Korean War Legacy Project

Max Sarazin


Max Sarazin was born on April 14, 1933 in Putnam, Connecticut. Upon graduating from high school in North Attelboro, Massachusetts in 1951, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. He received basic training at Parris Island, South Carolina and progressed to radio and electronics training at Great Lakes Naval Station. He was assigned to the 1st Anglico (Camp Catlin), Hawaii and Korea from 1952-1954. In April 1953, he was deployed to Korea where he spent the next seven months working mostly as a forward observer calling in fire missions. He rotated back to the US and was discharged in 1954. Today he lives in Eastham, Massachusetts and is active in the KWVA.

Video Clips

Life at Camp Catlin, Hawaii

Max Sarazin describes daily life during his two years stationed at Camp Catlin, Hawaii as a radio operator during the Korean War. He explains that the 1st Anglico took over Camp Catlin which was a Marines radar base during WWII. He gives a detailed description of daily activities and training.

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"What the Hell am I Doing Here?"

Max Sarazin describes an incident in Seoul; he had never seen a helicopter and as they flew in and landed in the hanger, he took that opportunity to see one up close. Upon inspection, he was shocked to see severely wounded soldiers who had been flown in from the battlefield. He recalls hearing someone say "what the hell am I doing here?" and quickly realized that voice was his own.

Tags: Seoul

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Incheon Harbor, 1953

Max Sarazin describes his visit to Incheon harbor. He recalls helping a young Korean man dock his nine-foot-long boat and afterward, the young man allowed him to take the boat to try it out on his own. He goes on to describe the beautiful sampans and junk boats in the harbor. He recalls boarding a beautifully painted junk boat and being in awe of its copper and brass steam engine.

Tags: Incheon,Impressions of Korea

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Video Transcript

00:00:00          [Beginning of Recorded Material]

Max Sarazin:   I’m Sergeant Max Sarazin, M A X S A R A Z I N. I live in Eastham, Massachusetts, where I retired, 25 years ago. I grew up in North Attleborough where I went through schools. My parents were born in North Attleborough of French Canadian descent. I was born in Putnam, Connecticut, during the depression while my father went out there looking for a job. I was born in a small apartment over a liquor store, then we came right back to North Attleborough.




So, I grew up on a farm and there was a dirt road with three farms adjacent to ours. A couple of good friends, classmates. I flew model airplanes and was in a band with George. George played first trumpet, I played solo trumpet and Moe was our star football player.




I had four uncles, combat veterans of World War II which I missed by five years. One of them was a Seabee, building runways under the fighting, another one made the Normandy invasion which was captured by the Germans, another one was the third army division, he was in the Battle of the Bulge, another one was airborne. They were all army, one Seabee of course.




Interviewer:     When were you born?


Max Sarazin:   April 14th, 1933




Max Sarazin:   Yes


Okay, so when did you graduate from high school?


Max Sarazin:   I graduated in 1951, but what happened was I vacationed a summer in Dennis Port and I went across the street to [unintelligible] store to buy my daily record and it happened to be June 25th, 1950, and the headlines wrote, read “North Korea invades South Korea”.




Well I’d never heard of Korea, nobody did, you know. So I soon found out. There was a map inside. It showed everything about it. I always played army as a kid and I saw the maps and everything – like I said I missed World War II, but I was ready for this one.




Interviewer:     Were you not afraid of war – being in the war?


Max Sarazin:   As a kid, no. [Laughter] You don’t get any sense until you’re a little older.


Interviewer:     So you thought you were going to the war game, something like that?


Max Sarazin:   Well yeah, exactly. That’s exactly what we did as kids. A lot of kids were playing cops and robbers, cowboys and Indians – we were always playing war. I had a helmet, cartridge belt, I had all the army gear, you know. From the war surplus. So anyway, I was promoted to my senior year.


Interviewer:     You mean in high school?


Max Sarazin:   Yes




Interviewer:     Okay, go ahead.


