Korean War Legacy Project

Patrick Vernon Hickey


Patrick Vernon Hickey was born May 18, 1929 in Christchurch, New Zealand. Although his father did not want him, a Mrs. Cameron took him in until his father reclaimed him at age eight. Mistreated by his father, he learned to survive and joined the New Zealand Army in 1947. After serving as a baker in Japan, he shipped to Korea and requested a change to the front lines. As an engineer for 163 Battery, he maintained guns in support of Australian troops fighting on the front. Patrick Henry revisited Korea in 2013 and was amazed at Seoul and all the buildings. He said he was treated very well on his return visit and he felt like a king.

Video Clips

Straight to the Front

Patrick Hickey recalls leaving Japan for Gimpo Airport and heading straight to the front lines. He describes changing specialties in Korea and joining a unit responsible for repairing guns. He explains that Unit 163 (Easy Troop) supported Hill 355 and the Battle of the Hook.

Tags: 1952 Battle of Triangle Hill, 10/14-11/25,1953 Battle of the Hook, 5/28-29,Imjingang (River),Front lines,Weapons

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Cold Guns and Ingenuity

Patrick Hickey shares that he woke up at five each morning to remove guns from action for maintenance. He recalls that during the heat of summer the routine was fairly straightforward but adds that the guns froze in winter. He shares how he developed a mix of oil and kerosene to prevent the gun components from freezing, an innovation that spread quickly to other units. He describes the winters being so cold that soldiers had to disassemble their guns at night and place the parts by the fire so the guns would fire in the morning.

Tags: 1952 Battle of Triangle Hill, 10/14-11/25,1953 Battle of the Hook, 5/28-29,Imjingang (River),Cold winters,Front lines,Living conditions,Weapons

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Three Trips to No-Man's Land

Patrick Hickey took cat naps to compensate for being awakened in the night to resupply the front lines with ammunition. He shares that one night he and three other soldiers volunteered to repair a phone line in No-Man's Land. He describes feeling invincible and not being worried, even when called to continue the phone line work on two more occasions.

Tags: Front lines,Living conditions,Weapons

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All Was Quiet and Then Whoomph!

Patrick Hickey never felt scared, even though he could hear Chinese and North Korean soldiers all around him. Although never wounded, he experienced close calls. He recalls one memory of heading to the toilet behind a tiny Korean house, and while there, he shares that the enemy shelled and destroyed the house. He recounts how he and another soldier climbed into the trench he had dug until the shelling ceased.

Tags: Chinese,Communists,Fear,Front lines,Physical destruction,Weapons

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Tom O'Neill

Patrick Hickey remembers losing Tom O'Neill to shrapnel. He shares how the officer in charge refused to go to check on the wounded soldier. He recalls another soldier calling the officer a coward and went himself to check on his wounded comrade. He remembers that by the time he reached Tom O'Neill, he was dead.

Tags: Imjingang (River),Front lines,Personal Loss,Weapons

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Kids Taking Care of Kids

Patrick Hickey remembers all the little boys without parents. He recalls taking in a boy named Kim who was about seven years old to do little jobs around camp. He shares how he would cut off the legs of his trousers to give the orphans something to wear. He recalls how some children carried babies on their backs - kids caring for kids.

Tags: Imjingang (River),Civilians,Food,Front lines,Impressions of Korea,Living conditions,Poverty

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Writing Home and Killing the Tiger

Patrick Hickey and his wife Joy describe their correspondence as being about everyday topics at home. Patrick shares how he did not want to worry Joy. He recalls that the battles were tough, and he describes the last battle of the war, the Third Battle of the Hook. He remembers that on the third night of the battle, thousands of Chinese attacked. He recalls how the United Nations forces killed one million Chinese soldiers in three nights and how the Chinese withdrew to sign the peace treaty.

Tags: 1953 Battle of the Hook, 5/28-29,Imjingang (River),Chinese,Communists,Front lines,Home front,Letters,Weapons

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Video Transcript

[Beginning of recorded material]

P:         My name is Patrick Vernon Hickey, and I come from

I:          Can you spell it?
FEMALE VOICE:  Spell your name.

I:          Spell your name.

P:         My name, Patrick, but I should, should know that one.

I:          Yeah.

FEMALE VOICE:  He wants you to spell it.  Spell it.

I:          Spell it.

P:         P A

FEMALE VOICE:  You know how to spell your name.  P A T

P:         Right now.

I:          Yeah.


P:         My name is Patrick, it’s P A T R I C K.  Vernon, V E R N O N,  Hickey, H I C K E Y.

I:          That’s your last name.

P:         That’s right.

I:          Yeah.  And what is your birthday?

P:         Eighteenth of May

I:          Huh?

P:         Uh, it’s eighteenth of May, 1929.

I:          Where is it?  When was it?

P:         Eighteenth of May

I:          May.

P:         Yeah.

I:          Eighteenth, 29?

P:         Twenty-nine.


I:          So how old are you now?

P:         Um,

I:          Eighty-eight?

FEMALE VOICE:      Eighty-nine.

P:         Eighty-nine.

I:          Eighty-nine.

FEMALE VOICE:  Ninety in May.

P:         Uh, ninety in May.

I:          Wow.  You look like 75.

P:         Oh, that’s good.

I:          Yeah.

P:         Oh, now you’re a nice man.

I:          Yeah, I am nice man.  Um, where were you born?

P:         I was born in Christchurch.

I:          Christchurch.  That’s where I’m headed.  And tell me about your


family background when you were growing up, your parents, your siblings.

P:         When I’d gone off to Korea

I:          No, when you were growing up

P:         Oh.

I:          Here, your family.

P:         I, I, I was born, born illegitimate.

I:          Oh, really?
P:         Yeah.  And I had lots of mothers and fathers cause I was passed over one, one, my father passed me over to one person to the other.

I:          Really?

P:         Yeah.

I:          Hm.

P:         And I didn’t have a proper home for years.


I:          Wow.  So what happened?  So what happened?
P:         So what happened?
I:          Um hm.

P:         Well, I, I survived, know what I mean?

I:          Yeah.

P:         My father didn’t want me.

I:          Oh, that’s, that’s not nice.

P:         No, it wasn’t.  And when I was growing up as a kid, he made me do all the work around the place, like a slave.

I:          Um.

P:         But I survived it.


I:          You survived it, yeah.

