’s possession anymore.  It’s in another country.  And I wrote to their ambassador a couple years ago, and I said that as good neighbors, they should return property that does not belong to them.  Anyway, when we went to Camp Boniface,



we ate in the second dining room, which you have to have two [INAUDIBLE] And when we first went in, they call it the Brotherhood.  You could feel the tension up here in 1989 at the line.  And there was a hat, Panmunjom, and I said to Ray oh, buy that.  And he wouldn’t do it.  But the Admiral’s men did it and gave it to him.  He came home, and I was with him, in September of ’54



when the weather started to change in Connecticut.

I:          Yeah.

D:        And it started to get from warm to cold.  I was with him when he had a malaria attack.  I couldn’t put enough blankets on him.  He also had a little frostbite in his ear.  But he never complained about anything.

I:          Was he wounded from battle?
D:        Yes, he was, not from a battle, from sabotage.  After the cease fire,



He was in heavy mortar with his company.  In fact, I have a picture with the archway of the camp, and this is after the cease fire with the gents, and the sign says through these portals pass the best damn mortar men in Korea.



Ray transferred, stayed in the same company, H Company.  He went from that to Communications because the captain was his radio man in communications.  And he said that he changed his MOS November ’53, three months after the cease fire because he liked what he was doing in Communications.



And if he stayed in the Army or if he returned to the Army, he could return to the same job, and he liked that.  But they would go out on patrol at night to inspect the communication wires.  And usually, they were damaged.  This one night, and it was, I didn’t hear from Ray for about six weeks.  Even his mother called me and asked me if I heard from Ray.



Ray was her youngest.  And I said no mail.  She said if he writes to me, if I get a letter, will I let her know.  Well, absolutely.  I was 16.  I knew she was concerned.  And finally, about six or seven weeks I got a letter.  And he just wrote everything and then all of a sudden, Ray never went to paragraphs.  He just wrote what came to mind.  And the most important thing was my mail,



My letters to him.  He wrote that he hurt his arm.  And he didn’t write any more about that.  He didn’t say how or anything.  That was March 1954.  And then when he went to the 7th Division, he wrote that he had just gone into the 7thDivision. I



I think the letter was June 2, ’54.  And he said my arm is still hurting, and I’m gonna go see the doc Tuesday.  I still have that.

I:          Amazing.  So, he wasn’t there for battles.  He was writing letters to you.

D:        There was one time when they had a tent, and it was after the cease fire.  The men in the tent hid my pictures, and he got made.  And while he was telling me about this, and this was just before he passed away,


And you could hear in his voice he was very upset over it.  He said nobody’s going to sleep until I get those pictures back.  I think probably in the last two years I’ve read them quite often.  And that’s when I’m getting the whole meaning of them.  And after he passed away, they were so personal to me that I didn’t want to share them with anybody.  And I still don’t want to.  But I want my grandson to



I:          Have you talked to your grandson about it?
D:        My grandson, his picture is in the album wearing his grandfather’s Army jacket in the Veteran’s Day parade.  And Stevie has seen the albums that some day he will get.  He’s only 15 now.  But he will get them some day.

I:          Has he read any letters?



D:        No, I don’t let anybody.  I just copy parts of it.  And that’s what I did for the Defense Department last year.
I:          Um,

D:        On a DD214.

I:          What is a DD214?
D:        Department of Defense.

I:          Uh huh.

D:        And it’s the paper that they get when they separate from active service.

I:          Um hm.

D:        And it has how many years, if they did go to college, did they go to high school, where were they from

I:          I see.

D:        What they left



When they left the service, what rank that they had.

I:          So, it’s a basic old documentation of the soldier, right?
D:        Yes.

I:          Yeah.

D:        But on that, Ray’s Combat Infantry badge wasn’t on it.  And I promised him that I would get that and get his Purple Heart.  And that’s what I came down for two years to go.

I:          Did he get the Purple Heart?
D:        No because there wasn’t enough proof.



And all the records burned.  I have more government papers than St. Louis had.  They burned in 1973 or ’74.  So, I was glad that I made these scrapbook albums to tell the story to my grandson what his grandfather did.  I had a formal hearing down here with the Army about the medals.



