AL: “I can’t remember what I had for breakfast this morning, but I know exactly what I saw on July 6th, 1953. It was the most unbelievably horrible sight I’ve ever seen in my life.”

Author’s Note: AL recently passed away. He was an absolutely wonderful man and I take comfort knowing that he is now at peace. [March 16, 2018]

What is your birth year?

1928. 

How old are you today?

I’m 88, and I’ll be 89 this coming December. 

What branch of the United States Armed Forces did you serve in?

I ended up in the Army artillery. The story goes I was actually trained as anti-aircraft, but when I got orders to go to Korea, they changed my specialty from anti-aircraft to field artillery. My job was to be an artillery forward observer, attached to the 7th infantry division. When I explained to them that I did not have any training about being a forward observer, they said, “No problem, Lieutenant. This will be on-the-job training.” {Laughs} 

What was your rank?

Second Lieutenant, but I was a First Lieutenant. 

Where did you serve?

In Korea, I served on the 38th parallel, attached to a platoon of the 7th division. As I mentioned, I was a forward observer, and I was facing a hill called Old Baldy. I arrived in Korea in March of 1953, and that’s when I was told- I knew something was up, because instead of putting me on a troop ship to Korea, they put me on a Pan Am charted airline and flew me there. I knew something was up. When I got there, they said, “We don’t need you to shoot down airplanes anymore because they’ve all been shot down. We’d like you to be a forward observer.” I said, “Why is that?” They said, “We have a shortage of forward observers because of casualties.” Great for my morale. 

Where were you born?

I was born in Lorain, Ohio. 

What are your parent’s names?

My father’s name was Aaron, and my mother’s name was Molly. My older brother’s name was Melvin. 

What city did you grow up in?

I grew up in Lorain, Ohio. My brother was drafted in ’41, and so 1942, my father thought it was a good idea if I had some military training. He sent me off to a military school called Georgia Military Academy, located outside of Atlanta, Georgia. That’s where I had my high school training, and graduated [in] 1947. So that means you really experienced WWII on a personal level, because of your brother. Yes, and also because I was going to military school. When I graduated [in] 1947, WWII was over, so I didn’t think about going on to a military college. Instead I decided to go to Ohio State University. I graduated in June of 1951. 

Can you tell me any specific memories you have from your childhood?

I grew up on the shores of Lake Erie. My memories [are] of swimming in the backyard, in Lake Erie. I’ve been a swimmer ever since, actually. I didn’t make a lot of close friends in Lorain at that point, because I was away at military school. I made more close friends, I think, in college, then I did in the high school level. 

Did you play any sports growing up?

I was on the tennis and swimming team. 

Did you have any worries about growing up Jewish during WWII?

I do not recall being Jewish during WWII as a problem and was horrified when I heard about the Holocaust.

Tell me about high school.

My father thought I could use some discipline, and so I got plenty of discipline. I was not too happy about the disciplinary action, but I did learn a lot about military at that point- how to shoot rifles, how to march, all that’s involved. I was drafted when I graduated from Ohio State University. My basic training [took place] at Camp Breckenridge, Kentucky. In basic training, they noticed I had been to military school. They asked me if I would like to go to Officer’s Candidate School instead of going out and being attached to an infantry. I said, “Yes, which one?” They said [they] had an opening in anti-aircraft school at Fort Bliss, Texas. [That] sounded pretty good to me. [I thought], “Hey, I’ll be out of harm’s way. I’ll shoot down airplanes.” I then accepted, and I attended the Officer’s Candidate School in Fort Bliss, Texas. I graduated in September of 1951. My first assignment, after getting my commission as Second Lieutenant, was to be stationed at the aero-defense command located outside of Philadelphia. The headquarters were located out of Swarthmore college. Swarthmore college, back then, [was an] upscale, all-girls college. Now, here I am, a young Second Lieutenant, being stationed at an all-girls college. I had a car; I met a girl at the temple, so I had a girlfriend- I was thinking seriously about making the Army a career. It was a good life. Then I got my orders [that] I was being transferred to Korea. That’s when I changed my mind about making the Army a career. 

