Korean War Legacy Project

John McWaters


John Robert McWaters was born in Perry, Georgia, on January 31, 1934. A trained Combat Engineer, he began his time in Korea as a corporal. After attending advanced infantry training, he enlisted in the army and was initially stationed in Japan while preparing for a landing at Pusan (Busan), Korea. As part of the 7th Infantry Division, he saw a great deal of Korea, eventually fighting in battles above the DMZ. He fought in the Battle of Old Baldy, worked with the Colombian army on various assignments, and helped many Koreans evacuate Heungnam and board the SS Meredith Victory. Later, he was elected President of KWVA Chapter 169 of The Villages, Florida, which at one time had over two-hundred members and was the largest KWVA chapter in the United States. He helped establish the Tell America program, which educates high school-aged students about the Korean War.

Video Clips

Korea, Then and Now

John McWaters compares his memories of Korea in the 1950s and Korea today. When he left Korea after the war, there were only three buildings still standing in Seoul. When he returned in 2016, he witnessed a very modern and highly developed city. He shares how continuously impressed he is by the changes Korea is undergoing.

Tags: Seoul,Impressions of Korea,Living conditions,Message to Students,Modern Korea,Pride,South Koreans

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Why Should We Study the Korean War?

John McWaters speaks about why he believes students need to learn about Korea and why it has become known as the forgotten war. He reflects on his experiences talking to high school students about the Korean War. He wants to correct the public perception of the forgotten war and frame it as an important victory, as we saved a fine country and enabled it to become the impressive nation is it today. He recollects the brilliant reception he received from South Koreans on his Revisit Korea trip.

Tags: Message to Students,Modern Korea,Physical destruction,Pride,South Koreans

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Origins of the Tell America Program

John McWaters describes the Tell America program, a program in which Korean War Veterans go into high school classrooms in central Florida to teach students about the Korean War. National Geographic provided maps for the program, which immediately sent him down memory lane. He remembered the towns and villages he visited. Thanks to the maps, he was able to grow the program.

Tags: Message to Students,North Koreans,Prior knowledge of Korea,South Koreans

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While in the Combat Engineer Battalion

John McWaters shares that while near Heungnam, he provided jackhammers and an air compressor truck to some Marines who needed help breaking up large rocks. He reported to General Oliver Prince Smith and assisted him with running the equipment. He recalls the general looking up and thanking God for his help.

Tags: 1950 Battle of Chosin Reservoir, 11/27-12/13,Hagalwoori,Heungnam,Cold winters,Front lines,Pride,Weapons

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Video Transcript

00:00:00          [Beginning of Recorded Material]

I:          This is November 2, 2021, beautiful Villages of – in Florida.  My name is Jongwoo Han.  I am the president of Korean War Legacy Foundation, which has about more than 1500 interviews, not only from the United States, but also other 21 countries that participate in the Korean War.  We are doing this especially for the commemoration of the breakup of the Korean War,


the 70th Anniversary, supported by the Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs, MPVA.  A fundamental reason that we are doing this interview in your chapter – you are the chapter president – is because we want to preserve their memory, because it’s been a long time, and we want to honor their service.  At the same time, it’s very important for us to educate about the legacy of the Korean War to our future generation.


And I know that you have so much stories to tell me about it, because you are the one who – architect of the Tell America Program in this chapter.

J:         Yes.

I:          So it is my great honor and – and pleasure to meet you, sir.  I sincerely thank you for everything that you have arranged for this series of interviews in your chapter.  We’ll go talking about that, too, later.  But thank you again.  You are the General, right?


J:         I am the man.

I:          So you’re the major General?

J:         Yes, yes.

I:          So I want to thank you, sir.  And would you please introduce yourself?  What is your name and spell it for the audience, please.

J:         I am John Robert McWaters.  I spell John, J-o-h-n.

I:          Hm-hmm.

J          Robert, R-o-b-e-r-t.

I:          Yeah.

J:         McWaters, M-c-W-a-t-e-r-s.

I:          Yep.

J:         I was born in Perry, Georgia.


I:          P-e —

J:         — e-r-r-y, a small community of some 3,000.

I:          And what is your birthday?

J:         January 21, 1934.

I:          ’34.  So that makes you 87?

J:         Yes.

I:          And you tell – you told me that you are biking and you are —

J:         Yes, I bicycle typically.  I bicycle five to six times per day.  Typically, I bicycle


20 to 25 miles.

I:          Whoa, you kid – you’re not kidding me?

J:         I’m not kidding you.  I know I’m so – a little old to be doing that.  And then during the summertime —

I:          Hm-hmm.

J          — when it’s quite warm here in Florida —

I:          Yeah.

J:         I typically bike from 5:00a to 7:00a, because it’s quieter, it’s dark, and it’s cool, and I’m well-illuminated.


I:          So you are really energetic?

J:         Yes.

I:          General.

J:         I am energetic.

I:          Do you do other sports?

J:         Well,


I’ve been – I’ve done golf —

I:          Yeah.

J:         — for a long time.  I’ve become somewhat bored with it because it takes so long to the time you get there, and the time you play 18 holes, and then everybody wants to stop for some sort of libation —

I:          Exactly.

J:         — at the 19th hole.

I:          Yeah.

J:         And by the time you get home, the – the day’s pretty much used up.

I:          Yeah.

J:         So, uh, I then left that and became involved in a game called pickle ball —

I:          Uh-huh.

J:         — which is very


popular here.

I:          Uh-huh.

J:         So I had to learn that.

I:          What is that?

J:         It’s a game played somewhat like tennis —

I:          Hm-hmm.

J:         — except it’s played with a hard paddle, and it’s played with a wiffle ball —

I:          Yeah.

J:         — a white plastic ball, with many, many holes in it.

I:          Hmm.

J:         And it’s a very popular sport in California and here and it’s growing like a weed.

I:          I think I need to learn.

J:         Oh, it’s a wonderful game.

I:          [Laughs]

J:         It really is.

I:          Yeah.


So now you are the president of this chapter, right?

J:         Yes.

I:          What is the official name of the chapter?

J:         It is, uh, the – hmm.  The official name of the chapter is Korean – Chapter 16 – Chapter 169 of The Villages, Florida.

I:          The Villages, Florida.  How many chapter members do you have?

J:         247.

I:          Two hundred – that’s quite a lot.


J:         It’s the largest chapter in Florida.

I:          In Florida.

J:         It’s the largest chapter in the United States.

I:          Also in the USA?

J:         Yes.  It was not that way when I became the commander.

I:          So how did you recruit all of this?

J:         Well, I had some very capable help that I recruited first.

I:          Hm-hmm.  Who is that?

J:         And – and once they were onboard and – our *objective then was 42 members, and we were not in the top


10 – 20 in the – on the national scene.  And I said, look, guys, we’re going to get organized, and we’re going to get this thing done.  Uh, so, uh, in 2019, two years ago, I suggested that we get together and have a series of breakfasts that we, the Chapter 169, paid for.

I:          Hm-hmm.

J:         We offered as come —


come and socialize with us.

I:          You are smart.

J:         And so we selected a restaurant that was very close to where we hold our monthly meetings.

I:          Hm-hmm.

J:         And it was called Bob Evans.

I:          Hm.

J:         So we went and met up with the newspaper.  And there was a fellow there, who’s no longer there, unfortunately – his health got bad – his name is Frank Ross.  And I became dear friends.  And he said, well, General, I’ll tell you what; I will put it in the paper.


I:          Hm.

J:         In the paper, telling everyone they can come to Bob Evans and have a free breakfast.

I:          Hm-hmm.

J:         And so it was such a – a success that first time, I just scheduled another one two weeks later.

I:          [Chuckles]

J:         And again, I asked Frank Ross, I said, Frank, put it in the paper again.

And he said, Do you want me to just say the same thing?

I said, Oh, no, no, no.

He said – this time he says, General McWaters and the Chapter 169 are reaching out  —


I:          Hm-hmm.

J:         — to all Veterans of the Korean War.  So we did the second time.

I:          Yep.

J:         Long story short, we did five breakfasts in November and early December.  And we had – we served 165 free breakfasts.

I:          [Laughs]

J:         And of that 165, 160 – a hundred – no.  Of that 165, 135 paid the money, joined the chapter.

I:          So you actually made a profit out of this?

J:         Oh, yeah.


I:          [Laughs]

J:         And so – so my 40-member chapter is now the largest chapter in Florida —

I:          Wow.

J:         — and the largest chapter in the U.S.

I:          So you have a big influence?

J:         Yeah, I had – listen, I was on the map.  And the – the national association said, “

Would you like to be in charge membership recruiting” —

I:          Hm-hmm.

J:         — “but at a national level?”

And I said, “Why not?”

And they said, “We want to put you over the board of directors, but you have to run for office


and get elected.”

I:          Hm-hmm.

J:         “So we can’t just appoint you.”

I said, “That’s all right.”

I:          Hm-hmm.

J:         And so I ran office and, uh, there were four other candidates.  And I defeated all of them.  And I became the, uh, national director for membership.  That was my – my committee.  And I was the committee chair.  And so we went forward.

I:          You have to run for president.

J:         Uh,


well, we’ve had a lot of – I have a lot of friends that are also on the board of directors.  There are nine members of the board of directors.

I:          Yeah.

J:         And there are five – five officers.  All these five and that nine, uh, plus one other, 15 people can vote.  So I – I beat the other four pretty handily.

I:          Hm-hmm.

J:         And I became the director, and that was back in 2019.


And so now, uh, this – this coming month, December 15, we have published the Call for Elections.  All of us that are currently serving —

I:          Yeah.

