Korean War Legacy Project

Jack Wolverton


Born on August 25, 1933, in Indiana and raised in Oregon, Edward Jackson “Jack” Wolverton enlisted in the U.S. Army at age seventeen. He trained at both Fort Riley, Kansas, and Camp Cook, California. After being told he could not join the airborne because he had flat feet, he ended up joining the combat engineers where he learned to build pontoon bridges. He deployed from San Francisco, California, for Yokohama, Japan, and eventually made it to Incheon, South Korea, in early 1952. He was briefly appointed to KMAG, the Korean Military Advisory Group.

Video Clips

Under Fire and Almost Killed

Jack Wolverton recalls the one time he was under fire and almost lost his life. His unit was ordered to pile a bunker with ammunition, but the mission was aborted. His unit came under small arms fire near no man's land, and a bullet, coming very close to his head, only chipped a rock.The rock hit his wrist and scared him, making him think he was shot. He luckily left the incident unharmed.

Tags: Incheon,Fear,Front lines,Physical destruction,Weapons

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Living Conditions

Jack Wolverton shares about living conditions, what they ate, and where they slept. He recalls putting up tents and taking them down every time they moved locations. He remembers the tents included fold out bunks and an oil heater. He recounts that his unit had a cook, providing them with regular meals. He recalls his salary and how he spent his money. He shares that he loved playing poker but also sent money home each month.

Tags: Incheon,Food,Living conditions,North Koreans,Rest and Relaxation (R&R)

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Communication with Home

Jack Wolverton remembers writing letters home. He was not married and recalls relationships were tough to keep going while he was at war. He would correspond via letters with his mother, updating her on his day-to-day activities. She would return letters with stories from home. He recalls asking his mother, at times, to send back some of the money he forwarded home.

Tags: Incheon,Front lines,Home front,Letters,Women

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Comparing Korea Then and Now

Jack Wolverton offers his impressions of Korea today versus what he experienced during the war. He shares he was never taught about Korea as a kid and recalls seeing a devastated country when he arrived. He adds that he recently bought a Korean car, a Hyundai Tucson, and loves it. He comments on the company's reliable reputation and how Korea's economic success impresses him given his first impression of the country during the war.

Tags: Impressions of Korea,Living conditions,Modern Korea,Physical destruction,Prior knowledge of Korea

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The Forgotten War

Jack Wolverton reacts to the Korean War being known as the "Forgotten War." He shares It upsets him that so many people know it as such. He says he never personally forgot about the war. He recalls telling his two brothers about some of the incidents that happened during the war but could not bare telling his wife and son.

Tags: Home front

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Video Transcript

[Beginning of Recorded Material]

I:          This is November 2, 2021.  Beautiful city of villages in Florida.  My name is Jongwoo Han.  I’m the president of Korean War Legacy Foundation, which has about 1500 interviews, not just from the United States, but also from other 22 — 21 countries that participated in the Korean War.  We are doing this to, first of all, preserve


your memory because it’s been, like, 70 years ago, right?  And so, we want to preserve — you’re a direct witness of Korean — Korea that you saw, and the battle that you fought there.  But at the same time, we want to honor you so that we can this whole thing, interview, analyzed by the American Teachers, so that they can make curricular resources for their own students, so that they can keep talking about the legacy of the Korean


War and your honorable service of the Korean War Veterans.  It’s a great honor to meet you, sir, and thank you for coming.  You are the first interviews in the villages.

J:         Ah.

I:          We are very honored by that, too.

And please introduce yourself.  What is your name and spell it for the audience, please.

J:         Well, my legal name is Edward Jackson Wolverton.

I:          Uh-huh.


What — what do you want me to call you?

J:         Jack.

I:          Jack.

J:         I’ve always been called Jack.

I:          And what is your birthday?

J:         8-25-33.  I’m 88.

I:          Just — just 88?

You look great, sir.

J:         Thank you.

I:          Yeah.  And so how


long has it been when you went to Korea?

J:         I joined the Army when I was 17, October 31, 1950.

I:          Uh-huh.

J:         I left San Francisco for Japan May 31, 1951.  Arrived in Yokohama, Japan April 15, 1951.

I:          April what?

J:         15th.


I:          Uh-huh.  All right.  So it’s been, like, how many years; 71 years ago, 71 years ago now, right now.

And you were in Korea, right?

J:         I got in Korea early February of 1952.

I:          And where did you land in Korea?  Was it Pusan or Incheon?


