Kenneth J. Winters
Kenneth Winters was born on March 27, 1947 in Lebanon, Pennsylvania. After graduating from Lebanon High School in 1965, he was drafted into the US Army. He received basic training at Fort Hood, Texas and was sent to Camp Casey, Korea in March 1967 where he was assigned as an infantryman to the 7th Infantry Division/2nd Battalion/31st Infantry Company. He was wounded in the Camp Liberty Bell Attack on August 10, 1967 and received a Purple Heart. He spent 2 1/2 months in the hospital recovering from his wounds before returning to duty on the DMZ in December 1967. During his time in Korea, hostilities between the North and South increased leading to what some have called the Second Korean War. Kenneth Winters returned home in April 1968 and was honorably discharged from the Army. In civilian life, he worked in meatpacking before working as a maintenance supervisor for Hershey’s Chocolate Company. Today, he lives in the Hershey, Pennsylvania area and is active in KWVA Chapter 327.
"What are We in For?"
Kenneth Winters describes his first impressions of Korea when he arrived at Kimpo Air Base in late 1967. He talks about the sights and smells of being in Korea for the first time.
Camp Liberty Bell Attack
Kenneth Winters recalls his memory of the Camp Liberty Bell Attack. This incident took place on August 10, 1967, when his unit, while on a tree cutting detail in the DMZ were ambushed by North Korean soldiers. He talks about being shot by enemy fire and being wounded by grenade shrapnel. Four US soldiers were killed and 17 wounded in the attack.
The Second Korean War
Kenneth Winters talks about the aftermath of the Liberty Bell Attack. He describes his wounds and the heroic efforts of others in the battle. He goes on to talk about other incidents during his tour in Korea, calling the period from 1967-1968 as the Second Korean War.
Going Home, Coming Back to Korea
Kenneth Winters talks about his time in Korea from 1967-1968. He talks about going back to US after he was wounded and returning to Korea and the DMZ, the site of an ambush he was involved in just a few months prior.
Reflections about the Korean People
Kenneth Winters describes the Korean people he encountered during his deployment to Camp Casey in 1967-1968. He remarks about the friendliness and industriousness of the people in nearby Tongduchan Village. He also mentions his interactions with Korean children and how they reacted to American soldiers.
[Beginning of Recorded Material]
K: My name I Kenneth J. Winters. K E N N E T H J. Winters, W I N T E R S.
I: Were you at the meeting yesterday?
I: No. Uh, what is your birthday?
K: March 27, 1947.
I: Where were you born?
K: Lebanon, Pennsylvania.
I: L E B A N
K: O N.
I: O N.
K: Um hm.
Tell me about your parents and siblings when you were growing up.
K: Well, I had, uh, mother and father. We had, uh, six boys in my family.
I: Wow. No girl.
K: No girls. Ha. Six boy.
I: And where are you located in the six?
K: I’m the second oldest.
K: Um hm.
I: And tell me about the school you went through.
K: I went to a one-room schoolhouse for first and second grade and
I: One-room school?
K: One-room schoolhouse.
I: Even in ’47?
K: First to eighth grade, correct.
I: How many student were there?
K: Uh probably, I’m gonna say maybe 35.
K: Yeah, roughly.
I: And there was only one teacher?
K: One teacher. Mrs. Horst was our teacher’s name.
I: And she taught grade 1, too?
K: One to eight.
I: Amazing, isn’t it?
K: Yes, it is.
I: These days we cannot think of that.
K: No. We used to take a
potato every day for lunch, and they’d put it on the coal stove so we’d have a hot potato for lunch.
I: That was it?
K: That was, well, we had other things. But we always had a warm potato with our lunch.
I: So [LAUGHS] 35 students from grade one to eight
I: Mixed together, and how was it? Were you able to learn?
K: Yeah, we learned quite a bit. She would take so many from this group, you know, the age group, first grade, second grade, third grade, whatever, and jus teach them for whatever period, and then the other pe, we would study at that time
and that’s how it went. And the middle of second grade, we moved into the city of Lebanon, and then I went to a, uh, an elementary school there called Harrison, and that was from, uh, first grade to ninth grade, and after that, I went to Lebanon High School which was tenth grade through twelfth grade.
I: And when did you graduate?
I: Did you know anything about Korea from the school, from the school?
K: Yeah. In history lessons, we did learn about Korea, not, wasn’t really emphasized a whole lot, but they touched on it, you know, from the Korean War and
I: Oh, did they talk about the Korean War?
