Korean War Legacy Project

Roland Kleinschmidt

Bio

Roland Kleinschmidt served in Korea at the end of the war. During his interview, he describes what it was like when he first arrived in Korea. He also recalls how ammunition was prepared and fired as he was involved in computing the information for effective firing. While there was a lot of ammunition fired during his time in Korea, Roland Kleinschmidt distinctly remembers what it was like before the armistice went into effect and the night that the firing stopped. As a farmer from South Dakota, he is proud of the time both he and his brother served in the war.

 

Video Clips

Arriving in Korea

Roland Kleinschmidt describes what it was like when he first arrived in Incheon. He mentions see the Koreans use human waste on the rice paddies, something that was very interesting to him. He explains that he was not in Incheon for long before being placed on trucks that shipped them to the front lines.

Tags: Incheon,Impressions of Korea

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3TnGGZTyO3s&start=475&end=564

Preparing Ammunition to be Fired

Roland Kleinschmidt explains what his life was like in Korea. He lived in sandbag bunkers and worked on a rotating eight-hour shift. His role was to compute the data to determine how much ammunition was needed to hit the target. He shares a time when he drove a major to a cave to fire on the North Koreans.

Tags: Front lines,North Koreans,Weapons

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3TnGGZTyO3s&start=688&end=872

“Like a Tomb” on July 27, 1953

While they fired a lot of missions during the war, Roland Kleinschmidt recalls how much ammunition was fired at the end of the war. He says that from the time both sides signed the truce until it went into effect, both sides shot off a lot of ammunition- both to kill people at the end but also because they didn’t want to “haul it back.” However, at midnight when the armistice went into effect, it was “like a tomb” because everything on both sides just shut off.

Tags: Front lines,Physical destruction,Weapons

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3TnGGZTyO3s&start=875&end=939

Video Transcript

 

[Beginning of Recorded Material]

 

R:        I’m Roland Kleinschmidt.  Uh, Kleinschmidt is spelled K L E I N S C H M I D T.

I:          That’s a German name, right?

R:        That’s a German name.

I:          So you are German.

R:        My ancestors came from Germany.

I:          Um hm. And

R:        That was a long time ago.

I:          Um hm.  What is your first name?  Could you spell it?

R:        Roland.  R O L A N D.

I:          Um hm What is your birthday?

0:00:30

R:        10/19/1930.

I:          10/19/1930.

R:        Right.

I:          Where were you born?

R:        At Blunt, South Dakota.

I:          Could you spell?

R:        Blunt, B L U N T.

I:          B L U N T.

R:        It’s a little town 20 miles east of Pierre on Highway 14.

I:          Um hm.  And tell me about the family that you were growing up with, uh, parents and siblings.

R:        Uh, my parents, uh,

0:01:00

were born, my father was born at Blunt, South Dakota, and that’s where he settled.  My mother was born in, uh, Nebraska.

I:          Um.

R:        And they got together when my grandmother on my mother’s side was, uh, a friend of my father’s mother and, and they were visiting there, and my father and my mother were, got together

0:01:30

and got married.

I:          [LAUGHS]

R:        They were, my mother was 16, and my father was 17 when they got married.

I:          Wow.

R:        They stayed together for 74 years before my father died, that they were married.  And they had, uh, five children.  The first one died in infancy, at like nine months old, crib death.

I:          Ah.

R:        Then, uh, they had two boys, my brother and myself, and

0:02:00

two girls.  One girl was kind of a late comer.  She came along about 6 ½ years later than my just younger sister, uh.   My brother passed away when he was 78 years old. He was also a Korean War veteran. He was in the Marines.

I:          Really?

R:        Yes.  And, uh

I:          What’s his name?

R:        His name was Robert Kleinschmidt.

I:          And he is older than you, right?

0:02:30

He was 14 months older than me.

I:          Uh huh.  And he was Marine?

R:        He was in the Marines.

I:          When did he leave for Korea?

R:        Um, 1951.

I:          And when was he killed?