J:         Seemed like it was Incheon.  I ought to remember that, but I tell you, it’s a long time ago.

I:          Absolutely.

So this is the first question that I want to ask you.

Oh, by the way, have you been back to Korea since then?

J:         No.

I:          No, you’ve never been?

J:         No.  I keep seeing in the book where — where I could go, my wife and I, but I never have.

I:          Hmm.  So you saw the book of


Korea now, right?

J:         I’ve got a book at home that Roger gave me.

I:          Uh-huh.

J:         It says the way it looks now.

I:          Right.  How — how is it?

J:         It’s [laughs] — it’s beautiful, compared to what it looked like when I got there.  It was just — everything was bombed out and tore up.


It was — I never knew what town I was in.  We never knew what town we were in.  We weren’t in a town, actually.  We were always out in the — we moved around quite a bit, the whole company.

I:          And what did you see there?  Everything destroyed?  What about the people there?  Did you see the Korean people at the time?


How did they look like?  How did they live at the time?

J:         A few of them, but — we ran across an old man once.  He had a box that had soaps — soap chips in it, and he was eating them.

I:          Soap?

J:         Soap.

And another guy, he had a place out in the field where he kept his —


What do they drink over there to get drunk on?  He had a place out there where he would have — where he brewed that.

I:          Uh-huh.

J:         But other than that, I never went in a saloon or — I did go in a house once that had — he had a good idea.  They built the fire outside, and then it was — heat was sucked in under the house, under the


house, so the floors all got warm.

I:          Yes.  That’s what we call Ondol, meaning warm floor.

J:         Ahh.

I:          Yes.  Right.  You’re right.

J:         But I never — never went into a town.  The only thing I ever remember talking about was Kumwha Valley.  You — you know that place?

I:          Yes, Kumwha Valley, one of the tri- — iron triangle,


one of the — one of — iron triangle where that has the severest battles in the Korean war.

J:         But I wasn’t in them bad battles.  I was only under fire one time, one day.  But they almost killed me twice, so…

I:          Tell me about it.  How?  How did it happen?

J:         Well, we were supposed to go — this is the way they explained it to us,


the lieutenant.

I:          Uh-huh.

J:         We were going to go to this — I can’t think of what they — bunker.   It’s a bunker.

I:          Yeah.

J:         We were going to go to this bunker, and that’s what we went out there for,


only 10 of us, go to the bunker; put a lot of fire into the openings.  They weren’t windows.  They were just supposedly — I was visualizing it as cut into grass or sod.  Anyhow, put a lot of fire into those holes where they were —


want to fire back at us.  And while we were firing, keeping them down, the guys were going to come up and throw explosives.  They called them satchel packs.

I:          Uh-huh.

J:         Satchel packs.  And you could carry one in combat,


yet could get hit by a bullet, and it wouldn’t blow up.

I:          I see.

J:         So, anyhow, that was the plan.  Then they would throw in the satchel packs, and we would come up — I was one of the guys to carry a flame-thrower and suppose to put the flame-thrower in there.  But that whole thing got aborted, cancelled.

I:          Hmm.

J:         They said –


I never figured out who was in charge, but they said, everybody, throw your — throw your equipment, throw your flame-throwers, throw your saddle packs — satchel packs — in a pile here; we’re going to blow them up and get out of here.

I’m thinking, well, hell, we haven’t done anything.  But that’s what we did.  They told us to do it.

I:          Uh-huh.

J:         And I never did find out who was in charge


of that thing.

I:          Well, how does that — how did that endangers you being, like, almost killed?

J:         Well, when we first came down and got into the no-man’s land, across the MLR, whatever, we come under fire, small-arm


fire, and everybody hit the ground.  And this one bullet came so close, it — I thought I’d been hit.

I:          Oh.

J:         But it had chipped a rock and clipped it up in my wrist.  So that we — one of our guys rolled over with a machine gun and put some fire where that bullet was coming from, or bullets were coming from.

I:          So


were you wounded?

J:         What?

I:          Wounded?

J:         No, I wasn’t wounded.  It was a rock chip.

I:          Wow.  So where was it?  Do you remember?  Was it west side of it or east side of it?  Do you remember where that happened in the Kumwha Valley?

J:         No.

I:          No?  Where was it?

J:         I don’t know.

I:          Where — is there a river, Imjin River?

J:         Well, you know, the main line of resistance —


I:          Yes.

J:         — runs all the way across.  I don’t even know where I went across it.  No, I don’t think anybody did.

