Korean War Legacy Project

Rodney Ramsey

Bio

Rodney Ramsey was born in 1929 in Sheridan, Wyoming.  While attending the University of Wyoming, he took part in the the United States Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) and was commissioned in the army at the time of his 1951 graduation.  Rodney Ramsey did his basic training in Ft. Benning, GA, and then he was sent to Korea.  While in fighting in the Korea War, he served as a rifle platoon leader.  He is proud of his service, and how his service helped the South Korean economy grow.  Rodney Ramsey regrets that the peninsula remains divided today, and would welcome a peaceful reunification.  After returning from the Korea War, he enrolled in graduate school.

Clips

From Rubble to Riches!

Rodney Ramsey is the president of his Korean War regiment's organization and ever since 1989, they meet for a yearly reunion. The year of the interview was the 27th reunion and about 50 members attend. During his Korea revisit in 1991, Rodney Ramsey was shocked to see the improvement in living conditions. He took a picture when he was in Seoul, South Korea in 1952 and it only had an ox cart and a military jeep, but in 1991 during his revisit, it was filled with cars.

Tags: Seoul,Civilians,Home front,Impressions of Korea,Living conditions,Modern Korea,Physical destruction,Poverty,Pride,Prior knowledge of Korea,South Koreans

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z3LhTlu662M&start=740&end=912

Life as an American Soldier on the Front Lines: From Bunkers to Bullets

Rodney Ramsey was supported by Korean Augmentation to United States Army (KATUSA) and these troops were seasoned fighters by the time Rodney Ramsey entered the war in 1952. While sleeping in sand-bag bunkers at the front lines in Geumgang, North Korea, he was comfortable with his summer fatigues including a field jacket. Some of the most dangerous times were when Rodney Ramsey was going on patrol or raids where the Chinese were dug in. He was shot through the helmet with a minor wound when an African American soldier standing next to him was shot with the same bullet and died.

Tags: Geumgang,Chinese,Fear,Front lines,KATUSA,Living conditions,Personal Loss,Physical destruction,Poverty,Weapons

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z3LhTlu662M&start=347&end=634

The Happiest Times Within the Bunkers

Rodney Ramsey experienced a few pleasant times during the Korean War. He loved that he had a hot meal every day because a chow bunker was hidden behind the hill where he was dug-in, so a jeep would bring the men fresh food. Another great time was when he was brought off the front line and had a delicious Thanksgiving meal.

Tags: Geumgang,Food,Front lines,Living conditions,Pride

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z3LhTlu662M&start=634&end=708

Legacy of the Korean War Veterans

Rodney Ramsey was proud that the UN troops for pushing back the Chinese and North Koreans. He wishes that they could have made all of Korea non-communist, but life was better for the civilians in the South. The Korean War was named the "Forgotten War" due to it being called a conflict, not a war. After the Korean War, civilians on the home front did not see the war on television like they did for the Vietnam War. As the Korean War veterans came home, many people did not even know that they had left to fight in a war.

Tags: Chinese,Civilians,Communists,Front lines,Home front,Impressions of Korea,Living conditions,North Koreans,Physical destruction,Pride,South Koreans,Women

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z3LhTlu662M&start=916&end=1055

Working His Way from Wyoming to Korea, What a Ride!

Rodney Ramsey studied petroleum jelly at the University of Wyoming. He graduated from there in June 1951 and was activated to right away because he was in the United State Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC). After receiving basic training at Fort Benning, GA and additional training in California, he received his orders for Korea in 1952, but Rodney Ramsey figured that he was being sent there because he had been tracking the war since 1950.

Tags: Basic training,Civilians,Home front,Living conditions,Pride,Prior knowledge of Korea

