Korean War Legacy Project

John Turner


John Turner was born in Annapolis, Maryland, on February 20, 1930. He graduated from Southern High School in Annapolis in 1949 and recalled never learning anything about Korea in school. After high school he worked as a carpenter, and on October 8, 1951, he enlisted in the Marine Corps. He attended bootcamp at Parris Island in South Carolina and remembers how brutal his basic training was. He graduated from bootcamp on December 10, 1951, still not knowing exactly where he was headed. He remembers not being scared of going to war but knew he was sadly going to have to leave his new wife, Mary Lou, behind. He then attended advanced training at Camp Pendleton in California. After graduating from advanced training, he boarded a ship in San Diego set for Incheon, South Korea. He operated flame throwers and bazooka rockets as part of the 1st Marine Division, Weapons Company near the 38th parallel. After multiple injuries, he was forced to spend thirty days on a HOPE hospital ship in Incheon before being sent to a hospital in Wakasa, Japan. He earned 2 Purple Heart medals.

Video Clips

Prepping for War

John Turner discusses the process he went through from enlistment to arriving in Incheon, South Korea. He enlisted in the Marines and attended Parris Island for bootcamp. After he graduated from basic training, he attended advanced training at Camp Pendleton in California. After advanced training, he departed from San Diego for Inchoen.

Tags: Incheon,Seoul,Depression,Living conditions,Message to Students,Modern Korea,Physical destruction,Poverty,South Koreans

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What was Korea like when you were there?

John Turner discusses what Korea looked like on his journey north towards the 38th parallel. He recalls the destruction he witnessed in Incheon, Seoul, and Panmunjeom. He recalls starving people begging for food. He would give them some of his rations, as would other soldiers. His unit went on patrol near the 38th parallel, walking along deep trenches, and spying on North Koreans at Outpost Kate, about five hundred feet beyond the front lines .

Tags: Incheon,Panmunjeom,Seoul,Civilians,Food,Front lines,Impressions of Korea,North Koreans,Physical destruction,Poverty,South Koreans,Weapons

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Were you afraid? Did you ever think you would die?

John Turner talks about his experiences on the front lines of the war. Once his leg was grazed by a bullet, which ended up sending him to a M.A.S.H. (mobile army surgical hospital) in Seoul for a ten-day recovery. After feeling better, he returned to the front lines and was injured again shortly after, this time with a concussion from North Korean fire and explosions in a cave. He recalls trouble sleeping at night due to constant loud and bright explosions.

Tags: Panmunjeom,Seoul,Front lines,Message to Students,North Koreans,Personal Loss,Physical destruction

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Everyday Life in Korea

John Turner talks about what it was like to sleep and eat in Korea. They slept in sleeping bags inside two-man tents and would receive one hot meal a week; other than that, they ate rations. He recalls the weather not being as cold as it was up north. They were occasionally allowed to shower. He recalls writing letters to his wife when he could.

Tags: Incheon,Panmunjeom,Seoul,Cold winters,Food,Front lines,Home front,Letters,Living conditions,Message to Students,Personal Loss,Physical destruction,South Koreans,Weapons

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Video Transcript

00:00:00 [Beginning of Recorded Material]

I: This is November 3, 2021, the beautiful city of The Villages in Florida.  My name is Jongwoo Han.  I am the president of Korean War Legacy Foundation, which has more than 1500 interviews, not only from the United States, but all other 21 countries that participated in the Korean War.  We are doing this specially to commemorate the breakout of the Korean War that broke out in 1950. 


It’s the 70th Anniversary.  And it’s supported by the MPVA, Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs of Republic of Korea.  We are doing this to preserve your memory, first of all, because it’s been a long time ago.

J: Yeah.

I: And we want to honor your service and sacrifice of other Korean War Veterans and all you did for Korean people.  But mainly, we are doing this so that we can make a curriculum book that you see here, so that they can use this material 


when they talk about the Korean War in the context of the Cold War.

