To avoid being placed in an orphanage after losing their father in a coal mining accident, James N. Butcher and his siblings continued to work very hard while living a very modest life. After enlisting in the Army at the ripe age of 17, he would serve a portion of his tour with the 82nd Airborne and 11 months in Korea with Fox Company of the 17th Infantry Regiment of the 7th Division. During his tour of duty in Korea, he became a Sergeant First Class, served as a platoon sergeant during the Battle of Jane Russell Hill (Triangle Ridge), and fought in the first Battle of Pork Chop Hill. After he was discharged from military service, James Butcher earned his PhD in clinical psychology in 1964 from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Later on, he would become a professor of psychology and as Director of the Clinical Psychology Program in the Department of Psychology at the University of Minnesota.
Joining the Army During the Korean War
James Butcher joined the Army as a 17 year-old after he tried to join at the age of 16, but he was too young because he felt that it was his duty to help the US after the Korean War began. This took place in 1951 and he went to basic training in Pennsylvania in order to train on their hills to prepare for the hills of Korea. After that, he went to jump school since he joined the Army Airborne. James Butcher could have stayed in the US training paratroopers, but he wanted to go to Korea so bad that he contacted his senator to help get into Korea.
Entering Korea in 1952
James Butcher was sent Korea with the 17 Infantry Regiment 7th Division in 1952. After arriving in Inchon, he took a train to Army headquarters and then worked his way to the front lines. As James Butcher traveled through the country, he saw whole towns brought to the ground.
The Loss of a Close Friend During the Battle of Triangle Hill
James Butcher fought during the battle of Triangle Ridge/Hill. On Oct. 18, 1952, he charged up one specific section of the ridge that included Jane Russell Hill to fight the Chinese. Unfortunately, his friend was killed right next to him as they were taking out Chinese trenches.
A Close Encounter with a Chinese Soldier
James Butcher went face-to-face with a Chinese soldier as he was fighting for Triangle Hill. The Chinese soldier was getting ready to throw a grenade at the US troops and he became scared when he saw James Butcher in the trench with him. After a long pause, James Butcher took down the enemy trench.
Alligator Jaws were located in the terrain in Korea.
Brown Finner Otto and Butcher
A picture of Franklin Brown, Lieutenant Finner, Charles Otto, and James Butcher. Taken at Yoke Outpost in February of 1953.
James Butcher and Rogers
Was this strict military discipline or clowning around? A picture of James Butcher and Rogers, fellow soldiers while in service in Korea
James Butcher and The Squad
A picture of James Butcher's new squad. Front Row, Left to Right: Watcott, Schoen, Daggett, Fields; Back Row, Left to Right: Pinkham, Butcher, Kenway. Picture taken by fellow soldier Moss in November of 1952.
Dale Moss and James Butcher
A picture Dale Moss and James Butcher on Yoke. Taken in 1953 while in Korea.
A picture of Dale Moss, "as usual, in a good mood."-James Butcher
Milsap Moss and James Butcher
A picture of Millsap, Dale Moss, and James Butcher on Koje-do Island. Taken in December of 1952.
A picture of soldiers in Recon Patrol: "into the Alligator Jaws." -James Butcher
A picture of James Butcher while in service in Korea. Taken in March of 1953.
Look Sharp! Be Sharp!
A picture of the Fox Company sign at Company Rear Area. The Fox Company was the 17th Infantry Regiment of the 7th Division.
James Butcher and Dale "Ziggy"
A picture of James Butcher and Dale "Ziggy" Barnhardt, shortly before the battle at Pork Chop Hill. Taken at 1953
A picture for the Marker at Yoke Outpost
James Butcher & Carlos Coleman
A picture of James Butcher and Carlos Coleman cleaning up some spoils of war after capturing the weapons on Jane Russell Hill. Taken in October of 1952.
October 1952, Jane Russell Hill, Korea
Yoke and Uncle Post at T-Bone Hill
A picture of the Yoke and Uncle Outposts near T-Bone Hill.
[Beginning of Recorded Material]
J: My name is Jim Butcher. B U T C H E R.
I: And what is your birthday?
I: So you’re pretty young.
J: Quite young yet.
I: Where, where were you born, remember?
J: I was born in, uh, in a coal mining town in Bergoo, West Virginia.
I: Could you spell it?
J: B E R G O O.
I: Very interesting. West Virginia.
J: Yeah, and there’s 48 people left right now.
I: What do you mean?
J: That, that’s how many people live in that town.
I: In the town?
J: It’s very small.
I: Wow. Tell me about your family background and what you’ve been doing with your siblings in Bergoo. Tell me about your early days.
J: Well, in, in the early days, um
I was born in Bergoo, and my dad was a coal miner and, uh, he, uh, went around to other towns and also worked in other, in other places, uh. We lived in, in, uh, Berrgoo only for a few months, then we moved on to, uh, a place called Winifred Junction which is, uh, in a coal mining town, uh, below Charleston, West Virginia.
I: Um hm.
J: And, uh, he worked in the coal mines there and, uh, was killed in the coal mines.
J: In, uh, 1942.
I: So you were just about five to six year old.
J: I was, uh, eight years old when
J: When my dad died.
I: Oh I’m sorry, yes. Eight.
J: Yeah. Uh, no. He, he died in, uh, 1941.
J: Right, well right
Well, right after the, uh, the entrance into the, uh, World War II.
I: Um hm.
J: He died then, uh. And, and he was killed in the coal mines about two months after the war, uh, yeah.
I: Why, must been so hard for your whole family.
J: It was very hard, yes. We, we, um, um, my mother had, uh, five children.
I: Uh huh.
J: And, uh, after
my father was killed, then she, uh, moved the family to Charleston, West Virginia where she was able to get a job in the, uh, in a factory. They were hiring a lot of women in, in the star t of the World War II.
J: And so, uh, she worked in a, in a, a factory there until, uh, she died
two, two years later, uh, in 1944 she died.
I: Wow, so tell me about who, who grew you. Who, who took care of you?
J: We raised ourself, um. Four, uh, kids, um. My sister, one sister was, uh, about, uh, 14 ½ at the time.
I was 11, and I had a brother that was, uh, 9 and another brother that was 6, and, uh, we, uh, lived independently, no adults in the home.
I: Tell me about it. What do you mean by independent?
J: Well we, we had an uncle who lived in the same town, and, um, he would, uh, he served
as our guardian,
I: Um hm.
J: But we never saw him. He never came around, you know and, uh, all we did was use his name to sign papers and that sort of. Once I learned how to sign his name, we were fine.
J: And so we, but we lived independently in, in, uh, Charleston.
I: So who, who, who made the money for living?
J: We got a little bit of money from the
coal mining accident where my father was killed.
I: Um hm.
J: We got a small amount of money there and, uh, and we worked.
I: Tell me about what kind of work did you do and your siblings?
J: Carried newspapers. We were, uh, newspaper boys.
I: All of you?
J: Well, um, my, uh, sister, um, wasn’t old enough to get a job at the time, and so, uh, she,
she was only 14 ½, but by the time she was 16, she was working, too. And, um, the, the boys, three boys, we, uh, we carried newspapers when we got old enough.
I: Was able to maintain your living?