R:        Uh, he wasn’t killed in the Marines.  He, he died, he had a, uh, heart valve replaced out in Seattle, Washington by the

0:03:00

VA, and they botched the job, and it was leaking, caused him to have an extremely enlarged heart

I:          Um.

R:        And, uh, they said they couldn’t do it over. It’d kill him, and, uh, so they sent him home to die, and he died when he was 78 years old. I think that was in, uh, let me see, it’s been nine years ago.

I:          And do you remember his unit as a first Marine?

R:        No, I do not.

0:03:30

I:          No, you don’t have any idea.

R:        No, I don’t.

I:          Okay.

R:        That was before I went in the service.  He got out about the time I was drafted.

I:          Okay.

R:        He, he enlisted when he was 17, in the Marines and, uh, then he, when President Truman was, uh, President, they gave him a, what’s it called, a Truman Year.  He enlisted for three years, and they added a year to his, uh, service.

I:          Right.  Yeah. And do you,

0:04:00

So when did you, tell me about the school you went through.

R:        I went to, uh, a rural school in, during my first eight years of col, of, uh, high school, of grade school.

I:          Um hm.

R:        And then I, uh, my folks moved to the ranch where I live now when I was a Freshman in high school, and I finished my high school in, uh, Harrold.

I:          Harrold?

R:        South Dakota, yes.

I:          Harrold High School?

R:        Harrold High School.

0:04:30

I:          When was it?

R:        Uh, I graduated in 1949.

I:          Did you know anything about Korea?

R:        Uh, I knew where it was on the map.

I:          Oh, did you know?

R:        Before I was drafted, yes.

I:          Oh.

R:        Course I, you know, the war had been going on quite some time because I was, I was drafted into the Army, took my basic training in

I:          When were you drafted?

R:        In, uh,

0:05:00

let’s see, Fall of 1952.

I:          Fall of 1952

R:        Yes.

I:          to Army?

R:        To the Army,

I:          Um hm.

R:        Yes.

I:          So you knew that there were Korean War broke out.

R:        I knew, uh, about the Korean War, yes.  It had been going on for

I:          Um hm.

R:        Some time when I was drafted.

I:          What people say about the Korean War?  Do you remember?

R:        Uh, not really.  I, I know it was, uh, a place that you really didn’t

0:05:31

particularly like, wanna go.  But Uncle Sam asked me to go, so I went.

I:          Um hm.  And where did you get the basic training?

R:        In Fort Sill, Oklahoma.  It’s an artillery training base.

I:          Um hm.

R:        And when I got over to Korea, they put me on a 155 Howitzer unit, 981stField Artillery.

I:          So you were in the artillery?

R:        Yes.

I:          Could you repeat that

0:06:00

again?  9

R:        980 First Field Artillery.

I:          Um hm.

R:        In the 40thDivision.

I:          40thDivision.

R:        Yes.

I:          And do you know Edward Kafka?

R:        No.

I:          Edward Kafka.  He lives here.

R:        No, I don’t.

I:          Do you, he’s, he belongs to the same, same artillery.

R:        Oh, is that right?

I:          Yeah.

R:        No, I don’t know him.

I:          You didn’t know?  Okay.  And

0:06:30

from Fort Sill, where did you go?

R:        From Fort Sill, they gave me a, a short, um, furlough, and then they shipped me right directly to Korea.

I:          From where?

R:        From, uh, I had leave from, uh, uh, San, uh, Camp Stoneman, Colo, uh, California.

I:          Camp Stoneman.

R:        Camp Stoneman they call it.

I:          Uh huh.

R:        And, uh, they shipped me out under the Golden Gate Bridge

0:07:00

I:          San Francisco.

R:        We stopped in, uh, Yokohama and drew our weapons to take to Korea, and then we, I think it was almost four days before we got to Inchon, Korea.  And Inchon, you know, is a very shallow, uh, ocean, um, base

I:          Right.

R:        So they had to dock out in the

0:07:30

ocean and send barges. We landed on barges in, in Inchon.

I:          When did you arrive in Inchon?

R:        In Inchon, early February of 1952.

I:          Um.

R:        Of ’53, 1953 it was.

I:          How was Inchon?  Do you remember anything?

