Richard L. Brandt, born August 1, 1929 in Lincoln, Nebraska, understood the meaning of hard work as his father was a mechanic and mother was a house wife. After graduating from Lincoln High School in 1948, he went to work right away for the Burlington Railroad in the coach yards before being “persuaded” into the US military in January of 1951 through the draft. After graduating in May from basics at Fort Riley, Kansas, Richard Brandt made a few stops before his arrival at Camp Drake, Japan and was selected for the Signal Corps School. With the basic skills he had acquired while in high school, it was decided he would best serve as an electrician in the military and was shipped to Pusan in August of 1951. Richard Brandt joined the 32nd Regiment, 7th Division about 4 to 5 miles behind the front lines. He was eager to share what a day in the life of a soldier was like. The food, the showers, the camaraderie with UN soldiers, R&R in Japan, and his respect for family made his experience truly unique.
The Dutch Were Tough: an American Soldier's Perspective
Richard Brandt felt the Dutch were very brave and they had forcefulness in battle. Soldiers would pick fights with each other, box, and wrestle in their free time. The Dutch didn't take prisoners, so as soon as they interrogated an enemy, they would kill them. Dutch solders were mean, salty, very tough, and unreal!
Weekly Sermons Halted After Preacher was a No-Show
Church was usually done every Sunday on the hood of a cloth-draped jeep. The preacher would hold the bible in his hand and deliver the weekly sermon. One Sunday, the soldiers were present to start the service, but the preacher wasn't there. The soldiers saw in the distance a jeep driving about 90 miles an hour up the the soldiers to tell them that the preacher had checkout out a rifle to go pheasant hunting, stepped on a land mine and was killed.
Jackpot Charlie (Morale Booster)
Richard Brandt remembered an old airplane and a guy named Jackpot Charlie (thought to have been Bed-Check Charlie) flew over North Korea and American soldiers dropping thousands of small square propaganda leaflets. They were written for the soldiers and the leaflets said, " Don't you want to be home for Christmas GI? Tell your president you want to leave and lay down your arms." The pilot came around 2-3 times and Richard Brandt said that this plane had more bullets holes than any other plane he'd ever seen during the war.
Helping a Father See His Son
The most memorable moment in Korea was when a young soldier from Iowa ran up daily for mail call to get information about his new baby. Every time they got mail, the young soldier received many pictures of his son bathing in the tub (always naked), he was so proud. The young soldier asked Richard Brandt when he was going home and he replied that it was within two weeks, but after speaking to his commander, Richard Brandt allowed the young soldier to go home in his place to see his son.