Korean War Legacy Project

Rafael Gomez Hernandez

Bio

Rafael Gomez Hernandez enlisted in he US Army in 1950 just days before the Korean War broke out. He recalls receiving his basic training in Panama and being shipped to Korea upon his request. He describes his experience at the Battle of Chosin Reservoir, recalling the deep snow, cold temperatures, cold food, and having to fight the Chinese. He shares that he saw many refugees at the time and that his unit was the last to leave the Heungnam port during the Chosin Reservoir evacuation. He recounts the segregation in the US military at the time, detailing how the squads within the 3rd Infantry Division were divided by backgrounds. He shares that after his return from Korea he remained in the US Army to complete his three year service and later utilized the G.I. Bill to study economics at the University of Puerto Rico. He is proud of his service and speaks highly of South Korea’s progress and economic achievements since the war.

Video Clips

Enlistment and Request to Serve in Korea

Rafael Gomez Hernandez recounts his enlistment into the US Army on June 20, 1950--merely five days before the Korean War broke out. He recalls traveling to Panama to receive his basic training and speaks of how he requested to serve in Korea rather than accept a hospital pharmacy position in Panama. He states that he was not afraid to fight as he was in his early twenties and was not really afraid of anything at the time.

Tags: Basic training,Home front,Pride

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1aFVfAh97pw&start=223&end=534

Chosin Reservoir Experience

Rafael Gomez Hernandez describes his experience at the Battle of Chosin Reservoir. He recalls the deep snow, cold temperatures, cold food, and having to fight the Chinese. He shares that he saw many refugees at the time and that his unit was the last to leave the Heungnam port during the Chosin Reservoir evacuation.

Tags: 1950 Battle of Chosin Reservoir, 11/27-12/13,Chuncheon,Heungnam,Chinese,Civilians,Cold winters,Front lines,Living conditions,Poverty,South Koreans

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1aFVfAh97pw&start=773&end=1098

Segregation in the US Military

Rafael Gomez Hernandez recounts the segregation in the US military at the time. He recalls squads within the 3rd Infantry Division being divided by backgrounds. He shares that there was a squad of Black soldiers, one of Puerto Rican soldiers, and two of White soldiers from the US.

Tags: Home front,Living conditions,Personal Loss

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1aFVfAh97pw&start=2037&end=2175

Utilizing the G.I. Bill

Rafael Gomez Hernandez shares that after his return from Korea he remained in the US Army to complete his three year service. He describes utilizing the G.I. Bill to study economics at the University of Puerto Rico and states that he worked for the government for roughly twenty-three years. He adds that he retired as a lawyer working for himself.

Tags: G.I. Bill,Home front,Pride

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1aFVfAh97pw&start=2233&end=2303