Roger S. Stringham
Roger Stringham was born May 10, 1929, in Berkeley, California. Post graduation from Berkeley High School, he enrolled in an art school to pursue his artistic interests, but his time there was cut short when he was drafted into the Army in late 1950. He received his basic training at Camp Roberts and was shipped to Korea soon after. He shares what he knew about Korea prior to the war and elaborates on the respect he held for the Korean people. He describes landing in Incheon and offers an account of his first impressions of Korea. He recalls his duties while serving and describes sending letters home with accompanying sketches as a means of telling the story of his experience. He provides an overview of his life post war and elaborates on Korea’s transformation through the years. He is proud of what Korea has become.
Introduction to Korea
Roger Stringham comments on his knowledge of Korea prior to the war and draws attention to the fact that Korea had been awarded to Japan following the Russo-Japanese War in 1905. He shares how he held a great deal of respect for the Korean people, acknowledging they had endured a difficult life under Japanese rule. He describes landing at Incheon and his first impressions of Korea.
Skirmishes in Korea
Roger Stringham recounts that he was attending art school when he was drafted into the Army in late 1950. He recalls receiving his four-month basic training at Camp Roberts in California and being shipped to Korea shortly thereafter. He offers an account of the skirmishes he experienced and speaks of lives lost from a machine gun burst.
Unique Letters Home
Roger Stringham recounts his parents' reaction when he was drafted into the war. He shares that it was very difficult for them, but to him, it was an adventure. He recalls writing letters home and details how he would include a sketch as a means of telling the story of his experience.
Out on Patrol
Roger Stringham explains that he spent his first six months in Korea serving in Item Company of the 21st Infantry Regiment and the last six months in Headquaters Company. He recounts his duties in Headquarters Company which entailed night patrols through the hills in temperatures that reached fifty degrees below zero at times. He shares he did not regret the experience but adds that he thought often of his friends while there and has since experienced PTSD.
Post War: Career and Korea's Transformation
Roger Stringham offers an overview of his life post war. He recalls returning to school where he earned a degree in physical chemistry from UC Berkley, traveling the world and painting along the way for two years, and returning to Korea on multiple occasions to deliver lectures in academic arenas. He elaborates on Korea's transformation, describing it as unbelievable, and emphasizes how it shows what people have inside of them is magic.