How did you feel about being drafted?

It was a different generation. We really didn’t know what was going on, to be honest. We were pretty much patriotic. We just thought it was our duty to be drafted into the service, just like my brother was drafted. I figured that was the natural thing to happen. I had no negatives. I remember that some of my buddies went into Navy, and some went into some other services; I wish I’d been into the Navy, perhaps. That’s hindsight. I did tune into the discipline at that Officer’s Candidate School, because I’d been there already at military school, so I knew what to expect. I knew about the hazing, and all that came with it. I graduated from Officer’s Candidate School- I was the last in my class, and probably the shortest, but I did graduate. 

How old were you when you were drafted?

Probably around 20. About 20 years old- maybe 19. I’m not sure. 

What was your family and friends reactions to your drafting?

After my brother’s draft, it was [mimics pushing somebody]. They said, “Okay! Enjoy your experiences!” Now, my father’s foreign born- he was born in Russia, and so was my mother. They were not what you call ‘modern’ parents. They were the old-school. They didn’t really understand a lot of the politics, at that point. Why did they immigrate from Russia? To get out; they were Jewish. They had a problem being Jewish [and] growing up in Russia [with its] program. My father became very successful;  he and his brothers opened up a business in Lorain. It was financially successful. I remember when I was in Korea, he sent me a letter saying he was thinking about selling the business, [and] would I like to go into the produce business. I mailed back and said, “No.” 

You mentioned military school and boot camp; do you recall your trainers or instructors from boot camp? Their expectations of you?

I found basic training more difficult than anything I’d ever experienced. It was winter time; the only place that’s worse than Korea in the winter is Kentucky in the winter. The weather was terrible. I did not like the routine so much, but [w]hen I got notice I was being transferred, I said, “Okay, I’ll get through this, as long as I get to the Officer’s Candidate School.” 

On the war’s beginning: 

1945- WWII ended. In 1949, the Korean War started. There’s 4 years difference. North Korea, at that time, was being supported heavily by [the] Soviet Union. The Soviets really wanted to convert the entire Asian peninsula to communism. Back then, communism was a big deal. That’s when they invaded South Korea. At that time, we were not prepared. Truman, the administration, and the United Nations, decided to assist South Korea in the fight against North Korea. At that time, the United Nations voted to support South Korea, [but] the only country that had military forces at that time was the United States. However, the military force we had then was a far cry from WWII. It was just a peace-time budget, and so most of the troops that helped South Korea were stationed in Japan as an occupation force during the war. They were undertrained, ill-equipped, and they were no match for the North Koreans. Huge casualties- more casualties in the first part of the war than the entire war, just about. [It] was just a bunch of young kids who didn’t know how to fight. General MacArthur, who was now in charge, realized that they were losing the war. He decided he had to do something to change the course of the war. On September 15, 1950, he arranged for an amphibious landing on the West Coast of Korea, [at] Inchon, and caught the North Koreans by surprise. First of all, it was against orders, because most of the military people didn’t think it was going to be successful. He was able to cut off all supplies coming down from North Korea to help the North Korean army. As a result, 70,000 American [soldiers] and the Marines were able to push the North Koreans back up North, over the 38th parallel. By that point, most of the guys in the army figured that the war was over- we’d won the war. The Inchon landing saved South Korea from being occupied. As a result, American- Koreans last year invested over $50,000 dollars to build a monument, a statue, of MacArthur at the Korean War memorial. When you go there, you’ll see a statue of MacArthur at one end of the Korean memorial. Inchon landing was a major thing. 