Max Sarazin:   I was promoted to my senior year. George was missing, of course, he went to the marines when he found out the war was on. And Moe, a good friend, great friend, classmate, a real good football player. He played in the Thanksgiving game, you know, we beat Attleborough and the whole bit. Then come Monday morning, he was missing. He went to the marines. He waited until he got his football in. I waited until I graduated.


Interviewer:     But he didn’t graduate, but he just enlist himself?




Max Sarazin:   That’s correct


Interviewer:     Wow


Max Sarazin:   Yeah, so then I graduated in June of 1951 and my uncles were very disappointed because I went into the Marines. I was the first of two or three that went to the Marines of the family later.


Interviewer:     Why was your uncles unsatisfied?


Max Sarazin:   Well they thought I was going to go to the Army because they were always writing to me from overseas and everything.




One of my uncles I was very close to, in fact, after the war we went fishing all of the time. We had all these wonderful streams around. I grew up on a farm, you see, we had all these streams around. Oh I don’t know, Eagle Brook, Wading River, just five or six of them there you know.


Interviewer:     You said it’s East Hampton?


Max Sarazin:   That was in North Attleborough


Interviewer:     Oh, okay


Max Sarazin:   Yes


Interviewer:     So did you enlist for Marine?


Max Sarazin:   Yes I did




Interviewer:     When was it?


Max Sarazin:   It was in June 1951, just as soon as I graduated from high school. I went down to the post office in North Attleborough where they had all these posters and I knocked on the post masters door and I wanted to join the marines and he just “oh you’ve got to go to the main office we can’t do that here”. I had a World War II jeep, so I went down to Providence and saw the post master there and I filled out all of the papers, everything else, and he looked at it and he says “you can’t join the marines here” you’re from Massachusetts.




That was Pawtucket, Rhode Island, or Providence, I don’t remember which. So the next day I drove into Boston, to Milk Street, the post office and I signed up there. Then they told me when to come back. My father brought me there, the whole bit. And so I had to wait two weeks because they wanted to get a car filled up of people from Massachusetts. Most of them were from the Boston area.




One car went down to Parris Island, platoon 318 and I scored very high in the aptitude tests. In fact I was number one in the platoon. Arthur Tobert, he was the governor’s nephew, he came in second so he and I got radio and electronics training, you know the others got the infantry or what have you because of the war going on. And I got training there.




Interviewer:     Where did you got the basic training?


Max Sarazin:   We had boot camp, that’s –


Interviewer:     Where?


Max Sarazin:   Parris Island, South Carolina


Interviewer:     Oh, go ahead


Max Sarazin:   So then after some other training at Great Lakes I went to Treasure Island in California for further transfer and my orders came for First Anglico. Well I didn’t know what First Anglico was or what it meant any more than I knew what Korea was.




When I first saw that, The land of the morning calm, Korea. So I was there a couple of weeks until we got a group together. There’s a group that came up from San Diego, from radio operator school. A friend of mind, Andy [Kalenick], was their instructor there and we all got together and went to the Hawaiian islands which was the home base of First Anglico which is first air and naval gun fire liaison company. Now Jake, who you interviewed Charlie, a while ago, he was in the air platoon – there’s three platoons. I was in one of the naval gunfire and artillery platoons.




Interviewer:     When did you leave for Hawaii? From California?


Max Sarazin:   March of 1952


Interviewer:     Mm-hmm. Why did you go to Hawaii?


Max Sarazin:   That was a home base, Camp Catlin for the First Anglico.




We had taken over the old Camp Catlin which is a marine raider base in World War II, but we built a new one with steel [unintelligible] right next to it because the wooden building at old Camp Catlin were full of termites. So from there, every day we setup our radios and radio net, a lot of practicing.




Once in a while, maybe once every month or two, we’d get on a destroyer in Pearl Harbor and we’d sail out to Kahului and that was a target island and we’d go ashore there by rubber boat and we’d go up into a bunker we had up there for our protection and there’s nothing on that island except sheep, a couple few bushes here and there, but no trees you know, as a target. Yeah we’d practice firing there. I was there for two years, but six months or, I was extended, seven months of it was overseas in Korea. Yes.