I:          So, do you remember, when was that?  Was it 1952?

J:         Yeah, February —

I:          Yeah.

J:         — February 17th.

I:          February 17th.

J:         1952.

I:          Okay.  So —

J:         But, get this, they told us to put everything into a pile.  I already told


you that.

I:          Yeah.

J:         And so, we did.  And then they — a couple of the sergeants pulled the satchel pack and that blew up everything.  I’m thinking, what are we doing out here?  We didn’t even go to the — the battlement, the…


Anyhow, I thought it was a big waste, blow up all that good equipment.  I wasn’t going to throw my rifle in there.  Then I would be without anything.

I:          Uh-huh.

J:         So, anyhow, we started coming out.  And to this day, I don’t know who was in charge.

I:          Uh-huh.

J:         And we were going up this trail.


Going in, one guy got shot in the stomach.  And they brought a helicopter in, little helicopter.  And they carried the wounded guy on the outside on struts.  So they’d lay him on there.  And they’d cover that with this plastic, so the wind wouldn’t blow


him away.  So he’s — one of our medics and one other guy stayed there.  And we went on.  And that’s when we aborted, after — that was the first time we got [makes sound] under fire.

I:          Uh-huh.  So, Jack, when did you leave Korea?  You arrived in February


of 1952.  And then when did you leave Korea?

J:         I rotated December 5, 1952.

I:          December 5, ’52.

J:         And I arrived back in the United States, January 6, 1953.

I:          Uh-huh.  So when you left Korea — now you saw the book, so that you know how modern Korea is, right?

J:         Yeah.

I:          What


do you think about this difference?  When you left Korea in December 5th of 1952, did you ever imagine that Korea would become like this today?

J:         No.

I:          Why not?

J:         Well, man, the pictures I saw, it’s got huge skyscrapers and lights and everything.  It’s beautiful.  I’ve — if I can, my wife and I will get over there.

I:          Yeah, you


should, because Korean government is running the We Visit Program for you —

J:         Yeah.

I:          — Korean War Veterans, and your spouse, so you can see everything.

J:         Yeah.

I:          You’re going to be treated like an emperor there.


So what do you think about this whole thing, Korea in 1952 and Korea now, and you were there when Korea was miserable?

J:         Yeah.

I:          What do you think about all these things?


J:         About how they progressed?

I:          And about how you think about that transformation, and you were part of the whole thing.

J:         Well, I don’t know how they cleaned it up because it was tore up, I mean, tore up.  I never went into a little town.  We always —


— we moved around quite a bit, here, there.  But I never — I — we never went into a town or a city or little place, little town.  We never ever did —

I:          Uh-huh.

J:         — because there was no towns around, yeah.

I:          Now, it’s the tenth largest economy in the world.

J:         Yeah.

I:          Can


you believe that?

J:         Yeah.

I:          Can you believe?

J:         No.  It’s amazing.

I:          Amazing, isn’t it?  Right?

J:         Yeah.

I:          South Korea is just a little bit bigger than the state of Indiana.

J:         Yeah.

I:          They don’t have a drop of oil, no oil.

J:         No.

I:          No big natural resources there.  But they became — becomes — they become the tenth largest economy in the world.

J:         Yeah.

I:          They are a member of G20


now.  They going to be the tenth, [unintelligible] in the world.

J:         Yeah.

I:          Going to be soon.

So are you proud of your service?

J:         Am I what?

I:          Are you proud of your service?

J:         Yeah.  I don’t have anything to be ashamed of.

I:          Uh-huh.

J:         Anyhow, I didn’t tell you about when we were pulling out of that —

I:          Go ahead.

J:         — where the — we thought the bunker was.  And ever who it was that said, blow them up


and let’s get out of here.   And I thought, what the hell.  So we all started leaving.  But I was the last guy to leave, last man out.  But there was only 10 of us.  So they go up — we wanted to space ourselves.  You know, you don’t want to get a bunch of people together.  You know you’re going to get shot then.  So we’re going up this hill.  I’m going up the hill.  There’s nobody in front of me; nobody behind me.


And all of a sudden, I hear, bam-bam-bam-bam-bam.  And I dropped down.  And I’m looking at, the same time, I’m seeing these bullets go into this hill.  You know, I’m thinking, damn, if I hadn’t got down, that guy would have killed me.  But he wasn’t very good, because he must have let that machine gun get up [unintelligible].

