Korean War Legacy Project

Edward Brooks


Edward L. Brooks was born in Portsmouth, Virginia.  He had been waiting to be drafted and or waiting for his enlistment to come in before his enlistment through the National Guard made it through.  He entered the military in early 1953.  Edward Brooks arrived in Korea from Japan in late July 1953.  He was stationed in Geojedo Island as a part of the 21st Infantry Regiment, 24th Division.  He was a Corporal upon entering and a Sergeant First Class at his discharge.  He was the Sergeant of a platoon section of the I&R, and participated in the patrols at night time.  Edward Brooks left Korea in March 1955, and he was discharged at that time as well.


Video Clips

Never Heard of Korea

Interviewer Dr. Han asked Edward Brooks if he had ever heard of Korea. Edward Brooks said he'd never heard of Korea before he was sent there during the war. Dr. Han asked if he had heard of China or Japan and he replied, "yes but never Korea."

Tags: Geojedo,Prior knowledge of Korea

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Night Patrol to Apprehend Migun Wianbu

Edward Brooks patrolled at night to catch American soldiers looking for US military comfort women & their pimps. They apprehended them on many occasions.
The comfort women and their pimps were turned into the Korean authorities and then the soldiers were disciplined for their illegal actions.

Tags: Geojedo,Chinese,Front lines,Living conditions,South Koreans,Women

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I Never Wanted to Go Back to Korea Until Now!

Dr. Han asked Edward Brooks if he ever wanted to return to Korea and he said that he never wanted to go back. Edward Brooks changed his mind when he looked at a satellite image of what South Korea looks like today compared to the North. He couldn't believe it. He couldn't imagine Seoul looking the way it does today.

Tags: Seoul,Impressions of Korea,Living conditions,Modern Korea,Physical destruction,Prior knowledge of Korea

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Was the Korean War a Police Action?

Dr. Han, the interviewer, made the statement that, "some say the Forgotten War was a police action. Do you agree with that?" Edward Brooks replied by saying that, "when someone is shooting at you and you have to shoot back, that's not police action." Edward Brooks continued by saying, "And with what's going on over there today we need to be there in case situations begin to flare up."

Tags: Front lines,Impressions of Korea,North Koreans,Prior knowledge of Korea

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Video Transcript

E- “E.D.W.A.R.D and the middle initial is L. Brooks B.R.O.O.K.S.”

E- “I was born July 29th, 1931, Portsmouth, Virginia. I graduated from Cradock high school, that’s in Cradock in Portsmouth. Well, when I graduated I went to, Post-graduated Fork Union Military Academy, Fork Union Virginia.”

Reporter- “Why? Did you like military?”

E- “Yes! I, uh, I was uh, kinda like the military. Uh, my parents felt like I wasn’t ready for college.”

Reporter- “Uh huh.”

E- “Uh, Uh.”

Reporter- “(inaudible) more discipline.”

E- “I guess you can say that. (laughs)”

Reporter- “Did you know anything about Korea along the time?”

E- “No, no I’d never heard of Korea. Never heard of it, no. Never heard of Korea.”

Reporter- “Or China?”

E- “Oh yes!”

R- “How about Japan?”

E- “Japan yes!”

R- “Not Korea?”

E- “Never heard of Korea.”

R- “Oh and you never imagined that you would be end up in Korea?”

E- “That is correct! I graduated from Fork Union Military Academy as a post-graduate, that was 1950.”

R- “You remember the month May?”

E- “Uh, yeah, it was May. Yes.”

R- “And then what happened to you?”

E- “Well I want, uh, one over, uh, enrolled in William Mary VPI.”

R- “What is that?”

E- “That’s the, uh, college. It was uh, two-year college, in Norfolk. It’s now old VPI.”

R- “Mm.”

E- “It used to be William Mary VPI.”

R- “Mhm.”

E- “Extension, uh which is Old Dominion now.”

R- “Mhm.”

E- “And took up engineering drafting.”

R- “Mhm.”

E- “And I graduated from there.”

R- “Wow you have a quite educational background.”

E- “Well, if Ya add a certain extent.”

R- “Must have been expensive at the time, right?”

