Korean War Legacy Project

Pedro A. Santana

Bio

Pedro A. Santa was born in a small town in Puerto Rico on April 27, 1930 (87 years old). He was drafted into the Army in 1951 at the age of 21. Before his deployment, he only knew bits and pieces about Korea because he enjoyed reading about history. He was a medic in Medical Company F, Second Battalion. In February 1953, while he was evacuating wounded soldiers to a first aid station for medical treatment, Mr. Santana suffered hearing loss in his right ear, caused by Chinese mortar rounds. His acts of heroism earned him a Bronze and Silver Star for “Conspicuous Gallantry.” He wishes to return to Korea to experience the amazing political, social, and economic developments there since 1953, when he returned home.

Clips

Korean War Army Medic: A day in the life

This clip discusses the life of a medic, and the circumstances that led to Mr. Santana's hearing loss. He describes the events of February 14, 1953 where after 5 pm, in the blistering cold, he encountered Chinese troops. The Chinese were engaging in mortar attacks as Mr. Santana, in his jeep, was diligently evacuating wounded soldiers and taking them to the first aid station for medical help. He received a Bronze and Silver Star for his heroism, and Mr. Santana is still emotional about the events of that day.

Tags: Chinese,Cold winters,Fear

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iv40GPP6EHM&start=1071&end=1551

High school and beyond

Pedro A. Santana graduated high school in 1950. He was then drafted into the Army 1951 He started his training in a different part of Puerto Rico. Pedro A. Santana trained to become a medic.

Tags: Basic training

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iv40GPP6EHM&start=87&end=168

Military marshal

Pedro A. Santana remembers witnessing the military marshal. He remembers an early morning fight with the Chinese. He took care of many wounded soldiers.

Tags: Chinese

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iv40GPP6EHM&start=1668&end=1942

First Aid

Pedro A. Santana discusses his thoughts while giving first aid to soldiers. He also shows his Silver Star and Bronze Star and how he received those.

Tags: Fear

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iv40GPP6EHM&start=1564&end=1668

Video Transcript

[Beginning of recorded material]

J:         My name is Jongwoo Han.  I’m the President of Korean War Legacy Foundation.  This is [CAGUAS], Puerto Rico, 2016, February 12.  And this is great honor and pleasure to meet you and to be able to hear from your experience during the Korean War.  So please introduce yourself.  What is your name?

P:         My name is Pedro Santana.

J:         Um hm.  And what is your birthday?

0:00:30
P:         Uh, my birthday is 4/27/1930.

J:         And where were you born?

P:         Where?

J:         Where?

P:         In a little small town the Eastern part of Puerto Rico, [YAUCO]

J:         Um.

P:         It’s In, Indian name, [YAUCO].

J:         So please tell me about your family when you were growing up, when you were children, about your parents and your siblings.

0:01:00

P:         My, I was born in [YAUCO] as I told you.  And I, I grew and raised in that town.  I have my really my family, with  my parents and then four, four brothers and sister.  I studied there, over there and uh, and uh, got my diploma, high school diploma.\

J:         When did you graduate high school?

0:01:30

P:         Nineteen fifty.

J:         Oh.  And then, what did you do?

P:         Then, uh, I was, uh, called by the Army at the age of, uh, 21or the age of 20.  So I go there.  I start my training [TUTUARO], Camp [TUTUARO] in Northern part of Puerto Rico.

J:         Did you enlist or drafted?

0:02:00

P:         I was, I was drafted.

J:         Drafted.  So you  joined the  Army, right ?

P:         I joined the Army

J:         Um hm.

P:         April 5, 1951.

J:         In 1951?

P:         Yeah.

J:         Okay.  So where, um, what was your specialty?

P:         Um, I, I was started. So my specialty was, I was in, uh, when I finished my, my basic training, I was transferred to the medical company

0:02:30

[INAUDIBLE] Company of Regiment, to run the 6th Infantry Regiment.  So I stayed there for one year, and on July 15 I was, uh, I, I was sent to Korea.

J:         Let me ask you this question.  Did you know anything about Korea before you left to Korea?

P:         Well, not too much.

J:         What did you know?  Just

P:         Well, I knew that, uh,

0:03:00

Korea was part of the, uh, was in the, in the Second World war, became part of Japan and then at the end of that, of that, uh, war, uh, the Northern part of Korea was took by the Communist party, and the South, South was, was with the Allied Forces, with [UNITED STATES].

J:         But, did you know that  fact before you left for Korea?

0:03:30

P:         Yeah, I did.

J:         Wow, you are very well educated.

P:         Thank you.

J:         How did you know that?

P:         I like to read.

