Korean War Legacy Project

Titus Santelli

Bio

Titus Santelli joined the United States Air Force in 1950 and served in Japan and Korea during the Korean War. His radar gun bombsight training later qualified him to run a radar gun bombsight shop on base in Korea. He shares his experiences loading bombs, training pilots how to use radar equipment, and with close bombing encounters during Bed Check Charlie. He remembers the devastation in Korea and expresses that South Korea has done well in pulling itself out of the situation. He speaks highly of his service and expresses his pride in becoming a more responsible person due to it. He also shares that his service during the war enabled him to attend school upon his return.

Video Clips

Air Force Selection and Knowledge of Korea

Titus Santelli explains his reasoning for joining the Air Force in 1950. He details his experience in basic training and shares his view of the war. He admits he could not figure out why the U.S., at that time, felt required to protect Korea, but he offers his opinion.

Tags: Basic training,Cold winters,Home front,Impressions of Korea,Living conditions,Prior knowledge of Korea

Share this Clip +


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gO8nV1vSBp8&start=297&end=610

Arrival and Duties in Korea

Titus Santelli recounts his arrival in Korea. He explains that he was the only one in the area that knew about radar. This would later qualify him for running a radar gun bombsight shop on base. He describes having to help put fuses on bombs and load them onto planes.

Tags: Seoul,Suwon,Impressions of Korea,Weapons

Share this Clip +


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gO8nV1vSBp8&start=1065&end=1394

Bed Check Charlie

Titus Santelli describes the bombings, known as Bed Check Charlie, that took place many nights while he was on base. He explains that the bombings were meant to tire them by keeping them up at night and to damage the runway. He shares that this was the most life threatening experience he encountered during the war.

*Note: This segment contains explicit language.

Tags: Impressions of Korea,Living conditions,Physical destruction

Share this Clip +


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gO8nV1vSBp8&start=1400&end=1702

Letters Home and Education

Titus Santelli recounts sending letters home to family. He remembers making himself look heroic and sending pictures and money with the letters. He explains that his duty after a plane had crashed was to remove top secret equipment and explosives from it. He shares that he would send pictures to his mother after performing his duty expressing that he had made it again and was safe. He also details his post-war eduction acquirement.

Tags: Letters,Physical destruction

Share this Clip +


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gO8nV1vSBp8&start=2018&end=2166

Football in Korea

Titus Santelli explains that his brother, Frank Santelli, served in the Army in Korea at the same time. He recounts that Frank Santelli served in the entertainment outfit by playing football in the Army during the war. He relates his brother's experience to a M*A*S*H episode, an American television series, where teams were brought together to play football.

Tags: Busan,Rest and Relaxation (R&R)

Share this Clip +


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gO8nV1vSBp8&start=2275&end=2470

Reflections on Service

Titus Santelli reflects on South Korea's progress since the war. He shares that he is proud of his service not because of heroics but because he feels it made him a grown and responsible person. He explains that his service allowed him to attend school upon his return.

Tags: Seoul,Suwon,G.I. Bill,Impressions of Korea,Pride

Share this Clip +


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gO8nV1vSBp8&start=2472&end=2790

Video Transcript

Titus: My name is Titus Santelli. My last name is spelled S-A-N-T-E-L-L-I.

Interviewer: Is that Italian name?

T: That’s an Italian name. My father was Italian.

I: When were you born? What is your birthday?

T: July 22 1929.

I: Wow one year after the great depression. It’s a year old great depression

T: Did you say… what did you say?

I: Great Depression

T: Oh the great depression

I: Yeah that’s the year old great depression

T: That’s right I was born in a basket laid in front of the door…

I: Tell me, where were you born?

T: What?

I: Where were you born?

T: I was born in Youngstown, Ohio.

Youngstown?

T: Youngstown. It’s a steal city. It was a steal city. It’s no longer a steal city. It’s come upon hard times.

I: Tell me about your family… your parents and siblings when you were growing up.

T: My parents are Italian too. My father was born in Italy and immigrated here. And my mother was born in Youngstown, Ohio. I have—I had two brothers and I have a sisters.

