Korean War Legacy Project

Everett G. Dewitt

Bio

Everett G Dewitt served in the Korean War in 1950 as a Communications Operator in the United States Army.  During his service in Korea he also served with several units from five other United Nations countries.  He saw combat several times during the war and was hospitalized for thirty days with malaria and other health issues before returning to the United States in 1950.  He was never wounded during the war, as he says “Someone was looking out for me”.  Though he has not returned to Korea, he hopes to someday.

Clips

Scary Moments

Everett G. Dewitt describes being in combat. He explains a particular incident when his unit was caught up in a fire-fight. The Air force cleared the way for them but they suffered many losses. He goes on to describe another incident that occurred several months later that involved being shelled by mortars.

Tags: Fear,Front lines

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RNE56CtlFvY&start=1&end=123

Communications and Cultural Diversity

Everett G. Dewitt describes working alongside men from many different countries during the war such as Britain, Turkey, Canada and Australia. He explains that through his experience working with the Australians, he was offered the opportunity to live in Australia for five years. He regrets not accepting that invitation. He goes on to describe the Turks as the most fierce groups he worked with. He describes an evening when one of their officers was shot so the Turkish men, seeking revenge, went into the town and wrought unspeakable havoc.

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RNE56CtlFvY&start=146&end=241

The Advances of Korea

Everett G. Dewitt describes the Korea he saw and what he knew about Korea before the war and what it has become. He explains that the Korean people he encounters in the United States are always incredibly gracious and thankful. He goes on to explain his pride in his services in Korea and that he would probably do it again if need be.

Tags: Impressions of Korea,Modern Korea,Pride

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RNE56CtlFvY&start=410&end=497

Video Transcript

 

[Beginning of Recorded Material]

 

0:00:00

Everett G. Dewitt:       Shot and then one vehicle was loaded with ammo and it caught on fire. And I could’ve gone over and driven it–but I didn’t have the guts. I don’t know how long it was. We fired back probably seemed like a half hour, could have been longer could have been less.  We called the Air Force. And they came buzzing through there. And I could smell the fumes and see the pilots.

 

Interviewer:                Uh-huh.

 

E:         And they just striped.

 

I:          And they cleared the enemies?

 

E:         They must have

 

0:00:30

 

cleared out, because we didn’t see any movement and no one reported any. But, after that, with about 15 bullet holes through the tarpaulin, but we got out of there.

 

I:          So you lost all your soldiers?

 

E:         No, there was 3 other casualties. But one of my buddies, next to me, he got all shot up and other than that.  Again, bear with me–

 

0:01:00

 

I wasn’t concerned, I was–it was survival, how can I say it?

 

I:          Right.

 

E:         So I didn’t know. I’m aware of him, the truck on fire. Others hollered for medics and we got in there and cleared out, so.  Phew.

 

I:          Must be very hard for you to–to–to

 

E:         I wasn’t–I was so scared I didn’t–I couldn’t think, you know,

 

0:01:30

 

I could never forget a book, put it that way.  But we survived it. And then, it was a few months later, we got mortared and I–I hit the ditch. It was during the night time.

 

I:          Oh.

 

E:         And I don’t know.  We–we–we had some casualties. One guy’s leg got blown off.

 

I:          But you never wounded. You never wounded.

 

E:         No.

 

I:          You’re lucky.

 

0:02:00

 

E:         Someone’s looking for–looking after me. Yeah.

 

I:          Did you read the Bible, at the time?

 

E:         Well, not right there in Korea, but I–yeah, I–I didn’t I was always on the move.

 

I:          Mm-hmm.

 

E:         When I wasn’t, it was eating. And trying to find something to do, of course. It wasn’t all blood and guts, but…

 

I:          So you did all moving around all over the Korea, right?

 

E:         Now we’re getting the back what my job was. I was in

 

0:02:30

 

Communications and they attached me to different outfits. The Australians, the British, the Turks, Canadians, the United Nations wanted 22 countries well, at least I saw five of them. I worked with those people and it was–British it was tea time, which was new to me.  That’s the lighter side.  The Australians were quite people. At that time, the saying was Australia was what the

 

0:03:00

 

United States was 25 years before. Meaning that they’re growing, look at them today compared, like Korea.  But they had a deal then, the–the Australians said that if I signed up for five years when I’m a civilian that I could–they would pay my way there if I si–signed to stay for five years.  And I wanted to and I always wished I had got to Australia in one way of looking at it. Of course, my life would have been a lot different than now, but

 

0:03:30

 

the–the fighting group ones that I saw fight was the Turks.  They didn’t have black out at night. We were taught no–no–no lights, no nothing. They were at the highest hill and they didn’t cut limbs down, they cut trees down. And they dared–they dared them. And while I was there, someone shot one of their officers and they went into town and I’m not going to say anything more of what they did there.

 

0:04:00

 

I:          Hm.  What was the happiest moment during your service?

 

E:         Oh. I had a many a happy, I been tongue and cheek, getting home.