J:         Oh.  So you, you came to

P:         That’s my hobby.  I collect  all history papers and

J:         So you are the only very few, uh, Korean War veterans that I have, had ever interviewed with prior knowledge on Korea before you left for Korea.  Very nice.

P:         Thank you.

J:         So when you were drafted and

0:04:00

you received the, um, basic training and you knew that you were headed to Korea

P:         I was headed to Korea, and then July, July the 15th, 1952.

J:         How did you feel about it?  You were going to war.  You may lose your life.

P:         Well I, I was a  young, young man.  So I, I don’t, I wasn’t  worried about the, what would happen to me because I was going away with other friends, uh, from my hometown and, and friends

0:04:30

that took training with me.  So I was, I was relaxed.

J:         Oh.   How about your parents?  Did they worry about you?

P:         No.  They, they, they, they don’t, they don’t, they don’t say anything about that.

J:         Hm.  And you are here with your cousin, right?

P:         Yeah.

J:         Right there.

P:         My friend, my cousin.

J:         And, what’s his name?

P:         His name is Jose [INAUDIBLE] Camacho.

J:         Camacho.

0:05:00

P:         Sergeant.  He was a sergeant in it.

J:         Surgeon?

P:         Yeah.

J:         You mean the doctor?

P:         No, Sergeant.

J:         Sergeant .

P:         Yeah.

J:         And were you at the, at the  same time in Korea?

P:         We met  there.  He

J:         Together?

P:         No, no.  He was in another company.  He went, he, he, he was sent to Korea first.  Then two months later [INAUDIBLE]

J:         Hm.  So actually, when you arrived in Korea, you were with him

0:05:30

in Korea but not at the same area, right?

P:         Not the same.  He was in the Heavy Mortar Company.  I was in the Medical Company.

J:         Isn’t that amazing?

P:         Yeah.

J:         Were you able to talk to him over the phone or

P:         No.

J:         No.
P:         We met, uh, sometimes in the, when we were, ,uh, in the, patrolling or, you know, around the,, the  [INAUDIBLE].  We met the Heavy Mortar Company there.  So I saw him.  But I never talked to, to say hello to him.  So

0:06:00

J:         You saw him.

P:         Yeah, yeah, yeah.

J:         Oh.

P:         I, I took a picture with him.

J:         You did?

P:         Yeah.  I have there.

J:         Yes.  We going to scan it.  This is amazing, you know.  Two Korean War veterans from one family.  This is more than enough.

P:         Yeah.

J:         Yes.  And, uh, we will talk about that.  And I’m going to interview your cousin later.  Um, where did you arrive in Korea?

P:         I arrived in Korea, uh, August the 10th, 1952.

0:06:30

J:         Fifty-two or fifty-one?

P:         No, 52.

J:         You said  that you were sent to Korea July 15th

P:         July 15th, ’52.

J:         Fifty-two, okay.  And where did you arrive?

P:         I arrived in, down is, there’s a camp, uh, military camp, Camp Casey, Camp Casey.

J:         Camp Casey.  But did you arrive in Inchon or Pusan?

0:07:00

P:         I arrived in Pusan.

J:         Pusan.  And how did you come up to Camp Casey?

P:         Uh, by train.

J:         Train.  And tell me about the first scene of the Pusan that you saw when you arrived there.  How was it ?  How was people?  How was city?

P:         Well I, I, I, I, Pusan was, uh,  I, I say it’s a port over there.  But we, we, we went to, into the,

0:07:30

the, the train departed.  So we don’t have enough time to, to, to get together with other people then.

J:         So you arrived in Camp Casey

P:         Camp Casey.

J:         And tell me about your routine duty.  What did, what did you do?

P:         In, in Camp Casey?

J:         Yes.

P:         Well, uh, they, by that time, the, the 65th Infantry Regiment was in [CRESTING] area and, uh,

0:08:00

and I was a, I was sent to the American Company, 2nd Battalion American Company and, uh, we, we spend there around three weeks before, instead of going to a, to the battle, to the other camp.

J:         Um hm.

P:         I, and, uh, we, we, we stayed there, and during the night we, we, we [INAUDIBLE] and that, and that.  It was a

0:08:30

river close to the, to the, to the camp, and we stayed there the night drinking beer.  We, we put the beers there, and they sort, in order to get  cold, you know.

J:         You don’t need a refrigerator, right?

P:         No.

J:         Yeah.

P:         No.

J:         And then did you participate in the battle or, tell me about the, your typical duty, service that you provided there.