J: We were able to, to survive.
J: At, at that time.
I: You didn’t have any relative other than that uncle?
J: We had some relatives, but they were, they had their own troubles.
I: Can you give me some sort of specific numbers that how much you were able to make out of your newspaper delivery, and then how much does it cost to have a monthly living for your.
J: Yeah. Well in, in the 1940’s, um, um, I think we got, uh, um, from the coal mines, each, each, um, child got $16 a month.
I: Um hm.
J: And, um, the family got $32 a month, so we were, um, able to get, uh, one hundred and some dollars a month, uh, income.
I: Until when?
J: Un, until we were 18.
J: Uh that, that was the way the, the, uh, the, comp, the work compensation worked at that time.
I: How much were able to make
out of newspaper delivery?
J: A, a few dollars a week.
I: Few dollars week.
J: A few, a few bucks a week.
I: Um hm.
J: It, it depended on what was happening. The, the most we ever made was, um, at the end of World War II when the War ended, everybody was buying newspapers.
J: So, so we sold a lot of papers that day.
I: So it was not fixed salary, but it depends upon the circulation.
J: Yeah, on the circulation of the papers.
I: How much did you make, the most?
J: Um, well, we, uh, we, I, I can’t remember exactly how much the papers sold
I: Roughly, roughly.
J: Sold for. Um, uh, about a nickel. And so we would get a por, a small part of each, each one.
J: So it was a, a very small amount of money. If we made, uh, um, $10 a month, that would be a lot.
I: How much was the gallon of milk at the time?
Remember about roughly?
J: I don’t remember. But it was, uh, it was, u h,
I: Twenty cents? Ten cents?
J: Yeah. It was, it was in the, uh, a quarter maybe.
J: I, I don’t remember exactly the, the prices back then. But it was
I: It’s amazing that you were able to go through this without your parents.
J: Yes. That was, It, it brought a little independence. We, we were all very independent
I: How hard was it? How, what did you think about when you lost your father first and then mother and going through this all by yourself?
J: That was very, very sad, very, very difficult for us. But, but we were able to hang together as, as a family. That was our main goal in life, and we, uh, we tried very hard to, uh, not, uh,
get them to put us in an orphanage. There was always this little threat that
J: they would put you in an orphanage.
I: Um hm.
J: And, and I’ll give you an example. One of the, uh, going to school. We never, we never missed school because that would draw attention to it, and so we all went to school, even though we were pretty shabbily dressed. We, nevertheless, uh, attended school,
And I remember back in, uh, when the War was still going on, I was maybe 9 or 10 at the time, uh. I went to school one day, and the, and the teacher told us that, um, everybody had to donate, uh, $.50 for each parent to belong to the Parent- Teacher Association.
I: Um hm.
J: And so, uh, I thought well,
I don’t have any parents, so I don’t have to donate any money, and, uh, so, uh, the next couple of days I went back to school, uh. The people that hadn’t paid the PTA fees, their names were written up on the blackboard, and I thought uh oh. This is bad. My name was up there. I hadn’t paid
the Parent-Teacher Association, and so, uh, I, uh, uh, went home, collected some of my paper route money, next day went in, and I paid for one parent, and she took my name off the wall, and I felt happy that, uh,
I: Ah, that must be very hard.
J: I was not going to get
J: Called attention to. So that was, kind of, some of the hard times that we had growing up.
I: Um hm. So you must have a strong bond with your siblings.
J: Oh yeah. The ones that are still around I, I do have, uh. My brother and I are on the Face Time every week.
I: Where does he live?
J: He lives in Ohio, and then winter he, he lives in Texas. So,
But, um, yeah, we’re, we, we’re still in, uh,
J: We still stay, stay in touch.
I: Tell me about schools, and did you learn anything about Asia including Korea around the time that you were growing up, up to the point of high school graduation?
J: Well, um,
we, we did okay in school and, and, uh, we tried to learn what we could, and, uh, and, when I was 16, that’s when I learned about Korea.
J: When I was 16, I mean, uh, because the War start ed.
I: Oh, I see.
J: And so, uh, I, um, went down and tried to enlist.
I: You said you born 1933.
I: Sixteen means it’s, uh, ’49. We didn’t have war.
I: ’50. Okay.
J: When I. It was, I was
I: So you didn’t learn anything from
J: I, I learned about it, uh, about.
I: You learn about Korea?
J: I learned the geography. But I, I learned most about Korea when I was, uh, tried to enlist to go in the service.
I: So it’s fair to say that
mostly you were really not aware of where Korea was and so on?
J: Right. I didn’t know much, too much about it. I knew, I knew a fair amount about Japan because of the War. But, uh, and, and going to the newspapers, and everyday there would be something about at attacks in Japan and that sort of thing. So I was quite well aware on that but not so much about Korea.
I: Have you been back to Korea after you, after your service in Korea?
J: Yes. I’ve been back twice.
I: When did you go?
J: Um, I gave a lecture series in, um, in Korea in, um, in the 19, um, 90’s I think. Maybe it was ’92.
I: Um hn.
J: And then I went back for the, uh, 50thanniversary of the Korean War.
I: When is, that’s, uh,
J: That was, uh,
J: Two, yeah. around, I think it was around 2000.
I: So the second the visit was invited by the Korean government, right?
J: Yes. Yes.
I: But the first visit of, to Korea, was your work, right?
J: Yes, it was my work, right.
I: What do you, what do you teach?
J: I’m a psychologist. I’m a professor at the University of Minnesota.
I: That’s quite prestige.
J: Uh, I did that for almost 40 years.
I: From Auburn at
11, you become professor in University of Minnesota.
J: Yeah. There was a
I: Quite an achievement.
J: It was the, a rather big jump because I, I, I barely got out of high school before I, uh, went, uh, you know, when I went to Korea, um. I was 17 when I went in the Army. But after the, uh, after the War, I was
able to, be, because of the GI Bill, I was able to go to college.
I: So before you go into that detail, let me ask this question. You’ve been to Korea twice after the, your service
I: During the War, 1992, 2000. What did you see there at the time that you were, you were there?
J: Very different than when I was there.
I: Tell me about it. Detail.
J: Wonderful place. I mean, just, uh, uh,
I: Give me some sense of before and
after picture so that
J: First time I was
I: This interview will be listened by young childrens. Give them so idea of before and after picture, and, and, and about Korea that you saw in the War and now.
J: Well, um, first time I went through Seoul, I, we landed at, at, uh, Inchon, and, and then, uh, went on a, uh, train and a bus,
through Seoul, and there was nothing there. Bombed out buildings, and I have a distinct memory of just all these bombed out buildings. There was one wall that I recall with three big shell holes in it. That was, that was Seoul when I was first there. That was an incredible, uh, picture. Uh, I, saw a lot of, uh, uh, little kids
as the train would stop, uh, they would be outside, um, and we would give them candy and that sort of thing, and, uh, that, that was my earliest memories. That was going up to the fronts.
I: But when you go visit it in 1992 and 2000, tell me about that, after picture.