J: Yeah.

I: Yeah.  So it’s my great honor and pleasure to meet you, sir.  And thank you for coming for interview.  Please introduce yourself.  What is your name, sir?

J: My name is John Turner.

I: Could you spell it?

J: John, J-o-h-n, T-u-r-n-e-r.

I: Okay.  And what is your birthday?

J: 2/20/30.

I: Wow.  So you are 


90 years old?

J: Ninety-one.  Will be 92 in February.

I: Amazing.  You look like a 50-year-old man.  What is the secret?

J: Just luck, I guess.  I don’t know.

I: Yeah.

J: Maybe living in The Villages.  [chuckles]

I: How long you — you been living here?

J: Since ’06.

I: Since 2006?

J: Yeah.

I: Okay.  Before, where did you move from?

J: Annapolis, Maryland.


I: Maryland?

J: Yeah.

I: Got it.  Where were you born?

J: Annapolis, Maryland.

I: Okay.  Annapolis, Maryland.  That’s a very nice town, too.

J: Yeah.

I: Yeah.  There’s a — what is it — the Navy Academy there?

J: That’s right.

I: Yeah.  Tell me about your family background when you were growing up with your parents and your sibling.  How many sibling?  What did your parents do?

J: Well, my father, 


he was a — he worked on the B&O Railroad.

I: Hm-hmm.  And how many siblings did you have?

J: We had seven.

I: Seven?

J: Yeah.

I: [Laughs]

J: Four boys and three girls.

I: And where were you? 

J: Um…

I: Third?

J: Yeah, third.

I: Wow.  I’m magician.  [Laughs]


So tell me about the school you went through.  When did you graduate of high school?  What high school was it?

J: Southern High School —

I: Hm-hmm.

J: — in Maryland, Annapolis, Maryland.

I: Hm-hmm.  When did —

J: And the year was 1949.

I: 1949.  So year before the Korean War broke out?

J: Oh, yeah.

I: Yeah.  And you born in 1930 —

J: Yeah.

I: — which was one year after the Great Depression.


J: Yeah.

I: Did you — when you were growing up, maybe you were too young, so you didn’t know, but did you have any memory about the Great Depression, [other than] the effects?

J: Other than — other than being dirt poor.  [Laughs]

I: Hm-hmm.

J: I remember my father had — he worked on the railroad, and in his spare time he would go out on the water and catch fish, all kinds of seafood.

I: To eat?

J: Yeah.

I: Yeah.  I love fishing, too.

J: Yeah.

I: [Laughs] 


So let me ask this question.  Did you learn anything about Korea when you were in high school?

J: No, never heard of it.

I: You never heard of it?

J: [Chuckles]  Well, you know, I heard it might break out, something might break out over there.

I: Hm-hmm.

J: You didn’t get much news back in them days.  We had one radio, and everybody listened.

I: Hm.  So you didn’t know much about Korea?

J: No, not really.

I: Not really.  And so after graduation, what did you do?

J: Well, I worked as a carpenter 


and a time-keeper on a carpenter thing.

I: Hm-hmm.  And then when — were you drafted or enlisted?

J: No, I enlisted on October 8, 1951.

I: October 8, 1951.

J: Yes.

I: So there was already Korean War broke out, right?

J: Yeah.

I: Yeah.

J: Yeah, it started in ’50.

I: So when you enlisted in the middle of the Korean War, didn’t you feel — didn’t you think that you were going to go to Korea, as to the war?


J: Well, yeah, I guess I did.

I: Hm-hmm.  And you were not afraid.

J: No, no.  You don’t get afraid when you’re that young.


I: All right.  So where did you go to Boot Camp?

J: Paris Island, South Carolina.

I: So you were a Marine?

J: Yep.

I: Ha.  Why?  Why did you enlisted for Marines?

J: Because I saw the Marines walking around in the Naval Academy there, so I couldn’t wait to get out of high school to join them, 


the Marine Corps.