R:        Uh, I was impressed because, uh, it was a little, uh,

0:08:00

I would say a little more backward country than we were used to.

I:          Yeah.

R:        Uh, we saw those, uh, Korean workers dipping, uh,

I:          Human waste?

R:        Human waste out of, uh, sumps, you know.

I:          Yeah.

R:        And haul them out on trucks to separate on the fields and the rice paddies and, and then, uh, they put us on, uh,

0:08:30

on, um, trucks and shipped us up to the front lines. I was in, uh, well, I wasn’t in the actual front line.  We were right behind the Infantry in the, the Howitzer outfit and the Field Artillery.

I:          Do you remember what was the name of that area? Was it Chuncheon or anything like that, Pork Chop Hill?

R:        Uh, well, we moved

I:          Iron Triangle?

R:        We moved around quite a little bit.

0:09:00

We were at Chorwon Reservoir for awhile and, uh, then they moved us to,uh, um, place called Mini Valley, you know.

I:          What valley?

R:        Muddy Valley.

I:          Muddy Valley.

R:        And, uh, we were in another one or two other places while we were there.

I:          Why do they call Muddy Valley?

R:        Because it was in a valley

0:09:30

that was, wasn’t any gravel roads or anything.  It was just mud,

I:          Just mud.

R:        And it rained quite a bit.

I:          Quite a bit.

R:        I think, uh, summer, the first summer I was there, they said they had 40” of rain which is unheard of in this, in South Dakota.

I:          So it

R:        It rained a lot and, uh, they had snow in the wintertime, uh.  I’d heard about how bitter cold it was in Korea

I:          Um hm.

 

0:10:00

But compared to South Dakota winters, I was there two winters and, uh, it wasn’t cold compared to South Dakota.

I:          Really?

R:        If it got down to zero, it was extremely cold because it was a wet cold.  Humidity was high.

I:          Um hm.

R:        But, uh, South Dakota, we have a drier weather, but it’s not unusual to get to 20 below zero here.  Sometimes 30 below.  So their winters

0:10:30

aren’t as, aren’t as severe as ours that I was used to, at least when I was there.  I heard that they had a lot of frostbite when they first went over there, but they, when they first got into the war, I guess they didn’t send enough clothing along for winter gear for the first GIs that went over.

I:          Yeah, they didn’t have a proper winter gear.

R:        No.  They weren’t prepared for the winters at the time, so a lot of them suffered frostbite.

0:11:00

But when I was there, we had the boots and the winter gear and, uh, we didn’t, it didn’t seem that cold to me, not as cold as South Dakota winters.

I:          [LAUGHS]  So you were trained to be in Korea.

R:        I was what?

I:          Trained to be Korea.

R:        I guess so.

I:          [LAUGHJS]  Um, tell me about the typical day of your routine duties.

R:        Well, I was in Battalion Headquarters,

0:11:30

and we lived in bunkers, sandbag bunkers and, uh, we would, uh, we would, we had rotating shifts. We were on duty, uh, eight hours, and then we were off for 16, and we rotated 24 hours a day, uh.  We had enough guys that, that were on active duty at the time.  So we, uh, we would

0:12:00

work in shifts, and we got time off in between.  But, uh, we, we had to fire a lot of missions.  My  job was, uh, compute the data to, uh, hit, to hit a target.  We would, uh, be in touch with a, uh, forward observer.

I:          Um hm.

R:        Either in an airplane or up on a mountain, and they would call in a fire mission and, uh,

0:12:30

tell us what we were shooting at, and we would decide, usually our CO would, uh, decide what kind of a fuse to, what kind of ammo to shoot, and then we would compute the data and, uh, we’d send it, we’d telephone it down to the firing batteries, and they would, uh, shoot out a round and see how close they were to the target.  The forward adjuster would, forward observer would, uh, tell him which way to go to hit the target, and

0:13:00

then we’d fire for affect after that.

I:          Um hm.