The request for the Combat Infantry badge was granted.  But the Purple Heart was denied.  When he wrote about coming off of Heartbreak Ridge, he said it was rough going.  He never said anything else.
I:          Um.
D:        And he wrote about other things.  And he also wrote that he shouldn’t be driving where they were.  And he hopes the government doesn’t open up the letter.


They did confiscate quite a few of his photos.

I:          Oh.
D:        He kept pictures, color slides, and they didn’t confiscate some of those, but not the letters.

I:          What did he tell you about Koje Island?
D:        Koje Island, it was monsoon season.  And he and somebody else went to a movie, and it as American in Paris, and the rain was so heavy



I:          You mean on Koje Island?
D:        On Kojedo Island.

I:          Hm.
D:        And the rain was so heavy.  The monsoon season is like our hurricane season in Connecticut.

I:          Yeah.
D:        Only it lasts a lot longer.  And everything is mud.  And they were gonna have an inspection, but they had to clean the boots, and they were muddy.  But two of them went to the movie.  It was American in Paris, and when they got back, they were soaked, and they had to change.

I:          What was his mission there?



D:        I don’t know.

I:          That’s where

D:        The Prisoner of War, yes.

I:          Yes.  The camp was there, right.

D:        Yes.

I:          So, he might have been guarding around there.

D:        I don’t know if he was a guard.  He never said.
I:          Um hm.

D:        He never wrote anything about that.  But he wrote about the rain and going to Virginia.  And I think they were in Quonset huts sleeping.


I don’t think they were in tents.  I think he wrote that it was Quonset huts.

I:          So, you were in high school waiting

D:        For him to come home.
I:          But before, you were waiting for letters that he wrote.

D:        Oh boy, did I wait.

I:          Explain to me when you received a letter from him, what was it like?

D:        It gave me a reason to go on.  My husband was dying.  But two months after my husband died,



my son had a heart transplant, miracle of life.  Never talked harsh about it.

I:          Um.

D:        He never talked harsh about it.  What I’m relating is just what was in his letters.  But when he did talk about being wounded, that was the first time that he talked about it.  I asked him when he came home, you know, I was curious. I wanted to see what it looked like.  And he didn’t want to see me, and he was a little bit annoyed



with me.  And he finally let me see it.  And that was that.  Didn’t talk about it.  Never talked about, Ray used to be a volunteer fireman before he left.  And they used to have firemen parades.

I:          Um hm.

D:        In different communities.  And when he came home, he said he would never march again.  And I didn’t realize until maybe it was last year coming across



Some of the pictures.  They were color/35 mm color slides that I took to have converted to prints before, and we did six months before he passed away.  And one is a formation where H Company is holding the company banner, and it was snowing.  And they had to go back up to the DMZ for their duty from,



I call it a safe camp, I don’t know.  Was it a UN Camp? It’s where they had tents anyway.  But then had to take turns at rotation to go back up to the DMZ.  And I think because they had to march up in line again, I think maybe, Ray never said, but maybe that’s why he didn’t want to march in a parade again.  It took many, many years for Ray to march in a parade again.  And then he finally did with the VFW.


And that wasn’t until after we went to Korea.  The special bonds that will never be broken as long as a Korean War veteran is alive and pass it on to their family.  He wrote after the cease fire that they were near a rice paddy.  And they made a shower in the rice paddy.  Obviously, that was a novelty.  But that was very ingenious to do.  He also wrote about



The terrible K ration food.  And didn’t want to eat it.  And I have a picture Christmas Day 1953 that they, and it was snowing.  And they had dinner out in the snow.  Of course, it was half frozen when they got it.  But where they were



before the cease fire, between when he got there until a little after the cease fire, there were no civilians.  Civilians weren’t allowed near there.  It must have been devastating for the Korean people.

I:          Oh yeah.
D:        And the Korean people had been very, very gracious and very generous.  I thank the people of the



Republic of Korea for, your generation, for taking an interest.  We’re all in this world together.  And hopefully your children, my grandson, maybe there won’t be any more wars.  Hopefully, hopefully someday the Republic of Korea, North and South, will be united again.