I: You just look at them and —

J: Yeah, yeah.

I: — then you — you like it?

J: Yeah, well, they were all dressed in Blues and all that kind of stuff, you know.

I: All right.  So you went up to Paris Island.  What did your parents tell you that you enlisted for Marine you might be dragged into the Korean War?  Did they — how did they respond to your enlist?

J: Well, my mother was a little upset, but if I hadn’t enlisted, they were going to draft me anyway, when I got out of high school.

I: Hm-hmm. 


Did you —

J: So I was going one way or the other.

I: So tell me about your Boot Camp experience.  How — how hard was it?

J: It was very hard back in them days.

I: Give me details.

J: Well, I mean, for instance, we were — we would have to stand out in the cold weather in parade field, 105 degrees on a parade field.

I: Yeah.

J: Every morning you get up at four o’clock. 


You get up in front of the tent and you do your stretching and exercise.  Then you run the parade field.  Then you come back, you shave, take a shower and get dressed, then go to chow.

I: Must have been very hard.

J: [Chuckles]

I: You were not accustomed to it, right?

J: No.

I: You didn’t do that?

J: Not getting up that early.

I: Must have been hard.  How long was it?


J: What?

I: Boot Camp.

J: Uh, let’s see.  October the 8th, and I got — we graduated on the 10th of December, so that — I mean, how long is that.

I: Hm-hmm.  And in the Boot Camp, did they tell you that you are going to go to Korea?

J: No.

I: No?

J: No.  I don’t [even] mention anything.  It was more about discipline and —

I: Okay.  So from Boot Camp, where did you go to 


go to Korea?  

J: Well, I got a 10-day leave.  And then I had to report to Camp Pendleton, California.

I: Camp Pendleton, yes.  And?  And then from there?

J: From the — from, uh, December to — I guess the 25th, I had to report there.  So I stayed there in advanced training until April 


1st, when we board a ship to go to Korea.

I: So that’s in ’52?

J: Yeah.

I: And you departed from the Camp Pendleton, right?

J: Yes.

I: Yes.

J: Yes.

I: And from there, where did you go?  Did you go to Japan?

J: Oh, no.  We took the ship from San Diego to Incheon, Korea.

I: Directly?

J: Yeah.

I: So when — do you remember when you arrived in Incheon?

J: Um, May 1st.


I: You have such a good memory.

J: It took us 30 days to get there.  Huh?

I: You have such a good memory.  How was the experience in the sea?  Awful?  Did you —

J: No, I’ve been used to it because I lived on the Chesapeake Bay all my life.  So I didn’t — I didn’t get sick or anything.  But some of those guys, they — you know, they — they were throwing up, and you could still see land.  

I: Is that —

J: San Diego, yeah.

I: Seasick.

J: Yeah.

I: Yeah.  Now, you didn’t learn anything about Korea.  You didn’t know where Korea was when you were young, in high 


school.  Now, you landed in Incheon.

J: Yeah.

I: It’s time for you to be honest to everybody.  Describe Incheon you saw.  How was Korea at the time?

J: All devastation.  Buildings all knocked down.  Streets tore up.

I: How about people?

J: Uh, there was a few people around, but I don’t remember seeing that many people.

I: But after that, from Incheon, where 


did you go?

J: When we got off the ship, we took trucks to Incheon.  From Incheon, we took the train to Seoul.

I: Seoul.

J: From Seoul, we took it to the 38th Parallel, where the First Marine Division was stationed.

I: And what was your, um, unit?

J: I was in the First Marine Division.

I: Hm-hmm.

J: Weapons company.

I: And what was your specialty?

J: Uh, 



I: What is that?  The flame?

J: Flame-thrower, yeah.  

I: Oh.

J: You put it on your back and you shoot it.  

I: So you are one of those soldiers in the picture?

J: Yeah.  Yeah.  That’s what I wanted, so I got it.