K: A little bit, yeah, not a whole lot because I would have been, what, maybe, uh, 9, 10, 11 years old.
I: Um hm.
K: So we knew about it, but not very, very much detail.
I: Um. And what did you do after graduation?
K: After graduation, I got drafted and went into the Army.
I: You were drafted?
I: Oh. And so you were about to, what did you think that you would go? Where you?
K: Well, I thought I was going to go to Vietnam.
I: Vietnam, Right?
K: However, when I got drafted, after basic training, I
I: When was it, ’60?
K: October ’66.
I: Um hm. Army.
I: And where did you get the basic?
K: Fort Hood, Texas.
I: And what was your, um, so what happened to you? I, you know, that’s the year that, uh, Vietnam War
K: Right, right,
I: Broke out, right?
K: Cor, uh, actually it was a couple years prior to that, I think it was ’63.
I: 3, yeah, yeah, yeah, okay, yeah, yeah.
K: Cause we had one of the first soldiers in our county killed in ’63. But anyway, I was
in Texas and headed for Vietnam, and one day they pulled me of Fort Mason and said Winters, you have a brother in Vietnam? I said yes. He said pack your bags. You’re going to the other side of base. You’re gonna go to Korea. I went well, that’s fine.
I: Ah, because of our brother.
K: They wouldn’t send brothers over at that time.
I: Um hm.
I: So when did you leave, from where to Korea?
K: I left Fort Hood, Texas to Korea about maybe March 5, something like that.
I: In 1967?
K: 1967, correct.
K: Did training up until that time, from ’66 to ’67.
I: And did you go through, I mean, by airplane or?
K: Yes. We flew over and landed in Kimpo.
K: Yep. Um hm.
I: How many of you flying together?
K: There was maybe, maybe 10, 12 of us.
That was it.
I: Um hm. Ten, 12.
K: Um hm.
I: Just give me a second, okay?
I: So tell me about Kimpo you saw for the first time. the country you, you didn’t know much about.
K: Flew into Kimpo and looked out the windows and saw the rice paddies, the, the buggies, the ox drawn carts, things like this, and well, this is quite different from what I’ve been around in my life, and when we stepped out of the plane,
the smell was horrendous.
I: What was it?
K: Just, I just, I don’t know. Just the smell of the country, I guess from the rice paddies, so forth, so on. But.
I: Was it human waste fertilizer?
K: Yep. Correct.
I: Yeah, right.
K: And one of the first thing I saw as a, uh, a truck laid over on its side with looked like, would it have been cabbage, yep, laying over in the rice paddy.
I: Um hm.
K: Dumped over. And a couple guys said wow, what are we in for? So here we are.
I: Um hm.
K: But, uh.
But it was pretty cool. The mountains were, were really neat compared to what our mountains are here in the United States. But, of course they had no trees on at that time because of the Napalm through the war and whatever.
I: Yeah. What else can you think of of the first impression of Korea? Anything, people, building, road, whatever?
K: Well, I went into, from, from Kimpo they bused us to, uh, Camp Casey which was a pretty nice base.
It was one of the biggest bases over in Korea at that time.
I: Um hm.
K: And was in the, uh, induction center for about two, three days, and from there we transported up to Happy Valley on Camp Casey.
I: Happy Valley.
K: Happy Valley, yea.
I: Um hm.
K: It was tucked up in the, up in the mountainside.
I: How did people look to you, the Korean people?
K: How did they look to me?
I: Just be honest.
K: Well I knew, I knew it was or, I knew it was Oriental so
I: Uh huh.
K: it didn’t, you know, it didn’t bother me. It just, just the way it was.
I: Uh huh.
K: I’ve seen all kinds of people in the United States and, yeah, no problem.
I: And, by the way, what was your unit?
K: Seventh Infantry Division, Second Battalion, 31stInfantry.
I: Second Battalion
I: Um hm. Regiment you mean. 31stRegiment.
K: No, they didn’t go by Regiment then. They went by Battalion.
Okay. And what was your specialty?
K: I was, uh, infantry man, 11 Bravo.
I: So rifleman.
K: Rifleman, machine gunner.
I: How was the situation in DMZ area at the time?
K: When we went up to the DMZ, we went up on a tree cutting, uh, project, and when we got up to the north there, we stayed in tent city right near the Imjin River was right behind us, and
we were there about two days and, uh, we went out, started cutting trees and
I: Why do you have to cut the tree, because this interview will be heard by the students, young children doesn’t have any idea about what you are doing.
