Korean War Legacy Project

Robert D. Davidson

Bio

Robert Davidson was born in 1932 and spent many of his childhood years in Kansas, Montana, and Colorado. He was drafted into the United States Army in 1952 and was shipped to Korea in 1953, landing at Incheon. He recalls his first impressions of Seoul and describes the devastation and damaged buildings he witnessed. He shares that civilians lacked housing and describes how sorry he felt for them while there. He recalls an incident at a mess hall where GIs were collecting the food they were not eating to give to the Koreans and recounts how the mess sergeant stood by his convictions to continue giving the needy food despite receiving criticism from a commanding officer. He describes how his engineer company was sent to work on projects that needed immediate completion. He speaks at length about having to work in minefields to either lay or demine them. He shares that it was a very slow process and adds that his unit never lost a man to a mine during the process. He tells a heartwarming story about assisting a pregnant Korean civilian in labor by transporting her to a nearby MASH unit. He is proud of his service and of South Korea’s transformation since the war.

Video Clips

First Impressions of Seoul

Robert Davidson recalls landing in Incheon and his first impressions of Seoul. He describes the devastation and damaged buildings he witnessed. He shares that civilians lacked housing and food and adds that the city of Chuncheon was leveled. He comments on Korea's weather, comparing its similarities to the weather of Wyoming.

Tags: Chuncheon,Incheon,Seoul,Civilians,Impressions of Korea,Living conditions

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u9iGasUxVK8&start=574&end=812

Feeding Hungry Civilians

Robert Davidson shares how sorry he felt for the Korean civilians while there. He speaks of how many had no food or proper clothing and of how GIs would give them candy or whatever they had to spare. He recalls an incident at the mess hall where GIs were collecting the food they were not eating to give to the Koreans. He recounts an angered lieutenant informing the mess sergeant that the GIs should be eating the food, not giving leftovers to civilians. He describes the mess sergeant standing his ground and stating that he was in charge of running his kitchen and would continue to do as he saw fit.

Tags: Civilians,Food,Living conditions,Pride,South Koreans

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u9iGasUxVK8&start=938&end=1115

Minefields in Korea

Robert Davidson recounts how his company of engineers was frequently sent to work on projects that needed immediate completion. He speaks at length about having to work in minefields to either lay or demine them. He shares that it was a very slow process and adds that his company never lost a man to a mine during the process. He comments on how well the North Koreans were able to set booby traps.

Tags: North Koreans,Pride,Weapons

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u9iGasUxVK8&start=1413&end=1555

Most Difficult Thing

Robert Davidson shares a heartwarming story about assisting a pregnant Korean civilian. He recalls having been out with a fellow soldier working on a rock crusher, and on their drive back, he noticed something odd along the road. He recounts finding a pregnant Korean woman in the middle of labor and describes how they loaded her into the back of their truck and took her to a nearby MASH unit. He explains how the unit refused to offer her services until he spoke with the commander and urged him to do so.

Tags: Civilians,South Koreans,Women

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u9iGasUxVK8&start=1974&end=2138