P:         And it taught me, taught me to look after myself, know what I mean?

I:          Um.  So, uh, tell me about, so you don’t have any sibling?

P:         Yeah, I got a

FEMALE VOICE:  Half siblings.

P:         Yeah, one, we got, um, oh,

FEMALE VOICE:  No, no, no, not us.  Brothers and sisters.

P:         Oh, on my, my side of the family, we got none.

I:          Oh.


P:         My father didn’t tell me that my mother was alive.  He said she’s dead.

I:          Um.

P:         Right?  And I knew nothing about her.  But when I found out she’s alive, it was too late.  She was dead.

I:          Oh.

P:         So my brother and sisters, half brother and sisters, but they all, they all died off.  I’m the last man standing.

I:          Um.  So then what school did you go through?

P:         I started off up here.


A Mrs. Cameron looked after me for, when I was a little baby.
I:          Yeah?

P:         [STAMMERING] The pressure was on, and the men were working on relief camps and one fella took me to the relief camp.  I was a little baby.  And he looked after me at nighttime, and a cook looked after me in the daytime.
I:          Um.

P:         And one day I was on the back of the truck going to the relief camp, and they stopped the truck to


pick up her two sons.  And the lady said to my father, what’re you gonna do with that baby?  He said take him back to camp.

I:          Um.

P:         She said no you don’t.  Give him to me here.  And she took me.

I:          Wow.

P:         And I was just 12 months old.  And I lived with her till I was about eight.  And I thought she was my mother.

I:          What’s her name?
P:         Uh, Mrs. Cameron.

I:          Cameron.

P:         Yeah, Cameron.

I:          Um hm.

P:         And I thought she was my mum


until one day my father turned up and said I’m taking, taking him away.  He said I’m getting married, and he took me down to where he’d live.

I:          Uh huh.

P:         And I lived there for a few years.

I:          Did he treat you well after that?
P:         No.

I:          Oh.

P:         No.

I:          Wow.  You are very straight forward to, to share those stories.
P:         I didn’t like him.  The way he treated me, he treated, ill treated me all the time.

I:          Um.

P:         Anything went, went, went wrong, I got the blame for it, see?


And he ill treated me, so I said oh well, I just shut down

I:          Um.

P:         just lived.

I:          So what school then did you go through?

P:         I went through,  it was a school that I had to up to, um, high school.


P:         No.  When, yeah, I went,


he got married.  And my stepmother had a son, and she, she wasn’t very happy with me, either.  But I just put up with it.  She just, uh, [STAMMERING]

I:          So you

P:         She thought I was older than what I was.

I:          Um.

P:         And when I got in the Army, when you, as a boy, all the men in the barracks were 40 odd and 50 odd, and I was the youngest one in the barracks.


I:          Right.  So when did you join the Army?  Nineteen

P:         Nineteen, uh, 47.

I:          Okay.  And where did you get the basic military training?

P:         In Papakura Camp.

I:          Can you spell it?

P:         Oh, it’s P A P A K U R A.


I:          P I P I

P:         P A P A

I:          P A P I


I:          Oh, Papa



P:         Papa kura, K U R A.

I:          K U R I.

P:         A.


I:          A.

P:         Yeah.

I:          Papakura.

P:         Papakura

I:          Camp.   Yeah?  And how was it?
P:         Oh, I was lost.  I didn’t, I didn’t say nothing.  I just watched what the men did.  And we had to do things, and I, I just followed suit.  And they did say, at night time,


they used to put me on the blanket and throw me up in the air.

I:          Why?

P:         I was the youngest one in the room.

I:          Oh.  So they loved you?

P:         [INAUDIBLE] said come on, and they’d put me on this blanket and throw me and pull it over and toss it right up in the air and down again about seven or eight times, and they were laughing like hell.  They thought it was a great joke.  But I didn’t.

I:          You didn’t enjoy.

P:         No.

I:          But they loved you.

P:         They loved it, yeah.

I:          Yeah.  That’s good.

P:         Oh, I, they looked after me, know what I mean?


They treated me [INAUDIBLE]

I:          That’s very good.  After all those bad, bad time, right?

P:         I trained with them and that, they’d always looked after me.

I:          Very good.  And so when did you leave for Japan?

P:         [STAMMERING] 1947.  It was, um, oh, I couldn’t tell you the month.  I know we only had three months’ training.  And I went across to Japan


and I went over there as a, a baker.

I:          Baker?

P:         Yeah.

I:          So your specialty was baker.

P:         Baker, yeah.

I:          Um.  Did, were you good at it?

P:         Well, I soon learned.  Every, everything we did in the bake house was done by hand.  We had no machinery.

I:          Right.

P:         We had to dough up  and always down.  We had big troughs.  They put six, a pound of flour in each end,


and we had to mix that with the water and the yeast and let it rise.  And at 1:00 in the morning we put it, punched it down, and we had to, um, to get out of the troughs and put it on a bench and cut up a four pound loaf.  We had to supply, um, enough bread to feed 2,000 troops.  And the trucks used to come in we

I:          Where?  Where was it?

P:         In, in, in, down, I was  in [INAUDIBLE] at the time.


I’d gone over there [INAUDIBLE] for a, [INAUDIBLE]/

I:          Um.

P:         And we had, our bake house was there.

I:          In Japan you mean.

P:         In Japan.
I:          Yes.

P:         Well, I’d finished in the bake house maybe about 12:00

I:          Um.

P:         I had to go in the kitchen and organize the kitchen cause we had Japanese cooks and they, they’d always cook rice or something.  So I had to stop them doing that


and  give them New Zealand foods.  And they learned, and they accepted me, and we got on well together.

I:          Um.

P:         So I had two jobs.  I was doing the bake house and the kitchen.

I:          And then when did you leave for Korea?

P:         Nineteen, I volunteered when it first broke out, and I was in the regular Army

FEMALE VOICE:  Something like 1951.

P:         Yeah.  [STAMMERING] When Korea first broke out, I volunteered.

I:          Um.


P:         Cause I thought oh, I went to Japan.  It was a good life.  Oh, it’s gonna be a good life.  But I made a mistake.
I:          Yeah.

P:         It was a different life altogether.
I:          Yeah, right.

P:         Ah, oh, was it ever.  Now I would, volunteered then and I couldn’t get away.  They said no, you’re not going.

I:          Why not?