So there at Camp Catlin with First Anglico, Monday through Thursday we always setup our radio nets, checked and we did all our radio training mainly keeping a log, using a prosigns and you’d get used to it. A little bit of CW, which continuous wave, if you call that in Morse code I guess. I never had speed on that, but we had it if we needed it.




You get more distance with CW than voice, I mean you get 30 miles away with an AR9 radio, you get 30, 40 miles away you’re not going to hear anything, but with a CW you can get through. That’s where the key, you know. So Fridays were the different day. Every Friday we’d either have a rubber boat drill, where we put our radio gear in rubber bags. We inflated these big rubber boats, like the zodiacs they have today, except these were bigger and very, very heavy.




You know we didn’t have the materials then they have now. And it took like forever to inflate it and put it over the side and we get on it, would go ashore and that’s [O’ahu ] islands and the surf there is pretty good and we usually end up on a head, the thing would tip over. The radio gear was all in water proof rubber bags and we’d get the stuff ashore.




There we’d made a few practice landings without the radio gear and then we’d be met by a six-by, which is a military truck, and it’d have a keg of  beer on the back and we’d break open a keg and they’d go home and get sick after with a rubber boat and a six-by with us. So some Fridays we’d have a twenty mile hike with our full pack on our backs and sometimes we’d use the road bed of the old trucker railroad there and that included a creaky trestle.




It wasn’t very high, but very unsteady. We had to break step to get across it even. The first thing we did when I joined Anglico in May, we had first marine division maneuvers, every marine in the first marine division went on these maneuvers that wasn’t in Korea. It was a huge, huge, huge thing. We flew in from Camp Pendleton to El Toro in the C-54 marine plane.




From there we took a C-119, which is a flying box car, up to Camp Pendleton. Landing there, of course it felt like it was going to fall apart because it was an amphibious plane of course. Was it amphibious? No, I take that back, no it’s just the gear that came down.


Interviewer:     When did you leave for Korea from Hawaii?




Max Sarazin:   Well first of all, I want to get back to that. We had more training, a lot more training and we had maneuvers in the Hawaiian islands, in Maui, where we had AKAs, which is a carrier. We had an LCM and a lot of LCVPs, radio jeeps. There was a carrier making landings there in the evening. We made two big amphibious landings there and I drove a jeep ashore. It was very problematic because they dropped me off in pretty deep water.




I kept it going. I did get ashore. When I got back from those maneuvers, it was December 1952, and I was introduced to Lieutenant Emmerich and he was my new team. I had a Navy lieutenant, Beard, previous to that and then the marine lieutenant, Emmerich, took over our new team and they called us the Korea detail, so I knew we were going to Korea.




So we had special training, well what we did – yeah that was right after that maneuvers and that’s where we met him and we trained with him steady until March. It was March until we went to Korea. It was 1953 because it was December 52 we met Emmerich and we went on maneuvers and it was March of 53 before we headed for Korea. Well flying to Korea we had…




Interviewer:     Why did you have such a long training in Hawaii while there was a war going on in Korea?


Max Sarazin:   Because we had a lot of teams and we had several teams in there at once


Interviewer:    But you are not  trainer – you were being trained, right?


Max Sarazin:   Yes, oh yes, we were fully trained. Oh yes. So my training is radio procedure and bracket system and spotting. We get that beaten zone, which is a big elliptical pattern, surround a target and got into [aspire] for effect, destroy the targets




Interviewer:     So where did you arrive in Korea?


Max Sarazin:   Well we had to go to Japan first. We made a couple of stops because we made a a mail run. We called it a milk run. And we took off on Barbers Point right after sunset and we got up there in the C-54 and all of a sudden we saw the sunset again, because we were up above, way up above the horizon.




Well we went along, I was sitting on the starboard side of the plane, near the wing. Most of the people, most of the marines are dozing off. I don’t think they even saw what happened. The engine number three, on the starboard enging, caught fire – huge flames. Well they pull a C02 and they put it out and the captain came on, you know they feathered the props and stopped the engine. And nothing to worry about you know, we had three engines.




