Korean War Legacy Project

Doris B. Porpiglia

Bio

Although Doris Porpiglia was shy while in high school in Amsterdam, NY , she would take up the assignment she was given in the military with dignity and honor.  She enlisted in the Army  earning the rank as a Private First Class, and she would attend training for the Post Office in Indianapolis.  Doris Porpiglia describes the role of women during the war and the importance of obtaining the skills they would later use in other jobs after the war.   She was in charge of communicating with the Commanding Officers to determine the assignment location of soldiers both incoming and those who were discharged.  Wherever they were going, she made sure that they would receive their mail.  After serving in the Army from 1951-1953, she returned to Amsterdam, but she decided to seek work in Syracuse where she lives today.  Doris Porpiglia feels the role that women played during the Korean War paved the way for future women and their involvement in the military.

Clips

Letters to Where?

No soldier could have imagined that their letters would be analyzed to determine their IQ. Doris Porpiglia was called aside while at Camp Cook and she was told to go through stacks of mail to determine which G.I.s had high IQs. If they had high IQs, they would be assigned certain jobs, but she didn't know what they were being assigned to.

Tags: Home front,Letters,Living conditions,Women

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MrMMI2RyA8I&start=99&end=137

Ladies Don't Do Such A Thing

Doris Porpiglia was asked how her family felt about her being in the military. Although her parents and immediate family were proud of her, her rich aunt told her that "Ladies don't do such a thing." Doris Porpiglia replied, "I am more of a lady than you'll ever be, and what I wear isn't going to determine the person I am going to be."

Tags: Civilians,Home front,Letters,Living conditions,Pride,Women

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MrMMI2RyA8I&start=586&end=688

Women's Wartime Jobs

During the Korean War, women worked as switchboard operators and they drove jeeps for officers. Doris Porgiglia was given an aptitude test and she was qualified for over 150 types of jobs. She decided to go to Indianapolis to obtain the training for the Post Office.

Tags: Basic training,Home front,Letters,Pride,Women

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MrMMI2RyA8I&start=705&end=836

Training For The Future

Doris Porpiglia explained that many women had standard jobs that most women had during that time period. This included telephone operator and secretary. She said the main thing women wanted from their experiences during the war, was skills they needed that they could use when the war ended.

Tags: Basic training,Civilians,Home front,Living conditions,Pride,Women

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MrMMI2RyA8I&start=925&end=986

The Women Just Sat There and Wouldn't Shoot

During her time in basic training, the women GIs were given the opportunity to practice shooting weapons. They were actually given a choice in the event that at any given time they were told they had to shoot their weapon, they should be ready. Doris Porpiglia said she wanted to be prepared, but most women just sat there and didn't attempt to try shooting at all, but Doris Porpiglia didn't understand their reasoning.

Tags: Basic training,Fear,Living conditions,Pride,Weapons,Women

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MrMMI2RyA8I&start=1046&end=1096

Big Surprise

Doris Porpiglia tells a story that the most surprising thing about her job was some of the men that didn't know how to read or write, so they would quietly ask her to read the letters they received. The male GIs since didn't want others to know that they were uneducated. Doris Porpiglia felt sorry for them and she said that most of the men who had difficulty reading were from the south, but race didn't matter. She believes that it inspired her to become a teaching assistant when the war was over.

Tags: Civilians,Home front,Letters,Pride,Women

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MrMMI2RyA8I&start=1403&end=1587

Photos

Doris Porpiglia

Profile photo of Doris Porpiglia

Doris Porpiglia

Video Transcript

 

[Beginning of Recorded Material]

D:        Doris Porpiglia.

I:          Porpiglia.

D:        Yes.

I:          Okay.  And what was your role during the war?  What was your responsibility?

D:        Okay.  I worked at the Post Office and, uh, mainly helping to find people who maybe they were assigned a job and then before they got there, they got new orders that changed it,

0:00:30

and lots of times their mail couldn’t keep up with them.  So it was my job to write to their COs and find out what their new job was and everything and, uh.  So

I:          So this is upon veterans coming home or the soldiers coming home from the war?

D:        And some, too, that were just leaving, uh, say like a camp in Georgia

0:01:00

I:          Um hm.

