Jose Leon Camacho
Jose Camacho served as a member of the Puerto Rican troops of the United States Army. He credits serving in the military as leading to his college career and successes in life after the war. Despite all his positive thoughts towards the military’s influence in his own life, he describes his relief that his own son hasn’t served in the military. He explains that he still remembers some of the horrors of the battlefield. He also explains one of these memories that includes his bunker taking a direct hit and a fellow soldier giving a dying request.
Stay Away From Memories
Jose Camacho explains why he is glad that his son didn't have to serve in the military. He describes his experiences with memories of Korea and how hard it is on him. He elaborates that his wife tells him to stay away from his memories of Korea.
Give Them to My Wife
Jose Camacho describes seeing a fellow soldier who was hit with a direct hit on their bunker. Three soldiers were killed from the attack but one survived long enough to ask a request. Jose Camacho describes the hit soldier taking his metal identification tags off and asking if they could be delivered to his wife.
[Beginning of recorded material]
I: My name is Jungwoo Han. I’m the President of Korean War Legacy Foundation, and this is my great honor to meet you here in Caguas, Puerto Rico. It’s February 12, 2016. Would you please introduce yourself, your name?
J: My name is Jose Leon Camacho.
I: And what is your birthday?
J: Uh, June.
J: June 8, 1930.
J: Nineteen thirty.
I: Thirty. Where were you born?
J: I was born in Humacao, Puerto Rico.
I: Puerto Rico. And tell me about your family when you were growing up.
J: Well, we, uh, I am and the other boy in home, uh, uh, we, uh, we have, uh, my father and mother. We have a honest, uh, day life and sometimes, uh, they were not home
[INAUDIBLE] with mother had raised, [INAUDIBLE] a carpenter and worked for the, uh, Central Reich. And I was educated just in a very high level of, uh, efficiency and consideration of, for all vicinities.
I: Um hm. And
J: I used to play baseball, amateur, at the age of 17 years.
And, uh, I, I thought, I thought that, uh, that I could not afford for a long time and, uh, I, so I decided to, to be drafted by, in the Army by five May, 1951.
J: That’s it, sit.
I: So you knew about the Korean War broke out.
J: Um hm.
I: How did you know it?
J: Well, it was just by [INAUDIBLE] and not this, uh, on the news.
And, uh, having some reading of newspapers.
J: Yes, sir.
I: Uh huh. What did you think about it?
J: Well, uh, we did, uh, very fine, we did our work. But we were in the, in the Korean War.
I: Um hm.
J: So, uh, after being graduated, graduated from the, my basic training, got to come to [INAUDIBLE] Puerto Rico.
I was selected to attend a leadership course for, uh, to, to make, uh, having the, all the instruction to become an instructor in the Army.
J: So I, I make four, uh, Corporal by that time and I, that was assignment. I was assigned to, to be a [Cavalry] instructor in the, where the troops were
uh, taking, uh, training, basic training.
I: Basic training. And what was your specialty?
J: I was a instructor on mortars.
I: Uh huh.
J: Because my, my, my group was selected to be a part of a heavy weapons, heavy weapon that includes machine 50 caliber
I: Um hm.
J: and, uh, and mortars 81
and, uh, 4.2 mortars. That’s the, the heavy mortar company.
I: So when did you leave for Korea?
J: Well, I went to Korea by the, uh, left from Puerto Rico the, uh, June 2, 1952.
I: And where did you arrive?
J: I arrived at 7 July by the Port of Inchon.
I: Um. Have you ever, when you came to know the break out of the Korean War, had you imagined that you’d be in Kora?
J: No, not at all. Not at all. I don’t, I was, uh, part of my company’s trainees were assigned in downtown to Germany. But, uh, Europe [INAUDIBLE] up there.
I: Um hm.
J: And why I was assigned to the, Leadership course, uh. So I was having one year serving as a [cavalry].
