Korean War Legacy Project

Edward Langevin

Bio

Edward Langevin joined the Army in 1967 and received specialty training in Alabama to repair missiles during the Cold War.  After going to Korea in 1969 as part of the Korean Defense Group, he was stationed at Osan Air Force base, but traveled to different sections of South Korea to switch old missiles to new Hawk missiles.  While he remembers some scary moments, he also recalls some good times in Seoul. As a Korean Defense Veteran, he is proud of his service and contributions to what he considers to be an “ever continuous battle.”

Clips

Hawk Missile

Edward Langevin learned how to repair Hawk (Homing All the Way to Killer) missiles which are semi-active radar surface to air missiles. He spent 40 weeks in Huntsville, Alabama for basic training. While in Korea, he did repairs on the missiles near the DMZ.

Tags: Osan,Fear,Front lines

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tfkfNV3YBXo&start=226&end=359

DMZ and Seoul during 1969

Edward Langevin describes his time in Korea in 1969. He remembers that it was “kinda scary” at the DMZ where they were repairing missiles because everyone was always on alert. However, he also got to enjoy good times that included sightseeing around Seoul. His two cousins also served in Korea and he found one of their names in a recreation book during his time there.

Tags: Panmunjeom,Seoul,Fear,Front lines,Impressions of Korea,Living conditions,Pride

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tfkfNV3YBXo&start=545&end=673

The Ever Continuous Battle

Edward Langevin is a Korean Defense Veteran since he was in South Korea to protect it from North Korea. He said that these veterans contributed to the "ever continuous battle" He believes that the tense feeling between these two regions will continue until we stop China from helping North Korea.

Tags: Panmunjeom,Chinese,Impressions of Korea,North Koreans,Pride

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tfkfNV3YBXo&start=771&end=855

Video Transcript

00:00:00 [Beginning of Recorded Materials]

Langevin: My name is Edward E. Langevin.  Edward E middle initial Langevin

Interviewer: How do you pronounce your last name?

Langevin: Langevin

Interviewer: Langevin is it French?

Langevin: It’s French.

Interviewer: Ah, so you’re a French descendent?

Langevin: Yes, I am.

Interviewer: Oh. What is your birthday?

Langevin: December 19, 1947

Interviewer: December

Langevin: 19

Langevin: 1947

Interviewer: 47 and where were you born?

Langevin: Worcester Mass.

Interviewer: Could you spell it?

0:00:30

Langevin: Worcester Mass.  MA

Interviewer: Tell me about your family background, when you were growing up, your parents and your siblings.

Langevin: Oh, I only have one sister and my mother, father, we lived in Worcester all my life.

Interviewer: All your life.

Langevin: I. In fact, within a mile of my house most of my family lives.

Interviewer: Ah.

Langevin: My father had 15 brothers and sisters and I have about 47 first cousins.

00:01:00

 

Interviewer: 47

Langevin: Yeah, a lot and I’m number 42.

Interviewer: 42

Interviewer: 42 out of 47

Langevin: Yes.

Interviewer: Wow! And what school did you graduate in ah, I mean the high school.

Langevin: Ah.  I went to Worcester Boys Trade High School in Worcester.

Interviewer: Worcester

Langevin: Boys trade high school

Interviewer: Boys trade.  And when did you graduate?

Langevin: 1966

00:01:30

Interviewer: There was long after the war Korean Korean War.

Langevin: Yes, it was.

Interviewer: Did you know anything about Korea at the time?

Langevin: Yes, I did.

Interviewer: What did you know?

Langevin: My cousin was there during the war.  He was with the task force smith, but they came out of out of Japan.

Interviewer: Wow!

Langevin: Went to Pusan when they had to try and hold the perimeter it was there then I remember when he came home from the service.  He was shell-shocked, it was very nervous.

00:02:00

Interviewer: And is what’s his name?

Langevin: Leslie Preston

Interviewer: Leslie Preston

Langevin: Yeah.

Interviewer: And is he alive?

Langevin: He is alive, yes.

Interviewer: Where is he?

Langevin: He lives in Whitingville Mass.

Interviewer: Could you spell it?