So I crawled over and


I got down.  And then when I — it was ridge.  I crawled over.  From there, I could stand up again, because I couldn’t see back there.  I didn’t know where he was, but I have an idea.  What they would do, would dig — dig a hole, and then make a cover for it out of branches.  And they would make it not nice and square.  They had


to make it cockeyed, so we wouldn’t look at it and think about it, think, well, there’s one.  But, anyhow, that’s where he had to be.  He let me get past, and then he started shooting.  I’m glad he was — didn’t know what he was doing.

I:          You’re almost dead, right?

J:         Uh, yeah, that thing would have cut me in half.

I:          Oh.

J:         But I escaped.


I:          So let’s go – I’m going to ask more about your battle experience, but let’s go back to the – where we start.

Where were you born?

J:         In – I was born in a farmhouse.

I:          Where?

J:         In Indiana.

I:          Indiana?

J:         Yeah.

I:          Do you remember the city name?

J:         There was no city there.


It was my grandpa’s farm.  My mom was only 17.

I:          Uh-huh.

J:         My dad was killed when I was nine-months old.

I:          Oh, I’m sorry.

J:         He was a flyer.  He had – he had his own airplane.  He had a big farm.  My grandpa left me 40 acres.



I:          How many siblings did you have, brothers and sisters?  How many?

J:         Well, my mom, later, married, remarried, and I had two brothers.

I:          Uh-huh.

J:         Half-brothers.  One of


them is dead.  And the other one, I’m not sure where he is.

I:          Hmm.

J:         He’s in – he could be anyplace.  He always, like, in California, Arizona.  He likes that area right there.

I:          So you went to school right there in Indiana, right?

J:         Yeah.

I:          Yeah.

J:         Well…

I:          What school did you get in?

J:         See, the other thing is, my stepfather,


he wanted to go to Oregon because he heard about what great vegetables they grew.

I:          Hmm.

J:         So what’s he do?  He sells his house we have, nice house, and buys a mobile home, hooks it on behind his ’51 Plymouth, and we pull it to Florida.  To Florida.  And he –

I:          Not – not Oregon, but Florida?

J:         Florida.

Then we stayed there.  I go to


school there.  Then we go to Texas.  School wasn’t in there.  Then we go to California.  I go to school there.  Then we finally get to Oregon.

I:          Ah.

J:         I go to school there.  And I go to work for the United States Forest Service.  And then I quit and joined the Army.  I was 17.

I:          Seventeen.

So when you were


in school, did you learn anything about Korea?

J:         No.

I:          No?

J:         No.

I:          Anything you learn about Asia at the time?

J:         No.  High schools, they didn’t teach anything like that.

I:          Not even about China or Japan?

J:         I don’t remember it.

I:          Okay.  So you were – you’re not aware where Korea was and what Korea


stood for you at the time?

J:         No.

I:          Nothing about it.

J:         We had heard there was going to be a war with Korea, and we were going to enter it.  And then I joined the Army.

I:          Where did you join the Army?

J:         Eugene, Oregon.

I:          Eugene, Oregon.

J:         And I wanted to join – I told them I wanted to join the airborne.  They said okay.


Then they sent me from Eugene, they sent me to Fort Riley, Kansas.  In Fort Riley, Kansas, we got uniforms, and they sent us all the way back to Camp Cooke, California.

I:          Uh-huh.

J:         Which is the home of the 40th Infantry Division.

I:          Ah.

J:         Then they said, we can’t put you in the airborne because


you got flat feet.


So they put me in the engineers, combat engineers.

I:          What unit was it?

J:         578th.

I:          78th combat engineer, right?

J:         It was part of the 40th Infantry Division.

I:          Yes.  And what was your specialty?


J:         I didn’t have a specialty.

I:          Just an infantryman?

J:         Well, combat engineers, we built some bridges.  We – we did this – built Bailey bridges, built water – of course –

I:          Pontoon bridge?

J:         Pontoon bridges.

I:          Yes, yes.

J:         So it was


– it was okay until we went out on that one mission, and that was a waste of time, and we lost some men.  We – one guy, we get – one guy got killed on that first one.  And then another guy – you know, we had about 15 Koreans, South Koreans, that worked for us.

I:          Yeah.

J:         We paid


them.  We fed them.

I:          [Unintelligible]

J:         They traveled with us.

I:          Yeah.

J:         And they were putting their tent up, and they were cutting a drainage all the way around it for the rain.  And they chopped into a mine, and it blew – it – the first guy that got it chopped, his head was peeled – you know his brain was showing.  He was dead.