K: Oh, okay.
K: The, the project, the tree cutting was to clear the trees for the DMZ to clear for the fencing and everything else that they were gonna build up through there.
I: DMZ means demil
K: Demilitarized zone, yes, correct.
I: Yeah. And was it dangerous? Were you nervous because North Koreans might, you know, encounter you?
K: I wouldn’t, I wouldn’t say we were nervous. I mean we were, we knew what we were up against, but being on the tree cutting detail we figured we were pretty safe, and so we started cutting trees that morning, and at, uh, chow time which is lunch time, uh, one of our deuce and a half trucks broke down to transport us back for chow, so they put
two truckloads of men into one truck, and we were going up Barrier Road and were approaching a hill, and that’s when all hell broke out, I can say that, but, uh, with a, with an ambush from the North Koreans.
K: Correct, yes. My unit had, uh, 17 men killed, or 17 men wounded and three men killed that day.
I: Give me that, give me the details, how it happened, when, exactly. Do you remember the day?
K: Yep, August 10, 1967.
K: About noontime.
I: Uh huh.
K: Um hm.
I: Tell me the detail.
K: Well, like I said, we were going up this hill, and we heard this popping and we’re, what the devil is this, didn’t think much about it, then people started screaming, and we saw some North Koreans coming up toward us with bandoliers of hand grenades.
I: How, how, how close was it?
K: I would say probably 100 yards to 70 yards.
I: Hundred yard.
I: Stand so close.
K: Yes, very close.
I: Were you afraid?
K: Uh, at that time I thought well, I gotta get the heck outta here, so I jumped off the truck, and people were screaming, and I got on the side of the truck, and a hand grenade come over the truck, and I was in the mushroom effect of the hand grenade, so the hand grenade hit here, threw me out into the hill maybe about 30, 40 feet up on a hill, and there was bullets hitting around me and things like this. By this time, I was wounded. I had, I was shot by an AK47 and hand grenade.
So some of my troops were trying to get me down to safety with all the shooting going on and then, uh, what I remember from that point on, I was in shock, so I still remember a little bit. The, the firing had ceased and, uh, the ambulance came. Of course, my fellow guys were putting bandages on me so forth, so on. The one guy came up to me. He had his eye,
I thought his eye was shot out, but it was just a big wound on his head and then, uh, what I remember next was they put me in an ambulance, took me to an aid station, and there was a, Skaggs was a fellow next to me in the aid station, and he had a sunken chest wound. I’ll never forget that and, uh, they cut my clothing off, said well, Winters is gonna make it. Just keep working on him.
I: Where were you wounded?
K: I was wounded from the waist to the back of the head.
I: How did that happen?
K: Hand grenades and AK47s. I had
a bullet go through my armpit, ripped my armpit open, and my arm, had a bullet in the back of the head here, shaved me, had the shrapnel wounds go in the side here up through my lungs. I had a punctured lung and, uh, after the aid station, they got me cleaned up, they put me on the side of a helicopter on the cot side, shot me with morphine, and I woke up five days later in the hospital in, in uh, Ascom.
K: Um hm.
I: How many were killed?
K: Three were killed that day, and one guy was shot in the head pretty good, and he made it home to see his little girl, and then he passed away. So there was actually four died from that incident.
I: And how many were killed in the North Korean side? Do you know?
K: That I don’t, I never heard of it, any, anyone being killed. I know our, uh,
I: So it was a southern attack so that you were not able to respond? Is that what happened?
K: We had, we were, we were on a tree cutting detail. We only had two weapons with ammunition in them. We carried weapons, but had no ammo.
I: And there was no other people around you?
I: In our side?
K: Well, there was a group over from Second Infantry Division, and they heard the shooting. They thought they were being attacked, and they came over to help us, and that was a, uh, Jerry Perkins from Alabama. He contacted me
forty years later. He was looking for someone that had, was in this incident, and him and I have become very close friends so,
K: through this. But had it not been for a Sergeant Phipps that was with our unit. He was in the front of the truck. He pulled his 45 out, and he did some shooting, and then they retreated. So he probably saved a lot of lives that, that day.
I: So that was ’67.
K: Yep. August 10, 1967.
I: Korean War broke out 1950
I: So that was about 17 years later
I: and still the Korean Peninsula was not safe at all.
K: When I was over there ’66 through ’68, they called it the Second Korean War
I: Second Korean War.