Langevin: Whitingville

Interviewer: Whitten

Langevin: Whitingville

Interviewer: Whit

Langevin: ing

Interviewer: ing

Interviewer: ville

00:02:30

Interviewer: Wow! He is the task smith.

Langevin: Yes.

Interviewer: That’s a legendary.

Langevin: Yes.

Interviewer: Yeah.

Langevin: He was in occupational duty in Japan and the war broke out and sent over.

Interviewer: Yeah, they are the first one and had to face the North Koreans.

Langevin: That’s right.

Interviewer: In July in Tangaen area.

Langevin: Right.

Interviewer: What did he tell you about his experience?  Do you remember anything that he told you?

Langevin: Well I was young, but he was very scared.

00:03:00

Langevin: He said ah a lot of noise, a lot of fighting, they lost most of their people, and he was lucky to come out alive.

Interviewer: Mmhmm and so what did you do after the high school graduation? Oh, other than that what did you know anything about Korea? What’s going on there in 1966?

Langevin: I had a cousin that was stationed there in 1965.  He was stationed in Seoul.

Interviewer: What did he say?

00:03:30

Langevin: It was a metropolitan city.  He liked it. He was there for thirteen months. I was only there for five months. I when I went over I had ten months left of the service and there.

Interviewer: Before before you talk about that.  So, when did you join the military?

Langevin: I joined the army in April 11, 1967.

Interviewer: And what where did you get the basic?

Langevin: At Fort Gordon Georgia.

00:04:00

Interviewer: And what kind of training did you get?

Langevin: Basic training there and then from there I went to school at Red Stone Arsenal in Alabama. Huntsville, Alabama.  I learned about missiles.

Interviewer: Missiles?

Langevin: I worked in hawk missile field.

Interviewer: What did they teach?

Langevin: How to repair the hawk missiles.

Interviewer: Oh. Must be very difficult wasn’t it?

Langevin: I was there for almost forty weeks.

00:04:30

Interviewer: How many weeks?

Langevin: Forty weeks.

Interviewer: And tell me what kind of a training and what kind of repairment that were you able to do it. Tell me in detail.

Langevin: All hands on.  We learned how to test the missiles.  See if they were working correctly and we had to do repairs to them.  We had books that told us how to do the repairs, which we did. I did the highly echelon work.  Ah and from there

00:05:00

Langevin: I went to Fort Bliss Texas.  I was at the air defense school of Fort Bliss for eighteen months.

Interviewer: Wow and what did you do there?

Langevin: I worked in the maintenance department at the school.

Interviewer: Maintenance?

Langevin: Yeah, on the missiles.

Interviewer: Missiles?

Langevin: Yep.

Interviewer: So, you must be a expert on missiles.

Langevin: Well I learned a lot.  I don’t use it today, but I did.

Interviewer: And what kind of missiles did you deal.

Langevin: I worked on hawk missiles.

Interviewer: Hawk?

Langevin: Hawk.

Interviewer: And that’s ah…

00:05:30

Langevin: Homing all the way killer missiles.

Interviewer: That’s a from earth to from land to air.

Langevin: Right. Low flying.  Medium.

Interviewer: But there are any dangers that you encountered while you’re repairing or anything like that?

Langevin: No.  I didn’t see any.  I was up on DMZ a couple of times.  I wasn’t stationed there.  I went up. I went up there past ones or had to do repairs on some of the missiles.

Interviewer: When did you leave

00:06:00

Interviewer: to Korea?

Langevin: I left Korea in November.

Interviewer: No, when did you leave from here to Korea?

Langevin: Oh, I left in May of 1969.

Interviewer: And where did you arrive?

Langevin: In June of 1969

Interviewer: Where did you arrive?

Langevin: Ah in Kimball Air Base.

Interviewer: Tell me about the first image of Korea that you had you didn’t know much but your cousin.

Langevin: Ah I saw some pictures, pictures,

Interviewer: Yeah

Langevin: Stories about Korea.

00:06:30

Interviewer: What were you thinking when you saw?

Langevin: Oh, you know when I first landed we saw anti anti-aircraft stuff by the airport. Which makes you think we’re in the real world.

Interviewer: Uh huh, uh huh.