P:         I, I, when I was there,

0:09:00

I was a, I was sent to America Company as I told you.  And I, I assigned to, to the 2nd Battalion.  And on September 8th, 1952, I was, I was sent to the 2nd Battalion as I told you.  We, the, the, F Company was occupying Kelly Hill

J:         Kelly Hill.

P:         They, they, uh, on. on September 8th

J:         Yeah.

P:         And, uh,

0:09:30

during the night, uh, one of [INAUDIBLE] was killed there.  And, uh, and they needed a replacement for.  So they sent me.  They sent me to, to replace that guy.  And, uh, it was a very, very difficult time, you know.  And during the night the, they, four soldiers were accompanying me.  They, they, they told me take care.  Don’t be

0:10:00

because, because this is not, this is too, it’s very danger to, to walk out this way.  Well it was six or seven in the, in the morning.  We are up to, to

J:         Kelly Hill?

P:         To Kelly Hill.  Kelly Hill was a, we have to, to use it to, to climb there.  We have to use, uh, electrical cords around something.  And if I go there,

0:10:30

when I was, when I, I, it was, uh, around 7:00 in the morning.  I saw, I met there a, a soldier from Puerto Rico, from my  hometown

J:         Um.

P:         And he, he came to me, embraced me and told me oh, take care because this is too, it’s, it’s, he said it’s not fighting, it’s not easy to be here.  Very dangerous, so take care.  I had been in probably the same post over there, and we’re told later about, about how it is and

0:11:00

how it ‘s [INAUDIBLE] my hometown because I have right there, uh, one month later, earlier, and he was there around three to four months there before.  Then, uh, uh, I went  into a bunker to, he was, he went to the, to the listening post, and I went into  a bunker to, we saw five soldiers.  I didn’t know them.  They belong to the Company because Company also could

0:11:30

find the hill.  But at 9:00 in the morning, around 9:00, the, the Chinese, uh, they, they start, uh, uh, attacking us.  And then, and in my bunker, [INAUDIBLE] there, there were shells up there, different, uh, mortars, mortar.  And, uh, one of them, uh,

0:12:00

explode some grenades over there, and the, and the pieces, uh, spread in the, in the whole bunker.  And all of the five soldiers were wounded, none, except me.  Thank God.

J:         Hm.  Thank God, yes.

P:         That’s my [INAUDIBLE] been in the war before.  I start, uh, giving them first aid.  But I heard, I was hearing, uh, screaming, some mortars screaming in the, uh, in the

0:12:30

narrow trench over there.  And I don’t know, we’ll see.  And, uh, I, I finished the, uh, my first aid, uh, job with the five soldiers.  I, I went creeping, crawling over there and I saw that it was my, my hometown

J:         Friend

P:         friend that was

J:         So you were medic?

P:         Yeah.

J:         Ah.

P:         I, but he’s a, he was a tall guy, [HE SPREAD ARM],

0:13:00

and I was, a pinky.  So I, I, I started, tried to, to give him first aid, but he, he died in my arms, in my arms.  That was my first being  there.  Then I was, I was sent to, uh, to the, to the top of the hill to spend there seven days more.  And, uh, I spend, uh, seven days more on that hill.

J:         Uh huh.

P:         And was thinking

0:13:30

about they’re gone.  And then, and the, at the end of the seventh day or night there, I don’t recall that, we, we leave.  We left, uh, Jack, uh, Jackson, we left, uh, Kelly and then in my, uh, platoon, there were 30, around 40 men,

0:14:00

and we, we, we go down, we left the hill the only thing.  Then, uh, we, we went to the, to mainline of resistance.  As USA went down from Kelly we, were, were assigned to, to occupy the mainline of resistance

J:         Um hm.

P:         for three weeks more.  Then

J:         That’s a very far front  line, isn’t it?

P:         Yeah.

0:14:30

J:         Yeah.  So you, you were able to see many,  many Chinese.

P:         Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

J:         What did you feel about Chinese soldiers?

P:         There were too many.

J:         Can you describe how many?

P:         [INAUDIBLE] You can take USA, you can, 1,000 they  appear 10,000.

J:         That’s very scary.

P:         Yeah, yeah.  Then we, we, we went to the resting area for,

0:15:00

for three weeks more.  And on October the 23rd, we were sent to Cherumbely.

J:         Cherumbely.

P:         [INAUDIBLE]

J:         Um hm.

P:         And, uh, and the, there was in a little OP, Observation Post, uh.  We spend there five days on the, uh, close to [JACKSON HEIGHT].  It was close to [JACKSON HEIGHT] And then the, on the

0:15:30

on the night of April 7, uh, October 27, the Chinese attack [JACKSON HEIGHT].  [JACKSON HEIGHT] was not the [INAUDIBLE] our name.  [INAUDIBLE] was a white horse.