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z3LhTlu662M&start=0&end=149

Video Transcript

00:00
my name’s Rodney Ramsey I go buddy McNay
00:03
rod i was born in Sheridan Wyoming 1929
00:09
of beareth with middle-income family
00:15
working people went to high school and
00:19
graduated from Sheridan high school in
00:22
47 and I went on a college at the
00:25
University while me and laramie studying
00:28
petroleum geology and graduated there
00:34
with a commission and the arm because I
00:38
did take senior ROTC that you working
00:43
infantry what year did you graduate 1951
00:49
1951 you graduated and you were
00:51
commissioned in what year save it save
00:53
me from you chilling effect alonia my
00:55
graduation I was inducted by that is
01:01
activated to in order to report to duty
01:05
in August of 51 and I spent time at Fort
01:10
Benning taking some basic company
01:12
officers training you run Fort Benning
01:16
yep when for printing has been talked
01:19
about 12 weeks there and then we’ll
01:21
assign to it as a training officer it’s
01:24
a 6th Infantry Division in 40 in
01:26
California expense so for several months
01:29
there until I received my orders to go
01:32
to Korea in probably August of 52 52 so
01:38
at this time as you know there was a war
01:41
going on in Korea oh yes yes and the war
01:44
started in 50
01:45
I was still the school and we assume
01:48
that we would be involved but all of us
01:51
are the orientation surely we kind of
01:54
keeping up with it while you’re in
01:55
school oh yeah yeah yeah so you already
01:58
kind of knew her career was so whenever
02:01
you found out that or whatever they they
02:03
activated you and they commissioned you
02:04
you found out you were going to Korea
02:06
what were you thinking are you nervous
02:09
sir well I was expecting that and
02:13
because that’s where the army was fully
02:17
engaged you know of course there was
02:19
people being assigned to Europe at the
02:22
time dude so that was a possibility but
02:24
i did get go to Europe it so where are
02:30
you when did you actually leave for
02:32
korea probably about the middle of
02:38
September 5252 we flew out of Travis Air
02:43
Force Base to Korea on a contract
02:48
aircraft flying tiger airline was the
02:53
airline that we were flying over all
02:56
combat people affected artillery
02:59
infantry do you remember how long the
03:02
fight took yeah it took hold probably 24
03:09
hours at least we stopped at all of them
03:14
wake island to refuel in both cases this
03:19
is an old properly new and then we flew
03:23
on from wake to don’t you see stopped in
03:28
Tokyo and then a blue use you for you
03:31
know I spent some time in Japan
03:36
processed it can’t drink you’re outside
03:40
of Tokyo and then they assigned me to a
03:43
two-week school in southern Japan and
03:46
little town called evil and we took CPR
03:51
warfare training
03:53
chemical biological radiological
03:55
training for what I don’t know but then
04:01
I was shipped to Korea following that
04:02
from southern part of Japan where did
04:06
you land out in Korea where did i enter
04:09
korea and as they call it boo solemn
04:12
music um passo the port at the southern
04:17
tip of Korea did you stay in Pusan or
04:20
were you doing movie somewhere else Toby
04:21
stationed good I what did they have you
04:24
they movie somewhere else oh yes yeah
04:26
yeah we we were to poo so long probably
04:29
a day and then immediately put on a
04:33
train to go to the front and a train
04:38
took about day and a half to get
04:40
northern central Korea very slow train
04:45
and we got we got the side too I was
04:49
joined a 7th division at there we’re
04:53
Canadian headquarters at town called
04:56
Chung Chung and from there we we were
05:00
trucked on up to the front and joined
05:03
our combat units beyond that he tell me
05:08
a little bit about what your
05:10
responsibility was what you had to do
05:13
well when I joined my rifle CO me which
05:18
was item coming i coming of the 32nd
05:21
infantry regiment of 7th me they
05:25
assigned me as a rifle platoon leader oh
05:27
that’s a job where you had forty
05:31
soldiers under you or squads property 40
05:37
it was full straight and I was the
05:40
platoon leader the boss of that little
05:43
group of filter infantry
05:47
how has the relationships with you and
05:49
the other soldiers including
05:50
foreign-born troops were there for
05:53
intrusion how was ya how was the
05:56
relationships the friendships are
05:59
military oh we had an operator will we
06:03
had some Republic of Korea soldiers
06:07
assigned to us they called catoosa
06:09
soldiers Korean army troops US Army
06:13
catoosa they have been signed its
06:18
beginning the war they spent a whole war
06:20
of the US Army over three years they
06:25
were seasoned troops by the time I got
06:27
there so we were having to have them and
06:30
by that time they couldn’t speak English
06:32
they could he could not they could
06:34
because they learned English basically
06:38