And then, uh, they, the embarkment right to Korea.
I: So did you know anything about Korea before?
J: No sir, no. Nothing.
I: So when you first arrived in Inchon on July 7,
J: Uh huh.
I: What were your feelings about Korea?
J: Well uh, I was, uh, launched by, by, uh,
[launches] and, uh, on the way so soldiers, uh, having saw to the beach and, uh, about 5:00 in the afternoon
I: Um hm.
J: I saw, I went with an ambulance driver and, uh, one, uh, having the, down to the, to the beach where, where the big waves are.
By that time, it was 5:00 in the, in the afternoon.
I: Um hm.
J: So I, I, I, I, I hit the, the, the beach at Inchon, and there, over there I was transported to the 3rd Division, uh, uh, Headquarters.
I: Thirty what?
J: Where they were.
I: Um hm.
Tell me about your typical duty at the front line. What were you doing?
J: Well, uh, I do good training or mortar, heavy mortars
I: Heavy mortars.
J: Heavy mortars 4.2, uh, high angle weapon. I was assigned to 1st Squad, 1st Platoon Heavy Mortar Company when, uh, my Lieutenant was, remember was a Baldwin.
I: Um hm.
J: Baldwin was my first chemical platoon leader.
So he assigned me to the 1st Squad, and I serve it as a Assistant Loader, [INAUDIBLE]
I: Um hm
J: Uh. And, uh, and, uh, and after that, I was chosen to be, uh, in the section of the Mortar Alignment, Mortar Alignment when, uh, when, work with the [MBC] the [MBC] support
the instruction for how, how, how long is it gonna be set, the four mortars were the 1st squad. And, uh, oh, I mean, oh, there were four, the 1st platoon and how they are working with a correct and [INAUDIBLE]But they are, uh, set in that direction for the mortar fire.
I: Um hm.
J: So, uh,
when I was there, uh, we took the large missions overnight because they are more, they are shooting on the Korean front. There wasn’t a, by the night. And we were alert 100% alert. No smoking in the line. No resting. When you could, you could, you could rest. But, uh,
combat [rations] were taken, uh, [probably] and we were supported by that.
I: So who was your main enemies? Chinese or North Korean? Were you able to tell?
J: Chinese, Chinese, uh, I could afford to say that, uh, uh, they were, uh, personally, uh, 14 to 1 of each of us, 14, 114.
I: Uh huh.
But, uh, we were training by that time right down there, uh, always, there were, uh, some of them who could follow, uh, so we’re past the main line of resistance. The MLR. So we were told by the Company
Commander. But really that we have to be aware, aware of the Chinese looking in the day as simply farmers. We have to avoid, to choose to be in contact to them in, in Korea with the, with the civilians.
J: We, we were, uh, [INAUDIBLE]
I: Um hm.
J: uh, [Kumwa, Kumwa]
I: [Kumwa] Valley, yes.
J: [Kumwa] and uh, Poi, [Pokchung]
J: I’ve been there because we were very. very close to them by that time. The 3rd Division which, uh, was the 35th, uh, was our Company only by the 15th Regiment and the 7th Regiment. The 7th Regiment,
the 15th and the 65th were all the 3rd Division. So part with, I signed in units just like, uh, somebody, tank company, heavy artillery and, um, battalion, uh, uh, company Regiment. We used to be, uh, 20 more, three weeks to 20 days in the main line.
[INAUDIBLE] uh, we were very close to them. But in some cases, we had to be in the outpost because when, uh, we got, I got the position up they’d be working as a, uh, fire squad, squad leader fire missions and supporting, uh, all the squad, uh. I was
assigned at the, uh, I say, the alignment to align mortars. Well, by that time, we had, I had the first, uh, close, uh, with the enemy, not too close combat.
I: Um hm.
J: In fact, but, uh, we, uh, we were alignment, we were aligning and giving support to the 15th Regiment unit.