P:         They didn’t, they just  evidently didn’t want regular force soldiers.  But one day I


was loading up a truck with petrol, a 44 gallon, I could lift a 44 gallon drum with another man, and we’d put it on the truck. And we learned it was petrol, and I [INAUDIBLE]

I:          Um hm.

P:         Well I said to the, the officer in charge, I said I, I’m due for a promotion.  You gonna put it through?  And he said no.  I said why not?  He said you know, you haven’t done all the study.  So I said oh well, I wanna see the man in charge, and he said


to me talk’s cheap.  When I put his load on that truck, I went straight to the boss, and I said to him [INAUDIBLE] He’s a major.  I said he told me what it was, and he said have you done the studies I said yes.  So he calls some other man in that taught me what to do.  And I, he said [INAUDIBLE] the fella in charge, and he said you’re telling lies.  I thought the best thing to do is get me out of there.  They sent me to Korea.


When was it, 1951?

P:         Fifty-one.

I:          And do you remember the month?

P:         I left here in May.

FEMALE VOICE:  Third of May you left.

I:          Third of

P:         Third of May

FEMALE VOICE:  Third of May, 1951.

I:          Um.  You went to Korea?

P:         Yeah.

I:          And where did you arrive?

P:         We, we took a rig they’d use in J Force.  It was called a mail run.  We left here in New Zealand, went to Sydney, Darwin, Manilla, Japan.


I:          Um hm.

p:         And

I:          And from Japan to Korea, where did you arrive in Korea?

P:         In, um,

I:          Pusan?

P:         No.

I:          Inchon?

P:         [STAMMERING] No, no, not Inchon.

I:          Did you fly?

P:         Yeah, no.  It was, uh, Iwakuni?

I:          Yeah.

P:         That’s where we landed.  We landed in Iwakuni in, in Korea.

I:          No, no, no.  Iwakuni is in Japan.

P:         In Japan.

I:          Yeah.  So Kimpo?  Was it Kimpo Airport?


P:         It might, might [STAMMERING] airport in, in, um, Korea.  It, what was the name of it?

I:          Kimpo.

P:         Impo.

I:          Yeah.

P:         That must be where we landed.
I:          Okay.

P:         We landed there.

I:          And from there, where did you go?

P:         Straight to the front.
I:          Where?  Hill, do you remember hill number?

P:         We supported it at the time, 355

I:          Um hm.


P:         We, we supported that all the time.  And the Hook.

I:          So you were there at the Hill 355.

P:         355, and the Hook.  We supported them.

I:          Hook Battle.
P:         Yeah.  Our, our New Zealand areas.

I:          Yeah.  Little Gibralter.  Is that familiar?

P:         That we called it.  No, we just called it 355.

I:          Yeah.

P:         I don’t know the Korean name of it.

I:          Um hm.  No, it’s Little Gibralter.  It’s a

P:         Is it?

I:          Yeah.


P:         It’s a, did a hill on its’ own.

I:          Yeah.  And what was your unit at the time?
P:         I was in the, um, 163 Battery

I:          166 Battery?

P:         163.

I:          3 battery.

P:         Yeah.

I:          Uh huh.

P:         Easy Troop.

I:          Easy Troop.

P:         Yeah.

I:          And what was your specialty then?  You, you didn’t do bakering there.

P:         No.  Though they wanted me to.

I:          Yeah?
P:         But I said no.  I wanted to go to the front.


I:          Why?

P:         I, nothing up here.

I:          You were too young.

P:         Yeah.  I was young, and I thought I was, had a steel coat on.  So I wanted to go to the front.

I:          Oh boy.  Okay.  So, what was your specialty then?

P:         Oh, I had a bit of engineering training.  So I got a job as artificer for the guns.

I:          Um hm.

P:         And artificer, the one that keeps the guns under repair.
I:          I see.


P:         You have [INAUDIBLE] up to repair all the time.

I:          What kind of artillery did you have at the time?
P:         We had, uh, 25 pounders.

I:          Twenty-five pounders?

P:         That’s right.

I:          Was it big?

P:         Were they, were they, were they, were they what?

I:          Big.

P:         Big.

I:          Was it big artillery?

P:         No.  It was a very, excellent gun.

I:          Uh huh.


P:         It’s the only gun you could put on a helicopter, fly in and just drop it on the ground, and it, it would start no action.

I:          Ah.  So it’s a bomb, not a cannon.

P:         Well, I call it a cannon, bit it was an excellent gun.

I:          Uh huh.

P:         They used them in the second World War right through, and in the Korean War.

I:          And tell about the daily routine that you did there.

P:         My, my job was to, um, half past five in the morning in the summer time.

I:          Yeah.

P:         When it was just starting to get hot, I had to get their guns, go down to command post, and I was number one gun out of action,

I:          Um.

P:         And I’d put their gun out of action, and I’d like to shoot their gun maintenance.  And I’d say to everything.


I:          Ah ha.


P:         [INAUDIBLE] I made sure everything was right cause the irony was I was working for the, um, artillery

I:          Um hm

P:         And their gun had to be in good order because it was supporting them Aussies up in front.

I:          So you took care of the guns, right?
P:         That’s right.

I:          Yes.  And, but you were there when they firing the guns, right?

P:         When I, the other three guns could fire,

I:          Um hm

P:         But I  needed one out of action, out of action.


We had a night of fighting at the front.  The number one goes out of action.

I:          Um.

P:         And then I put that back in action and went another two and did four.  I finished about half past eleven each day, just before the sun got really hot.

I:          Um.

P:         That’s what part of my job was.  And I had to check everything the way it should and was right.

I:          Yeah.

P:         And we couldn’t afford to have a barrel on a block or anything


cause it jammed. I had to make sure it  was right, and then I drawn the men into it to make sure that they did their job right.  If they didn’t do it right, I, I as 6’ tall

I:          Yeah

P:         and I was like eating stone.  Like I picked a fella up and shake him say you didn’t  do the job properly and put him back down again.

I:          Yeah.

P:         And they soon learned to do their job properly.  And when it made up the front, he’s relying on us

I:          Yeah.

P:         You couldn’t afford to have a break down.


I:          Um.

P:         We had, had some difficulties.  In the summer time, it was alright.  But in the winter, it froze.

I:          Yeah.

