Korean War Legacy Project

Richard Arthur Christopher Hilton


Richard Arthur Christopher Hilton was born on May 2, 1933, in Roslyn, New York. Due to his proficiency with mathematics, he worked on missile technology during the Korean War. His work with missiles saw him stationed in Albuquerque as well as White Sands, New Mexico. After his service, he suffered numerous injuries in a car wreck which have left him blind, without a sense of smell, and lacking many memories of his time in the service. Despite this great tragedy, he is grateful to be alive and proud of his time in the U.S. Army.

Video Clips

Missiles and the USSR

Richard Hilton recalls the threat posed by the USSR as a reason for the U.S. military focus on missiles. He explains that the Russian support for the North Koreans and their advancement in missile creation led to the U.S. proliferation in missile production. He goes on to explain that his proficient math background earned him a position in the missile department, mostly in Albuquerque and in White Sands, New Mexico.

Tags: Communists,Home front,Pride,Weapons

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Car Accident

Richard Hilton describes the car accident that left him blind and without smell. He explains that he also suffered a broken wrist and shoulder as well as five ribs in addition to a punctured lung and a chipped knee. He explains that the greatest loss that resulted from this accident was the loss of his fiancee who did not survive the crash. He describes his mantra: "As well as you learn to live with what you have, you also learn to live with what you don't have."

Tags: Depression,Personal Loss,Women

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The Futility of Writing Home

Richard Hilton recounts his writing habits to his loved ones at home during the war. He explains that he did not write very much due to the sad state of the world. He goes on to explain that not knowing what life had in store day to day hindered his desire to send letters.

