Jack Kronenberger was born Sept 3, 1931 in Scranton, PA. The son of a German immigrant, he had tried to join the Navy after high school, but was rejected for minor medical issues. However, when the Army drafted him in 1952, they overlooked these issues. During his time in Korea, he was promoted to the Signal Supply Clerk from the infantry, a job for which he was very thankful. Because he was there during the Armistice, he recalls that there were very few battles, but they did experience some “Red Alerts” when the North Koreans crossed the border. Among his most memorable experiences was seeing the poverty in Seoul and he argues that youth today should be made to have such experiences as well. While Jack Kronenberger has not revisited Korea, he is proud of the growth that they have achieved.
Jack Kronenberger explains that due to his good letters of recommendation from being a clerk typist, he was offered the job of supply clerk for the Signal Core, which was in charge of dispensing batteries and radios. He says this was a very good position as it was like a regular job. Also, it allowed him to barter for things like extra clothing and good food.
Jack Kronenberger describes several times where a "Red Alert" was issued, meaning some North Koreans had crossed the border. He remembers his roommate being very alarmed, but there wasn't anything for them to do- "just keep doing your job." They had a machine gun in their hut, but did not have to use it.
Importance of Military Service
Jack Kronenberger describes the poverty he saw in Seoul. He describes people living in shacks, making him realize how fortunate he was. He explains how this is a completely different way of life than he had experienced. He says the experiences were so important for a young man, and believes re-instating mandatory military service would be very helpful for the youth of our country, although he doubts it will happen.
Although he has not returned to Korea, his daughter has visited, and he explains how amazing and different it is now. He and the interviewer discusses potential reunification with North Korea, and their hopes that this will happen. They discuss the need to support this in any way, and how this Foundation is geared toward preserving memories and educating young people.