John Fischetti was born in Auburn, New York, and was working in the 155 Shell Hoffmen Factory before enlisting in the Marines in 1952. He comments on coming from a proud military family and details how he served as a photography air camera technician during the Korean War. He recounts being stationed in Miami, Florida, where he trained others how to use air camera technology on F9 Panther jets. He offers his thoughts on the role the Russians played during the war and elaborates on his brother’s service in Korea. He is proud of his contributions towards the war efforts.
To view photos of Peter Fishetti (John’s brother), please see Peter Fishetti’s profile page.
Specialty: 3D Aerial Photography
John Fischetti details the responsibilities of his job as a photography air camera technician. He recalls what equipment he had to install on the jets that were sent to take aerial photographs over the Korean Peninsula. He recounts how when the film arrived back huge layered prints of it were used to produce three-dimensional images.
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John Fischetti comments on whether he holds any animosity towards the North Koreans, Chinese, or Russians to this day. He states that he holds the most animosity towards the Russians, believing that they instigated much of the Cold War. He describes how they supplied weapons to the Chinese and North Koreans in the war.
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Brother's Experience in Korea
John Fischetti describes his brother's (Peter Fischetti) service experience in Korea. He recounts his brother being badly wounded after stepping on a mine. He details visiting his brother, recalling how his leg was amputated and his body filled with shrapnel metal. He shares how immensely proud of his brother's service he is.
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[Beginning of Recorded Material]
J: My name is John Fischetti. F I S C H E T T I. I’m 77 years old. I’ll be 78 in July.
I: And when were you born?
I: What day were you born?
J: I was born July 13, 1933. Well, I come from a military family. Like for instance, uh, getting back to the second World War, I had a brother in the Army, Navy and, and, Army, Navy and Marines and a sister in the WACs. And my brother Pete went from the Navy to the Marine Corps., how he ended in Korea, and I had another brother served in Vietnam.
So I’m, I’m actually a military family, and I appreciate what people do for the country, and I’m glad we had something to do with it.
I: So you’re glad to be here.
I: Okay. Could you tell us your name, spell your name, and tell us your age?
J: I was listed, I went into the Marine Corps., uh, uh, April 2, 1952.
I: And so you enlisted.
I: Right here in Syracuse?
J: No. I, I listed in Auburn.
I: Auburn. What, where in Auburn?
Remember the building at all?
J: I can’t remember. It’s so long ago. It, um, it’s had to be the courthouse probably.
J: It’s possible. I’m not, can’t remember really.
I: So you listed into the Marines.
J: Yes, I did.
I: Um, what was your specialty? Did they, did they tell you or promise you anything?
J: I was the photographer,
J: and they sent me to a photography outfit.
I: Now you used 35 mm cameras or 120 film? What’d you use?
J: Oh, before I went in the service, I used, uh,
a small, I used Kodak cameras. It’s, and then I got into the Marine Corps., and they sent me to Miami, uh. I, I was, I as a photographer. I worked on the F9, uh, Panther jet. This was aerial photography. We trained the pilots for what you call spy planes. My job was to, uh, open up the, uh, nose of the plane, install a camera and then close the, close the hatch, and when the pilot comes up there, my instruct, he, he struck, geeze, I’m sorry.
I: Go ahead.
J: When he, when he comes, I have to instruct him, uh, where the operations, uh, run the camera, and then I make him run the cameras before he takes off, and then he takes off. That was my, I was the cameraman setting up the cameras in the F9 jets.
I: And these were, uh, like, not motion picture cameras? They were just still pictures?
J: No, no. These, these cameras were actual cameras, but they were, uh, made in, made for aerial cameras. Some of them are, some of them are three feet big, high, and some of them are a foot high. It all depends on what
they need for the day and how, how high they’re flying. And, uh, I would set the cameras in there. I would put the filters on if I know exactly where they’re gonna fly, what the, uh, weather was, and, and I would, uh, set them up, and they’d take off, and I’d wait for them to come back.
I: So these had special lenses?
J: Nah, they were, they weren’t. they were lenses. They were real good lenses. I, I can’t say they were special lenses, but they were darn good lenses.
I: Were they able to take pictures at night or just
J: No. They were, they were, uh, that didn’t come till later
when the, the things improved on the, the aerial photography. We did everything in the daytime. We, we didn’t do no nights, unless they threw a fra, it’s, uh, flare and opened up the whole area. But I don’t know. I wasn’t there because they did that in Korea. I, I, if they did that, I don’t know.
I: So, so when the planes rearrived after their missions, did you go and take the cameras?
J: When the, when the planes came back, I would go into the nose of the jet, open up the hatch. I’d take the film out, the, the, what we’d do is, uh, and the camera stays in there and I,
the film comes into another, uh, geez, uh, comes in, I take the film out and I, I send it down to the lab. And then I re, reattach another film package onto the camera so when the next pilot comes up, he’ll have film in there.
I: So you took the, the used film for the pictures that you took out and put a new package of fresh film in.
J: Right, right, for the next pilot.
I: And, uh, what’d they do with these pictures?
J: Well, they brought them down to the lab, and they, what they do when the pilot flies over
an area, he flies over, and he overlaps the, uh, the pictures he’s taken, and they go down into the lab, and they make a big picture about 10×10 on the floor, I mean 8×8, I never measured it, but then they make a three dimension, uh, picture where they overlap the film
I: Eight foot by eight foot?
J: They overlap the film
I: Huge pictures.
J: Yes. The film is only 18 inches by 9, the film. But they, they take the film, develop it, and they, they, they take and they what you call feathering. They put the, they put the films all together, and they make a three dimensional,
when you’re looking at it, you know, it’s a three dimensional cause you’re overlapping each piece, layer of film.