I: How many?

T: Two brothers and a sister. My brothers has gone to other worlds and my sister is in New York City

I: Are you the youngest?

T: No I’m the second oldest

I: So tell me about the schools you went through

T: All the schools?

I: Yep

T: My high school was east high school. In Youngstown, Ohio. I understand it’s no longer in existence. The city’s grown smaller.

I: What was name of the high school?

T: East as in where the sun rises

I: Mhm

T: And… And I graduated from there and I went into

I: When did you graduate?

T: 1948

I: Good, and then what happened to you?

T: Well, I… I… went to Chicago on the pretense of going to a school. It was called the American Institute of Television.. Let’s see. American Institute of Television and Radio… I don’t remember the name. But it fit this… Apparently it closed down after a while. And I went there about 6 months and it wasn’t really what I wanted. So I dropped out of it and just went to work in Chicago as a bus boy. I was still young.

I: And?

T: And one day my mother called me and said “Titus, there’s a letter for you. It appears to be a draft, from your draft board. And it’s very likely they will call you in for an examination. And I immediately went down to the recruitment office and joined the air force. And that’s how I got to Korea.

I: So what do you mean by bus boy? What did you do as a bus boy?

T: Bus boy?

I: Yeah

T: Well I worked for a very elegant restaurant. In Chicago. And the bus boy job is to assist the waiters in removing dishes and bringing the accessory things: the butter, the water, the cream, and so forth. The bus boy clears the table when the customer finishes eating. And at this restaurant there is also something called the bus boy.. I mean the dish carrier. And he comes in and takes away the dishes. Very elegant, very structured, you know, and it was very nice. I got to meet some very interesting people.

I: Do you remember the name of restaurant?

T: Of course

I: What is it?

T: Fritzel’s

I: F-R-I-T-Z-E-L?

T: That’s correct. There’s an apostrophe S after the L. And there’s still is a restaurant called Fritzel’s there, but the real Frizels is the one I remember. I understood it burned down. But they rebuilt it, but I don’t know what it’s like now.

I: So why air force?

T: Cowerdist. Sid Cowerdist. Say, more benefits. That’s it. I mean, I didn’t want to go into trenches. Might as well admit it. It was not from heroic effort. It was an effort to get out of the mud and the mar of the combat, hand to hand combat. That’s probably it.

I: You’re smart

T: I’m smart?

Yes.

T: Like smart aleck? Or intelligent smart?

I: Intelligent.

T: Thank you!

I: Yeah.. And when did you join the air force. When was it?

T: I think it was 1950. December of 1950. And I didn’t spend much time in basics. Because they were bringing in huge crowds of guys and I spent about two weeks in basic training. Usually its like.. 6months I guess. I don’t know. And I did get the fire out of the reins. But just once, in fact, I didn’t even have a uniform for those 2 weeks, because those supplies hadn’t caught up. They were so anxious to get us over the seas and to get the whole thing going that the war capabilities that the US had dropped down after the Second World War. And I was caught in the thing, and it was very interesting even though it was cold and miserable and but it was interesting, even though it was cold. Texas, we were stationed in Texas.

I: Where in Texas?

T: San Antonio.

I: San Antonio…

T: That’s correct.

I: Was it cold at the time?

T: Yeah, it gets cold in Texas. It doesn’t snow. In fact we lost quite a few guys down there. Because of the cold, I imagine, they died from exposure. Died from Pneumonia, and because we were in tents, they didn’t even have barracks for us. We slept in tents, on cots. Canvas cots. And there’s no protection from the cold because it comes from underneath the cots. And we would find newspapers and lay them under the cots to try and keep warm

I: Oh that’s miserable!

T: It was very miserable. In fact I guess we were kind of glad when we were sent out to what was to be out permanent station.

I: So did you know that there was a Korean war?

T: Did I know that there was a Korean War?

Yes

T: Of course.

I: How did you know about it?