D:        and, uh, then having to change to go to California to be shipped out.  Well maybe somewhere in between there was another city or town or camp that, uh, we had to try to keep their mail going in the same way they were.

I:          So you were kind of responsible for everything operating smoothly and the soldiers transition with the mail getting to them?

D:        I hope so. [LAUGHS]

0:01:30

I:          I’m sure you did great.  Okay, so that’s, that’s great.  That’s completely different than anything I’ve talked to anyone about so far.

D:        I also one time when I was at Camp Cook, um, they called me to one side that I had to help them out.  They had stacks of papers like, of this, of GIs that were going overseas, and I had to pick out all of the men who I

0:02:00

thought had high enough IQ for a certain job.  That’s all I was ever told about.  I never knew what I sent these men to.  But I did. I went through all their stuff, and they went, but they wouldn’t take me.

I:          Did you want to go over there?

D:        Oh, I wanted to, you know.  I was 18 years old fresh out of high school.

I:          Um hm.

D:        You know.  At that age, you could do anything.

I:          Yeah.  So did you want to fight, or did you just want to kind of be closer

0:02:30

to the action and, and be able to help the soldiers out or

D:        Probably be over there, help the GIs out, you know. It, uh, it was something that was new to me.  When I grew up, uh, when I was 12 years old, the Second World War started, and so on and so forth, and it seemed like it was always one war or another,

I:          Uh huh.

0:03:00

D:        you know.  And so my great idea was to be in the military.  That was my dream.  And, uh, never dawned on me I should have gotten an education first.  But, uh, they did teach me in postal

I:          Yeah.

D:        work.

I:          So you did your part, what you could do.

D:        I did what I could, right.  That’s about it.

I:          Uh huh.

D:        Uh huh.

I:          So how do you feel about

0:03:30

the role that women play in the military today?  You know, clearly times have changed a lot.

D:        I think it’s great.  If a woman wants to go, they should be allowed to go.

I:          Um hm.

D:        But sometimes I sort of hold my breath when I see like a mother leaving her kids.  That, I’m not sure I could have ever done that.  But it’s, if that’s what they want to do,

0:04:00

hey, it’s their country.  Why not?

I:          Um hm.  So let people serve in any way that they can.

D:        Yes, yes.

I:          Okay.  So then, you know, just for me getting to know a little bit about, about your role and everything, how do you feel about participating in this project?  I mean clearly you were directly involved in everything and

0:04:30

D:        I am very much in awe of the Korean people. Being a Korean War veteran, I have met many people.  They’re very giving people.  The, the most giving people I think I’ve ever seen because they’re thankful, even though we think, we feel we didn’t do much of anything other than stop the war, but

0:05:00

we want, we’re glad they’re here.  What else can I say?

I:          Um hm.

D:        They’re nice.

I:          So are you, are you glad that, you know, the memories of the veterans and everyone’s role will, will be able to live on, and future generations will be able to learn more

D:        Yes.

I:          about it?

D:        Yes.  I think that’s excellent, and it’s something that the younger people who haven’t been through

0:05:30

all of this need to know happened, you know.  It didn’t just go boom, boom, boom.

I:          Uh huh.

D:        It was, uh, very important to all of the Korean and American people.

I:          Uh huh.

D:        I think it should have been.

I:          Um hm.  So, you know, you, you mentioned some of the veterans that were Korean War veterans

0:06:00

but didn’t necessarily go over to Korea or veterans that did go over and didn’t necessarily fight. I have an [INAUDIBLE]here that says that a U.S. government designated that there are about seven million Korean War veterans, and clearly all of those were not soldiers that were

D:        Right.

I:          fighting in the war.

D:        Right, right.

I:          What, what is the other roles?  You know, how, how do you think these other people played a role in, in our success or failure or whatever it might have been?

D:        Well I have to go by my

0:06:30

husband who never felt he was a Korean War veteran.  During the Korean War, he was in, um, over in, uh, I can’t think of the name of the place right now.  The northern part of, of Africa  back when it was owned by other countries.  And, uh, he just

0:07:00

knew what was going on there.  He knew nothing about the Korean War.  But, uh, then there are other people who took it very seriously, very seriously.  And it’s good they did.

I:          Um hm.  So there are a lot of people participating in indirect ways.