I: So it looked, it looked like real.
J: Right. It looked like the buildings are [mumbles] three dimensions.
I: It’s similar to what they have today with the modern technology and the 3D. But this was old technology, developed by who? Who developed this film?
J: Well, I don’t know. A lot of stuff was Kodak. I’m not sure about the, I can’t remember the name of the, uh, camera. But, uh, it was all American made, believe me.
I: Okay. Um, did you go to basic training?
I went to basic training at pa, Camp Lejeune.
J: April 1952.
I: Where’s Camp Lejeune?
J: South Carolina.
I: Okay. And, uh, now that was basic training, like boot camp.
J: Boot camp.
I: And you just kept rudimentary instructions on how to be a combat person?
J: Absolutely, right.
I: And, uh, did you have any additional training after that? Once you went to basic.
J: No, they, after that, they sent me down Miami because they opened up a base on 27thAvenue in Miami, and they, uh, they brought the new, uh,
planes into the, the, so that the pilots could train down there. So they sent me down there to work on the planes.
I: So you, uh, learned to be an aircraft mechanic or
J: No, I was, I was, I, I didn’t do mechanic work. I was actually the cameraman. I worked in pho, I was the photographer, but I worked on the cameras.
I: Okay. So you were, you were learning how to install them, maintain them, too? Did
J: Yes. Uh, we maintained them, start them, we put equipment, uh, electrical equipment in the, in the nose well of the jet so it operate, so the ci, the cameras
would have some kind of, uh, you know, uh, source to, uh, operate.
I: Would you like to share any stories about before you, uh, shipped out to Korea, was there any, any family stuff?
J: I wasn’t in Korea.
I: So you just, you just, uh, made the jets operable for the guys that did go to Korea.
J: Right. We, we trained them for pilots that go to Korea.
I: How’d your family feel about you joining the Army, or the Marines?
J: Well, we had so many people in my ar, in the, in the service at the time. I was, oh,
about the last one to go in, so, uh, of course I, my mother, uh, I had, I had to leave her when my sister to go in, that, she wasn’t too happy, but, uh, she didn’t, she didn’t, uh, disagree with me.
I: Where were you stationed?
J: I was stationed first in Miami, 27thAvenue. Then I went to the Caribbean for about a month to do some extra training, and then I ended up at Cherry Point, North Carolina.
I: Oh, so you never actually set foot in Korea?
J: No. No. No.
I: You just made sure the equipment was operable.
I: And how did the jets get there? Did they fly there or they
put them on ships or what?
J: Well they, they actually had to fly to a carrier in, uh, you know, ro, and get to Korea.
I: So they fly onto a carrier
I: Then the aircraft carrier brought these aircraft to, uh, missions
J: Uh, yeah. And Seoul I think
I: like Seoul.
J: You know, I, uh, I was, I, I signed up for Korea, but they, uh, disa, disapproved because they needed guys for instructors for these pilots.
I: So you would instruct the pilots who had to operate the cameras.
J: Right. They would come in, and they would have instructions at, who, uh, at the headquarters. But they would, I would make sure,
and they would make sure that they go the right controls, and I would watch the cameras as they, as they’d operate it.
I: So, did they have like a simulated thing in a classroom or something?
J: Yeah. I don’t know because I as always on the, on the air field. I didn’t, uh, I didn’t go down it. But I know they got instructions how to do it, but I, we had to make sure that they pushing the right buttons and make sure the cameras are working.
I: So you were out there right on the jet
J: Oh, yeah.
I: on the, on the tarmac telling the pilot, you know
J: Yeah, he has to rub it up, he rubs it up 100% so I can, you gotta, to get the cameras working.
I: Okay. So you had to make sure it was working before
J: Oh, definitely, definitely because they, they’re on a four or five-hour mission there.
I: Okay. What, what do you think about, uh, uh, the, the impression about the Korean War? What’d you, what’d you think about the Korean War from your recollection?
J: Well I, I, uh, I know that we were there for, uh, to help people out, and they were good people. But the, the North Koreans, they, they were in, they were instigated by the Russians. That, that, I know this because
I read up on this, and, uh, they wanted the whole Seoul, and they wanted to conquer the South Korean people. But one, and we were there to see that they didn’t do it. And I’m glad.
I: Okay. Now, uh, what, what was the impact of your service? What, what do you think, you know, you did the cameras and everything. Did you think it was important that they had the pictures, uh, on these cameras, uh? What, what, what, what did you feel about yourself doing this?
J: Well, I, I feel I was doing a service for a country because, uh, we, we, somebody had to take some pictures, and we want to know where the enemies, what they’re doing on the other side. So they, uh, our jets went over there and did it and, uh, I think it was a good job. I’m, I was happy and satisfied.
I: When, when you, uh, how long were you in the military?
J: I was only in for, uh, for ’52 April to ’54 April, and then I spent couple years in the, uh, Reserves in the tank outfit. I was photographer here in Mattydale Syracuse.
I: It wasn’t just, well, that was two years.
J: What’s that?
I: You were two years in the military?
J: Two years in the military active, and two years inactive with the, uh, Tank Division at Mail, Mattydale here in Syracuse.
I: That’s no small amount of time, two years out of your life.
I: What do you think about serving the country and, did anybody say anything to you after you came out of serving? Did anybody say anything to you that you helped the Koreans or the North Koreans or was there any, any animosity?
J: I never heard a negative word.
I: They, they were glad you did it or
J: I never heard a negative word. That’s right.
I: Did they just pat you on the back?