K: because of all the incidents that were happening.
I: Yeah. ’68, North Korean guerillas attacked the Blue House.
K: Yep, yep, yep. I was there when they did that, yeah. I was there when, uh, Martin Luther King was assassinated. I was there during the Pueblo Incident
K: um. We sat on red alert for the Pueblo Incident probably for about seven, eight weeks. Just sat there waiting, ready to go. Didn’t know if we were gonna go to battle or not.
I: So tell me about after that, where, what happened to you? Did you continue to stationed there?
K: I, uh, got out of the hospital about two and half months later,
and I got back to my unit
K: at Camp Casey. They were back at Camp Casey by this time. So I had to take my own leave. They wouldn’t give me convalescent leave to go home, so I had to take my own leave to go home, which I did. And then I went back and, uh,
I: Back to Korea?
K: Back to Korea. Got back for Thanksgiving dinner and, uh, I think it was the beginning of December, our unit was told we were gonna go back up to the DMZ and relieve
K: Second Infantry Division.
I: When was it?
K: Uh, December of, uh, ’67.
I: Uh huh.
K: That we were gonna go back up and help the Second Division and relieve them some duties so they can get some R and R, and they were doing that, I think for about a year and a half. They were going back and forth for like six month periods.
I: What were you thinking when you had to go back to that area where you were
I: severely wounded?
K: They had me on a P3 profile which was you don’t carry weapons. You don’t do anything. So I was in the
office doing a training schedule and pulled CQ every other night. So that was my duty. I was limited. They wouldn’t let me go out on patrol or anything else, even though I wanted to. But they wouldn’t let me. But, uh, they sent me up in advance party to make sure we had, we lived in tent city up there, and make sure we had enough bedding, things like that, for the troops when they came up, and when they came up, they would, the, the guys started doing their patrols and what have you,
and I did my duty in the office.
I: Were you nervous when you
K: Uh, ye,
I: went back?
K: a little hesitant, but hey, it is what it is, you know. Uh, one night I was sitting on CQ writing a letter and, uh, guard said there’s North Korean uh, enemy in our, uh, ammo dump.
I: What is that?
K: That’s, uh, ammo supplies for the unit.
I: Uh huh.
K: And the North Koreans
were always heckling and doing some kind of like, cause they infiltrated across the fence a lot.
I: How often? Was it really happening a lot?
K: Yeah, oh yeah. Yeah. And, uh, the one night I’m sitting writing a letter home, and what I was referring to about the ammo dump, so I had to give the order, hey, fire if need be, and next thing, boom, boom, boom. A bullet come through the Quonset hut and hit in the desk right next to where I was writing a letter home.
K: So we ran out. We had, uh, concrete trenches we stepped into and just laid there until,
I: Um hm.
K: and it was just a couple bursts of, of, uh, firing, not, not a whole lot. So then we went back to normal duty, and that was it. But up there while we were on patrol, the guys would go about 4:00 in the afternoon,
K: go in the foxholes along the DMZ, do that all night, and then they would come back in the morning and sleep, and they alternated like that
I: Um hm.
K: And that’s, that’s the duty we had up on the DMZ.
I: So that was pretty dangerous, and very unstable, right?
K: It was pretty intense. Well, my unit had, uh, another bunch of guys got attacked up there. Another fellow got killed, not from this incident I’m, I was talking about, but another incident. A, a fellow by the name of Bizby, he was killed and, uh, Sergeant Parpart. They were with, with, together on that ambush. I wa, I wasn’t ‘with them. But we had, uh,
one, two, we had three different incidents. I know one night we had a, uh, Lieutenant Colonel was just back from Vietnam, and they weren’t supposed to have any APCs or anything like that on the DMZ, and the North Koreans were, had a big ambush coming across and, uh, they took an APC out and started shooting 50 calibers and killed some people. We had two of them on our, on our, on our tent city. That, the next morning they pulled them in to check them and whatever, but they were, they were deceased, but, yeah.
Yeah, it was quite a, quite an interesting 13 months over there.
I: Do you know the total casualties of the, uh, Korea Defense Veteran up till now? More than 1,000. I know that.
K: Yeah, I know it’s more than that, uh. I may have that in some of my paperwork here.