E- “Well, my mother remarried just prior to me going to Fork Union. So, uh.”

R- “She was able to financially support you?”

E- “Uh yea, her and my step father. Yes.”

R- “So what did you do around the time that the Korean War broke out?”

E- “Well at that time, draft was going on and I…”

R- “What did people say about this draft, it was nothing very popular, right?”

E- “no its not, it wasn’t very popular.”

R- “what people did say about it, remember?”

E- “Not really uh, I, didn’t, I, uh. I didn’t have to much association with some of those people, but you had to reregister for the draft, and I remember going down and reregistering for the draft. And uh, I uh, decided it was best for me to join the national guard, so uh, I when a Korean War broke out say, uh, I was in the national guard and uh, they called me up for the physical. I had to take a physical for the draft and uh. I had to go to Richmond, and I remembered getting on a bus and going to Richmond for the, the draft for the physical prior to being drafted. Well uh, that prayed on my mind and I said. So, I went to the company commander in the National Guard and told him and he told me. He says, you know your best bet would be to re-enlist back here in the National Guard for three years and uh, we’ll uh, put you uh, let you go into the army uh, for the two years and come back there, so I thought about that, and I said well, I had a rank of Corporal. And uh….”

R- “(Inaudible)

E- “Yes, uh, I had a rank of Corporal in the National Guard and he had warned me. He says, well if your drafted you would lose that rank so uh, at the time I’d say stuff was kind of hard. My mother was having trouble making ends meet and so forth like that and it does give a little bit more money. I said, well I’ll think I’ll go ahead and tell him to I’ll agree go ahead and call me for the uh, go on active duty, so that what happened.”

R- “(Inaudible)

E- “So what they uh, they called me to go on active duty in the army.”

R- “When?”

E-“That was, in March of uh, 195- uh, well, March of, maybe February of, of 1953 and I was to report to Fort Lee Virginia uh, according to my order from the army, and I reported there and the next day I got, I got a letter to report to the draft so I bet it by one day which is uh, awful close and uh, I was in the Artillery Unit in the National Guard uh, the one I reported uh, I reported to Fort Lee. I was there about two weeks. They sent me to Fort Meade Maryland. Well, that’s where you processed for your, well they sent you for the training. Well they sent me from there, for basic training, 16 weeks and for Infantry training and Camp Rucker Alabama. That’s not now Fort Rucker Alabama. I’d have to say uh, they do helicopter training there now, but that was all infantry training 16 weeks. Well at that time, they uh, all the units, when they finished the basic training were sent right to Korea, the whole unit.

R- “Mhm.”

E- “When I finished….”

R- “When was it, when you finished it?”

E- “It was uh, I can’t uh, it was in Fe– In 19-, let’s say March, April, May, June, it was right prior to the Korean Armistice uh, I had finished the, the basic training.”

R- “Mhm.”

E- “And they pulled me out of there the uh, I was the only one at that time from my unit was sent to Korea, and they flew me over. And I was flying over when the armistice was signed. I was on the way over when it was signed and I, for this day, I can’t remember where we landed, we landed in Japan, somewhere, and I remembered riding on the train and it seem like we rode the whole length of Japan on a train, and uh, I don’t remember where uh, I shipped out from, from Japan. I can’t remember those all these little details now, but I remembered landing in Pusan.”

R- “When was it?”

E-“ That was uh, that was after the armistice that was just right after because it was being signed as I was flying over so that like I said, dates were a pain now, I can’t remember but it was. It was just after the armistice. It might’ve been two weeks or three weeks.”

R- “So It was August?”

E- “Yeah, yeah uh, it had to be August. But I uh, I uh, I know I was in Japan at least two weeks. Ya know. And uh, so.”

R- “Where did you go from there?”

E- “From Pusan?”

R- “Yes.”

E- “Kojido. (pause). That’s where they had all the presidents. All those pictures that was taken, was uh, everything, was uh, the Kodachrome slides and so forth.”

R- “How many do you have?”

E- “Pardon?”

R- “How many of the slides do you have?”

E- “Oh I don’t know, I got quite a few slides uh, uh, most of them I think, it was after we went up towards the uh, and uh, towards the 38th parallel, shortly after the prisoners left.”

