Korean War Legacy Project

Reginald V. Rawls

Bio

Reginald Rawls was born in St. Paul, Minnesota and worked in Nettleton Shoe Factory before enlisting in the United States military.  He grew up with a modest upbringing and notes that he came from poverty.  Once he enlisted in the military, Reginald Rawls served for twenty-eight years.  During his time in the Korea War, he served in Incheon as a truck driver and an infantryman.  He served as a Private and a Corporal in the United States National Guard and Reserves while earning the rank of E9 before his discharge.  After 27 years in the military, he is active in the Korean War Veterans Association.  After Korea, Reginald Rawls got married and worked in schools teaching students to do electrical work.

Video Clips

Life Leading into the Army

Reginald Rawls grew up living in a poor section of town and he had limited options to improve his quality of life. These circumstances served as the impetus for his enlistment in the Army. He rose up the military ranks because he was respectful to everyone and he went to a lot of training.

Tags: Basic training,Civilians,Home front,Impressions of Korea,Living conditions,Personal Loss,Poverty,Pride,Prior knowledge of Korea

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LfZDtnpblpo&start=127&end=280

Returning Home

Reginald Rawls arrived back home after being gone for three years. He was stationed in Japan before being sent to fight in the Korean War. Most people did not know where he was, or what he had been doing since the media had not discussed the Korean War on the home front.

Tags: Civilians,Home front,Living conditions,Pride

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LfZDtnpblpo&start=510&end=600

A Strong Love for Korean Civilians

Reginald Rawls believes that the Korean War should be recognized and remembered.
That's why many people call this war, the "Forgotten War." Any extra food, he gave to the Korean civilians because most were starving. During the war, Reginald Rawls had many interactions with Korean civilians, one man was even his driver.

Tags: 1950 Battle of Chosin Reservoir, 11/27-12/13,Cheongcheongang (River),Civilians,Food,Front lines,Impressions of Korea,Living conditions,Modern Korea,Personal Loss,Physical destruction,Poverty,Pride,South Koreans

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LfZDtnpblpo&start=943&end=1106

Photos

Korean Workers

This is a picture of the Korean workers that Reginald Rawls worked with on his military base in Korea during the war. Reginald Rawls remembers how polite all the civilians were and poor they were too.

Korean Workers

Korean Village

This is a Korean village near Incheon. Reginald Rawls was stationed in Incheon and he saw the destruction first-hand.