At this point, we were now able to push the North Koreans all the way up North, close to the Yalu River. This was the other turning point in the war, because MacArthur really wanted to take the war to China. Truman then was the president, and the administration was scared that we might start WWIII, so they [didn’t] do that. What they did not understand, and did not know, [was] that the Chinese did not like a capitalist government, like South Korea, being on their border. [In] November of 1950, they assembled 300,000 Chinese, and they swarmed over the Yalu River. They attacked a contingent of 25,000 Marines, and a couple Army units, at Chosin Reservoir. In the Korean war, we had more casualties per day in 3 years than the Vietnam war had in 10 years per day. Huge. That was a major defeat, when they eventually move[d] all of the Marines out. You can see, the weather was just awful- 40° below zero. Not to be gross, [but] the problem was that the water seeped into their boots. Their socks would get wet, and as a result, they had no dry socks. They had frostbite. [The] major casualties of the Chosin Valley [were] frostbite. The Chinese were wearing sandals, so they had even worse casualties. One old survivor said, “It’s better to feel pain in the feet. If not, you probably had frostbite.” It was awful. Of the 25,000 troops at Chosin, in just 10 days, 6,000 were killed, wounded, or captured. Another 6,000 suffered severe frostbite. To put these in perspective, 3,500 Americans were killed during a 10 year war in Iraq- to give you a comparison of the compression of casualties. They call the Chosin Reservoir “Massacre Valley”. 

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Where exactly did you go during the war?

I ended up in Busan, and then they told me they needed the forward observer, and that’s when they transferred me up to the 38th parallel. 

What was the weather like?

I was there during the spring and summer. Summer was hot and dusty, and monsoon rains. The winters were terrible in Korea. My outpost was fortified by sandbags, [to] protect us from enemy artillery, and also from the rain. When I got there, I was told that a couple of bunkers had collapsed because of the heavy rain. Some of the guys inside were killed as a result. I was very grateful that we had a good, sturdy bunker. {Laughs} To protect us from the artillery, and also the rain. 

Do you recall arriving to your assigned locations? What did you expect?

I was scared. I was frightened, because I’ve now realized, “I’m going to be in harm’s way!” And, also the fact [that] I had no training. They assigned a sergeant, who was experienced, to teach me how to be a forward observer. So I had a team; I had a radio man, and I had my sergeant. Without them, I would’ve been just a dumb Second Lieutenant. 

What was your job or assignment there? Did it change over time?

My job was to look for enemy activity. If I saw enemy activity, [my job] was to give the coordinates to the artillery behind me. The enemy now was Chinese, because the previous occupant of Old Baldy was the Columbian platoon. They were defeated, and so the Chinese took over. Old Baldy had been taken and recaptured five times; the reason it was called Old Baldy was because not a tree or bush was left standing. FullSizeRender 25

Did you see any combat at these locations?

I went on patrols, but fortunately I did not have any combat experience on patrols. What I did, before I went on the patrols, was get the coordinates of the patrol. If we were attacked by the Chinese, I would call artillery to surround the patrol route. Fortunately, I didn’t have to do that. That was scary- frightening. I eventually was, before the arms was signed, transferred to a radar station. I’d done my time on the hill, so my job on the radar station was to plot mortar fire coming from the Chinese. I found out after I’d been transferred to the radar station that my replacement was killed, because the Chinese infiltrated my outpost. Like me, he was probably inexperienced, and didn’t realize how to protect the outpoint from attack. One way you’d protect yourself was what we’d call ‘flash fire’, which [is] what I used when I was helping the guys on Pork Chop, calling the fire on the Chinese. Flash fire shells explode above the ground. I was ready to do that, should we be attacked by the Chinese. Fortunately, we were not overrun. The thing is, Pork Chop battle, the question came up- “How come they went after Pork Chop?” My site was called “Westview.” I said, “They went to Pork Chop instead of Westview, where I was, was because between where I was and Old Baldy, there’s about 100 yards of open land. The Chinese could not risk going over open land to attack us. Pork Chop didn’t have that.” The Chinese went behind Old Baldy and attacked Pork Chop without being seen. Do you remember the day Pork Chop was attacked? July 6th, 1953, at 11 o’clock. I can’t remember what I had for breakfast this morning, but I know exactly what I saw on July 6th, 1953. It was the most unbelievably horrible sight I’ve ever seen in my life. I’ll never forget it. It was just terrible. Thousands of Chinese swarming up the hill against a small unit of American soldiers on the South post. It lasted five days, and in five days, the management decided to pull out. They left Pork Chop, and turned the hill over to the Chinese. We had 273 casualties in five days- heavy. How many casualties were there in the Chinese? We counted 1,500. I could see Chinese stacked two or three deep in the trenches- dead Chinese. It’s hard to even think about it, because it was just seeing your friends- your brothers- massacred. [People] ask, “Did you ever kill anyone?” I have to be careful how I answer that question. I say, “I never pulled a trigger. I have no idea how many casualties I created. All I know, if I saw enemy activity, I just called the coordinates to my artillery. If there were casualties, I have no idea.” That’s how I [get] out of that question. What was the noise coming from Pork Chop hill? The Chinese loved to use their loudspeakers; bugles blowing, loud noise. They had a loudspeaker with a female speaking in perfect English, telling the guys on Pork Chop, “Please surrender, or else you’re all going to die.” They were trying to break the morale of the guys on Pork Chop. That’s how they operated. I don’t remember seeing it myself, but the young Chinese boys would always go ahead of the other troops, and if the troops were shot or killed, they’d pick up their rifles and hand them to the next one coming behind them. I didn’t ever see that, but I was told that happened. Another battle I tell about in my lectures- I was not involved in this- was similar to my outpost. This was an outpost between Seoul and the front lines- just before the arms was signed, the Chinese wanted to capture the outpost. The bravery of this group of guys was astounding. Heavy casualties. I just thought it was important that people knew about some of the heroes. 

