Korean War Legacy Project

Donald Schwoch

Bio

Donald H. Schwoch was born on August 3rd 1933 in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin as the youngest of 4 children. He grew up on a dairy farm where his family lived in a stone house with no electricity. Drafted into the United States Army in early 1954, he trained in Texas and New Jersey before being sent to Korea in 1955. He served in the 69th Transportation Division in Uijeongbu as a generator mechanic.

Video Clips

Destruction

Donald H. Schwoch talks about the poverty and destruction of Seoul that he saw in 1955. Throughout Seoul, desperate children begged for food among the destroyed buildings. Even in Uijeongbu, the civilian population lived in huts with dirt floors.

Tags: Euijeongbu,Seoul,Civilians,Cold winters,Food,Living conditions,Physical destruction,Poverty,South Koreans

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mgMPnuXcst0&start=1332&end=1484

Red Cross Nurses and Generator Repair

Donald H. Schwoch arrived in Korea on January 6, 1955, wading ashore to the welcome of Red Cross nurses offering donuts. He changed his wet clothes aboard a railway car and traveled by train to a tent encampment where a Lieutenant McNair assigned him to generator repair. In one case, an officer from his unit needed a generator for the cook house so badly that he cannibalized a new ambulance for parts.

Tags: Euijeongbu,Incheon,Food,Front lines,Living conditions

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mgMPnuXcst0&start=698&end=959

A Close Call

Donald H. Schwoch stayed busy maintaining generators. In one instance, an I Corps general took him with the First Marines to the front lines. During a stop, he left his truck during a smoke break. Fortunately, he remembered his M2, for as he rounded the front of the truck he encountered a young Korean wearing a vest with hand grenades.

Tags: Euijeongbu,Incheon,Front lines,Weapons

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mgMPnuXcst0&start=1589&end=1878

Video Transcript

 

 

[Beginning of Recorded Material]

00:00:

D:        My name is Donald H. Schwoch.

I:          Can

D:        My last name is S C H W O C H.

I:          Can you pronounce again?

D:        Schwoch.

I:          Schwoch.

D:        Yes.

I:          And, it’s German?

D:        Yes.

I:          So you are the German descendant?

D:        Yes.

I:          What is your birthday?

D:        8/3/1933.

I:          Where were you born?

D:        Beaver Dam, Wisconsin.

I:          Could you spell it?

0:00:30

Beaver dam?  B, B E A V E R  D A M?

D:        Yes, two words.

I:          Wisconsin.  Tell me about your family when you were growing up, your parents and your siblings?

D:        Well, I’m the youngest one of four children, and actually they were in Depression.

I:          Right.

D:        Because I was born in ’33, and that was kind of the end of the Depression I guess.

0:01:00

I:          Um hm.

D:        So they nicknamed me, I’m the runt of the family which was alright.

I:          Um.

D:        So we were all raised on the farm, dairy farmer stuff, and had to help with all little chores they had to keep things going because there was no money.

I:          No money.

D:        And they went through Depression with, with different livestock and trading with some neighbors as far as some

0:01:30

working very fast things were getting in the wood in the wintertime and, and burning that         in a round oak heater to keep the house warm

I:          Um hm.

D:        and it was a stone type built house.  I can remember the parts of it.

I:          So it was kind of difficult to live around that time, right?

D:        Yes.  There was no electricity or anything.  You just had a lantern that you could go in and milk the cows and stuff [inaudible] and

0:02:00

Dad would holler at me once when I was stay away from the lantern so it wouldn’t fall off of, from the hooks and get in straw and create a fire.  I mean, that was our big thing.

I:          Um hm.

D:        But I would help feed the animals or things like that when I was small, and we all had to work.  I mean it was, that was the life of everybody.

I:          Hard times.

D:        Yes.

I:          So tell me about the school you went through.

D:        I went through a Parochial school.

0:02:30

Mother and Dad put us through a Lutheran Parochial school.  All of us each had eight years of

I:          Lutheran?