I: So tell me about it.

J: Flame-thrower, demolition, and, um, a Bazooka or 3.5 rocket.

I: Bazooka?

J: Yeah.

I: So when you went in to Seoul from Incheon, there was no North Korean soldier resistance, 



J: No.  No.

I: Right.

J: Well, we wasn’t there that long, just transfer, that’s all, on the way up.

I: Yeah.  And when you arrived Seoul, how was the situation in Seoul —

J: Well, that was —

I: — because this one, the many school children will listen to your interview, and they want to know how Korea was at the time in 1952.  So — because they know know Seoul now, it’s a big metropolitan city.

J: Yeah, I know [Overspeaking]

I: Give me the details, please.

J: Well, it — it 


was a little better than Incheon.  It wasn’t quite the devastation.  But it was still all tore up.  That’s about all I remember about it, other than getting on the truck and going up to the 38th Parallel.

I: But did you see the people in the street in Seoul?

J: Yeah, a few of them walking around the street there.

I: How — how did they look?  How did they live?  Do you know anything?  Remember?

J: Well, they were poor.  I know that.  

I: Like what?

J: Like, 


they wanted cigarettes, candy bars.  Anything you could give them, they wanted.

I: Did you give those?

J: Yeah.  We had rations and, yeah, we’d give them to them.

I: Hm-hmm.  To children?

J: Yeah, mostly children, yeah.

I: Not adults, but childrens asking for food?

J: Yeah.

I: Did they eat on the spot, or did they bring it to home?

J: Uh, I think they must have took it home.  I don’t remember them eating it right away.


I: Uh-huh.

J: Because they would go from one person to the other, you know.

I: Uh-huh.  So what did you think about that?  I mean, did you think that, why am I here in Seoul; it’s completely destroyed and so people are poor and so on?

J: Being that young, I didn’t give it much thought, to tell you the truth.

I: Uh-huh.

J: I was just wondering where — you know, where we were going because they didn’t tell you anything.  You — you just go.

I: Uh-huh.  But you didn’t have opportunity to use a flame-thrower in Seoul, right, because it’s 


already —

J: No, no, no, no, no.

I: No.  Okay.

J: You don’t get that until you get up on the lines.

I: Right.  In Seoul, where did you sleep and what did you eat there?

J: Where?

I: In Seoul.

J: We — we weren’t there that long.  I’m telling you, only maybe an hour or so.

I: That’s it?

J: Yeah.  They transfer one — from the train to the truck.

I: And from Seoul, where did you go in 38th Parallel?

J: Went to the 38th Parallel.  It’s at Panmunjom.  The First Marine Division was stationed right along that western front there.

I: Uh-huh. 


And who was the enemy there?

J: Uh, I guess it was, uh —

I: Chinese or North Korean?

J: I think they were mostly North Koreans.

I: Mostly North Korean.

J: Yeah.

I: Uh-huh.  So what did you do there in — in Panmunjom area?  Did you engage in a battle or did you patrol?  What did you do?

J: Well, we patrolled there for a while.  Then after you’re there for a while — [unintelligible] I was there for a month or 


so, then you got the word to go to an outpost.  So we went to an outpost named Kate out in front of the line.

I: Could you spell it?

J: K-a-t-e.

I: K-a-t-e.  [Overspeaking]  Camp Kate?

J: Huh?

I: That’s Outpost Kate?

J: That’s an outpost, yeah.

I: So tell me, what is outpost — do you mean?

J: It’s just an observer — it’s [running] back to the CO tent, what’s going on out in front of you there, if any enemies approaching.

I: So 


outpost is far front of —

J: Yeah, I would say maybe 500 yards or so.

I: In between —

J: Out in front of the line.

I: — enemy, right?

J: Yeah, out in North Korea.

I: So you were able to see them?

J: North Korean territory, yeah.

I: You were able to see them?

J: Yeah.

