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Finn Bakke remembers the German occupation of Norway during World War II. He compares the occupation of Norway by Sweden, Denmark, and Germany at various times in the past century to the occupation of Korea by Japan and China. Finn Bakke was serving his mandatory one-year military service in the Norwegian Army when he was offered the opportunity to serve in Korea. He served as a private in the field hospital and as a worker in the PX. While working in the NORMASH field hospital, he met the Korean nurse whom he eventually married and spent the rest of his life. Although he himself had not studied Korea in school, his grandchildren grew up with a strong understanding of the Korean War.
Trygve Jensen was born in 1932 in the Norwegian town of Drammen. He grew up under Nazi occupation and served for a year with the British Army occupying Germany after the war. Due to his training as a paramedic in the Norwegian Army, he sought out placement in the Norwegian Army Mobile Surgical Hospital called NORMASH. He finally got placed in the 5th rotation starting in May 1953 for the last three months of the war. He describes a busy three months as both sides competed for final gains before the Panmunjeom talks which he was fortunate enough to witness from the city itself. After the war, he was instrumental in establishing the Norwegian Progress Party called Fremskrittspartiet, a right wing conservative party, and worked in the pharmaceutical industry. He has returned to Korea three times since the war in 1993, 2003, and 2014.
Bjorn Lind was born October 1st, 1920 in Oslo, Norway. He trained as an anesthesiologist at the Norwegian Mobile Army Surgical Hospital, known as NORMASH, in first Euijeongbu and later, after it moved, in Dongducheon in 1952 and then again in 1954. Bjorn Lind's education was interrupted by Nazi occupation during World War II but resumed after the war. He became one of only ten anesthesiologists in Norway in 1948 and the only one at NORMASH during his service. He describes seeing about 30 wounded men a day and is very proud of the 1% death rate his unit was able to achieve in its frontline tent hospital with sand floors. During his second tour, Bjorn was joined by his wife Randi who was an X-ray nurse. He is proud of his service calling it valuable training for his medical career and also astonished at the progress South Korea has made since his time there in the 1950s.
Eilif Jorgen Ness was born in Barcelona, Spain in 1931 to parents involved in shipping. His family left Spain during its civil war in 1936 when he was 5. This adventurous beginning to his life continued when he left school at 15 to become a sailor on tankers and cargo ships sailing around the world. For 5 years, Eilif Jorgen Ness traveled to places like India, Australia, Iran and the West Indies. After this period in his life, he joined the Norwegian military and served in the occupation forces in Germany. In 1952, he was one of a 1000 applicants of which only 106 were picked to join the Norwegian Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (NORMASH) serving in Korea. Eilif Jorgen Ness served as an infantryman guarding the NORMASH camp. He spent his free time traveling to the frontlines or to Seoul. He is proud of his service and called the Korean War the last war were returning servicemen were honored for their sacrifices.
Dr. Bernhard Paus was born on November 9, 1910. Bernhard Paus graduated from medical school in 1936 in Oslo and served in the Norwegian Army in World War II. After the war, Bernhard settled in Oslo, practiced medicine, and raised six children with his wife, Brita. In 1951, Bernhard was one of two doctors tasked with establishing the Norwegian Mobile Army Surgical Hospital, called NORMASH, that was established first, at Euijeongbu and then at Dongducheon. He served as the chief surgeon in 1951 and again in 1953. His story is told by his daughter, Lucie Paus Falck, who is active in the Norwegian Korean Veterans Association after a career in politics. She shares excerpts from her father's diary and from a Norwegian history of NORMASH subtitled Korea in Our Hearts. Lucie Paus Falck first visited Korea in 1958 accompanying her father when he worked in a Swedish hospital in Seoul. She has returned to Korea three times since 2001 and shares her unique perspective having seen South Korea after the war in the 1950s.
David Carsten Randby served as a Corporal in the Norwegian Army as an electrician. David Randby's main task was keeping the generators operational for NORMASH. NORMASH is the Norwegian Mobile Army Surgical Hospital or field hospital during the Korean War. NORMASH was located on the frontline and David Randby had to even help with a surgical operation at one point. He is proud of his military service and earned multiple medals. He has revisited South Korea on four separate occasions and has personally met Republic of Korea President Moon Jae-in.