J: Well, aft, after picture, the, the building, the, uh, the, the city had grown,
and everything was bustling there and, uh, everybody is, uh, very happy and very pleasant and, um, the, I, I have those memories of, of staying there, and I, I remember another, uh, event that occurred that, uh, I, I wanted to go buy some souvenirs, and so I, uh, started walking down through Seoul. I went into one of those little shops and, and, uh,
I, uh, was talking to a woman, and she said, uh, have you been to Korea before, I said yes I, I was here during the War, and she started to smile, uh. A man came running up from the back, and they thanked me for having been there and, uh, he gave me a present right on the spot.
So that was a very good experience of going back to Korea and having that, uh, uh, that kind of a, a return.
I: What were you thinking to yourself that when you landed
J: I was just
I: again there in 1992 and 2000?
J: It was unbelievable. I, it was, uh, just hard to believe that, that it had grown, uh, so much and they built, built so much.
I: You not History and, or Political Scientist but Psychologist. Do you see any example that U.S. has ever intervened or interfere involved since World War II but coming out of, like, Republic of Korea? Do you know of any other case country where, that see so much differences before U.S. in, intervene and then after?
No. That was an incredible, uh, experience going back and seeing what it was like.
I: So tell me. When did you join the Army?
J: Um, by
I: And why.
J: I, I tried to, after the, the Korean War started, I, I thought it was duty to enlist. And so I packed up a little bag, and I went down to the Recruiting
station and tried to sign up, and he said how old are you, and I had to tell him the truth. I was 16, and, uh, they wouldn’t take me. And so I had to stick around, and, um, then when I got over 17, I, I was able to enlist.
I: Um hm.
J: I enlisted. I was about 17 ½ when I went in.
I: What, do you know the month or dates?
J: Uh, I went in in May, the day after
high school finished I, I went in.
I: So May 2000, I mean 1951?
J: Yes. 1951 I went in.
I: And where did you get the basic?
J: Well, I, I went to, uh, Indiantown Gap, Pennsylvania and, uh, they, they liked to do basic training there because of the hills, and uh, so we learned
to carry heavy loads up hills.
I: You don’t learn those. You labor, right? [LAUGHS]
J: [LAUGHS] Yeah. That was, that was, uh, hard. But I did it, uh, and then I went through, uh, uh, I signed up for the Airborne Infantry, and so I, uh, went to Fort Benning to go through Jump School.
J: And I was in Parachute Infantry, and I was assigned to 82ndAirborne.
I: 82ndAirborne, yeah.
J: So I was in the 82ndAirborne, and a couple of, a couple of issues were, number 1, the 82ndAirborne was not going to go overseas.
J: They, they were a Stateside, uh, and, uh, so, uh, I, I tried to volunteer to go overseas. I volunteered to go over to Korea about 11 times, and, uh,
my Company Commander wouldn’t, uh, let me go because they were trying to hold on to trained paratroopers. So finally I wrote my Senator. Harley Kilgore was my Senator from West Virginia.
I: Could you spell it? H A
J: H A R L E Y Kilgore. K I L G O R E. And
I: You mean Federal Senator?
J: Yes. Yeah.
He was a Senator, and so I, I wrote and said that I’ve been trying to volunteer to go, go to Korea, but, uh, I keep getting turned down. So, um, can you help me?
J: And he was the head of the Arms Appropriation Committee at the time, and within a week, I was on my way to Korea.
I: I mean, you know already that the War broke out there, and you know that, likely that you going to be killed.
J: Yeah, good, good chance of it, but.
I: Did you vol, so basically you volunteered to be killed?
J: If, I, I didn’t, I was so overconfident that I was going to survive, though. And so, you know, I was just about 18 at that time, and I, when I went overseas,
and there you don’t think about that, you know. You just
I: You could just stay there and just do, carry out whatever duties
J: I could have, yes, I could have. I had a nice job, 82ndAirborne. But I, I enlisted in the Army to go help the people in Korea, and I was trying to go. So I got sent.
I: Did you tell this
to your wife, Carolyn?
I: About this?
J: I did tell her. She knows about that, yes. Yeah.
I: What an idiot you were. [LAUGHS]
J: [LAUGHS] Nobody would do that. Well, I did. I did.
I: So what was your specific MOS, and what unit did you belong to when you left for Korea?
J: When I, uh, I was in the, uh, Infantry. I volunteered for the Infantry, uh, and, uh,
so when I went to, uh, Korea, I was just kind of, uh,
J: Rifle, yeah, rifle.
I: Um hm.
J: And, and so, uh,
I: What was unit?
J: I was in the, uh, 17th, uh, Regiment.
I: Um hm.
J: 17thInfantry Regiment of the 7thDivision. And, uh, uh, I kind of thought since I was a trained Paratrooper, I thought I might get put into
the, uh, there was an Airborne unit, the 187th,
J: And, uh, I thought I might get in the 187th. But, um, they, um, they were Japan stationed, and so I, I was sent to Korea.
I: Tell me, when did you arrive in Korea, where, and tell me about what you saw there, right, the day that you arrived.
J: Uh, well, uh,
I: When did you leave for Korea?
J: Um, I, I, I went to Korea, uh, took a, took one of those long boats over and got there, um, early October of ’52.
I: Um hm. Where?
J: Um, um, was, uh, assigned to the
I: When did you arrive?
J: When did I arrive?
I: Where did you arrive?
J: Oh, we came into, uh, Inchon.
J: And, uh, and then took, took the train up to Chuncheon
and, uh, we, uh, then I was, uh, that’s where the, um, Division Headquarters was up there. And so I, and then took another, uh, five or six days to get, uh, finally put on the front lines. So I went to the front lines, um, and, uh, and it, and it took about five or six days to
get up there, and.
I: Basically, you knew where Korea was, but otherwise you didn’t have much knowledge
J: Not much.
I: You never saw it. You never imagined to be in Korea, right?
I: When you landed for the first time and looked all the scenes and the people and the devastation, what were you thinking? What is the impression and image that you can reflect right now?
J: Well, I was finally there.
That’s where I, that’s where I was, that’s what my plan was then. So I, I finally arrived.
I: What did you think when you arrived?
J: I thought well, this is, this is what I’d asked for. But I was kind of surprised how, how damaged it, uh, it was and, and how, uh, destroyed, uh, much of, much of the, uh, terrain that I saw, the buildings and everything destroyed pretty much
I: Describe more specific, the building or seeing mountains, people, anything that you remember? Tell me.
J: I remembered, uh, I remembered the, um, us, the towns being just, uh dilapidated. Just run, uh, destroyed and, uh, the hills looked mighty high, and I thought well, these are pretty high hills.
I: You were trained to do that. [LAUGHS]
J: [LAUGHS] That’s right.
I was trained to do that.
I: So from Chuncheon, where did you go?
J: Went up to, um, um, you may have heard of, uh, I, I, I was, uh, sent up to a, uh, front line position, so I was, I was in, uh, my, uh, company, in Fox Company, and, um, I was, uh, put into, in the front lines, and so
I: Around Pork Chop Alley or Heartbreak Ridge or, where was it?