J:         — and who might like a second three-year term, just reapply, and we’ll see if we can get your another three-year term.

I:          Hm-hmm.

J:         No, thank you.

I:          [Laughs]

J:         I want to be the president.

I:          Yep.

J:         They said, “Well, go ahead and fill out


the application, submit your DD214, and an authographed picture of your mother-in-law, and assorted other *pair.  And so that’s what my job is.  After – after you leave, Jongwoo, I’m going to work on that for a week.

I:          Good for you.

J:         *You asked.  I can submit it by the —

I:          No, I’m talking about national chapter.

J:         Yes, I’m talking about being the president of this whole organization, all 165 chapters.

I:          In the U.S.?

J:         In


the U.S.

I:          Excellent.

J:         So…

I:          Excellent.

J:         But I haven’t won yet.

I:          I want to have a Korean War Veteran to be the president of KWVA, not the Korean Defense Veteran yet.

J:         Oh.

I:          You are still very young.

J:         I – I’m [Laughs] – I’m —

I:          You’re still Viking.

J:         I’m still Viking.

I:          So you got to be a president.

J:         And I’m still standing up in front of bunch of guys that I really love, and it’s, what’s – what is the General going to order us to do —

I:          Yeah.

J:         — for the next two weeks, or the next two months,


or whatever.

I:          So when you become elected as president, I’ll be there, okay, to serve you.

J:         Ah, wonderful.

I:          Yeah.

J:         Wonderful.  Now, I won’t take office now until July 1 —

I:          Right.

J:         — because we’re on a fiscal year.

I:          Yeah.

J:         So…

I:          So…

J:         And I won’t know until probably April or May —

I:          Yeah.

J:         — who won.

I:          But —

J:         But you’ll be one of the ones I call.

I:          Please.

J:         [Laughs]

I:          So, General —

J:         Yes.


I:          — you called me and talked about Tell America Program that you were – you’ve been working on.

J:         I authored that, yes.

I:          And you – you want to make a video program for —

J:         I just —

I:          — students.  So tell me about those things.

J:         Well, okay.

I:          Look at the camera, please.

J:         All right.  I’m looking at the camera.

I:          Yeah.

J:         And the situation was, back in 2017 —

I:          Hm-hmm.

J:         — whem I became president of this chapter —

I:          Yeah.

J:         I became a member in 2015,


and it took me a year and a half or so to kind of look around.  And I decided, you know, this – this needs – this chapter needs leadership, and I am a leadership person.

I:          Yeah.

J:         So I – so, therefore, uh, I – I felt like this program that we had, called Tell America – and the idea of Tell America is to go out at the high school level here in Central Florida and teach people about – young men, now,


and ladies and girls, about the Korean War and how I felt about the Korean War, having been engaged in it for three years —

I:          Hm-hmm.

J:         — some – some time back.  So I – I looked in – to see what we had in the way of teaching aids.  And we had a small map, yay big – I don’t know, two feet by three feet, maybe – and it was full of advertisements for McDonald’s hamburgers


and Al’s Fish House and – and showed these places prominently over this map.

I:          Yeah.

J:         It only showed South Korea.  [Laughs]  I said, I think the war probably involved both Koreas.  So I went about, first of all, get a big map.  And I called National Geographic.

I:          Hm-hmm.

J:         And they said, General, what do you really want to use this map for?  And I told them straight out, I’m going to


educate young people in the 11th and 12th grade in Central Florida.  Right now, I have, in my program, one high school.

I:          Hmm.

J:         One, as in o-n-e, one.

I:          Hmm.

J:         And I’m not happy with one.

I:          Hmm.

J:         So, first, we have to go out and get some other high schools.  But you cannot sell from an empty wagon.  I had no map.

I:          Hm-hmm.

J:         National Geographic said, We have a big map, five feet by six feet —

I:          Hmm.

J:         — and it shows both North and


South Korea.

I:          Yeah.

J:         And it shows the villages and the towns.  And I looked at it and I said, God, I was there.  I pointed at the map.  I said, Oh, I was over here.  But that was – that was 30 years ago, 40 years ago.

I:          Hmm.

J:         But I can remember some of the towns, Hungnam, where we had to get our fannies out of the Frozen Chosin, at their – what was that – name of that town?  Hagaru-ri.

I:          Hagaru-ri, yes.

J:         And that’s where the – the


corps commander was.  And the corps commander was a tall Marine, Lieutenant General.  And I’m not a Marine.  I’m – I’m TI.

I:          Right, yeah.

J:         But they were having a terrible time with – with busting up rock so that they could smooth this area out, and the highway could continue on around a big cliff.

I:          Right.

J:         And they didn’t have a big cliff — I mean, they didn’t have any jackhammers.

I:          Yeah.

J:         You’ve seen jackhammers.

I:          Hm-hmm.

J:         All


right.  Well, I was in the combat engineer battalion.  And we had jackhammers.  And I went to the battalion commander and I said, They are having a big terrible problem up there.

I:          So you were in the Hagaru-ri there?

J:         I was – I was back in Hung – I was way down —

I:          Hungnam?

J:         Hungnam.

I:          Yeah.

J:         Yeah.

I:          Yeah.

J:         And – and we were talking about, we’re going to have to get out of here, because things are not looking good.

I:          Hm-hmm.

J:         Well, they said, We got a request here from this – this Marine General —

I:          Yeah.

J:         — that he needs some help busting up some rock.


And he said – asked us if we had any jackhammers.  Now, Corporal – this is the battalion commander speaking to me.  And I’m thinking, he should know how many jackhammers he – he owns in this battalion [Laughter] because they were all in the what the call the Support Platoon of Headquarters Company, and I’m in the Support Platoon.  And so we – we wired back to the General and said, We have four jackhammers and an air-compressor truck mounted,


and we can drive it up there to you.  And – and he was ecstatic.

I:          Hm-hmm.

J:         Send them out.  I had a really good driver, but he was terrified of jackhammers.

I:          What was your rank at the time?

J:         I was a Corporal.

I:          Corporal.

J:         Yes.

I:          Yeah.

J:         The lowest non-commissioned officer.

I:          Right.

J:         But there’s a key word there, now, “commissioned.”

I:          Right.

J:         Boy, uh, even today, 50 years later, 60 years later, that was still one of my big promotions.


Going from Private to Corporal, ha-ta-ta-ta.

I:          Hm-hmm.

J:         Okay.  So I drove – actually, I rode with this kid I got as a driver, and we’re – the air compressor is a huge thing.  And it’s cold as a [misha].  And it’s a diesel run, and it’s a bitch to start it.  It had a little pony engine on it, gasoline engine.  And once you could get it running, you could put it in gear, and that would start this monster


of a 210 Leroy Air Compressor, 210 cubic feet per minute.

I:          Hmm.

J:         Okay.  Now, you with me?

I:          Yeah.

J:         Okay.  So we drive up to Hagaru-ri.

I:          Yeah.

J:         And – and – and I said, I’m – my orders are for me to report to General Oliver Prince Smith, U.S. Marine Corps.

I:          Only person —

J:         I had – I had it memorized.

I:          Yep.

J:         It’s important to remember people’s names.  And so they – that’s him, right over here. Hey, Corporal, there he is.  He’s that tall fellow.  So I went over and reported.


He said, Sonny-boy, did you bring me an air compressor?

Yes, General, I did.

Do you know how to —

I:          You really did it?

J:         Yes.  And – and he said, Do you know how to operate that thing?

I:          Uh-huh.

J:         Yes, sir, I do.  I’m highly skilled with that – with that air compressor.

He said, You’re not really kidding me, are you?

I said, All I need is some of your able-bodied Marines, maybe four or five of them, to help me get all that stuff out of the trailer.

I:          Uh-huh.

J:         You see – see that dump truck


there?  The dump truck has got the air compressor in it, and it’s in there permanently.  We don’t – we don’t want to take it out.  It stays there.  Do you see that trailer?  All the tools are in there:  chainsaws, jackhammers, uh, all kinds of equipment.  That’s – I’ll use when I need.  I will supervise.

And, you know, he just looked up and said, Thank you, Lord.


I:          You are telling me the real



J:         This is the story.

I:          Excellent.

J:         And so we went busy.  We [making whirring sounds] – we started breaking up that – boulders, and one thing and then another.  And, see, we left early in the morning —

I:          Yeah.

J:         — to get there in two hours.  And we’re breaking up the rock, and we were really working at it.  And he, the – the General came out and blew his whistle and said, Sonny – looked at me – said, Load all your stuff up.  We


got to get the hell out of here, I mean, like now.  And you and your driver take that right back down to Hungnam.

I:          Hm-hmm.

J:         I said, but I wanted to be able to tell everybody that I was at Frozen Chosin.


And he – he said, You can tell them, [but only] for about six hours.  But that’s – that – it will be a good story for you, Sonny-Boy.

I:          So went up to the Chosin —

J:         I – that’s where —


I:          — from there?

J:         That’s where – that’s what [unintelligible]

I:          Yeah, right.

J:         That was – that was the – what do you call it?  That was X Corps.  He was a X Corps Commander.

I:          Yeah.

J:         Commander, Commander General.

I:          Hm-hmm.

J:         And he said — and I – by then, I had six Marines out there working.  And when the General said, we’re – we’re – we’re getting out of here —

I:          Hm-hmm.

J:         And the Marines called it – they called it the Great Bug Out.

I:          Yeah.

J:         Seriously, that’s what it was.

I:          Hm-hmm.

J:         So I just got all that stuff back in the trailer.


And the kid’s still driving the truck, and we started driving to Hangnam – Hungman, H-u-n – yeah, Hungman.