J:         Um hm.

P:         And then we were sent to, to reoccupy the, the Hill, to recapture the Hill.  And then when we got to the hill,

0:16:00

and we have a different, a bad experience over there.

J:         What kind?

P:         Well, uh, helping the, we, all the troops were, the Company F and, and Company A, Able Company, uh, met together there, and we were, we, we, we, we, we were lost, you know.  We were lost, and we didn’t know

0:16:30

what those men are doing there, were doing there.  Then, so we are 100 because we don’t, the, the hill was very hard to, to, to, to, to, the, the top of the, the ground was rock, only rock.

J:         Um.

P:         So we, we, we, we didn’t see the, we didn’t  meet  the, our officers.  So we decided to, to, to, to

0:17:00

[INAUDIBLE]  So we walk, uh, along the, out of the valley.  The valley was full  of water.

J:         Um.

P:         And then we, we stay close to our people there.  And then came Colonel [BETANSUS] and told us to go up over there again, to return back to the, to the, to the [JACKSON].  We

J:         So you are sick and tired of climbing up to the mountains, right?

0:17:30

P:         Yeah.

J:         There are so many mountains in Korea.
P:         Yeah, yeah.  But [JACKSON] was, uh, it’s in the, there were too many mountains there in, in the Charwon Valley.  Then we, we, we say to him no, no, not to, to Colonel [BETANSUS] we, no.  It’s very difficult.

J:         Um.

P:         We [INAUDIBLE] there.

J:         So you were  medic, and you treated so many wounded soldiers.  You might have seen

0:18:00

so many soldiers dead,  right?

P:         Yeah.

J:         What did you feel?  How did you endure that?

P:         Well, it’s very bad experience to  see friends of mine were killed or wounded.  The, their legs were gone.  And it’s very, very hard to

J:         Um.  Do you see, do you have kind of night mares in your dreams?

P:         Sometimes, yeah.

0:18:30

J:         Sometimes?

P:         Yeah.

J:         Does that still bothers you, right?

P:         But that day, I was, I, I, I, I see too many round, round, mortar rounds close to, to, to my, I was giving first aid to some of the soldiers, you know.  They call Medic, I’m wounded.  So I had to leave this one.  Medic to get on this.  So I have to go to the other.  Maybe I have to go to, very hard.  And then I was, I received so many in parts of the, of the, the, the round mortar,

0:19:00

the mortar rounds, and they explode my ears.  And, uh, I have, a, a

J:         Hearing problem?

P:         Yeah, hearing problem

J:         Um.

P:         In that, uh, in this ear.

J:         Yeah.  You got the Silver Star, right?

P:         Yeah.

J:         How did you get  the Silver  Star?

P:         Well, that’s another story.  Uh,, I, I was sent back to the, I was sent back to the, to the

0:19:30

resting, to the Medical Company.

J:         Um hm.
P:         I was, the whole time I was in, in Korea, I spent in Company M.  I didn’t know too many about, too many people, uh, in, of the Medical Company.

J:         Um.

P:         And then the Captain, I don’t know any, anybody there.  But I, uh, when you are in the, in the front lines for so many times,

0:20:00

and we are, you have a, around two weeks, one week or two week to departure from, to come to Puerto Rico again.  So they send, they send you to the back of the, they, they, they, they took you from the front lines and send you to a resting area.  They, but I didn’t know nobody there.  So I, every morning, uh, I, I, I used to go to the, to the road

0:20:30

and ask for, for somebody to take me to the, to the, to, to the Company M.  And then I,, I spend the whole day there, and then the evening I came back to the, to the Company, Medical Company.  Every day I had to because I didn’t know too many people in Medical Company as I told you.  And, uh, one day, April, um, February 14, 1953,

0:21:00

J:         Fifty three.

P:         Yeah.

J:         Um hm.

P:         I was in the, in the area was some Sung Do ni, I don’t

J:         Sung Do?

P:         Sung, They have the name for there

J:         Okay.

P:         They said the F Company was there. So I, I was visiting my old mates.  But I, I, as I say, at 5:00 in the, in the evening,

0:21:30

the Company was in the, in the, in a little hill, you know.  It was, uh, winter, you know.  The, the snow is, is melting, was melting and so they, they, the, the vehicles, they start to come from [INAUDIBLE].  And there, there, they came in a truck full of, of soldiers, Korean and American soldiers

0:22:00

and the, the Chinese hit that truck, you know.  So[INAUDIBLE] obviously there were people there.  So nobody, somebody have to, to go there to, to.  And then my, my Lieutenant went, took a jeep and went there.  But when it was in the middle of the, of the road and the hill,

0:22:30

then the Chinese start throwing then, but they, they can’t, they can’t hit him, you know.  So they, he decided to [INAUDIBLE]  And then came another soldier from the American Company that was there and told me they’ll let you go to, to save those people.