D:        Yes.  Um hm.

I:          When you said people were taking it seriously or not seriously, how about the Americans

0:07:30

at home that were not part of the war.  Did they, what did, what was your impression since you, you know it’s kind of a gap with the soldiers.  They didn’t necessarily know what was going on back home while they were over in Korea fighting.  But you had that, maybe, that you had that perspective of how people’s sentiment was towards the war or lack of sentiment.

D:        Well, I remember one Korean War veteran, the first one ever to come back to my hometown.  He, or course, wanted to be

0:08:00

left alone.

I:          Um hm.

D:        But they had these big parades and everything for him and, uh, he was from a small town, uh, just in between, uh, Syracuse and Amsterdam, and it was a very small town, and he just wanted to forget the whole thing at that point.  He, he had been injured badly, and

0:08:30

it would take him a long time to get, get back into it.  So, but, uh, it’s funny, too, being such a small town, it was like he was the only veteran,

I:          Yeah.

D:        you know?  But I, I was always interested in the military.

I:          Yeah.  So do you think people in general just didn’t care about what was going on or

0:09:00

D:        Oh, I think they cared.  I think they cared.  Some people cared a lot, an awful lot.

I:          Um hm.

D:        They gave their lives, and other people sort of half and half, you know.  Sometimes they, well, it’s okay.  Other times well, my son’s over there so of course I’m interested, you know, things like that.

I:          So it’s almost like unless you had

0:09:30

some attachment, like you had a child that was, a son or a daughter, that was involved in the war, you didn’t necessarily feel that attached.  You didn’t really know what was going on.

D:        Right.  Right.

I:          Um hm.

D:        Um hm.

I:          So, what about your family?  How did your family feel about your participation?

D:        I was afraid to ask that question.  My mother and father and sister were all for it, if

0:10:00

that’s what I wanted to do, and I wrote a letter to my, uh, rich aunt, and she told me that ladies did not do such things, and I wrote her a snotty, little letter and said I’m more of a lady than you’ll ever be. [LAUGHS]  I said what I wear does not say

0:10:30

I:          Uh huh.

D:        what kind of person I’m going to be, you know. Well it, uh, it turned out okay. I heard years later my aunt who lived in Amsterdam where I lived said by the way, I hear you wrote our favorite aunt a letter, one we all wanted to write

I:          Oh, really?

D:        but didn’t have the guts to do.

I:          That’s great.

D:        Yes.

I:          So people, your whole family was [INAUDIBLE]

D:        And she was a teacher.

0:11:00

D:        And she was a teacher, you know, and she said that’s what we all wanted.

I:          Uh huh.

D:        She always told us what was right and what was wrong, what we should do and what we shouldn’t do.  But, uh, she was my father’s sister.  She didn’t bother with me after that.

I:          She was probably afraid to.

D:        [LAUGHS] I doubt that.

I:          Well, you, so

0:11:30

you’re kind of starting the feminist movement right there, right?

D:        Possibly I guess, yes.

I:          That’s unfortunate.  So I’d like to talk more about the, the role of women in the war and helping the cause.  So you were working in the Post Office and helping with logistics,

D:        Um hm.

I:          And things like that.  What are some other positions that women held?

D:        Um, that I did?

I:          Not necessarily that you did, but women in general.

0:12:00

D:        Oh, women.  Well, the first thing I noticed in large numbers was women being, uh, backs, and you had to have a person dial the number for every, and the women were in charge of that, and it took a lot of people.  I, I, I was shocked at that, uh.  It’s one of the jobs that a lot of women

0:12:30

tried for to be in, uh, uh, that didn’t interest me.

I:          Um hm.  So

D:        We all had our own jobs that we wanted to do.

I:          Yeah, and, and did you, for the most part, get to choose what you wanted to do or, or was it kind of like you volunteer and they assign you.

D:        Well, when I was at, uh, in Cape, the Cape where I was studying, they gave us a

0:13:00

test, okay?  And they came out and said now you passed 150 jobs. Which one would you like? Duh.  No explanations, no nothing.  So I said first of all, I wanted to go to the, where they check, the finance place

0:13:30

they had.  No, it was closed.  Okay.  So they mentioned a couple other things like driving cabs or driving jeeps for officers. That didn’t interest me.  Few other things.  Back then, I was a very shy person.

