Walter Kreider Jr.
Walter Kreider Jr. grew up during the Great Depression in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, as an only child. He recalls his family experiencing hards times as many others did during that era, but he fondly remembers the love and support his parents, aunts, and uncles gave him during his upbringing and the willingness of neighbors to help one another. He was drafted into the Army in 1952 and served in the 3rd Infantry Division in Korea from 1953-1954. He recalls his initial landing in Korea and the train ride he experienced on is way to the front lines. He offers a contrast of the Korea he saw in the the 1950s to the Korea he revisited in the 1980s. He shares his recollections of Seoul and the destruction he saw while serving and speaks of the cars, buildings, and overall beauty he saw upon his return years later. He is proud of his service and comments on the Korean people specifically, describing them as hardworking, creative, and caring.
Growing Up during the Great Depression
Walter Kreider Jr. shares that he grew up as an only child. He recalls his family experiencing hards times as many others did during the Great Depression, but he fondly remembers the love and support his parents, aunts, and uncles shed on him during his upbringing. He recalls the willingness of neighbors to help one another.
Contrasting Korea: 1950s vs 1980s
Walter Kreider Jr. contrasts the Korea he saw in the the 1950s to the Korea he revisited in the 1980s. He shares his recollections of Seoul and the destruction he saw while serving. He comments on how the war left many children orphaned. He shares that the Korea he saw on his return visit starkly contrasted his memories as there were many cars and buildings, and he comments on its beauty. He attributes the transformation to Korea's quest for education.
Landing in Korea and Military Entry
Walter Kreider Jr. recounts landing in Korea. He shares that he was greeted by soldiers waiting to return home and recalls how they shouted words in an effort to frighten the arriving soldiers. He details riding a train up to the front lines near Panmunjeom. He backtracks and describes how he was drafted and his placement in artillery.
The Korean People
Walter Kreider Jr., with no prior knowledge of Korea before serving, he shares what Korea is to him now. He comments on the Korean people specifically, describing them as hardworking, creative, and caring. He adds that they are a good ally and represent freedom and liberty. He comments on similarities between Korean and Amish farmers.
[Beginning of Recorded Material]
W: Dr. Walter Kreider, Jr.
I: And could you spell your last name?
W: K R E I D E R.
I: And you’re, you said Junior.
I: Yeah. And doctor you said yourself.
W: Doctor, yep.
I: What doctor are you?
I: PhD what?
I: Education. So you share the same degree with, uh, Paul.
W: Yes. We were classmates.
I: Good to know.
W: In high school. High school classmates and, uh, yeah. We’re both the same age, both doctors.
I: So what, what did you study about it? Education?
W: Uh, I was, I was involved with a, with a doctorate with Curriculum Theory, and I, and I worked with, uh, developing, uh, I had a, a program, an integrated program that was very unique, and I integrated history, geography and mathematics.
Only two groups of students, and I had student teachers from Millersville, and it was a very successful program, uh. I later became involved, uh, well with Korea really set things off. It, when I came back, I finally began to teach.
W: And going over to Korea, uh, two weeks son the Pacific Ocean, and my experiences in Korea and Japan were super.
W: Uh, it, it laid the groundwork for my studies, and
most of them were in Comparative Education. We looked at schools in different societies. I worked very closely with a, uh, uh, with Japan. I was a monju, mombushu fellow, like a Rhodes scholar. It, it’s one of the highest honors Japan bestows on an educator.
W: And so I worked with, uh, uh, China. I was one of the first to go in after their cultural revolution, to go into China and, and, uh, uh,
uh, I worked with the Soviet Union, uh, with Cuba, uh. I, I, Estonia, uh, uh.
I: Could you put that, uh, wire under your, under your arm, under your arm. Just put your arm,
W: Oh, here.
I: Yes, yes, yes, yes.
W: So my work was Comparative Education.
I: Yeah. Um, as I told you, we are making this into curricular resources, and now
Professor Kathy Swan and John Lee who’s leading in C3 how to make the lesson plan. They are working with us. So I think later I will connect you with them, okay?
I: And maybe you can come to our, one of our conferences that we are hosting and met, meet with your juniors, you know?
W: Yeah, yeah. Well, of course when I, when I first offered that to, I wrote up the course and, uh, we offered it, uh, and we didn’t get enough students,
so we couldn’t, we couldn’t offer it. So the next year we put it on the agenda again, and again it didn’t go over. And the third time they said we’re gonna go with it regardless of how many you have, we’re gonna go with your program. I had five in there. The next time, uh, my classes were all filled, every,
W: The first day, it was filled. They were interested in, in the study and, my coming back fresh with information from Cuba, they were very interested in, uh,
and especially my work with, uh, with Japan, uh, and Korea. That, that Korea, I, I was, uh, uh, editor of the Rock of the Marne, and so I worked in Seoul at the Chosin Elbow. I was very close to the Koreans, and I have some of my papers here, a couple of the papers. But, uh, it, it was a fantastic experience.
W: To, to work with them and to see how they’ve,
the printing at that time, and I, and I would proofread it, and it was right every time.