D:        Lutheran school.

I:          Um hm.

D:        And we all graduated there one by one, and learned all the things of religion, and to this day I used to help the chaplains around here until I was capable of it.

I:          Um hm.

0:03:00

D:        But now they have someone else to do it for me because I was in the hospital for about three months, in and out lately, and so

I:          What about high school.  When did you graduate high school?

D:        Beaver Dam High School.  We all four went through there one by one, and it was hard to go from a Parochial school to a public school

I:          Um.

D:        Because they were a lot more rowdy I guess you might call it.

0:03:30

I:          Yeah.

D:        Us farm kids come in there, we had a FFA organization, though, because I took, along with my other subjects and everything else, and we all got through, through the schooling.  That was a different

I:          When did you graduate?
D:        Every Sunday we would be going back to Beaver Dam to church.  There was seven miles each way, and so

I:          When did you graduate high school?

0:04:00

D:        Um, 1951.

I:          Oh.  So you, already the Korean War broke out before you graduate the high school.

D:        No.  I was in, went to Korea after high school.

I:          Right.  But the Korean War broke out in 1950.

D:        Oh yes.

I:          Yeah, yeah.  So you knew about the Korean War.

D:        Oh yes.

I:          What do you think about that?  What did you think about that at the time?

D:        Well, I didn’t know

0:04:30

what we were getting into actually.  I can remember my brother-in-law was, worked at a Monarch Range Foundry pouring molds and a lot of things that were wait for him to get back home because they lived there with us

I:          Um hn

D:        and I guess he, well my sister bought a Model A [inaudible] them two got married, and then we rode back, and you

0:05:00

weren’t together with everybody else, and there wasn’t much gasoline available either at them times, and because I remember Dad had to get some coupons for x number of gallons of gas or whatever.  They were A, B, or C, D, that was a political thing anyway, they found out later.  So everything was just

0:05:31

tied right down.

I:          But when the Korean War broke out in 1950, did you think that you’d be drafted to the War?

D:        Well, I didn’t pay much attention.  In them days and them years when you’re that young, it’s like the young kids today.  They don’t, they don’t even go out for elections or anything.

I:          Right.

D:        So.

I:          Let me ask this question.  Did you learn anything about Korea from your school?

0:06:00

D:        No.

I:          Did you know anything about Korea?

D:        Not really, no.

I:          Uh huh.

D:        There was allowed, my mother was working, she came to tell working in the shoe factory where they made Army boots and all that,

I:          Um hm.

D:        And she’d get coupons for that, and she had to put them all in a little book every, every night at home.  So dad was short on the farm then, but there was, it was all the way to, I guess that they were doing their thing

0:06:30

what they needed to do for the U.S. Army and stuff.

I:          Um hm.

D:        But I wasn’t alerted that, they didn’t talk too much about it.  We had what they call victory gardens, I can remember that, where you, you even cut up your lawn and stuff and raise vegetables and things like that so you had food to eat and stuff like that.

I:          So when did you join the military?

0:07:00

D:        I was drafted in, I believe it was March of 1954. My brother was two years ahead of me with drafting.

I:          Two year ahead?

D:        Yes.

I:          What’s brother’s name?

D:        Duane Merlin Schwoch.

I:          D A

D:        D U A N E

I:          D U A N E Schwoch.

D:        Yes.

I:          And he was drafted in 1952?

D:        Yes.

0:07:30

I:          And did you, did he got to Korea?

D:        Yes, he went to Korea right after, right after basic I guess, and he was in the fight with the Chinese on what they call Porch Chop Hill

I:          Uh huh.

D:        And his medals are the ones that I showed you here of getting those, and he lived in real cold weather and snowballs and everything, and they didn’t have

0:08:00

Any, Or he might say niches I guess I was told where they had to try and survive to fight the Chinese off.

I:          Yeah.