T: Well, let’s see. It was Truman’s war. And… the newspapers of course. And we were politically at war with Russia. And Russia had, through china, made an invasion through China, and of course it would hit all the news. And that’s how I knew. It was I could never figure out though, why we felt required to protect Korea. I could never figure that out. The government from what I read was very corrupt and so it wasn’t to protect the good democratic presidents or republican, it was the keep China from occupying Korea. And maybe Russia and China together and was on our sphere of influence. So I guess our government didn’t want to be left out, so to speak. We were fighting the red menace. I guess I am kind of cynical in a way. But that’s how I felt

I: Did you know where Korea was at the time? Did you know anything about Korea?

T: Other than Japan had a real case going against Koreas, apparently Japan kidnapped, they had conquered Korea. At least the southern shores, I guess.

I: Did you know that at that time? When you joined the basic military training, did you know anything about Korea at that time?

T: Other than Japan brought a number of Korean women back to japan as prostitutes. Or camp followers, or something.

I: Did you know that?

T: Yeah

I: At that time?

T: Yes

I: How?

T: I don’t know how. Let’s see, how did I know that? I don’t know. It’s something you hear on the news, something you read about

I: What happened to you after San Antonio, basic training? Where did you go?

T: Oh, that’s a joke. What they did, they sent me to New York. They were opening the new base in new York. In the state of New York. Wonderful there in the summer time. Called Samson Airforce Base, as a CHAPLAINS’s assistance. That was a joke because my parents were very religious. And my mother said, “well Titus I’ve been praying for you, and that’s why you’re going to be a chaplain’s assistant at your new air base.” … “To go to war” you know, as a young kid, impressed with my heroic aspect, and I wanted to go to war, and I kept applying, so finally they sent to Lowry Air Force Base

I: Where?

T: L-o-w-r-y Airforce Base that’s in Colorado. To learn how to repair, install, and so forth, a radar gun bomb site. It was new at the time.

I: A radar what?

T: A radar gun bomb site. The radar it gave the bomb site data on the speed of the enemy aircraft and so forth. It’s been a long time I don’t remember everything. But it helped the pilot aim his airplane at the enemy.

I: So you are repairing those machines? Or what did you do actually?

T: Well I learned at Lowry

I: How to repair?

T: How to repair them, install them in airplanes, how to take them out of airplanes, how they worked and everything. And there weren’t great hordes of us learning this. This was a new gun site made by Sperry gyroscope.

I: So asked to be sent to the war?

T: Yeah

I: And finally you got to the Lowry Air Base in Colorado.

T: To learn about gun… radar gun bomb sites. What it did is it gave the gyroscopes information on range and so forth. And then I got sent to turner air force base.

I: Where?

T: Turner. In Georgia.

I: Turner… Turner?

T: It’s just south of… it’s in Albany, Georgia, which is just south of Atlanta Georgia. And I was there for a short time. Then suddenly we were… there was a plan that they put together. General Mayably..we wanted to show Russia that we could get an air force.. The whole of this air force.. I think was the 80th fighter bomber ring. I don’t remember. And get to any country in the world within a few days. I was watching a movie that came in an announcement right and said all Turner air force base men report to your base immediately. So I got there and got told, “Well you guys are going to Japan.”

I: When was that?

T: Let’s see… it was about… the early part of 1951. Yeah, the early part of 1941.

I: Early? Was it winter? February?

T: Early like maybe..like it was cold in Japan at the time. So it must have been winter. Or early in the year. That’s what I meant, early in the year and so we loaded it all up. We put out cars on locks and within hours, we were on our way to Japan. And it took us 3 days to get everything we had there to Japan and then from Japan we were up to Chitose. You know where that is?

I: No

T: It’s on the island of Hokkaido. And our job was to bomb targets from Korea from Japan, because our soldiers have been tossed off of the peninsula. So we were fighting our war from Japan. And we were there just a short time and then our soldiers got back and made a big… and got a foot hold in Korea. So we moved from japan to Korea

I: When was that?

T: Oh lord, it would have to be in 1951, because let’s see. I got to Korea about…the early part of 1952 I believe. And…

I: So you took a flight from Hokkaido to Korea?

T: Oh yeah. A big, big flight. It held 200 people. It held all of our group anyway.