I: Um hm.
W: Right on the, right on the numbers. So I, I owe a lot to my experiences, uh, in Korea and a result of the Korean War which helped me, I was, later, uh, the GI Bill, and so I went through my Masters’ program and Doctoral program at the help of the U.S. government.
W: to, to get me through.
I: Let’s get into it. Uh, what is your birthdate?
W: June 26, 1930.
I: Um. One day after the breakout of the
I: Korean War
W: Yeah, yeah.
I: Where were you born?
W: In Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
I: Um. Tell me about your family when you were growing up, your parents and your siblings.
W: Uh, I’m an only child.
I: Um hm.
W: My mother and father, you couldn’t ask for a better, better, uh, family. Uh, I was born 1930. That’s the Depression.
I: Um hm.
W: That was also the,
the record for the hottest date here, in this area, uh. It was 103 when I was born. So that was a record. That was a record for, uh. It held for many, many years. The coldest date was in 1930 in, in, in March, and we just broke that record. So 1930 was a, was quite a year.
I: So what was your parents doing?
W: At the beginning of the Depression. I was born at the time of the Depression.
I: Yeah, I know.
W: And I
I: So what was your parents doing?
W: Uh, they were both working at a soap mill
W: in Lancaster. And when the Depression hit, they, they lost their jobs and, uh, my mother was at home, and my dad did any, everything possible to keep us, to keep us going. And I never thought I was poor. We, we were really poor.
I: Um hm.
W: But we had good buddies, friends, neighbors, and we, we never thought that we
were actually poor. And so, uh, as I, they supported me in everything, in, in education, uh. I played a lot of, uh, baseball and basketball, and they were always in the stands rooting me on, and so I couldn’t ask for better
I: Um hm.
W: And, and my, my, uh, my aunts and uncles. I had a super aunt that provided elocution lessons for me in the first grade. I was later George Washington, the George Washington Elementary School. But I got into that,
that kind of thing, and, uh, my uncles were super. My being an only child and having all those uncles, three uncles, an aunt and my dad, they spoiled me. But it was with love. It was with love.
I: So when did you graduate, and what high school?
W: I graduated in 1948 from J.P. McCaskey High School.
I: Could you spell it?
W: Uh, Mc, M C C A S K E Y. J. P. McCaskey.
I: J. P.
I: P as in Peter.
I: J.P. McCaskey High School.
W: That’s it, yeah.
I: And let me ask you. Did you learn anything about Korea at the time?
I: Nobody teach you anything about Korea?
I: There was no Korea in the textbook?
W: No. The only time there was something in the textbooks was that if there was some kind of a double war, and
W: And, I know it. In the United States. Uh, the first thing I
discovered was the, uh, the discovery of Japan, Perry, and that was the only thing that you found in the book. Our books were all tilted toward U.S., Pennsylvania, and Western Europe. Uh, that was the background that I had
I: Um hm.
W: Before going to Korea.
I: And now you are Korean War veteran.
I: And have you been back to Korea?
I: When was it?
W: I was on that, uh, Mount, Mombashu fellowship,
and I was all over Japan, and I had travel, uh, ways of going. They just said where would you like to go? And I, I said I like to, I asked my wife do, would you like to see where I, I spent some time? And she said yes. So we went, uh, to Seoul
I: Um hm.
W: In ’85. It was, uh, right before Christmas. It was cold, but it, it was neat, and I discovered Kim Chi at that time.
W: Uh, that’s the best tasting, and I, I wouldn’t taste it in, in Korea. They said no, you don’t wanna do that,
and when I was in this hotel, it was so cold, and it had Kim Chin on the menu, I said I’m gonna try that.
W: And now I know that the Koreans, almost every meal there’s some Kim Chi that’s gonna be around, and uh, so
I: It’s an addiction.
W: Yeah, it was, it was, uh, interesting to go back. I worked in, in Seoul part of the time. I, uh, I had one newspaper that was called the Front Line, and I would take the news coming from Japan at dictation speed, and I would type it out,
and then the paper would go out and, uh, that won awards.
I: So when were you in Korea in the War, 1950?
W: I came there in, in June of ’53.
I: No, no. When were you in, when did you arrive in Korea?
W: Oh. You mean, uh, when I was, uh, at, at military?
I: When did you arrive in Korea
I: in the War?
W: It was June of 1953.
W: On the Ocean, I missed
uh, Flag Day, our Flag Day, June 14, and coming back I had to July 4th. Uh,
I: And when did you leave Korea from your service?
W: I left uh, uh, when the, July of ’54.
I: So you were there, uh, right before the Armistice, and then you stayed there for one year,
I: And you look around Korea. So, my question is, when you go back, went back to Korea in 1985,
W: Uh hm.
I: Tell me, this is what students will listen. Give them contrasting picture, detail.
