Born in Olean, New York on September 12, 1933, John Davie was one of seven children. He graduated from Olean High School in 1952 and recalls not being taught anything about Korea. He worked in a machine factory after graduation and joined the United States Marine Air Reserves in Niagara Falls, New York. After attending a six-week bootcamp for basic training, he enlisted in the United States Air Force in late 1952 and was stationed at Sampson Air Force Base in Geneva, New York. He worked under the chief dietitian as a medical administrative specialist, handling care for wives and children of the troops stationed there. He recalls that delivery of a baby cost only seven dollars and fifty cents! In the hospital, he witnessed a great deal of physical and psychological injuries, which was very eye-opening. After the war, he was stationed at a base hospital in Évreux, France.
Stories from Friends in Combat
John Davie recalls stories he heard about Korea from childhood friends. He received a letter from a friend who was fighting in Korea in 1953. This friend told him he was lucky to not be in Korea, that it was a cold, and a tough time. He had another friend who was wounded as a paratrooper in Korea. That friend lost part of one of his leg calves in gunfire and didn't talk much about his experience beyond that. Korea seemed so distant to him, but many of his friends were affected directly.
The Forgotten War?
John Davie speculates about the reasons why the Korean War is known as the forgotten war. He thinks many people got callous feelings about the war and took the war for granted. He also thinks the Second World War and Vietnam War were more of a focus for much of the country.
Experiences in Post-War Korea
John Davie recounts his experiences after the war where he earned his associates and bachelors degrees, became an international procurement manager, and traveled to Korea for business. He attended SUNY at Alfred and Saint Bonaventure University thanks to the GI Bill, earning his business degree and immediately working for IBM after being recruited at an on-campus recruitment event. Later on in his career, in 1985, his work with Samsung took him to Seoul, South Korea.