J: Um, um, the Triangle Ridge Area, and, uh, so we were in the, in the area of Triangle Ridge. I’d never heard that term before, uh. It was just the front lines. Just these big ditches. And so I show up there, and, and, uh, with my, with, uh, M1 rifle and get put into a squad, and
I’m, uh, uh, assigned a particular duty, and we went, went out on the, uh, with the first two days I was there, we, we were out on a patrol, uh. That was, was my first patrol, and went out into no man’s land, and that was kind of an exciting, interesting thing. And, uh, they, they had, uh,
uh, I knew how to fire a Bazooka, and they, uh, there had been, uh, some, uh, uh, tanks that were thought to be in this particular area, and we were going down to knock out a tank if possible.
I: With a Bazooka.
J: With a Bazooka.
I: Did you?
J: No, we didn’t see any tanks.
J: And so we spent the night out there waiting for them and, uh,
Then we came back. But within, um, six days, uh, it, really bad stuff happened.
I: Tell me detail [INAUDIBLE]/
J: Um, the, there was a, a, um, an attack on a place called, uh, Jane Russell Hill. I don’t know if you’ve heard of that.
J: Well, Jane Russell Hill was where we, where I, I first saw the
most intense of combat.
I: When was it?
J: That was in October 18, 1952. It was, uh,
J: ’52 we went up Jane Russell Hill. We went up the right wrist of Jane Russell. And, uh,
I: What happened? What happened? Describe the details. All, sequence, what happened?
J: We lost, um, uh, several people going up the hill, um.
but when we, we made it to the top, uh, of the hill, um, we were, uh, we were placed in a situation where we, we were on one side of the slope, and exactly on the other side of the slopes were the Chinese.
J: And so, um, it wasn’t a particularly safe place when you’re sitting there
trying to eat, and your, uh, can
J: C-rations, and the grenades come floating over.
I: Um um.
J: So, uh, I was sent with, uh, another guy to go out to, uh, go over the slope to find out where the Chinese were coming from. And so, uh, my first
really bad experience was, uh, the two of us crawled up to the top of the hill, and we were looking down over the valley, and there was a big hill, 1062 was one of the biggest, tallest hills in the area, and Old, and Baldy was over on the other side. And we were laying there and looking at the, at the trench below us. that’s where the
grenades were coming from, and a shot rang out and hit my buddy right next to me right in the eyes. It hit him between the eyes. So that was the first of the horrible experiences. Lost my good friend.
I: He, he killed right there.
J: Right there, yeah, right on the spot. We
I: What were you thinking when you saw him die?
J: Uh, it
was a very bad experience that, uh, I didn’t think that’s, this would happen to us. It was a real surprise. So, um, we got him, his body, off, and then, uh, uh, two other guys and me went over, found the, the, uh, trench line where the Chinese were, and we knocked out the bunker, uh, with grenades
J: Yeah. And then, uh, one of my lifelong friends was with me on that thing, and we went down, he was both, he’s from West Virginia also, and, uh, his name was Carlos Comey. And so, uh, Carlos and I knocked out this bunker, and uh
I: Only two of you?
J: Two of us, yeah, cause that’s all you could get in the trench.
I: How many Chinese soldiers?
J: Um, I think there were three in there. Uh, and so, uh, uh, I have a picture that’s in our, in the book that I brought. I have a picture of, uh, uh, Carlos and I after, after that little engagement, cleaning up the weapons that we captured from the bunkers. So, uh, that was, uh, a little
successful part of the venture up there. Um, but then, then we were up there for some more night and, uh, the Chinese assaulted, uh, again, lots of artillery, and uh, uh, so there were, there were a number of experiences on that hill that I write about in the book.
I: What is the tit le of the book?
J: Uh, “Korea, Traces of A Forgotten War”.
I: I, I will have a copy ordered, yeah.
J: Yeah. I describe some of these events in that, uh, book.
I: Um hm. I think that’s very well- known book. I didn’t read it, but I think I heard about it lot.
J: Yes, it, it is.
I: Were you scared when you saw your friend just killed right in front of you, and you have to just knock down this, uh, trench, Chinese? Were you scared to death, or tell me about what
J: Well, it was, um, the, the, the first, when I went into the, into the trench, the, at, at first, uh, after Sully got shot, I went down over
into the trench and, uh,
I: You can speak up little bit.
J: Yeah. I, I, uh, went down into the trench, and I was waiting, I could see inside the, the, uh, the bunker, and, uh, I was just looking into the hole of the bunker
I: Um hm.
J: when, uh, a Chinese soldier came out,
and we were about the same distance you are from me.
I: Oh boy.
J: He looked at me, I looked at him, and it seemed like minutes, hours, that we were staring at each other, and neither of us fired immediately. And then he, he jumped back into the, into the, uh, bunker. It was, that was a real surprise. So
Does that still bother you?
J: I still think about it, yeah. I
I: Bothers you?
J: I, you have to, see him, to see him from, uh, to be so surprised. He came out to throw a grenade, and I shocked him as much as he shocked me. He looked at me, and I looked at him. It seemed like forever. But, um, but we did, we did then, uh, uh, Carlos and I then knocked the bunker out and, and, uh, got rid of the enemy.
So that was one of the most dramatic of the early experiences that I had. So after, uh, after we came off Jane Russell Hill, um, they made me a squad leader. I got promoted to squad leader and, uh,
J: Yeah. I got promoted to Corporal, and I made it, I went to, so I,
in my book I’ve got a picture of the first squad that I had. My, my, my first duty assignment, and, so that was a, a interesting experience.
I: Um hm.
J: So after Jane Russell Hill, we hung around, uh, in, in some other part of the trenches for another month, and then our whole unit got pulled back
and, um, we went to a place called Koji-do.
I: Oh, from Jane Russel Hill?
J: Yes. And, and we did, uh, we went to Koji-do to guard prisoners. So they were giving us a break from the front lines.
I: Uh huh.
J: But, we became, uh, guards to the, uh, to the, uh, prisoners in, North Korean prisoners in, uh, Koji-do for three weeks.
So that was like a vacation. But it wasn’t really a vacation. Um,
I: Because there is a prison camp.
J: There was a prison camp, and, and they had just had, no long before, had a riot.
I: Riot, yes.
J: At the prison camp, and they captured the General.
J: Uh, and, at the, the prison camp. And so, uh, it wasn’t really a, a party, but it, but no one was
throwing big shells at us, so, so, um, but we stayed back there until, uh, January.
I: When did you left, when did you leave for Koji-do?
J: Um, in January we left Koji-do. We were there in uh, uh, last part of, uh, we were in there the last part of December, and uh, into the first part of January.
I: How long did you stay there?
J: Three, a little over
three weeks in, in Koji-do.
I: What was your mission? What was your duty?
J: Uh, guarding, uh, the guarding the, the prisoners, make. We had to go in like two or three, uh, times a week, we would go in the compounds and make sure they didn’t have any, uh, weapons and things like that.
I: Was it dangerous?
I: For you to go inside to the camp?
J: It was. It was dangerous.
I: Tell me about it, how dangerous.
J: At one, one point,
one of the, the prisoners came rushing out at one of the guys and, uh
I: Trying to kill him.
J: Trying to kill him, yeah. So it was, it was pretty dangerous. So when we, we got back
I: Tell, tell to the children about the General, that he was captured in the, inside of the prison camp and what happened. Do you know?
J: Now, I can’t remember his, his name. But, uh,
I: I think it’s Dean.