P:         Everything froze.  And the gunner would fire, it’d come back, and the men were pushing them forward by  hand.  And I said to them one time, why the hell do you do that?  They said it won’t run back.

I:          Hm.

P:         It froze, was frozen.


So I said to them all we must be able to do something better than that.  So we’d clean the slides down and put some oil on it, but it didn’t work.  So what I did, I got some oil and some kerosene

I:          Um.

P:         Fifty-fifty, mixed them up.  I heated them up with fire.  And when it cooled down, I put that on the, cleaned the slides all down, put that on the thing, and it fire, fired and it come back good as gold.


I:          So that work.

P:         It did work.

I:          How did you know that formula?

P          Just one thing I picked up.

I:          Ah.  From whom?

P:         I don’t know.  I just picked up on the, somewhere.

I:          Just like that?
P:         Just like that.

I:          Just improvised idea that you wanna mix those two and make sure that it’s working?
P:         Yeah.  After I, we’d done it, it leaked out to the other batteries, and they were doing it, mixing kerosene and oil together.


And the kerosene doesn’t freeze.

I:          Yeah.

P:         It’s just cold, but it wouldn’t freeze.  The oil will freeze.  Oil was, I went 50, and it’d finish something like grease when it was cold at night.

I:          Um hm.

P:         All of, all the parts, the dial sites and the funnels they’d come with, they had to take them inside with them and put them alongside the fire.  And the chap was laying for the  night, he had to make sure he had all the bits to put back on the gun again.


I:          Yeah.  It was, uh, genius.

P:         Beg pardon?

I:          That was genius.

P:         It worked.

I:          Yeah.  So you woke up early in the morning.  You, uh, worked until when?

P:         I had, got called out at night time anyway, any time.

I:          Oh boy.  So did you have enough sleep?

P:         Did I have enough energy?

I:          Sleep.  Did you, did you have enough sleep?

P:         Sleep?
I:          Yeah.

P:         Sometimes under, I have a habit of cat napping.


I’ll have a wee sleep

I:          Um.

P:         and they wake me up in 10 minutes I’m ready to do it again.

I:          Wow.

P:         Some nights we got called out for ammunition.  They said get back behind the line because the ISC would only come up a certain way

I:          Um.

P:         and they wouldn’t bring out the ammunition.  So we had to go back at night and load the trucks up, about five or six of us,

I:          Um.

P:         load all the trucks up with


ammunition and restock the supply.

I:          Were there any dangerous moments that you might have lost your life?

P:         Yes.

I:          Tell me about it.

P:         I went, I went into no man’s land.

I:          Why?

P:         You know, I got a suit of armor.  Nobody gonna hurt me.

I:          So you just went to the no man’s land?

P:         Yeah.

I:          By yourself?

P:         No, no, no.  With

I:          Why, why did you go there?

P:         They asked for volunteers, and nobody would do it.


And one night they, the first night we did with it, they wanted a telephone line run out cause they would been mortared, and that line was broken.  So they wanted it repaired.  And I was on the bed reading a book and the Sargent come around and he said I want some volunteers to go out in no man’s land.

I:          Why?  Who ordered?
P:         to repair the telephone wire.
I:          I see.

P:         See?  And they said no, no, no, no, no.


We’re not going out there.  They wouldn’t have nothing to do with it.  And I said what do you want to do?  What, what do you want one to do?

I:          Um

P:         And he said the telephone line’s got to be repaired.

I:          Yeah?
P:         So I wanted volunteers for it.  So I said yeah, I’ll go.  And this chap, Jakeline Caster, Diddy Day, Tom O’Neil and myself, we went out.  And we fixed it.  That was alright.


And then about a, two weeks later, they said to us oy, we want you fellas out in the front again.  And I went out there and I, I said what’s it for and he said oh, that line’s gotta go further out.  So I said righto.  I’ll go.  And the other bloke said, yeah, we’ll go with you.  So we went  out and put this wire out further, and, with the idea that the next wire was they put an alarm on it.  So the Koreans touched the wire


I:          Yeah

P:         barbed wire,

I:          Yeah

P:         it set an alarm off at, back in the trenches.

I:          Yeah.

P:         So we did that.  And that was alright.  And we thought oh, that’s it.  And then one day they come along and they said oy, we want you blokes again.  I said what for?  They, they want to out right out the front.  And I said what for?  And he said we’re gonna put a line out, right out further, out in front of the, um, machine gun place,


and they want to dig it in.  So we had to go out there night, we do at midnight and come  back at 4:00 in the morning.  And we went out there this night, and we dug out, dug it in again.  And what it was like, it was a new alarm system they had.  So the Koreans came over, made a noise, I knew straight away they were in the area.  And that’s what we did.  We dug that in.  And I went out three times.


And when you’re out there, you can’t imagine what a burp gun is.  You ever heard of a burp gun?

I:          Um hm.

P:         It’d go [NOISE] and the magazine’s empty .  It fires something like 50 rounds in half a minute, and it was a simple gun.  It was a simple gun the Koreans put together.  But it was powerful.

I:          You, you mean North Korean or South Korean ?
P:         North Korean.

I:          North Korean, yes.

P:         Yeah.  As the bullets hit you,


I:          Yeah

P:         a hundred yards away, they’d stick in your skin.  Didn’t kill you, but you’d pick the bullets out.
I:          Eek.

P:         It was unbelievable.  And if you’re close enough, it just tore you apart.  We didn’t want, that didn’t, we never thought of it, know what I mean?  And we’re out there, and you could hear the burp guns going and the mortars going off all around you, and the flares would go up, and all they told us if a flare goes u, stop still.  Don’t move.


And we, that’s where we, that’s what we were taught.  And that’s what we did.  We did that.  On the third time, by that time the War was almost over.  And that’s where we, that’s the last time I went out.

I:          Um.     So you were lucky that you were not shot from the Chinese, right?  Was that enemy was Chinese?
P:         Yeah, Chinese.

I:          Chinese or North Korean?

P:         Well it’s, um, mixed.

I:          Mixed?
P:         North Koreans and Chinese were mixed.

I:          Were you able to see them?


P:         We could, I could hear them.

I:          Wow.

P:         That was [INAUDIBLE]

I:          What was, what was the feeling like, that you can hear from them and you are always exposed to be shot?

P:         You don’t think about, about it.