Langevin: And they kinda woke everybody up.  Everybody quiet after that.

Interviewer: Scared?

Langevin: A little bit.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Langevin: Cause you didn’t know what to expect.

Interviewer: What was your unit?

Langevin: I was stationed with the headquarters battery seventh battalion hawk.

00:07:00

Interviewer: Seventh battalion.

Langevin: Hawk missiles.

Interviewer: Ummhmm.

Langevin: Second artillery.

Interviewer: Second artillery.

Langevin: Thirty-eighth air defense brigade.

Interviewer: Thirty what?

Langevin: Thirty-eighth.

Interviewer: Mmhmm.

Langevin: Air defense artillery brigade.

Interviewer: Air defense artillery brigade.

Langevin: And then we were in Osan air base.

Interviewer: Was in Osan?

Langevin: That’s where our headquarters was.

00:07:30

Interviewer: And, where were you?

Langevin: I was in a place called Che hung Korea which is just south of the Han river heading towards Suwon and Osan.

Interviewer: I mean what what was there in Che hung.

Langevin: There was a small base that’s where the headquarters was for the battalion. And I worked there ah I was there about a month and then I got sent on a special detail to Itawon diablo compound Itawon

00:08:00

Langevin: and I stayed there about a month.

Interviewer: That’s my home is.

Langevin: Is it?

Interviewer: Yeah.

Langevin: Huh.

Interviewer: How was Itawon at the time?

Langevin: Nice, I like people was just down the street from Yongshi.

Interviewer: Yeah right.

Interviewer: 8tharmy headquarters.

Langevin: That’s right.

Interviewer: And what did you do in Che hung and Itawon?

Langevin: I worked on hawk missiles.

Interviewer: Like what?

Langevin: Repairs.

Interviewer: Repairs?

Langevin: Yeah.

Interviewer: Why there are so much problems there?  Why do during did they didn’t use it actually right?

00:08:30

Langevin: They didn’t use it no.

Interviewer: Right.

Langevin: But during 1968 when the pueblo incident happened.

Interviewer: Right.

Langevin: There was some problems then and went to test fire’em and some of them wouldn’t work. So they decided they’re going to repair check all of them they were in storage for like forty years. And I was in charge of taking the missiles out of the things and packing them up and bringing them to a repair facility in Seoul for a rayathon had.

00:09:00

Interviewer: Wow. That’s a very important job isn’t it?

Langevin: It was yeah. It was kinda scary. I went up to the DMZ to pick up some of the parts uh the missiles and it was kinda scary to be up there because everybody’s on alert you know guns all over the place and there’s checkpoints.

Interviewer: How many of you were there of you over there in Itawon for example or Che hung? Many people? Many repairers?

Langevin: Oh yes because the thirtieth ordinance company was stationed

00:09:30

Langevin: at Itawon.

Interviewer: Mhmm.

Langevin: And they had about two-hundred people.

Interviewer: What was your rank at the time?

Langevin: Spec. 5 E5

Interviewer: Meaning….

Langevin: Specialist 5thbut like a buck sergeant.

Interviewer: But rank buck sergeant?

Langevin: Yeah, equal to a buck sergeant.

Interviewer: Mhmm. How much were you paid?

Langevin: I think at that time it was maybe two-hundred and ninety a month. Two-hundred and ninety dollars a month.

Interviewer: What did you do?

00:10:00

Interviewer: You were given a uniform, you place to sleep, you were fed right?

Langevin: Yes.

Interviewer: What did you do with the money?

Langevin: I had a good time.

(both laughing)

Interviewer: And how was Seoul at the time?

Langevin: Seoul was very nice.  It was a big city.  It was a lot of people, you could go all over the place.  I did a lot of sightseeing.

Interviewer: Oh, where did you go?

Langevin: I went to a uh it was called a Korean village

00:10:30

Langevin: and they had like dancers and singers and stuff.  I went there one afternoon.  It was a Sunday.  They had tours.  I us a lot of other places around.

Interviewer: And you knew from your cousin that Korea as completely devastated.

Langevin: Yes.

Interviewer: Right. During the war?

Langevin: Yes.

Interviewer: And your brother were there in Korea?