W: Oh boy. Well, my, my first experience in Seoul was right after the War. So it had all the damages all over the place. It was, and orphan children on the streets, and it, it was bad stuff. I, I would go down periodically from our camp to the Third Division, uh, and, uh, I had a little camera. I did take some pictures of, uh,
what I was seeing here, and I had never seen anything like that before. Now when I come back with my wife in ’85, what do I see? I mean, we pulled up, my, uh, hotel. The, the cab driver drove, dropped us off in ci, this side of the street. My hotel was on the other side of the street, and I had a lot of luggage from our, our work in Japan, and I worked with the Taiwanese. One of my former students, Taiwan, Taiwan, so I worked with them in
Taiwan, Hong Kong and, uh, here I am on this side of the street, and I’ve got to go over there, the traffic was so bad another cab came up, and he said where you want to go, and I said over there across the street. He, he couldn’t believe it, and he took me for a ride around Seoul until I got on the other side of the street to our hotel.
I: You kidding me?
W: And it was beautiful. What, what a change, uh. We went up the tower to take a look out over the area, uh.
I have pictures of the old Capable, and the South Gate. I used to walk around there, and I see beautiful pictures now of, of the South Gate, and I get goose bumps. Uh, when I had Direct tv, I was able to pick up Korean television. They had some really good stuff. Now I can get Chinese television, international.
W: So they keep me aware of what’s going on, and with this thing of, uh, the meeting between the two, the two Koreas, uh, hopefully that’s, that will, will work out.
I: As a well-educated veteran, you were there. You are the witness of completely destroyed Korea in 1953 to 4
I: You were there in 1985,
I: And then, did you went back, uh, go back Korea after 1985?
W: No, no.
I: And you know what Korea is now, right?
W: Oh, for sure.
I: It’s 11thlargest economy in the world.
I: How could you put that into a perspective, from rubble to 11thlargest economy,
and you are part of that history?
W: I, I think it is due to your quest for education. That your, the guys that I work with, the Koreans I work with in Korea,
I: Um hm.
W: studied. Education was important to them, uh. We called the one guy Abe Lincoln because at night he’d have a, a little light, and he’s there studying, and I know he’s gonna make it . Uh, I work with a guy
Kim Min Soo, and I couldn’t have done what I did without him. My papers won awards, but Kim Min Soo was right there right, right by my side, and he can speak three, four languages fluently. I, I one time after he did very well, I tapped him on the back and said atta boy, Tim, and he’d look around, and he Kim Min Soo, no voyson. Thirty-five years old, three children, no voyson, I sent a note to him. That’s what we say sometimes, uh, what, what we appreciate your, your work.
Uh, so I, I, I
I: And do you know
W: knew from some of the things that I saw that the Koreans were very creative, and, uh, they were gonna make it, and that we’re gonna make it through, through sound education. That’s Confucius. I mean, education’s important. Family’s important.
I: Education, education,
W: That’s the key.
W: That’s the key. And
I: You know U. S. had involved in many countries
after World War II. Can you name any other country that come out like Korea, out of the rubble and devastation and 11thlargest economy in the world?
I: Then, why don’t we teach about this history? Why is it known as a Forgotten? You, you are the right person to answer that question. You are PhD in education. You were there and you know what’s been done. Why is it known as?
forgotten, and why don’t we teach about it?
W: Um, I thought you did. I, I thought you, you, you mean in Korea you don’t
I: In, in the United States.
W: Oh, the United States.
I: Yeah, yeah. Why is it known as
W: Ah, ah.
I: Forgotten War and
W: I got you. I understand that
I: And there’s only one paragraph on the Korean War in our History book while there is, uh, three pages on the Vietnam War.
W: Yeah, yeah.
I: Tell me please. Answer that.
W: Stupidity. [LAUGHS]
I: [LAUGHS] No, no, no, no.
More than that.
W: Uh, that’s, the people that review the books, I, I had a course at Millersville University, uh, that was for teachers of secondary History, secondary Social Studies, and one of the first suggestions that I made to my students was get on the Textbook Selection Committee because you’re gonna get all kind of books are gonna flow in from those publishers that you can review,
and I invited one of the salesmen for one of the book publishers to come and visit with my students, and he came in, and he started throwing these books to everybody. Free books, free books, all different kinds. Now, this is a salesman. He said open that book. What do you see? Big margins, big pictures, big print.
W: There’s nothing of any interest in that book, in those books. He, here was a salesman,
and my students is sitting there and said he’s trying to, the people that write up those books, I mean, they’re interested in the money, uh. They
W: In some cases they, they are politically involved, and, and, uh, don’t show the knowledge that they, they ought to, um. They, uh, the kind of things that were, like the kids. This was to honor Korean veterans,
and the, the lady that wrote the letter to our group
I: Um hm.
W: our, our, Paul Cunningham group, was my granddaughter, and she is inviting us, the Korean vets, to visit with her classes, uh. In the end of May, we’ll be going in, uh, to, uh, to talk to the kids
W: About this campaign, about the War, and the, uh, the books, I have books that are available to teachers
who are gonna include the Korean studies. Uh, as a professor, I felt, my class in junior high school was a miniature United Nations. I had all the nations in there, and they were reading, they were reading good stuff.