We went along for another 15 minutes, 20 minutes and a huge chunk of, huge chunks of carbon were coming off the engine number 4 and these things are just billowing up and they’d be orange in color from the fire and they had to shut that engine down and feather prop. Now we’re flying with two engines in the same wing, which sounds a little bit unbalanced, and the captain came right on the um intercom. He said we haven’t reached a point of no return.




We’re returning to Barbers Point. So we went back to Barbers Point and they put us up, I think it was like 11, yeah 2300 and they woke us up at 0300, they had a plane for us. Well you know we had an airport behind my house. I was always very interested in flying and I happened to notice the number on the tail, it was the same plane that came in that we were on fire.




They obviously put two more engines on it and I wonder how they changed the engine, test flew in all that time but they did and we flew without incident. Made landings at [Kwajalein] Midway Wake Island, landed in Japan at Atsugi, the air force base.




And from there we took a plane down [atomi] and there we were put up at Camp Fisher, the marine camp. We were getting all our shots there and getting to know a little about the oriental people so, you know, we’d be accustomed to their customs and we got new rifles. I don’t know if they were brand new, but they seemed it. We went to the rifle range with them and we zeroed them in for 300 yards which is a combat setting. Then we flew, we landed in Pusan in South Korea.




Interviewer:     When was that?


Max Sarazin:   Late March, late March of 1953


Interviewer:     Mhmm


Max Sarazin:   So then we flew in another plane, you know I don’t remember what is was. There was almost, that was almost 60 years ago and we flew another plane, we went up to K14 from K1.




They were numbered such and that was up at Seoul and that was a terrible experience. We landed at Seoul, we had to hurry up and wait as always and waiting around I see these helicopters coming in behind the hanger. Well I never saw a helicopter up close. You know back then they weren’t a very common thing. I walked around a hangar, around the back of a hangar to see the helicopter, the rest of my group stayed there and I saw a helicopter come in.




It was the worse sight I ever saw in my life with Marines shot up that you wouldn’t believe, what a bloody mess. Then I heard “What in the hell am I doing here?”


Interviewer:     What do you mean? The helicopter was full of wounded soldiers?


Max Sarazin:   It’s the H13sm with a letter on each side just like you see in MASH.


Interviewer:     Right, and wounded soldiers?


Max Sarazin:   Yes, oh yes, oh it was a bloody mess.


00:18:00          Then I heard “What in the hell am I doing here?” but there’s nobody there. That was me. I spoke out loud. It took me a minute to realize that was me. I went back to my group like a zombie. Anyway, that was shocking. Nobody noticed I was so quiet. So anyway we took that, we took that 6by, we went into [] to pick up a LST to go to North Korea, though, we, again it was a lot of hurry up and wait.




We had a lot of time and a Korean kid comes up, he’s got a, about a 19 foot boat. These are beautiful wooden boats, not a bit of paint ever on them, just preserved by the salt in the salt water and he’s trying to come in wiggling this stick and so I walked out on the dock and I got hold of his boat and pulled it in for him because he was a kid, but so was I at 19 years old. So I pointed to the boat and I pointed at me and he said like that, so I went aboard and I tried it out myself you know.




You see these things go around, go along in the movies of that single in the back and you wonder how they could ever get anywhere. Well I was amazed. I made that boat go faster than you could with a pair of oars. You’re just a simple nice motor tonight, it came so natural to me. The Korean kid wasn’t doing that. It went so fast you could steer it, but you can’t stop. If you had oars you could stop. When I come into the dock and he tried to catch me, well anyway I thanked him and went ashore.




I saw a beautiful [unintelligible] coming up, beautifully painted, and they dropped the plank and crew went ashore,  but I saw the captain still up in the house and of course it was a steam engine. I love steam, always did. I went up the plank and I nodded to the captain, he didn’t know what was going on. I couldn’t speak his language, he couldn’t speak mine.




I pointed to the little door in the back and I went over and opened it and I went down the ladder and a first mate was down there wiping down a most beautiful steam engine you ever saw, polished brass, polished copper. I looked it over and nodded my head, they didn’t know what was going on. Went back up the ladder, they were still scratching their head when I left. They were wondering what’s this marine doing coming aboard the boat, you know, they had no idea. Well anyway –


Interviewer:     So where did you go from there?


