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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.