I:          H-u —

J:         The port.

I:          Yes.

J:         The port.

I:          Yep.

J:         And they were bringing ships to evacuate, but there – they were evacuating more Korean people from – because they’re leaving their homes and their villages and – and I think all of them – not all of them – but most of them will get on one ship, by the thousands.  I


can’t think of the name of the ship.

I:          Meredith.

J:         Meredith, Liberty Meredith.

I:          Yep.

J:         Good for you.  Golly.

I:          [Laughs]

J:         Do you realize how long ago that was – [Laughter] – that December day.

I:          Yeah.

J:         [Laughs]

I:          So you remember those.  Can you take off your – and glass —

J:         Yes.

I:          — because it has a – yes, right.

J:         Is that better?

I:          Yeah.

J:         All right.

I:          All right.  So…

J:         So there we were, on that same road —

I:          Hm-hmm.

J:         — driving all the way back —


I:          Hm-hmm.

J:         — where we had just come that morning in the dark.

I:          Yes.

J:         In the dark.  And so had this kid, he said, Corporal, you – you sure this is what we’re supposed to be doing.  [Laughs]

I said, Yeah, I’m afraid it is.

That – that was that ship’s name, Meredith.

I:          And so you remembering you’re in that ship, too?

J:         No, no.  We – we were – some of the – some of our people —

I:          Yeah.

J:         — were on the ship because they were the, what  we


call the walking wounded.

I:          Yeah.

J:         Uh, but those of us that were able bodied and could drive anything that had wheels —

I:          Hmm.

J:         For example, I drove a rubber-tired backhoe —

I:          Yeah.

J:         — a backhoe, all the way down – let’s see.  We left Hungnam.  We drove down like we were going all the way back to Pusan, or we didn’t go that far.  We did – we went a pretty good ways, though.

I:          Wow.

J:         We did —

I:          So you didn’t take a ship, but you drove down from Hungnam.

J:         I drove on the Coast Highway —

I:          Yeah.

J:         — Coast Highway.  A number —


See, what I should have done —

I:          Hmm.

J:         — is brought my map

I:          Yeah.

J:         I – I could have sat here and pointed at things.  But you would – you’re a Korean.  You would know exactly where these places are —

I:          Yeah.

J:         — I would hope.

I:          Yeah.

J:         Yes?

I:          I can —

J:         But you don’t go to North Korea much, do you?

I:          No, no.

J:         I wouldn’t think so.

I:          No.  So we were talking about the Tell America Program.

J:         Oh, yes.  I sidetracked.

I:          And so you wanted to tell these things to the school?

J:         Yes.

I:          And you called me to work together with


my foundation, right?

J:         Yeah, yes.

I:          Yes.

J:         That’s —

I:          So today, I watched the video.

J:         Oh, yes?

I:          Yeah.  By Bill Mc – McLaughlin and —

J:         Yes.

I:          — and [Mark Carry].  And we decided to work together.  They will make a report back to you, and who – you will decide finally how we’re going to go do it.  Okay?

J:         Wonderful.

I:          Yes.

J:         Yes.

I:          Yes.

J:         Because there was no program.

I:          Hm-hmm.

J:         And I – and I’m saying to everybody,


uh, I didn’t know how to do a PowerPoint presentation.

I:          Yeah.

J:         I kept hearing, but I didn’t know how because I – I didn’t have a laptop computer.

I:          Right.

J:         So I bought one.

I:          Oh [Laughs].

J:         A reconditioned one from – from Sandy [Fuller], one of — my golf buddy, who was retired from Dell, D-e-l-l. Man – they manufacture —

I:          Yeah.

J:         — laptops.

I:          Dell.

J:         All kinds of stuff.

I:          Yeah, yeah.


J:         And so I said – I told Sandy what I needed.

He said, I can teach you how to do a PowerPoint presentation.

I:          Good.

J:         But I cannot be there and hold your hand.

I:          [Laughs]

J:         Yeah, I mean, seriously.  So we’ll start out, and I’m going to find you a reconditioned laptop —

I:          Hm-hmm.

J:         — that I will warrant because I’m retired from Dell.

I:          Yeah.

J:         And I’m not going to let them mess you up.

I:          Hm.

J:         So he did, and he – and he lives four doors down the street


from me.  And so he would start me out, Do you see this button; that’s – that’s – that’s how you turn it on.   And we’re going to go from there.

I:          Okay.

J:         And I made progress, but I learned I had to write it down.  And – and then he said, well, how are we going to do this thing to teach these kids?

I said, well, I brought, like, a – I brought home some pictures that I took, photos, with the —


with the camera that belonged to the platoon.  It was U.S. Army – it was U.S. Army.

I:          You should have brought that picture today, to me.

J:         I —

I:          [Go ahead.]

J:         I now own a laptop.

I:          Hm-hmm.

J:         And I have some photos that I brought back with me, uh, from Korea.  And with – some of these photos helped.  Sandy’s photos helped.  Oh, we started making some slides, and getting them in there in the wrong order, of course, the first time around.  And then I – I started


looking for slides through Google.  I just – I just [unintelligible] Google, a slide of a – of a reinforced timber bunker that the battalion commander could hide in.

I:          Yeah.

J:         That type thing.  And slowly, but surely, over the course of a year —

I:          Hm-hmm.

J:         — I had a PowerPoint presentation that I could keep – set it up in front of any class.

I:          Yeah.

J:         And


I could talk them through it.

I:          Hm-hmm.

J:         So I – I learned that in the high schools, they have something called Junior ROTC.  And these are young men and women, boys and girls, that are involved in what is known as the Junior ROTC program.

I:          Yes.

J:         And one day per week, they’re in uniform.  And so I said to the principal of the school, If you will allow me, I will be happy to teach all of your ROTC classes on that Wednesday,


when they’re in uniform.

And he said, General, you’re on, but you’re going to be worn out at the end of the day.  That’s too many.

I said, well, okay, I’ll compromise.  I would – our first time out, I’ll do three.

You know what he said?  Good move; I’ll help you.

I:          Hmm.  Hmm.

J:         That’s when I learned that the school, each high school, hired retired Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine people


to be on the faculty —

I:          Yeah.

J:         — and to be in charge of the Junior ROTC folks.  And had a Lieutenant Colonel, retired; and they had a – a Master Sergeant, retired —

I:          Hmm.

J:         — on the Army side.  And then that – so the next – the next one I went to was Navy.  And then after the Navy, I went to the Air Force.  And it wasn’t long, a little – actually, it was almost two years before I had six high schools, that all


the ROTC classes, I was teaching, uh, all of them.

I:          Well, why is it important for you to do that?  Why?

J:         It was important for me to do that because I didn’t feel anyone was educating them about the war where I had spent a lot of my time as a young man.

I:          Uh-huh.

J:         And I wanted to tell them that story.

I:          What story?

J:         The story of the Korean War.

I:          Yeah.

J:         And plus the fact, I could go there in uniform, just as you saw me in this morning:


white shirt, brass, rank, everything.

I:          But why is it for you to tell the story of the Korean War, why Korean War is important?

J:         Yeah, the Korean War is important because it had become known in the press as the Forgotten War.  And I thought that was so bad.  That’s a report – I said [this on the record]:  It’s an important victory, because I can assure you, North Korea came out on the short side of that conflict.

I:          Yeah.

J:         I mean, that – all that up there,


that rice bowl that’s this side of the DMZ belonged to North Korea, to – when they came across the line there on June the 25th, 1950.  But now it belonged to South Korea.

I:          Hm-hmm.

J:         And I felt like they will never give that back.

I:          Right.

J:         [Laughs]  It will be a cold day in hell before they give that back.  And I wanted to tell that story.

I:          Yeah.

J:         And I want to show them on the map where that was.

I:          But, General, why the Korean War has been known


as Forgotten War in the – in the minds of American People?  Why?

J:         Well, because – that’s – and that’s – that’s a great question.  But I think the reason primarily is we were going through the – the situation with how important TV became to the news.  I mean, we had Walter Cronkite.  And we had Harry Reasoner.  And – and they were pitching that another way —

I:          Hm-hmm.

J:         — that we had wasted


a lot of our time, a lot of money, a lot of our blood, and for – in a Forgotten War because we didn’t get anything out of it.

I:          Hmm.

J:         And I thought we – we [sayed] – we saved a – a fine young country that’s just now getting off its feet.  And now look how it is.  Hot-diggity-dog.  Yeah.

I:          [Laughs]

J:         So – so it was a great pleasure for my wife and I in two – in nine – in 2016,


to go on that program, uh, tell – that was —

I:          Revisit program.

J:         The program was Korea Revisited, yeah.  And paid for – paid for by the government of South Korea.

I:          Yeah.

J:         And put us up in a five-star hotel in downtown Seoul.  Man, oh, man, we got off that airplane, and they took us by bus, two busloads, and we got off the bus, and we went into the front door, and walked through the lobby, toward the elevators.  And it – you won’t believe this.  Now,


you’ll think I’m making this up.  On each side of us were lined up the staff at that hotel.  The most noticeable were the chefs, with their white outfits and those tall funny hats that they wear.

I:          Hm-hmm.

J:         Okay.

I:          Hm-hmm.

J:         And so – and they – and they were clapping [making clapping sounds], clapping, all – walked us all the way to our elevators. They were carrying our luggage.  They – they were so glad to see us.

I:          How did you like it?

J:         I’ll tell you what, that was —

I:          So when were you in Korea?  When did


you arrive in Korea in the war?

J:         In the war, I arrived in Korea in, uh, late October 1950.

I:          Wow.

J:         And that was – that was —

I:          So it was in the beginning of the war?