R:        We’d sometimes fire at troops in the open or, or convoys or quite a few different options that we had, and it would make a difference what kind of ammo they used.  Sometimes we had a, while I was over there, we had a, uh, North Koreans had a, uh, they had a gun, a fir, a, a, a, um, ammo [INAUDIBLE] a, um, what do you call that?

0:13:30

It was a, uh, a, uh, Russian, uh, gun.  They’d pull it back into a cave when they weren’t using it, and they’d wheel it out and shoot at us, uh, during the day or night, whatever they wanted to, and they tried to bomb them out, and they couldn’t seem to get them.  They would pull it back in the cave.  So an old Major come along one day and told me he needed a driver to take him up on a mountain there.  He was trying to find a spot he could

0:14:00

pull up a gun and fire, direct fire into that cave.  So I, I drove for him, and we found a spot where we could pull a, a 155 Howitzer up, and what they did, they bore sided into that cave, into the mouth of that cave.  We had no more trouble after that.  They had a lot of, uh, explosions inside the cave

I:          Uh huh.

R:        And the

0:14:30

North Koreans used that cave no more.

I:          No more.

R:        But, uh, we had, once in a while, we quite often fired, well we acquired a lot of missions every day

I:          Um.

R:        While we was there, during the war.  But when they signed the truce, both sides, they had it signed, and they were agreed to stop firing at midnight on the 27thof Jul7 of 1953.  Both sides were,

0:15:00

The skies were lit up like the 4thof July.  They were firing as fast as they could.  Those Howitzer barrels got red hot, and every, both sides, North Koreans and the, um, allies, were shooting as fast as they could shoot.  I guess it didn’t make sense to me.  They were trying to kill everybody they could till the last minute.  To me, that was stupidity.

I:          They want to use up all this ammunition, yeah.

R:        They didn’t want to haul the ammo back.

0:15:30

I:          Right. [LLAUGHS]

R:        So they was gonna fire it all up.  But at midnight, it was like a tomb.  Everything shut off on both sides.

I:          Hm.

R:        And it was, uh, it was a relief to everybody. And, but then I had to spend eight more months there as occupation troops, and now, what is it, 60 years later, 60 some years later, they still got 30,000 troops in Korea.

I:          Absolutely.

0:16:00

R:        And from the U.S. alone.

I:          Um hm.  So tell me about the day that the truce was signed, Armistice was signed. Do you remember the day?

R:        I don’t remember the day it was signed. I remember the day it was effective.

I:          Um hm.

R:        I’ll never forget that day.  Twenty-seventh of July, because they, like I say, they were firing everything they could, and it was just, the sky was just lit up like, like the 4thof July celebration, you know, when they

 

0:16:30

shoot, fire fireworks?

I:          Yeah.

R:        That’s what it looked like.  It was, and those, uh, Howitzer barrels, they were shooting so fast they got actually red hot.  They would glow.  They got firing so fast.  They were firing as fast as they could, and random targets.  No particular one, but they knew where the enemy and placements were, and they were firing at the enemy in placements, and the enemy was firing

0:17:00

back at us.

I:          How, how was the North Korean and enemy artillery? Were they good?

R:        Uh, well, I can say one thing.  I’m thankful, uh, the, they were using Russian shells, 122 mm.

I:          Uh huh.

R:        Uh, Howitzers they were firing at us, and my, uh, bunker was hit twice, both times by a dud or I wouldn’t be talking about it.

0:17:30

I:          Um.

R:        It, uh, the first one that hit my bunker was fired high angles, come in the back side of the bunker

I:          Um.

R:        where there was no sandbags, come through the, well, they had logs, those bunkers were built out of logs, and uh, then they were sandbags.  On the roof they had, uh, three or four rows of, uh, of sandbags on the roof, and on the sides it was even more, besides, the front and the sides.

0:18:00

But the backside was up against the mountain, so they didn’t sandbag that.  But this shot, this one shell that come in through the backside, it, uh, was a direct hit on my, uh, Operations Sergeant, and it took his head and his shoulder off.

I:          Oo.

R:        And it sent five other guys to the hospital.  I was very fortunate.

I:          To survive that.