and of course the rest by 24 Americans I
06:43
had some black soldiers and some high
06:46
school truth we got 15 so we’re all
06:51
sleeping in tents are we all in barracks
06:53
i joined the you know we were online of
06:57
an output position near a little town
07:00
Kumar central korea kuma was a ruling
07:04
town versus worried what to know the
07:07
output position was dug it on a small
07:10
hill and we were sleeping in Bunker’s
07:14
dug ins will never sandbag bunkers with
07:18
overhead cover and pretty comfortable
07:22
you know we could have reasonable
07:26
shelter from artillery and we could
07:29
sleep comfortably and trade off during
07:33
the night keep telephone guard going how
07:36
many people would stand these bunkers
07:38
well there were four and night
07:41
headquartered bunker had two sergeants
07:46
and a runner messenger with me and
07:50
so therefore not too crowded then love
07:55
Cooper how are your flute flute excuse
07:59
me food and clothing the calming this
08:04
was early fall you know late-september
08:07
early October we were we just had our
08:12
strip parser fatigue so fatigued them
08:15
and maybe a field jacket and we were
08:19
comfortable at that time the early part
08:23
of it full do you recall how much you’re
08:26
getting paid did I but do you recall how
08:29
much you were getting paid oh not a
08:32
whole lot but couple hundred bucks a
08:34
month I guess what was maybe some of
08:39
those difficult or dangerous moments
08:43
that you encountered while in Korea well
08:46
of course we were always subjective
08:48
motor in artillery fire we were you know
08:53
within that range of the Chinese the
08:55
Chinese were rocks and rose they
08:57
dominated us from a big mountain to the
09:00
north and they had good observation and
09:03
what we were doing observe and was just
09:07
fire on us so that was one thing and of
09:10
course if we went on patrol and to no
09:13
man’s land we were subject to full on
09:15
fire grenades and stuff like that were
09:20
you ever wanted yes what time yeah late
09:25
October our company I know that they’re
09:29
our company did i prom– i raid on a
09:35
small hill encountered some fire mortar
09:40
fire and machine
09:42
fire I got a bullet through my helmet
09:45
and it was a minor whoo-hoo just grazed
09:49
me I had my head but a little black
09:53
soldier in my platoon standing actually
09:55
was killed the same burst got him Vinnie
10:03
Mitchell was history where is he from he
10:07
was from Georgia 0 rial attacks was a by
10:13
a North Korean serve as a Chinese are
10:15
you sure we’re here are you attacked by
10:19
was it North Koreans or was it the child
10:20
only doing or strictly fighting giant
10:23
Chinese in our sector there yeah the
10:26
North Koreans were east of us so all the
10:29
time i was there was chinese academy
10:34
yeah that has been really difficult what
10:37
on the flip side what were maybe someone
10:40
was pleasant or rewarding memories that
10:42
you encountered that we encountered
10:45
perla what were so many the most
10:47
pleasant are rewarding memories that you
10:49
encountered Marines no sorry pleasant
10:53
memories Oh pleasant memories I’m sorry
10:55
no you’re fine well let’s see we had a
11:03
child honker behind the hill at the
11:06
outpost position and we had a hot meal
11:09
each day so that was great you know we
11:12
could make our way down to the Java
11:14
locker it had overhead cover and we will
11:18
protected to there and could have really
11:20
brought it up by G and it was as a thing
11:26
secondly when we did when we went into
11:30
reserve after up in a November we went
11:34
to the rear area well out of our
11:38
coverage and had it a very very nice
11:42
Thanksgiving dinner did the water impact
11:48
you in in any way after you returned
11:51
home probably some but I was fortunate
12:00
that I didn’t suffer any stress
12:04
syndromes I don’t recall having any
12:08
nightmares I just had the memories of
12:12
things and of course I was fully engage
12:15
in graduate school tonight and kept me
12:19
busy did you speak about your experience
12:22
in Korea at all after you returned oh
12:24
yeah sure I did a course button with a
12:30
few friends and survived you know it
12:33
served with me at the time and we traded
12:36
memory do you still keep in contact with
12:40
these friends yes in fact in 1989 there
12:44
was a group organized called a 30-second
12:49
after credit Association and we have mad
12:52
for reunions ever since and thus this
12:55
year will be our 27 32 mm them I’m
12:58
crabby currently the president are you
13:00
ready wow how many people are in this
13:04
well we have probably 250 members but
13:10
only 50 plus or minus
13:13
10 the reunions because of their age
13:17
travelpod does the venue change each
13:20
year rimi the venue just change this
13:23
year we’re going to be meeting just
13:25
north of district of columbia washington
13:28
last year we were at niagara falls so we
13:32
move around a little bit when is your
13:36
meeting when is the meeting Michelle oh