J: Dean, uh, Dean. They captured him,
and, um, uh, they, um, they did, they did, they were forced to release him, but, uh, I don’t recall the full details of it. It was, that was the time that I was, uh, not there. So. But, um, we went back to the front in, um, uh, January and, uh,
we spent, uh, quite a bit of the winter running patrols in the, over in the area, um,
I: Was it same location? Jane Russell?
J: No, we
I: Chorwon, Triangle?
J: No. This, we moved over to, uh, a different area
J: Pork Chop Hill.
I: Oh, Pork Chop Hill.
J: Yeah, and, um, we, uh, we went, we, uh, ran, um, a lot of, a lot of combat patrols for
several months, and then, uh
I: How was the situation there in the front line, every day battles, severe battle?
J: Yeah. There was
I: Was it like a stalemate? Please explain those.
J: Yes. It was like, um, during that time, um, it was, um, a lot of patrol action, um. Every two to three days, we would, um, have to, uh, run patrols,
and then, um, uh, at night, sometimes recon, reconnaissance patrols, or sometimes they were combat patrols. Um, the combat patrols we would, um, uh, have to, uh, like leave, set up for an ambush of some sort. So we lost a few people, uh, in patrol action as well as, uh, as some of the major battles.
And then, um, uh, after, uh, after, in April, uh, the action got much more intense, uh, and the, uh, uh, we encountered, uh, probably the, one of the, the most significant battles of 1953 was Pork Chop Hill.
J: And so we went up Pork Chop Hill on April 17, 1953. We, we attacked.
I: Mostly Chinese or North Koreans?
I: Chinese. Uh, it was mostly Chinese that I was against. I think most of the North Koreans were kind of subdued a little bit more.
J: Right side of the Pork Chop Hill was
occupied by the North Koreans. So you are kind of close to them.
J: Yes. They were on, um, T Bone Hill.
J: And, uh, we, we had a outpost very near T Bone Hill, and we spent a lot of time, uh, with, uh, there, uh, running patrols against T Bone Hill.
I: Any other episode that you specifically remember was very dangerous, just like the one that you, the Chinese, uh,
trench that you knocked down. That kind of encounter in, in Pork Chop Hill?
J: No. Pork Chip Hill was an extremely intense battle. Um, um, the, the Battle of Pork Chop Hill, uh, one company had gotten pretty devastated up on the hill, and our, uh, we were the, the second company to attack and, uh, uh, I
was in, uh, Fox Company at the time, and, um, we went up in the evening. It was around 9:00, 9:30, somewhere in the evening that we attacked, uh, Pork Chop Hill, and we went to, uh, as our Company got to the base of Pork Chop, uh, and started up the hill, a very intense barrage of, of shelling, uh, came
and, uh, killed 19 people from our Company, uh, before we even made it up to the hill.
I: Um hm.
J: So, but we pushed our way up the hill, and by the time we got to the top, the top, our Company was pretty much fragmented. It, we were just several batches of small groups of, of soldiers. And, uh, so we had, um, to, uh, retake the trenches,
but we didn’t have any, you know, clear organization. So it was, uh, small units.
I: Let’s talk about self side of it. What did you eat? Where did you sleep? How often did you have a shower? These are the questions that elementary school students
asking the veterans.
J: Well, un, they would try to clean us up about once a week. Um, we would, uh, if we were lucky, we’d, we’d get taken back in the rear area where, uh, it was safer, uh, and, uh, uh, get a, get to take a shower, and, um, get a change of clothes
and back up to the front. So.
I: Once a month?
J: Yeah, about that. Uh, once, once every week or so.
I: Every week?
I: Not too bad.
J: Not too bad. No, they tried to keep us clean.
I: Hot shower?
J: No. Most of them were cold. [LAUGHS] Uh, sometimes you’d think it would be hot, but. But one, one of the, um, one of the things people don’t think about is, uh, one of my most intense experiences
that I carried with me for a while after I got back from the War was, uh, I, we had to, uh, uh, we, we lived in filth, and, um, we would empty, take our cans of C-rations, and we’d finish them, and we’d throw them out in the front because they would make noise if somebody came clicking.
And so one of the things that, uh, thrived in that time was rats. Rats liked them, and they liked something else. We couldn’t kill the rats because if you killed a rat, they often possessed a little bug
J: that caused, that would go onto a person and cause a disease called Hemorrhagic Fever.
I: Um hm.
J: And so, uh, and we had people that developed those, those kinds of problems. And so, uh, you couldn’t you couldn’t kill the rats. So one night I was sleeping in my, in the trench, and I woke up, and I felt something right here
with whiskers, and he was staring me right in the eyes, and I was staring him right in the eyes, and I flipped him off of me, and he took off. But that memory stayed with me and came back quite often, and
I: That was your Mickey Mouse
J: That was my, that was my Mickey Mouse. But what was kind of interesting about that, uh, that rat incident is, um, uh, even after the War was over, sometimes I would, a, a sheet, a bed sheet would scrape me, and I would wake up, and I would start screaming, and, uh, uh, people didn’t like that. My wife didn’t like that.
I: So you tell her about it.
J: Yeah. And, uh,
but I got cured from it when I was
I: So that was kind of PTSD.
J: That was a PTSD thing, oh, absolutely. And how I got cured was, uh, I was, uh, when I was in, uh, graduate school, my job, my first job in graduate school was working in the animal lab, and I had to take care of the rats.
I: There you go.
J: And I started
handling the rats, feeding them, playing with them. They liked me. I liked them. I never had another incident of that.
I: Wow, that’s a story.
J: situation. And that was, uh, I got rid of my rat problem. So that’s the way you do it. You study Psychology, and you watch the rats.
I: That’s a very good point because I met so many Korean War veterans who had the PTSD, and there are many side of the PTSD, but did you have a different kind of PTSD rather than just that rat?
J: I had other things, too, the, the, the shell, and the loud, uh, shell. Uh, one, one night I was, uh,
after I got back, I was driving and, uh, uh, all of a sudden I heard this horrible, uh, loud noise, and I looked up, and there was like shells coming off. It was the 4thof July. I didn’t know it was the 4thof July. And I almost had a car accident because of that.
I: Was it ’52 or ’53?
J: It was, that was probably ’54 that that happened.
That was after I’d gotten back. I got, cause I got back in late ’53.
I: And oh, you mean the fireworks?
J: The fireworks.
J: Yeah. It was the 4thof July
J: That was so intense.
I: What happened to you when you hear that?
J: Well, that, that, well now, it’s nothing. I mean it’s, it’s all, it’s all gone. But, uh, at that time, I was
really surprised by it. I wasn’t, I wasn’t prepared for it.
I: Um hm. As a psychologist and professor, is PTSD curable, and how we do it, and for the Korean War veterans who has so much of this PTSD, um, what do you, I mean what do you think about it? What do you suggest, and how you, we have to deal with it?
J: Well, as people’s experiences are different,
but, uh, you could, but there, there are things you can do with managing, uh, PTSD. Uh, uh,
I: For example?