I: How dangerous.

J: At a distance, now; not up close.

I: But how dangerous that was.

J: Well, they shoot at you, you shoot at them, if — if they see you.  But most of the time, you walk along through trenches and stuff, you know, just 



I: And were you afraid?

J: Uh, I don’t remember being that afraid, no.

I: [Chuckles]

J: I never thought about dying or anything like that.  I can’t remember anything like that.

I: You never thought about being —

J: No, no, no.

I: Wow.  Anyway, were there any dangerous moment that you might have been killed in that area outpost?

J: Oh, yeah, there — there were a couple of times.  At one time we was going to the CO tent to get the mail.

I: Uh-huh.

J: And the round — I don’t know — some round came in and blew up 


a pup tent, two-man pup tent, with — me and a guy named Taylor.

I: Uh-huh.

J: Well, luckily, we was getting the mail, and the round came in and blew the tent — blew everything up.

I: Hmm.

J: And another time, we was going to the outpost, and there was — they were shooting tracers, and they were going all through your legs and everything else, between your legs.

I: Were you wounded?

J: Yeah, I got hit in the leg there once, but nothing serious.  Just a glancing blow.

I: Uh-huh.

J: But 


they went me back to Seoul, Korea, for — I don’t know — about, I think, 10 days or something.  Healed up.  And then you’d go back up there.

I: And was it in the MASH unit, or was it the hospital, main hospital?  What was it?

J: I guess it was just a — just a tent.

I: Uh-huh.

J: With — you know, with medics in it.

I: So it must have been MASH.

J: Yeah.

I: So when you were in Seoul for 10 days, 


were you able to see around the city?

J: Uh, no.  We didn’t get any liberty or anything like that, if that’s what you mean.

I: Okay.

J: They were — they were all off limits.

I: So you went back to Panmunjom area again?

J: Yeah, went back to the front lines.

I: Uh-huh.

J: That — that’s when they sent me out to the outpost.  That’s where I got hit the second time.

I: Second time?

J: Yeah, September 28th of 1952.


I: Where did you hurt?

J: Where did I get hit?

I: Yeah.

J: It was mostly concussion stuff from blowing up a — a cave or a bunker.

I: Uh-huh.

J: And we took the chargers off, and we got ready to leave and lit the fuses.  And then in the meantime, we got about maybe a hundred yards, and the North — North Koreans came up in the back of us, kind of cut us off.  So we — so we got — I 


had — got all kinds of [spoons] and stuff all through my body from that, from the cave, not getting away in time.

I: But how did you know they was North Korean, not Chinese.

J: I — you — after a while, you get to look at them to see, you could tell by look on their face.

I: Oh, you could tell the difference?

J: Oh, yeah.  Oh, yeah.

I: Oh.

J: Don’t take you long.

I: And were there any, um —

J: I don’t — I don’t remember seeing that many Chinese.

I: Were there any POW arrested, North Koreans?  Did you capture any North Koreans?

J: No.

I: No.

J: No.


I: Okay.  So was it every day a battle situation, or was it kind of calm, and from time to time some skirmish?  How was it?

J: Time to time, there was little skirmishes.  But most of the time, it was just loud noises from shells going off and — ships on — in the bay there, shooting stuff up there and planes [scraping] the hillside there and all that kind.  That went on 24 hours a day.  You could hardly sleep at 


night from the sky getting all lit up and —

I: Uh-huh.  That must have been very hard, huh?

J: Uh, yeah, but, you know —

I: So where did you sleep?  What was like condition?  Where did you sleep?  What is the daily routine?  When did you wake up?  What did you eat?  Where did you sleep?  Can you describe it?

J: Well, you slept in a sleeping bag.

I: In —

J: And you lived on rations.

I: But inside of the tent or in the trench?  Where did you sleep?


J: Asleep?

I: Yeah.

J: We slept in a tent at night.

I: In tent?

J: Yeah.

I: Must have been cold.