13:39
you’d be a middle of October in October
13:42
from October 16 through 18 in college
13:51
called a partner so have you been back
13:58
to crib at all thank you yeah once yeah
14:01
my wife and I went our revisit trip
14:05
thanks to the Korean government
14:08
hospitality was mad we went in 91 and of
14:14
course by the end Korea have been mostly
14:18
rebuild and the ruins that were injured
14:21
in Souls had been you know clean up or
14:24
pinched huge buildings the economy was
14:28
booming people were happy well arrested
14:32
every free country Reeve shocked to see
14:35
the development of Korea from I mean
14:38
from when you’re previously there no yes
14:40
yes it was odd smart I took a picture
14:45
when I was in Korea and went back to
14:48
Seoul for an interview an 8th army and I
14:53
took picture of one of the major streets
14:55
with the old city gate which was hard
14:58
the walled city and there were there was
15:02
one Jeep on the road and an ox cart and
15:05
today it would be bumper-to-bumper
15:08
traffic you know new cars
15:13
that was amazed i visited yeah so what
15:17
do you think the legacy is for the
15:19
Korean War and the Korean War veterans
15:21
what legacy do you think they carry well
15:24
I think we really did our job we stop
15:33
the invasion turns it back we didn’t
15:37
completely defeat the Communists but we
15:41
allow South Koreans to become a free and
15:46
prosperous nation I think that is
15:49
everyone you see because you’re in the
15:52
infantry what is your opinion on the
15:56
fact that the Korean War was called a
15:58
police action you being on the front
16:01
line what it was a war w more powerful
16:06
yeah that was current several misnomer I
16:09
think politically correct term at the
16:11
time the president mr. proven used that
16:18
word but he would even admit up shortly
16:23
so why do you think the Korean War got
16:27
the title The Forgotten War Oh after the
16:31
war people of you know it was before
16:36
Vietnam when television showed every
16:42
night the war the death destruction if
16:46
we had death and destruction that it was
16:48
not shown it holds every night and so
16:52
people were kind of not aware of it
16:56
completely they followed it someone and
16:59
then when it was over they forgot about
17:01
it and people are my companions I came
17:06
home and there
17:09
meet somebody on the street let’s go
17:11
where have you been away where were you
17:13
yeah miss you didn’t even know that you
17:16
are at war yeah so that happened today
17:19
we didn’t have a big parade or anything
17:21
a returning vets you know welcome home
17:24
and also although that happen later we
17:27
had some later years where they would
17:31
try to correct that little innovation so
17:37
technically we’re still in the season we
17:39
were still in a war you know the
17:41
Armistice was signed it was just a
17:43
ceasefire what do you think we need to
17:46
do to put a closure on the war
17:49
officially into end hostility Oh we’d
17:53
have to see North Korea side definitely
18:00
not cease fire but peace plan and agree
18:04
to you know bye-bye true closure it’s
18:10
still an armed border with two from both
18:14
sides ready to go eating a peace treaty
18:19
would be possible I don’t know not not
18:22
with the current North Korean policy and
18:26
government and if it were possible would
18:30
you support a reunification the people
18:34
would have to be signed and then then
18:37
there would be possibility of
18:38
unification alright certainly hope and
18:41
pray that will happen because they’re
18:44
still family that are divided are there
18:46
the MCU do you think it’s important for
18:51
younger generations to know the
18:55
sacrifices and the contributions made
18:57
danocrine 11 sexual but they should be
19:02
aware of all wars where people
19:07
in our armed services eight sacrifices
19:10
and or injured or killed I should know
19:16
about that and respect it and be
19:21
grateful for what those sacrifices
19:23
bought for them do you have any messages
19:25
at you would want to share with them and
19:28
terms of what you said I would hope that
19:34
when our academic system our schools
19:39
would be more attuned to those
19:43
sacrifices that they would and still in
19:48
the young people gratitude is made and
19:56
be aware of the history the wars that we
20:02
fought the good war the just works and
20:08
do you think it’s important like what
20:09
we’re doing here with the Korean War
20:10
Veterans Memorial and interviewing
20:12
veterans do you think it’s important and
20:14
necessary of it how you boil the
20:19
interviews that we’re doing here conduct
20:21
interviews do you think it’s important
20:23
necessary the interviews I think are yes
20:27
I think they’re important yeah I think
20:29
there are significant and will be
20:32
studied problem why oh piss joins I hope
20:36
there’s anything else you’d like to
20:38
share no thank you for what you’re doing
20:42
we appreciate it we really appreciate
20:44
you coming in