I: But Walter, let’s go back to the original question. Why is it forgotten, and why we don’t teach? Is that because of the money interest that making textbook, or why is it?
Is it because it’s a Korea that nobody knew and it was so little and so primitive? Why is it?
W: A good question. I, I, that’s the same thing
I: That’s my
W: When I, when I was at Millersville as an undergraduate, we had no studies at all on Asia. None. So when I, when I know I’m drafted and I found out I was going to be going to Korea, uh, I knew the first stop was gonna be Japan
because we’re, they were dependents on that ship, and, but I got off of that ship I figured I was gonna be playing baseball in Japan. No, I was sent down, and I got on a train, and I went from Yokohama to Sasebo, Japan, and there we had training, military, and were, we were prepping to go into Korea, uh. Our knowledge was minimal, and when they called my name out at that time, the
American forces, uh, sent individual, they didn’t sent like a whole Company.
W: But, uh, but you work with your buddies, and you go together to Korea. We were individuals going to Korea, and here I am now preparing from, to go from Sasebo to Inchon by ship, we had to stand to eat. It was terrible. But some of our planes were dropping out of the air, and so we had to go by ship again, and when we got into, uh, Inchon, then I was
I: What was your first impression of Inchon? What did you see, and how did you feel
W: I was just landing,
I: about it?
W: We just landed there, and, and, uh, we were greeted by all of the GIs that are going home, and they’re all yelling words at us like, you know, they’re trying to frighten us, and they, they did a pretty good job of it, and they put us on one of the most beat up trains you have ever seen in your life. Now I compare it to your trains in Korea today
I: Yeah, right.
W: unbelievable. That train, I don’t know how it went. It, it had wooden, wooden boards, no lights,
windows were open, and we start taking off, and they kept dropping cars off, and we said Sarge , when are we getting off? They said you’re the last ones off.
I: So where did you land?
W: We were front line.
W: Uh, we were, we were headed up toward, uh, Panmunjom I guess it was. We, we, we were, I know we were north of Inchon and, uh, it started, you could hear noise, baboom,
boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom. We said Sarge, is that thunder? Heh, he said no. That’s a front line. You’re the 3rdInfantry Division, and the 3rdInfantry Division is on the front line.
I: So let’s go back. When did you en, you were, uh, drafted?
W: Uh, October 29, 1952.
I: So you knew already that Korean War broke out.
I: And were you thinking that you were going to be there?
I: In the War?
I: No, you didn’t want to go.
W: I didn’t think I would be going there.
W: Uh, what, what we, uh, I went to Fort Meade, and I, I was sent to Camp Chaffee, Arkansas for war
I: For training.
W: For training.
W: It was good. It, it, it was tough.
I: Um hm.
W: Uh, and then I went to Leadership school. That was like, uh, United States Marines. And that
I: So what was your specialty?
W: And then I would have done a, a solid drill team, which was, I mean, we, we were sharp. and
everything was boom, boom, baboom. Uh, everything was sir.
I: Um hm.
W: And so I was Leadership school. When I, when I went home, I had to pay, they took us to Kansas City, and they said we’ll see you in a week, and we had to pay our own flight back to Lancaster, and then instead of going back to Kansas City and then taking the train to Seattle, I paid for a flight from Harrisburg to Seattle, Washington so I’d have a couple more days at home with my, may fiancé’.
That was tough.
W: That was tough. Harrisburg, my parents and, and her were up there and, uh,
I: You were the only child, so
I: your parents might be very
W: Yeah, that was a tough day. But I had good buddies in, in, in Washington and
I: So what was your specialty?
W: In Korea?
I: No, yeah, in Korea as a military MOS?
W: My, I was ar, uh, I was artillery.
W: Yeah. MOS, yeah. It was art, art
I: So what did you do specifically?
Explain it to young students that will watch this.
W: Well, when I, when I attended the orientation program at the 3rdInfantry Division, they were talking about the history or the important history, the history of the 3rdInfantry Division.
I: Right. But
W: Uh, the, and, and, uh, Audrey Murphy and the Rock of the Marne and the history of the 3rdInfantry, and I was a part of that. But at the end of that orientation, they were
interested in someone that had newspaper experience, and so I volunteer. I, I, and the, they interviewed me, and they had a number of guys interested, uh, and they said what is your newspaper experience? I said, uh, The Biddet, that was McCaskey High School, ha, newspaper and The Snapper which was the college newspaper, and he told me that if we select you, we’ll send a jeep around tomorrow
morning to pick you up. Now I’m pulling guard duty on the front line with a rifle that doesn’t fire. When I was in Japan, I told the Sargeant. I said this doesn’t fire. He said don’t worry about it. You’ll get a new one in Korea.
W: Uh, and so, but that first night, here I am pulling guard duty. I was hoping and praying that that jeep would come up the next day, and it did, and I’m sirring everybody, and they’re telling me don’t sir me, I’m Leadership school, and I, and, but they said what, where are you supposed to go? I said it’s a newspaper, it’s newspaper.