J: Well, there little pup tents.  You know what they are, two-man tents.

I: Uh-huh.

J: Um, well, in September we  really wasn’t that cold there then.  It was cold up north, but not there.

I: Right.

J: In Panmunjom.

I: And what did you eat?  Did you eat most C-Ration or —

J: Yeah, that’s all you had to eat.

I: — were there any cook?

J: That’s all you had to eat. 


Well, I should tell you, we got one — one meal, uh, once — once a week you got one hot meal.

I: But once a week?

J: Yeah.  

I: Were you able to take a shower?

J: Well, they had a spigot there, with a thing on it, you get under that.  Yeah, that’s about all.

I: That’s it.  [chuckles]  Were you able to write back to your family?

J: Oh, yeah, yeah.  You could do that.


I: Who did you write to?

J: My wife and mother.

I: You were married at the time?

J: Yeah.

I: Ah.

J: I got — I got married before I went over there, between Boot Camp — when I got out of Boot Camp, I was on a 10-day leave, and that’s when we got married.

I: I mean, you — you knew that you were to going to war, right?

J: Yeah.

I: And still you married?

J: Yeah.  [Laughter]

I: That’s a very wise decision you made.

J: I don’t know — when you —


when you’re kids, like her and I were, you don’t think about nothing like that.  You —

I: Was it, like, a high school sweetheart?

J: Yeah.

I: Oh.  What’s her name?

J: Mary Lou

I: Lou, Mary Lou.

J: Yeah, M-a-r-y —

I: Hm-hmm.

J: — L-o-u.

I: And is she with you now?

J: No.

I: No.  She passed away?

J: She passed away in ’89.

I: ’89, I’m sorry.  So you — do you still have that letter you wrote back to your wife?

J: Well, most of it 


got destroyed when I got out of the hospital in Japan.

I: Wow.

J: They flew us back to California, and then — and then I had all this stuff in a sea bag.  And somehow, all got lost, and I never did find it.  They never did find it.

I: How did you get — end up in hospital in Japan?

J: Well, I spent 30 days on the hospital ship.  Like I said, when I got hit —

I: When did you – when were you hit?

J: September 28th.

I: 27th?

J: No, 28th.

I: 28th.


J: 1952.

I: Describe it.  How did it happen?

J: You mean by – by getting hit?

I: Yeah.

J: Um, I told you, we had – we had – we blowed up the tent – I mean, the cave, set the fuse when we were going back.  And the North Koreans came in the back of us.  We got trapped between the North Koreans and the – and the – and the cave.

I: Uh-huh.

J: So we didn’t – didn’t get – couldn’t get far enough away, so we got all kinds of slivers and stuff through our 



I: Uh-huh.

J: And a very bad concussion I got.

I: Huh.

J: That affected my voice and everything else.

I: So you —

J: So then I – then you – they put me on a helicopter and flew me to the hospital ship.

I: In Japan.

J: Yeah – no.  Hospital ship was anchored in —

I: Incheon?

J: — Incheon, yeah.  Hospital Ship Hope, H-o-p-e.

I: H-o-p – was it American ship or was it Denmark, 



J: Good question.  I don’t know.

I: You don’t know?

J: No.  I – I would guess an American ship.  There were all Americans on there.

I: Yeah.  And from there, you went to Japan?

J: Yeah – well, yes, I stayed there 30 days.  And then they helicoptered me to, uh, [Yokosuka] Japan, a naval hospital.

I: Yeah.

J: Stayed there five months.

I: Wow. 


And did they give you Purple Heart?

J: Yeah.  Oh, yeah.

I: What medal did you get?

J: A couple of them.

I: So tell me.

J: I got one when I got hit in the leg.  They give me that right in the field there.  Then the second one, they – I got back when I was in – in the hospital in Japan.

I: So you got two Purple Hearts?

J: Yeah.

I: Any other medal?

J: Uh, no.

I: No.

