Fredrick Still was born in 1930 in Illinois. He was drafted into the US Army on November 16, 1951 at 21 years-old. After basic training and heavy equipment school at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, he was deployed to Korea via troopship in July, 1952. He arrived at Incheon and was assigned to the 116th Combat Engineers Battalion, 10th Corps where he ran a road grader during his thirteen month deployment. During his time in the war, he remembers the living conditions of the Koreans he saw. During this time there, he had the opportunity to write home, and his wife still has many of these letters. While there wasn’t much fanfare when he returned, he made some lifelong friends and is proud of their relationship.
Running a Road Grader
Fredrick Still describes his job in Korea, maintaining roads as a part of the 116th Combat Engineer Battalion. Because of his experience on the farm, he was familiar working with heavy equipment, but his first hand road grader was too dangerous due to the rocky terrain. He explains that he then got a motorized road grader that was much easier to operate after a few days.
A Frames and Agriculture
Fredrick Still describes the way of life experienced by Koreans, specifically agricultural practices. He remembers the many huts lined up along the roads in areas he refers to as "slums." He explains that the Koreans would carry baskets of human waste to their rice paddies which were often irrigated by water from the mountains. Frederick Still also describes the A-frames that were used.
"There Was No Fanfare"
Fredrick Still states that there wasn’t any real fanfare upon his return to the United States. The only fanfare was near the Golden Gate Bridge because he was on the first shipload back. He remembers that they did get a really good meal, including steak, when they arrived home.
"I did what I was told to do"
On a freezing, snowy night, Fredrick Still was told guard a dozer because it quit on the Punch Bowl pass. The other man that was assigned to the task with him took the opportunity to go back when a Jeep rode by, but Fredrick Still stayed all night because that is what he was told to do. He attributes his promotion to staff sergeant to this decision because it followed shortly after.
When Fredrick Still was first drafted, he met four men and they bonded quickly. He explains how they went through training together. While the group went their separate ways, they got back together after the war and made a tradition of meeting up. Fredrick Stlil is proud that they have remained friends for all of these years.
Fredrick Still remembers writing to his friends, family, and future wife regularly. His wife has kept many of the letter that he wrote. He recalls getting a lot of mail while he was over in Korea.