Then later on, maybe a year later on, we lost — one of our own guys was out working on the road, on a ditch, on the side.  He chopped into one, too.  I mean, those things were everywhere.  So…

I:          So you want to find out who was in charge of that operation that happened to kill one of your soldiers, right?


J:         Yeah.

I:          Yeah.  We want to find that out.

J:         I never did – I don’t understand how that worked.  And then to go out there in the – out there in the line of fire, and then say come back.  If we had blew up that bunker, that would have been good.  But we didn’t.  But I almost got shot.  So I survived.

I:          I like your spirit.


To find – want to find out who did that.

J:         Yeah.

I:          What was your rank at the time?  Was it corporal or –

J:         Corporal.

I:          Corporal?

J:         Yeah.  I made sergeant in March of ’52.  I made platoon sergeant in August of ’52.  And then they gave me the first sergeant duties.


The first sergeant rotated back home, and they gave me his duties, but they couldn’t give me his rank because I hadn’t been in grade long enough.

I:          Hmm.

J:         Then I got sergeant first class in November of ’52.

I:          So at the time, when you were sergeant, okay, let’s say, platoon sergeant, how much were you paid by the American government?  Students want to know.


Students want to know whether there was a McDonald or Burger King at the time, when you were there in Korea.  Where did you eat?  These are the questions that elementary school children want to know.

J:         They want to know where I ate?

I:          Yeah, and how did you live there?  What was the living conditions?  Did you – did you check into Holiday Inn or – tell me about those.

J:         We always had tents.  And we’d have to tear them down.  Big tents, [00:27:30] squad tents.  And we’d have to tear them down every time we’d move, and then put them up when we got where we were going.  But they were okay.  They – we had fold-out bunks.  In the tent, we had a heater.  I think it was oil.  And one night it screwed up and put all the smoke in the tent, and everybody woke up coughing


and had to get – get out.  And we ate – we had a cook, and we ate regular meals, I mean, breakfast, lunch.  And if we were out working on the road or working on something, they’d bring it out to us.

I:          Ah.

J:         Yes.

I:          Very nice.

J:         Yeah.

I:          So you never tried C-ration?

J:         Yeah.

I:          You did?

J:         Yeah.

I:          What was your favorite menu there?


Do you remember?

J:         Frankfurters.

I:          A-ha.

J:         Little ones.  But we didn’t have to because –

I:          You had a cook?

J:         — we had a cook.  And he – they kept us supplied with food.  It was – and we didn’t get bombed, or we didn’t get any fire, except that one day.


I:          Got it.

Who was your enemy?  Was it North Korean soldier or Chinese soldier?  Did – did you know?

J:         I don’t know.  I assumed they were North Koreans.

I:          North Koreans?

J:         That’s what I assumed.

I:          Uh-huh.  And, again, how much were you paid?  What was your salary?

J:         Well, when I went in the Army, it was $75 a month and a – I don’t know.

I:          Around $100?

J:         Well,


when I was sergeant, first class –

I:          Yes.

J:         — it was more than that.

I:          But that was back in the U.S., right?

J:         Yeah.

I:          Yeah.  So with that money, what did you do?

J:         Played poker.


I:          Did you –

J:         I sent money home –

I:          Oh.

J:         — every month.

I:          How much?

J:         But I told them – well, when I – that $75, I sent $50 home.  So I had $25,


but I could – they had – they furnished the food, so I played poker, drink beer.

I:          Were there any Korean children living in your tents and – and helping you?

J:         No.

I:          No?  No – no Korean at all?

J:         Yeah, we had –

I:          Civilian.

J:         We had Koreans helping us


after that one that blew up and killed all those guys.  That was terrible.  I was the acting first sergeant then, so I went down there immediately to see what that – what went on.  I thought somebody had dropped a bomb.  But he’d hit a mine.  We even had – later on, we even had Korean


guards that would – we had guards all the time, 24/7.

I:          Uh-huh.

J:         And they would walk, or they would be stationed somewhere.

I:          So let me ask you this question.  What was the most difficult thing during your service in Korea, if I ask you to pinpoint only one thing


out of many difficult things that you experienced?  What was the thing that make you feel, oh, it’s so hard and difficult, at the time.

J:         Well, other than going out and getting shot at, we had a line that went up to the top of this mountain.  And we would take turns going and running that line.


