Douglas Mitchell had big plans after high school graduation of attending “Smoke Jumper” (US Forest Services) school, but his parents said absolutely not! The next best thing to getting out to see the world was to enlist in the Army where he was sent to Airborne school at Fort Hood. This decision also worried his parents. Doug Mitchell was assigned as an Infantry Weapons Specialist using 3.2 mm rocket launchers and 30 caliber machine guns, as well as trained KATUS (Korean Augmentation to the United States Army) to fight along side them. Doug Mitchell recalls the hardships brought on by war and its destruction is still a vivid memory he carries to this very day. He is proud of his experiences and he jumped at the chance of serving his country during the Korean War.
Captured North Korean Soldier
Doug Mitchell and some men in his unit that were in their foxholes spotted a North Korean solider who was coming down the road towards them. Rather than shooting him, the soldier held up his hands in the air. The North Korean soldier surrendered to the US Army, and the men behind the lines took him back.
First experience with death
Doug Mitchell recalls a night where it was difficult to see, especially since there wasn't any light and the sites had glass installed in them which made it very hard to see through. While on duty as a machine gunner, he noticed a tank that was coming around a turn and they halted to tell them who it was or they'd shoot. It turned out that it was a lieutenant that walked up to present himself before they moved the tank any further. As they were standing on the deck, Doug Mitchell heard a mortar going off and he was able to get to safety, but the lieutenant was blown apart.
3 Dreadful Components of the Korean War
Doug Mitchell described 3 things that he hated about war: Patrol at night, crawling on the front line to knock out machine guns, and dreaming about the stress soldiers felt. He said it was scary when the guys behind you were firing at a machine gun while you were told to crawl close enough to throw a grenade at the machine gun while hoping a riflemen wasn't there to shoot you. Bayonets were another dreadful memory from the Korean War and Doug Mitchell said that no one needs to go through fighting against bayonets.