Korean War Legacy Project

Narce Caliva


Narce Caliva was born on September 7, 1929 in Salinas, California.  He graduated from Salinas Junior College in 1948 and enlisted in the US Army later that year.  After basic training he attended Officer Candidate School and earned his commission.  He was ordered to Korea and arrived at Busan in July 1951 where he was assigned as a truck officer in charge of leading supply convoys of the 52nd and 296th Transportation Truck Battalions.  He was later assigned as part of the trial counsel for special courts martial.  Once he was released from active duty in September 1953, he graduated from Sacramento State College and Thunderbird School of Global Management.  He joined the Red Cross and was deployed all over the world helping those in need, eventually rising to Director of the Red Cross in Europe.

Video Clips

An Interesting Assignment

Narce Caliva talks about being assigned to command a segregated truck battalion upon his arrival to Korea in the summer of 1951. He explains that while some may have disliked such an assignment, he enjoyed the diversity of the unit that was much like his home town of Salinas. Later that year, he was assigned to an integrated unit as the order to desegregate went into effect.

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Keeping US Forces Supplied

Narce Caliva discusses the mission of supplying US forces. He explains that every infantry man has 8-10 people in support positions backing him, making sure he has everything he needs to fight a war. He lists the items that were carried on supply trucks: food, ammunitions, clothes were some of the most important items he transported. He goes on to describe the difficulties they encountered; for instance, driving large convey trucks on newly cut roads that had frozen over on the Korean mountainsides.

Tags: Wonju,Cold winters,Front lines,Living conditions

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POW Trials on Geoje Island

Narce Caliva describes common occurrences at the Geoje Island POW camp. He explains that he was assigned several missing persons cases among the North Korean POWs. These cases had been reported to the Geneva Convention as mistreatments on behalf of the UN soldiers. He explains that through testimony it was understood that the missing persons had been perceived to be collaborators or were not friendly to the North Korean cause and were murdered and cut up into small pieces by other North Korean POWs and disposed of in the outgoing "honey buckets."

Tags: Geojedo,Chinese,Living conditions,North Koreans,POW

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Korea then and now

Narce Caliva compares his memories of his time in Korea during the war to his return to Korea as Assistant Director of the Red Cross in the Far East. He recalls being a young man "on a great adventure," despite the devastated Korean nation. He describes returning to Korea eighteen years later and marveling at the remarkable changes that had taken place in the interim period.

Tags: Busan,Daegu,Seoul,Impressions of Korea,Modern Korea,Physical destruction

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