R- “(inaudible)”

E- “The unit moved up and moved out of Kojido. And when uh, we were stationed in the Yangon valley.”

R- “Mhm.”

E- “I remember that.”

R- “Mhm.”

E- “And uh, and we, at that time uh, the units, the units were uh, were in a lot of training, you know uh, it wasn’t any of the uh too much hostilities going on there. So, it was uh, a training, constantly training. Uh, soon after they promoted me to sergeant first class, and uh…”

R- “Who did you train? You were not receiving training, but you were helping others to be trained, right?”

E- “No uh, well, uh the whole unit was training. For whatever might happen. At the time you didn’t know what was going to happen uh.”

R- “Were there any Korean soldiers?”

E- “Uh no uh, we didn’t have any Korean soldiers at all training with us. No.”

R- “Were there any dangerous moments during your service in Korea?”

E- “Was there any dangerous moments? Well, uh, I can’t say that there, that uh, that we ran into any hostilities of shooting you know? But the uh, we had to uh, patrol the areas and uh we’d have to go out at night and patrol and then later on we’d have to, man the different entrances and then we’d have to scatter out through the, through the brushes and the hills, looking for the, the American soldiers that were slipping out into the villages. You know, uh, they were looking for the prostitutes. (laughs).”

R- “Mhm…”

E- “Cause the prostitutes would come in close to the, to the uh, camp. And uh, we were, we had to apprehend the uh, the soldiers that we catch going through the, the brush and bring them in, and turn over the prostitutes and the pimps to the Korean authorities. And they’d discipline the soldiers.”

R- “Um, how much were you paid?”

E- “How much were you paid? (laughs) I can’t tell you how much we were paid, we were paid the uh, the rate for the rank that I had at that time. And uh, so I can’t uh, I don’t remember all them, what I was paid, I was paid for the regular uh, rank that I had.”

R- “Yeah!”

E- “I can’t tell you that much we were paid the, uh the rate for the rank that I had at that time, and uh, so I can’t tell uh, uh, I don’t remember all them. What I was paid, I was paid uh, the regular rank that I had.”

R- “What were your memory of Korea, when you left Korea. What kind of scenes do you still see (inaudible).

E- “Well you know, I left Korea, I hadn’t been back since but I heard its, it’s a lot different.”

R- “Yeah!”

E- “Uh, I remember when I left Korea I had a good uh, uh, favorable memory of Japan. I said I would love to go back to Japan, but I for sure wouldn’t want to go back to Korea because at that time the roads was the only roads to Soul and everything was just dust. Uh, you know the dust roads and uh, I was so. That was my uh, memory of it.

R- “mhm, mhm”

E- “And I just said that I would never want to go back to it again but now what I’ve seen the things that happened between the uh, South Korea and North Korea. I have changed my mind about that.”

R- “mhm, you want to go back?”

E- “Yes I, uh, I wouldn’t mind going back. I uh, I uh, really would now just to see the big changes that have been made from what I can see and when you look at uh, satellite image of the North and the South and you see all of the lights of the South and the North is dark.”

R- “What do you think is the legacy of the Korean War and a Korean War veteran?”

E- “When you compare the North and the South uh, there is so much difference that uh, there is unreal.”

R- “Yup. People say that about the Korean War is Forgotten War, some people say it’s a police selection.”

E- “Yes.”

R- “What do you say to them?”

E- “Well, that’s they call it when over there, they call it police selection.”

R- “mhm. Was it a police selection?”

E- “Was it a what?”

R- “Was it a police selection?”

E- “No, I think, I think it was a whole lot more police action. Yes.”

R- “What was war?”

E- “That’s correct! It was War. Yeah, so it was just somebody shooting at you you’ve got to shot back. Its uh, its uh, war not a police action but that’s what the politicians I guess wanted to call it.”

R- “So what do you want to say to them?”

E- “They better look again, they look like they might flare up again.”

R- “Any messages to the young generations about your service  about the Korean War?”

E- “Well, the only that I can, they can never know all they can do is read and uh, and what you are doing here is showing my help.”

R- “Our token of gratitude and the medal.”

E- “oh thank you.”

R- “ (inaudible)