I:          Um hm.

D:        Always afraid to ask questions, and, uh, so eventually I decided well, I would

0:14:00

go to Indianapolis to school and learn that job, you know.

I:          The Post Office?

D:        Post Office.  They asked me if I wanted to go to, uh, school to be an officer, and I said sure.  So then they came back, you’re too young.  [LAUGHS] Anything I wanted, you’re too young.  But I was.  I had to wait a couple weeks after getting out of high school

0:14:30

because I wasn’t 18 yet.

I:          Oh.

D:        So once I had my birthday, I was okay.

I:          So then you get officer school?

D:        Then I could be in, in the service.

I:          Oh, I see.

D:        See.  But I think my main problem was that I didn’t realize I should have got a little education to help me out.  But

0:15:00

at the time I went, I felt I have to go now.  I can’t wait. Besides that, I didn’t have any money to go to school.

I:          I guess that helped your decision a little?

D:        Yes, it, yes.  But I like what I did, and I’m glad I did it.  And if I had to live it over again, I would do it again.

I:          Um hm.

D:        Really.

I:          That’s great.  So I’m wondering, you said there is a lot of women signing up for these jobs.

0:15:30

When the more of kind of that they wanted a job, just a job in life or that they wanted to, a job that actually had to do with being in the military or helping the war in some way?

D:        Well, I think it was partially helping the war in some way.  But they also were looking to when they got out of service.

I:          Um hm.

D:        Is this going to teach me something I can do afterwards?

I:          Um hm.  So

0:16:00

it’s training for the future.

D:        Right.

I:          Also.

D:        Um hm.

I:          Um hm.

D:        Cause being a telephone operator back in 1951 was a big thing for women.  I mean, they had thousands of thousands.

I:          Yeah.  And

D:        And of course secretaries and things like that.

I:          Um.  So you said if you were younger, you’d do it again.

D:        Yes.

I:          You’d go over there?

0:16:30

Would you sign up to fight?

D:        Probably.

I:          That’s very

D:        Probably.

I:          That’s something I wouldn’t do.

D:        Well, let’s put it this way.  If my five kids were little, and they asked me if I would fight, I would probably say no.  But if I didn’t have my kids leaning on me, I would give my life.

0:17:00

I, I’m not as, I’m not as, I don’t know.  I just think when things need to be done, somebody has to do it.

I:          Um hm.  Um hm.  And you would volunteer to do it?

D:        I would.  If, if I could, if it was something I could do, like when we went through the, uh, during basic training,

0:17:30

we went through this thing, and they told us, now women, we’ve got to go to learn to shoot guns. We cannot force you to take the guns. But if you ever get anywhere and somebody hands you a gun and says you’re going to use it, you are going to use it.

I:          Um hm.

D:        So I went through the whole shebang because I couldn’t see

0:18:00

trying to defend myself or anybody else if I didn’t know how to shoot a gun.

I:          Um hm.

D:        Most of the women just sat there and watched.

I:          Um.

D:        And I didn’t understand that.

I:          Um hm.  So do you have kind of a, more respect for these women then that are volunteering their lives to go to Afghanistan and wars that are going on today?

 

0:18:30

D:        Do I have more respect?  Probably, probably not.

I:          Um hm.

D:        Only because back in my day, they weren’t given the opportunity.  I, I don’t really know.  I have respect for the women that gives their, their selves in, like that.  I, I think nothing greatness

0:19:00

for them.  It takes a lot of guts to do it.

I:          Um hm.

D:        And some people will go for it, some wouldn’t. Some would be much happier at a sit down job, you know.

I:          Um hm.  Like anyone else.

D:        Um hm.  Right, even here.  That’s true.

I:          Um hm.

D:        Um hm.

I:          Did you ever come in contact with nurses and, cause we’re kind of interested in, in their interactions with

0:19:30

soldiers coming home.

D:        Yes.  Now, the nurses I met were mainly people that went overseas.  I didn’t know until after the war was over, they’d been over quite a while.  The most, most Army nurses weren’t even in Korea

I:          Um hm.

D:        which shocked me.  Some were.  But, uh, some Marines took most of the jobs there.