J:         That was the big time, you know.  If you were – as you recall, we had to break out down at Pusan in September ’50.

I:          Yes.

J:         And we had that incredible landing at Incheon that MacArthur pulled out of his ying-yang.

I:          Yeah.

J:         Uh, and it worked.  It worked.

I:          Yep.

J:         And he put those two Marine divisions ashore,


and we cut the North Koreans off at their knees.  They were still – they were still down there at the Pusan parameter, when we had broken out of there.  And – I don’t know – cut them off.

I:          So where did you arrive?  Pusan or in Incheon?

J:         Ah, let’s see.  [Clears throat] I – I flew commercial air to, uh, Nagasaki Air Force Base.

I:          Hm-hmm.

J:         Japan.

I:          Yeah.

J:         Japan.


There were several buses there.  All – all of us were, you know, recruits – recruits with our duffle bags and all our – all our gear.  And we landed there in Nagasaki.

I:          Where?  Nagasaki?

J:         Nagasaki.

I:          Yeah.

J:         Then we got on buses immediately.

I:          Yeah.

J:         And we were driven to the U.S. — U.S. Coast Guard —

I:          Hm-hmm.

J:         — Coast Guard, at a place called



I:          Sasebo.

J:         I think that’s right.

I:          Yeah.

J:         And from there, uh, we loaded up – this – this – Coast Guard Cutters, they were called.

I:          Hm-hmm.

J:         Cutters.  I – I can’t remember how – how big the crew was, but I would say – I don’t know – 60 or 70.  And there were a couple of hundred of us.  And we sailed across the South China Sea.  Would that be right?

I:          No.  You – you didn’t go far that way.


Go to Korea, right?

J:         Yeah, we were going to Pusan.

I:          Yeah, Pusan.

J:         From – from Sasebo.

I:          Yeah.

J:         And – and it was – I don’t know.  It took, like, two and a half hours at sea, and it was a rough sea.

I:          Hm-hmm.

J:         I’d never been in a – a ship before.

I:          Right.

J:         Everybody got a little sick.  So, anyhow, we – we got off at Pusan.  And that’s when we were told, uh, that everybody that had been at Pusan the month before was gone.  They were marching up the


Coast Road and cutting off, uh, the North Korean army, uh, and taking prisoners.  And at the same time, MacArthur’s two Marine divisions were driving across the Peninsula and, [makes sound] we’re going to – we’re going to take a lot of prisoners.

I:          Yeah.

J:         And we did that.

I:          What was your unit?

J:         At that —

I:          What division?

J:         At that time, my orders said, report to – report to


7th Infantry Division, at location to be determined.

I:          [Laughs]

J:         They’ll move it.  Uh, and you will be a member of the 13th Combat Engineer Battalion.

I:          Hm-hmm.

J:         And so when I got there, uh, back in that time, 1950, we really didn’t have computers.  Everything was done on a – with a pencil and a paper, called a morning report.

I:          Hm-hmm.

J:         And next thing I knew, they had put me in to,


uh, uh, a mounted armor outfit.  But that was just temporary.  They straightened out my order, and the next thing I know, I’m now in a Combat Engineer Battalion.

I:          Hm-hmm.

J:         Which I really liked.

I:          What was your specialty?

J:         That was my specialty because I was —

I:          Rifleman, or what did you do?

J:         Uh, well, what I – what I could do were things that I had learned, uh, on the farm in Perry, Georgia.

I:          Yeah.

J:         With my two


uncles, Uncle [Lewis] and Uncle [Buddy].  I learned how they installed, uh, what’s known as, uh, a latrine, with a – a septic tank.

I:          Hmm.

J:         I learned how – how that was done.

I:          Yep.

J:         And, also, I learned to drive a tractor.  So remember, I told you later, I could drive that rubber-tire backhoe?  It was just like a farm tractor.

I:          Hm-hmm.

J:         No problem.  So I – I learned to do that.  Uh, and general engineer work.


And so I – I met the – the platoon leader.  And the first thing I noticed on his collar were not engineer [tassles], but crossed rifles.

I:          Hmm.

J:         He was infantry.  And he goes – he said, now, don’t stare – he said, Soldier – he was a First Lieutenant, First Lieutenant.  And his name was Will Hill Tankersly.

I:          [Laughs]

J:         We


became friends for life, from that day forward.

I:          Uh-huh.

J:         Uh, because next thing I knew, I was his driver.  And he – he said, You don’t ever seem to get lost, so [laughs] I’m going to make you my driver.

I:          Yeah.

J:         And I – and I said, sure, come – not a problem, sir, begging your pardon, First Lieutenant.  And away we went.  And we did – we did a lot of things that —

I:          But from Pusan, where did you go?

J:         What’s that?

I:          From Pusan —


J:         Oh.

I:          — where did you go?

J:         Oh, where was I when I met up with the 7th Infantry Division and – and the platoon, we were at – right up on the – at that point, see, that was, uh, November.  We hadn’t crossed the 38th Parallel.

I:          Okay.

J:         A lot of – a lot of the forces had, but we were back doing assorted – we were – first of all, there was a —


a bridge over the Han River, uh, right there in Seoul, that had been badly damaged.

I:          Yeah.

J:         And – and the – being that this was an engineer combat battalion, they had a lot of equipment, and a lot of guys that could do welding.  And so they would – were doing various repair work.  Wasn’t going very fast, but we were getting there.  And, uh, who was it?  The


president of South Korea?

I:          Syngman Rhee.

J:         Syngman Rhee —

I:          Yeah.

J:         — recognized the battalion —

I:          Hmm.

J:         — for the – for the hard work they were doing. And we got – the whole unit got an award.  It’s a little red badge of – of it.  I’ve been wearing it today.  Anyhow, we did – we – we were all kind of hanging out there.  And the war was going on up the way.  And the next thing I knew, we packed up and we went to Pyongyang.

I:          Hm-hmm.

J:         Pyongyang,


the capital of North Korea.

I:          Hm-hmm.

J:         And it was – and we were – it was getting shot up pretty good.  I mean, we were putting some artillery fire, and that was devastating.  And there were – there were a lot of fires.  We were hit with a – a tough thing.  But, anyhow, the – we kept advancing, kept advancing, and it was getting very, very cold.  And the next thing we knew, uh, we were over at the – how did – I


can’t remember how we got over to [Hangnow] – Hungnam.  We got – but somehow we did.

I:          Yeah.

J:         I don’t remember how.  Seems we —

I:          But did Chinese intervene when you were there in Pyongyang, right?

J:         Yes, they did.

I:          Yeah.

J:         They came across the —

I:          Yalu River.

J:         — Yalu River.

I:          Yeah.

J:         Yes, they did.

I:          Hm-hmm.

J:         Uh, I want to say Thanksgiving time of year.

I:          Yeah.

J:         Maybe – maybe even close to Christmas —

I:          Yeah.

J:         — you know.  But they came, and


we learned, even the Marines learned, that they had some really good – the Chinese, now, I’m speaking of.

I:          Hmm.

J:         They had some really good infantry skills.

I:          Yeah.

J:         And that’s when we learned that they had been helping in the civil war that had been going on in China —

I:          Yes, yes.

J:         — between Chiang Kai-shek’s whole forces.

I:          Yes.

J:         And the – the Communist, [Zheng Junli], {Zheng Junli].

I:          Junli.

J:         Yeah.  Anyhow —


— these guys that were coming across the Yalu in rubber boats silentlly, silently at night.  Next thing we knew, there were more of them than there was of us.  And that’s when that – all of that mess started happening at – at what we – we started calling Frozen Chosin.  And that’s where – and that’s where General Oliver Prince Smith came in


to my life, uh, and I drove that truck up there with that – with that 210 Leroy air compressor on it.

I:          Hmm.

J:         The Chinese, as I say, came into the war.

I:          Yeah.

J:         In – in great numbers.  And – and were pushing not only us, but all the United Nations’ forces.

I:          Yep.

J:         Because we were co-located there, uh, with, uh – somehow we became involved


with the 1st Battalion of the Columbian National Army from South America.

I:          Yes.

J:         And they – oh, I know what it was.  They had no engineer battalion.

I:          I see.

J:         And they requested an engineer battalion – combat battalion do general engineer tasks for them.  Well, they didn’t get the whole battalion.  They got our – they got our platoon,


which was a – a support platoon, to look after their headquarters.  And they really – they really only wanted us to build timber bunkers.

I:          Hmm.

J:         So – because – and the – the tactical situation was fluid, and everybody was moving either north, south, east, west, and trying to avoid being captured.  And we were helping those guys out.


And somehow – I have to – I’ve got to reconstruct this.  Somehow we – the next thing I know, we were below – we were beyond the Han River.  We were beyond the, uh – beyond Incheon.  We were beyond – beyond Seoul.  We were beyond the Han River.  We were beyond the 38th Parallel, even.


And – but somehow, somewhere south of that, we took a stand, the United Nations did, all – I would say that would be probably spring of two – no, 19 – 195 —

I:          ’51.

J:         Yeah, 1951.

I:          Yeah.

J:         That would be springtime.

I:          Yeah.

J:         And we – we stopped them dead, and we stopped them.  And then we started moving back, going back north.

I:          Yeah.


J:         And retracing our steps.  And it’s – you know, you have to remember, the war started in June of 1950.

I:          Right.

J:         This is now January, six months later, and we’ve – they’ve attacked, pushed the U.N. Forces all the way down to Pusan.  We break out.  We push them all the way up to the Yalu.

I:          And then —

J:         And Chinese come into it, and they push all the way – all the way back across the Han.

I:          Right.