K: But it’s been, been quite a, quite a bit. I know one time when I was in the hospital, I think the choppers brought people in there probably
two, three times a week. One time they, they ambushed a, a mess hall that was having dinner, and they brought some of those people in. I mean, numerous times they flex people in, and actually in the hospital when they, uh, had to put the ambush on the Blue Room, they brought some of those people into the hospital that, that, that were injured. But, uh, yeah, it was quite an experience. Thought I was lucky not going to Vietnam but hey, I’m here to talk about it, so that’s, that’s fine.
I: People talk about Korean War, and when they talk about Korean War they talk about Korean War veteran,
I: and they don’t know much about Korea Defense veteran.
K: Right, right.
I: How do you define the Korea Defense veteran?
K: I just take it as a Korean veteran, you know. It’s
I: But Korea Defense veterans are U.S. soldiers who stationed in Korea after the Korean War
I: but officially because the federal definition of
Korean War is from June 25 of 1952, January 31 of 1955.
I: even though the Korean War, uh, ended with the cease fire in July 27 of 1953.
K: Um hm.
I: So those U.S. soldiers, men and women who stationed in Korea after the January 31 of 1955, are defined as Korea Defense veteran.
K: Defense, correct.
And that’s, the role of Korea Defense veteran has not been even illuminated.
I: Not been recognized properly.
K: Yeah, you’d base your
I: from the United States.
K: Yeah. You’d be surprised the amount of people in this country that have no idea what was going on the time frame that I was over there. They just, uh, had no idea. Not taught in the schools, not taught, not talked about. Well like I say, the Korean is a forgotten war and, uh, it just the way it was.
I: It’s a continuation of forgottenness.
K: Yeah, correct.
I: Do you know how many retired, uh, former U.S. forces that stationed in Korea here, in the United States total number of who
K: No, I have no idea.
I: been stationed there?
K: No idea. There, well, how many were stationed there at one time?
I: One time, yeah.
K: I know when I was over there, I think there was like 38,000 troops there.
I: 38,000. Now you would have 27,000
K: Yeah, yeah.
I: Totally, if we
have a rough calculation, um, calculating the rotation, uh, terms, used to be one year, but now I think it’s a six month
K: Oh, well we were 13 months.
I: Thirteen month.
K: Thirteen months.
I: That’s roughly three million people who been there
K: Right, yep.
I: It’s a big community, but there is no organization at all? That’s what we want to do. I wanna make a organization for that.
K: Well that’s, that would
be really nice, yeah.
I: Um hm.
K: It would be very, very good, but, yeah.
I: Any other incident or episode you remember there?
K: Well, like I said, there was numerous, not, not with our unit but, uh, other units, you know, that you hear about this, you hear about that. Like I said, I’ve got stars and stripes here with numerous incidents that had happened here.
I: When did you leave Korea?
K: I left Korea in April of 1968.
I: Oh. So you were there when the North Korean guerillas attacked the Blue House which is White House in Korea.
K: Yes, yes I was.
I: Tell me about it.
K: Well, all we knew that, uh, there was an attack on the Blue House at a civilian Korean/ South Korean lady. Her, I guess, two gentlemen talking, and I guess they have different dialect from north to south, and from what I understand, she alerted the police, and that’s basically what had happened.
I: Um hm.
K: And they, they captured,
I think there was 22 of them trained for it.
K: I think they trained for like 12 months or, or, uh, yeah, 12 month. or something like that to infiltrate and come across.
I: They were very close to the
K: Yes they were.
I: Blue House.
K: But, one, I think, one block or two blocks, something like that.
K: Very, very close.
I: There’s a small mountain behind the Blue House, and they were right there,
K: Yep, yep, yep.
I: and I saw the bullet trapped, you know, the
K: Um hm.
I: you know, what do, what do you call that, that hit the rocks
and there is a traces of those.
K: Oh, you mean where they hit
K: Yeah, yeah.
I: Yeah. Yeah.
K: Bullet marks, correct, um hm.
I: Tell me about the life in Korea at the time in 1967 and ’68. How was it?
K: The civilian people?
K: Where we were, Camp Casey was Tongduchon Village, you know. That was very hectic with, uh, with the military there. But, but the surrounding areas was, I, I guess you would say the mountain people living in the, in the, in the
huts and carrying the A-frame with their supplies up over the mountains and things like this. It was quite a culture change for us guys from the United States. I mean, it was kind of cool to see the people do what they do, the strength they had walking up the mountains and how they transported things and just
I: Tell me about it. How do they transport?
I: I mean,
K: In, in
I: and those people who served at the top of the mountain, how did they get the food? Do you know?