I: Where did you land in Korea?

T: Oh god, let’s see.

I: Was it Gimpo?

T: Where?

I: Was it close to Seoul, capital city?

T: Yes, it was

I: Then it must be Gimpo.

T: Oh wait, let me take that back. Let me think.

I: Yong Gimpo?

T: It might have been; it was a K13. You know what I’m talking about?

I: Yeah.

T: Suwon.

I: Oh okay

T: Suwon.. I don’t know if there is an air force base there anymore

I: There is. When you arrived in Seoul, June of 1952. You said..13 months right?

T: Yeah, yeah, 13 months. Yeah because I spent about 6 months in Japan. It counted as 2 tours of duty. I remember that because I got 2 little bronze symbols.. I mean medals. So anyway. We landed at Suwon and at this base they were still flying T80s. I think it’s called a T80. And also a propeller driven planes. And they had no radar at all. They had no gun bomb site that tied into radar. In fact I was the only one in all of that area that knew anything about it. And I was kind of on my own. But I do remember at 4 o clock in the morning, everybody, at the time I was a sergeant, I was in the right place at the right time. They needed sergeants. And let’s see, at 4 o clock in the morning we all had to get up and go down to the flight line to help load bombs. Even the cooks, everybody except the people who were essential to something else. Hospital people, that kind of thing… officers. And we loaded bombs and then we went to breakfast and about an hour and a half later, the planes came back and then we had to load them again. And so then they took off. I didn’t enjoy that part of my time in Korea. Cuz I hate dealing with.. we had to put the fuses on the bombs. And I had never put a fuse on! “It’s the way you do it, and do it!”

I: And you don’t know. You never know when its exploding right?

T: Well, there’s a little toggle on the thing that fires the bomb and its tied to a cable that runs up to the pilot. And his job is to pull that little cable that arms the bomb. So I don’t remember… Anyway. Then they notified me to go to Seoul. There was a South African Squadron up on Seoul. But what I went up there for was to see how they set up their shop and to make a few cables and things that we would need when we finally got going down in K13. And I remember that they always had big a stop pot full of tea that always had cream in it. Then I went back to K13 and started making plans. Writing notes and all the rest of it. And one day the captain came to visit me and said that I’m going to be your new commander. And we are getting started, the equipment’s coming in and you’re in charge of the shop. We had a captain, a tech sergeant, a lieutenant, now the lieutenant spent all of his time reading comics books. He was just out of college. And So I ran the shop, unopposed by anybody. It was great for me. I was a young kid, you know, here telling all these guys what to do and how to do it, and showing them how and that was it. That was my territory, running that shop. It finally got started and they sent. Oh god what aircraft was it… they sent a new kind of aircraft over. It wasn’t the T80 anymore. And it had the gun bomb site installed already. So we had to hurry up and set up our shop and all that. And it all went together very well you know. They had things planned..very well. So that’s how I served my time in Korea: running a radar gun bomb site shop, and they made me staff sergeant after a while. And they would have made me a tech sergeant, but they couldn’t do it.

I: So how was Suwon? Were you able to get out of the base?

T: If I wanted to. But we were too busy, you know. We worked from early mornings till late at night. And we had to keep this very… this gun bomb site wasn’t very stable and it was a major job to keep them operative and I also designed the cockpit of a plane in our shop, to teach our pilots how to use the thing. And I’m lucky that I can remember all of that. And every night we got bombed. We got bombed by.. and they called in bed Check Charlie. Bed: B-E-D. Check: C-H-E-C-K. Charlie: C-H-A-R-L-I-E.

I: Why??

T: Why that name? Well because…

I: Whenever you are tried to sleep, they come in right?

T: Oh Yeah, well they were trying to do two things that I understood. I don’t really remember who told me these things, maybe our captain. The thing was that bed check Charlie was to keep us up at night; Making us tired and not able to work, and to do a large damage to the runway. They weren’t interested in killing us, but they closed all the lights off. But at the ends of the run way, the runway was made of steel, intergris steel. At the ends of the runway the girl is up the hill would light fires so the bed check Charlie could find the runway and drop a bomb on the runway. And the whole idea is to keep us worried and tired and all of that. There’s something wrong with me okay? I was not afraid.

