Korean War Legacy Project

Kenneth Swanson


Kenneth M. Swanson grew up during the Great Depression.  He describes the hardships his family endured and how they survived due to the generosity of extended family and neighbors.  In March 1952, tired of civilian life, he volunteered for the Army before receiving his draft notice.  During basic training at Fort Riley, Kansas, he attended Food Service School and graduated first in his class.  On his way to Korea he was told he was actually in the Air Force, not the Army.  He took advantage of the GI Bill later in his life, graduating with a degree in Accounting.

Video Clips

Got Each Other's Back

Kenneth M. Swanson describes how everyone looked out for each other at the compound where he was stationed between Inchon and Seoul. He describes how it was set up like a city and the bartering that took place. He describes a moment when a friend came to visit and how well he was taken care of when he arrived with no clothes after they had been stolen.

Tags: Yeongdeungpo,Living conditions

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You've Got the job!

Kenneth M. Swanson describes how he obtained the job of working in the mess hall upon arrival in Korea. He explains how his eduction and prior experiences in Minnesota gave him an advantage. He goes on to elaborate on how important it was to make a variety of bread to accompany the meals.

Tags: Food

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Pride in Volunteering

Kenneth M. Swanson describes how volunteering to enlist had brought him and his brother a lot of opportunities afterwards. He mentions how when he hears the national anthem, he stands a little taller. He goes on to describe what his service meant to him at his brother's funeral.

Tags: Pride

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