They came, they came down to the villages or the markets forever, put it on their A-frames, and took it back up over the mountains. I guess some of them had little gardens as we recall seeing some, you know. But, uh, yeah. It was
I: That’s how it’s been carried.
K: Oh yeah. I mean, I’ve, we’ve seen down in the village of Tongduchon, we’ve seen
they get a pig, a pig drunk on Mokley, and they’d tie it to the bicycle and take it to market with the pig squealing. I’ve seen them had, uh,
rings of beer cans stacked maybe 15 feet high, empty beer cans, tied to the bicycle going to the market. Uh, I think I have a picture of the one in here. They were actually carrying a telephone pole between two bicycles transporting it. I mean, just, and they carried like, like the cabinet behind you there, they’d carry stuff like that on their A-frame. It’s just, just amazing the stamina that the people had, you know, just, yeah. Just
I: Determinedness that they
want to carry out
I: mission, right?
K: Exactly, exactly.
K: And it
I: That’s Korean.
K: And the Korean people were very friendly to, to us American soldiers, I mean, very, very friendly.
I: Um hm.
K: I think some of the biggest things that, that, uh, I remember was when we were down south at Camp Casey, if we’d do, um, patrols or whatever we would do, the young kids would just follow us for days, and they’d sit next to you hoping for food or something like that. So I’d carry candy and
give them some candy or give them food, but they would not eat it. They would put it in their pockets and take it home. Just, just amazing that the closeness of the families I guess you could say, just very, very close.
I: You mean they preserved it for the family?
K: Yep. Would not eat it. Sometimes I would make them, you eat, you eat, and they would eat, you know, but they’d want to stuff it in their pockets to take home. But
I: That’s so, awfully nice.
K: and just, uh, a, a., amazing, yeah, yeah, yeah.
I: So still, again, we talking about 17 years
after the war
I: and you know that everything devastated right after the war, still childrens were looking for food
I: from the GI.
K: Correct. They’d follow you for, if we had a two, three -day training session, they would follow you for the whole two, three days, then follow you back to the village. Just, they’d sleep on the ground, whatever they’d take a, they always had the little lighters with them,
and they’d stab toads, frogs, whatever, heat them up and eat them and just, amazing. If our kids in this country would have to do that, I don’t know what they would do to, but
K: Yeah, it was quite a culture shock.
I: Have you been around the nation, Korea,
I: while you were there?
K: We tried, well, we were, we had a lot of duties, so we got into Seoul, uh, two times.
I: How was Seoul? Tell me about it.
K: Hectic. Driving was crazy. My buddy from Maine,
he said let’s get a taxi and just drive to Seoul cause they didn’t have traffic lights or anything and zoom, zoom, zoom, cars zigzagging in and out all over the place. But we got to see some things in Seoul. Uh, the Blue House, things like that. We went up a, uh, a gondola or a cable car, great, great big one,
K: and my buddy, he was scared. He did, he didn’t like that stuff there. But I thought it was pretty cool. He said we gotta go back down on that thing? I said yep. So yeah, that was, I don’t
know how many people were on it, but we were just crammed in there like sardines.
I: Have you been back to Korea since then?
I: No. Do you know about contemporary Korea, about its economy, how well they are?
K: Yes, yes.
I: Tell me about it. How do you know,
I: and what do you know?
K: Well, I listen to a lot of things, and I read a lot of things, and I, I go on the computer, and I see things. Like I went on to see Camp Casey before I came here just, what a change. I mean it just, nothing like when I was there. It just, it was very primitive when I was there, and today it’s uh
technologically I guess improved and just so modern compared to when I was over there. Yep. Yeah, I mean I know they, they, the auto industry, the textile industry. I mean, they’re just phenomenal. I guess they’re what, fifth in the world today? Something like that?
I: What, economy?
I: Eleventh largest economy in the world.
K: Oh, eleventh slot, okay. But I kn, I knew they improved. and I know when I was over there, I think they got like, uh,
I: Way down there.
K: Twenty cents an hour or something like that if, if it was even that much, yeah, yep.
I: No. You know ’67, the Korea, the people were still looking for, the children looking for food in the street.
K: Correct, yep.
I: And now it’s 11thlargest. By 2030, our economy will be ranked number 7 in the world.
K: That’s fantastic.
I: You know Samsung, Hyundai, right?
K: Um hm.
I: And they are the largest
I: the computer chip maker in the world.
I: We are the largest ship builder in the world.