D:        And guess it was pretty, pretty tough because later on my Dad had to get the neighbors to come and help so he had farm work. They would leave me home till he came back.  But then one of the politicians, our local said that we needed him.

0:08:30

They took me in way before he even got back. And I went to basic down in, down in Texas somewhere, and then I went to, home for a little vacation, and then they took me to Fort [inaudible] New Jersey for training, and then a training thing of Carrier Bays

0:09:00

And things of that nature, and then when I got out of there, our group, we had a week off, and A through R in the abbreviation of their last names, they went to Germany Northeast, and S through Z ended up in Japan and Korea.  Thirty-six hundred people on board,

0:09:30

three weeks to go across the ocean.  We had lots of rough weather. I got a job in the, in the cooking department there cracking eggs and getting ready for the next meals and things the next day. There was quite a few of us guys because somebody at Tacoma, Washington, he was a Sergeant, and he says is anybody getting sea sick?  He says if you do,

0:10:00

bite some lemons and take them along with you, poke a little hole in it, and, and you won’t, you won’t get sea sick.  So I go to the grocery store one evening and got a bag of them and, and put them in my duffle bag just before we left and carried them with me over there, and I used them a little bit.  The guys would see that, but they’d pay anything to get them. I says oh go get your own.  But they couldn’t go, you know, so,

0:10:30

but to feed that many soldiers on board is lots of work.  There was, a lot of guys had a lot of work.

I:          So you were a cook.

D:        Well, they made me, we had a nice cook, though. He worked nights, and he baked the homemade bread, desserts, things like that, and I don’t know what the hell the other fellows did, too, a lot of it.  We had about a dozen of us guys in that one little [inaudible]

I:          So when did you leave for Korea?

 

0:11:00

I:          ’50…

D:        It was in December, first part of December because we crossed the International Date, Date Line.  See, when you’re going East, you jump a day.

I:          Yeah.

D:        And we crossed it, I guess it was Christmas, Christmas Eve or whatever it was supposed to be.  But we, officially we didn’t have Christmas.  They took care of us that way.

I:          Um.

D:        They crossed the International Date Line and stopped in Korea

0:11:30

then Japan, let a few guys off, and then we went on to, the rest of us went all on to Korea

I:          Um.

D:        And landed there the 6thof January, and the boat couldn’t get in closely, so they put us on a, hauled us up toward the shore for these PT boats , and they gotta pull us to shore or within maybe

I:          Where, Inchon?

0:12:00

Did you land in Inchon?

D:        Inchon, yeah.

I:          Well, in ’55?  1955.

D:        It would have been in, yeah, the first part of 1955.  Anyway, the dropped the gate, and we had to wade through all the cold water to get up to shore, and that was our welcoming from, from the Red Cross gals.

I:          Really?

D:        Well, by being soaking wet and you couldn’t even chew the donuts that they got some ear beading on it and,

0:12:30

and so I got up there with the railroad train one set of tracks there, and I found out that we were going to be going on board there.  So I got in there are took my wet clothes off and put some dry ones on that was in the duffle bag yet and got some dry clothes on.  But there was no heat or anything around there.  So I stayed in there, and we finally got going

0:13:00

to, going North, and I landed on the, in the transportation company above all.  And we had some little tents that they were living there with and everything else, and so, that was the beginning of my life with, and got hold of a, that, that was before warrant officer was there.  His name is Lieutenant McNair he was,

0:13:31

And even to t ell the mess guys that he’d come up through the ranks all these years and glad to see it’s there.  We needed more help.  So he had a man that was gonna rotate back home, and he come to me and he says, he called me Don always which was alright, and he says you’re kind of bright.  He said what those [inaudible] have got,

0:14:00

He says, you went through some schooling in New Jersey, I said yes I did, and he says I’d like you to take over my generators before this man leaves so he can show you what to do and whatever, and I said well, that’s quite a challenge, but he says I’ll be right with you.  He says, but the motor pool Sergeant will be around you, too.  He says we all work together and talk things out.