J: Well, yes, they did. The, uh, yeah. The, the, the old ladies, they, that I remembered, the old ladies out of my area and the old timers, I think they knew what was going on more than us young kids.
I: I’m, now World War II had just ended and, like what, 19
I: ’45. Five years later we were in a different skirmish in Korea.
I: Uh, what was the impressions of the people years ago. Just got off World War II, and now we’re getting in another war,
- Some people called it a police action.
J: Yeah, right.
I: Some people called it a war. What, wat were your impressions then of what was going on and what you heard?
J: Okay. Now, my brother Pete was in the Navy in the second World War, and he got out of the Navy. He went into the Marine Corps., and from the Marine Corps. he went into Korea. So in Korea, he got shot up pretty good. Duh, I didn’t even know where Korea was till I got a, my mother got a telegram saying that he got wounded. So I didn’t have, I couldn’t tell you, I don’t have no impression what
Korea was till I got in, in the, I joined the Marine Corps. because I wanted to do a little something myself cause of my brother. Maybe I was mad. I don’t know.
I: So did anybody say join, not to join? Today we have people saying no, you shouldn’t join the Army. You’re only protecting the politicians and stuff. What do you, what would you say to kids today about going to war if a war broke out today?
J: I, well really I believe today that all these kids should have at least two years in the service, and I, I, I tell them about, uh, I tell them about my brother,
how he served, and I, I tell them how all these other kids are served. They’re doing this for your country. Everybody should do a little something for their country, these young kids. I mean, they can’t have it, their pie and eat it all the time.
I: Um hm. Did you know that in the South Korea, uh, the boys 18, have to join the Army for two years?
J: No, I didn’t know that.
I: It’s required.
J: No, I didn’t know that.
I: It doesn’t matter who you are. You could be a politician’s son, an actor, act, you know,
J: I don’t care.
I believe it should, it’s a, it’s right.
I: Do you think it should be done here in America?
J: Oh, absolutely. Absolutely.
I: Two-year duty and then you’re done.
I: Um, upon return from being the service, did you ever have any dreams or bad memories or nightmares or anything?
J: No, I, I had it good. I had a good job in the service. I mean, it was a important job, but it was, I enjoyed it and, uh, I did my job, and that’s all I think about. I did my job.
I: Do you, do you have any animosity against the North Koreans or the Chinese or the Russians? [INAUDIBLE]
J: Well, I tell you. I’ll be honest with you. I be, I, I done, North Koreans, I, maybe not. But the Russians, I have very buts against them.
I: Why’s that?
J: Because they were, they were, from the second World War to the Korean War to Vietnam War, they were instigators all these wars. They, they supplied the arms, and they, they, and they, especially Korea. I know the Korea, they wanted to, they wouldn’t, uh, they wanted Korea to be their source of resources that the North Koreans got. I read about this. They instigated
the, uh, North Koreans for this War.
I: So they’re the ones that started.
J: I think the Russians had a lot to do with it.
I: Um, in, in your daily life now, 60 years later, do you ever think about Korea and what happened over there, uh, from, you know, your brother’s experience and everything, from your reminiscence and remembering. Do you, do you, uh, ever think about if we never went there or what happened over there? Well, we know we went there. But what if we didn’t go
there, and, and now we know we did. What, what do you think would happened if we didn’t go there?
J: Well, if we didn’t go there, there would have been a lot of people massacred. Now, I believe that we should have went up to the Parallel, 38thParallel, should have stopped there for a while so we could get, uh, get organized instead of, you know, shooting up there which is alright. They were, they were still fighting for our liberty, but they should have stopped at the 38thParallel. A lot of kids got killed. I mean, they were good, fighting men, too.
I: So, was there somebody that wanted to go beyond the 38thParallel that, uh,
we did? Was there some
J: All I know is MacArthur had the idea to go over to the 38thParallel, and then when Truman, I guess that proved it. I don’t know. I can’t, I wasn’t there. I really can’t tell you the real story.
I: What would you do if you were young, and another war started out. What would you do? Would you enlist? Would you, you know, picture yourself a 19-year-old kid right now. what would you tell them?
J: It, it, it depends on where this war is.
J: It, it, there’s some wars that probably we shouldn’t have been in it.
But if I was sitting, if I was fighting for like Korea, I, I would go in some Korea. And, and Vietnam, I don’t know because I had a lot of friends killed in Vietnam and, uh, I don’t understand that Vie, actually a lot of people don’t even understand the Vietnam. But I think if I was 18, 19, I’d go in again. I’d go in.
I: Um hm. Uh, have you ever been back to Korea?
J: No, I’ve never been to Korea.
I: Do you have any intentions to go?
J: Well, I was gonna go one time, but I, I didn’t go. I didn’t go. My wife didn’t want to go, so I didn’t go.
I: Oh. Um, what do you, what is your opinion of Korea now with the North and the South with the DMZ and everything? What do you think about that divided country?
J: Well, I ho, I, I know that, uh, North, South Korea is doing a pretty good job holding the line up there. But I just hope that they, uh, have a, the Americans supply them with enough, uh, arms and stuff so in case the North ever decided to come back again.
I: Um, so you think the policy of us being there is just?
J: I think so. In South Korea, yes.
I: Yeah. Okay. Um, is there any message you would like to give to the future generations listening to your conversation here?
J: Well, I’ll say this much. This is America the,[MUMBLES] freedom is, is not free. You gotta fight for what you want. If you want to sit by and let somebody else do the fighting for them, then don’t cry when something happens to this country. Do your duty.
I: What, what can you say about the legacy of the Korean War veterans?