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Did your unit experience any casualties?

I don’t know. In the platoon, there were some casualties, especially people who were on patrols. The Infantry Platoon also had scouts that we put out- the Chinese would come in and kill the centurions. 

Tell me about any specific memories or experiences that stand out.

I think the thing that bothered me the most was when I was out at the radar station, and I was told that the Chinese had infiltrated my outpost- Westview. My replacement had become a casualty. That was very depressing to me; it could’ve been me. 72 hours later, the war was over. I realized how stupid this whole thing was- the war was stupid. The other thing I recall [was that] most of the senior, professional Army people felt that the war was never won, that there’s a stalemate. I think that 43,000 young Americans got killed for no purpose, for no reason at all. I felt very bad about that, as an adult. I feel bad about the Vietnam war. I feel bad about a lot of things- about what’s going on in the Middle East today. But, at that point, I just felt how lucky I was that I wasn’t there- but also sad. That was the first time, in the history of the United States, without a victory. That was a shame. Today, we have this problem with Korea, because we never won the war. Had we won the war, we wouldn’t be in the fix we are today. Back then, the war was run by the politicians, because I recall that there was some things we had to do that we [needed] permission from Washington before[hand]. Today, the military is run by former generals, rather than politicians. Big difference, between now and then. 

I did also go to the exchange of prisoners. I got a shot of the Americans being escorted back into Quonset huts- the prisoners of war. I also have photos of the Chinese prisoners of war; they came back in open trucks. They took all their clothes off except their skivvies, because they didn’t want anything to show that they were rebellious about the Americans. 

The North Koreans, back then, were very, very cruel. We actually found an atrocity- 300 prisoners of war had been bound and massacred. The American prisoner of war [count] was the highest in history, because they were so brutal. The [North] Korean government today is just as cruel as they were back then, because now they kill off even family members. 

An experience I’ve really enjoyed is going to the high schools. [I keep] a scrapbook of thank-you notes, from all of my classes. At one of the high schools, a young South Korean girl came up to me and said, “Mr. L, I just want you to know, my parents were escorted to South Korea by the Marines.” She thanked me. Ain’t that nice? {Laughs} When I go to these high schools, I ask the students, “How many know about the Korean War?” They don’t teach much about previous wars. The only thing that the students know when the raise their hands is M*A*S*H- a black comedy on television. They’re very grateful. It’s the biggest kick I get. I like to share the experiences. 

I had an brownie old camera; I tell [people], it was not a smartphone. It was an old-fashioned brownie camera. I took photos when I was in the bunker; shells landing on Old Baldy, and picture[s] of my bunker.

