Inspired by World War II and with a young boy’s desire to be a part of the spirit of the United States, John Funk enlisted in the Army in 1951. He worked with the Medical Service Core and was sent to the most devastated parts of Korea. He speaks of the pride he felt going into war along with thoughts of fear and anxiety and shares his first impressions of Korea and the sadness he saw within the people. He provides a detailed description of the Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (MASH) and offers an interesting perspective from the view point of an enlisted military man who saw a lot of pain and suffering. He recalls several memories regarding patients that left a lasting impression on him. He is proud of his service and that he was able to help people rather than being forced to kill while in Korea.
Fear, Pride, and Additional Thoughts on the War
John Funk describes his mixed emotions about going into war. He shares that anxiety, fear, patriotism, and pride radiated through his mind as he entered into the Korean War. He states that he was able to overcome his apprehensions about the war because he knew he was doing something good for the world, and he briefly shares his thoughts on the attitude towards the war on the home front.
First Impressions of Korea
John Funk shares how he saw sadness the first time he laid eyes on Korea and the Korean people. He recalls people being hungry, sad, and poor, and he offers an account of their impoverished living conditions at the time. His adds that his time in Korea made him and other soldiers realize that they needed to help the Korean people.
John Funk offers an account of the 8076 Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (MASH). He describes the facility and the nearby area. He recalls soldiers being admitted with their uniforms still on as well as sometimes still in their sleeping bags and details the triage system utilized to determine who was tended to first. He additionally speaks of the role women played as nurses.
John Funk shares how he saw more devastation and pain than the average soldier because he was with the medical unit. He recounts the stories of three patients which have remained with him through the many years since his service. He recalls one centering on a Korean solider he transported in the middle of the night, another regarding an American soldier that had attempted suicide and was airlifted to his team, and finally, the image of a Korean child who lost both parents.