We’ve heard about World War II heroes, World War I heroes, Civil War heroes, War of 1812, Vietnam heroes. What would you say about the Korean War veterans that served over there? What would you say about those people?
J: I think the Korean War veterans that fought in South Korea are the greatest, greatest and best fighters in the world.
I: Why do you say that?
J: I’ve taken my brother because they were good.
They stopped and then they’d be there were 10 x 1, and I think they did a good job.
I: They felt, uh, you feel that they, they fought against all the odds?
I: They, all against all odds?
J: The odds were terrible, and they came back. They, they killed a lot of our good men. But they killed a lot of them.
I: Can you, uh, you had told me about your brother. Would you like to explain about your brother?
J: Right, yes, I would.
I: And who he is?
I: What’s his name?
J: My brother is Peter Fischetti. He’s in the, he served in the Marine Corps. in the Korean War. I got some mes, uh, I got some note
I: Tell us about him a little bit?
J: Can I read it to you?
I: You can tell us about it, and then show us.
J: Well I could, I could, uh, I could, oh, okay. I, I could read this.
I: How old is he?
J: He’s 83. He’ll be 84.
J: I’d like to read this back, cause I’m not too good explaining.
J: Uh, this here, this is my brother, Pete. He was in the Navy from 9, uh, 1944 to 1946.
This is the story of Peter Fischetti about Korea. Joined the Marines June 16, 1946, too wounded in action. We landed in Inchon September 15, 1950. South Korea was surrounded with North Koreans. We pushed them to the 38thParallel. We were ordered to push north. I was in the First Marine Battalion. Asked for volunteers to try to make an airstrip by, for planes, could not get it done.
Too much battle in that area. This was near the last part of 19, November 1950. I got wounded November 29, 1950. I stepped on a mine at the Chosin Reservoir. Many killed and wounded. I was left for dead if not for a corpsman carrying me and found a pulse. He saved my life. I got hit by many pieces of shrapnel in the left arm, wrist, leg and thigh. I was 23 years old, years old at the time.
I spent 16 months in Bethesda Naval Hospital, Maryland. I got around okay, but there are many more worse than myself. Sorry.
I: It’s fine. You like your brother.
J: Only one left. He’s the only, only brother I got left.
I: Do you have any more information?
J: Oh, yes. Here he is, the President, here he is the President of the United States
I: Show us that.
J: It’s probably the, the citation.
I: Hold it up.
I: Hold it up.
J: This is the President’s, uh, I can’t, President’s citation
I: Want to read it to us?
J: Yeah. This is, this is the, this is the President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the Prudential Citation to Sergeant Peter Fischetti, First Marine Division reinforced as service set forth by the following: For extreme heroes, uh, herso, heroism and outstanding performance on duty in Korea against the enemy [MUMBLES]
I: Take your time, take your time.
J: Forced in the Chosin Reservoir
and Kodori area of Korea from November 27 to 11 December, 1950 when the 10thCorps. on, when the, with a full flurry of the enemy counterattack struck both the 8thArmy and the 10thCorps. on 27 and 28 November, 1950. First Marine Division, a daring assault westward from Yudam Niin the effect to cut the road and rail communication on hostile forces, attacking the 8thArmy
and at the same time continuous mission of protecting the vital main supply route consisting of a treacherous mountain road running southward to Shanghi, uh, Shanghilucoast about 25 miles’ distance. Ordered to withdraw in, to Hang, Hamhung, and company was attached to Army and other friendly units in the face of the tremendous pressure in the Chosin Reservoir area. The Division began
to epic battle against the bulk of the enemy. The third route Army and while small intermittent garrisons at Hangariand Kodori held firmly against the repeated insurgent attacks by hostile forces.
J: There’s more. Now, that
I: Who signed that?
J: Uh, where, here’s the second half over here.
I: Go slow, go slow and read it, read it and go glow.
J: Uh, this was a
this was a, from the President signed by the Secretary of the Navy, uh, Tom Kimble. Kimbo.
I: And, uh,
J: Want some pictures?
J: Now, this is, this is my brother Pete in the DAV. He was honored at the DA, he was honored at the DAV for services rendered.
I: What’s the DAV?
J: The Disabled American Veterans.
I: And where does he live now?
J: He lives in Jacksonville, Skyviewett Street, Jacksonville, North Carolina.
I: And he’s been living there a while?
J: He’s been there since he got out of the Korean War. Quite a while. I got, I got
I: Is he totally disabled from the
J: No, no. He, he gets by alright, you know. And this here is the President, the second from, second from this area, this line, my brother, Pete. Uh, President Tru
I: Which one’s, which one’s Pete, the first one here?
J: The second. The second one.
I: Second one? Second one on the stairs
J: The second one from the, what, left?
I: Right here? Okay, that’s a P.
J: But that’s my brother Pete second from the, this si, um, right here. He, he, at this wasn’t, and when he was in the hospital in Bethesda Hospital. All these men right here were invited by Truman, Truman, President Truman to have dinner with them at the Blair House.
I: Is, is the Blair House a, a naval [INAUDIBLE]
J: I think that’s where the President, Vice President lived or something.
J: It’s someplace over.
I: So these men were invited [INAUDIBLE]
J: Right. They had dinner with
with him he got them out of the hospital. We got that? Oh. This here, this here was, my brother, he sent me this when he, when he got out of service, out of the hospital. It’s a general giving him a medal. I don’t believe it was a, it may be a Purple Heart. I, I, it’s been so long that I can’t remember what the medal was for. It could have been a Purple Heart. I’m not sure. He got a couple of them.
I: You know what general it might have been?
J: No. I, I can’t remember. It’s been so long since he got, I don’t even know if he gave ne the General’s name. I, I can’t remember.