Korean Village

Video Transcript

00:00
the full name is the first year last
00:03
name Red Dog first red rose okay party
00:09
wls and Howard 81 look going to help
00:17
help you anyone yeah I got a little bit
00:20
of a pot y’all do all right so I’m sure
00:27
you know a little bit about the project
00:29
and you’ve hopefully been able to talk
00:30
to other veterans that have been
00:32
interviewed and had already participated
00:34
in the project so I’d like to start out
00:37
by getting an idea of how you feel about
00:40
participating in this project and kind
00:43
of what it what it means to you well I’d
00:46
like to say that to its to give
00:50
information to other people that were
00:53
basically trying to let them know about
00:57
Korea is that the price at the proper
01:00
answer whatever you want is that ok
01:02
that’s good yeah anything else were yes
01:05
you if you had anything else to say I
01:07
mean no I felt bad about the way Korea
01:10
was treated it’s you know but I’m glad
01:14
I’m glad I went but I lost a lot of good
01:18
friends but
01:19
that’s that’s when you have a war yeah
01:22
it’s all I have to say on that well a
01:26
lot of veterans in fact Harry just
01:31
mentioned the fact that it’s kind of
01:34
hard to deal with a lot of people saying
01:36
thats just forgotten more hooyah and the
01:38
government maybe didn’t recognize it as
01:40
it should have been recognized do you
01:43
have any thoughts on that why didn’t
01:47
really think too much on it really
01:50
because you know we had to do our duty
01:52
and we did it no matter what when we
01:55
when you be joining the army we sign up
01:56
like a contract and you know for life
02:00
and I I spent 27 years in the military’s
02:03
home
02:08
so what was
02:10
let’s go back before the war okay what
02:13
were you doing before you invested oh I
02:20
lived in a poor section of town and
02:23
didn’t have much my plays a young
02:27
youngster I shine shoes to make money
02:30
and stuff like that because jobs were
02:33
too plentiful so that basically is
02:38
covers it and so did the army offer you
02:42
kind of a way out to do something else
02:46
with your life when I finished up with
02:49
my tour I I stayed in the Army 27 years
02:52
so clearly you he likes feeling a part
02:56
of the army and oh yeah oh yeah we we
02:58
did quite well I went to the highest
03:00
rank possible as an enlisted man
03:03
sergeant major thighs amazing yeah
03:06
that’s right and that’s very aggressive
03:09
that’s a good that’s a good rank that
03:11
can they look up to you and a lot of
03:13
people you know especially the Greek
03:16
roots and things like that I never
03:18
treated him like I would be one to treat
03:20
it I never shoot anybody out you know I
03:24
talked her like father and son you know
03:26
basically well that’s probably why he
03:28
rose up to the ranks because like many
03:31
people saw that leadership yeah in yet
03:34
and I went to a lot of schools what did
03:38
you know about Korea before you when you
03:42
were told that you’re going to Korea
03:43
yeah what did you know about it I was in
03:46
Japan at the time I served 24 months in
03:49
occupation of Japan which living a good
03:53
life sort of and if they were good
03:56
people to treat it as well you know
03:58
after the war and stuff like that but it
04:01
was good
04:03
and how did you feel about going over to
04:07
Korea from Japan well I was enjoying the
04:10
good life you know yeah have your own
04:13
Russia and stuff like that did you know
04:16
what you’re getting into I only said it
04:19
was a war but never have I been in a war
04:21
like that yeah why was that it you
04:24
learned you learn a lot you see movie
04:27
sometime when you were kids and all but
04:29
I don’t think I ever watched another war
04:31
movie after that after that it’s
04:34
probably hard to bring back memories
04:36
sometimes yes so did you were you able
04:43
to observe the the countryside at all or
04:46
the people of Korea when you first got
04:48
into the country not really i say you’ve
04:51
spent a lot of time hauling ammunition
04:53
for the tanks and the troops that needed
04:56
a mole and stuff like that i was
04:58
obsessed quartermaster company i guess
05:01
was and i was i was on the road a lot
05:07
and i had a shotgun driver writer and
05:11
he’s the one that saved my butt a lot of
05:14
times so have that sniper sniper fire
05:17
and stuff like that to try to slow you
05:19
down and just not but they couldn’t hit
05:22
it yeah those trucks can really roll
05:25
yeah he turned sideways to get a run
05:28
occurred yeah yeah yeah a lot of fun in
05:31
the white you know I guess you’re a
05:33
young oh yeah I was 20 years old because
05:38
I had two years in Japan it was it was
05:42
pretty good you know yet to worry a
05:45
little so a lot of veterans that I’ve
05:49
talked to mention that they didn’t
05:51
really comprehend maybe the danger or
05:55
what they’re getting
05:56
because they were so young do you kind
05:58
of feel the same way yeah definitely was
06:03
there a point where you realized that
06:06
what you’re doing is could have kind of
06:09
scary at times do you want to talk about
06:13
a certain point where you realize this
06:16
is really scary and something bad could
06:18
happen mm well not necessarily but there
06:22
was times that we had problems because
06:26
we had to get the ammunition to the
06:29
tanks we had to get to gas to be whoever
06:32
else we had to take so it’s like a
06:34
quartermaster that we never read a
06:38
Thompson subtitles but that’s the only
06:43
weapon they don’t give you a 45 they
06:46
don’t give you anything I’d like to had
06:49
a better gun yeah you know something to
06:51
really kick out yeah yeah so we had to
06:54
go with what we could steal as we