0:14:32

So I ended up working, working in there with, our shed was for the generators was made out of gooseneck tarps, and they had quite a few little generators to try and keep the cook shack going because that was our big, big thing, and the spark plugs would get, get messed up

I:          Um hm.

D:        So, we finally got straightened around,

0:15:00

And this War officer liked what I was doing or working with me.  They had one generator there that was all in, in pieces, but they needed a new engine, and he went to the ordinates to get a, get a new engine, and they wouldn’t they wouldn’t give him one.

I:          Um hm.

D:        He went there a couple of times, and they said no, they wouldn’t give him one.  They didn’t have any.

0:15:30

So he thought up the idea there was some, there was some ambulances there, brand new, sitting, just waiting to be used.  So he put a, a deal to, to get one of them.  He had one of his drivers bring it home on the trip that he went down there, and lo and behold the took the engine out of that one, so they had something to put that generator together with.  And I told them,

0:16:00

I says is that gonna fit?  Oh yes he says.  I know it fits, the parts were all in the box and everything on the generator.   So they put that in, the Motor pool put it together, and then I was supposed to go to the other end.  It took quite a while because I couldn’t get no, no juice on the armature.  But come to find out through a lot of problems, it has a rotator with just three long screws, one on the end

0:16:30

And that had to be rotated.  I done that by accident, not thinking, and when I got that over there and I had a cord hooked up for it, and then when I started it that time, it blew the lightbulb out, and my W4 was close by.  He heard some pop, and he come in, running in there wanting to know what’s happened, and I said well, I think I got some electricity.  I need some more lightbulbs because, I says, I just

0:17:00

Ruined that bulb out. So that was the beginning of getting that put together.

I:          Got it.  But I have some questions.

D:        Ok.

I:          When you were chosen to go to Korea because your last name start with S, right?
D:        Yes.

I:          What did you feel about it?  Did you wanted to go to Germany or did you want

D:        Well, we had no choice.

I:          But what was your wish?

D:        We had, they put us in

0:17:30

I:          What, what, which was your choice, wanted to go? Japan or Germany?

D:        Well, they had us all, the names and everything was all taken care of.  You didn’t have a choice.

I:          But

D:        You just knew where you were going.

I:          I know.  But which country did you wanted to go?

D:        There again, I knew we was going West, and the other ones went, went East.  When we got back for our two years

0:18:00

we, we met in [inaudible] at Chicago there and to [inaudible] they got back the same time we did, so we all had a little reunion.  We had all of our stripes and everything else and bragging about it, you know.  But I don’t think they got any, what’s it called, war time pay.

I:          Okay.  What is our specialty?  What was your specialty?  Mechanic or cook or what was it?

0:18:30

D:        Well, I had some experience at home on a few things, but

I:          No, in the military, when you were in Korea. What was your specialty?

D:        They put me in what they call a, a, ooh, I can’t spit the name of it out now.  But anyway, where your, how a lightbulb was made and what do, once it’s all where you go way back in, it’s a, for these carrier bays that they had, and we, we were

0:19:00

trained to use these carrier bays and they were portable, see.  But that was my knowledge was put on.  It worked out all right for me because of knowing a few things on these armatures and things like that.

I:          That was your specialty?

D:        That’s what it was.

I:          MO, MOS?

D:        Yes.

I:          What was you

D:        But then when they put me over there, they put me in the Transportation Company.  They put you where you’re needed, see.

I:          So what, what was your unit?

0:19:30

D:        Uh, 69thTransportation at Uijeongbu.  It’s just some I Corp.

I:          And 8thArmy?  Did you have any Company?

D:        No, 69thTransportation.  That was actually a Transportation Company to move any, anything that needed done.

I:          Um hm.

D:        Like getting

0:20:00

food from Seoul, haul it up there, and their one big job was moving the 1stMarines our to, they were gonna go to Japan, all their equipment and stuff, and they had trucks doing that till they got them all moved.