They were very near to the 65th by that time because the 7th was in the blocking position. So the thing is, uh, when I went over with my five men with an enemy circle, enemy circle is to use because it, that was one with a [INAUDIBLE] and then we have the MBC element to align those mortars.
I was in charge.
J: Keep going.
I: After being, uh, in Camp Casey, uh, resting area, uh, we were, uh, where the MLR again and, uh, and I was having they of four assign at Puerto Rican [INAUDIBLE] But where, what it was one driver,
one who takes the PRC tent for radio and, uh, and the other two had the rods and having some element to, to maintain the alignment of the mortars. When we were getting to there, uh, our MBC Commander, uh, was Hector Morales. He was my first [INAUDIBLE] he used to live in [INAUDIBLE], Puerto Rico. By that time, he was, he prevent
also because, uh, the enemy where he was going to penetrate the MLR, and they did by September 23. But one week later, one week before, he was having me as advisor, be careful because, uh, the Chinks are, are promoting, uh
I: The Chinese.
J: The Chinese
J: are promoting, uh, they want to hit the, the MLR.
By that time, the outpost was too close to the MLR. So the officer in there was a lieutenant from, uh, the 15th. His last name was Brumble. I don’t remember the first one, name. But he said no, no. You cannot get away. You’d better stay with us because the heavy artillery barrage was having the front. And, uh, Morales, he just talked to instructor and I said don’t move
un, nobody there. Nobody that are boys. But Lieutenant Brumble said okay . We have to, we have to go away from there because they have many, many, many, and they have a lot of casualties in the 5th, 5th thing. So when I went, when we saw that, Lieutenant Brumble says okay. Everybody run for your lives. But 7:00, it was getting dark.
And so I went over with my kids in the bunkers said, my boys, I tell them right away, we have to move out. Select the most, the, the more things you can and don’t forget the arms. We went over, they had heavy mortar [INAUDIBLE] that you were having, stuck in us. But that time, more or less from 2:00 P.M. in the afternoon. But 9:00 in the morning, in the night, they were having
heavy barrage of fire.
I: From Chinese.
J: Chinese, from Chinese.
I: How close were you?
J: Well, we went over, uh, less than three miles from [INAUDIBLE]
I: Less than three miles. And how far between you and the front line of our soldiers?
J: There were, uh, approximately 25 or 28 [mice] up front with no masks, with no masks
I: No, no, no. You are, you are mortar unit, right?
J: Uh huh. Mortar unit.
I: Mortar unit. And your front line soldier
J: Uh huh.
I: American soldiers,
J: We were very close to fight, we were, we were very close to fight, to 500 meters or, yeah, very close. But the thing is is I was a, a, alignment section, alignment section. And I left the, the Company. I, I was assigned with five men to, and Lieutenant Brumble from the 15th said oh no, you cannot go any way. You better stay here. So there came
a straight, a hit to my jeep, and I was looking the jeep down there. It was more or less 7:00 in the morning. The unit, had this boom, uh, exploded, the heavy mortar in the, the jeep. So we cannot say okay, we’re gonna stay here. But Morales said, Morales said call me again and said to me, uh, Camacho, uh, we are, I’m sending, I’m sending you,
I’m sending you who, who is gonna take you back here so, uh, the enemy is going straight ahead, uh. And they were already [INAUDIBLE] There was noises about our missions, having a explosion everything, that was hell. I was feel that was
I: What were you thinking at the time?
J: That’s where were gonna get far from here. When he came up the hill looking for Camacho, Camacho, I come, what I gotta do?
Well, I have instructions to go back to, to the Platoon. One of those boys said where are we? We are in the bunker. I said okay, and they’re looking for us. So move. Well, Brumble having said, then Brumble having said everybody going right now down, down straight. Go back to, to move out . And, and I saw an American from the 35th. A round hit by the neck, and the head running down the hill,
down there. And his helmet running down the other way, and it got stuck in, in a truck, was alive then. That made me, uh, hide. What we have [is a carbine at 30] fighting fire because there were too many, and they were timing it between truck, and by night everything get confusing. They still have, it’s quiet when I went down right running down the trench.