J: Uh, the, uh, uh, conditioning for one thing. When we first came back from Korea, uh, the War was over. Our military duty was over. We were, we went home. And we had
to take care of ourself. There was no, you know, no, uh, resolving these issues or problems. We just blended back into the society after the Korean War. Um, I, I think that, uh, uh, a lot of people experienced
J: differently. But there, there is not
a day that goes by that I don’t think of or remember something about what happened there.
I: What was the most difficult thing during your service in Korea? What really bothers you, or what was the most difficult thing that you still remember?
J: Losing, losing my friends was, was the most difficult thing. And also as I went up in the leadership of, uh
became a, a Sergeant and a Platoon Sergeant, uh, yeah you know, I was maybe 9, well I was a 19 year-old then at that time and, uh, um, I’m not sure how ready I was for that kind of leadership capacity. But sending people out to die is bad. It was difficult. Sending, sending, uh
I: At the time, did you have chance to write letters back to your family?
J: I did. Um, I wrote my sister, uh,
I: What’s her name?
J: Yeah. And I, I sent her things back, you know.
J: Um, uh, propaganda leaflets that we captured from, uh, the Chinese and, uh.
I remember one that I sent back, uh, to, I still have it that, uh
I: Did you give it to me? Do we have a copy in our website?
I: That leaflet?
J: They’re, they’re, I, I have a, uh, a copy of it in my book, the, uh, that was a propaganda leaflet that’s in the book.
I: Um hm. And
J: What I did was I, my, my youngest brother was having
some difficulties with school. And so I, I wrote a little message for him on that kind of telling him to shape up.[LAUGHS]
I: Hah. You were big brother.
J: Yeah. I was the, playing big brother at the time.
I: Did you have any girlfriend?
J: Uh, not really, uh, at the time. I, I was, I had, I had friends but, uh no, no, no really
I: So when did you
meet the current wife?
J: Uh, well, I had another, another wife first, though.
I: Um hn.
J: Uh, and, uh, I’m a, I was married to, after the War and, uh, but my, my current wife I met back in the, uh, 70’s.
I: So did you tell your war experience to Carolyn?
J: Yeah. Oh yes.
I: How did she react?
J: Well, she, um,
She thought it was a pretty horrible experience. She’s also a very good editor, and, and so she, uh, made, made some good editorial comments in my book.
I: She, she’s also, what, what’s her?
J: She’s a psychologist also.
I: Psychologist, too.
I: I’m looking at the Korean War Veterans Digital Memorial, the website, KWVDM.org where that you already give me some, uh, artifacts.
I don’t find those leaflets and other historical materials. So if you have those copies, and if you can scan those,
J: Yeah, I can scan those
I: Yeah, and send it to me please.
J: I can, I can scan them and send it to you.
I: So I can add more.
J: Yeah. I, I, I recall that I put it in the, uh, in the appendix in the book, uh.
I: Um hm. And
J: But we would, we would go down,
It was a place called the Alligator Jaws
J: That the Chinese would come out, and they would dump t heir, their, um, propaganda leaflets, and we’d, we ran patrols down the, through the Alligator Jaws a lot. We’d find out what the latest propaganda was.
I: So where did you sleep? Was it tent or is it foxhole?
J: Just foxhole, just in, in bunkers, yeah.
I: How was it?
J: We, we
we made the bunks by putting up, uh, uh, um, some metal, uh, posts and, uh, wire from the communications wire, and we, we would wire, and it would make a bunk.
J: Put our blanket on top of it. That was comfortable.
I: Must been very cold, though.
J: It was very cold.
Out, it was notable. When I first, uh, got to Korea in, in October, um, I was surprised by how cold it was, uh. I took a, a canteen of, of water out on a patrol, and it started to freeze. And so I knew it was going to be a cold winter.
I: Were there any Koreans that worked with you?
J: Oh yes.
I: Tell me about those.
J: They were, we had to, uh, in our Company, about 30 Katusas, and, uh, we were all very friendly. We, we liked the, we, we got along really well. And, uh, I’ve got a picture of one, one of the Katusas in my book. He was killed on Pork Chop Hill. He was one of, one of the 19 that was killed as we went up the hill.
And, uh, but we had a, we had a, another one that, um, that everybody liked so much. He was very strong and, uh, liked to wrestle. So every, he wrestled with everybody.
I: Katusa, one of the Katusa?
J: Yeah. His, we called him Clark Gable because of the way he looked.
I: [LAUGHS] Korean Clark Cable, Gable.
I: Hm. Any busboy?
J: He, he lost, uh, uh, I think two legs on Pork Chop.
I: I mean, were they paid by American government, or what’s going on?
I: Tell, tell about the Katusa.
J: The Katusas were paid, but they were not paid very much. I, I don’t remember how much but, uh, they liked being in the American units because, uh, they liked the food better that we have
than, than what we they were getting in the Korean units. And so I think that was a, a real plus for them. Um, but I, I think they weren’t paid well.
I: How much were you paid when you were in, uh, platoon
J: I, I think, uh,
J: Well, uh, S, I don’t remember the exact pay, but I think, uh, when I, but, uh, I was, when I first got into the military, I was making like $70 some bucks a month.
I, I don’t remember the, the exact pay. I knew, I knew it wasn’t very much.
I: And plus battle pay, too, right?
J: Yeah, you, yeah, yeah. You, you did get some. Uh, also, uh, parachute, uh, uh, pay was, uh, when you’re jumping. If, if you’re on, uh, jump status, you, we got an extra $50 bucks a month or something.
I: But did you jump during 1953, ‘52?
I: Before, yeah.
J: I jumped before, yeah.
I: What did you do withthat money?
J: Uh, sent it to my sister. I sent as much as I could home.
I: So did she, did she use it for the family or what happened?
J: Yeah, she used it. But, but, uh, she was really a good, uh, a good person. She was very, uh, very frugal, and she saved some of it until I got back.
I: Oh. So did, did you ask her to use it for the family?
J: I told, I, I just sent it to her but, but she saved some, yeah.
I: So you were the eldest boy, right?
I: And then you had, uh, old sister, right?
J: Yeah. I, I actually had two older sisters, but one had left the family, so.
I: So you most, almost like a father figure to them.
J: Well, we’re um, uh, my brother close to me, uh, uh,
two years, uh, he and I would, would take care of the younger brother. Maybe we didn’t do, do too good a job sometimes, but, uh, but, uh,
I: Had you complained to God about your loss of your parents both at very early age?
J: Complain to?
J: No. I don’t complain to God. But, um, it was, uh, it was a hard life in the beginning.
I: Let me ask this question. When did you leave Korea?
J: Um, I left, uh, a week after the war ended. July of, uh, ’53. My, my time was up. I already spent my
I: So it was, must be early August.
I: Um hm.
I: And World
J: I went
back to the 82ndAirborne.
I: What, what were you thinking? Did you think that there is a future of the Korea when you left?
J: You know, I didn’t. I, I, thought they, they have a very hard life here, and I, I was, uh, I was really surprised about the, the, the economic growth and the development and everything when I, when I went back to Korea. Uh, but I,
uh, over the years I’ve known, I’ve, I’ve had several, uh, PhD students from Korea, um. Some of my best students were Korean, Korean students, and uh, and so, uh, In, in fact there, in my book, I’ve got a picture with two of my graduates who, who was on that trip that I, that I took in ’92,
I think, um. Uh, we took a, they took a picture of us at, at the workshop that I did. But I was, I was really, uh, quite shocked at the growth and development in, in South Korea at the time.