I:          You were not scared?
P:         No, you don’t think of it.  You can hear the machine guns going all around you, but you don’t think.  You think oh, we all got this job to do.  You just do the job.  Never, doesn’t worry you.  Until you get back in.


But we never told anybody what we’d done.

I:          Why not?

P:         Oh, well, some chaps think you’re telling words.

I:          Um.

P:         So we never told a thing.

I:          You were not wounded at all?

P:         No.

I:          Wow, lucky.

P:         Yeah.

I:          And what was the most difficult thing during your service?  If I ask you to pinpoint only one thing that really bothered you or was difficult for you, to you?

P:         Well, that, [INAUDIBLE] the day we got shelled,


and, um, they shelled 6 Easy Troop one day.  That was the most difficult thing I ever did.

I:          Why?  Why was it so difficult?

P:         Well, we’d just come back from the frontline that, that morning, and I was with Tom O’Neil, and he said I’m gonna make a cup of tea, and I said I’ll go across to R block to the toilet.  All was quiet.  And next one I heard a whumph, and I was


like what the hell was that?  And I looked out the door, and we had a toilet behind the Korean house.  And the Korean house was destroyed.  It was gone.

I:          Um.

P:         That’s what saved me.  And then I heard another come in.  And this time the chap that come, came back into camp, and I run, run up the hill, following the trails up and they start laughing at me.  And I said to get out of there, you blokes.


They said why?  I said they’re on, they’re on to us.  They were inching in on us.  And they start laughing.  The next minute, a round came in.  Well they soon got out, and I had a slit trench and I built it for me.  And I made a dive for my slit trench.  And when it finished the shelling, I was in it, and there was room for another bloke, too.

I:          Yeah.

P:         That’s how weren’t frightened.  We weren’t scared.  No, no.  But we were both curled up inside this trench, dirt trench.

0: 27:30

I:          You make it look like very funny thing happened to you.  But it’s been really scared.

P:         Well, I, you had to look on the bright side.  Don’t look on the dark side.

I:          Um hm.

P:         That’s the thing.  That day we got shelled, Tom O’Neil I went out with all night, he got hit in the stomach.  And when he got hit, it just tore him apart.  The shrapnel did.  And I was in the Command Post and he was


asleep in a tent with, uh, cigs.  And when it was all finished, I had another chap there who was in J Force which was a friend of mine, and all Ted said, I said how do you get on that last night, Ted?  And he said a bit rough.  And I said well why?  And he said we had an officer.  I know his name. And I said they said somebody had gone down.  We were gonna check out who it is.  And this officer in charge


wouldn’t go out.  So Ted said, you’re a cowardly boss, and he said, and the officer said what?  He said you’re a cowardly boss.  I wanna go out

I:          Um.

P:         and Ted went out and came back in and he said it’s too late.  The man’s dead.  It was Tom O’Neil.  And that’s, that officer was transferred the next morning.

I:          Um.

P:         Out of our battery.  He went to 161 Battery.  He still lives in out here in Takapuna.

I:          Um.


Um, you said that there were Korean house, right, around?
P:         That’s right.

I:          Did you, did you see Korean, did you

P:         No.

I:          Did you have any encounter with the Korean people?
P:         No.  No.

I:          You didn’t know anybody Korean?
P:         No.

I:          No?  Okay.

P:         I knew a little boy, little boys that were left behind, and we took them under our wings, and they worked in the cook house.

I:          I see.

P:         And they’d have no clothing.

I:          What was his name?

P:         All I know is his name was Kim.

I:          Kim.


P:         That’s all.

I:          How old?

P:         He was only about seven.

I:          Ah.

P:         We looked after him, know what I mean?
I:          Yeah.

P:         That as, wandering around, no parents.  So the chaps took him in and said here.  They got him food, and he did little jobs in the kitchen for them.

I:          What were you thinking when you see those children without their parents and no protection at all, things like that?

P:         Oh, that was bad.


I went back behind the line one day with a gun to do repairs, and I was working there when the, in this camp, and these kids used to line up along the fence at mealtime, and the ROC was over there, and he said don’t give them kids any food.  And the poor little babies, they’d have on, like a pair of trousers like I, long pants, and they’d cut the legs off and wear them.  And the crotch was down at their knee.

I:          Um.

P:         And they had,


they’d have a baby on their back.  And they’d look, these kids were looking after one another.

I:          Yeah.

P:         It was, it was a hard life.  But I don’t know how they did it.

I:          Um.

P:         They came over not so long ago, and they got a society down in, in, in, um, South Korea, all these kids.  And they used to tell me what they did, and I said oh, you’re the little ones that used to steal everything on us.  And they’d laugh like hell.  They thought it was a great joke.


Leave them behind, and they’d steal it and sell it at the market.

I:          Um.

P:         Well, they had to live.

I:          Did you write letters back to your family or friends at the time?

P:         I just wrote, I wrote to her.

I:          Oh.

P:         And I had, I wrote to my stepmother.  But when, and she kept all the letters.  And when I, she died, they disappeared.

I:          Oh.

P:         We don’t know, don’t know who got them or nothing.


Nobody got them, they were worth money.  I didn’t know they were worth money.

I:          I didn’t know.

P:         But they, some of the soldiers letters, they were worth money.

I:          Really?

P:         And somebody sold them.

I:          So what’s her name, your wife?
P:         Joy.

I:          Joy.  And you, you knew her at the time.
P:         Yeah, I knew her before I went away.

I:          How?

P:         Oh, she found me.

I:          You find her.


P:         No.

I:          No?

P:         No.  She found me.

I:          Okay.

P:         I’m sitting on the mall waiting to get, get some luggage, beer out of my luggage [INAUDIBLE], she, she sat down and started talking to me.

I:          Just sit down there?

P:         Yeah.

I:          Oh.

P:         And she, it’s true.

I:          Oh.

P:         She found me.

I:          Okay.


I:          Yeah.


I:          So Joy, you said her name Joy.

P:         Joy.

I:          And so you wrote letter to her.

P:         Yeah.  I’d write back and forth.

I:          Um.


So do you mind if she joins you here?

P:         No, I don’t mind.

I:          [INAUDIBLE]

P:         She’s joined me for a long time now

I:          Yeah. So go back there.  Have a seat,  Just close, tight, close to him.

P:         Not too close.

I:          Ha.  Just like you found him in, 15 year-old.


J:         Oh, this is a tight.