The four boys were following me. [The BRCT one on them], and the other, [INAUDIBLE] came in for, uh, for, for, for, used to be his body, the jeep was not there. When that, uh, who, the boy was looking up there for us. He ran with us men, but the other way, [INAUDIBLE] in the river.
I: Imjin River.
J: Imjin River.
I: Yeah, yeah.
J: Had a lot of trucks
I: Um hm.
J: Big trucks, and it was slippery. I said by that time I don’t know, closer I was [INAUDIBLE] . Okay. They follow me also then. The water was right in the, in the, in the center, in the middle. And, uh, we were sleeping downstairs about 11:00 in the night [INAUDIBLE]. So we saw a
movement, a light. They were Rangers, American Rangers who lighted up, it was, uh, how many of you are coming? We have four men behind me. Okay, follow me. We are from the, the company platoon, uh, and, uh, they had overtaken, they had overtaken the hill to help us. I was, uh, very, very impressed. And that was my
big close when I [INAUDIBLE]
J: Because I went over to the MLR. And so the, they, when they took us, they took us to the Command Post. The Lieutenant was there or the Captain. It was a Captain. He told us what did you arrive here, to stay here with us. You have to rest with the four men. No sir. I would like to go back, back to my platoon. Could you take me down there, sir?
But he say hey. He called a driver and said take Sergeant Camacho and, uh, the four boys to, down to his own place, to the only way where the company, company was there. But we are united. The 15th Regiment Company. I don’t remember what the Battalion was. And then we, there was a gap in there.
There is a gap there. Coming down behind I heard shots right in my way and my back [by night] When I found out who it was, uh, following me, why are you already? Are you all, all of them? Are you, no, no. Gonzales is missing. Gonzales.
I: Um hm.
J: He knows how to, he was from Cidra, Puerto Rico. It’s one town that way [INAUDIBLE] And, uh,
He was shot in the, in the, in the leg and shot in the, in the shoulder. We keep going down to the e river, hurrying down to, to get out of the, the [SIN]. But it was already up here. When I went to there and my Lieutenant who was, uh, Jovet, Giorgio Jovet, was saying what about Gonzales here? I don’t know, sir because, uh, we, we were running down after Brumble dismiss us,
and uh, we were looking for, [INAUDIBLE] I had to take the [INAUDIBLE] back through with me, too. But fighting face to face, I never did, I never had, hit anybody. We were high. There were [bungalows] six feet, six [INAUDIBLE] very high people. I saw them, very close. But there were many. There were too much.
J: When I went back
I: More than 500,000 Chinese were there.
J: Uh huh.
J: Uh, way, way to many waves.
I: Oh, waves of people.
J: far away. But when they appeared in day, daylight, they were farmers [STAMMERS]
I: It was not military boots.
J: Huh? But they hide the, the, [HAMMERS]
I: Um hm.
And [INAUDIBLE] and having some, uh, they have to make daily [INAUDIBLE] to kill people. We were having a lot of casualties that way.
I: When you look back all those years, 65 years, almost 65 years ago
J: Uh huh.
I: What do you think? Why did that happen to you, and how do you put that into a perspective? How do you
J: Well, I had a son. I, I, I
God blessed, I bless God because he have to serve in the Army. But if he had to go to the Army, my son, Jose like me, uh, I would like [INAUDIBLE] taken the way I was in the Army. It was really hard. It was really hard occasion.
J: Today, sometimes I, when I hear God, uh, when I get, uh, almost sick,
I remember those things. And my wife says you have, you have to stay away from Korea memories. And my, my daughters, they are three of them. They say Poppy, uh, forget about that because you have to support it, uh. You have, I have to support it. But I never had to take medicine for that occasion.