Langevin: My cousin. Another cousin.

Interviewer: Another cousin there?

Langevin: And he was stationed in Seoul.  He was stationed in Yongsan.

Interviewer: Yongsan too?

00:11:00

Langevin: Yeah and ah in fact at the recreational building there they had stats and I looked up and he was the first one to sign a book.

Interviewer: Really?

Langevin: (nods head)

Interviewer: And have you been back to Korea?

Langevin: No, I would like to go back.

Interviewer: And do you know what happened to Korea after that in even 69 and 68?

Langevin: Oh yes.

Interviewer: Korean economy and so on have you been following up with that?

Langevin: Yes, I am.

Interviewer: What do you know about Korean economy right now?

00:11:30

Langevin: It’s gone up. There’s a lot of work. There’s a lot of jobs they do a lot of electronic stuff now.  Ah it’s not just tinker toys or ah kitchen appliances, they do a lot of shipbuilding.

Interviewer: Do you know Korea used to be the largest shipbuilder in the world?  The largest.

Langevin: I thought they were.

Interviewer: Now we making our own missile and we repairing our own missile so you are not there.

Langevin: No.

(Both laugh)

00:12:00

Interviewer: So, what do you think about this Korean economy transformed from the ashes of the Korean War to 11th largest economy in the world right now?

Langevin: It’s like night and day.  It’s a big jump it’s like after WW2 with Germany and France and that its dramatic.

Interviewer: But Germany and France was very strong country before the WW2.

Langevin: Right.

Interviewer: We were small and very.

Langevin: Agricultural.

Interviewer: Yeah, agricultural

00:12:30

Interviewer: so it’s a different from how French became modernized after WW2.

Langevin: That’s right.

Interviewer: And Germany.  Korea wasn’t big at all.

Langevin: No, it was devastated. I saw a lot of pictures. Devastation ah and the people really worked, your hard-working people.  Everybody I met were good.  I have no complaints.

Interviewer: So, what is the difference between Korean war veterans and Korea defense veterans. Tell me about it.

Langevin: They weren’t shooting when I was there.  Not real bullets anyways.

00:13:00

Interviewer: So, are you a Korea defense veteran?

Langevin: Yes, I am.

Interviewer: Yes. What is the legacy of the Korea defense veteran? What do you think?

Langevin: I think the Korean defense veterans are proud of their service in Korea.

Interviewer: Why? Why and what for? What is the contribution?

Langevin: Cause we helped defend the Korean peninsula.  Even though there was no hostilities per say, there was something yes. Uh saboteurs coming down is there but nothing major. But we were there

00:13:30

Langevin: in cause they needed us.

Interviewer: Um hmm.

Langevin: Its the ever-continuous battle.  I mean they’re not gonna change.  I’m sorry the North Koreans they haven’t given up.  They’re not going to give up.

Interviewer: I mean Korean war has not been replaced by peace treaty.

Interviewer: Have you seen any war in 20thcentury history that finished 60 years ago and still going around?

Langevin: No you haven’t.

Interviewer: What do you think about that?

Langevin: It’s a long time.  I thought that they would have

00:14:00

Langevin: some arrangements.  Would have been made between now and then but they haven’t.

Interviewer: Right.

Langevin: And I think the only time that’s going to happen is when the Chinese government pushes the North Koreans to make peace because they’re their biggest supporters.

Langevin: If it wasn’t for them they’d have nothing.

Interviewer: So, when you see the DMZ, what did you think?

00:14:30

Langevin: It was the real thing.  I saw the signs, careful warnings.  Uh I saw the stuff that didn’t grow because they sprayed agent orange.  Uh in fact a of of the uh missile containers we had to take apart were covered with like a yellow orange dust on them.

Interviewer: Mhhmm mhmmm.

Langevin: And they never told us when I was there they used agent orange.

00:15:00

Langevin: Until almost 40 years later that I read something in a VFW magazine that said that they used it.

Interviewer: What was the most difficult thing during your service in Korea in 1960s.  What did really bothers you?