06:57
weren’t issue nothing why is that I
06:59
don’t like piss poor quartermaster
07:02
whatever I don’t know it’s just
07:04
something that they don’t necessarily
07:07
care I guess you know you get you get
07:10
bumped to somebody else takes your place
07:12
that’s that’s the way it goes and do you
07:16
think
07:17
this is one of the reasons why maybe it
07:19
motivated you to stay in the army and
07:21
rise up the ranks so you could kind of
07:23
trying to help the ones coming up he
07:25
says you experienced yeah that situation
07:28
yourself and I never treated them like I
07:30
was treated so that’s basically I always
07:34
felt they did they deserved a little
07:35
more well it seems like those are the
07:37
kinds of people we need an army people
07:39
like oh yeah I think so I I really liked
07:42
it after I got you know got no roly and
07:45
going to schools and things so how long
07:49
were you interviewed for into the end of
07:51
the war no I was there one year and I
07:55
was two years in Japan the occupation so
07:57
and then I come home and then Truman
08:01
gave me a hundred another another year
08:04
for training or some damn thing but
08:08
didn’t amount to anything yeah so when
08:13
you were over there did you get a chance
08:14
to interact with any foreign troops or
08:18
Koreans the ville knows nothing no not
08:21
any no just do what I had to do and no
08:26
conversations just hurry up and get back
08:28
and get ready to go to the next one yeah
08:31
and how do how did it feel when you
08:33
heard of your coming home it was pretty
08:36
good yeah it was something that you
08:38
you’ve been away a long time because I
08:40
got two years in Japan and one year in
08:44
korea so it’s a long time tetra Tech 3
08:47
years as long and what was it like when
08:50
you got home I mean you you said that
08:52
you had to go into training after that
08:54
did you have a period of time where you
08:56
could kind of have some R&R; before you
08:59
how to start there wasn’t much of an
09:01
earner yeah I think I had two weeks is
09:05
all and I had three years of 30 30 month
09:10
30 of it and 30 months
09:14
and what was what was the reception like
09:18
when you did get home from family or
09:19
friends well anyone really know I nobody
09:24
really knew where I was my mother didn’t
09:26
know what I was doing I didn’t write to
09:28
her too much and what was that like that
09:32
non-new they then it’s just one of those
09:35
things I don’t know what’s going on yeah
09:37
most people don’t even read the paper
09:39
yeah so did you guys do you did you feel
09:42
have unappreciated in a way my crib but
09:48
I just took it Thunder stunted on the
09:52
shoulder you don’t let her brush off
09:53
it’s nothing that you were did real well
09:57
and so what did you do when you went
10:01
back into the army chain for a year and
10:02
said you were there for 27 years the way
10:05
or other I went to all different
10:06
different place I went a lot of schools
10:08
and uh huh well as it was electronic I
10:14
took all kinds of electric electronic
10:17
work then identity keen on sergeant
10:22
first class then I became a an
10:26
instructor and stuff like that
10:29
that was good teaching the youngsters
10:31
but what the military is really low
10:37
and how is your life how did your life
10:41
change when you got back from Korea my
10:44
life’s really changed when I met my wife
10:45
right yeah that’s but stuck was heaven
10:50
that are sitting right there that’s her
10:53
and how how long after you got back as
10:57
you need Mary the first week I think
11:02
yeah we met we married and very shortly
11:05
after and we stayed together oh it’s
11:08
almost six years that’s great yeah well
11:11
congratulations online and have you ever
11:18
told talked about your experiences with
11:20
her not as she asked that I find him
11:25
mention a few things but not not much
11:27
and I wouldn’t talk about some stuff you
11:30
know I hope that you two stayed in Korea
11:33
is it hard for you me do you think about
11:36
it a lot I try not to and when did you
11:42
join the Korean War Veterans Association
11:44
no not to know it’s been quite a while I
11:50
don’t know something like 60 or 60 or 62
11:54
maybe I Josie heaven wasn’t attending
11:59
that ok that’s great there’s a lot of
12:01
veterans that I’ve interviewed actually
12:03
have recently joined them so and how is
12:07
that experience then we could I they
12:10
accepted me pretty well you know it’s
12:12
pretty good guys a lot of my had the
12:15
same problem yeah I know so if you think
12:17
that it offers you an opportunity to
12:19
kind of talk about your experiences and
12:21
maybe share some stories that
12:23
might be I never shared too many stories
12:27
but is it good to be in their company oh
12:29
yeah this is good to be with other
12:30
people that had the same experience so I
12:33
so even though you’re not necessarily
12:36
sharing their stories you can relate to
12:38
them on another level oh yeah that’s
12:41
good that’s going to be able to keep
12:43
that relationship with that more yeah
12:45
yeah we’ve been we got a good outfit
12:47
it’s pretty good have you had a chance
12:50
to go back to Korea damn images at one
12:53
time and we’re going to go again my wife
12:56
loved it there I wanted to see the
12:58
restaurant that I gave the duck to give
13:01
it up give the duck with the thought he
13:04
picked up a duck on going into soul
13:06
which was nothing I was all blown apart
13:09
and I told my shotgun grabs a duck and
13:14
he says I know just where we can go so
13:17
he took me to a restaurant and he took
13:20
the duck into the restaurant and he
13:23
cooked it up her his family we didn’t
13:25
want anything as I can always strong
13:27
food from the military so I always did
13:30