J:         And all the way down to —


I don’t know.  I would say we were probably, uh, [about] a hundred miles south of the [30th] Parallel.

I:          Seoul, yeah, yeah.  So —

J:         But – but we were – we had gone to – Seoul had fallen again.  Uh, so it came to a – a halt.  And United Nations forces started going back up.  And we had a – we had a pre – executive at the – the big brass, the big planners, had said it’s


going to be our – our – it became known as the Demilitarized Zone.  It was the high ground.

I:          Yeah.

J:         I mean, there were such things on it as Porkchop Hill.

I:          Hm-hmm.

J:         There were such things on it as Old Baldy and other high ground.  So we were always looking downhill at them.  And – and —

I:          So where were you then?

J:         Where – what town?

I:          Where were you?

J:         Uh, our – our battalion was basically doing construction work between the – between the 38th Parallel and what is now the DMZ.


I:          Hm-hmm.

J:         That – that – that area in there, uh, and —

I:          Were you in [Kumha belly] or —

J:         [Kuha belly]?

I:          Yeah.  Where were you?  What – what was your camp name?

J:         Oh, God, let’s see.

I:          [Bulbardy] or —

J:         Oh, we had – we had Camp [Riley].

I:          Camp Riley.

J:         Yeah, we were there.  And we kind of – we would be there, and then we’d go out, and then we’d come back.  Uh [laughs].


But – but at that point, the war had stabilized.  I mean, it had become – uh, I don’t know if this is the right term – a trench warfare type thing.

I:          Yeah.

J:         Reminiscent of World War I.

I:          Yes.

J:         And we had – and we were well dug in.  And it was – well, it was springtime.  And as it was getting warm, it was nice.  Uh, but we were – we were constantly worried about the next winter.  I mean, soldiers, you know, that suffered through that first winter,


uh —

I:          So cold.

J:         It was so cold.

I:          Can you describe how cold it was?

J:         Yes, because – well, the sleeping bags that we had issued were from – for a mild winter environment.

I:          Hmm.

J:         And we did not have a mild winter.  We were below zero almost constantly.  And the trouble with it is, uh, you get in a sleeping


bag, your hot breath, pretty soon you were wet —

I:          Yeah.

J:         — because it condenses against the – the inside of the bag.  [Laughs] It was a pitiful situation.  And – and we – all of us were putting the word out to anybody who would listen, we do not want – if we’ve got to stay through it next winter, you’re going to lose a lot of people going over the hill.

I:          Hmm.

J:         It was just – we – we feared it, honest to God feared another winter like that.  And the second winter wasn’t quite that bad.


Uh, and that helped a lot.  And then two other things happened.  One, I’ve spoken to you earlier about the Lt. [Tankersley].

I:          Yeah.

J:         My platoon leader.

I:          Yeah, yeah.

J:         And we became [unintelligible]

I:          Right.

J:         He passed away, uh, a couple of years ago.  Anyhow, uh, like I say, he was an infantry guy.  And, uh, a West Point graduate.  Uh, and he said, you know, finally, McWaters, my – my driver,


all your paperwork has caught up with us.  And now I’m finding out that you not only excel at Boot Camp, or Basic Training, but you also went to AIT, A —

I:          What is that?

J:         Advanced Infantry Training.

I:          Okay.

J:         And – and they – you went there because you had volunteered —

I:          Hmm.

J:         — to come into the service.  You are not a constrict.  You were not somebody that came here at the barrel of a gun.

I:          Yeah.

J:         So


here – here’s the deal.  Since you were at AIT, you learned to fire a Browning automatic rifle.

I:          Yeah.

J:         In fact, it says here, you’re expert with it; would you agree with that?

I said, I’m more than expert.

I:          Huh.

J:         I mean, I can put steel on the target, Lieutenant.

He said, well, we – he said, but – I said to him, Lieutenant, surely you must be aware, this is an engineer platoon; it’s not an infantry platoon.

I:          Hm-hmm.

J:         We’re not authorized one of those weapons.

He said, Don’t worry about it; I’ll take care of it.


Two days later he says, Take my Jeep.

I:          Hmm.

J:         And take these – take you some help and drive all the way back down to Pusan; my roommate from West Point is running the depot down there, and he will give you a BAR and all the ammunition you can steal and take – take you two helpers with you.

I:          Hmm.

J:         So we drove his Jeep all the way down there.  Found this – this lieutenant.  And he had – he had taken the BAR out of that big


case, covered with cosmoline —

I:          Hmm.

J:         — and cleaned it up, cleaned it up.  And – and he said, now, go – the range is right over there, Soldier – or Corporal — and you and your two buddies take all the ammunition you want and just go down there and get – get – fet familiar with it.  And so for the rest of the day, we did.  The next day, [makes sound] we drove back.  So we got back.  Lt. Tankersley said, uh, you know, a BAR team


is three people.  We have a shooter —

I:          Yep.

J:         — a loader —

I:          Yep.

J:         — and a spotter; now I want you to select two guys, you train them, and you cross-train them.  You’re the shooter one day, and then the guy’s a loader.  The next day, you make him the shooter.  And the guy that’s the spotter, you make him the loader, so that you work together.  Work together.  I – boy, I was all over that.


We’ll do that.  And these two kids were black, and they were from Alabama.  And, you know, I’m a Southern boy from Georgia.  No – supposedly don’t get along with black folks.

I:          [Laughs]

J:         That’s wrong.  I was raised with them from a little kid, you know.  And I – and these two were – were sharp young soldiers.  Uh, I was, at that time, 18 years old, and they were, like, 19 or 20.

I:          Hm-hmm.

J:         And – and so I – they had —


sometimes the black folks in the South have some strange names.  So I [just said], I’ll tell you what; you’re the tallest, I’m going to call you Alpha; and you’re the shortest; I’m going to call you Bravo.

I:          Hmm.

J:         So now we’ve got Alpha, Bravo and the Corporal.

I:          Yep.

J:         Okay.  [Laughs]  And – and they were all over that.  And so then what Tankersley wanted us to do, provide security for the work site.

I:          Hmm.

J:         Where we’re down in


the ditch digging holes or whatever, you take the high ground and don’t let the Chinese sneak up on us.

I:          So the – your enemy was Chinese, not North Korean?

J:         North Korean, uh – we just didn’t see them like we saw the Chinese, because the Chinese, the way they dressed, those cotton —

I:          Yeah.

J:         — funny-looking uniforms.

I:          Hm-hmm.

J:         And they put – and they blew – blew the vehicle every time they were going anywhere.

I:          Right.

J:         That —

I:          So your enemy was Chinese?

J:         Chinese.

I:          Yeah.

J:         Primarily, yeah.

I:          Hm-hmm.

J:         Sure


enough.  So – and so, uh, then – then you – we realized we’re in a stable condition here.  We’re not going up across the DMZ.  We’re going to hang on and just keep them from running us off this hill.

I:          Hm-hmm.

J:         And so we – we were just doing things to help people.  And one day it came to pass, one day, that we were, uh – well, remember, I told you I was putting – giving support


to this battalion from South America.

I:          Yeah, Columbia.

J:         Columbia, Columbia.

I:          Yeah.

J:         And – and they – they – the commander, named Diaz, D-i-a-z, I think I got that right.  But, anyhow, he wanted a timber bunker like he had seen us build for the division headquarters.  And, uh, so we said, okay, we will.  Going to – we’re going to build you a standard command bunker.

I:          Hmm.

J:         And the only thing you can see out of


now, Colonel Diaz, is a little opening like that.  And that’s going to be facing downhill.

I:          Yep.

J:         Because you’re infantry.  You’re – you’re supposed to engage these Chinese soldiers.

I:          Hmm.

J:         I’m an engineer.  I’m supposed to make a nice bunker for you to hide in.  And so – and we did.  And then to make it really operable, uh, we rigged him up a – a – what – we call – I’m trying to think of the right name of it.


Hmm.  I forgot the name.  Not an outhouse.  Uh, da-da-da-da.  It’s something.  My mind is just slipping on that.  But anyhow, we knew how to do it.  And so – and we did.  Uh, uh, and they came – the next thing I know, one of the villagers – the village is at [unintelligible]


In that part – uh, we’re in that area that’s below – above the 38th Parallel, below the DMZ.  The villages had just been ruined.  And many of the villages had dug shallow trenches, shallow trenches, into the side of the hill.  And anyhow, it came to pass that the – that the village chieftain – I can’t remember.  What’s the Korean word for the chief of the


Korean village?

I:          Chonjang.

J:         Say?

I:          Chonjang.

J:         I – I think I remember that now.

I:          [Yeah].

J:         Okay.  An older man.

I:          Yeah.

J:         But he could speak English?

I:          Right.

J:         Oh, oh, yes.  In fact, it came – we – we learned that most of the villages —

I:          Yeah.

J:         — that had dug these impossible caves and – and he said to – [a number of times] he said, You take care of what he needs.  And so he came to me.  [Laughs]  And I said, what – what – how can I help you.


He said – and he told me about the cave.  And he said, what I want you to help me do is get the human waste out of the cave.  I mean, that was as simple as he could put it.

I:          [Laughs]

J:         I mean, you – you can’t keep crapping in the same hole.  That’s – anyway, we – we got to have some help.  And I – he said, I see you put these, uh, you call them latrines.

I:          Hmm.

J:         And septic tanks.  He knew you run the water into the septic


tank and it makes the doo-doo go away.

I:          [Laughs]

J:         He said, that’s the secret that you Americans know.

I:          Hmm.

J:         I said, well, it’s also what a lot of us know in Perry, Georgia, because it’s at – everybody’s house has got a septic tank.  I mean, there wasn’t any big water mains or sewer lines out in the street.  Everybody, just about, had a septic tank.  And I knew how to [knock out] a septic tank.