I: Your cousin Pedro
J: Uh huh
I: Was in Korea.
I: Almost at the same time
I: And tell me about the day that you met him and took a picture together.
J: By that time, I received a letter from my mother. It was, uh, telling me that I [fitted] behind a large vine tree, two others what they say. Oh Pedro is coming here. My mother told me, written me Pedro’s left for Korea.
He’s gonna be there. Try to get him, get in contact with him. And, uh, and, uh, [INAUDIBLE] weeks passing over. I saw the F Company going on patrol.
I: Uh huh.
J: And it was, uh, in an outpost where I saw the banner, F Company. I said there goes Pedro. When I saw him, he wore [INAUDIBLE]
J: Medicine, medicine?
J: In the rear of the Company. Two guys from the, our home town [INAUDIBLE] was there, went there with him, too. And I was thinking hey, how you doing? What are you doing? I’m fine. How nice to see you. Okay, keep on, keep on working. There was pretty severe destruction [INAUDIBLE]
I: What did he say to you, first one? Do you remember?
J: Oh yeah.
I: What did he say? No, no, no. What did he say to you?
J: He, he went over later on than me. Was behind me one month or something like that. I went over, I reached there on July 7 to August 22.
J: And, uh, we went, met
first one at, before [KELLY] hill [INAUDIBLE], something like that.
I: Um hm.
J: But when we saw him in, uh, in the rear at Camp Casey. Uh, we were running down with a lot of Puerto Ricans, and we saw [SIRC] we shared, uh, having some rest and, uh, everybody. But the thing is that there were, between the main soldiers, they left their pant s in the, in the apple tree. They just hung them all over there
while [INAUDIBLE] get over there looking for their pants. The pants were not there. The pants were not there.
I: Who took it?
J: They same boys. I, I wouldn’t have to go say that that’s my pants. No, no, no way to do that. But all things that, uh, having so fresh beers in, and I was 22 years. I was not married.
I: Did your mother write letter to you, right?
J: Yes, sir. And my company
and my platoon leader, by that time, uh, Lieutenant [INAUDIBLE] uh, sent a letter to my mother, uh, assignment, uh , this, he was saying to her, uh, we are very proud to be, uh, your son Corporal Jose M. Camacho, has been assigned as, has been promoted to the grade of Sergeant. But by that time, I was having a,
the alignment section with five men. And, uh, and then [LEE] tried to carry a letter to my mother, but my mother said when I gave the letter by APS because I didn’t finish it. But I was 40 days more later on, I was supposed to be a civilian. I went over back to the college and, uh, I was excited to get that. And Lieutenant Minick, it was Robert Minick.
I was 47575 high, American. But the more high I saw America over there. It was just like 7 feet and, uh, he said Sergeant Camacho, we want you to be a platoon leader. And I said how you say, sir? Well, you’re gonna be promoted. I’m assigning, yes, yes. You’re assigning. But, uh,
I want you to be the platoon, uh, Sergeant.
I: Platoon Sergeant.
I: Um hm.
J: I’m going back home.
J: You know why, sir? I was having my helmet over here, and he was staying in a bunker. I said sir, I am the only boy in my house. I went back to college.
I: Um hm.
J: And when they were dismissed because I was, I was considered
to be an OCS, Officer Candidate. But while we were there, everything goes straight ahead, and by November 25, I was promoted t o Sergeant E7.
I: Um hm.
J: E7, Staff Sergeant. By that time, uh, then I was reassigned to the Alignment Section of the, of the Korean, of the Heavy Mortar.
I: So when did you
J: Uh, I left Korea 19 March, 1953. The same day as my St. Jose.
I: I’m sorry?
J: Saint Joseph.
I: What do you mean Saint Joseph?
J: That’s, Saint Joseph, 19 we celebrate the, the day of the Saint Joseph.