R:        I, uh, I got a splinter in one leg from flying timbers,

0:18:30

but that’s all I got. They wanted to give me a Purple Heart for that.  I said no. That’d just worry my wife.  I don’t want it.  Afterwards I found out there’s a lot more benefits if you had a Purple Heart.  [LAUGHS]

I:          What kind of benefit?

R:        Well, more, uh, benefits through the VA.

I:          Um.

R:        Veterans Association.

I:          Right.

R:        Uh, they give you more benefits if you’re a Purple Heart winner.  But, uh, I didn’t want it because I told my wife

0:19:00

I was, uh, behind the gun, the lines, you know and, uh, artillery.

I:          You were married?

R:        Pardon?

I:          You were married?

R:        I was married before I went over.

I:          Oh.  When did you leave actually?

R:        I left on the 23rdof, uh, September of 1952 for the Army.

I:          Um.

R:        I was married on the 4thof September.

I:          And

R:        And I was, I was drafted on, uh, I was inducted on the

0:19:30

24thof, uh, September of 1952, and I was married just, uh, 20 days before that.

I:          Wow.  You knew that you were headed to Korea.

R:        Yes, I did.

I:          And you married?

R:        Yes.

I:          And she agreed?

R:        Yeah.

I:          Oh boy.

R:        I, when I got my greetings from, from the VA, I, I, I’d been going with my wife for quite a few months,

0:20:00

uh, and, uh, or my girlfriend I should say

I:          Uh huh.

R:        And, uh, I took that greetings letter over to her, and I said shall we do it now or should we do it, wait’ll I get out?  And one week later, we were married. [LAUGHS]

I:          She said yes.

R:        Yes.

I:          That’s amazing, isn’t it?

R:        Well, I don’t know what it was or not.  Uh, we wanted to get married, so we

0:20:30

decided we’d do it before I left.

I:          Must been hard for your wife.

R:        Uh, I’m sure it was.  But it made a little difference because, uh, she was from a very poor family,

I:          Oh.

R:        And her parents were, were elderly.  She was one of the younger ones out of 8 kids, and, uh, her older siblings were, had already left home while she was still young,

0:21:00

and, uh, I guess she was ready to get married, and I was, too.  She was, just finished high school in May that year.  We were married in September.

I:          Um.

R:        She wasn’t quite 19 years old.  But we’re still together 64 years later.  It will be 64 on the 4thof September.

I:          Congratulations.

R:        Yeah.

I:          You are endangered species here.

R:        But we, uh, we did, uh.  We made it work.

0:21:30

I:          Yeah.

R:        And she’s been a great helpmate to me all our life. And we’ve, uh, we have a ranch over by Harrold now, and my son runs it now.  And of course when we’re gone, he’s gonna own it.

I:          So did you write letter back to her?

R:        I wrote every day.

I:          Every day?

R:        Every day.

I:          [LAUGHS]

R:        And by the same token,

0:22:00

she wrote every day, too.  We, I got more mail than, well, there was one other guy that was married in our outfit in Korea, and he did the same thing.  He wrote to his wife every day.  He and I got more mail than all the rest of the guys put together.  Because we’d get a letter whenever they, it didn’t necessarily have a mail drop every day, but when we did, we’d get a whole pile of letters.  And, uh, yes I wrote to her every day, whenever I could,

0:22:30

and almost every day I could.  So.

I:          Do you still keep the letter?

R:        No.

I:          No?

R:        No.  I don’t think my wife did, either.

I:          Oh.

R:        I don’t know.  She kept some of them I think, but, uh, uh, it, it was too big a pile.

I:          What did you write?

R:        Oh, about the days’ events, what happened that day, you know and, uh, I, I always let her know that I as behind the line so I was pretty safe, you know.

0:23:00

That’s why I didn’t want a Purple Heart, and when I found out, I know those, uh, artillery shells can raise a lot of hell with most things, uh, I’ve seen artillery shells that landed out in front of our bunker that chopped off a tree like six inches diameter, made it look like a toothpick.

I:          Um.

R:        But

I:          What did she write?  Was she with your family or?

0:23:30

She was with her family part of the time and with my family part of the time.

I:          Um.

