Manuel A. Bustamente
Manuel Bustamante arrived in Korea as the armistice was signed in 1953. Aboard a naval ship, he was part of Operation Platform, which consisted of exchanging North Korean prisoners of war, for American soldiers. One of his most vivid experiences was the rescue and adoption of a baby from a Korean orphanage. His ship took care of the baby for two months after the adoption. After leaving service, both Manuel and his older brother Daniel worked in the United States Postal Service.
Manuel Bustamante participated in Operation Platform. This was the exchange of North Korean soldiers for American and South Korean Soldiers after the Korean War. It took place at Incheon Harbor in August 1953.
Manuel Bustamante said that a little white baby was found in a Korean Orphanage. The baby was kept in the sickbay on the ship and it kept the moral high for months. Sailors all took turns caring for the baby. The doctor and his wife adopted the baby once he arrived in America. They named him Daniel Keenan and he went to many of the Korean War reunions in order to see his rescuers.
Enlisting and Basic Training
Manuel Bustamante knew about Korea when the war broke out because his brother was in the United States Navy on an aircraft carrier. Luckily, Manuel Bustamante and his brother were assigned the same ship, the USS Point Cruz. The brothers were surprised that they were allowed to be on the same ship because usually the United States military tries to separate the family members so that they would not get injured at the same time.