Veterans' Voices: Korean War

24 July 2018 By Zach Waddle 0 Comments

CONTENT WARNINGThis post deals with difficult subjects such as suicide, combat, sexual assault, and other traumatic events. I strongly urge ANY veteran to use the available resources that the VA provides. Visit the nearest VA, call the Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255, or visit the Veterans Crisis Line website -- there are people who want to help! For more information, please visit the Veteran and Military Center’s Psychological Counseling page on the WSU website.

The end of WWII left the Korean peninsula divided between the Soviet-led North Korea and the US-backed South Korea. After the North Korean invasion of the South on June 25, 1950, the United States aided South Korea in a conflict that would last until the signing of the Korean Armistice Agreement on July 27, 1953. Despite the ceasefire, the lack of an official peace treaty means that the conflict still technically continues today, over seven decades after its beginning. The Korean War has been described as a ‘limited war’ in which the goal of the United States was simply to defend South Korea from the invading military forces of the North. This could explain why the Korean War is not as well-known as either of the world wars, Vietnam, or modern conflicts. However, Korean War veterans made the same sacrifices as those of any other war, and their efforts should not be overlooked. Veterans’ Voices has conducted several interviews with veterans of the Korean War and their stories offer a powerful insight into the sacrifices they made for their country.

Harold Wright

Adrian Hill

Faced with the draft, Harold Wright and his friend decided to join the Navy. It was after a disappointing stint as a cook that Wright volunteered to work as a typist, which he described as an amazing experience. After a change of office, Wright was then sent to the surveying school at Port Hueneme in California. Although he wanted to go to Korea, he was sent to Japan, where he became a chief librarian and was able to enjoy many wonderful experiences.

Henry Drexler, Jr.

Adrian Hill

Henry Drexler, Jr. joined the Navy Reserves at the age of 19, only two years before the start of the Korean War. Called to active duty in 1951, Drexler was sent to Pearl Harbor to work on submarines. Drexler described his training and shared more stories of his duty while at Pearl Harbor. Be sure to check out the awesome pictures below his video!

Joseph Minnich

Anne Moore, Bradley Weng

Joseph Minnich joined the Air Force as a clerk typist in 1951. Minnich shared some stories of the fun times he had in Japan, such as playing softball and visiting Tokyo. While stationed in Japan, Minnich would meet his good friend Don. He would tell a sad, but heartwarming story of the last time he spoke to his friend. He also discussed the difficult experience of having to search the site of a plane crash for bodies.

James McCoy

Adrian Hill, Jeniffer Seavey

As a college student, James McCoy participated in ROTC on the personal rifle drill team. In the military, McCoy served in Japan as a production control officer, working on C-124 Globemaster cargo planes. He shared fascinating insight into serving in the Air Force, a branch which was still in its infancy after having split from the Army Air Corps. McCoy also shared the story of how one troop forgetting his dog tags would save their lives.

Benjamin Spiller

Adrian Hill

After being drafted into the Army, Benjamin Spiller would serve as a mechanic working on heavy equipment like tanks, jeeps, and half-ton trucks. Despite not directly engaging in combat, Spiller recalled what it was like hearing the unnerving sounds of war going on so close to him. Spiller described having a good experience during his time in Korea aside from the ongoing war, but expressed one regret.

Richard Seifried

William Corkum, Jeniffer Seavey

Drafted into the Army in 1950, Richard Seifried recalled having drill sergeants in boot camp who had served in WWII. He shared a fun story about purchasing alcohol while walking around in Seattle. He discussed some of his bad memories like combat in Korea, but also added, “I know my feelings about Korea are good and I would like to go back some day.”

Richard Dickey

Ashlie Hawes, Amanda Watkins

Richard Dickey enlisted in the Navy in 1952. After his time in the service, Dickey went to college and would go on to become a high school teacher. Of his six children, one of his sons decided to follow his dad’s footsteps and join the Navy. This means that Dickey, his father, and his son have all served in the Navy.

One of the coolest aspects of Veterans’ Voices is that it allows service members from different eras to sit down and talk about their experiences. In a sense, a lot of these interviews see a veteran from one era interviewing a veteran from a different era. As someone who served during the Iraq War, I’ve had the opportunity to briefly talk to both of my grandfathers who served during WWII. Unfortunately, my maternal grandfather passed away before we had the chance to really talk at length, and my paternal grandfather is now suffering from dementia. Although I would have loved to have been able to talk more with them about their service, I greatly appreciated the opportunity to have those brief conversations because it allowed me to connect with them on a level outside of the grandfather-grandson relationship. It was a history lesson that put faces and names to the people who were a part of it.

With that said, I’d like to end this post with a look at a wonderful conversation between a grandfather and his grandson.

Two Generations of Air Force Veterans Reflect on Honor Flight

Norbert Bauer, Matt Bauer, Will Davis

Norbert Bauer and his grandson, Matt, are both Air Force veterans. Norbert worked in Air Rescue during the Korean and Vietnam War while Matt served as a military police officer during the Iraq War era. The two veterans discussed Norbert’s recent trip to the memorials through the Honor Flight. Norbert described the amazing experience he had from the warm welcome after they landed in DC to the police escort that led him to the memorial.

Next, I’ll be covering Veterans’ Voices from the Vietnam War.

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