Korean War Legacy Project

Donald L. Buske


Donald Buske was born in Rochester, Minnesota in 1934. He describes himself as a rebel and says that he is thankful that he enlisted in the Navy in 1951 because “it straightened me up….I enjoyed every minute of it.” He explains that his duties as a boilermaker off the coast of Korea included watching the smokestacks so that planes fighting  would be able to see to fly.  While he did not know anything about Korea even through bootcamp, his experiences since the way have given him a very positive impression of the Korean people. Donald Buske ends his interview describing how valuable the lessons he learned in the military are to his life and how he believes every young person should spend time at bootcamp.

Video Clips

Boilermaker duties

Donald Buske describes his duties as a boilermaker, operating steam driver generators on ship. His crew's duties were to house the Air Patrol that were patrolling around the DMZ. One of his jobs was to stand on the bridge and watch the smokestacks to ensure that the air pilots could see through the smoke to navigate. He describes seeing several airplane crashes during this time.

Tags: Living conditions,Physical destruction

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Knowledge of Korea

Donald Buske explains that he did not know anything about Korea even when he was in boot camp because it was never talked about even in the service. He recalls enjoying his time on the aircraft carriers. He says having never seen Korea itself, it felt more like a job to him. He does have a very good impression of Koreans he has met since the war, especially through his Veteran's Association.

Tags: Impressions of Korea,Prior knowledge of Korea

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Lessons Learned through Service

Donald Buske describes the lessons he learned from being in the military- lessons he says he still applies every day to his life. He learned to have respect for others and not just himself. He believes that every youth that graduates high school should have to spend a month at boot camp to learn the same lessons before heading out into the real world.

Tags: Message to Students,Pride

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