Max Sarazin:   To Baengnyeong-do. They said we’re going aboard the LST, which we did.




Interviewer:     So you took the LST from [Inchoen] and were on the sea and arrived in [Penya]?


Max Sarazin:   No, we went from [Inchoen] to Baengnyeong-do, which is just below the 38th parallel. Wait a minute, oh boy, my memory is twisted now. Uh, yeah, that’s right, Baengnyeong-dois in South Korea.


Interviewer:     Hold on, Peynyang is not in South Korea.




Max Sarazin:   Baengnyeong-dois in South Korea


Interviewer:    [Unintelligible]?


Max Sarazin:   No, Baengnyeong-do


Interviewer:    Baengnyeong-do? Hmm


Max Sarazin:   Yeah, that’s a big island


Interviewer:    Baengnyeong-do? Yes yes yes


Max Sarazin:   Yeah, it’s a big island


Interviewer:     Yeah, yeah, yeah


Max Sarazin:   Okay. We went ashore there and the deck of this LST, oh I guess we had about 18, 20 thousand gallons of gasoline in 55 gallon steel drums all over the deck and we took on supplies and then we headed for, for North Korea from there in the LST.




We went along the West coast of Korea and the captain announced when we crossed the 38th parallel. It didn’t look any different to me. North Korea and South Korea, they look alike. So went up there, we went to, we arrived at Chodo where we made an amphibious landing, yeah, or we stepped ashore I should say.




And we got onto a LCM there, [landing] craft, much smaller, capable of carrying a tank. And we went up to, uh, uh Sokto on the Taedong River, about 40 miles from Baengnyeong-do. Baengnyeong-do,the capitol of North Korea.


Interviewer:     So you were in Inchoen then went to Baengnyeong-doand then Chodo?


Max Sarazin:   Yes


Interviewer:     And then what happened to you?


Max Sarazin:   And then Sokto


Interviewer:    Sokto and then what – how did you go to Baengnyeong-do?




Max Sarazin:   Oh we didn’t. I didn’t go any closer to Baengnyeong-dothan 40 miles. I went up to hill 407.


Interviewer:     Uh-huh


Max Sarazin:   Our observation post. We, we made a landing on a small beach in Sokto and, then we walked up to this camp. In later years. if you’re ever familiar with MASH, series, it looked just like MASH. Except there were no showers and no [unintelligible] pad. The layout was the same, you know.




Sixteen by sixteen tent for the officers which was Major [Setum] and my own Lieutenant [Emmerich] and there was a little comp shack and the sick bay was a sixteen by sixteen tent. And they had a mess hall which was a longer wall tent and no showers or anything like that, but that’s not where we stayed. That’s where the officers stayed and, the mess cook and the corps men.




We took a long hike up to the bunker, at the very top of hill 407 to have visibility all around when you’re a forward observer. So from up there we had, we didn’t let anything go through. Any trucks or anything just our troops and we’d open, call it a fire mission.


Interviewer:     You said you were in North Korean soil in 1953?


Max Sarazin:   Yes




Interviewer:     That’s, wow, because at that time the Chinese and North Koreans were in the DMZ and you were above


Max Sarazin:   We were above the DMZ.


Interviewer:     How?


Max Sarazin:   The MLR we called it, main line of resistance


Interviewer:     Right


Max Sarazin:   We were up in this isolated place


Interviewer:     What was your mission?


Max Sarazin:   Forward observer and we didn’t know the Chinese were in the war. We suspected the [unintelligible]. But, yeah we didn’t know the Chinese were there.




We couldn’t tell the difference. And so we picked off a lot of things. They had uh, they had [short] batteries. They had big steel doors they would open, they had big guns there. The only way we shut them up is fire right back. One day they’d had a work party going up there and, uh, oh boy, they were caught in the open, they had picks and shovels. And there were probably a hundred feet going up this trail, up to these doors from the outside, instead of from the inside.