R:        My father was, uh, in the cattle business, and he always had, also had some milk cows that we always milked by hand

I:          Um hm.

R:        And of course in those days you lived off the cream check and the egg check, you know, and, and uh, that was what buy, buys the groceries, and when, when I left, my father needed a little more help,

0:24:00

so my wife went and lived with my folks

I:          Um hm.

R:        And she milked cows and did all sorts of things, you know, gardening and helping around the farm and, my wife was a very versatile lady.  When, uh, when I was, we were first, I got back from the Army, we lived on, we rented a place a few miles from my folks and, uh, she milked cows and besides raising kids, we had

0:24:30

three children then and, uh, she’d milk cows and mowed hay and worked in the field with the tractors and did all sorts of things, and I did, we didn’t have much for income, so I went and got a job measuring, uh, crops, um, crops for the government, you know and, uh, helped out on our income deal for a few years, and then a few years later my father

0:25:00

was needing some help, so he came over to me where, where I lived, was just only three miles away from his place, and he offered me a partnership

I:          Um.

R:        Since I would move over to there so I, my wife and I moved the house in and, uh, and we went into a partnership with my folks, and eventually built the place up a little bigger than what it was.  In fact, I doubled the size of it, and now

0:25:30

my son is working into it and, and he’s bought a few extra acres, too, and so, uh, we, we’ve, uh, done very well for ourselves.

I:          What was your rank when you were in Korea?

R:        Uh, when I, uh, left Korea, I was a Sergeant First Class.

I:          Um hm.  And what was the most difficult thing during your service?

0:26:00

R:        The what?

I:          The most difficult thing during your service in Korea?

R:        Well, I guess you’d say it was when my Operations Sergeant was killed, uh.  That made me realize that you could get, you could get killed over there.

I:          Um.

R:        And it did send five of my buddies to the hospital.

0:26:30

Most of them didn’t never come back to our outfit.  They shipped them home.  But the rest of them survived.

I:          Huh.

R:        They, they had some injuries that were severe enough they never came back to the outfit.  But, uh, I was very fortunate.

I:          Were there any Korean soldier or houseboy working with you in?

R:        Uh, they had what they called Katusas, Korean, uh, uh, helpers around the

I:          Yeah.

R:        Compound

0:27:00

that did work there, and a lot of times they’d get them to do their laundry and stuff like that. Yeah, there was, uh, they weren’t, I don’t know if they were soldiers or not, but

I:          They were soldier, yes.

R:        Yeah.

I:          Yeah.

R:        Anyway, they, uh, they helped us out, too.

I:          Um hm.

R:        And, uh, mostly they worked for the Officers. But, uh, they did help the enlisted men some, too.

I:          Have you been back to Korea?

0:27:30

R:        No.

I:          No?

R:        No, I have not.

I:          Um.

R:        I never lost anything there I wanted to go back after.

I:          Oh.  [LAUGHS] Uh, do you know how Korean economy now is?

R:        How they what?

I:          Korean economy.

R:        Uh, I understand it’s, it’s great now. I got a book from the VA a while back, well, when they, uh, Korean government presented us, uh,

I:          Yeah, yeah.

R:        Medals for, uh,

I:          This January.

R:        Yes.

I:          Yeah.

R:        Yes, In January I got one.

0:28:00

I:          [INAUDIBLE]

R:        And I got a book from the, that, uh, had been published by the government

I:          Korea Reborn

R:        Yes.

I:          Yeah.

R:        I got that book, and I was real impressed with a picture that was taken at night, and it showed the Korean Peninsula north and south, and North Korea was almost all black, and South Korea was all lights, and I understand they’re one of the best economies in the world now.

0:28:30

I:          Um hm.

R:        And so they’ve done very well for themselves.

I:          So now Korea is 11thlargest economy in the world.

R:        That’s impressive.

I:          You didn’t know that?

R:        Uh, I, I’ve heard that, yes.  Yeah.

I:          Uh huh.

R:        That they have done awfully well for themselves, especially for, it’s a small country.  It isn’t as big as some of our states.