J:         Take your time.

0:23:00

P:         We, we, we, he was driving the Jeep.  That was the Company.  And, uh, we went, we went down the hill and then, uh, the Chinese started, tried to hit us, the Jeep.  But we, we, we arrived safely to the, to the truck and start,

0:23:30

uh, taking care of those people.  They were, uh, they called us, they were three American soldiers.  One of them was in the, in the, in the abdomen.  And there a lot of Korean.  So we start with the, with the Jeep taking them to the First Aid Station, and we, we’ve been around three to four hours, uh,

0:24:00

they, they came then to the First Aid.  We took two, take them back, two more then

J:         Um hm.

P:         because , within the Jeep.  And, uh, when I came back to Puerto Rico, I was, I was, uh, awarded with the

J:         Silver Star?

P:         Silver Star.
J:         Oh, okay.  So government  award you with the Silver Star for your heroic salvation of those wounded soldiers.

P:         Yeah, yeah.

0:24:30

J:         Ah.  The Silver Star is the second

P:         Third.

J:         Yeah, third.  Very nice.  You did save a lot of soldiers.  How many?

P:         Yeah.  I, I don’t know because we, we, we took two of them to, to, to the Aid Station.  Then we came back to two more.  I, I

J:         So when did you leave Korea?

P:         I left Korea by the, by the end of, of February, 1953.

0:25:00

J:         Um.

P:         And, uh, and, uh, I stayed, I, I was supposed to be discharged April  5, 1953.  But I[INAUDIBLE], I have the condition about my ears.  So I spend around one month in a hospital here in Puerto Rico.  And then they discharged me.

0:25:30

J:         Um hm.

P:         One more month.

J:         Did you know why you were there in Korea during the War?

P:         What, excuse me?

J:         Why you were there?  Did you know why you were there?
P:         Yeah, I, I know that we were fighting the Communists.  I am proud to be part  of the, of the, my contribution to the, to save Korea from, from the Communists and, uh, with my, my contribution

0:26:00

to the War.   I, I’m proud.

J:         Um.  And in the middle of those battles and you have to give them a first aid treatment, were you fearful?  Were you afraid?

P:         No.

J:         What were you thinking?

P:         Well, well I was thinking about , especially with that friend of, of my hometown.  It was scary [INAUDIBLE]  Died in my arms.

J:         Um.

0:26:30

And so on,  Very, very, very, when I think all that, uh, I start thinking about it.

J:         Must be very painful for you to observe all those wounded soldiers and dying soldiers.

P:         Yeah.  I was a young man, you know, by that time but, but I, I think, you know.

J:         Um.  So the, which one is the Silver Star medal?  It’s the red one in your chest?  Which one is Silver?

0:27:00

P:         This one.

J:         That’s the Silver Star?

P:         Yeah.

J:         What’s the red one?

P:         The Bronze Star.

J:         That’s the Bronze Star?

P:         Yeah.

J:         So how did you get  the Bronze Star then?

P:         I don’t know.  I was, I, I received one Bronze Star and one Silver Star from the same

J:         At the same time?

P:         Uh,

FEMALE VOICE:  [INAUDIBLE]

J:         Ah.

FEMALE VOICE:  [INAUDIBLE]

J:         Is that right ?

P:         Yeah.

J:         So you must have saved so many soldiers,

0:27:30

getting two big medals, right?

P:         Yeah.

J:         Um.

P:         Especially because I was uh, uh, too young, you know.  I was, by that time,, only   21.

J:         Tell me about your eyewitness to the military martial.
P:         Oh, yeah.

J:         Yeah.  What is it?

P:         When we went to attack, to the, to the, it was on

0:28:00

October 28, uh, I was the A man of the [INAUDIBLE] platoon.  I remember the, they, thew wore little [INAUDIBLE] around their knee of

J:         Yeah, yeah.

P:         I was close to, uh, to the man with a con, with a communication, radio communication.  And, uh, as soon as he saw the, we, we were going to attack

0:28:30

the, Jackson Height.  By that time, it was called White Horse.  So it was early in the morning, early .  It was around 7 to 8:00 in the morning, and he saw, he saw the, the skyline.  The soldier, the Chinese walking in the skyline.  We were, we’re, we were going forward, you know.  So, uh, he saw the, the

0:29:00

the, the, the skyline.  He saw the soldiers preparing [INAUDIBLE].  He, he, he became, uh, uh, he fell down with the radio.  And I don’t know what to say because, because I, I, I, I saw him pale, you know, the pale, he was pale.  And I, I said by myself he’s, he’s scared.