We’d send up food.  Send up ammunition.  They’d send down bodies.  And we had a little dugout there that we slept in.  That was not fun because it was cold.

I:          Right.

J:         Yeah.

I:          Yeah, very cold.

J:         Where did you live in Korea?

I:          I – I – I was born in Seoul, and I lived there in Seoul until I come to – came to the United


States in 1985.

J:         Okay.

I:          Have you been Seoul when you were there?

J:         No.

I:          No.  Have you been to any other city in Korea while you were there?

J:         No.

I:          No.

J:         I – we just stayed out in the field.

I:          Uh-huh.

J:         But we had tents and beds and food, ammunition, radios.  We were okay.


I’d heard about guys getting bombed, but we never got bombed.

I:          I see.  So you were lucky?

J:         Yeah.

I:          But because you’re the – you were the combat engineer corps there, so that you were not in the far front line of battle – battles?

J:         Yeah.

I:          You were in the back [position]?

J:         Well, no – there were three zones that you got – if you were up close to the main line of resistance.


I:          MLR?

J:         MLR.  You’ve got three points.  If you were back here, you got two points.

I:          Uh-huh.

J:         If you were on back, you would have got one point.

I:          Uh-huh.

J:         That’s – those points, you had to have 36 points to rotate.

I:          Right.

J:         I was assigned a KMAG at one time, Korean Military Advisory Group.

I:          Uh-huh.

J:         I went down there


and tried to train them, from March ‘til July.  Well, that made me, where everybody else was going home, and I was going – I was – I didn’t have enough points.  And the one lieutenant tried, tried, tried to give me a field commission, second lieutenant, if I would sign over for another year.  But


I didn’t take it, and I should have.

I:          Why not?  Why didn’t you take it?

J:         I wanted to go back home.

I:          Uh-huh.  We you married at the time?

J:         No.

I:          Did you have a girlfriend?

J:         Well, that didn’t last long.  When you’re not around, they don’t last long.

I:          Exactly.

J:         No, I didn’t have a girlfriend.

I:          So were you able to write letter back to her when – when you – in the beginning?

J:         No, most – yeah, in the beginning.  Mostly then, after that, my mom


would write me.  I would write her, tell her what was going on.

I:          What did you write to her [unintelligible].

J:         I’d tell her – I’d tell her what happened that day or to send me some money.

I:          You asking money from your ma?

J:         Well, that’s where I sent the money.

I:          Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah.

J:         And she put it in the bank for me, $50 a month.

I:          Uh-huh.

J:         I only made 75.  But I – as I got promoted, I


made more money.

I:          Right.

J:         But it was – didn’t mean much, really.

I:          So what did you do with that money when you returned to the United States?

J:         Bought a car.

I:          A-ha.  What did you buy?

J:         I think a ’41 Plymouth.

I:          Brand new one?  No.

J:         No.

I:          Used one.

J:         Used.

I:          Uh-huh.  Good for you.

J:         I never had a new car ‘til I was



I:          Let me ask this question.  What was the most rewarding moments during your service in Korea?  When – when did you feel that you were so proud and you felt like, oh, I did a good thing?  When was it?

J:         It had to be when I got promoted to first sergeant.


I:          Did you have a party that night?

J:         No.  We didn’t have anything to drink.

I:          Why not?

J:         Gotta have something to drink to have a party.

I:          I mean, they provide you beer, right?  You were able to buy beers there at the time?

J:         Yeah, I think they gave us beer, like – I can’t remember.


Maybe a case of beer for our tent, something like that.

I:          Hmm.  We were you able to take a shower at the time?

J:         I only remember one – I only remember one shower.

I:          Only one out of six months?

J:         But we had –

I:          You were stink.

J:         No, I – yeah.  But we had – if we come to a river, we’d jump in, take our clothes off naturally.


I:          Yeah.

J:         But it’s funny that I only remember one shower.  And I know I had to take more than that.  They would – portable.  They would bring them in, wooden floor, tent, tubing.  And then they would call us and tell us, okay, come on down.  And we’d bring, maybe, a platoon.


And then that guy, that platoon, would take a shower; then another platoon and then – I ran into a guy that I went in the Army with from Oregon.  He was in the infantry, 224 infantry.  And he was walking to the shower, too.

I:          How was it?  How did you feel when you had the first shower?

J:         I felt good.

I:          Right.


J:         Yeah.

I:          Did you have hot water?

J:         Yeah.

I:          Oh, good, good.