I:          Okay.  And where did you live?  Did you live in tent or Quonset hut?

D:        We had, we had some makeshift tents,

0:20:30

big ones that they had just gotten, and we had two little [inaudible] stones in there, but when the fuel would get cold from the real cold weather, then they wouldn’t work. Somebody had to get up and, and get them started again, thaw them out and various things like that.

I:          Um hm.

D:        And when you went to bed at night, you put your clean clothes in your sleeping bag

0:21:00

so in the morning you could, you could come out with some clean, dry clothes.

I:          What was your rank?

D:        Well, I ended up being the SP2 which is like a Corporal.
I:          Corporal.

D:        I could have got more, but when they found out I wasn’t gonna re-up, I had a four-star General that was on my back about it.  He was gonna give me all kinds of things if, if I’d file up for six years.  I says no. I’m going

0:21:30

Home because my Dad needs me there.  And it wound up that he, see over there, them officers didn’t, didn’t wear their, their emblems and stuff very much.  But through this W4 War Officer, we’d go down to Seoul to get parts and stuff, he had a colored Sergeant down there that he knew, and so we would go to the, go to the Officers Club, and I told him the first time, I said I’m not Officer.  He says you’re going as my guest.  Just keep still and do

0:22:00

you’ll enjoy it.

I:          Um hm.

D:        So we went there quite a number of times for pizzas and parts weekends, and that’s how we gathered things to keep the, keep our place going.

I:          How was Seoul?  How much was destroyed, and how much was recovered from the War?  How was Seoul?  What did you see there?

D:        Well, it was getting back together a little bit. If we [inaudible] to Inchon and places like that to get the food to bring back up,

0:22:30

Go through Seoul, and there was always people there looking, they’re hungry, climbing on your truck or doing whatever they could do to, to get something to, to eat.  So it was always kind of raw.  I didn’t go on many of those trips.  I was to stay in the Motor pool and take care of things there.

I:          Were the buildings were pretty, pretty  much destroyed?
D:        Pretty much gone, yeah.

0:23:00

I:          So, you, you see that picture, right?

D:        Seen some of it, yeah.

I:          Yeah.  And when kids asking for food to you, what did you feel about it?

D:        Well, you get, you get that feeling you’re sorry for them, but yet you can’t give anything out to them.

I:          Why not?

D:        Because we were short for, for ourselves.  And about three trips I made, you know, and I

0:23:30

was glad to stay back there, but the other guys would come back and complain, and some of them would have their clothes half ripped off because of it, and little kids crying. It, It’s hard to live there.

I:          Um.

D:        And we always had some up around Uijeongbu like at Christmastime is when I was there the second winter, you’d order things through home way back in say September so it would get there for Christmas to give some little one

0:24:00

something like little toys.  They knew nothing about anything like that.

I:          Hm.

D:        But yet the way we’d get food for them, and they, they enjoyed that.  We had their little, little organization like that.  But there was always a preschool, the little ones.

I:          Ah, that, so you didn’t

D:        They, they got so they kind of liked things, you know.  But they’re life, too, was living in little huts, and they heated the floors, the huts were made out of mud and, and sticks and stuff and the floors,

0:24:31

and they’d sleep on the floor and get their fire to heat the little, oh I call them shacks, but they had names for them to, so they, they could keep warm.

I:          Were there any skirmish, the North Korean attacks or anything like that, dangerous?  Were there any battle around Uijeongbu?

D:        Not where I was.  It was all done with then.

I:          Right.

D:        That was when my brother was down, when he was fighting

0:25:00

the Chinese.  And that’s where the awards are that you see, that I showed you.

I:          Um hm.  So you

D:        Up my way, it was, it was pretty decent.  We had a, had a Air Force base near helicopters and stuff, and they would do our patrol.  They’d go up to the DMZ line and come back down through, and just for a couple times, they, they got too close to the little huts that they had, and they took the straw right off the roof of it because I guess they laughed about it. Well, that got them

0:25:30

people mad, too.