J: Nineteen March.
I: Uh huh.
J: By that time, I was, uh,
getting the, the the, big ship to go to Japan and we are [INAUDIBLE] without leaving this, the, the town. We, we went over directly to San Francisco.
I: What did people say to you when you came back from Korea?
J: Well, you better say, you better, why didn’t you stay in the Army? Why didn’t you get because you have a, have a,
I: No. My question is what did they ask you about the Korean War? Did they ask any about Korean War?
J: Well, they were, if I [INAUDIBLE] down there because they were very, very, very, having too much casualties. Right hand, left h and, uh, somebody, all three, we could, all the guys just raise their hands
[INAUDIBLE] But we are in
I: Um, Jose, could you move your hat a little bit up, yeah, because there is a shade over your, uh, head. Um, so people were sick and tired of the Korean War? Was it?
J: No, no. They were, they were reporting that, uh, all the, uh, Puerto Ricans and may think it is, uh,
with that, with so and so over there, uh, having them back to, to houses and that, you know. Having them to get back to, to without, to be out of the conflict. Too many soldiers were
J: were, were [ENGRAVED] over there.
J: They have casualties. We had a lot of casualties. I took one of my platoon with a flat directory, direct hit in the bunker.
And here, float by in the back of it, three were killed. I can remember one, Francis, Francis Ruiz [INAUDIBLE] He was t he son of a doctor in Juncos, Puerto Rico. He was, he belong, I went over and said we went to right because that was where by 6:00 in the morning, early in the morning, and he took his, his medal and gave it to me
and to the other boy who was with me, please, give this to, to my, my, my wife.
I: Your wife, I mean my wife.
J: Yes, that’s it. To his sweetheart, to his, her. But I didn’t know, I didn’t know her. I didn’t know her.
I: Did you deliver it?
J: The other boy who was with me because I was assigned. [STAMMERS] it was just [marshes]. It was a direct boat.
I: But my question is did you give that medal to his wife?
J: No, the other boys who were
I: Other boys, yes.
J: Other boys because he was in contact with him but in the vicinity.
I: Um, what do you think is the importance of the Korean War in history, and what is Korean War to you?
J: Well, uh, as far as I know of the, uh, [STAMMERS] co-pilot,
uh, the fact and, uh, I can assume is that the, the Communists, we have to stop it. We did it. We served, uh, with pride. We served with pride and, uh, and, and they, they made a lot of, uh, uh, hard things. When, when I get over there, the first night I was traveling in a convoy, and we saw,
and we passed the University of Seoul
I: Uh huh.
J: All the, all the bodies were destroyed
I: Um hm.
J: All the windows disappear. But we were in a convoy. After we, they pick up at the Inchon in order to go to the, in front Division for assignment. But that was, uh, 10, 10, or nine in the morning,
in the night. It was dark. All the [INAUDIBLE] posts were in the fence, destroyed, and all lines were [INAUDIBLE]. There was no people around there.
I: In the street.
J: In the street or closer. There’s even some, uh, guidance from MP’s for having the [INAUDIBLE] away. But there was no civilians. All the civilians were running down onto the Hamhung or something like that over there.
J: Hamhung down there, a [INAUDIBLE] near Pusan. And uh, uh, we’ve been, uh, fighting over there I thought because I was
I: You was in the west side.
J: on the west side.
I: Imjin River.
J: Imjin River, uh, the [Walkowa, Chungdung-ni]
J: Uh, Pu, uh, Inchon
J: Uh, Pokchon, uh,
I remember, [INAUDIBLE] We never went over just to be in the cities. We were all the time in the country.
I: Right, in the front of main
J: And the high big, to climb and I mean some buses in the river and something like that.
I: But my second question was
what is the Korean War to you personally?