I:          Um hm.

0:20:00

D:        And I was just, I couldn’t believe that we didn’t have nurses over there, you know.  I know we had a few, but very few.

I:          Um hm.

D:        And the only Army women that were in, uh, Korea in any kind of job, was very, very low.  That’s something I felt, found out later, too.

0:20:30

That’s, I mean I thought the Army did everything.

I:          Yeah.

D:        You know?

I:          [INAUDIBLE]

D:        There were the others, too, you know.

I:          So is that kind of frustrating, that women weren’t necessarily able to hold higher positions?

D:        I think whether or not you could have a higher position

0:21:00

depends more on you and how hard you’re gonna work for it.  I think anyone can go up and, uh, they just do well if they want to.  If they don’t want to, they don’t.

I:          Um hm.

D:        A lot of girls I met just went in and couldn’t wait to get out, you know.  For some reason, they had no idea what being in the Army was like.

0:21:30

I:          Um hm.

D:        I, I, that, that made no sense to me.

I:          So what was, what was your impression of when a lot of the people that were serving in Korea came back over?  I mean you said that, you know, the nurses dealt with people [INAUDIBLE]  Did you kind of interact with any of the veterans that came back, whether personally or professionally?

0:22:00

D:        Well, the veterans that came back and had trouble with their mail.  They, they would come to me or their COs would come anyway, and we would try to find out where that person was last, and did they send them to another place? Cause quite, quite often they changed. They sent to,

0:22:30

to Pakistan or something and then they changed their mind and were sent to, to Korea, something like that.  Your mail might really get mixed up,

I:          Um hm.

D:        and then I had to write to the COs to try and find out, uh, where their mail might be and, sometimes I had to call back and forth all call, like on a piece of paper, uh, to find out just where they were, you know.

0:23:00

I:          Sounds like a complicated process.

D:        It was.  It was, but when you found somebody, it was good.

I:          Yeah.

D:        You felt sorry for the guys that couldn’t find their mail.

I:          Yeah.  Well, that’s, you know, their connection to home and, and to their family.

D:        Right.

I:          So it’s really important for their morale and just kind of to get them through the war.

D:        The thing that surprised me most about my job was

0:23:30

when, uh, people would come, I used to have a window, but it was just a small part of my job, but these men would bring their mail and ask me if I’d read it to them. American soldiers who didn’t even know how to read and write.

I:          Hm.

D:        That broke my heart.

I:          Yeah.  So did that

D:        And it happened all the time.

I:          Yeah.  Oh really?

D:        Yeah.

0:24:00

Mostly from the south I should say.

I:          Um.

D:        Almost always from the south.  It just surprised me more than anything else I think.

I:          How did that make you feel then?  I mean it’s, it’s, I can see maybe one thought saying how are these people becoming soldiers if they don’t know how to read and write?  But then again you’re saying, you might be thinking well these people will serve

0:24:30

no matter what.

D:        Right.  And too, you don’t have to be able to read and write to

I:          Um hm.

D:        uh, get a gun.

I:          Right.

D:        Right.

I:          Um hm.  Um hm.  So, so then what was it like reading these letters to them?

D:        Heartbreaking.  It really was.  It, they were so important to these men, but yet they had to, they would sneak around trying to find somebody that would read to them.  And then a lot of them came

0:25:00

to my window so that I would help them out.

I:          Um.

D:        Yeah.

I:          So it’s something that they didn’t want to get out.

D:        Right. They, they, they didn’t want other people to know that they were uneducated, and they weren’t more black than white, nothing like that.  It was just young Americans who hadn’t had a chance to read.

I:          Um hm.

D:        It’s hard.

0:25:30

I:          What did it mean to you to be able to read that to the letter

D:        Oh, that made me feel good.

I:          Um hm.

D:        Also made me feel sad because I could read it to them but what if they want us to know later what it said, you know?

I:          Yeah.  But it must have meant a lot to them

D:        Uh hm.

I:          that you were available to them.

D:        I sometimes wonder if that’s why I went into becoming a teaching assistant

0:26:00

when after I got out of the service.  It was many years later.  But just teaching little kids who didn’t know how to read and write meant a lot to me.

I:          I’m sure that had to, a lot to do with it.