J: Other than, you know —

I: Uh-huh.

J: — the routine ones.


I: So you didn’t know anything about Korea.  Now, you went to Korea when you were married.

J: Yeah.

I: And so when you were in hospital, did you – were you able to talk to your wife, Mary Lou?

J: No.  I – well, I wrote to her.  But, no, you couldn’t talk to her.

I: What did she say to you?

J: About what?  You mean —

I: About your wound.

J: Well, I don’t know.  You know, I guess she was upset, like anything else.  Of course, I wasn’t there.  I don’t know.

I: You’re very lucky?

J: Yeah, I know.  Very lucky I’m even here, because when we was on the hospital ship, they thought I was a goner.  They read me the – my last rites and all.

I: Hmm.

J: They thought I was over with.  Somehow the next morning, I woke up.

I: What was your rank?

J: Uh, I was a PFC there.


J: Yeah.

I: So 


did you send the money to your wife?

J: Uh, yeah.

I: How much?

J: I think we were making, like, $63 a month.

I: But plus combat pay, right?

J: I don’t think was no combat pay back in them days.  That’s all you got, is just $63 a month.

I: That’s it?

J: Yeah.

I: And you send everything to your wife, or did you spend some?

J: Uh, yeah.  It wasn’t – you didn’t need no money over there.

I: Right.  Got it.  So after you came back from Korea, what did you 


do?  You were discharged from Marines, right?

J: Yeah, I got a job with the Coca-Cola Company.

I: Ah.

J: The marketing specialist.

I: Excellent

J: Done that for 15 years.  Then I have – then I got my parents’ seafood processing company that I ran for 15 years.

I: Excellent.  Have you been back to Korea after that?

J: Yeah.

I: No.  So do you know what’s going on in Korea, with their economy, their democracy?  Do you know?

J: Do you mean now?


I: Yeah, now.

J: Uh, I read a little bit about it, yeah.

I: How did you come to know about those things?

J: Mostly by reading books and the Chapter we belong to have books and stuff —

I: Uh-huh.

J: — that you can get.

I: So —

J: And listening to the news, a little – get a little bit of it.

I: So what do you think about what’s going around in Korea, in terms of economy and democracy and so on?

J: Can’t believe what happened over there, the way it is now.

I: Why not?  Why you don’t believe —

J: Well, it’s a big city and – and, 


you know, like, it’s – what is it– 8th, like 8th?

I: Tenth, one of the 10th largest — metropolitan city in the world —

J: Yeah.

I: — Seoul.

J: I think it’s number 8th, last I heard, but I —

I: Well, it was the 10th largest economy in the world.

J: Yeah.

I: Can you believe that?

J: No.  That’s what I say.

I: Did you ever imagine —

J: No, no, no, no.

I: — that Korea become like this today?

J: No.  No way.

I: Why not?

J: Well, from being all that devastation and all that stuff over there.  You just don’t visualize 


something like that could happen.

I: Uh-huh.  When you were in Korea, did you have any contact or came to know of any Korean people?

J: Just a few of them that would do your laundry or for cigarettes or something like that.

I: Hm-hmm.  Did you pay for laundry?

J: We didn’t have any money.  You just – they just wanted cigarettes or —

I: So you exchanged —

J: — rations or something like that, yeah.

I: Uh-huh.  Were they good?

J: Yeah.

I: Hmm.

J: Yeah, they were good to us, 



I: And you been good to them, too?

J: Oh, yeah, yeah.  Well, they do your laundry, you know.  That was a big deal then.

I: Yeah.

J: If you had to do your own laundry.

I: Anything you – still bothers you during your service, the things that bothers you now?

J: You mean before the – every once in a while I have, like, a nightmare or dreams and stuff like that, but —

I: Do you have PTSD symptom?

J: No.

I: No?  But [lying] there.

J: Yeah, yeah.  

I: So —

J: Dreams.  Dreams, a little —

I: What kind?