J: Personally, it made me, uh, to be, uh, uh, I was, I was, I was not decided to be or to be how our, how are we, how are we responsible efforts of my father. My father was a carpenter. He took me on down to the University
and then he supported me two years in the basic. But when drafted, I just told him this is a, I just told him from now on, I’m gonna keep my, my, my achievement and my, my, I want to have a, a family just like I did. And I went over when I, when I get back I went back, uh, I saw a notice with this
where it says in the, in the main political, in the newspapers, political newspaper, Amundo, that said the, the, the University of Puerto Rico at the college [INAUDIBLE] and [INAUDIBLE] college for years. I’m looking for veterans who can prove, who can make the things, uh, as a surveyor, uh, land surveyor. I am a graduate f rom Land
Surveyor. I got the Bachelor
J: Surveyor, land
I: Oh, Land Surveyor, okay.
J: Because, because I used to have the, I used to work with, uh, [INAUDIBLE] bearings, uh, something I done, uh, having the position where I arranged [INAUDIBLE] This time the mission and distance and, and they’ll be, I was p practically I was having instruction in the. They couldn’t afford
outside. So when, uh , I, I, I, saw the people and I told my father in life, poppa, I want to change my basical from the University to the College of [MYOWES]. But my father said but you can’t be a, a civil engineer. We can’t, I, we can afford now the, the, that you’re gonna have some studies uprooted by the, by the government. But he said but, the thing is I’m gonna be 24 years.
I want to be having short way in 36 months. I, I, ,cause I had gotten my Bachelor in Land Surveyor, Land Surveyor.
I: When was it? When did you receive the degree?
J: It was in, uh, nineteen, uh , fifty-five.
I: So you got the GI Bill?
J: Si, si.
I: Uh huh.
I: Uh huh.
J: I help my father, and when I was over there, when we got the payment about, a monthly payment
they took, uh, the pay officer having okay, had to, to, to get the money. I just, I want you, I want to send back my, part of my, of my earning, of my every month, monthly earning, an allowance. And that is, uh, how much you gonna save. Okay. Put me $150 allowance to receive at my home. [INAUDIBLE]
I: You, you’re talking about your salary, right?
J: I, uh, my salary.
J: But they, they pay with combat, with combat money, money
I: Combat pay.
J: Combat pay. Uh, and we are for combat pay after having 20 days in, in the front line.
J: That’s it. But the thing is, that when I went over here, my mother says come in here. I wanna tell you something. Book, the booklet from the bank.
You have, you have $150
I: How much?
J: You have $150.
I: Every month?
J: Every month.
I: Every month, yeah.
J: And we got $3000 and they say okay. Now I’m going to go to college.
I: But how much was GI Bill actually? Did GI Bill pay the tuition, right?
J: Si. When I was there, I, sure. Sure. $110 was my monthly, uh, payment.
I: From GI Bill?
J: From GI Bill. $110.
I: Um hm.
J: Because I was single.
I: Yes, you were single. And did you pay the tuition with the money or already got paid for?
J: No, my father, my father said you have to get some, uh, matriculate
J: Matriculated, okay. He has money and went over there.
I: No, no. GI Bill pays the tuition.
J: Oh yes.
J: I covered it. I covered them later on because there was an officer in, in the rector, uh, uh,
[I had enough for that]
I: So according to what you are saying, I guess that the impact of the Korean War upon your personal life has been very positive.
J: Si. Sure, sure.
J: I, if I can afford to go back, I would like to go back. [INAUDIBLE]
I: You earned it with your life, you know?
I: Yeah. Um, do you know about the Korea after the War? Anything? Do you have some updated information about
J: No. [INAUDIBLE] that letter, uh, before, before it was Korea, the name was chosen.
I: Ha. There you go. Yeah.
J: I just keep that one, keep than name I would say
I: How did you know
J: Why, why, was in the
I: In Korea?