Um, if you want to go back to Korea, I can recommend you – here is [Mark Kerry].  He’s the [Korea] defense] veteran who’s been arranging this whole series of interview.  I really appreciate him.  And I’m going to have an interview with him later.  But you can tell him, and we can work together, so that you can have a slot in the program called Revisit Korea


for the Korean War Veterans.  Now there’s a slot for the Korea defense veterans, too.

Male Voice:     Count me in.

I:          Yeah, let’s – let’s work on it.  But, Jack, now you are 87.

J:         -8.

I:          Eighty-eight.  Okay.  You look young, actually, not 88.  But after all those years, you didn’t know where Korea was when you were in the school, children, when you were in the school, right?


J:         No.

I:          You didn’t know where it was.  And you went there in 1952, and you saw completely demolished Korea.

J:         Yeah.

I:          Now, you know the whole thing about Korea now.  [Brilliant] economy, very strong economy.

J:         Yeah.

I:          Very substantive democracy.  You know, the Korean people, they put their president into prison twice.  There are two presidents already in the prison right now at this



J:         Really?

I:          Yeah, they impeached them.

J:         South – South Korea?

I:          Yeah, South Korea.

J:         Huh.

I:          That’s how the civic society strong and almost, like, belligerent.  So you see these things, Korea in 1952 and now.  And you were there, right?

J:         Yeah.

I:          Fought for the Korean people?

J:         Yeah.

I:          How do you put all these things into


perspective?  How do you think about all these things?  Why did it happen to you?  What did you do?  And what do you think about the whole thing, as a Korean War Veteran?

J:         You mean now or –

I:          Now and before.

J:         Well, I drive a Korean car.

I:          Now?

J:         Yeah.

I:          What is it?

J:         Hyundai.

I:          Hyundai.  Okay.

J:         I just – it’s only 2,000 miles on it.  I just bought it.

I:          A-ha.  What is the name of it, Hyundai what?


J:         Tucson.

I:          Tucson.  Okay.  That’s a SUV, right?

J:         Yeah.

I:          Yeah.  And?

J:         Well, I like it.

I:          Why did you buy Korean car?  There are many other good cars.  Why?

J:         Well, I liked them.  I liked the looks of them and liked everything I heard about them.  Korea makes a good car.

I:          See.  Did you ever think that Korea would make an automobile like that?

J:         No.


When I got there, the railroads were tore up.  The bridges were tore up.  The buildings were blown up.  It was not a good place.

I:          Not a good place.

J:         It was sad.

I:          Yeah.

J:         But they had a railroad line working because we got on it when we got off the ship, and it took us to wherever they took us.  I don’t even


know where they took us.

I:          Have you tried kimchi?

J:         Tried teaching?

I:          Kimchi.  Kimchi, the vegetable, hot vegetable that Koreans eat.

J:         Probably.

I:          You did?

J:         Well, I probably tried it because I tried a lot of stuff over there.

I:          Hmm.  Anything you remember?

J:         You say kimchi?

I:          Yeah.


J:         Yeah.

I:          You did?

J:         Yeah.

I:          Did you like it?

J:         Well, it was okay.  It wasn’t like I was used to it.

And then a drink they would make.

I:          Makgeolli.

J:         Yeah.

I:          It’s sort of like a milk, right, white, and it’s – it’s not – it’s something like a French onion soup,


right, white?  Do you remember that, or is – was it – how was it?  Do you remember the color of the liquor?

J:         No.

I:          No.

Did you like it?

J:         It was alcohol, right?

I:          Yeah, yeah.

J:         Yeah.

I:          Yeah.

J:         Yeah.

I:          Anything with alcohol, you liked it.

J:         Yeah.


I:          So, Jack, is there any other episode you still remember about your battle experience


or dangerous moments that almost killed you there?

J:         No.  That guy – well, the first guy that – when we come down and got into the main line of resistance, no-man’s land –

I:          Uh-huh.

J:         — and that guy shot, hit that rock, and blew it up in my arm.  That was – that could have hit me.


It did hit our one guy.  He’s the one they took out on the helicopter.  But the guy with the machine gun, it really could have cut me in two.

I:          Uh-huh.

J:         But I’m just lucky.  Some guys weren’t lucky.

I:          Uh-huh.

J:         One guy got hit almost directly with a mortar.  Another guy [00:44:30] got hit in the heel.  They were both squad leaders.

I:          So, Jack, why do we call the Korean War as forgotten war?  Do you know why?  Why the war that you fought for Korean people has to be known as forgotten war.