D:        Yes.

I;          Yeah.

D:        Yes.  Um hm.

I:          So do you think that’s one of the, the major impacts that your experience had on your life?

D:        I think it probably is, probably is.

I:          That’s really interesting.  So now, because

0:26:30

of what you saw, you realized the importance

D:        I worked with handicapped kids

I:          Um hm.

D:        and, uh, that really made me feel good.

I:          Yeah.

D:        Helping them figure out how to do things.  Was worth it.

I:          Um hm. How do you think your perspective on life have changed thinking back on your experience working in the Post Office and doing your, your job?

0:27:00

D:        I think it was good for me, very good for me. Got to see people other than my home town people and, uh, I know one other woman who went into the Army shortly after.  She went in because I had gone in.  And I met her one time when she was on leave, and she thanked me so

0:27:30

much for leading her, and I said I had nothing to do with it.  Yes, you did, Doris.  I always liked to do the things you did, and it made me feel like a million dollars at that point.  So, I guess we all affect other people, even though we don’t know it.

I:          Um hm.  It’s clear that you have a powerful presence and you give off good vibes to people,

 

0:28:00

and they like to follow in your footsteps because you seem to make the right decisions for the right reasons.

D:        I, I hope so.  I would like to do that.

I:          Um hm.   So do you think back on your experience often?

D:        Oh, yes.  Yes.  That’s a part of my life.

I:          Um hm.

D:        Um hm.

I:          Were you able to share your experiences with your family?

D:        Yes.  My, my husband was never one to

0:28:30

join things, okay. I tried to get him to join a Korean War veterans, nah.  Don’t want to do that.  So the month he died, I’m a, a little bit ashamed to say, I joined the Korean War Veterans, and it has been so good for me.

I:          Um.

0:29:00

D:        I’ve made good friends.  I’ve been able to pick positives and negatives in my life, you know, a lot of different things.  It’s been good for me, and my, my oldest son who lives with me says to me Mom, why didn’t you tell me all this when I was younger?

I:          Um hm.

D:        He said I probably would have gone in the service.

I:          Right.

0:29:30

You said maybe that’s why I didn’t tell you.

D:        No.  I said well, your father never talks about these things, so

I:          Um hm.

D:        You know.

I:          I think that’s really important because a lot of veterans that I’ve talked to say that they never shared their experiences until they became a member of the Korean War Veterans Association,

D:        Um hm.

I:          they were able to see how good they felt when they, you know, could talk, about it.

D:        Right.  That’s true. We are allowed

0:30:00

to write to the, um, Washington, the National, uh, I can’t think the name of the thing, but it can be a letter written today

I:          Um hm.

D:        and put into this, in Washington.

I:          Uh huh.

D:        It’s in the, uh,

0:30:30

main office there, and they can leave them there, and years later your grandkids can go see what Grandpa did.  It’s important.  It is to me.

I:          So you mentioned that you were a shy girl growing up.

D:        Yes, I was.

I:          You’re talking a lot, though.

D:        Yes.

I:          You don’t seem so shy today.

D:        I’ve, I’ve learned how to talk. [LAUGHS]

0:31:00

I:          Is that something that being in the Army helped you with or just

D:        I think possibly, um hm. Yeah.

I:          That’s, just

D:        I learned how to fight for what I want.

I:          Um hm.

D:        You know?

I:          [INAUDIBLE]

D:        Um hm.

I:          That’s good that you realize that [INAUDIBLE]

D:        Yes.

I:          So, have you had a chance to go to Korea at all?

D:        They have given me the chance, but

0:31:30

I would feel like I was cheating someone who had been over there and aside from that, I also don’t have the money.  But

I:          Um hm.

D:        Uh

I:          But doesn’t the Association help out Korean War veterans to

D:        They pay something like 50% or something.  We were talking about it on the way over here. It would be very nice to go.  I would love it.  But, uh,

0:32:00

I think the people who were there deserve it more than I.

I:          I think it would be a nice opportunity to, to see what

D:        Oh, definitely.

I:          because you helped out, and you did your, you did your part.  You’re a veteran.

D:        Right, right.

I:          How do you feel about Korea’s development?

D:        I think South Korea is magnificent.  I mean, they have

0:32:30

rebuilt the country. They have made so many important opportunities to people of all ages in this country as well as their own.