The doors were open and I called in a Dutch [howitzer] it was on a ship, very, very accurate. And first round kind of went by. Second round was not too far from that big, wide open door. So I said, we can only get an adjustment of 25 yards. I said if I can get an adjustment of five yards, I should be pretty well in line to get an effect.




So they fired away, anaway, splash. Absolutely nothing. Then five or ten seconds later black smoke came pouring out, we did a nice job. I sent that round right in there. Another time there were troops out in the village. And we used [white foresters] we called it [unintelligible], with a time fuse so it’d go off. And we set a building on fire. They had a thatch roof and we were looking at a map and realized it was a school we burnt down. We didn’t feel too good about that




Interviewer:     So you were above the enemy line in North?


Max Sarazin:   Yes


Interviewer:     You were above? So there were Chinese above North Korea and then you were above? That’s a very dangerous mission, isn’t it?


Max Sarazin:   Forward observers, they do lead kind of a – well we had, we had a whole South Korean battalion of marines around us.




We had the 11th marines with artillery at the base of the hill. We had, we had a lot of protection and, well anyway, there’s a couple more incidents I’ll mention probably and that’ll be enough. There was one time we called the troops went down, you know, it’s a dirty place, a good place to wash up, we’d go down to the sea. That caught them out in the open.




Well the minute we fired the first round they disappeared. There was like a, I don’t know what you’d call it – all these trees and so we peppered those trees so I thought, but after seeing Vietnam movies with all the tunnels and everything I imagine they had tunnels and disappeared under there so I thought I wiped them out, but I don’t think I did. I think they had tunnels, but two of them were caught in the open. Two fired and they got between two big rocks.




And one of the rounds we put right in between the two big rocks, it was just a – when we got the troops in the open they want to know on your report they want to know the damage. You want to count your enemy before you fire because after you put a few rounds in there you don’t know how many there were, you know. Well one last incident I’ll mention was, well I’ll mention at night. Every night they had planes coming over. We thought there was one and then there was two




They were little light planes. They’d drop a mortar shell every here and there if they saw any lights or anything. We called them [one line louie] and the other we called [bad check charlie] and they went over very slow. Down in Chodo they had anti aircraft. The sky would be lit up with anti aircraft fire. We never brought one of those planes down. We’d wait on them and everything, I couldn’t figure that out. On another day, we got a call that there was a – oh I can’t think of the airforce plane now.




He went up into North Korea, we couldn’t cross into North Korea unless they were chasing a plane and they did chase one up there. I knew nothing about this story, we were told to watch for a plane coming down. Because he was going to have to bail out and then to at least reach us.




So we spent the next hour or two watching for this plane and we never saw him. Never looked behind me out at sea, but we watched over the land they told us to secure. Well about, about four or five years ago they had on tv, on the History channel, the Korean war and they showed these two [savor jets] chasing a Russian [ace] and they didn’t let up on him, he was a top pilot, and he was the one that went up into the territory where we couldn’t fly.




So they followed him in and he was shot up very badly, he wiped out a whole flight line of planes when he did try to land there. The two [savor] jets coming back, one of them was leaking fuel. The other one stayed with him, well I didn’t realize until four or five years ago, that’s the plane I was watching for. The one that was leaking fuel. What happened was he came down in the sea, then they were trying to rescue him he was tangled in his parachute straws and he drowned out there.




Interviewer:     You told me that you were surrounded by North Koreans or you were arrested or captured?


Max Sarazin:   No, no. Never, never


Interviewer:     You told me that the Korean Navy –


Max Sarazin:   This was after the truce was signed. I was coming to that


Interviewer:     Yeah, yeah


Max Sarazin:   Yeah, so anyway, I’ll get right down to the truce. When the truce was signed that morning – first thing in the morning




Interviewer:     Where were you when the truce was signed?


Max Sarazin:   I was on top of hill 407 up in the OP – observation post. That was above the command post and we were very top for visibility and 11th marines were down the hill and we were surrounded by South Korean troops for our protection


Interviewer:     Mhmm


Max Sarazin:   So we were told by Major [Stennam] to hold fire because the truce was eminent.




