Korean War Legacy Project

John McBroom

Bio

John McBroom was born on November 17, 1933, in Asheville, North Carolina. He graduated from Lee H. Edwards High School in 1951. He does not recall the Korean War ever being discussed in high school. After graduating, he enrolled at the University of Tennessee. There, he majored in electrical engineering and joined the ROTC. On July 1, 1952, after one year of college, he decided to enlist in the navy. He attended both boot camp training and sonar school in San Diego, California. After finishing school, he left for Sasebo, Japan in the spring of 1953, and soon after, boarded the U.S.S. Symbol (AM-123) to Wonsan, Korea. He left Korea and arrived back home in December of 1954.

Video Clips

Enlisting in the Navy

John McBroom recalls his short experience in college. On July 1, 1952, after one year of college, he decided to enlist in the navy. He attended both boot camp training and sonar school in San Diego, California. After finishing school, he left for Sasebo, Japan in the spring of 1953, and soon after to Wonsan, Korea.

Tags: Basic training,Message to Students,Prior knowledge of Korea,Weapons

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v6b0O8KTwIk&start=247&end=512

The U.S.S. Symbol

John McBroom talks about his experience aboard the U.S.S. Symbol, the oldest minesweeper ship in the United States fleet. It was built in 1941 and was steel. A large ship, holding roughly 100 men, it was reinforced in the front so it could safely smash into submarines. He describes minesweeping as mostly a middle-of-the-night type of work, avoiding daytime sweeps at all possible. He describes one incident north of Wonsan.

Tags: East Sea,Wonsan,Message to Students,Weapons

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v6b0O8KTwIk&start=524&end=812

Several Incidents on Board

John McBroom recalls several incidents on board the U.S.S. Symbol while in the Heungnam area. North Koreans were firing at the ship from the beach. There was gunfire from both the North Koreans and another U.S. ship that was posted nearby for protection. He then describes his minesweeping mission.

Tags: East Sea,Hamheung,Wonsan,Front lines,Message to Students,North Koreans,Weapons

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v6b0O8KTwIk&start=825&end=1160

What was life like on the ship?

John McBroom recalls what life was like aboard the U.S.S. Symbol. He remembers the sleeping arrangements were very close. He remembers having to strap himself into bed in order to stay in his bed because the ship was small and would move up and down with the waves. He remembers having the best food in the navy, such as baked beans and cornbread. Sometimes they would even have steaks and pork chops. They also always had coffee brewing on board. He remembered helping the cook clean in exchange for extra fresh bread and butter. He said showers would happen regularly, but they were very short. He also describes the four-hour watch shifts aboard the ship.

Tags: East Sea,Living conditions,Message to Students,Rest and Relaxation (R&R)

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v6b0O8KTwIk&start=1446&end=1736

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