I: Why this War has been known as Forgotten War? Why do you think it was the case?
J: I think that, uh,
the Vietnam War occurred not too long after and, uh, I think that, uh, people just got so fed up with war.
I: But even before the, uh, Vietnam War, not much people really talked about it. You know, I, I had a lot of our veterans who saying that
J: Maybe, yeah.
I: People around them didn’t know where they are, and they didn’t really ask about what they
did after they returned.
J: But, uh, once when my, one of my grandsons was in high school, uh, this was maybe in the ‘90’s or early 2000, um he was studying something in high school, and, uh, he came into, he wanted to talk to me about, uh, Korea,
and here’s how he started it off. The Korean War wasn’t really a war, was it Grandpa? That’s what they, they called it conflict. Truman called it a conflict, and it wasn’t a war. And so people just said it wasn’t a war. I think that’s, that’s a part of history [INAUDIBLE]
Then, and I think, too, because of the, uh, of the, uh, antagonism about the Vietnam War and I think a lot of people just got, uh, very angry at, at war generally. So, Korea was maybe easy for some people to forget. It wasn’t easy for us who were there. But it was easy for other people to forget.
I: You are the survivor of this big battles in Jane Russell Hill, Pork Chop Alley and so on. When you left Korea, did you want to forget about it? I mean, be honest. Please.
J: Yeah, I, I couldn’t forget it.
I: You couldn’t forget, but
J: No. I, I, I wanted to go on with my life. And so, uh, uh, well, I, I had another, by the time I got back,
I had seven to eight months that I, my, uh, time in the military, and so I went back to the 82ndAirborne, and, uh, went back to jumping and back, I, I, uh, had, I was a platoon Sergeant in the e 82ndAirborne, which was, was kind of enjoyable actually. I, I kind of liked that, and, I thought for a while why don’t I re-enlist.
And what would I like to do? And so, uh, I, um, went to the people, and I said, um, uh, they, they were trying to get us to re-enlist, and I thought well, maybe I wouldn’t mind flying helicopters so I’ll go back and ask, I’ll ask them, and I said, you know,
if I re, if I re-enlist, can I get into, uh, helicopter training? And the guy said well, we can’t guarantee it, but we’ll try, and I said no thanks. I, I said what would I do then if I didn’t make it? He said you’d come back to the 82nd, and I said no. Um, I got, and that’s, I just got out in ’54.
I: ’54. And then you got the GI Bill
J: Well, not, not right away. I, I
did, tried some jobs. I worked for a couple of years as a private detective.
J: As, and, uh, and, uh
I: Private Detective.
J: In Charleston, West Virginia. I worked, uh, uh, that was, uh, kind of an interesting life. But, uh, but I, uh, decided to move on and, and my GI Bill time was running out, and so I, uh, started college,
and I, I liked it.
I: When? What college?
J: ’56, um. I started, uh, I, I started in Charleston at at, at, at an all black school, uh, an African-American school, and, uh. But we moved to North Carolina, and I, uh, started a, uh,
I: North Carolina?
J: Yeah. I, well I, at Guilford College in, in, uh, Greensboro, North Carolina, is where
I: What college?
J: Uh, Guilford College.
J: G U I L F O R D.
I: G U I L F
J: O R D. Guilford.
J: Yeah. I, uh, I attended Guilford College and
I: Psychology major?
J: Yeah. Yeah. Uh, they were, um, Guilford College is a Quaker school, and they accepted combat vets you know.
I: With a GI Bill?
J: With, yeah. I went with the GI Bill.
And then I went to graduate school at, uh, University of North Carolina.
I: Oh, UNC.
J: Yeah. UNC grad and, uh, and then I went to Minnesota after that.
I: Where did you get the PhD?
I: UNC. So you got a job in University of Minnesota?
I: That’s where you met your wife?
J: Yeah, later.
I: Um hm.
I: What a transformation.
J: It was different, yeah.
I: Were your family, your siblings, with you when you moved to North Carolina?
J: Uh, my, uh, no, no. They had all gone in different directions. My, um, my younger brother, my, uh, next to oldest brother, next to me, uh, he became a minister [INAUDIBLE].
J: He got a, got a couple of PhDs in, uh, Religion and, uh, and, uh, Ministry.
J: Yes. Yeah. He’s um, a Methodist.
J: He retired as a Methodist minister. So he, he did quite well in his life.
I: Um. So looking back all those years, you born at the end
the, rig after the Great Depression in 1929. You lost your parents, mother and father, and you were in the very severe, uh, battle period in Korea. Came back. You become professor in Psychology. Where is your Korea, and, and what is Korea to you personally?
J: Well, it’s, it’s a very important, uh, phase in my life, that’s for sure. That, uh, uh, being there and all the people that I met, worked with, uh. Korea’s, has, has a special place in my life.
I: What special? How special? Give me more detail. You’re a professor.
J: Well, the friendships that I developed, um,
during the War and also, uh, after the War at a number of, uh, uh, my former students. I’ve always liked them, and we’ve always gotten along well. Um, done a fair, fair amount of work, lectures in Korea. That’s been, uh, important, too. And uh, currently I’m, I’m on the, uh, Korean War
Monument Foundation and
I: You’re talking about Wall of Remembrance, right?
J: And, uh, we are in the process now of trying to develop a, um, we, we have, uh, Congressional approval and, um, we’re trying to get the funding for, uh, building a wall around the current monument, and the wall will contain the names of
the people that dies there, and that’s what’s very important, and, uh, uh, that’s the big task ahead of me now. So serving, serving on the Foundation Board and trying to
I: So what is your relationship with Bill Weber?
J: Uh, I’m on, I serve on the Board with Bill Weber, and, uh, uh, um, several other people, John Phillips is also, uh, on the Board. John Phillips is a, uh, Pork Chop Hill guy.
I: Um hm.
So those are special things.
I: My PhD dissertation in Political Science from the Maxwell School of Syracuse University was about the role of government in our rapid economic development and how we did it, and then later I published the book about simultaneous economic development in democratization.
J: That must have been a very interesting, uh, topic.
I: Yes. And
J: Because I wondered about how, how’s that economy burst loose like that. It was just incredible.
I: I, you can just Google it from Amazon, and you will find my book, Jongwoo Han, and then, um, it’s a very unprecedent, it’s, it’s unprecedented, you know. As you know, we were completely destroyed by the end of
I: And then we started our five-year economic development plan in 1962 under the military dictatorship authoritarian regime
J: Right, yeah.
I: But at the same time, there was severe demonstration against this military dictatorship so that rapid economic development and democratization process occurred at the same time, and we were able to compete with other western developed democracy, now 11thlargest economy
in the world. Can you believe that?
J: Yes I can. [LAUGHS] Having been there I know. I know it is.
I And you are part of this whole history.
J: Well, I’m, I, uh, I’m happy to have, to have been a part because it has, has gone well and will continue so.
I: And that’s why my Foundation, Korean War Legacy Foundation, collecting this living
witness of Korean War veterans, and then we want use it in the classroom because our history textbook only covers about a paragraph.