I:          Yeah.  That’s good.  So what is your name?

J:         Elsie Joy Hickey.

I:          Hickey.  And, so you found him at age of 15.

J:         Yes.

I:          Why did you like him?

J:         I don’t know.  I was sitting waiting for the ferry.

I:          Yeah

J:         to arrive so I could go home

I:          Right.

J:         and he was waiting at the same spot

I:          Right

J:         to pick up a parcel from the parcel depot.


I:          Yeah.

J:         And we just started, I started talking to his friend who was with him.  But then we finished up talking.

I:          Um hm.

J:         And we arranged to meet, to go on a date.

I:          That’s lovely.  And when he left for Korea, I mean, for Japan, uh, what did you think about that?

J:         For Japan?
I:          Yeah, when he left for Japan to go to war.


J:         The JForce, I didn’t know him in JForce.  That was 1947.  This is 1950 I met him.

I:          19

J:         The third of June, 1950.

I:          Okay.  So then when he was in Korea and when, when you knew that he is headed to Korea, what did you think about that?

J:         Oh, I told him he might not come back.

I:          You told him?

J:         Yes.


I:          That’s not bad.  That’s not good, either.

P:         Not a god idea, is it?

I:          Ah.

J:         We had an on-off relationship.

I:          So you had other boyfriend?
J:         Oh yes.

I:          Oh my goodness.

J:         Yes, I had another boyfriend.  I even got engaged to another boy.

I:          And then?

J:         Oh, we parted company, and I met Pat again, and we married shortly after, didn’t we?

P:         Yeah.

J:         Yeah.


I:          So you are the one who broke that engagement?

P:         No, no.

J:         No, no.  It was, no.  It was already broken

I:          Okay.

J:         when I met him again.

I:          So tell me about what did he write to you from Korea?

J:         Oh, he, he, he  wrote just sort of general things that, uh,

I:          Everybody saying general thing.  But there should be something, right?

J:         I really can’t, we’d just write


about every day sorts of things.

P:         Life.

J:         Yeah.  Not, he never mentioned the war or anything.

I:          Really?

J:         No.

I:          Why didn’t you mention about the war that you were fighting?
P:         Oh,

J:         He would, he would mention that he missed me and that sort of thing and thank me for different things I sent over.

I           Why didn’t you mention about the war?

P:         That, it’s only a ton of worries.  [INAUDIBLE] worries.

I:          Um.


P:         Know what I mean?  And then things happen at night time

I:          Um

P:         in the war,  you don’t write a letter and say I just went through blah, blah, blah of war.  That’s, oh no.  That’s not me.

I:          Okay.  I, I think I would have written those things, small things.  But still, about the battle.

P:         No, no.  When you talk about the battle, the biggest battle in Korea was at the end of the war.  The Chinese had to try to


make a breakthrough.

I:          Um hm.

P:         And there were, first night, they sent their troops in.  When they arrived, the Chinese, they used to buy whistles and

I:          Yeah.

P:         wave crackers around, make a noise.

I:          Fuel.

P:         [INAUDIBLE]  But when they came up this first night, there were forced back.  And the second night, they came back with more men, and I, and another [INAUDIBLE]  On the third night


they came back, and they came back with thousands of men.  And I, I’ve

I:          You still remember those?

P:         Yeah.  [STAMMERING]

I:          Thousands of Chinese coming at you?

P:         They came at us, and they, they overran us.  There was a man up, up here, Thomas Stanbridge.  He was in the Command Post.

I:          Yes, Stanbridge.

P:         Yeah.

I:          Yeah.  He was supposed to do interview with me.  He didn’t come.

P:         No.  He’s a very reserved man.

I:          I see.


P:         And he called them, called down a target that we called a stunk.  And that was all their guns in our outfit in this Army, laid fire on their target.  And it was on the hook, and the hook where 355 is, it has a gap in the, in the, in it, and he was protecting that gap.  And he called a fire down on them,


and the Chinese, you know, said we need men, and they lost a million men in three nights.  That was the biggest battle.  And they fired, it was just open fire.  And they laid their, their target down, and they go cease fire, and the Chinese went home.

I:          Um.

P:         And that’s when they signed the Peace Treaty.

I:          Yeah.  So he didn’t mention much about the war, uh,

J:         No.

I:          and when did he return?  Did you see him?

J:         I, yes.

I:          Did you

J:         I was, I was


I:          Did you go to see him when he, he arrived?
J:         Yes.  Yes and no. because I was going with this other guy at the time.

I:          Yeah.

J:         And we met once.  But, uh, we didn’t meet again after that until I broke off the engagement.  We met about a month later.

I:          Um.  And did he mention about the war he fought after he came back, when you married to him?


Did he mention anything about the Korean War?

J:         No, not a lot.  I heard these stories about the three-day battle and, and, um, sitting on the toilet, the house being blown up.  I’ve heard those sorts of stories but mostly they’ve been, um, sort of funny stories.
I:          Um.

J:         you know.  Personal stories.

I:          Yeah, yeah.  Um, have you been back


to Korea?

P:         Only once.

I:          When?

P:         Uh, the anniversary.  What was it, 50th.

J:         60th.

P:         60th anniversary.

I:          2010?

P:         That’s when it was, in 10.

I:          2010.

P:         Yeah.

J:         No, that would be 2014.

I:          Fourteen?

J:         Wouldn’t it?

I:          Oh, yes.

J:         At the end, it was the end of the war.

I:          I see.  60th anniversary of the Armistice.

J:         Yeah.

P:         That was right, yes.

J:         Armistice, yeah.

I:          So 2013, 14, 13?


J:         Thirteen.

I:          Yeah.

J:         Thirteen.  ’51, ’53 was

I:          And did you go with him?
J:         No.

I:          No.

J:         I was, I had to pay.  He, the government, he went with the government troop.

I:          Yeah.

J:         And I would have had to pay my own fare, and I would have been on my own.

I:          Yeah.

J:         I couldn’t join.

I:          I see.

J:         the men.  So I stayed home.

I:          Yeah.  That’s too bad.  But, what did you see there when you went back to Korea on 2013?  Tell me about it.


P:         Uh, when I went, well we, um, got there, in the Korea, ’51, the place was deserted.  There were very few people around.   All the houses, banks, everything was destroyed.  And we lived in a for, forward movement area just for a few days

I:          Um.