I: No, what they wanted to was to scare you out, right?

T: I doubt that they… I think they were just trying to make it difficult for us to operate planes out of that base.

I: And it was every night?

T: Three or four times a week. To a young guy, all of this is interesting and not fearful. You see? And I don’t know why that was. But I was more interested in seeing how it was done, what everybody did. And I know the other guys were afraid. I don’t—I can’t remember myself being afraid. Even when the bombs started exploding, but I remember one guy in our revetment. That we had to go to. Revetment, I had forgotten that word, that’s what it was called, wasn’t it. Anyway, he would cry and pray to Jesus. “Jesus help us, Jesus help us!” And finally I told him, “if you don’t shut the hell up, I am going to kick your ass.” And but the guys were scared. I must be stupid to not be afraid. But I wasn’t. I was more interested in what was going on. Like I could see in my eyes today when there was an air late alert that the spotlights from south of us, I don’t know why south of us, but it came from the south. And the spotlights looked like giant steps walking across the sky. And then the Starfighters, you know you the Starfighters right?

I: Yeah

T: The Starfighters would go off and they could never shoot him down, because they were in a propeller driven plane, and they could turn inside a jet plane. You follow that?

I: Yup, were there any other dangerous moments during your servicing career?

T: Danger in this…?

I: Life threatening…

T: Maybe… Probably not. Because we were in the air force, and the whole idea of the joining the air force is to be safe, you follow me?

I: Yep

T: Life threatening… I think Bed Check Charlie was our worst enemy. And he did get our ammo depo. He got out fuel storage. Now that’s all a part of Bed Check Charlie. And yes I was afraid when those explosions went off, but I knew nobody could ever kill me. Nobody could hurt me. You know, you get so arrogant when you’re young. You’re immortal. You know? And you’re always immortal. Maybe not for a guy doing hand to hand combat. Maybe he’s not, feels he’s not as immortal as we others are. But anyway, that was my experience in Korea.

I: Were there any Korean people working with you?

T: They weren’t…Let’s see, we did have a young man who came in and did our laundry for us. Just our particular…

I: Like a bus boy?

T: Sort of like a bus boy, but he did laundry. Ironed our clothes. He didn’t iron mine, because I didn’t have any. I don’t put together clothes and they didn’t replace our clothing. Well no, this kid came in after the war ended! That’s was when! I have a lot of pictures of Korea. We were allowed to go off the base of course. Would wander down the path all the time, and I took his picture but it was rare to be able to get off the base in the summertime it got pretty hot. There was a reservoir nearby, we’d go swimming. I remember though, once, I don’t know.. See I was there a month of two after the war ended. Maybe a month and things change right away because the new general came in and told us we had to wear our uniforms again. And before that, it was whatever we could take up.

I: Really? You didn’t wear uniforms?

T: We wore a put together uniform, like I remember I had kind of a vest, not khaki, but, all drab, and I remember, when I went up to see the South Africans, going into Seoul was just miserable, a mess you know?

I: Tell me the detail, the scenery that you saw

T: Ah, it was awful, I have these pictures I wish I—you go up there and you see the buildings like, half down. And half up and I guess bombs and artily must have destroyed them but it was really sad. I didn’t get too far into Seoul. We had to carry weapons when we went into Seoul. I guess it was a lot of guerilla action. What I was going to tell you was, they have a market though. Even though all the bombs and the buildings, they had a market though. And they were continuing on with their vendoring of things. There was a guy there, I remember he said, and I can’t emulate his accent, but he said “you get me blanket and I make you nice coat” and I said, “I’m not giving you blanket,”

I: You mean blanket?

T: He said blanket. but that turned out to be the lining of the coat he made for me. He made a wonderful coat. And I had to give him another jacket I had that he modified into what was called an Eisenhower jacket. Do you remember the Eisenhower jacket?