J: They are only [INAUDIBLE] I went passing over there. There are lots of engineers, yeah, a lot of engineers working at the [MBC] center, Fire Direction Center. And by that time, Morales was the, the, the little Sergeant Hector Morales. He was my, my, before, before the instruction of my platoon leader job, I,
I was more close to Hector Morales who could tell me Camacho, be quiet. Be, we’ll be prepared. Don’t move away because the Chinks are going to hit you tonight. And, uh, tonight never reach. Tonight passes. Tonight passes. By the fifth day, he told me Camacho, before I’m gonna send you for to go back to here, to [INAUDIBLE] Or whenever he sent for me, my four men, the other four men, they were crossing already,
all the night. They are happy to go. Brumble told us okay, run for your lives. Everybody hold on [INAUDIBLE] pick up, pick up, pick up, pick up.
I: Wow. So loud. Hm. You never been back to Korea, right?
J: No sir.
I: Hm. Do you want to?
J: Well, I would like. I would like.
I: Some say that I don’t wanna go back because it was too much.
J: It was, uh, I was, uh, 22 years. I was, I was, I was assigned there. I would, I would like to go back, yeah. But that, I haven’t seen the, the City of Seoul and, so many places. But they had a lot of high, big, [BIGS] too high.
I: What do you mean? The high rise?
J: High, high, high, five, 5,000, 6,000 mountains.
I: Mountains, yeah.
J: Big mountain.
I: Um hm. As I told your cousin, uh, Pedro, Korean government has a program inviting Korean War veterans back to Korea so that they can see the development has been made since World War, I mean, the Korean War.
J: But the thing is that I have to get permission from my wife, too.
I: You know, your wife can go too.
J: Oh yeah.
I: I don’t know the exact, uh, sort of financial arrangement. But many of Korean War veterans, they actually went back to Korea with their families, you know?
J: With their family. I was with, uh,
I: Would you be interested?
J: I would, I would.
I: Yeah. I think we need to really because I’ve been here two days, and I never heard of anybody who
J: Who’d like to go back?
I: No, actually went back to Korea.
J: Oh yeah.
I: But in the state, main, uh, continents, there are many Korean War veterans has been back to Korea.
J: Well, I’d have to leave from the, [INAUDIBLE] Puerto Rico. I used to work with, uh, Puerto Rico Highway, uh, Highway Transportation here in San Juan.
I: Uh huh.
J: And I have no more work, [INAUDIBLE] work. [INAUDIBLE].
I: When did you retire?
J: Twenty-three years I had, I have 23 years as a retiree from the government. I got my Bachelor now. I love my way of life.
I: Um hm. Any other stories that you wanna add to this interview?
J: No, no, no, no. No more to say, sir. That’s it.
I: It is my honor to have both of you, Pedro and Jose, together,
and you are family, cousin to each other. You were at the same time in Korea, and you survived. That’s very good.
J: Yeah, yeah.
I: Very good. He was at the front line giving first aid to the wounded soldier. You were in the Mortar Unit and was very dangerous
J: Uh huh. Sure.
I: But thank God, God saved you. And because of your fight, because of your fight, Korea is not really, really economically strong,
and it’s one of the most strong democracy in East Asia.
J: I think it’s nice also.
I: Isn’t that nice?
I: It’s a, it’s, something good came out of your sacrifice.
J: Sure, yeah.
I: So I wanna thank you again, okay?
J: Okay, thank you, sir.
I: Yes. And I really hope that the two of you can go back to Korea together.
J: Oh yeah?
I: You know, I’m not sure. Kelly Hill is south of the DMZ.
It’s in the demilitarized zone. So you may be able to see t hose from these, you know, the DMZ, south DMZ. But you can see Seoul, Inchon
I: Yeah. And you’re not going to believe it.
J: Uh huh.
J: Yeah. It’s a pleasure for me to, I would like if
I: It was a blessing for us to have a U.S. soldiers there.
I: So thank you very much.
J: Alright, sir.
J: That’s it.
[End of Recorded Material]