I: You say he was shot up pretty bad.
J: Yeah, he was shot up pretty good, yes.
I: Like many, many wounded?
J: Yeah. He had part of his back of his leg taken off, and he, the, he had a shrapnel went right through, right through his left wrist, and he had, he had a picture of the Christ on his cross, and when the shrapnel went through it, it knocked the face of the Christ off, but the cross was still there.
I: And how old was he when he was wounded? Do you
J: And, uh, this is his pictures of his medals. I don’t, I don’t know what they are.
I: These are the medals right here?
J: Um hm.
I: These, all these medals.
J: That’s him and his son. His son was in the Navy, too. Served his, he, and when he was in, uh, when he was in the Navy, he served in the Pacific near the end of the War. He was, went to all those islands over there. This is him when he was in the Navy, and he’s the guy on the right, uh,
I: Holding a dog?
J: That’s, holding the dog. That was Peter when he was about 16.
I: And the, and he’s in an, uh,
uniform up there?
J: Yes. That’s him in the Navy, right.
I: Now, the Navy is part of the Marines, right? Is that
J: Well, part of it, yeah. It’s a, it’s, a, we’re on, the Navy was under the Marines. Uh, here’s a, well, I think, I, he said show the picture of his wife. This is his wife. She died.
I: Okay. Sergeant Peter Fischetti wounded is now in convalescent leavefrom Bethesda, Maryland and, uh, with his wife and their three-year-old son. Uh.
They were spending two weeks in Fischetti’s mother, uh, Mrs. Mary Fischetti. Is his wife still alive?
J: No, his wife is dead. His son is dead, and his daughter-in-law is dead. All in one year.
J: That’s why it’s, I, I, I feel for the guy, you know?
I: And what’s this one? This one is a little [INAUDIBLE]
J: Oh, that’s some guy, his buddies or something, when he was, uh, that’s when he was in a Marine Corps. picture of his buddies down below.
I: Uh huh.
J: Now, now we’re gonna get to the goody goodies. I’m gonna go, this is Peter when he was in the Marine Corps., 19.
I: He was home there?
J: He went in the Navy in 9, in 19, uh, 46 he went in the Marine Corps.. This pa, this was taken right when he got, first got in the Marine Corps..
J: Oops, I think I showed you that. Oh, well here, here’s an, this is a, this another picture of him being honored DAV, and that’s a picture with his wife.
I: So he’s, uh, Disabled American Veteran being honored?
I: [INAUDIBLE] That’s his wi, latest wife?
J: Right. No, she’s dead. She’s dead. Now, I got something, now this is a, this is, during the Second World War, he was in the Navy.
I got a brother, Army, Navy, Marine, Pete was, Pete was in the Navy, and my sister Flora was in the Army.
I: He was in World War II
I: and the Korean War.
J: Yes, he was, in 1944 –’46, he was in the Pacific during the, during the, the, near the end of the War. In Navy.
I: He was a career military soldier.
J: Well, he got wounded, so he, uh, he, he got out, had to get out of the service, you know. He went in in 1946. He was, yeah, he was a career man, right.
J: This, this is, this is the reason why I’m proud to be a, served.
And I got to tell you a story here.
I: Go ahead, tell us.
J: This is, this is wonderful. I’m gonna tell you so you ain’t go, this is a notarized, this is a notarized letter from the person. Now my brother Pete, I, I won’t have to read, I can
I: Read it slow if you’d like.
J: Oh, well, okay, uh, yeah. I’ll read this then, if I can read it. This is from a person that found my brother’s pack they, uh, when, uh, when my brother got wounded. This is very interesting. To whom it may concern: Lost papers of Peter Fischetti
on about 8 December, 1950. I, Carol M. Morrow, SN, PFC, U.S. Marine Corps., President Union A Company First Battalion Fifth Marine Regiment First Marine Division assigned to the airport security at Hangaru-ri, North Korea. During the, I can’t pronounce that word, during the retrogde movement
of the First Marine Division on the above date, I observed the pack laying on the west side of the road. I opened the pack and discovered what appeared to be personal papers belong to Peter Fischetti. I placed the pack on of papers in my pack thinking I could turn them in when we arrived aboard ship. However, two days later, December 10, 1950, I was wounded by a sniper bullet and was separated from my pack and other
equipment. After being discharged from the Naval hospital at Yokashami, Japan. In March ’51, I rejoined my original organization, A1-5 in Korea and wroted, and rotated back to the States in July ’51. Since my parents had been preview notified of my death instead of wounded, my personal belongings including peace paper had been sent to my parents’ home, stored until recently.
Now recently means, this was 1950 when he did this. ’51. And he put this up in his attic, and it was there till 1993.
I: 40 years?
J: And, and here’s the date right there. 1993. And when he found it, he, he says I got a, he went up, he didn’t even know, he forgot about it cause his mother put it up in the attic, and it was just stored there. And when he found it, uh, he, but, he tried to get hold of my brother Pete, and he got hold of my brother Pete, and because he gave him the papers like that, he wanted a notary public
that he gave to my brother, there’s a date right there, 1993. [LAUGHS] That’s pretty good, ain’t it?
I: Wow. So when he returned, he just, the mother just put it in the attic and
J: You, you know, no, yeah. They sent the stuff home to him. His mother put it in the attic and forgot all about it. So it was
I: He was just glad that he was home.
J: And my brother’s papers were in the, in that, uh, pack, and turned my brother, 40 years. There it, there’s a notary public by the guy, notary, notary.
I: So your brother did receive this stuff eventually.
J: He, he got this, yeah. They lived at, they lived about two towns away, North Carolina, not too far away.