I:          Hm-hmm.

J:         Because the two uncles, I had helped them on countless times.  So I said, okay, where


is the well.  Let’s – let’s start with that, [Father Baddahu].  And he said, over the hill.  I said, how do you get the water in to the cave.  The – the women carry it in the buckets.

I said, okay, okay, got the picture [makes sound].  Got the picture.  Well, we had all kinds of building materials.

I:          Uh-huh.

J:         And in this era, the plastic pipe that you see plumbers using today had – had not come, had not been born.

I:          Uh-huh.


J:         So we had either cast iron – no, no, no, too – not going to work.  So we built the septic tank out of treated timbers, ran the water, we dug a trench, shallow trench, made the pipe out of pressure-treated timber, so that the water would run down into the cave, into a little pool, can.  They had water.  And then from the water, it


went into the latrine, where both men and women could have a place to sit —

I:          [Laughs]

J:         — and do their business, as – as they called it.

I:          [Laughs]

J:         And from there, it went into the septic tank.

I:          You are genius.

J:         And do you know how long it took us, a [steady] two-man platoon, to do that?

I:          Huh?

J:         One day.

I:          Just one day?

J:         One day.

I:          Wow.

J:         And that – that chieftain, he could not believe that.

I:          Oh.

J:         Hey, I said, well, all of us know how to do that.  And so, you know, these guys over here know


how to put that little trench in there, to bring the water from the well, down into the [cave].  And that’s what they do.  These other people knew how to build the septic tank itself, which is a [two-chamber], but it’s build with pressure-treated timbers.  And – and we’ve got dump truck loads of timbers.  As many as you want.  They – they were coming up from the port.  And so after we’d done one —

I:          Hmm.

J:         — guess what happens in – in – in Korea.

I:          Hm-hmm.


J:         When you’ve just done, what?

I:          Hmm.

J:         The word gets around like —

I:          Right.

J:         — wildfire.


And so the next —

I:          Everybody wants it.

J:         The next little village we get to, there they are.

I:          Yeah.

J:         I think we did, in the course of that spring thaw, I guess maybe we probably did two dozen of those.

I:          Hm-hmm.

J:         We really did.

I:          So during your service – when did you leave Korea?

J:         I left —

I:          You arrived in late August of 1950


J:         Yeah.  We left Korea, the war ended in – in July 27th.  And we started – starting to get people out.  I didn’t get out until almost Thanksgiving.

I:          You talking about November of 1953?

J:         Yes.

I:          Why did you stay there long?  Because you are promoted?

J:         No, no, it was not that at all.  It’s just that there was so many people that had gotten there ahead


of our group, that they had longevity or whatever, and they were – they were combat people.  They were infantry.

I:          Right, but —

J:         We were engineers.  And – and we were kind of – well, you guys ought to stay around.  We’ve got to clean up a lot of things.  [unintelligible]  So – so the war had been over two months before I got home.  My mother was very worried about it.  Uh, but, anyhow —

I:          But you were able to get out of there in one year, right?

J:         Three years.

I:          No, no.  You – I mean, if


you wanted, you could come out of there sooner than ’53, right?

J:         Uh, yeah, uh, I – I could have, but the infantry guys, the armor guys, the artillery guys, they were getting out first.  And, uh – and so, uh, the rest of us —

I:          So you’re saying that you were there in three years?

J:         Well, I – yes, [I think].

I:          You were in Korea for three years?

J:         Yes.  I – I didn’t get there until sometime in October.  I didn’t get out until sometime


in November.  So it was three years and a month.

I:          Wow.

J:         In fact, it shows on my – on my DD214, three years and 26 days, I think.

I:          Wow.

J:         Anyhow, anyhow, that’s how it happened.  And in the meantime, I had a letter from my mother —

I:          Hmm.

J:         My father was deceased.

I:          Yeah.

J:         Uh, I had a mother and a grandmother, uh, and a stupid older sister.

I:          [Chuckles]

J:         Anyhow, I got a letter from her.


And she said, Whenever the Army discharges you, please tell them we – we don’t live in Perry, Georgia, anymore.

I:          Hmm.

J:         We now live in Charlotte, North Carolina.

I:          I see.

J:         Now, here’s where the story gets good.

I:          What?

J:         Because Lt. Tankersley, early on in our association, said, McWaters, McWaters, why is it you never went to college?  You’re very bright.

I:          Hmm.


J:         And I said, well, Lieutenant, it happened that the little high school in Perry, Georgia, that I went to is very small, and it did not offer college algebra.

I:          Hmm.

J:         It did not offer beginning chemistry.  And I applied for admission to Georgia Tech, and I got a letter from them saying, Thank you, but no thanks.

I:          Hmm.

J:         Because you don’t have the prerequisites to attend this fine institution.

I:          Hmm.

J:         Okay.


My – mother smarted over that.  You know, we’re citizens of Georgia.  We’re paying taxes, both – two generations, and they won’t even let you go to Georgia Tech.  Yeah.  Anyhow, so I kept – now, now, home, uh, and I rode a bush.  We flew into Otis Air Force Base in New Jersey.

I:          So that’s after you came back from Korea?

J:         Yes, yeah.  I’m now – I’m now back in the U.S.

I:          Yeah.

J:         Now, I’ve got to find my new – mother’s new residence,


and it’s in Charlotte, North Carolina.

I:          Hm-hmm.

J:         And the Army is putting me on a bus.

I:          Hm-hmm.

J:         Here – here’s your TR, your travel voucher.  Okay.  I’m on the bus.

I:          Yeah.

J:         What did I have?  My duffle bag?  Yes.  [Laughs]  Everything I owned was in that duffle bag.

I:          Yeah.

J:         You with me?

I:          Yeah.

J:         And I get to Charlotte, North Carolina, and we get a – I get out at the bus station.

I:          Yeah.

J:         I’ve never been out of Georgia in my life, other than to go to Korea.  So I know nothing of Charlotte,


North Carolina.  And so I get off the bus, and they had a little thing there for the USO.  And I’m in uniform, you know.  And I walk up, and I tell them, Here’s my mother’s address.

They said, you got – it’s eight blocks down this street right here —

I:          Hm-hmm.

J:         — eight blocks.  Wnat us to get you a cab?

I said, no, I can walk eight blocks.

Well, what are you going to do with the duffle bag?

Same thing I’ve been doing.

I:          Hm-hmm.

J:         So I walked eight blocks, went up there to that address, knocked on the door.

I:          Yeah.

J:         My grandmother came


to the door.

I:          Hm-hmm.

J:         And she turned around and hollered, Robert’s home.   What?

I:          Oh, yeah.

J:         I’m a John Robert.  And she says —

I:          Yeah, yeah, yeah.

J:         — she – and so, uh, here is the kicker.  I go in and we have coffee.  We sit around and – and she said, Son, I’ve got some news for you.  You know, you couldn’t get in Georgia Tech —

I:          Hm-hmm.

J:         — because you didn’t have those prerequisites.  You didn’t have college algebra, and you didn’t have chemistry.  Right.

I:          Yeah.

J:         We’re going to fix


that tomorrow morning.  We’re going to fix that.

I said, where are we going to fix that, Mother.

She said, well, you – we have an appointment with Mr. John [Ott], the principal of the big high school here, Charlotte Central High School, and have told him your story.  And he said, Bring him in here.  I’ll see that he gets those two classes.  I’ll see that he can get in Georgia Tech.  So we went down the next morning.  He was waiting on us.  And guess what?  He


was a World War II GI.

I:          Hmm.

J:         A sergeant.  And we hit it off, right off.  And so he said, okay.  By then he had gotten my transcript from Perry High School.

I:          Hmm.

J:         Said, well, what you did take, you did good in.  You made just about all As.  So we know you – you can read and comprehend.  And so what I’m going to do is, we have wonderful instructors in this high school in college algebra and in chemistry.


The next semester starts January the 3rd; I’m enrolling you, and you’re going to learn those two in one semester.

I:          [Chuckles]

J:         So come June the 1st, I’m going to give you a degree as a graduate of Charlotte Central High School.  And now, you’ve already got one degree from [Madison] County High School, but what we’re going to do — so, now, sit down here,


don’t – see, I was saying thank you and was getting ready to get up.

He said, no, no, no, no.  I’m going to call Mr. [Carmichael]; he’s the registrar at Georgia Tech.  There are a lot of students from my high school that go to Georgia State.  I know him personally.  So he said, you and your mother just sit down and be calm.  He called this guy, Carmichael, and they chatted:  Good to see you; Christmas is coming up, all that kind of talk.  And he he said, by the way, remember I called you about this GI,


that his mother’s moved here.

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Well, he’s sitting right in front of me, and he’s a decorated GI from Korea.  He – he’s wearing —

I:          Wow.

J:         — a blue CIB.

I:          Hm-hmm.

J:         So he has been – he’s been in fire, and that’s why he’s wearing that rifle.

I:          Yeah.

J:         So that’s why – so I haven’t told you this story about the Battle of Old Baldy.  But that was a big thing.  And we – and we were on top of the thing with


that Columbian First Battalion.  And – and the Chinese were making it rough.  They were – they —

I:          So what was the name of battle you just mentioned?

J:         The Battle of Old Baldy.

I:          Yeah.

J:         It happened on March 23rd, 1953.

I:          Yeah.

J:         March 23rd, 1953.  And so there I – I was, up on there.  And I had my two helpers.  Now, all three of us had —


[remember], we just had one BAR.

I:          Yeah.