yeah when you’re hungry you you can you
13:33
find a way yeah yeah and so you visited
13:36
I restaurant no I can find it I it’s not
13:40
it’s is so built up in the front to a V
13:44
and then in the back would have been
13:47
where that restaurant was and they they
13:49
were living in the cellar because they
13:52
didn’t have that was all blown up soul
13:54
wasn’t much left to it and I just you
13:59
know felt do is the right thing to do
14:02
and what was what was it like for you
14:05
coming back to Korea oh I enjoyed it it
14:09
was a lot different than what I was my
14:11
reserve alsa well there you had to be
14:15
watching all the time his shotgun had to
14:18
be loaded and ready to go because you
14:21
were always up and down on the mountains
14:23
and hills and forever it it was good to
14:28
be back but you know and did you notice
14:33
a striking difference in the development
14:36
that Korean that Korea is gone through
14:38
holy mackerel whatta man whatta enormous
14:42
change really and how do you feel about
14:47
America’s role in that I think we really
14:51
did a good job saving Korea you know
14:56
they’re pretty big now yeah yeah
15:02
that’s great so and you guys were
15:04
planning on going back oh we’re thinking
15:07
about it my wife would like to go back
15:08
she loves it there yeah that’s great um
15:14
well I don’t have too many more
15:16
questions maybe if you could end us with
15:20
some final thoughts on you as you know
15:22
this this interview will be online for
15:24
people and future generations to learn
15:26
more about the war and find out any kind
15:30
of information that they want to and so
15:32
perhaps you could give us some final
15:34
thoughts for for those people that will
15:36
be thinking about doing getting
15:39
information on the Korean War I think
15:42
this program that you’re that you have
15:44
here it’s going to announce to the
15:47
people that they thought was not a war
15:50
because so many of them of Korea you
15:53
know they’re scratch their head what
15:55
nothing went on there but this will wake
15:59
them up and let them know just what
16:01
happened yeah it’s interesting that a
16:04
lot of people don’t think of it as a
16:07
ward because I’ve always thought of it
16:08
as a word I never I never thought or
16:11
watching yeah I never thought it wasn’t
16:13
you know never heard of anyone thinking
16:14
that I wasn’t a war yeah when you lose a
16:16
couple buddies you know they were
16:19
different outfits and they didn’t come
16:21
home we burn her kids from the age 15
16:26
and caught up but it’s not fair for them
16:30
no
16:31
no to be forgotten you know but that’s
16:34
what they called Korea or forgot more
16:37
well hopefully this project will you do
16:40
what it can to make sure it’s no longer
16:41
for that more I hope so don’t let him
16:44
know really what would I because it
16:47
wasn’t a ball game yeah and we didn’t
16:50
have a lot of food at any time whatever
16:53
food I can and I always gave it to the
16:56
Koreans you know anything no matter what
16:59
I had a couple rations did get it
17:01
because they were very poor and very
17:04
hungry what was your interaction with
17:06
the Koreans like told god like like
17:09
buddies like friends you know I just no
17:11
matter how old they were they bout ian
17:13
treat you like everything so then what
17:16
did they had a fight with you and were
17:19
they photo role do they play they were
17:22
you said try to fight fight I’ll fight
17:25
ya though it no they wouldn’t fight with
17:27
us they never would raise our hands to
17:29
us or nothing I just bowed to us and we
17:33
knew japanee I knew g some Japanese I
17:36
two years and they say arigato and stuff
17:40
like that and so how did you in her like
17:43
what kind of activities did you guys do
17:46
together your driver was pretty other
17:48
Korean yeah so it’s great that you were
17:52
able to kind of cross bridges and said
17:55
something even though you couldn’t
17:56
necessarily communicate right all that
17:58
well oh he was pretty good he could
18:01
understand a few words quite a bit I
18:04
think he caught on a lot of a lot more
18:06
so I don’t know I never saw him again
18:09
after
18:11
but it it was a experience you know I
18:16
think if I had to add would have done it
18:18
again yeah yeah it’s not made Korea into
18:24
a beautiful country I think that’s it’s
18:28
really powerful that you recognize the
18:30
the actions that the American military
18:33
did over there oh yeah I never talked
18:37
too much about it well we appreciate you
18:42
sitting down with us and talking about a
18:44
little bit you know you know it’s it’s
18:46
hard for a lot of people to open up
18:48
especially for non veterans that have no
18:50
idea yeah what kind of experiences you
18:52
went through over there but we do
18:53
appreciate you sitting down with us I
18:55
appreciate it so only as a token of our
18:58
relation R excuse me our appreciation
19:02
but mostly the appreciation of the
19:05
Government of the Republic of Korea
19:06
movie I’m Cena’s metal but we’d like to
19:09
formally give you this metal by the
19:12
Ministry of patriots and Veterans of
19:13
failed pairs so as a creative Veterans
19:16
Association through the government of
19:17
Korea if you don’t mind I could place it
19:20
around your neck okay
19:26
just not welcoming to you there you go
19:30
and so as you know the Republic of Korea
19:34
is extremely appreciative of this this
19:37
metal and I think they would like to
19:40
recognize everything like the American
19:42
military and you specifically have done
19:43
as well as us thank you very much thank
19:46
you very much this will be yours to keep
19:51
okay thank you very much thank you i
19:56
appreciate you join with us it’s my
19:58
great