Langevin: Not going to say nothing really bothered me. I I enjoyed myself there if I was in a major city.  I was in Seoul.  Uh even when I was in Chuhang just south of Seoul

00:15:30

Langevin: you could take a cab and go so I wasn’t in a small village.  I went to some of the villages and uh there very very remote.  I mean the roads were all dirt and they like like they were 100 years ago except for some cars.

Interviewer: Did you have a camera at the time?

Langevin: Yes, I did.

Interviewer: Did you take a pictures?

Langevin: Yes, I did. I took a lot of pictures.

Interviewer: Lot of pictures?

Langevin: Yes.

Interviewer: Would you send it to me so that…

Langevin: Lots of my pictures got destroyed

00:16:00

Langevin: we had a flood in the house.

Interviewer: Oh boy.

Langevin: And then they.

Interviewer: But do you have some now?

Langevin: I have some yes.

Interviewer: Yeah could you send some, send it to me?

Langevin: Yes.

Interviewer: So that I can scan it and I will return it back to you.

Langevin: Okay.

Interviewer: I never failed to return those pictures.

Langevin: I understand.

Interviewer: So please do that.  Why because that show us the Korea in 1960s, late 1960s, and we have many pictures from Korean war veterans in 1950.

Langevin: Right.

Interviewer: That can be a kind of good comparison, right?

00:16:30

Langevin: Yeah.

Interviewer: Yeah, so that’s us why I want to do that.  When did you leave Korea?

Langevin: I left Korea in November of 1969.

Interviewer: 69. And what did you do after you came back?

Langevin: I my father had died. He’d gotten killed. So that’s why I came back early and I was reassigned to Fort Devens Massachusetts and I only had like 12 months left in the army.

Interviewer: And after you retire from the army.  What did you do?

00:17:00

Langevin: When I left the army I worked for the gas company.  With the gas light company which my father worked for.  Then I went to work for the post office.

Interviewer: Mhmm.

Langevin: I worked there for 25 years.

Interviewer: Wow, so now you are retired?

Langevin: I’m retired from the post office and I’m retired from the air national guard. Also I’m a retired senior master sergeant.

Interviewer: Mhmm and to you what is Korea to you personally?

Langevin: Korea.

Interviewer: Yeah, what do you think in your mind?

00:17:30

Interviewer: What is Korea to you?

Langevin: Korea was my home when I was there.  I was very proud of my service in Korea.  I liked I liked the area, I like the people.  It took a bit to get used to customs and things, but I liked it there very much.

Interviewer: Mhmm.

Langevin: People were always friendly.  There’s a lot of things to do there. Some people just wanted to sit there and drink. Yes, that’s them but I did a lot of sightseeing.

00:18:00

Interviewer: Anything you remember from that sightseeing in Korea?

Langevin: Oh yes.

Interviewer: What is it?

Langevin: I remember going on the Yongsan hill and I remember the trolley cars going up there.

Interviewer: Yeah.

Langevin: I remember the big big uh subways in Seoul and how big there were I was.

Interviewer: There was subways?

Langevin: Yes, there was.

Interviewer: In 1960?

Langevin: 1969.

Interviewer: Are you sure?

Langevin: Yes.

Interviewer: Subway I didn’t know that.

00:18:30

Interviewer: Oh, any other episode that you want to share with me?

Langevin: Yes.

Interviewer: Yeah, please.

Langevin: I remember we run a parts run one night.

Interviewer: Where?

Langevin: A parts run, going after supplies for the missiles.

Interviewer: Yeah.

Langevin: And the national guard were all had bonfires all set up different street corners. And I remember pulling up to a bonfire and uh we heard a clicking machine gun aiming at us. Scared the hell out of us.

00:19:00

Interviewer: My goodness.

Langevin: Cause you didn’t expect that.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Langevin: I was up, I was heading up north one time going to Camp Paige and uh they had ambushed a truck on the DMZ that day.

Interviewer: Who?

Langevin: The North Koreans.

Interviewer: Oh really?

Langevin: Yeah and we’re heading up north for parts.  It was about 7 o’clock at night and it was dark and you could see all these torches and lights in the hills you know. Normally there’s no lights and then when we got up to Camp Paige

00:19:30

Langevin: we found out what happened. And they were all on alert.

Interviewer: Mhmm.