I:          So you are Korea, when did you arrive in Korea? ’55 January or February?

D:        It was January 6.

I:          January 6.

D:        Yes.

I:          So you are actually Korean War veteran.

D:        Yes.

I:          Yeah.  Because the Korean War

D:        Was still going.

I:          Still going, but by Federal government, the Korean War, the definition

 

0:26:00

of Korean War from June 25 of 1950 to January 31 of 1955.

D:        Yeah.

I:          So you are the Korean War veteran.

D:        Yes.  I get a little incentive now that I’m retired from there once a month.

I:          And what was the most difficult thing during your service there in Korea?

D:        Well, I kept myself busy with the generators

0:26:30

and thing.  It was in the Compound. I was trying to keep the lights going at night around the, around the fence line, but you didn’t have the, enough, you had like 6, 6 point wire, that was telephone wire.  But you’d lose current on them you know, whatever, and, and then they pulled me up to I Corp. for that General that time.  He come in there and told me that he needed me up there, and I talked to my

0:27:00

W4 War Officer about it, and he says Don, we hate to leave you go, but we have to.

I:          Um.

D:        He is our boss.  So I went up there for a number of months, and got their stuff going. We ended, ended up when they moved the 1stMarines out, he come in my bunk because I had a special place I could sleep for mornings because I was up nights, he come in there one morning and said

0:27:30

you got 20 minutes to get up. I’m putting you on the truck today.  We’re one man short.  So, I was kind of happy to go, and we got over there and, we had a break, they always had these smoke breaks every once in a while.  So they stopped and had that, and then we went on.  There was 14 trucks loading, loading stuff [inaudible] day to move the Marines out.  He come around to me and he told me, he says you take the tarp and bows off and he says

0:28:00

you stay behind the steering wheel in that truck till I come and get you.  Nobody else.  Well they come around a number of times and come on, man.  Get the hell out of there and, and they would help.  We need some help.  I says, we called him the Old Man.  The Old Man told me to stay here, so I have to stay here.  So then along midday he come on by and motioned me to follow him, so I did, and we got around some hilly country that wouldn’t, didn’t go too far over on the other side there

0:28:30

there was a wrecker standing there, had a big generator hanging out, swinging up in the air, so you had that wrecker put it on my truck, and I thought well geez, that’s pretty nice, and he told me, he said you’re saving the truck, you tarp it and be ready to go because we’re, you’re putting it on the tail end.

I:          Right.

D:        So they,

0:29:00

guys helped me get it towed, we didn’t tie it down or nothing.  It was sitting right in there.  It was big anyway.  So I was happy with that, and I sent a couple of the guys over, the one guy wanted to ride with me, and they wouldn’t let him do that.  So I followed him, and the dust was flying pretty heavy.  We got down to where the smoke part was, and, well I was staying back because the dust

0:29:30

was bad there. When I got up there, the guys all smoking around their trucks and stuff, you know, and  I got out, and I had to have it of it.  Always had my M2 with me, so when I got out, I got out of there, and I, we’re supposed to do it that way, had it there, and I come around the front of the, of the truck, and there was a little, I don’t know if he was North Korean

0:30:00

or South Korean, guy coming up out of the weeds.  He was starting to stand up.  He had a, a vest full of hand grenades, and for the instinct of it, I, well I hate to talk about this.  I, I fired a couple shots over, and the second one caught him right by the head and took his head right off.

I:          Um.

D:        Well then he went down, and with that excitement everybody started running

0:30:30

over there and, because he fell back down in the brush, and, and the War, the Kill Man, he had him turn the Jeep and come back there and he says, wanted to know what happened.  I said sir, I, I think he’s dead because he had grenades in him. So they, the guys went down there and dragged him up out of there, and there he was, a big kid about

0:31:00

16, 17 years old, and that’s what it was.

I:          Oh.