 

I:          When did you get back home?

 

E:         I was there twice–I was in the Far East twice and Europe once.

 

I:          But when did you leave Korea?

 

E:         1950, but not right away.  I ended up in the hospital for 30 days.

 

I:          Why?

 

0:04:30

 

E:         I had diarrhea, malaria and hemorrhoid. I mean that all developed.  Hell, I was a healthy dude with no cavities or nothing, when I went in.  But C-rations will do things to you.

 

I:          [chuckled]

 

E:         Your habits of brushing.  Changes your whole lifestyle. That’s a key. I ended up on a troop ship and I did go home 30 days later. Came back to States. They processed me and I was stationed at various places

 

0:05:00

 

around the country. If I recall, I went to– I carried Chicago as my home address, at this time, and I–Fort Sheridan. Fort Sheridan sent me to Carson, Colorado. While I as there, they sent me to Kansas for–for communications and came back.  I was assigned to a group to–oh I got–I don’t know which

 

0:05:30

 

one. I was at Fort Knox, Kentucky, one of those. Anyway, we went to Colorado and–oh I’m jumping ahead. I went back to Japan.  That’s what it was, they sent me to Fort Leonard Wood. They put me in a group, they sent me right back. I wasn’t home more than probably more than three months, four months, and I went right back.  And in Japan they processed.  And I’ll never forget that.  Anyone that’s been to Korea, go to building C.

 

0:06:00

 

All of us that had been there, we went to building C.

 

I:          Mm-hmm.

 

E:         And I was stationed in Sasebo, at the time. Finished out that enlistment I came back and that’s when I went to Knox, Kentucky. I was formed a group and I was in armor at that time.  I was assigned to armor.  I was communications, I didn’t operate the tanks, and we’re on our way to Germany, after going through Colorado, that’s where they formed the battle groups.

 

0:06:30

 

Instead of sending, assigned different divisions, they went, they had everything in that group. That was a new formation. And so I went to Germany and spent my enlistment there. While I was there, I graduated from NCO academy.  That helped me in my military life.

I:          What do you think about why you were there in Korea and what is Korea to you now?

E:         Korea is the most prosperous, booming.  I remember reading history,

 

0:07:00

 

at one time, that they were an isolated. They opened up to–was it Perry? And I only saw in Korea I– 13 miles of blacktop that had been built literally by the Japanese.  And one train running back and forth. Never turning, it was straight up and down.  The people, I just have nothing but accolades for them.

 

0:07:30

 

For the way they’re treating us now. I’m jumping back and forth now. And they have really built their country up. And I’m–I’m really proud of those people.

 

I:          Mm-hmm.

 

E:         As Korean people here, it is well, they have a–a– the Presbyterian Korean Church has a dinner every year and–this month, its coming up very soon. And they just absolutely treat us royally.

 

0:08:00

 

And I thank them for that.

 

I:          Mm-hmm.  So, you’re proud of your service?

 

E:         Absolutely am.

 

I:          Mm-hmm.

 

E:         And probably would do it again.  Circumstances being what they are–

 

I:          [chuckles]

 

E:         it would be a hard call.

 

I:          Have you been back to Korea?

 

E:         I would like to. I signed up for it three years ago and I found out that expense was so many dollars and the clause is in

 

0:08:30

 

there that if–if you didn’t go within certain time you get so much back, if you didn’t go til later you don’t get anything back. And it’s just a monetary thing that I didn’t pursue it anymore.

 

I:          Any other message that you want to leave to this interview?

 

E:         There are so many things, I’m unprepared. Its–I first of all appreciate this interview. We don’t have much opportunity. You are the first to bring this

 

0:09:00

 

forward, and I appreciate that.

 

I:          Mm-hmm.

 

E:         Belong to national. Great organization. Let’s see-I–I guess I joined chapter 14 ’06 maybe.

 

I:          Mmm-hmm.

 

E:         And we do a lot of good things. We have about 14 items that we do 6 ROTCs and I could go down a litany of things that our chapter is involved in. And we have a great chapter.

 

0:09:30

 

We are a dying group. The average is none under 80, I don’t believe. We do need infusion of new people. I hope that congress passes something that we can include more troops.

 

I:          Yeah.

 

E:         If you want to or what term–

 

I:          Who stationed in Korea after the war.

 

E:         Exactly.

 

I:          Yeah.

 

E:         And I’m sure there’d be plenty of them that would be willing to join.  And some have been turned away

 

0:10:00

 

because they didn’t serve in Korea and they’re working on it now, I understand, and I’m waiting for them to put the word out that we can have more people.

 

I:          Everett thank you very much for your interview, again, and for your fight.  And I know that it’s been hard for you to remember those terrible moments, but–

 

E:         Just moments.

 

I:          Yeah.

 

E:         The rest of it was with troop’s fellowship, comradery, knowing that someone is beside you.

 

I:          Thank you very much, again.

 

E:         Thank you.

 

[End of Recorded Material]