I: Yeah

T: That was my uniform that somebody up in Seoul made for me. That was the top part of it. The bottom part of it was fetite pants, and almost like a cargo pair of pants. Do you know what a cargo pair of pants is? Almost like that. And they were raggedy—we didn’t get clothes too often like that.

I: You told me you didn’t know much about Korea except that Korea was Japanese Colony. And you were there in Suwon and Seoul. What do you think of Korea at that time? Just be honest, what do you think about Korea when you were there?

T: That it was Seoul I remember. Was devastated, okay? The damage was intensive..extensive. And it was, that’s horrible, you know? I have, now I’ve been in Japan too. I’ve spent all the time in Japan and I went to the cities that were firebombed. And that was awful but in Korea you could see parts of the building and Japan it was just waste land you know? So it was kind of awful. It makes you think, “How’re these people ever going to get back on their feet? How’d they ever going to build these buildings again?” It looked like two like a big job to do, you know? But they did it very quickly, I understand.

I: Tell me about what did you write in your letter back to your family? Whom did you write to?

T: Oh I was.. when I dealt with my family I suddenly became very young again. When I was working with the gang, I got old very quickly. So it was a kind of a… a kind of a harlequin’s mask, you know? When I dealt with my family I was very young and sort of like a naïve guy. You know?

I: And hero. Act like a hero.

T: Oh yeah, of course. So I’d send them pictures of.. we had some plane crashes, we had to go out and we had to cover the bodies and we had…we had to remove the…what was that? Friend or foe…the planes were… the top secret equipment had explosives into it. It was our job because it was our shop to remove those explosives. So I of course brag it up when I send. And sometimes I take pictures of the crashed airplanes and try to be cute or funny. “Yeah, I made it again mom, I’m safe.” And that kind of thing. And I sent them a hundred, a hundred dollars a month I remember. Cuz I don’t spend that much money and they saved it back home when I got out of the service, When I got out of the service, I drove directly to Columbus, Ohio, I had enrolled while I was in the service, I registered while I was in the service to go to Ohio State. I went to Ohio State University and I learned to be an engineer. I got a bachelor in mechanical engineering from Ohio State University. And that was the end of my career.

I: What were you thinking when you were in Korea? Did you know why you were there? What were you thinking yourself?

T: It never occurred to me. It never occurred to me. Somewhere along in there though, and I don’t know when it was, the Koreans were some..some of the political people were being executed or something. I don’t know if that was during the war, after the war, I don’t know. All I remember is that the guy’s name began with a P. He was a president and he got executed or assassinated. Im not sure which. What did I think of the people?

I: No, at the time, at the time, when you were in Korea, while your service, did you know what you were doing there?

T: No. I have to be honest. And say no. I did not have any feelings about saving the country, saving the world, keeping the red menace out. No, I just never thought about stuff like that. I thought more about buying magnetrons for the Sperry gyroscope gadgets.

I: Now, you know what happened to Korea after the war, right?

T: After the war?

Yeah. I mean the economy, and

T: Yeah, it became very different from Vietnam. It became a country, you now, they were self-sufficient. Very much like Germany did. They pulled themselves out of the problems and but you know, I never went too far south of Suwon, so I don’t what the country’s like down there. My brother was in the service at the same time as I was in. And he was in an entertainment outfit that toured Korea.

I: Really?

T: Yeah!

I: Younger brother?

T: Yeah, my younger. He was a year younger than I.

I: What’s his name?

T: Frank Santelli. He’s dead now. Frank Santelli. He was in the Army and his job was to play football.

I: Did you see him in Korea?

T: No, I never got to see him. I talked to him on the phone though,. So we’d exchange notes and all that. And His job was to play football. He was a football star in colle—in high school. They went around, there was a movie where Generals… MASH. Remember the movies in MASH?

I: Yeah

T: Well, he was that kind of entertainment person. And he would travel around playing football.

I: In Korea?

T: Yeah! It was Korea. Down around the southern tip. What’s down there? I don’t know.

I: Busan?

T: Yeah, I think it was Busan. And that’s where he called from

I: So he performed as a football player to entertain the soldiers?