D:        And then he said to me, he says well you was a good shot.  I said no, I’m not that good, but if, if he’d got down and start throwing them grenades at everybody in it,

I:          Yeah, yeah.

D:        Everybody would be a mess.

I:          Yeah.  Thank you for sharing that story.  But I have some questions.

D:        Yes.

I:          When did you leave Korea?

0:31:30

In ’56?

D:        Back in March.

I:          ’56?

D:        March 56, yeah.

I:          Um hm.  And have you been back to Korea?

D:        No, we come back by boats again three weeks on there, but we came into San Francisco.

I:          You’ve never been back to Korea?

D:        No.

I:          Do you know about Korean economy right now? What’s going on?

D:        I’ve been following it pretty close.

I:          Yeah.  Tell me about what you know

0:32:00

about modern Korea.

D:        Well, just what the, they’re worried about North Korea because that young guy is taking it over, and the President is, I believe he’s, excuse me, blow my nose, is correct, isn’t it, because if he keeps on and gets into the bigger things, we’re gonna be in worse trouble.

I:          Yeah.

D:        So, but then there’s a lot of

0:32:30

things going on now, too, that they, they don’t want it.  I mean, we don’t want to see it, either.  But if worse comes to worse, it’s gonna have to be as far as I ‘ve, can figure.  Because I watch a lot of that news, more so than I should, and the people who are out here don’t, don’t give a darn because, well, they don’t realize that the, the future is in our children, and our grandchildren or friends or whatever.

0:33:00

I:          Do you know about any Korean economy?

D:        Well, now it’s, it’s picked up an awful lot.

I:          What do you know?

D:        Well, just from what I’ve been told.  South Korea is built right back up pretty good, and they’ve been manufacturing a lot of things and stuff like that, and Japan, too, you know, for years.

I:          Have you seen the modern Seoul, Korea?  Seoul, Capital city.  Have you seen the pictures of Capital?

0:33:30

D:        I’ve seen pictures of it, yes.

I:          How, what was

D:        It was nothing like that when we were there.

I:          Uh huh.

D:        They built up nice high rise buildings and everything, and Japan did, too, because I went to Japan three different times on R and R, and they were

I:          So what do you think about the transformation? You, you told me that in 1955, Seoul mostly destroyed, right?

D:        The biggest part, yeah.  It was

I:          Yeah.  But now it’s all high rise.

D:        Well, sure.

I:          So what are, what do you think about this transformation, changes?

0:34:03

D:        Well, it’s going that way all, all the countries are. But then the certain ones in the, in the government that hold things back on a lot of them.  And we’ve had that through the Democratic  things of the last 25 – 30 years, and they let things happen, so they don’t do anything about it.

0:34:30

So now that’s all coming out when he finally won the, won the election, and I look at this what Putin’s doing in Russia there.  Basic, all they want is, is oil.

I:          Yep.

D:        And United States has got so much oil underground that it’s gonna go to them for gas what it is.

I:          So what do you think is the legacy of the Korean War,

0:35:00

And legacy of your service as a Korean War veteran?  What is it?  What is the legacy of your service?

D:        Well, the South Koreans, I mean I have, appreciate seeing that they’re doing something, but now your North Korea, made the change of across the border because this young guy took over, and I’m also sure that China is behind the, making all that stuff.  So, what’s

0:35:30

gonna happen with China is very questionable.

I:          Yeah.  The China was the main enemy during the Korean War, right?

D:        Right.

I:          Yeah.

D:        That’s what my brother went to.

I:          And that relationship didn’t have, hasn’t finished yet.

D:        No.

I:          No.

D:        China’s been buying things and looking what we’ve, up here.  Anything you pick up is made in China.  Right here at this place, silverware or cups and, you know, whatever.   Clothing,

0:36:00

a lot of that stuff.

I:          Um hm.  So you cannot live without Chinese product here.

D:        Basically, no.

I:          Yeah.  So, how do you think we can resolve this problem with relationship with China?