Langevin: So, we got our parts and we were supposed to spend the night. We didn’t.  We went back because I don’t want to get stuck up there.

Interviewer: Right.

Langevin: Because we crossed like three bridges and dams to go up there. And we were to get stuck if something happened.

Interviewer: This is one of the most dangerous areas in the world.

Langevin: It still is.

Interviewer: Isn’t it?

Interviewer: Yeah, but its ridiculous that its still there you know. And and we don’t have a peace treaty at all.

Langevin: I think after 65 years that they would

00:20:00

Langevin: they could have come to some understanding.

Interviewer: What do you think we have to do? I mean you told me about China is critical. Right?

Langevin: I think China is the most critical part because if they put pressure on the North Koreans, they’ll have to cave in or make concessions.

Interviewer: So, what do you think about Koran war veterans?

Langevin: They served their purpose. They served their duty.  They sacrificed.  A lot of them got killed us its sad

00:20:30

Langevin: uh but their older men now.

Interviewer: Mhmm.

Langevin: I’m a Korean defense representative and I’m going to be 70 in December.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Langevin: And they’re a lot older than that.

Interviewer: What chapter do you belong to?

Langevin: Chapter 299.

Interviewer: Chapter 299.  That’s uh a lot of Korea defense veterans, right?

Langevin: Yes, mostly are.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Langevin: We have a few Korean war veterans but mostly the defense sector.

Interviewer: Mhmm. Are you proud to be a Korea defense veteran?

Langevin: Yes, I am.

00:21:00

Interviewer: Umm. What would you say to Korean people now? Talk to camera.  What would you say to them?

Langevin: Well I enjoyed my experience in South Korea. I enjoyed being there the people were very nice to me.  I can’t. I hate, can’t complain. I can’t say anything bad about the people.  I did a lot of sightseeing.  I took a walk between Che hung.  I walked like around the area, I saw the farmers when harvesting the rice and that.

00:21:30

 

Langevin: They had the stacks.

Interviewer: And you cannot find those things because its already to modernized.  There are too many buildings.

Langevin: Is it. I remember driving up north in the fall and they were growing peppers, they used to dry them on the road.

Interviewer: Mhmm.  Any other episode that you want to share with me?

Langevin: No. That was the most brainiest one.

Interviewer: Alrighty.

Langevin: I was very fortunate. I didn’t see any fighting

00:22:00

Langevin: and nobody ever shot at me.  Ah but you know it could happen.  It could happen at any time.

Interviewer: Yeah. Edward, I want to thank you for your honorable service in Korea in 1968 and 9.  That was big part of a the North Koreans were trying to infiltrate into Seoul.

Langevin: That’s right.

Interviewer: And there was dangerous time but because of the presence of American soldiers Korea defense veterans we were able to

00:22:30

Interviewer: protect those and and I want to thank you for your service.

Langevin: Thank you. I really want to go back to Korea. I want to see the changes.

Interviewer: Yes. You’ll love to see it and you’re not going to believe your eyes.  See changes and whenever I go back either Korea in 6 months, 2 months still changing its hard to recognize it.

Langevin: You said you live in Itawon.

Interviewer: Yeah, my home is still there in Itawon,

00:23:00

Interviewer: but I live in Syracuse New York.

Langevin: Oh.

Interviewer: Yeah yeah.

Langevin: Yeah, it’s been a long time.

Interviewer: Itawon you cannot recognize.

Langevin: I’m sure.

Interviewer: There are so many different kinds of restaurants, international restaurants, and its packed by the youngsters.  I know the Itawon that you saw.

Langevin: Yeah.

Interviewer: It was mostly for GIs right?

Langevin: Yes, it was.

Interviewer: Yeah yeah, but now.

Langevin: When I was there, there was about 60,000 Americans in Korea and what are there now, about 30?

00:23:30

Interviewer: 28 , 29

Langevin: Yeah

Interviewer: Thousand yeah so, it’s been reduced.

Langevin: A big difference.

Interviewer: Yeah big difference.  But still there and that symbolize the importance of our military alliances together.

Langevin: Yes.

Interviewer: Yeah, so thank you Edward.

Langevin: Thank you!

00:23:48 [End of Recorded Materials]