K: Ship builder?
K: Ah, I didn’t realize that.
I: Yeah. Largest.
K: Good to know. Good to know.
I: You know, in 1970’s when we made the first very large oil carrier,
K: Um hm.
I: you know, it’s a heavy industry by Hyundai and shipping, we go the order from Turkeys, Turkish businessmen
K: Oh, okay.
I: to make a very large oil carrier.
K: Um hm.
I: We never knew how to build it, so we learned how to build it from scrap and Japan
I: and we began to build for the first time in our history, and because it’s so large, you have to build two, you know, the first half and the other half,
K: Right, yeah.
I: build separately, and then you have to put that together.
K: Right, right.
I: Do you know what happened?
I: It didn’t fit. When they were about to put that together, it didn’t fit.
K: What, uh, engineering flaw?
I: Yeah. Because we never done it before.
K: Right, right. Well I know up in, in, uh, Bath, Maine where they built some destroyers for the, the, uh, was it the Zim, Zimbo or whatever it is,
I: Um hm.
K: there, they build those ships in sections,
K: and put them together as they go.
K: Yeah. Yep.
I: We didn’t know how to put that together, but from there, we became the largest ship builder in the world.
K: That’s fabulous. Yep. That’s fabulous. I guess how are the people today versus when I was over there, the education and stuff like that? I guess it’s so much more intensified. I, is there a lot of poor people in the country yet?
I: Um, there are poor people everywhere
K: Yeah, right, right
I: but still, it’s 11thlargest economy in the world. So it’s pretty good.
K: Yeah, right.
I: Um, how much were you paid at the time?
K: I had $120 a month.
K: Um hm.
I: That’s not much increase from the Korean War.
I: Where did you sleep?
K: In Camp Casey, we had, slept in Quonset huts.
I: Quonset hut.
K: And then, uh, when we were up in, uh, tent city up at the DMZ, we slept in the big, big tents with the wooden floors, with a little burner on each end of the tent to keep us warm. Then what we would do when the guys went on patrols up there, we were limited on kerosene at that time.
There was a shortage. So we would keep our headquarters tent warm all the time so when the guys would come back out of their night patrols from the foxholes, they would sleep in our beds, bring their sleeping bags over and sleep in our beds. So we had a warm tent all the time. But, that’s how things were.
I: Um hm. Were you married at the time?
I: Oh, so you were separated.
K: I was, yep. And then after I got back from Korea, uh,
things didn’t go well, so we got divorced. But I got remarried and have a beautiful wife and daughter.
K: And a great-granddaughter.
I: Um hm. So to you, what is Korea to you now personally?
K: Uh, it’s a lot of memories. I mean I’d like to see the country succeed. II enjoyed watching the, uh, Winter Olympics there and hopefully one day we may get back over there, the wife and I. We’d talked about it several
years ago, but we ended up having some health problems and didn’t make it. But, uh, hopefully we’re gonna get back over there, uh, on the Korean tours from the Korean War veterans.
I: How many Korean Defense veteran in your chapter, 327? Do you know?
K: I really don’t know because I joined it, but I haven’t gotten with them yet.
I: Okay. Any other story or episode that you want to tell?
K: Well, I know it was, uh, I think last year or two years ago, Paul Cunningham had contacted me.
They had, uh, got
I: Paul Cunningham is the Commander of chapter.
K: He had contacted me. Over in, uh, Hershey, they had a, uh, funeral service for remains they found from a soldier over in Korea, so I attended that funeral, and that was pretty interesting, and they had a map of the, of North and South Korea there and how many people were still lying in there somewhere, you know. It, It’s, the numbers are quite, quite, quite huge.
I: Um hm.
K: Um hm. But, uh,
I: What is the impact of your military service upon your life after you returned?
K: Well, when I returned, I worked for a, a meat processing company for 14 years, and I got in with Hershey Chocolate, and I worked maintenance with Hershey Chocolate. I think what it did, it helped me maybe, uh,
manage people, uh, know how to deal with problems, uh, things of this nature because I did end up in the, in a supervisory levels and, uh, how to put up with stress, things, things of that nature there, and the military helped me in a lot of ways.
I: Are you proud to, proud to be a Korean War, a Korea Defense veteran?
K: Yes, I am. Very proud.
I: Um hm. You brought lot of, uh,
K: I’ve got things here, correct.
I: Could you, do you want to show that to, to us?
K: Sure. I don’t care.