0:29:30

So I, I don’t know if he continued with us,  he’s going to be, he’s going to be killed, you know.  So I decide to, to send him back.  But my Sergeant told me, as  me, medic, may I talk to him, you know?  Take him and go because you, you, he’s gonna be a, a, a, a, a [BRAWHAHA] how do you say [BRABAH]  A casualty.

J:         Casualty.

P:         And, uh, he went

0:30:00

with the, with the radio man.  And we left the Company with communication.  So we started the attack, and he captured the hill and, uh, and we, the War, the War, uh, very difficult  to sit to, to be, because the Chinese were preparing the attack and the, and the, we decided to, I, I was taking care of so, some wounded soldiers

0:30:30

that way.  They. for example, one of them was [INAUDIBLE].  Another was, ,uh, I, I, some of them I with, uh, the company.  So I have to start giving help, them first  aid.  Medic, I am, so I have to leave them one or two to the other.  But I went back and having the, the, some, some thing happened with our regiment, our company,

0:31:00

company.  Well, they saw, they, they court martialed, they start and they say on December.  And, uh, And I was accused of being, of leaving the, the Company without communication.  I told the, the man, the, the, the attorney who was in charge of it, uh,

0:31:30

I, I, what, you don’t have any authority to, to leave the Company without, you know, without, without these men.  Well, because I, [INAUDIBLE] I gave him, uh, ABC.  That’s the only thing we received from to, to give a soldier  a case of, of, of, if some thing happened to them.  So I, I, but you are not authorized to, to leave the Company without communication.  So you are guilty

0:32:00

of, no, I, I, I decided to, to, to be, to use an interpreter because I didn’t know too many, uh, [INAUDIBLE] your terms your own.  So, so well, uh, the enemy, he was, uh, u h, uh, found, uh, not guilty.

J:         Hm.  So you were dismissed.

P:         Yeah.

J:         Good.

P:         And, uh, I, I sat for the,

0:32:30

a witness for another case.  But there was a, he received six months of [INAUDIBLE]

J:         If I ask you to tell me one thing that you really hated during your service in Korea, what is it?  Most difficult  thing or the thing that you hated most.

P:         When, when, when, Cordero with us.  He was the, the, [INAUDIBLE] Commander.  They, we, we, we,

0:33:00

we, we received another [INAUDIBLE] somebody came to replace him.  [INAUDIBLE] came to, to, to, to substitute, to replace him.  And [INAUDIBLE], you say that he hates Puerto Ricans.  He hated

J:         He hated Puerto Ricans?

P:         Yeah, he hated

J:         Why?

P:         He hate because Puerto, most of Puerto Rico used, we have more start as you can see.

0:33:30

And, uh, he, he start, he, he, he gave them orders to, to one Puerto Rican not to have moustache, to shave their moustache.  And our, our, uh, vehicles half of them were in [INAUDIBLE] uh, letters there, uh.  He painted.  He said he ordered the, to pain them and not to, to, to see that letter.  And I said that the, the man was guilty

0:34:00

of, of the, what happened to the 65th.  It was [INAUDIBLE]

J:         Um.
P:         No other one.  He gave different  orders, you know, that we, he confused all the, the, the Company Able, Able Company and all the soldiers that worked, that worked, uh, those, that day there.

J:         So you disliked him.

P:         Yeah, yeah,  yeah.

J:         Yeah.  Hm.  What was the most difficult thing except to that?

P:         The most difficult thing

0:34:30

J:         Was it coldness or you from Puerto Rico.  It’s very hot, warm, Caribbean.  And Korean winters

P:         No, no, no, no, because I was too young.

J:         Then what was the most difficult thing?  Did you have a girlfriend at the time?

P:         No.

J:         No?

P:         Oh yeah, yeah.  At that time, yeah.  My wife, my wife

J:         Oh, you were married?

P:         Yeah.  I was 62 years married.

J:         No.  But when you were in Korea, were your married?

P:         No, no, no, no, no.  Not yet.

J:         No.  You had a girlfriend.

0:35:00

P:         I had a girlfriend.

J:         Did you write  letters back to her?

P:         Yeah, sure.

J:         What did you write?

P:         Well, the finish in the Korean War, how was Korea and everything.  I love her.  I say I love you.

J:         Um.

P:         But my most difficult thing about Korea except the [INAUDIBLE]  That was [INAUDIBLE]

J:         What?  Which one?