I:          Right.  It’s a little bit bigger than Indiana.  That’s it.

0:29:00

R:        And, and what is the population of Korea?

I:          50 million.

R:        50 million.

I:          Yeah.

R:        That’s a lot of people in that one little

I:          Small.

R:        peninsula.

I:          Yeah.

R:        It is.

I:          The South Dakota population is a little more than 800,000.

R:        That’s right.

I:          Yeah.  So it’s a 50 million.

R:        Yeah.  It’s unbelievable.  And it isn’t much bigger than South Dakota.

I:          Smaller, much smaller.

R:        Yeah.

I:          And this country is now prospering,

0:29:30

really, strong economy

R:        That’s true.

I:          and strong democracy.

R:        That’s, that’s fantastic.

I:          Are you proud of your service?

R:        Uh, I’m glad I had it, but I didn’t want any more of it.

I:          Um.

R:        I never, like I say, I never did, uh, lose anything in Korea that I wanted to go back after.  But at the time I was there, it was quite a backward nation in 1952 and ’53.

I:          Um hm.

0:30:00

R:        Because, uh, you know, a lot of those rice paddies and stuff were all, uh, done by hand, the labor was, and uh, they didn’t have much industry at all, at the time, and so I was not too impressed.  But, but I’ve heard how they have advanced in the technology now and have, uh, really done very well for the, for the

0:30:30

economy of the nation. Well it’s, which is quite impressive to me.

I:          Yes.  So the country you saw in 1952 and ’53, and the country now is completely different.

R:        Yes, I’m sure it is, yeah.  I wouldn’t recognize anything over there now.  I’m sure of that.

I:          Do you know Korean government has a program called Revisit Program?

R:        No, I didn’t know that.

I:          Revisit Korea program?

R:        Oh, I didn’t know that.

0:31:00

I:          Korean government’s invite back the Korean War veterans

R:        Oh.

I:          back to Korea.

R:        Is that right?

I:          Yeah.  And they have a program for a week, and they provides hotel, meals, everything and even half of the airfare, free.

R:        Oh?

I:          So if you want to go back and see what’s been done there, it will be great.  You’re not going to believe your eyes.

R:        Yeah.  I would be interested in that.

I:          Could you do that?

R:        I probably could.

0:31:30

I:          Yeah. I mean, you can bring one of your family member, too.

R:        Oh?

I:          And they will stay at the same hotel with you, and they will be given all this things, and Korean government will pay for it except the airfare, okay?  So if you want to do it, uh, I will try to put your name into the list, Korea Revisit Program.

R:        Uh, how much is the airfare?

I:          Airfare is about, you know you can, $500

0:32:00

It’s about $1200 or $1500, it, it varies according to the time.

R:        And I would pay half of it?

I:          Half of it, yeah.

R:        I’d be interested in that.

I:          Yeah.  So then I’ll put you, put your name there.

R:        Okay.

I:          Okay?

R:        That would be good.

I:          You will be really, really proud of what you did 65 years ago for the country that you never knew before.

R:        Yeah, that’s true.

I:          Yeah.

R:        I didn’t.

I:          That is your legacy.

0:32:30

R:        Well, it sounds like a good legacy to have.

I:          Absolutely.  You need to see it.

R:        Yeah.  I would like to.

I:          Um hm.  And, but the Korean War has been known as Forgotten War.

R:        I know that.

I:          Why is that?

R:        Uh, I don’t know.  I think it’s something to do with politics, [LAUGHS]

I:          Um hm.  Yeah.  So that’s why we are doing this.  The history

0:33:00

textbook doesn’t tell much about the Korean War.

R:        That’s, uh, that would be, uh.  I don’t know why they call it a Forgotten War because I know there’s a lot GIs over there that never got home.

I:          Um hm.

R:        And, uh, they gave their lives for a country that, uh, they had no roots in.  Uh, I don’t know.  I, I’ve heard how many there were killed over there, but

I:          37,000.

0:33:30

R:        Yeah, that’s quite a few.

I:          Yep.  A lot of people were killed there.

R:        And our, our country asked us to do that, to serve over there, so we did.