P:         and moved out.  The only thing we saw was kids.  And we stopped the truck taking us to the front line and gave the, got some photos of it.


We gave the kids some [INAUDIBLE] and they, and, and, and had [INAUDIBLE] for years, know what I mean, and they were happy. And then we went up the frontline, and the place was deserted, nothing around, only the odd truck.

J:         He wants to know what the, uh,

I:          When you went back to Korea, yeah

difference was when you went back.

P:         When I went back,

J:         Yes.

P:         it was, we had one bridge over the river to cross. Now I think they got something like five.

I:          No, no, more than 20, close, more than  30 I think.

P:         Is it?

I:          Yeah.

P:         Man alive.  we had one.  And the Americans bombed it one day

I:          Um

P:         bombed their own bridge.  They placed a bomb up North, and they bombed their bridge and blew it out.

I:          Did you see Seoul City?
P:         Yeah, we were in Seoul.

I:          How was it?

P:         It was unbelievable.  I would have, how, the buildings up there now, it’s all like walking into,


into Heaven after being in a bombed out area.  I, I was really surprised at what they achieved in that short time.  And it was unbelievable.  The, the people there, the people were very good to us when we arrived there.  They were good.  They always treated us with respect.  And the food, that was, wow.  It was unbelievable.

I:          Um hm.

P:         We were in a, in a, in a hotel,


and there was three restaurants.  So if you wanted breakfast, you went at one, you got something there.  Then you got something  there, there, and there, right around the whole thread of them.  And you lived like a king.

I:          Were you able to see the difference between those two and so that were you proud?
P:         Oh, there was a big difference.
I:          Um.

P:         It was huge.  And the people were different.  When we, when they,


when we had to go somewhere, we had a police escort.  They put  us on the bus, and we had a policeman on a bike in the front and the back and one on either side.

I:          Yeah.

P:         Sound the sirens, and all the traffic opened up and let us through.  It was like living like a king.
I:          Yeah, right.  This place such beautiful outcome out of your service.  Korea now is 11th largest economy in the world.  Can you believe that?


It’s bigger than New Zealand economy

P:         Yeah.

I:          Yeah.  And we are very democratic society.  But despite of all this good outcome out of his service and the war, we don’t teach about the Korean War here.  Why is that?

P:         It’s forgotten.

I:          Yeah.

P:         They call it the Forgotten War.
I:          Right.

P:         [INAUDIBLE] we were there as long as the second World War.  But they, they don’t care for us.  They don’t care.


They forget us.  The only ones we have in contact with now is a Korean Society.

I:          Here.

P:         And they’re good people.  They always treat us well. They treat us well.  We go over there, it’s, they have a excellent turn out.  But our people, they’re not  interested.  I just came out of hospital, and they said to me about where, this here.  We used to bathe in the paddy fields


cause we couldn’t fresh water was rationed.
I:          Um.

P:         So we just bathed in the paddy field, and I got a bug in  my  ear, ate my ear away.

I:          Um.

P:         And they said where’d you get a, that from?  I said the Korean War.  Oh, we don’t know nothing about that, never heard of it.

I:          Yeah.

P:         That’s what the nurses said, we never heard of it.

I:          Hm.  That’s why we are doing, doing this, to preserve your memory. And then we going to make it as a curricular resources.  We already published a book in the United States in the hope


that hope that I can do it here in New Zealand and Australia, too, because it’s known as Forgotten War, and nobody give a damn about it.

P:         They don’t.

I:          Yeah.  That’s, uh, bad, isn’t it?

P:         Yeah, they don’t give a damn.

I:          Yeah.

P:         I’m in the RSA, and I joined up there, and they said where in Korea?  Oh, where was that?

I:          See?  You know, that’s the problem that I am trying to challenge, okay?  And now you didn’t know anything about Korea before you left for Korea.

P:         I didn’t even know where it was.

I:          Exactly.  And now you are the proud Korean War veteran, right?


P:         That’s right, yeah.

I:          So what is Korea to you now personally?
P:         Oh, I, I respect the people highly because now that we  were there, they respected us..  We, sometimes we, [INAUDIBLE] behind the line to dig our trenches in case we had to fall back, in a, in a village.  I forget the name of the village now.


We did, dig in, and the people are coming up and talked to us, and they respected us, and we got back to the frontline that night.

I:          Um.

P:         and I, they were good people  But when I went back the second time, oh, it was a different world.  You just, uh, stopped and talked to you now.  And when I said oh, I was in the Korean War, they said oh, thank you.  They always said thank you.

I:          Um.


Yeah, sure.  Why not?  I mean

J:         They’ll even give you a discount, the taxi drivers [INAUDIBLE]

I:          [LAUGHS] oh really?

J:         He was a Korean driver.

I:          Ah.  When did you leave Korea, I mean, during the War, 19, you went there 1951, and then you

P:         Came back in ’54.

I:          Fifty-four?

P:         Yeah.

I:          From Korea?  You were there for three years?

P:         That’s right.

J:         Well, they were in Japan.  You were in Japan for our wedding,


P:         Yeah I, yeah, but that’s only a short period.
J:         Yeah.

P:         The rest of the time, I was in the frontline.

I:          Until ’54.

P:         Yeah, when it was all finished.  Everything was signed up.

I:          When did you leave from, what month did you leave from Korea?

P:         Now, something telling me. I, I thought I, oh, ’54.

J:         I don’t think, it doesn’t appear to be on those papers.

P:         It was after Christmas.

I:          Um.

P:         It was just after Christmas we came home.

I:          Fifty-four, Christmastime in ’54.


P:         Yeah.

I:          So you were there pretty long.

P:         Yeah, I was.  They asked me to stay on again.

I:          Geeze.

P:         And I said no.  I’ve done enough.

I:          Yeah, that’s too much.

J:         I think it was early ’54, not Christmas ’54.

P:         Well, early ’54.

J:         Yeah, early ‘54/

I:          Okay.

J:         Not Christmas.

I:          And

J:         Something, six months, ’51, ‘52

I:          Yeah


J:         That’s just, uh, the 2 ½ years.

P:         Yeah.  When I, when I first went there, all the original ones

I:          Um

P:         in Korea

I:          Um.

P:         And anyway, it’s changed over.  A lot of chaps say oh, I was in Korea, but I came in 1952.