I: So did they deliver them or
J: They de, they brought it right to my brother Pete’s house. [LAUGHS] That’s pretty good, aye?
I: What a story.
J: Uh huh. That’s why I brought this with me cause it’s, it’s, the guy even, you know, signed it. He signed it right on the bottom there. He gave it back
I: Who, who was the one who signed it?
J: Oh, I can’t even make this
I: What’s his name?
J: Marrow or something.
I: Let’s see.
J: I can’t make it out.
I: Yeah, Mr. Morrow.
J: Morrow, Morrow.
I: What an interesting story.
J: Hey, I tell you. He did his, he did his, I mean, he got, he got shot up in,
uh, Reservoir, but he did a, he did a lot of pushing back. Uh, he pushed the, the North Koreans back, you know. He did, he did a, he did a job till he got up there. Of course, he wasn’t the only one that got, wait a minute. He wasn’t the only one that got shot. Wait a minute. I got
I: So at, uh,
J: You wanna see a picture of me?
I: Yes. Yes.
J: Now, wait’ll I, I, got, what happened to, wait a minute. Is that camera going now?
I: Yes, it is.
J: No don’t, shut it, shut it off. I gotta do all this, will you shut it off? Shut it off.
I: No, keep going. Keep going.
J: I gotta find the papers. I got some pictures here of when I was, I had them with me. I know they’re here.
I: One picture fell on the floor over there, John.
J: Oh, maybe that’s one, that’s the
I: [PAPER SHUFFLING]
J: Oh, okay.
I: Did you find it?
J: Okay. I got. Okay, when I was in the service, I was their reconnaissance. I used to, I trained the pilots to be spy pilots,
and in that, in doing so, we have to put these cameras in the nose of the jets. Now these are the cameras we used a couple of them. We used to put in the nose of the jets.
I: Oh, those are huge.
J: [LAUGHS] Yes, they’re
I: The, this one here is the one you put in the jet?
J: All, both, well, the other one’s a hand one did. That’s when the guy goes up and the plane takes pictures. We’ve had quite a few si, that size, off and on different sizes.
I: Is that you
J: Let me see.
I: with the camera?
J: That’s me with another camera.
I: Th, this is, this is you here? Yeah, no that, no that, no that’s not even me. I took the picture.
I: Oh, you took the picture of the camera.
J: Yeah. I wanted to get the size of the cameras.
I: Marine Photographic Squadron.
J: Yeah. Miami, Florida. Okay? Now this here, this here is the, the jet airplanes that, the F9 Panther jets that we put the nose of, they’re going in the nose of those jets. And, and the pilot comes up, and I instruct them, and I, and I, I uh, make sure the cameras are working and, of course he’s got, he’s been instructed how to do it before he got there, but we had
I: Can he manipulate the lens down, left, right?
J: Well, here it goes. It goes left, right and down.
I: And what kind of jets are those?
J: F Panther, F9 jet, F, there it is, F9 Panthers. You know, you can have everything I got here. I got copies of everything.
I: We put these in the archives and get back to you.
J: I got everything. I got everything, uh, hey, here. Oh. Here’s me working. I, it’s not a good picture, but there’s me working up on the nose of the jet right there.
I: Oh, it opened up like a hood of a car.
J: Yeah. It, it, I, I don’t know how good that picture. It’s been
I: I can see you, and I can see the hood of the jet opening
J: And there’s me on the bottom waiting for the pilot.
I: I see. And you would go through the motions of running a few pictures through?
J: Right. He’d go, yeah, exactly. He’d go in there and run the, I’d stay right up here while the camera’s are running, make sure the cameras are running, see. Then he’d get up there, and he’d pull a, pull a trick or whatever he’s gotta do in there, and, uh, and he, uh, takes the pictures. He’ll run a few off make sure it’s working. He has to rev the jjjjet up quite a bit to get the power to run these cameras.
I: So one of these days you’re gonna get back to Korea and see all your efforts
J: I don’t know. I’m, I’m pretty old now. My wife don’t want to travel no more, and I don’t want, I don’t like, I don’t know. I never been to Korea, so that’s it.
I: You know, the the Korean War Veterans Association and, uh,
J: Oh, I, I, I could have went, I could have went with them
I: I see you have a hat.
J: Oh yeah.
I: Can you show us?
J: Well, sure. Marine Corps. [INAUDIBLE] the Korean War Veterans Association.
I: And you belong to which Association?
J: And, on, the chapter 296 in Auburn, NY. Cayuga County.
I: How many members do you have?
J: We have 68 members in, uh, in it. Yeah, and, in, in Auburn the, the Cayuga County chapter 296, they, they may, uh, I was on the committee when they did a, a, a monument for the Korean War Veterans monument. Got my name right on it. And all our, all the committee. It’s a, it’s huge. It’s about 10, 8, 9, 10 feet high, and it’s a great big stone.
I: Where is it?
J: It’s in Auburn, NY on, uh, you know where downtown Auburn, NY? It’s right downtown. You can’t miss it. Just go toward west a little bit right up and, uh, it’s, we, we, we, we, we, we did that in about a couple years we had,
I forgot how many thousands of dollars we raised.
I: Is that Genesee Street?
J: Yeah. Right on Genesee Street.
J: We, right up town. We raised enough money. We paid for that stone is paid for and, uh, it’s a beautiful. So we have Korean people come all over Korea. They, sometimes they take us for dinner and something, sometimes they, uh, come, they come to our, uh, like we have a, a, something going on like a, a Veterans Day or parade or something. They’re always down there, and they come to see that stone, you know. And, uh,
I: And who’s on the stone?