P:         [INAUDIBLE]

0:35:30

He, he ordered to, to shave our moustache.

J:         Yeah.

P:         But the most difficult thing I, I recall is the, the friend of mine that was killed

J:         Um.

P:         and the, the, and the soldiers that were, the soldiers that were that day in the April, uh, April, February 14, uh.  I took care of them, uh.

0:36:00

I was, I was awarded with, that’s, that was my big remembering.

J:         Um.  Do you regret now?  Do you regret that you were in Korea and

P:         No.

J:         your service?

P:         No.

J:         No?

P:         No.

J:         Are you proud?

P:         I’m proud to be, I’m proud to be in Korea, and my country was in the Korean War and, uh, and, uh, the people are to be part of the 65th Infantry Regiment.

 

0:36:30

That’s my pride.

J:         Um.  Have you been back to Korea?

P:         No.

J:         You never go back to.

P:         No.  I, three years ago or four years ago my son working there in the American Alliance.  He told me, told me that I’m gonna take you to Korea. But I, at this age, I

J:         Do you want to?

P:         I’d like.

J:         You know, Korean government has a program,

0:37:00

Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs.  It’s VA in Korea, and they have a program called Revisit Korea Program.

P:         Yeah.

J:         And they pay for almost everything and more than half of the airfare.  So if you’re interested in going back to

P:         Sure, sure, sure.

J:         you can apply for it, alright?

P:         Yeah, yeah.

J:         Yes.

P:         Thank you.

J:         Um, do you know what happened after you left Korea in Korean economy,

0:37:30

Korean politics?  Do you know anything?  Do you have update information about Korea?

P:         Well I, I, continue reading about Korea and I, I know about the, the, the, the Armistice and the, the, and the demarcation line there, the end of the line.  I read about, about the guy who is governing North Korea.

J:         Yeah.

P:         He said I have a hydrogen bomb to attack us.

0:38:00

J:         How about Korean economy, economic development?  Do you know?

P:         In Korea, Korea is one of the, one of the most [INAUDIBLE] this Company, uh, countries in the world.  And I read about that.  I read about the, the, the one who is President now in Korea and, uh, and, uh, all, everything I, I, I, I,, I, I met, I find in the, in the newspaper.  I read about that.

J:         Um.

P:         Our Korea.  I am proud to be in Korea.

0:38:30

J:         Yeah, you should be, right?

P:         Should, should.

J:         Yeah.  The country that you remember when you left Korea in 1953 was miserable, right?

P:         Yeah.  The country of Korea.

J:         Um hm.

P:         So yeah.  Seoul was destroyed.  Pusan, Inchon, all those places.  They were destroyed.  But now it’s very developed, well developed.

J:         South Korea is a very small country with a

0:39:00

lot of mountains.
P:         Yeah, yeah.

J:         And the completely demolished and destroyed country now became the 11th largest economy in the world.

P:         Do you know that  I, I, I’m, I’m, I love to, to use computer, you know?  And I, I have, uh, Googled, uh.  I, I see Korea and Seoul and Inchon, all those places in, in the, in the computer.

0:39:30

J:         Yeah.  In the Internet.  You are searching

P:         Yeah.

J:         information about Korea, yeah.

P:         Searching, yeah.

J:         What did you find?

P:         Well, it is a well-developed country.  It’s very, very different  from when the, the Korea t hat I left.  It’s a new Korea.

J:         New Korea, yeah.

P:         Sure.

J:         Yeah.  Have you imagined that?

P:         No, Seoul.  I, I, I [STAMMERS]  I also, also, also I, I, I read about the, the baseball.

0:40:00

I love baseball.

J:         Ah.
P:         And Korea  has a, some baseball players in, in the big leagues.  And so I, uh,

J:         Yes.  We have a professional league

P:         Yeah.

J:         and children’s baseball team, they, they won, won the

P:         [INAUDIBLE]  They are developing volleyball, oh, Fernando [INAUDIBLE] lives in [INAUDIBLE]  He, he went, he goes every, every year to Korea to teach volleyball to the girls.

J:         Ah.

P:         Every, every year.

0:40:30

He’s been there, uh, one or two months and the, and he, every year.

J:         So the Korean War you fought, is very important historically because after you fought for us, Korean people were able to accomplish simultaneous economic development and democratization.  But it’s been regarded as Forgotten War.  Why is that?  What do you think about that?

P:         Well

J:         Why Korean War is forgotten?

0:41:00

Korea from everybody.

J:         Yeah.

P:         Well, they are, they are expecting one, one North Korea, too, is going to do.  So we, we, we talk about,  we talk about the story about how is Korea, the President of Korea, uh, the, the well-developed country that is Korea, and everything Korea we call, Korea is part of our, our lives.