And they said that must be, uh, T I& E, Troop Information and Education. Education, bango. At last, at last. Uh, but I didn’t see the guy that recruited me until that night. We’re in a dining room, and the, Greenberg and his group were over in a corner, and they looked at me and said where have you been? We sent a jeep for you this morning. You should have been with us. I said well they told me that the newspaper was T, TI & E. No, no.
You’re supposed to be at P I O, Public Information Office. You’re with us. And I had to tell the guy I was gonna replace with, with T I & E that I was gonna be leaving them, but he grabbed a hold of me when I said to him you’re my replacement, and I, I finally wound up going to P I O and back to T I & E, and hey said he belongs to T I & E. But the Captain wanted me to drive a truck because my MOS was Artillery,
he wanted me to drive a, a book mobile up to the front lines, and I told him, I said no, I’m supposed to be newspaper, and the guy I was gonna replace was the Editor of the paper. I tell you, I typed and I typed and I typed, uh. Some of the best resources for you and for others that are studying the Korean Conflict, are found in letters. When I got in there, I just, I, I had to take dictation speed news coming from Japan, type it up, put the paper
together, and I, and I did all these things. I worked hard, and the guys, the guys
I: So what is it?
W: What, what are you putting in so much effort? I said I want that job and, uh, I, I finally the guy I was gonna replace, he got too much alcohol in him. He couldn’t do it. I, he said you can. I’ve seen you. You see, you can do it. So I put together that paper, The Front Line, three, four times. Uh, the Captain came, I mean the General came in, the General,
Kanumwho’s a hero of, of Normandy, D-Day, little guy, all spit and polished, he comes in there, atten, hut, and he said to my Captain, I’ve noticed a difference in the paper last couple days, and I really like it. Keep up the good work. So the Captain looks at me and said you’re got the paper.
I: Okay. So you, you worked for the paper?
W: Yeah. The, then later
W: they had trouble in Seoul, uh, and they needed help down there,
and they said can you go down there and help them, and I said I’ll, I’ll, I, I will. And so then I, I worked with P I O. They were sending me all information, pictures, everything of the Korean War, and I was publishing this newspaper at the Chosin Elbow.
W: Which is still a major publisher in, in South Korea. Right?
I: So what was your unit? Third Division, what
W: Third Infantry Division.
I: Uh huh.
W: Yep. Yeah.
I: And? More?
W: I was Headquarters Division. I was there with,
with Ike Eisen
I: Headquarters Division? No.
W: No. Headquarters, uh, no, not Division. It would be the Headquarters
I: Uh huh.
W: Department or whatever.
I: Regiment and Battalion.
W: And Ike Eisenhower’s son was there.
I: So what is your
W: John, John Eisenhower.
I: battalion? What is your battalion?
W: Well, I had no battalion. I was Third Infantry
I: Uh huh.
W: T I & E. T I & E.
I: T I and E.
W: Troop Information and Education.
I: Um hm.
W: Later, I taught some classes there, uh,
after the War.
I: Uh huh.
W: And I did a lot of, uh, I did a lot of traveling. I, I, I, I really walked around Seoul. I went back, and all that was the Forbidden City back in there, I spent, I could spend time learning more about Korea than I
I: So you worked in Seoul area.
I: Okay. Division, Third Division Headquarters.
W: Well, no. I worked with, uh, Eighth Army and, uh, Special Services. I was their
what they called TDY, Temporary Duty, uh, and I was on my own. There was no blowing a bugle or, I was, I was my own individual. My purpose was to publish a good paper
I: Um hm.
W: And our paper, uh,
I: Show that paper to me.
W: Yeah. Um hm. Um hm. This is a Rock of the Marne.
And all the, all the type was set individually. The workmanship, and when I, when I would proofread it, there were no errors.
I: Rock of the Marne? What is that Marne?
W: It’s, it’s a river in, in Europe that during the first World War
I: And why is it
W: They held the line, uh, held the Germans
and made it possible for the Peace Agreement.
I: Yeah, but why is it related to Korea?
W: This, the Rock of the Marne?
W: No, that’s the Division.
W: That’s a Division.
I: So where is the newspaper that you wrote, you worked for?
W: Well, this one. I, I was the Editor of this one.
I: In Korea?
W: In Korea. And then we had a front line, and I’ll see if I have
I: Any, any article about Korea there?
W: I got that one and, Oh yeah. Oh, for sure.
I: Walter, where is it?
W: Oh yeah. Look at some of the articles, I have
I: Can you show me the article that you wrote?
W: Well, that one, yeah. I, I have that one at home in a scrapbook. Some of the articles I wrote, yeah.
I: I really don’t understand. That is the newspaper. Title is in Europe, right?
W: That, that’s the title for our Division.
I: Your Division.
W: Our Division is known as the Rock of the Marne.
I: Got it. Got it.
I: Got it. And
W: And they, they held the, the, the Germans in the first world war, uh. And Syngman Rhee referred to them as the, uh, fire brigade, the Third Division
I: Uh huh.