Tags: Impressions of Korea,Letters

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Video Transcript

0:00Richard author christopher hilton i was

0:03born in Long Island New York in a town

0:06called Roslyn may second 1933 my

0:13after I came back from the war I had a

0:18car accident I’m blind since 1955

0:22somehow I did good in the mathematical

0:27they told me they could use me in the in

0:32the missile command missile command yes

0:36ok so you were in the Army right yes

0:40yeah when did you join ah alright she uh

0:44sure i was in the army but it was also

0:49an Air Force Base in 1952 were 1952 I

0:53was going on 50 yeah 53 at this time and

1:00age although was the Korean War Russia

1:04was back in North Korea yeah well we

1:08were back from South Korea and Russia

1:12started to make missiles mm-hmm and we

1:18could we could not allow a Russia to get

1:21ahead of us in the missile department

1:23mm-hmm ah so uh we decided to make

1:31missiles ourselves and because i have a

1:34good math background mm-hmm they

1:38decided I’d be better off working

1:42working with the missiles apart and most

1:49my work was done in Albuquerque but ah

1:57along with done up in white sands when I

2:00went to Korea a forward to Korea yes

2:04Gimple yes at that point in time and

2:10this was undercover right ah what can

2:14you tell me though regarding our supply

2:16lines uh-huh you didn’t do any mess

2:20mathematical jobs there did that as well

2:23i an’t i’m sure the entire peninsula was

2:31somewhat of an enemy not a bad thing

2:37about it sure was mm-hmm we couldn’t

2:42attack them mm-hmm because they would

2:46retreat up up north in two hours called

2:54mainland China mm-hmm we weren’t allowed

2:59to go across the border were you wounded

3:02there in Korea ah no back home mmm must

3:09be very hard for you to live without

3:13eyesight it is quite hard but but these

3:18people in a home here uh-huh I probably

3:23are very very helpful and they they do

3:30all that is possible to make it convenient for

3:34you mm-hmm and luckily i do have ear if

3:42you lost your sense to smell and you

3:46don’t have eye site but you still be

3:49very thankful huh I’m a good sir I have

3:53a good memory of it mmm when I could

3:59smell and when when I couldn’t know I

4:02remember mother’s blueberry pies and

4:05mothers apple and the smell of Barbara

4:09oh maybe your bass track was IRA ah so

4:16you remember the smell even though you

4:18cannot smell what I remember most mama

4:22she made someone call a pineapple

4:24upside-down cake and it was I had my

4:31nose in front what which had a little

4:33bigger a pineapple sent wait wait Sarah

4:40is a little sharp but uh also has brown

4:47sugar and which was just a sweet

4:52Mountain my favorite smell of all time

4:55uh-huh and I can remember this like oh I

4:58was yesterday what the blue or purple

5:06lilac flower that had a smell and stuff

5:10just just couldn’t be beat III swear I

5:14always won in in them I upon it that

5:22smell in there some way I could take

5:24this bottle make it into a cake or

5:26something like that you can eat it is it

5:29it’s yes Bell so so good when I lost my

5:34sight I also lost my sense of smell

5:38uh-huh now mind you I was in the

5:40hospital for five and a half years

5:42uh-huh i broke my right wrist my right

5:45shoulder five ribs punctured lung chikni

5:48fracture I’m down to three medical books

5:52is a miracle for living no ah but mainly

5:57I had a lady who I was engaged to oh and

6:02we had a home where we were going to

6:06live uh-huh and she was with me I went I

6:11went in the car with me when I truck

6:14when the author bruh and she didn’t make

6:18it can’t be done

6:23and again you learn to live with what

6:34you don’t have as as well as you learn

6:37to live with what with what you have hmm

6:40you also learn to live with what you

6:42don’t have thank God for these people in

6:45this home this home itself and and

6:50people in like or like yourself for

6:54instance right that are going around

6:59trying to make the best life force I’m

7:04believe in God and God told me that

7:14although I although my parents are dead

7:19and Peggy’s deadener most my other

7:25friends that we will all meet again

7:29someday and I believe it and I’m just

7:36waiting for that happening trusting God

7:40for God Himself will put your own on

7:46make things right for you again though

7:49you don’t you don’t smell it but still

7:54you can imagine the smells that you used

7:58have and that makes you Pleasant and

8:05joyful absolutely I love music uh-huh I

8:11lower blah blah I and I find talk very

8:20often about trying to put it down in in

8:24the words of a song when I got old

8:28me and I got over sherry belong never

8:36get over you well keep try to find just

8:43a little peace of mind but I’ll never

8:48get over you each time I find somebody

8:56new oh I want her to be like you and she

9:03won’t ever do purchase one of you and

9:10our lives had to park I’ll keep you here

9:15deep in my heart well and I thank you

9:31there’s so much to have you back I know

9:36so many song sure that haha if I start

9:41singing 1 i’ll pick up the lyric i have

9:46a tune of another I grew up in era of

9:52the 50s yo answer they had the greatest

9:59singers songwriters of any error what

10:07could be I asked for singers they had

10:15been people like Bing Crosby yeah Frank

10:19Sinatra yes Perry Como uh-huh Tony

10:24Bennett yes Eddie Arnold mm-hmm ah the

10:30Andrew sisters hmm my assistants

10:37the everly brothers and and which other

10:42hilton and one of my all-time fave

10:46percentage was a man I never Nat King

10:51Cole were you able to write back to your

10:55family when you were in Korea I was able

10:58to but I don’t know as I did I am I sure

11:08because uh well when I was over there

11:16was always a guest workers what was

11:19gonna happen to us to you tomorrow or

11:23the next day here don’t worry I so uh

11:30and I didn’t know why the world itself

11:41was in such a term well yep and as you

11:46remember this Russia itself was trying

11:56to turn most of the company world

11:59communistic uh-huh and that that better

12:05dancer supposedly why there’s a North

12:09Korea which is communist and there’s a

12:13South Korea was his nationalist ah the

12:21same goes for a Red China India and

12:24Nigeria mm-hmm and then go I I as Russia

12:30turned Cuba and the kingdom mom are as

12:38much of the world nationalistic as we

12:41could you know which in truth we’re

12:47still trying to do

12:49I just don’t see any other way to go and

12:56you want to keep America safe and sound

13:02I think I’d we’ve been doing it ah but

13:14every time you turn around there’s

13:16another country yah uh it was uh oh I

13:22trying to build another bomb of this way

13:26or another missile endure basically why

13:30we don’t sob was like I not to protect

13:37her not to invade other countries but to

13:40protect our own country really no oh no

13:44more to say about you see I’m sorry they

13:50were when I got back and I had a car

13:52action I got hitting a head pretty badly

13:54a lot of my memories I there anymore

14:01okay and sir the interview you did give

14:10it a good day Mia you’re a very pleasant

14:14land I thank you very much by caring

14:20thank you