T: Yeah

I: Geez

T: Why do you say that?

I: It was during the war

T: Bob Hope entertained the troops during the war

I: I know, but I know they are the real entertainer, but not the football player as the entertainer, I have never thought about that before.

T: Oh yeah, that’s right, they had the Army had a football team that travelled around playing football teams at the place that they went to. For example, let me just give you a quick example. It doesn’t deal with Korea. But when I got back to our Turner Air Force base, we had a touch football team. And we played other outfits through there. And that’s how it was in Korea. When I talk about MASH, you have to go back and look at this particular episode, where this football player, where two generals took their men and turned them into football… I don’t remember

I: That’s very interesting!

T: But my brother played football. You know?

At the same time that you were in Korea right?

T: Right, during the war!

I: Wow

T: Why do you shake your head? There wasn’t any action going down in Busan.

I: I know, but still, two brothers from one family, at the same time in the war, in Korea. That’s…

T: Is that unusual?

I: Yeah its very unusual. I have interviewed some of the Korean War veterans who were there together, fighting together, but not many. Very rare. So you saw Suwon and Seoul all devastated at the time, right?

T: Say that again?

I: Devastated. Suwon and Seoul

T: Oh, yeah. Devastated.

I: Now did you see any picture of modern Korea? Seoul?

T: I’m trying to think. I don’t remember if I did or not. All I know is that Korea pulled themselves out. Very much like Germany did. That’s all I can think of.

I: So what do you think about that?

T: I think that’s great that they did that. I think that’s the fine thing that your people have done. You have a need to survive and you did. And just like Germany did, but Germany, but not like South Korea. And North Korea, I don’t know a whole lot about North Korea today, except there’s this weird guy that’s president.

I: Kim Jun Un

T: And he was a kid when he took over and

I: So are you proud of your service? As a Korean War Veteran?

T: Absolutely.

I: Why? Tell me why?

T: Because it was something I did. Something I well, it wasn’t because of heroics or anything. It was that I became a grown person. I felt responsible. They made me a responsible person. It’s all about that kind of thing, not about the heroics. But I was going to tell you, when you were changing the camera that I was frightened before I got to Korea. That I was afraid to go to Korea. See my buddy and I had been in Japan, like I told you, and we liked in the 40s, you know, so we volunteered to go back to japan, at least that’s where we thought we were going, and they sent us to Korea, of course. But I remember I was told I was going to Korea, I was scared out of my mind. I’m not a religion person, never have been, but I got kind of religious there. I didn’t really know what to expect.

I: Because you fought for us, now Korea is 11th largest economy in the world.

T: Is that right? I didn’t know that.

I: And you know motor vehicles, like Hyundai, all over in the United States, Samsung..

T: Yeah, in fact, I just bought a television. Samsung television

Samsung did you buy?

T: Yeah, it’s in my room now, 32 inch, I just got it.

I: Isn’t that wonderful? That Korea the south

T: South Korea. Make sure you say South Korea.

I: We were able to transform from a very poor country, everything destroyed, to now it’s a really prospering country.

T: Yes. I…the thing that I thought to myself was how can these people ever recover from all of this, and not as significant as the Second World War. And Vietnam was even worse. I think Americans get used to wars. And they don’t think it’s a big deal anymore. That’s the sad thing, you know?

I: What is the legacy?

T: It’s a very selfish reason, okay? Because of the war in Korea, I got a college education that I might not have got otherwise, because the government gave me tuition to go to school. Not a lot of tuition, but some tuition. And because of that it made it possible. My dream has always been to go to get an electrical engineering degree. I always fancied myself as being electrical oriented. Legacy…it’s nothing so gorgeous. I tell you, it just helped my get through school. What else can I say? I mean I’d like to say something heroic for you, but it’s not there, you know?

I: Oh no, being honest is good, and Titus, I want to thank you for your service, during the war. Even though you were not really thinking about as you know, saving a country, but you did. And now because your service and sacrifice, we were able to pull that out, as one of the most dynamic democracies in Asia and very prospering and advanced economy. And I thank you, thank you for your service.

T: You’re welcome.