W: Wherever they had trouble, the Third would go in, and while I was there, we were moving all over the place because the Chinese were. They were making a last ditch movement,
and so the Third had to be making all these moves.
W: So we were constantly loading up and moving, setting up new, new, uh, new quarters.
I: So Rock, Rock of the Marne is the Division newspaper, and you wrote and worked for that newspaper in Seoul.
I: From 1954?
W: Um hm.
I: Okay, great.
I: I wish that you can show me or you can scan the article that you wrote in the newspaper, then we can publish
in the web.
W: I don’t know where that would, I don’t know where.
I: That’s great. And what other, other newspaper. Can you show me that?
W: Yeah. Um hm. I, I have stacks of them.
W: One, one, one is really a, a, a gold mine, uh. It, every day I wrote my wife a letter.
She would write a letter to me every day.
W: When she, when her, when her mail arrived, and the guys were all jealous of that. They said there’s Kreider again. He’s getting more mail. But she would mail me a letter every day. I would respond and put her letter in, back in that envelope and send it back to her. We have a box this high, this wide of the
letters that were written.
I: Do you still keep that?
W: They’re, they’re in our archives at Millersville University. The archives have a lot of my stuff.
I: So do you have a scanned version of those?
W: No. They’re all, there’s stacks of them. They’re all individual letters.
I: Did you scan it?
W: They, they, no.
W: I just put them in that box, and anybody that would be interested in the Korean Conflict and would want to get a, a GI’s vision of what’s taking place at that, I don’t know what I wrote every day. Then the guys said what are you writing about?
And, and, and most of it was I miss you, I miss you and all this. But there are other things about the military,
W: About what I’m doing,
W: And where I go and what I’m doing. Now this, there, there’s a book that’s been published. When, our Korean group meets tomorrow, uh. He let me borrow a book. I read the book in one day. It was about, uh, a member of P I O, Third Infantry Division, mine, who,
what he did was to take and do the same thing I did with the letters, and his wife wrote a book on his comments that he was making while he was serving in Korea.
I: Um hm.
W: And it’s sort of like a little handbook of, uh, what it was like then, uh, compared to what it is now. But
I: So what do you think about this, that still Korea is divided, and North Koreans are developing missile and nuclear technology?
President Trump just, uh, offered to meet with the Kim Jung Moon. What do you think is happening?
W: Well, I, I know the beauties of Seoul, and the people of Seoul. It is so close to them. I can’t see them lobbing shells over those beautiful people.
I: Um hm.
W: And I just, uh, I know there must be a, a lot of concern. I know if I was living in Seoul and had that kind of a threat and to
see him finally open up at the Olympics, that, that was, you could see the, the love that these people had for one another to divide them. I was in, in, in Berlin, too, a number of times, and you had the same kind of problem there with the East and the West, and
I: What do you think about Trump policy? Do you think he will really do make a difference this time?
W: We have a new Secretary of State, you know.
I: Yeah, already.
W: This morning.
I: Mike Pompeo.
I: And, what do you think about Trump?
So do you think he will make a difference?
W: It’s hard to figure, he’s hard to figure out. There are times I figure he’s crazy, and, and, and other times he’s pretty sharp. He, he’s, he’s not, he’s not taking those, some of those political bits and especially the, uh, the uh, press. I mean, he really takes on the press.
W: And evidently he’s got a good man. He was first in his class at West Point, and he’s, everybody seems to like this guy.
And it’s nice to have a Secretary of State that agrees with the President on things. The other two were not, they were not doing the job. I’m wishing him the very best. But there are times when I think man, he ought to be impeached, uh, for making the statements that he does, and these tweets. Just stay off of that thing. We never had a President like that. You know, I made a mistake, too. I was at the University, no, I was at the State Department in Washington. They used to invite me down
because I did a lot of international stuff, and we usually had a briefing, and then we would go up to the fourth floor and meet the Secretary of State, and then they had uh, uh, nice things to eat there. And my buddy, I was, I served with, with him in India, uh, and that was quite an experience, my, my experience there, uh, but, uh, he said would you like to meet the, would you like to meet the, uh, uh, the, uh, Ambassador,
uh, U.S. Ambassador to Korea, for Korea, because you were in the Korean War. Yes, I said. I would like to meet him. And he come over, and I shook his hand, and I said I have a very, very close friend in South Korea. And, his name was Kim Min Soo. Out of my mouth came Kim Ill Sung. Oh man, that guy, [LAUGHS] I said, and my poor friend is standing there. I said I don’t know how that ever happened,
that his name was Kim Min Soo. I see there’s a Kim Min Soo now that’s a high official in Korea, uh. It might be his grandson for all I know. But, uh, it, it’s, it, uh, that was very embarrassing.
I: Yeah. I have only 20 minutes, so I wanna focus on your, your service in Korea, okay?
I: And, so what is Korea to you now? You told me that even though you were very well educated from the very beginning, you didn’t know anything about Korea.
W: Um um.
I: Now you know all about Korea. So what is
W: I don’t know about all about, but I know a lot more.
I: So what is Korea to you personally?