I:          Um hn.

R:        And we were, some guys volunteered like my brother. He volunteered for the military when he was 17 years old, and he was in for four years.  But I didn’t.  I, uh, waited for them to draft me and, uh, but, but I didn’t argue with them.

0:34:00

When they told me to go, I went.  And I, uh, I’m a patriot.  I, I think a lot of my country, even though our country has deteriorated over the years. I think it’s still one of the best places in the world to live.

I:          So your family, you yourself and your brother were in Korean War.

R:        Yes, we were.

I:          Yeah.  So we owe you big.

R:        Well, uh,

0:34:30

like I say, I was doing it for my country.  They asked me to so I did.

I:          Um hm.  So I want to thank you for your service.

R:        You’re very welcome.

I:          And for your brother, too.

R:        Okay.

I:          And I hope that you can go back and see

R:        Well that would be

I:          All the developments made by the Korean people.

R:        I would be very interested in that.

I:          Yep.  Any other message that you want to leave to this interview, the story that you didn’t tell me?

R:        Uh, no, not that I can think of.

0:35:00

I:          Um hm.

R:        I, uh, if, uh, but if, um, it’s possible for me to get a flight over there, I don’t know if my wife would be willing to go because, well, like I say, we’ve been married for 64 years and, uh, she likes to stay at home.  She’s a stay-at-home body, and I can’t hardly get her to come to town with me. [LAUGHS] We live out in the country 40 miles.

I:          You can go with your son.

R:        Oh, that would be nice.

0:35:30

I:          Yeah.

R:        Although he’s awfully busy.

I:          Yep.

R:        Trying to run a 5,000-acre ranch.

I:          I’m sure that you will have some time to, to break away from it and

R:        Ah.

I:          Go back to the country that you fought for.

R:        I, I would have time because I’m retired and, uh, I don’t know if my son would or not.  But

I:          How many cattles do you have?

R:        How many what?

I:          Cattle.

R:        He runs about 300 head.

I:          Wow.

0:36:00

R:        Of cow calf pairs.

I:          What kind of chores that you have to do for that?

R:        Well, I don’t do much anymore.

I:          But usually

R:        Uh, well, when you’re running cattle, you have to put up a lot of feed for the cattle.  So you can work all winter feeding them and then, of course, they’re in the calving season you’re, you got to watch them pretty close because anything that has trouble, you gotta assist them.

I:          What kind of trouble?

0:36:30

R:        Well, they have calving problems.

I:          What?

R:        They have calving problems when they’re, uh, especially if you’re calving young heifers.

I:          Um.

R:        You have to assist them.  You have to pull a calf and, uh, and, and sometimes they’ll be lodged where they can’t, they got a leg back or something or they’ll be coming backward, and if you’re not there to assist them, they will, they will die.

I:          Oh.

R:        So the more, uh, attention you can give them, the more live calves you’ll get,

0:37:00

and live calves is what pays the, the bills on a rancher’s

I:          Um hm.

R:        business.

I:          Is it good business?

R:        Well, it has been over the years.  A few years ago they were exceptionally good, but they’ve, just like the grain prices now have gone way down, and the cattle prices have, too.  When the grain prices go down, the cattle prices go along with them.

0:37:30

I:          Um.

R:        So they’re not nearly as good now, although they’re still a lot better than they were when I was in the cattle business. I been out, I retired when I was 72 years old and rented my land out, and I’m still doing that, still rent it out. I live off the rent check.  And my son, he, he rents my grassland because he’s in the cattle business, and I rent my crop land to a, a big farmer that, uh,

0:38:00

he, a lot of those big farmers, they run, they like to rent everything they can and farm everything that joins them.

I:          Oh.

R:        That’s one of the things about the big farmers. They, they don’t want everything, just everything that joins them.

I:          Roland, it’s my great pleasure and honor to meet you here and to hear from you about your service in Korea.  I want to thank you for your fight for the Korean nation, and I hope that you can go back to Korea soon.

R:        I would like that.

I:          Yep.

R:        Thank you very much.

I:          Thank you, sir.

[End of Recorded Material]