J: Who’s on the stone?
Well, they’re all the Korean ones killed in Korea, and then on the back of the stone, there’s the, we have these, uh, stone walls about four feet high, about four inches thick, and you got all the names of the people that served in Korea, no, no. Not Korea, who served in the Korean War, you know. It don’t, they, they have, they didn’t have to be in Korea. But
I: They could be; they could have been
J: As long as they were in
I: in America but helping out
J: Well, they gotta be in between the 1950 and 1953. They gotta be in that category right there.
I: So it was the time that
I: that era that they were there.
I: And, uh, I understand that there’s other, uh, memorials in that park.
J: Oh, we built the, that’s, the, the, see, the monument is by itself. The park is next to it. It’s a beautiful park that, I was
I: What, what else is in the park?
I: What else is in the park?
J: Well, I tell you what’s in the park. In the center, you, you got your, from the road, you walk into the park, and you got stones all the way down with people’s names that served in the service. And then from the, from the wall near the road, you walk down to the center
right down to the center of the, there’s a flag there with a flag pole and, and benches there with people’s names that they want to put their name on, it costs them money. And then as you walk down from the roadsi, from the road to the center, on each side they got a stone, oh, I’d say two feet high, no, two, three feet high by about three feet wide, two feet, and on it it’s got every single war from the Civil War to Indian War,
your first World War, the Revolutionary War, Korean War, Second World War, Vietnam War, Iraq War, every war the United States was ever in has got a stone on it. It’s probably two feet high by about three foot wide.
I: So every war
J: Every war, right up
I: is recognized?
J: Every no, it’s recognized, uh, by the, and this was done, this was done by the, it wa, was a veterans organization, but the Korean War Veterans, they, uh, they did, their name is on the plank cause they did the work that, you know,
I: They spearheaded it?
J: They spearheaded it, right.
I: And, uh, what do people think when they go there?
J: Well, I, I, I, well I brought it to a few people, and they, and I start talking, he, he’s still amazed, you know, looking around like wow, what the, how the, they said, they think that gee this is great. I mean, they’re actually thinking this because this is wonderful. They tell me this, you know. That’s, that’s what, that’s far as I know, you know.
I: Is the Korean flag flying there at the same time?
J: Uh, when we, the Korean flag flies there when we have events, you know, like, uh, oh, I can’t explain. It’s
events that we have some kind of events of like a Veterans Day, Memorial Day, some like that. Then they’ll fly all the flags.
I: Um hm.
J: When they, when they, uh, when they, uh, dedicated the park and the, the first monument, then a couple years later the park, we had a lot of Koreans over there. We did everything. We flew pigeons in the air. They made speeches, and those Korean guys are pretty nice guys because they took us out. The, one time went to the church, they took us to eat, have a
I: Now the names on that, uh, monument are only Cayuga County uh
J: No, Cayuga County, right.
I: Cayuga County. So your brother’s not on that, uh, monument here.
J: Oh, wait, there’s, don’t. Yes, he is. See, there’s no names on the monument itself. It says killed in Korea. Then on the wall back of it, it says everybody that’s kill, uh, that was in the Korean War
J: If they, if they were wounded, they were dead, if they, if they were alive like me, their name would be on that wall.
I: So is Peter’s name on there?
J: I had three brothers. I had my brother, myself, my brother Pete and my brother Mike is on that.
I: I see. So it memorializes everybody that participated.
J: Everybody, every, everybody was in the Korean War.
I: Well that’s nice. That’s nice.
J: I mean, I, I know I didn’t go to Korea because I got disapproved. But everybody that was, that, that had a job to do, you know. I wanted to go but, uh, what you gonna do? They disapproved. But I was satisfied cause they, they, I, they told me I had a job to do, and I did it, you know. Not only that, I had a good job.
I: Well, you sound like you’re very pro, uh, soldier.
J: Absolutely. Right from Pearl Harbor to Vietnam. I don’t know if these other wars.
I: Okay. Well, I wanna thank you very much for coming, uh. This is gonna be shown to a lot of people
J: And I hope that it comes out, uh, you know
FEMALE VOICE: Twenty minutes.
I: Twenty minutes. Okay. We, uh, we’re gonna be producing, probably reproducing a lot of your artifacts that we put on the website for everybody in the world to see, Koreans,
J: I, I hope so because, uh, I, I, I’m proud of my brother what he did. I mean I, I’ve had, uh, every one of my brothers were in combat.
I had Army, Navy, Marine, sister in WACs and my brother, and like I, I, I never saw combat cause I never was in Korea. But my brother Cosimo, he was in Pearl Harbor. He, he, he had, he fought there. Then he went to the islands, you know, one for the other? And my brother Carmen, he was a, a airplane, uh, machine gunner in the airplane, and he fought, he fought hard time. My brother Pete, he, he was in a Pacific, he, in the ship on a Navy, but when he went to Korea he had hard times. My brother Mike was 27 jumps in Vietnam.
He was a scout. So I’m, I feel proud because I, sometimes I feel bad. What did I do? Nothing.
I: You did plenty.
J: I know I did my job, but I’m so proud of them guys. Even my sister was in the God darn Army.
J: Yeah. Here’s her picture right there. One of the, uh, yeah, she did, she did her job. I don’t know.
I: What was, what was her job?
J: I don’t know. She was in the WACs, and she probably took care of soldiers or something like that.
I really, I was just a young kid at the time, you know. During the Second World War, I was only 11, uh, I was only 11 or 12 years old.
I: Now your brother was over there just a short time before he got wounded.