J: Right, yes.
I: In AP World History, there is nothing about Korea while there are 17 topics on China, 16 topics, oh, 17 -16 for China and Japan respectively.
We have, they don’t teach anything about it.
I: You just mentioned that the Korea that you saw in 1950 and now
J: It’s a world apart.
I: World apart. But we don’t teach. That’s why we are trying to make a digital teaching materials so that the teachers can use about this whole thing.
J: Yes, it’s interesting the education of, of people to have that growth and development, uh.
It had to have been, uh, an incredible change, too.
I: Yeah. So I think that is the, I think that’s what Korea used to be to the United States, that the Korea wasn’t really, it’s a small, poor, completely destroyed. But now it becomes like a real ally and big enough, you know, even though it’s very small in terms of size, it’s just a little bit bigger than Indiana.
J: South Korea.
J: It’s pretty small.
I: Yeah. We don’t have drop of oil.
J: No oil.
I: No oil. Nothing. Not much.
J: And you don’t really need oil, do you? [LAUGHS]
I: No. I mean we all import this petroleum, 100%, you know? But anyway, let me ask you about your grandson. You, you told me that your grandson is going to Korea.
I: Tell me about the detail. As a military personnel?
J: Oh, he’s, yes.
I: Tell me.
J: Uh, my grandson, uh,
I: What’s his name?
J: His name is Ben Butcher. Well, uh, I, I have to tell you about his father, uh, Janus Dale Butcher. Um, my son, and, uh, I named him after two of my friends that died in Korea. And naming him, uh,
I: Could you repeat that again? Janus?
J: I, Janus, J A N U S.
I: J A N U S
J: Dale. D A L E.
I: Um hm.
I: Um hm.
J: And, um, the, uh, I named him after, uh, one of my, uh, buddies, uh, Janus Kromens and Dale Moss, and uh, both of them were killed in the War, and that’s the reason I named him that. And, uh, I,
I think naming him after two military guys stuck his career, so he became a career, um, soldier. He, he’s retired now, 37 years in the military as a sports medicine doctor of, and now his son is also in the military. His son is a helicopter pilot and, uh, has
already had one tour in Korea and is getting ready for another one.
I: So your grandson achieved
J: What I couldn’t get into [LAUGHS]
I: Right. What’s his name?
J: His name is Ben, Benjamin Butcher, uh.
I: And, uh, what’s, uh, his, his, not Army, right?
J: He’s Army. He’s, uh, he is a, uh, uh, Warrant Officer, 3rd, 3rdGrade, uh, Warrant Officer.
I: And he’s,
J: He flies Apache helicopters.
I: Second Division?
J: I don’t know what, uh, his unit would be there. Currently he’s in New York I think.
I: How old is he?
J: Um, he’s 30’s, 30 ish, something along there.
I: And rank?
J: Um he’s a Warrant Officer, uh. That, that’s, uh, the highest enlisted rank of, enlisted person rank.
I: Um hm.
J: That’s typical for a, uh, helicopter pilots.
I: What did he say about his experience in Korea to you?
J: He likes it. He was, he wants to go back, and he is in September, yeah.
I: Is he married?
J: Yeah. His family doesn’t go back, go over there. But only, only he will go. They come, they’ll come to visit.
I: Did your son served in Korea? Been to Korea?
J: He, he, he did, but only, um, um, my son was, uh, um, a, uh, Flight Surgeon, and so he didn’t serve for a long period of time, but he was there for a while.
I: While. But also served in the aircraft?
J: Yeah, mostly in the, he was in, uh, uh, Europe.
I: Wow. Whole family, three generations.
J: Three generations.
I: You are, your friend to Korea.
J: Yeah. I’m glad that I was able to be a friend to Korea.
I: And I’m glad that we can talk about this details.
J: Yeah. Yeah, it’s been very good.
I: What is the legacy of the Korean War that you can think?
J: Well I, I, I certainly think, uh, the relationship between us and Korea is,
uh, a very strong one. I, I hope that it main, maintains that strength because it’s important for both Korea and for the U.S..
I: Um hm. Let’s talk about the Wall of Remembrance. You going to use glasses, right?
J: Yes. I think it’s gonna be a glass wall.
I: Glass wall. And
Don’t you think it will have a reflects when people take a picture?
J: I’m, I don’t know the technical aspect of it. But the, uh, uh, the, the people on the Board who are, uh, architects and designers
I: Yeah, I met him last night..
J: Oh. Lecky or?
I: Yeah, Lecky.
J: Lecky, yeah.
I: How did,
Is he aware of that issue? I mean people will take a lot of
J: I’m not, I’m not sure. I’ve never, I’ve never heard that discussed this month.
I: Could you, could you ask him about it? Or I will ask him, too. Yeah.
I: Have you dealt with, uh, K-12 teachers in, in any format or any way?
J: I don’t think I have.
I: Uh. Okay. We going to have a conference, teacher’s conference, Social
Studies teachers conference in July here, 11thto 14th
I: In Doubletree by Hilton in Arlington, Crystal City, and we going to invite many people including veterans. I’m not sure whether you heard, Seymour Bernstein, Kenneth Gordon. Seymour Bernstein is well known internationally well-known pianist;
J: I think I’ve heard of him.
I: You can check his introduction in Netflix.
There is a documentary about his career. And Kenneth Gordon is a violinist, first violinist of, uh, New York Philharmonic Orchestra.
J: Oh, yeah.
I: They didn’t know each other, but they met at the basic camp. Then they were in Korea together, and they did classical performance
I: before the soldiers in 1951, ’52.
I: You, you, you never been part of that, right?
J: No, I’ve never been a part of that.
They play the piano, and this Seymour Bernstein played a, Moonlight Sonata of Beethoven.
J: No, I, I re, I know the name from somewhere but, uh, I don’t remember where.
I: So I’m going to invite them there, and Kenneth Gordon promised me to play Bach, Bach, you know, he’s.
J: Well, it sounds like a new event. That’s the one that we’re, we used to miss because we were gone out of town.
I: You going to go out of town, too?
J: We’re out of town then.
I: Sorry to miss you. But anyway, we’ll try to keep up with you, okay?
I: Update you and, and I want you to be able to talk with the teachers at some point, you know.
J: Yeah, I’d be happy to.
I: Um hm.
J: Maybe next time around
I: Um hm. Next time. Any other episode or any other comments about your service?
J: I think we’ve covered quite a bit.
I: Anything you want to add to this interview?
J: No, I think that’s, that does it. Thank you very much.
I: Thank you very much for your service, honorable service, and, and I know the Triangle area, Chorwon, Kumwha, that’s one of the most intensive battle that occurred
in the Korean War.
J: Yes. Yeah, It was the most intense one in ’52. That’s for sure.
I: Yep. And now as a professor in Psychology, you are, you’ve been back to Korea, dealing with the Korean students, and you are aware of this whole transformation made and the new relationship between U.S. and Korea. You are the living witness, and we cherish this, uh, interview and edit it, and we
going to use it as a, one of the teaching materials on the Korean War and its legacy.
J: Oh, thank you very much.
[End of Recorded Material]