W: Um. Very, very hard working, creative, loving, caring people. The, the, the Koreans. A good ally. Um, they stand for liberty and, and an expression of their ideas and freedom. I’m getting goosebumps now.
W: But the very thing that, that we were taught we’re trying to teach now, sometimes not so good.
I: Um hm.
W: Uh, the, that’s, that’s my memories of, uh, of Korea.
W: Uh, I was very fortunate to, our winter wasn’t that cold, uh, and I saw springtime. The farmers, I showed picture, I took pictures of the farmers, and the style that they used in farming, and I showed
it to some of our farmers here in the Lancaster area. They was ah, very interesting, very. That’s what they do? I said yeah. I said sometimes they say you can smell Korea about five miles out
I: Yeah, right.
W: [INAUDIBLE] And, and I said, just like home. This place here where I am now is called Pleasant View, uh. It’s a pleasant view, but sometimes in the Spring the farmers are getting ready. We have
W: We have some Amish up in that area that are getting ready to do their thing, and I did show it to the Amish. I
showed some of the pictures to the Amish, ah, very interesting, they said, very interesting. Yah.
I: Very similar.
W: Yeah, yeah. Pretty similar. Yeah.
W: Well, the highways, uh, uh. The highways now I’m sure are good. Our highways at that time were dirt and, and they had big ditches on the side for drainage. The War is over now, and we have this driver that, the Captain didn’t want. He wanted me to be the driver. But we have a driver, we really can’t, he really can’t drive, and we’re coming,
we’re coming down the road, and as you turn into your unit, you have to go blackout
I: You’re talking about Korea?
W: I’m talking about Korea.
I: Yeah. 1953 – 4
W: ’54 and, uh, our driver’s name was Wright, W R I G H T .
I: Uh huh.
W: From New York. He was driving, and it’s like a beat up old ambulance, and it’s, and the, and the Captain is standing up like Napoleon, uh, or, or, or Julius Caesar, driving, you know, as the, as the car is moving on, uh,
his name is Wright. So when we get to the point where we’re supposed to go blackout going back to our unit, he starts yelling Wright, Wright, Wright, Wright. Now, Wright, W R I G H T thought he meant R I, and we went down in that ditch, and we’re standing there, and he’s yelling at Wright, and we’re all, oh God. We had to get the Motor Pool out, and we had more, one of the things about the military and the, we had a good sense of humor, and we were able to laugh at a number of things, uh.
what do you think is the legacy of the Korean War?
W: Help your buddies.
W: Help your friends. Yeah, look, I mean, um, be aware, uh, be knowledgeable, um. Education. That, that’s, that’s the key.
W: The legacy of Korea would be they, they believed in education.
They, they believed in the family, especially elderly, and, uh, they have many of the values, uh, that we consider very important international. And, uh, they’re good, they’re, they’re, they’re, it’s, when we, when these kids, uh, celebrate what we did in Korea , this is the future,
these kids. And they have understanding about the Korean and why, and why it was important that we were there. Uh,
I: But it, it’s late because our textbook doesn’t tell much about the Korean War.
I: It’s all about MacArthur, and it’s just one paragraph.
W: Well, those are political that, all of those books are
I: No, we’re talking about plain world history textbook.
W: Yeah, but those textbooks are written and approved by
W: That, that accept that kind of a book.
W: And that’s what they want, to cut out certain things they don’t want, and they’ll put in stuff that they want. And most of it comes out of the State of Texas, and some woman down there’s ultra-conservative.
W: And she approves a lot of junk. That’s what I told my kids about looking at these books, and the publisher said the same thing. They got a lot of big margins. You, it, it, it’s, it’s to make money, an d you don’t you don’t want to buy that stuff.
Now here I have a book. Here. It’s written. There are very few pictures or large margins, but you want to read page 2 because of page 1. It’s a good book, and that’s what you want your kids to have, not this other stuff. And this was a salesman. I think he was kicked downstairs by the publisher as he was taken it out on, uh, on the publisher, uh. But that’s the reason it’s not in there, because you have those committees that approve what’s in there.
I: Where is microphone?
Oh, right there. Okay, okay.
I: You have it there.
W: Oh, here it is.
I: Um hm. So
W: This is very interesting.
W: Yeah, son of a gun.
I: You, yeah. I like this because you know about the reality of our educational system here.
W: Um hm.
I: So that’s why I’m very, very interested in knowing more about your
W: We have a secretary
I: Your perspective.
W: We have a Secretary of Education right now.
I: Oh boy.
W: That comes from the same persuasion of the people that approve those books.
W: She’s a monster, she’s terrible. They’re interested in this.
I: She doesn’t even know what she is doing.
W: No. No. Th, th, that, those charter schools and those individual schools, they, they’re set up to make profits, and, and
I: So do you know NCSS?
I: National Council for Social Studies.
W: Oh yeah. Yeah, um hm, yeah.
I: All these things is officially supported and endorsed by the NCSS.
We have a [INAUDIBLE]understanding and all the President of NCSS now Terry Cherry fully supporting what we are doing, making curricular resources using this interviews and artifacts.
