Joseph Fred Ragusa was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1930. Having grown up during the difficult times of the Great Depression, he was lucky to be able to attend Louisiana State University where he joined ROTC. He describes what his artillery training was like at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, specifically remembering some classes of Korean students who were also training there. Upon arriving in Korea, he remembers several impactful moments, including a time when his peer risked his life to restore communications. He also explains one of his scariest moments when a misfiring almost led to his death. When he returned to the United States he became a successful businessman until his retirement in 2010.
Training to Become an Artillery Officer
Fred Ragusa describes his training in Army ROTC to become an Army artillery officer. He explains that the training focused on the structure of artillery at the battalion level. He remembers that there were not only other men from various campuses.
Artillery Training Alongside Koreans at Fort Sill, Oklahoma
Fred Ragusa talks about artillery training at Fort Sill, Oklahoma and a fellow class of Korean soldiers who were also training there at the time. He said that the Captain that taught him also taught a class of Koreans. He heard that there was an emphasis of extreme discipline in the Korean classes, but that this Captain was able to bring his class to the top.
"I'll Tell You What You Can Do with Those Poles"
Fred Ragusa recalls an incident when his troop was under intensive fire, coming from both sides. When they lost communication, one of his peers grabbed a spool of wire and ran up a hill to reconnect communication, risking his life. While this sergeant survived, he was reprimanded for disrespect until the superiors realized how important his act was.
"We Were Glad to be Alive"
Fred Ragusa recalls one of his scariest experiences in Korea. In a mission to try to bring jets into the area, the smoke round burst into two because the density of it was not correct. As he was running toward that unit, the smoke rose as the jets were coming in with napalm. Fortunately, the jets did not fully come in and the troops were just glad to be alive.