J: About the – the bombs going off and the – and the —

I: When you were wounded?

J: Yeah.

I: Hmm.  So you waking up in the middle of —

J: So, you know, kind of put it to rest.  You don’t talk about it, so it don’t come – you know, doesn’t come back to you.

I: Right.

J: So —

I: I’m asking you that question, so there I’m reminding you, but we need to do this to preserve your memory.

J: Yeah.


I: Okay.  And this interview will be in the Website that I gave you —

J: Yeah.

I: — the KoreanWarLegacy.org.  And many of our foundation’s teachers will listen to this, and then they will analyze it, tagging key words and metadata.  You know, for example, when you arrived in Incheon and —

J: Yeah.

I: — Panmunjom.  And they will put it into the database.

J: Yeah.

I: So whomever entering 


the Panmunjom in our Website, your interview will pop up.

J: Oh.

I: Okay?

J: Yeah.

I: All right.  Yeah.  What was the most difficult thing?  I mean, other than being injured during your service in Korea, if I asked you to pinpoint only one.  What – what really both- — what was the most difficult thing?

J: I would say the advanced training in Camp Pendleton, California.

I: So not – not difficult in Korea, but in Paris Island?

J: No, not Paris Island. 


Camp Pendleton, California.

I: Pendleton.

J: That was more rugged and – and rigid than anything.  I mean, you had to go – I had to crawl under barbed-wire with [them find stuff] on you all over, you know.  You had to learn to throw grenades and all that kind of stuff.  You had to fire all the weapons they had.

I: Hmm.

J: You had to learn to fire all of them.

I: So have you ever actually – had you ever used the flame-thrower in the Panmumjom area?

J: No.

I: No?

J: No, I was — 


I only weighed about 128 pounds then, so mostly I carried the ammunition or – the second guy.

I: Uh-huh.  So you were, like, a rifleman at the time?

J: Well, we – we couldn’t carry nothing but a .45.

I: Did you ever use Bazooka there?

J: No.

I: No.

J: No.  I – I loaded and helped a guy.

I: Uh-huh.

J: I was, like, the second there.

I: Hmm.

J: I mean, when we were, you know, on the lines, we would fire them, you know. 


Clean them and fire them.

I: Hm-hmm.

J: But not really in combat.

I: Do you want to go back to Korea to see what’s going on?

J: Uh, not particular.

I: No?  Why not?  Korean government gives you a lot of, uh, you know, tour and mostly it’s free.

J: Uh, maybe I’d go back.  I don’t know.

I: Yeah.

J: I’ve – I’ve had chances to go back, but —

I: Yeah.  So our work 


with, you know, Frank and – and Mark [Cary] and so on, so that we can put your name in the list because MPVA is still running Revisit Program.  You look healthy.  You have such good memory, and you have, uh, you know, the history of wounded, being wounded there.  You will be treated like a hero there.

J:  Maybe I’ll go back.

I: Sure.  Okay?

J: Yeah.

I: So do you have any message to the Korean people for the 


commemoration of 70th Anniversary of the breakout of the Korean War?  Do you – do you want to say anything to the Korean people?

J: I don’t think – I don’t know what – what I’d say.

I: Hmm.  Are you proud to be a Korean War Veteran?

J: Oh, yeah, sure.

I: Why?  What makes you proud of yourself?

J: Because I went over there and served and helped them out.

I: And now that country become 10th largest —

J: Yeah.

I: — economy.  Yeah.  Excellent.  Any other story you want 


to leave to this interview?

J: I don’t think so.  I can’t think of any.

I: Hmm.  John, I want to thank you for your sacrifice and honorable service during the Korean War.  And that gives the opportunity for Korean people to reveal their economy and their society.  Now, we are the strongest ally, right?

J: Yeah.

I: So I want to thank you for your service, sir.

J: Okay.

I: Thank you.

J: Okay.

[End of Recorded Material]