I:          Um hm.

D:        And, uh, from what I have seen of Korean people, I am in awe of them.  They are so thoughtful.  They

0:33:00

are so kind, and I don’t say things like this because I’m here.  If I didn’t believe it, I wouldn’t say it.

I:          Um hm.

D:        I don’t give compliments when they’re not in order.

I:          Um hm.

D:        I’m, a, I’m an old woman that likes to say her say,[LAUGHS] even if it’s old, uh, aunt’s.

I:          So what’s their reaction when you say that you’re a Korean War veteran?

D:        Well, they’ve taken it well, everybody, yeah.

I:          Because I’m sure a lot of people don’t realize [INAUDIBLE]

D:        A lot of people, like at my church, for a long time, people’d say why’d she wear that jacket on Sunday, you know?

I:          [INAUDIBLE] your husband’s or not yours.

0:34:00

D:        Yeah.  It’s funny.

I:          Um hm.

D:        In fact, they even have asked my son, my son gave me a jacket that says U.S. Army, and people ask me why they’re, his mother’s wearing my, his jacket.

I:          Yeah.

D:        He said no, that’s for her.  She earned this.

I:          Well, you did earn it.  You definitely earned it.  What do you think the

0:34:30

legacy of the Korean War veterans will be?

D:        I hope it will go on and on.  It is a great organization.  I, uh, have found a lot of friends, uh, and intelligent people, you know.

I:          Um hm.

D:        It’s good.

I:          Do you think your role and the role of women in general during

0:35:00

the Korean War helped kind of pave the way for women in the Army and the branches in general?

D:        Oh, I’m sure it must have, you know.  Very few, when I went into the Army, the only service that would let you go anywhere out of the country was the Army.  I didn’t know that, and, uh, if you wanted to go other places like even when I

0:35:30

was up for leaving, they said to me well, do you want to go someplace else?  I said I want to go outside the country.

I:          Um hm.

D:        And I can’t remember.  There’s a little island near Japan.  It has a big name with service people.  Starts with an E.  We could send you there.  Of course, I was just a dumb Private First Class,

0:36:00

and, with no money, and, uh, I thought but why would I want to go to a 3 and, 3 ½ hour movie you know?

I:          Um.

D:        place and be stuck there.  I didn’t under, know until I talked to GIs later that that was a step off place for lots of places.  So

I:          Um.

D:        it worked.  It worked.

0:36:30

I:          So, I’m wondering this can kind of conclude our interview if you could maybe provide a message or two about children or adults or future generations of family will be looking at this memorial data base that we’re going to be creating and checking out your interviews and the interviews of other veterans.

D:        Well, I think we need to do everything we can to make people see that being in the service is

0:37:00

something you’re lucky to get the chance for, and you should try to enlarge upon it as much as possible, and let the people think it through.  Don’t let them just say Saturday morning oh, I’ve got nothing to do. I think I’ll go in the Army.  No, that’s not the way.  You have to think it through.  What would you do

0:37:30

in the Army?

I:          Um hm.

D:        Where would you want to go, you know, things like this.  And that goes back to me, too.  I didn’t think it through.  I could have done better, but I was waiting to be 18.

I:          There wasn’t a ton of information back then, either. It’s easier to get information now, so.

D:        So, I hope so.

I:          Yeah.  Well, Ms. Porpiglila, I really appreciate your

0:38:00

service and you coming down and talking

D:        Thank you.

I:          to us.   It’s been a pleasure listening to you.  Before you leave, um, I’d like to present you with this medal.  It’s the Ambassador of Peace medal given by the government of Korea.

D:        It’s beautiful.

I:          It is in the name of Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs.

D:        It’s under the chair.

0:38:30

Thank you.

I:          Let’s start that over again.  Okay.  So, the Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs as well as the Korean Veterans Association through the government of the Republic of Korea presents you with this medal which is the Ambassador of Peace medal for Korean War veterans in recognition of, of your service to help their country.  If you wouldn’t mind, I’m going to put it around your neck.

0:39:00

D:        I would be honored.

I:          Okay, there you go.  Thank you very much.
D:        Thank you, thank you very much.

[End of Recorded Material]