J:         Now, we’ve got one apiece, and I’ve got three teams.  We were – we were putting some steel on the target to the Chinese coming up that hill.  Myself, I went through – I went through 800 rounds, 800 rounds, 20 rounds in a box magazine.  Box magazine has got 20 rounds in it.  BAM, slam it up in there, [doot-doot-doot], and – and when – when it —


so far as the last [rally] drops out, [makes sound], guy grabs it and puts another one up.


I:          So now, but —

J:         And – and the whole time I’m in Korea, that’s the only time I really had a serious situation.

I:          Uh-huh.

J:         I mean, where I was, these guys will kill me in a heartbeat, [snaps] but they didn’t.

I:          So you were scared?

J:         Yes, bad – enough I couldn’t [throw my balls on my bladder].

I:          [Chuckles}

J:         I mean, it was just, you know – it was – they were getting too damn close.

I:          So you were in the Battle of Old Baldy?

J:         Old Baldy, yes.

I:          Okay.  Got it.


J:         And it was, uh, 200 yards from Porkchop Hill, which they made a movie about.  They should have made a movie about Old Baldy.

I:          Hm-hmm.

J:         [Laughs]  Okay.  So now – now I’m going to Georgia Tech.  Okay.

I:          Well, before that —

J:         Okay.

I:          So you were in Korea from 1950 to ’53, and then you went back to Korea 2016?


J:         Yes.

I:          How about – that was it?

J:         That was it.

I:          That was it.  So, now, you are in a very unique position to tell young children, students —

J:         Yes.

I:          — about Korea you saw 1950 and 2016.  Describe in detail how different that was.

J:         I was, and I always start it this way.  I say, when I left Korea in – in Seoul, the capital,


there were three buildings standing, three.

I:          Only three?

J:         Only three.  I can name them.  They – First National Bank of Korea.

I:          Hm-hmm.

J:         The train station.

I:          Hm-hmm.

J:         And First National Bank, train station and —

I:          You have one more —

J          — City Hall.

I:          City Hall, okay.

J:         Those three were – were still virtually undamaged, virtually.  But everything else, uh, was just leveled.


And that was from not only, uh, the Chinese or the North Koreans or the United Nations.  But that’s the way it was.  And I —

I:          Right.

J:         I start the class —

I:          Yeah.

J:         — by explaining that.

I:          And 2016, what did you see?

J:         Oh, I felt like I was, uh, the skyline of – of – no, not quite New – not quite New York City, uh, but a modern American City, such as


St. Louis, or such as Cincinnati, or Atlanta, Georgia, or Miami Beach, that type thing.

I:          Hm-hmm.

J:         Yeah.

I:          What did you think about it?

J:         I thought, I’m so glad, I’m so glad, that I participated in helping these people recover from that.  And I immediately thought of that first little village chieftain, who said, All I want you to do is help me get the doo-doo out of the cave.

I:          [Chuckles]


J:         You know —

I:          So you were not able to find the doo-doo there in 2016, right?

J:         [Laughs]  Well, it would have been a joy for everybody if I could have ever found my way back to that.  But, heck, I was on the other side of the – of the DMZ.

I:          But when you left Korea in 1953, did you ever imagine that Korea would become like this today?

J:         I did not.  I – I didn’t – it was – it was too devastating.  But somehow, somehow, that – the


people are so – so industrious, you know.  And somebody – somehow – and I forget who the leader was – said, The first thing we’ve got to do is to get a steel-producing mill.

I:          Hm-hmm.

J:         And – and once we get in the steel business, we can then start making ships.  And they’re probably the number one guys, people in the world, now, about how – those big ships.  Then they said, we got to make our own automobiles.


And all – it just started growing.

I:          Hm-hmm.

J:         Just started growing.  So I was really anxious to get back.  And of course, my wife had no idea about Korea one way or the other.  [Laughs]

I:          Do you know the rank of South Korean economy now in the world?

J:         In the top 10, I think.

I:          Yeah.

J:         Or pretty close.

I:          Yeah.

J:         Yeah.  I’m very proud —

I:          Can you believe that?

J:         I’m very – yes, be – and I’m very proud that I had some small part, and that I was there to see that


and realize that in some small way, along with several hundred thousand other GIs, that we saved this Republic.  And it’s there today.  And I still worry about North Korea.  I don’t trust that guy, [Jong Un], at all.

I:          Hm-hmm.

J:         I mean, I think he would – he’d – he would use nuclear weapons if he thought he could get away with it.  So I’m glad we stayed there because, think of it this way, we’re still in Germany.  We have been there


since 1944.

I:          Hm-hmm.

J:         You know.  And I – I think we’ve – we’ve benefitted from that.  But more so, we benefitted from what’s taken place in South Korea.

I:          Right.

J:         And that’s —

I:          So —

J:         That’s my story, and I sticking to it.

I:          But you know that in the school, we don’t teach much about South Korea, the Korean War now, right?

J:         No, we don’t.

I:          So how do you think that we can change that, dynamics?


How can we change so that they can teach more about Korea?

J:         I’d have to give that some serious thought, as to how that – I think it’s going to have to start at the – at the top level —

I:          Hm-hmm.

J:         — with – with the president.  And it’s got to start with – with the evening news.

I:          Yeah.

J:         The news show.  They —

I:          But by doing something like what you’ve been doing, like the Tell America Program, and now you are making a video —


J:         Yes.

I:          — program.

J:         Yes.  And – and the way I visualize this is, now, I’m going to walk into a high school, and in my pocket is a thumb drive.  And in that thumb drive is the whole banana.  I mean, the – that Power Point presentation, voice-over, the whole schmear.  And I think – I think that will do a —


— a lot to educate not only the high school kids, but the children of today —

I:          Yeah.

J:         — are computer-literate at – when they’re in the third – third or fourth grade.  And I want – I want them to have access to that thumb drive.

I:          So you and I are going to work together to make that thumb drive.

J:         We’re going to somehow make that thumb drive [come alive].

I:          Yes.

J:         Yes.  Now, so far, we’ve only worked with one – one company, and then – and they – and they saw the same presentation you saw today.


I:          Hm-hmm.

J:         Same – the same one.

I:          Hmm.

J:         Uh, and they said, Do you want to – you – what you want is a thumb drive that’s the whole banana, uh, that you – that – because I described to them how I – it works in the high school now.

I:          Hmm.

J:         Not how it worked four years ago, five years ago,


when I was a one-man band, and I had my – my little projector, and I had my laptop and – and they – and the high school had the screen —

I:          Hmm.

J:         — right.  Now, the high school has the screen, and they have the laptop, and they have the projector.  And all I’ve got to do is hand them the thumb drive.

I:          Yeah.

J:         Okay.  And the sergeant grabs it up, [makes click sound] puts it in there and says, General, you have the floor.  And so I talk.  But I – to get this out on a bigger scale —

I:          Yeah.

J:         I’ve got one head and two hands.  And – and they’re not that many other people in


the Korean War Veterans Association that really want to do this.

I:          You really doing good job, sir.

J:         I —

I:          I praise you.

J:         They just don’t want to do this, so…

I:          Hmm.

J:         But I’m going to get there because I – by one way or the other.

I:          Yep.

J:         The – the more [Kerrys] that come into my life.

I:          Yep.

J:         I remember recruiting him like it was yesterday.  The Bill McLaughlins —

I:          Hm-hmm.

J:         — that come into my house —

I:          Hm-hmm.

J:         — into my life.  Roger [Eubody] has come into my life.


And – and my treasurer.  Uh, in other words, I – I’m putting together a really good team —

I:          Yes.

J:         — for a board of directors.  I – I keep it at nine and rotate the weak ones out and – and try two new ones.

I:          Hm-hmm.

J:         [Laughs] and that sort of thing.

I:          You are the leader.  So tell me about —

J:         And then – and then besides, that, then I’m in good health.

I:          Good.

J:         You know.

I:          That’s very important.

J:         Yeah, it is.

I:          You are exceptional.

J:         Yeah, that’s – I —

I:          So


let’s go back to the Georgia Tech story.

J:         [Unintelligible]

I:          What happened?  What happened?

J:         Okay.  So I get – I – after – after with, uh, with the principal of Central High School, Mr. John C. Ott, Mr. Ott kind of save my life.  So when – two days later —

I:          Hmm.

J:         — or three days later, sometime – Christmas is over.  Uh, I’ve been accepted, so I’m back on the Greyhound bus, and I’m


en route from Charlotte, North Carolina, to Atlanta, Georgia —

I:          Hmm.

J:         — which is where Georgia Tech is.  I get off – it’s almost a repeat.  I get off the bus.  I ask, can you tell me where Georgia Tech is.

I:          Hmm.

J:         They said, yes, it’s the – it’s on Spring Street.

I said, where is Spring Street?

And he said – he just said this.  He said, that’s it, right there.


I said, well, which direction should I walk.

He said, that way.


So I showed up.  And – and that’s when they really kind of broke some bad news to me.  They said, now, you understand, you’re only going to be here for one semester.  And – and our objective is to focus on college algebra and chemistry.  Yes.  Well, we’re going to start you out this first two months in remedial math.  I mean, you could have knocked me down.


I hated that word.  Remedial math, my ass.  I’m 20 years old.  I’m a veteran of the Korean War, and go into a remedial class.  And not only that, it wasn’t even on campus.  I had to walk across North Avenue and go up to the third floor of the YMCA, where those classes are being taught.  And I was in there with a bunch of 17-year-olds.  And I didn’t like it.

I:          No.

J:         I mean, but I – you know, Mr. Carmichael said, I know you don’t like it.

I:          Hm-hmm.

J:         I know you’re 20 years old.