I: Yeah, why don’t you bring it to me?
I: Oh, look at that. You were only
I: Oh, that’s a propaganda? When did you pick that up?
K: Up along the DMZ. They would fly things, and they’d flu, flutter over into our area.
I: Can I have it?
I: It says [KOREAN SPEAKING]
I: This is very interesting.
K: And what, what did it actually say?
I: Says about, you know, the miserable life in Korea of those U.S. soldiers, you know. So it’s kind of discouragement.
I: Yeah. And this you?
K: This is me after. This is me getting, receiving my purple heart in the hospital.
And that’s where you were wounded?
I: And you were skinny?
K: I weighed 130 pounds when I got shot. When I woke up, I was 110.
I: Let me look at you with the picture now. Yeah. This story is, and the role played by the Korea Defense veteran need to be real illuminated.
K: Well, yes. Here, this was the, uh, North Koreans kill three GIs. This was the, I think this was the ambush that we were in.
I: Um hm. Could you show that to
K: Sure. Yes.
K: This was other articles here. The other ambush I said that our troops, our, our unit was in.
This fellow here is probably the one that saved our lives the day we were ambushed up on the barrier road, Sergeant Phipps.
K: This is, uh, one of the fellows in our unit that died in that other ambush, and they were having their funeral service at Kimpo Airport.
I: Division patrol ambushed in DMZ.
K: Here GIs slain in DMZ, identification patrols. Various things there. You don’t want to see these. These are the dead soldiers I have pictures of.
I: Oh. Yeah, show it.
K: You want to see that?
These were, uh,
I: Show that to the camera, just. Are they
K: North Koreans.
I: North Koreans?
I: What happened?
K: That was, uh, the ambush I told you where they took the
I: Um hm.
K: pieces out, and they figured that, uh, they shot about 70, 80 of them, and these were
on our side of the DMZ in the morning, and they brought them to base. And the rest of the people that were shot there, they put them on a pile and burned them. We smelled the burning for like two, three weeks.
I: K. Thank you. Yeah, I saw that picture. Famous picture. So Pueblo, tell me about that, Pueblo.
K: We were there January of ’68 when the Sea, when the Pueblo was seized, and we sat on red alert for many, many weeks,
didn’t know if we were gonna go to war or just what was gonna happen.
I: That’s Americans spy naval ship, right?
I: Was abducted by the North Koreans
I: and still there in, in, North Korea.
K: In the museum up there, yeah, that’s correct.
I: Yeah, yeah.
I: Purple Heart, United States of America.
I: Um hm.
I: Established by General George Washington at Newburgh, New York August 7, 1782 to, to Private First Class
Kenneth J. Winters. That’s good.
K: And, like I said. Just numerous things as
I: That’s the truck?
I: August 10, 1967. Oh boy. Yes.
K: Just different pictures of me getting the
Purple Heart and, here’s a bunch of guys that were wounded that day.
I: Wow. [Knock on door] Hold on. Yep.
K: I don’t know how many people had this, but my nephew was over in Korea in the ‘80’s
K: and they took some of the barbed wire fence they took down and made a
K: Memorial, and he gave it to me. He says you deserve this more than I do.
K: So it was very nice.
I: Yes. That’s Korean money.
K: Um hm.
K: Korean one.
K: And that’s just pictures of different things on the based and whatever. Matter of fact, here’s some up on the MDL, uh, some of the things we found up there, the fence. Now I see today the fence has the bunkers and
and that’s how we did patrols when we were over there in the ‘60’s.
I: Um hm. Alright, Kenneth, I want to thank you on behalf of Korean nation for your service.
K: You’re more than welcome.
I: Uh, there was even 17 years after the Korean War, plus still there are lots of American soldiers who been killed and wounded from your honorable services.
I: And need to be recognized.
I: And that’s what we want to do.
So when we do, please join us, okay?
K: Are you gonna do a book, or are you gonna do a
I: No, no. I’m, I’m not going to do, we are making teaching materials with it.
K: Oh, okay.
I: Yeah, as I told you in the beginning.
I: So that’s what we are going to do, okay?
K: Well anyhow, I want to show you that picture of, this was
I: Just sit there, sit there.
K: This was Happy Valley where we lived up in the valley.
I: Oh. That’s within the Camp Casey.
I: And that’s, uh, 31stInfantry.
I: Yes. Thank you, sir.
K: You’re very welcome.
I: Thank you, thank you.
K: More than happy to please.
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