I:          Okay.  Could you show this to the camera up to your chin so that we can make sure that all this documents certified that you were in Korea, okay?  What is that?  It’s a


what is it?

P:         I don’t know.  I didn’t read it.

I:          A posting order transferred to Reserve or Discharged, Regular Force

P:         That’s right.

I:          And the serial service number is 33564

P:         That was 3564, that’s right.

I:          Yeah, rank is DDR.  What is that?

P:         Lance Bombardier.

I:          Okay.  Hickey

P:         That’s him

I:          PPV, uh, 16 F Regiment

P:         Yeah.


Sixteenth Field Regiment.

I:          Yeah, 16 Field Regiment, alright.  You’re, uh, 25 Francis Trip Takapuna, yes.

P:         That’s right

I:          Yes.

P:         Yes.

I:          What’s next?

P:         Next page.

I:          Yep.

P:         It might be a charge sheet. It says I’ve been in jail six times.

I:          Jail?

P:         No, I was only joking.

I:          This, this funny man.  What is it?


Show it to us.  Okay.  And certificate of transfer to reserve and/or discharged, 33564 DDR Royal New Zealand Artillery, Patrick Vernon Hickey.

P:         That’s right.
I:          And 13th of October, 1955 you were discharged, right?

P:         That’s right.
I:          And your birthday is May 18, 1929.

P:         That’s right.

I:          Transferred to the


Regular Force Reserve on 25th August, 1965.

P:         Yes.

I:          And there at the bottom Korean Medal, United Nations Service Medal with Class Korea.

P:         That’s right.

I:          Excellent.  Next page.

P:         What have I got?  How many of these you got?

I:          Any other episode you want to share with me you didn’t tell me, any hidden secret or

P:         No, no.


I:          any funny story that you want to share with me?
P:         Oh, funny story?

I:          Yeah.

P:         We had a Sargent, and he wasn’t very popular on the gun.

I:          Um.

P:         So what they did one night, they came into my tent, and we made up a story about a poor lost soldier

I:          Uh huh

P:         that was fighting in Korea, and he didn’t know any girls or anyone.  See?

I:          Uh huh

P:         And they posted it back to the, on the cruise for 11 days,


in the weekly news.  And it went back, and it went back, about half of New Zealand girls in New Zealand must have wrote to him

I:          Um.

P:         they read this article, and he was engaged to a girl over her, New Zealand.  And when h, they said Sargent Blakely, the mail’s in, see?  And he said righto.  I’ll send a chap over to get it.  They said no, no.  You come and get it.  He went over there to get it, and


there was 1 ½ mail bags full of letters.  It was two big sacks full.  And, and he didn’t know what it was for.

I:          [LAUGHS]

P:         And when he got it and he didn’t know what to do with them.  So they held a parade the next morning, and all the Sargent was doing is say here’s one girl from New Plymouth.  Anybody from New Plymouth?  One chap would say yes, I’m there.  Righto, it’s yours.  That’s how we dish them out.


And his girlfriend wrote to him and complained about it.

I:          Yeah, right.

P:         [STAMMERING]

I:          Witty, very witty and funny and

J:         It was the Women’s Weekly actually.

I:          Yeah.

J:         Use

P:         Well, it was Weekly, was it?
J:         Yes.  They used to run a page of people asking for pen pals.

I:          I see.

J:         And that’s what that done.  They’d written to the Women’s Weekly and gave this guy’s  name wanting a pen pal.


P:         We had to get the letter right , and it took us about half a day to write it.  And then we posted it away.  We knew [INAUDIBLE] more of it.

I:          Hm.

P:         until he got two mile bags full of letters. And he, then he, he couldn’t make out why he got, he got them.  He didn’t know what we’d done.  But that, that’s his [INAUDIBLE] up there.

I got that for going out on the front line, no man’s land.  That’s all they sent me for.

I:          So you were very lucky not to be wounded.


P:         Yeah.

I:          And you are still in one piece.

P:         Yes.

I:          And you like Korea.

P:         I did.

I:          Yeah.

P:         I do.

I:          Yeah.  And that’s why we are doing this.  It’s important to preserve your memory, and it’s going to be uploaded into the website so that anybody can see it from anywhere at any time.  And you going to talk, talk forever, and with the, with Joy, with Joy, okay?

P:         Yeah.

I:          So it’s great to have you both,


and thank you for your fight.  Because of your honorable service, Korea had the opportunity to rebuild out nation.  We are the strongest, one of the strongest now.  So we want to thank you, and I want our children, your children and your, you know, great grandchildren to know about this War.  I’m not promoting the War, but there are great lessons to learn from it.  So that’s why we are doing this, okay?

P:         That’s, that’s okay.

I:          Um hm.


J:         Our daughter works for the Auckland Library, and she is a genealogist, and she’s been asking him about his life story.

I:          What he, she is librarian, genealogist?
J:         Auckland Library, in the Research Department.

I:          Yeah.  Please give it to her and ask her to contact me because we need those people who wants to know more about the Korean War, okay?

J:         Yes.

I:          So please do that.



J:         Will do.

I           Any other special message that you want to leave to this interview?
P:         Uh, I think that, I think that I honor going out to Korea.  I don’t regret it, know what I mean?  I don’t never regretted it.

I:          No?

P:         I came home fit.  But only just last 12 months, I had a bug in my ear.

I:          Ah.

P:         And it, it was dormant, and it came to life, and it started to eat my ear away.

I:          Oh.  Did you get it from Korean War?


P:         Yes.  I got it in the paddy fields.

I:          Oh.  I’m sorry to hear that.

P:         We used to wash in the paddy fields, and on a hot, sunny day, we’d dig a hole in the paddy field and lie in the water.

I:          Ah.  And that’s how you got it.

P:         You can imagine what was in that water.  But we didn’t care.  We were cool.

I:          It’s a beautiful.  How old were you at the time?


Oh.  When you were in soldier, yes, yes, yes.  And Honoring those who have served Certificate of Appreciation.  The government and people of New Zealand express their thanks to Patrick Hickey for the service given to New Zealand during the Korean War and the Occupation of Japan.

P:         Yeah.

I:          Lieutenant John Key, Prime Minister and Honorable Craig Foss, Minister of Veterans’ Affairs.


P:         Yeah.

I:          And that’s Joy there?
P:         That’s her, yeah.

I:          Um hm.


[End of Recorded Material]