It looks like we were going to sign and we did. Then the truce was signed. Now we had 72 hours to get below the 38th parallel. Well we got all our gear together, we went down, got our radio equipment, we got all our equipment lined up on the beach and we got a call from com shack the Navy could not come in to get us, they could not rescue us.


Interviewer:     Wow


Max Sarazin:   So fortunately, after two days a south Korean LST came up to get us.




It never saw a coat of paint. It was brown with rust, but it got us out of there.


Interviewer:     What was the name of your post there? Was it close to [unintelligible] there or where was it?


Max Sarazin:  I’m not sure now. Are you familiar with Anak peninsula? Chinampo?




Interviewer:     [Unintelligible]?


Max Sarazin:   Chinampo – C H I N –


Interviewer:     Chinampo?


Max Sarazin:   Are you familiar with that?


Interviewer:     Yeah


Max Sarazin:   It’s on the north side of the Yellow River.


Interviewer:     Outside of the yellow river?


Max Sarazin:   Oh jeepers. I’m sorry. It’s been 60 years. The Taedong River.


Interviewer:     Taedong River?


Max Sarazin:   Taedong River. It goes right through Pyongyang. Right through where we were.


Interviewer:     I cannot, wow,  but it’s 1953, so the front line of DMZ was mostly stabilized. Taedong River is far north of that stabilized region.




Max Sarazin:   We were far north of the MLR


Interviewer:     Yeah, but I’m not sure how you could be there around the region of Taedong River because it’s far north of the 38thparallel.


Max Sarazin:   We had that little area, and during the talks, where they were saying about the prisoner exchange, all of the problems they had –




I didn’t know this until after the war – the Americans said well we’ll give you the Sokto that we hold. And they said we don’t worry about that, we can take that anytime we want. Well I’m glad I didn’t know that when I was there. That’s where we were, Sokto, and a South Korean LST came up and picked us up and we got all our equipment on board. They took us back to –




I’ve got to get places right – I never got these wrong before. They took us back to Pengyangdo. Did I say that right?


Interviewer:     Uh-huh


Max Sarazin:   We stayed at Pengyangdo for at least a week. One other thing. We had this rat hole, ta hole in the ground that we lived in. We had an open area with a powerful scope. It’s a BC scope. Binocular scope. Had a red light in it and had a mill scale.




With a mill scale you can get the size of anything or the distance, you know. If you know the distance, you know the size. If you know the size, you get the distance. We use this mill scale, what you see in binoculars sometimes. A circle has 6,400 mills and a person at a thousand yards is two mills high, because one yard is one mill at a thousand yards. It’s a handy scale. Well anyway, in this rat hole we had dug a trench to get in and out instead of just trying to get down in the hole.




Well, you know, we were kids. When a rainy season came, I don’t know, probably late April or so – and the rains came in, that little trench we had brought the water right in. We actually sat up in that bunker all night to sleep because you couldn’t lay down in it. So we smartened up, when we were dry enough, we opened up the trench and ran it downhill.




We opened up that entrance so water would go down. We learned the hard way. We were proud of what we did, though.


Interviewer:     Any message to our young generation?


Max Sarazin:   Not really. You know, when your government says you’ve got to go, you’ve got to go whether some people don’t believe you should. Believe me, I know we should have never gone into Iraq. We had no reason to go there. It was all pulled over our eyes there.




Max Sarazin:   Fortunately we got out of there. Just hopefully we have a need and a reason for when we do go into war. So yeah, I think it’s a good place for them. I put in three years active duty then five years in active reserve. Then Vietnam was getting a little hot so that’s why I took my discharge.




Interviewer:     Max, thank you very much for the sharing of your horrible story. You went through a lot and because of your fight there is a Korea and, on behalf of Korean  nation, I want to thank you and thank all of the Korean War veterans. That’s why I am doing this project.


Max Sarazin:   Cheonman-eyo


Interviewer:    Cheonman-eyo [Laughter] Thank you so much


Max Sarazin:  Gomabseubnida


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