0:41:30

Korea is part of our life because we spent so many years, many months there and, and I have a comparison between Viet  Nam War and Korean War.

J:         Ah.

P:         And I was there.  And, uh, I, I found that Viet Nam in four years lost around, around half, half around  12 – 15 casualties less, more

J:         Um hm

P :        than Korea in three years.

0:42:00

So we have to fight there in the winter and summer.  Summer it’s too hot.  Winter is too cold, you know.  And you know that in the time I was in Korea, I never met, I never find a, a town.  I was always in the mountains

J:         Um.

P:         because the 65th was in the mountain, you know?

J :        Yeah.

P:         As soon as I pass through Seoul, I was in there, in the Yeongdeungpo [INAUDIBLE]

0:42:30

J:         Yeongdeungpo, yeah.

P:         cause I been there two weeks with this. So I left that hospital.  I never, I never except when I came back to, to, to, for, by Inchon

J:         Um.

P:         I came, I came, by Inchon I, I get, I go by Pusan.  So and then, but I never saw down there, never there.

J:         Um.

P:         But that’s a War.

0:43:00

J:         You know, this interview is to preserve your memory and teach our young generation about the War that you fought for.  This Korean War, out of the Korean War, the beautiful Republic of Korea came out of it.  So your contribution is tremendous, and people have  to know about it.

P:         Thank you.

J:         But American people forgot about it.

P:         They, yeah, from the

J:         Yeah.  So that’s why we are doing it.

P:         Because I could, later come Viet Nam

0:43:30

and all, Viet Nam, Iraq, Iran, Iraq and, uh,

J:         Afghanistan

P:         Afghanistan, some other wars.

J:         Right.

P:         And we are the old people now.

J:         You, this is the only War that the American, you know, American policy was very successful, right?

P:         Yeah, yeah, yeah.

J:         Yes.  Wow.   You, you making very good point, and your comparison o f the Korean War and Viet Nam War is very, very appropriate.

0:44:00

P:         I’m happy I was there.  You can see the

J:         Um hm.

P:         compare.  The last to arrive there, the first shot, everything.

J:         Um hm.  Any other story that you wanna tell me?

P:         Well,

J:         in addition to Jackson Height, uh, court martial, any other story that you wanna tell me?

FEMALE VOICE:      [INAUDIBLE]

0:44:30

P:         The court martial, I went to what they call [INAUDIBLE] and, and I saw how the, the, how the soldier was treated, you know.

FEMALE VOICE:      [INAUDIBLE]

P:         How the people were, how the surgeon would treat the, you know, and then I would say that, that, I would say that, that, that, that none of us and none of the people

0:45:00

were, were, uh, found guilty .  They weren’t guilty.  We were not guilty of t hat.
J:         Um hm.

P :        And that’s if, that’s if they were not guilty become  [INAUDIBLE] of the War was mostly involved in the, in the, in the, in that situation.  And, and we were not guilty .

J:         Um hm.  I want to thank you on behalf of Korean nation and Korean people for your courageous and valor, you know.

P:         Thank you.

0:45:30

J:         And you saved so many soldiers as a medic.  And because of your contribution and sacrifice, Korea is now stronger than ever, and we are the strong ally to the United States.,  So

P:         And I congratulate you, your Korea for the develop, uh, how is Korea now.

J:         Um hm.

PL       How I left Korea, and now it’s now.  So I congratulate you for your efforts and all you have done for to, to,

0:46:00

to increase the economy and all those things in that country to the, to a well-developed country.  And to defend the country from the North Korea from the Communists, from the crazy man who is governing,

J:         Yeah.

P:         governing North Korea.  But

J:         Pedro, you are a wonderful soldier.

P:         Thank you.

J:         Very nice to meet you,

P:         Thank you.

0:46:30

J:         And it’s my honor

P:         Thank you.

J:         to recognize your, your, your contribution to what Korea is now.

P:         Thank you, thank you.

J:         Okay?

P:         The separation from it.

J:         And, and I hope that I can, you and I work together so that I can bring you back to Korea and go back to the main line of resistance, Charwon Valley

P:         Yeah.

J:         And White Horse, Jackson Heights

P:         Chelly Hill

J:         Yes, Chelly Hill, yes.

P:         Oh.

J:         You will not, you’re not  going to believe your eyes

P:         I thank you.

J:         because it’s so completely transformed.

P:         Yeah.

0:47:00

J:         Okay?

P:         Good.

J:         Thank you.

P:         Thank you.

J:         Yep.

 

[End of Recorded Material]