I – I – you’re a lot more mature than the freshmen that are taking that same class.  Stick with it, because when you get out of here, we’re going to pin lieutenant bars on you, and you’re going to have a degree from Georgia Tech, which is a renowned engineering school.

I:          Right.  So when did you finish your degree?

J:         1958.

I:          Hmm.

J:         1958.

I:          Batch – bachelor’s degree, right?

J:         Yeah, yeah.

I:          Yeah.


J:         But all the – all the time in Georgia Tech, I’m in uniform.  I’m in the ROTC program —

I:          Hm-hmm.

J:         — because I want to be a second lieutenant, right.

I:          Yeah.

J:         So I’m doing that.  And they’re paying me $32 a month —

I:          Hmm.

J:         — to be in the ROTC program [laughs].

I:          So did you get the GI bill?

J:         Yes.  Oh, I – I got that before I ever the principal, John C. Ott.

I:          Hm-hmm.


J:         So I had that, yes.  And, uh, my mother had a – a much better job.  So, uh, the family was on a – on a prosperous footing there.  There are – of course, everybody, my sister, my grandmother, everybody is deceased now, so – but the – it’s – the old family cemetery is still in Perry, Georgia.  And – and as they passed away, they’re interned there.  So it’s exactly one mile off of I-75.

I:          Hm-hmm.

J:         I can’t drive


past there, I don’t stop and go by that cemetery, just to pay my respects.

I:          What was the most difficult thing, if I asked you to pinpoint only one out of many, during your service in Korea?  What would you say?

J:         I’m going to start with just saying what I – the most difficult thing in Korea was with, unquestionably, the cold.

I:          Cold.

J:         Hm, I — I can remember many


sessions just when the guys in – you know, you, a platoon has 30 – 30 soldiers.

I:          Hmm.

J:         And one lieutenant and one platoon sergeant.  Uh, and so there’s a whole lot of, uh, chitchat back and forth.  And as winter was approaching, we were having some serious discussions about going over the hill.

I:          Hmm.

J:         I mean, we were going to go AWOL.  But then we changed our mind.

I:          Hm-hmm.

J:         And


that’s – I look back on it now, now that I’m 87 years old, I look back and say, boy, we sure made a good decision.

I:          [Laughs]

J:         The MPs would have picked us up the next day.


I:          So what would you say to the Korean people in – in regard to the 70th Anniversary of the breakout of Korean War, and what Korea now stands for?


J:         To the Korean people.  Keep – just keep doing what you’re doing.  Keep building.  Keep – keep making products, like the KIA automobile, uh, so – for the world to see.  Uh, in The Villages here, everybody loves their Kia, the one called Soul,

I:          Hm-hmm.

J:         It’s a little square-back-looking.

I:          Yeah, yeah.

J:         Well, yeah, I’m sure you know what that is.  But, anyhow, it’s – it’s very popular.  And – and that’s important.  And let me think, too.


Uh, you know, when we went back, when we went back in 2016 – and that was the first time for my wife, of course.  And, uh, somehow the word got around amongst the, uh, the South Korean – the Republic of Korea’s Army —

I:          Hm-hmm.

J:         — that, hey, we’ve got a – a two-star general here that was once in the Seventh Infantry Division.  South Korea has a Seventh Infantry Division.


Somehow, they’ve got a picture of my golf cart, which has got Seventh Infantry Division on the bumper.

I:          Hmm.

J:         Okay.  So they said, make – we’re going to make sure our trip stops at the Seventh Infantry Division.

I:          I see.

J:         And we did.  The commanding general, this guy, he tried – he – he did everything he could to heap praise on us and let us know how welcome we were.

I:          Hmm.

J:         And the fact that when the buses pulled up, he had the battalion band out


there in white uniforms, playing John Philip Sousa music.

I:          Hmm.

J:         I mean, over and over and over.  Wonderful.  Had a nice meal.  Got a briefing by staff.  And it was time to get back on the bus.  And he came up to me and he said, General, I’ve got something I want to tell you.

I said, what’s that.

He said, I’m Christian.

I:          Hm-hmm.

J:         And that – that touched me.  That touched me.


I – and he was so proud of it, you know, because, quite frankly, I – I’d never given that a lot of thought.  I’m Christian —

I:          Hm-hmm.

J:         — but I – I just assumed, uh, that that was not the predominant religion.  I know better now.  It is the predominant religion.

I:          Yeah.

J:         And that is good as well, in my opinion.

I:          Uh-huh.

J:         So I’m just spilling my guts here now.  I’m – you’re picking my brain.  Okay.  Is this good?

I:          Yep.  Any other story that you haven’t told me yet?

J:         [Laughs}


Well, it came to pass that now I’m a lieutenant.  Okay.  So how did I get from second lieutenant to two stars?

I:          Yeah.

J:         Okay.

I:          How.

J:         Will Hill Tankersley.

I:          Again.

J:         Lieutenant, that lieutenant, remember him?

I:          Again.

J:         He’s a regular Army guy, right.

I:          Yeah.

J:         And he made sure – when – when he learned that I’d gotten into Georgia Tech finally,


and I’d been commissioned to lieutenant, he saw it in the Army [Cons], he called me.  And at that point, he ended up being a – a major general.  He’s passed away three or four years ago now, I’m sorry to say.  Anyhow, he – he told me, he said, now, I’m going to give you a trick that we all learn at West Point, and you’ve never been to West Point.  When you’re a second lieutenant, you’re going to be a platoon leader.  Now, what do you want to be after you’ve been a


platoon leader.

I:          Hm-hmm.

J:         And I said, well, uh, a company commander.

Right.  Now, you’re going to be a successful company commander.  Now, what do you want to be?

I said, uh, battalion commander.

He said, that’s right.  But you can’t get from company commander to battalion commander unless you serve on somebody’s staff, and you always want to be the operations officer.

I:          Hm-hmm.

J:         You don’t want to be


the guy that’s in the – the company clerk, counting the beans or – or you don’t want to be the one that’s the laundry guy.  You want to be [makes click sound] the operations guy.

I:          Hm-hmm.

J:         Now, once you’ve done that, you always look in the Army Times.  If there’s a battalion that’s changing command, and they’re looking for a new battalion commander, it will be published in the Army Times.  And as soon as you see that, call them.  I don’t care where it is.


It’s – if it’s in the last column, tell them you want a command at battalion.

I:          Hm-hmm.

J:         And so you know what, that’s what I did.

I:          Hmm.

J:         And they would, generally speaking, have three or four majors who want to be lieutenant colonels.  Some cases, it’s a lieutenant colonel who’s been working in the office.  He want to be – have a command, that kind of thing.  So put the papers in.  And the first time, I didn’t do too good.


Second time, got closer.  Third time [makes click noise], got it.  So now I’m a battalion commander of the 926th Engineer Battalion, Fort Benning, Georgia.

I:          Ahh.

J:         Hot damn.  So that’s how that worked.  So I just, [makes clicking sounds], until I got to the end, and there were no more engineer units, so I then took a – a course with a Signal Corps.

I:          Hm-hmm.

J:         And became qualified as a Signal officer.  And that’s where I ended my career


as the commanding general of the 335th Signal Command, Fort McPherson, Georgia.

I:          Hm-hmm.

J:         How about that?

I:          Amazing.

J:         My story concluded.

I:          Yeah.  That’s amazing.

J:         Yeah.  That’s a long way from the guy with the duffle bag and on the bus.

I:          Right.


That’s a story.

J:         But I think back on that.

I:          That’s the story of legend.

J:         Yeah.

I:          Yeah.

J:         And I think back on the, [like Kelly said] if you could just help me get the poop out of the cave.

I:          Hmm.

J:         I mean, that – that


was so big in his mind, and his life.

I:          Hm-hmm.

J:         And the fact that I could cure that in one day.

I:          Hmm.

J:         Because I didn’t – I didn’t have to tell him, go get me 50 pieces of 8-by-12 pressuretreated lumber, and, uh, call me and I’ll come back.  I said, we’ve got – we’ve got all that stuff.  We got all that stuff.  And – and what we’re supposed to do with it is to help the economy, help the Korean people.  The War is


over, or it’s coming – coming close to it being over.  Now, I – I know how to put in a septic tank.  I know how to do that.  And that’s only because I came from a small community.

I:          That’s how it grows, from very small thing, that you were able to —

J:         A small thing there.

I:          Yes.

J:         But there was Uncle [Buddy] and there was Uncle [Louis], my mother’s two brothers.

I:          Hmm.

J:         And – and they were typical farmers.  Farmers, you know, learn to do most anything.  They really do.  I learned in the Army,


if you – really want to have a soldier that can do most anything, [makes click sound] pick a farmer.

I:          Hmm.

J:         A Kansas farmer, a Texas farmer.  And that’s my story.

I:          All right.

J:         This has been – this has been fun.  I’ve wasted too much of your time.

I:          No, no, no.

J:         [Gol], do you realize that you’re talking to [unintelligible].

I:          Just one and a half hour.  That’s it.


Any other story you want to leave?

J:         [Laughs]

I:          No?

J:         Well, I’ve got stories about


some of my soldiers, had some experiences.  But I’ll – I’ll share those over lunch or something like that.

I:          All right, sir.  Thank you so much again for your leadership in this Chapter.  And we need to have a really good presence for next KWVA National Chapter.  And I hope that you can run for it —

J:         Ah.

I:          — and you can still lead the whole nation.  Okay?

J:         I’m going to run.

I:          You’ve got a great spirit, and you know how to do those things.

J:         I know how to do those things.

I:          Yep.

J:         And I’m going to run


for it, yes.


[End of Recorded Material]