J:         Yeah, I didn’t like that.

I:          Right.


J:         Yeah.

I:          Uh-huh.

J:         I don’t know why they call it that.

I:          But did you want to forget about the war when you left Korea and came back to the United States?

J:         I didn’t forget about it.

I:          You didn’t?

J:         No.

I:          Did you tell about it to your family members, your wife and children?  How many children do you have right now?

J:         One son.

I:          One son.

Did you tell him about the war that you fought?

J:         No, I didn’t talk much about



I:          Why not?

J:         I didn’t want him to think I was a big-time soldier, you know.  I told my two brothers when I first got back about that machine gunner.

I:          Uh-huh.

J:         But you just – I haven’t even told my wife


about the machine gunner.

I:          So do you live in village right now, villages?

J:         No.  I live in Leesburg.

I:          Leesburg.

How far is it from here?

J:         Ten miles.

I:          Ten miles.

Thank you for coming again, Jack.

J:         Well, I enjoyed it.

I:          So any other story that you want to leave to this interview, anything that you didn’t mention but you want to?

J:         No, but I’ll think of something when I get home.



I:          Anything you remember, still remember, or anything that bothers you still, except that machine gun and the guy who was in charge of – to blow up that bunker.

J:         Yeah.  I don’t know who was in charge of that mess.

I:          We have to find that out.

J:         We’ll never find that out.

I:          That really bothers you?

J:         Yeah.

I:          Yeah.


Jack, I want to thank you again for your service, honorable service, which contributed to the Korea now.  It’s the tenth largest economy in the world, most substantive democracy, I can say in the world.

J:         Yeah.

I:          And I wrote about it.  I teach about it.  And I know what it’s like.  And you are the one who made that transformation from miserable Korea


to proud Korea.

J:         It’s great Korea, the pictures I’ve seen.  And I will go there some day, if I don’t die first.

I:          You gotta go.  You gotta go.  Okay?

J:         Yeah.

I:          So you let me know whenever you are ready, and I will put your name into the list.  Okay?

J:         Well, we’ve got a list –


This group that I belong to –

I:          Yes.

J:         — we got a magazine that we send out.

I:          Uh-huh.

J:         And it’s –

I:          Do you mean the [Brave Year]?

MALE VOICE: [Brave years]

J:         The what?

I:          Brave years.

MALE VOICE: Brave years.

J:         Yeah.

I:          Yeah, yeah.  So, Jack, do you have any message to Korean people about this interview, about your service during the Korean War?  Anything you want to say to the Korean people?  Look at the camera, camera here,


and say anything you want.

J:         Well, they’re great people.  They – the civilians, when I was there, always treated me right.  But I didn’t see enough of them.  The ones that come and work for us, they were always good.  They even did guard duty for us.


I was going to bring one of the lists that I typed up as a first sergeant, because I had to type one every day – well, I didn’t; this clerk did – who was guard duty that week, that day.

I:          Do you still have that?

J:         Yeah.

I:          Oh.

J:         I got one.  I could get it out and make a copy of it.

I:          Yeah, and send it to me.


Male Voice:     Or bring it to, um, our next meeting, and I’ll make sure Dr. Han gets it.

J:         Okay.

I:          Thank you.

Male Voice:     Or give it to Roger.

J:         Roger, yeah.  That would be best because he comes to all the meetings.

Male Voice:     I’ll see him next week, and then – or two weeks.  And I’ll make sure Dr. Han gets it.

J:         Okay.

I:          So, Jackson, continue and finish.  What is your message to the Korean people.  What do you want to say to them?  You said that they are great people.  They are very nice.  Even guarded you.


J:         I’m proud of the way you’ve built your country.  I couldn’t believe it when I saw that – I got this book at home that Roger gave me.  Hard-cover.

I:          Reborn Korea.

J:         Yeah.  It is good.  I don’t see it here.

I:          I should have brought it.  I have boxes of those.  But I assumed that you had it.


So thank you, Jack.  You did it.  You did it for the Korean people, and they will never forget.  That’s why we are making this.  And my foundation’s teachers will listen to this, and they’ll try to find out who was in charge, okay, of the blow-up.

J:         You never will.  That guy must be dead by now.

I:          Yeah.  But I promise you that this is going to be used in our classroom for our young generations,


so that they know what you did and how Korea became today what it is.  Okay?

J:         Yeah.

I:          Right.  Thank you, sir.

J:         All right.

[End of Recorded Material]