D:        That’s very questionable because they’re taking an awful lot of our fuel and oil out of Oil City, Texas and taking it back. But I, I don’t know or, but have been told

0:36:30

we’re gonna get, get the recap on it.

I:          Um hm.

D:        I guess they must, and what happens they sent people over from china into California at the Silicon Valley to learn all the technology because I was out there for five years.

I:          Um hm.

D:        And you didn’t know what it was.  They’d take about 12 months of, of training, and they never had much furniture

0:37:00

because they, they’ve slept on the floor, you know, nice and clean, very courteous people. But then about in one year, they’d leave, and another ones would take their place, furniture, what little bit they had, is, is, to get that education.  They borrow all the education they could right there in Silicon Valley in California.  That was all big technical things.

I:          Um hm.  Why do you think the Korean War

0:37:30

has been known as Forgotten War?  Why?

D:        Well, around here it wasn’t talked about very much at all.

I:          Why not?

D:        They called it a conflict.

I:          Um hm.

D:        And I had some words with one of our upper people, one of the ladies here.  I told her, I says you’re all about Vietnam because that’s your era when we have men here without legs and arms and everything gone.  But I says Korean veterans,

0:38:02

you just call it a conflict.

I:          Yeah.

D:        And I says I don’t care for that kind of language. Well, to this, she’s gone now. Things have changed, but we still all kind of work together, and we have to enjoy as much as we can.  I went through, I got second bypass in me, and I had heart surgery, had a, my, they took the veins off my legs.  I was in there for two,

0:38:30

two weeks in the Wausau Hospital, so.  But I get very good insurance here, and they’ve taken care of me so far.
I:          Um.

D:        And I’ve been here about 7 1/2 going on 8 years next Spring.

I:          Um hm.

D:        But you gotta keep your head up and your mind and keep going.

I:          If there is a Korean War break, breaks out again, would, would you go again?

D:        I think a lot of us people wish we could

0:39:00

I:          [LAUGHS]

D:        But I don’t want to see that happen because you got to think of your grandchildren, your neighbors and everything with the little kids.  They’ve got basically no future yet.

I:          Absolutely.  You are right.

D:        If they could get this level on a world, world, worldwide market.  There’s no getting around it.

I:          Absolutely.

D:        And that’s where it’s gotta come to an end.

I:          Um hm.

D:        So,

I:          So do you like President Trump’s North Korea policy?

D:        No.

0:39:30

I:          You don’t?  Why not?

D:        This young guy took over, and I don’t think they’re making them missiles and all that stuff that’s come out.  That’s some monstrous stuff.  You’ve seen pictures of them.  I believe that’s coming in from China.

I:          Um hm.  So, why you don’t support Trump?

D:        Well, it looks like if they fire off this, this stuff, then I believe our President’s gonna, gonna have to legal thing to do is to destroy whatever they have to, to get it settled down.

I:          Um hm.

0:40:08

D:        Now they want to go into Quam and things like that they’re talking about.  They’ve got them closed down for a couple days I guess whatever, but I don’t look for it to stay very long.

I:          Um hm.

D:        If they go start firing that stuff and, and anything at all, they don’t realize the, the equipment that the United States does have on hand, and they’re coming with

0:40:33

a lot of things right here in Osh Kosh, Wisconsin, building governments stuff again that should have been replaced for the Democratic years.

I:          Um hm.

D:        So, uh

I:          Donald, you, your story’s been fantastic, and you have such details about what you did in Korea

D:        Yes.
I:          And because of your service, honorable service in Korea, the Korea is now prospering.  It’s the 11thlargest economy in the world.

0:41:06

D:        Yes.

I:          And it’s coming out of the rubbles and, and ashes.

D:        That’s right.

I:          Total destruction.

D:        They’ve had, they’ve had initiative to go on with it.

I:          Um hm.  So I want to thank you for your service on behalf of Korean nation. Thank you very much, Don.

D:        You’re welcome.

[End of Recorded Material]