J: Yeah. He was, he just got to Korea the early part of, uh, July, and Korea, he got there, uh, I think it was, I don’t know the month he got there cause I communicated with the telephone and, and sketches he’d send me. But, uh, no, he, he was in, he, he got into Seoul June 7, June 16, ’50, 1950, and they, they pushed the Chinese or the
sorry, the North Koreans up to the 38thParallel, and then, then they got orders to go north from MacArthur. So he went up north. But while they were up there, he was in the Marine Attachment to the First Marine Engineers. They built bridges and, you know, they wanted him to build an, an airstrip so they’d get some planes up there for supplies and stuff but couldn’t do it because it was too much fighting. So he, when, when, when he got, that was in Chosin, right near, it was, went to Chosin, and that’s when he got, stepped on that mine.
I: So he’s at what, three months before he got wounded?
J: Just, let me, well, in Korea.
J: Yeah, I would say something like that, yeah.
I: So he was there a short time then.
J: Yeah, it was a short time, right.
I: He was, uh, shot up pretty bad.
J: Yeah. He got, he got, well he stepped on a mine, and he got, I saw it. He got part of his leg chopped off here, and he got the wrist through his wrist, he got a little on his thigh and, and his arm and, uh, they, not only that. You know it’s, and I went to see him back when, uh, in 19, I was stationed in Cherry Point, uh, North Carolina. I was about 60 miles from him, you know. So I went to visit him while I was in the service,
and he acted kind, he had a little piece of shrapnel right in his body. They coming up by themself. They couldn’t operate on everything.
I: Did he, did he have any buddies that he communicated with?
J: I really couldn’t tell you cause I’ve only seen him a couple weeks in the last, in, uh, last 50 years. The only time I saw him when I was stationed down there. Oh, he came to Auburn, he came to Auburn for about two weeks back in, after he got wounded, and then I, when I was stationed in Cherry Point, I went there four or five times to see him on the weekend. That’s a, uh, and then, and then when I got out of the service,
I got married and all that. I, I was living in Florida. On the way back home I’d stop for a day, you know. That’s the only time I seen him. Maybe altogether maybe three weeks.
J: In 60 years. I got a brother Mike in the Army. I only see him one week in 60 years. They all went in the service, and they all, they all moved out some place, you know. One at California, one in Arizona, one North Carolina, and Mike went to Germany. I was the youngest. I, they all gone. I was, I was, you know, I was left.
I: Do you miss your brother?
J: Well, I, I miss my brother Mike and Pete really.
I mean cause they’re my age more or less, yeah. The other ones are a lot older. Cause when I, when they were in the service in the Second War, I was only, I was born in ’33. I was only about 12 years old.
I: You gotta make an effort to get down there.
I: Take a trip. Take a bus.
J: My wi, I don’t, I don’t tra, we don’t travel anymore. That’s the problem. He don’t, He hasn’t been, he hasn’t left his home to go anyplace in 20, 30 years. He don’t go no place. He just stays home. He and his wife never, you see what happened. When he was in the service,
he got, he got wounded, okay? And, uh, he never went to church before. He never went to church before he, uh, or did any religious stuff before he went in the service. When he got, when they picked him up, he was, he was, they thought he was dead. So they found he was alive. He, when he woke up, he, he said he’s alive. He, he, he never went to church mind you, he prayed to the Lord, and he says you bring me through this, I’ll turn to you. You know what he turned to re, he turned religion, I mean, right around like that. He, every time I see him, Bible in his lap, and he’s always praying.
That’s from night to day. So he, he, he appreciate what the Lord did for him.
I: So can he get around? I mean
J: Oh yes. He gets, he walks, but, you know, he gets a little, in his hand he got, his hand’s like that a little bit, you know.
I: But he goes to the store and wherever else he goes.
J: Oh they, they were, oh yeah. He, but he don’t drive. He don’t leave the town. He don’t drive. He got a car, but he, he goes 20 miles or something like that. He’s always in church, you know, and all that, you know. He’s very, very religious now, but he never, when he was younger, never saw him at church, never went to church. But today
I: You have to go see him.
J: Oh, I’ve gone to see him. Uh, like I say, when I was living in Florida, I used to come up every year, and I stopped on the way. And sometimes stop on the way down, yeah. I can only travel so far. Yeah. No, we, we communicate a couple, one to two times every week.
I: Oh, good.
J: You know, it’s, it’s good. I’m, I’m satisfied with that. Yes sir, we do, we, we talk about everything.
I: Well John, it was a pleasure talking to you.
I: And, uh, your artifacts will be part of the project and your taping and your
voice and everything.
J: I hope that I don’t make, I hope I didn’t louse myself up too much.
I: Oh, you did fine. It was a real gem. Thank you.,
J: Why, I appreciate. Thank you very much Joe.
[End of Recorded Material]
John Fischetti during his service in the Korean War.
Description : John Fischetti
Publisher : John Fischetti
Rights : KWVA veterans & KWVDA
John Fischetti during his service in the Korean War.
Description : John Fischetti
Publisher : John Fischetti
Rights : KWVA veterans & KWVDA
Veterans of Fischetti's Family
Images include his brothers and sister who all joined the military.
Description : Veterans of Fischetti's Family
Publisher : John Fischetti
Rights : KWVA veterans & KWVDA
In Miami, Florida, working with the Marine Photographic Squadron. John Fischetti took this photo to showcase the size of the cameras used on the F9 Panther Jets.
Publisher : John Fischetti
Rights : KWVA veterans & KWVDA
John Fischetti working on the nose of the F9 Panther Jets to make sure the cameras are working properly.
Description : John Fischetti
Publisher : John Fischetti
Rights : KWVA veterans & KWVDA