W: Well, that should be a part of the book, that history.
W: When I was teaching U, US History at the high school, I went back
I: You did?
W: I went back and taught in the same junior high school where I had been a student. That’s when
I developed that
W: integrated curriculum, and then I taught history at McCaskey High School, uh, and the first thing I said that, uh, I had some, a lot of college prep students, and I, and I told the, the, uh, the principal, I said this book here [INAUDIBLE], U. S. history is an insult to the intelligence of my students. I don’t like this book. They said well you have to use it because, uh, all the other teachers that are teaching are using the same book,
and all their tests are set up that way in their curriculum and so it’s set up around that book. They said the only thing that they could recommend is you want to use paperbacks. And, and so I started using some paperbacks.
I: Yeah, these days they don’t use textbook much more. No.
I: No. So that’s why we are making it, lesson plan, and make it available to teachers
I: so that they can teach more about the Korean War and the war that you fought for.
W: Yeah. Yeah.
I: As a well-educated Korean War veteran with a PhD in education, where did you get
the PhD in, uh,
W: Temple University, Philadelphia.
I: Hey, so you are
W: Temple wow.
I: Coming from Temple.
W: Um hm.
I: Paul and you.
W: Um, yes. Exactly.
W: We’re both Temple, yeah. Yeah.
W: He’s a good man. He’s a goo, he’s gonna, he’s gonna next, be the next President of the Korean group, huh.
W: Yeah. Yeah.
W: Our, our unit has the second largest in the United States.
I: That’s what I’m hearing.
I: So I’m very excited to be at your meeting tomorrow.
W: Yeah. Are you gonna be there?
W: Oh, very good.
I: Yep, yep.
W: Super. We have a large turnout, usually 50 -60.
I: Um hn.
W: And, uh, some of them bring their wives along with them and, uh,
I: Any message finally for this interview as a Korean War veteran, about the Korean War or the Korea?
W: Hm. I think we, we, we covered a lot of territory here today.
I: Oh yeah.
W: And, uh,
at the, as a, as a teacher, uh, and always I taught using the global perspective. I was an honorary member of the Japan Council on Global Education, and so the subjects that I taught were always taught from the global view, not just our view but
I: Um hm.
W: This is, this is the viewpoint held here, here, here and here. And the time, always had timelines, too, when I taught.
The timeline would show this is USA at this time. This is what’s happening in Germany. This is what’s happening in, in Japan. You can see what’s taking place about the same time from a global perspective. And, uh, at first when we used the global idea at Millersville. I later became the Director of International Education at Millersville, and that was the result of my work in India. But, uh, it was not
looked upon as a good term to use, global. It was international, not global. Now it’s accepted when you use the term global. You know what you’re talking about.
I: So any,
I: specific message on that global perspective on Korea?
W: Hm. How is it being taught in other countries, about Korea?
I: I don’t know.
W: How do,
How do the Germans approach that?
I: I don’t know.
W: How do the, that would be of interest to see, uh. This is an important, this was an important war, uh, war. I mean they
take over that area, and you can see what would have happened.
W: Chaos. They had their eye on Japan, too. I mean, that would have been the next step over the other way, uh. Letting Joe Stalin come in there and force that, the vision, that was crazy stuff, uh, to allow him to do that.
I: Um hm.
W: Same way with Berlin. That was horrible.
W: But that was in Estonia, when in 1989. The Wall had just come down in Berlin. In 1989, and I’m in Estonia with uh, Independence fighters. These were people that were fighting for independence from the Soviet Union, and I’m there at that time with them at some of their meetings, and to see, what kept them going was singing. They’d go out in the fields,
thousands of them were singing these songs, and when they declared their independence, they knew the Soviet tanks were right outside, and if they vote yes, they didn’t know what was going to happen to them. But in the film, I have a beautiful film on this, uh, when they were voting yes for independence, people outside heard this, and you hear them cheering and cheering, and then they were singing. I’m get goosebumps now because the way that they held themselves together, was
through music and the desire for freedom.
I: Um hm.
W: And I was in a church when they opened the church for the first time, and there was an organist sitting way, way up high playing that organ, and you can see that they were on the verge of getting their independence. That, that really concern now about Russian, the Russians, what they did. They sent a lot of Russians in
W: into Estonia so that they have more Russian voters. But now the Russian voters,
I: Um hm.
W: Many of them
W: are going with, uh, the Estonians.
W: And not for the Russians.
W: Yeah, so
I: Walter, this has been a great conversation. I wish I had more time. But we have already spent almost an hour
W: Is that right?
I: And I want to thank you on behalf of Korean nation for your fight and service, and we going to make this into a curricular resources.
W: Very good.
I: So thank you again, Walter.
W: You have a good project ahead.
I: Thank you, sir.
W: I hope you have a lot of success, and the students will be the, the, uh, the, the real products of what you’re doing.
I: Thank you.
W: And they, they shouldn’t have knowledge of that campaign and what took place there and what’s taking place right now, yeah.
I: Alrighty. Thank you.
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