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[The photo below] was taken after the arms was signed; nobody would ever stand on top. [There’s] the trenches, and the barbed wire to protect us from infiltration. [In the background] is the enemy, which is Old Baldy. When you’re up on the hill in this bunker, you’re there for a period of time, so you get pretty grimy. A big treat [was] when I got permission to go back to the rear and get a shower. This was the high point of my tour on the hill, [was] going back.

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 [The photo below] was taken at the shower point, so now I have clean clothes and a hot shower. Then I had to go back up the hill after I got all cleaned up here. Students always ask me, “Was I ever scared?” The scariest time I ever had was going from the shower point back up to the outpost, because when I got back to the outpost, I had to remember to give them the password. If you didn’t remember the password, they’ll assume you’re the enemy, so I had to memorize the password to get back into the platoon. 

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What were the most trying and difficult moments of service?

There were a lot of difficult moments. I don’t know if there’s any one; I was concerned about the heavy rains coming in on our bunker, and also the artillery. The reason I was there [was because] the Chinese were always after the forward observers. My outpost was a frequent target of artillery. I was hopeful that our bunker would hang in there, which it did, fortunately. Keep in mind, I’m 20 years old. I was scared; if anyone says they were never scared, they’re lying. I had a chance to stay in the service, but then they opted for early discharge. With hindsight, I wish I’d stayed in, because my wife’s father, my father in law, was a Westpointer. My wife told me about the crazy life they had, traveling around all over the world. Had I stayed in, I might have had that experience, too. But, I didn’t. 

What were the best memories of service?

Best moment was being stationed in Philadelphia. {Laughs} How could life be any better? My hours were five to nine- good hours. My job was to plot incoming and outgoing aircrafts to the East Coast. We really didn’t expect anyone coming in from the East Coast. That was good; good duty, but that was a fun time. That was when I was disappointed with my orders to go overseas. 

Were you awarded any medals?

Just a peace medal. Other than that, the Korean war medal. Had I stayed in, I could’ve gotten a bronze, but I opted for early discharge. All the FO’s on my line got it, but because I opted for a discharge, I didn’t get a bronze. That’s okay. 

Were you injured during the war? How, and any after effects?

No. I had six months lasting effects; I had a hard time adjusting to civilian life. People I talked to thought I [had] gone on a business trip somewhere. I never talked about it! I didn’t talk about it until I got an invitation to go to the high schools, and then I started remembering things. Back then, we didn’t have pot, we didn’t do dope- we ended up drinking, though. A lot of the guys I hung out with were pretty heavy drinkers. [I] did a lot of partying, because that was my escape. I didn’t have a job- I [just] had training programs. After six months, I really couldn’t find a job. A buddy of mine from Ohio State was a stockbroker [from] Cleveland, so I used to have lunch with him. I asked him, “What’s going on?” He said, “Stock market.” I got fascinated with the stock market. I said, “I think that’s what I want to do. I want to be a stockbroker.” So, I joined that little firm, and I opened up a branch office in Lorain. Then, I realized, I wanted to be a stockbroker, but I didn’t want to be in Lorain. That’s when I made that decision to move West. I think today, they’d call it PTSD. I didn’t have battle fatigue, I just couldn’t adjust to civilian life. I had meetings with the platoon commander, [a] big, burly guy, and I realized he was a heavy smoker- smoking palm-oil cigarettes. I wanted to be macho; I started smoking unfiltered palm-oil cigarettes. As a result, I ended up in the VA hospital with cancer of the lungs. Fortunately, it was curable. When I go to the high schools, I tell the story to the students, and I say, “If you don’t smoke, don’t start.” As the teachers go by and hear, they [give] me thumbs-up. I have hearing damage from the artillery. 

How did you stay in touch with your family and friends?

I corresponded not so much with my family, [but] a good fraternity brother of mine. A good friend- still a good friend. He lives in Florida now. He and I corresponded frequently. I remember, I was reading the book War and Peace at the time, and he would discuss that with me. 

What was the food like?

C-rations. It was terrible. It was awful. The only thing good about it is we used to get a pack of cigarettes. That’s where I learned how to smoke. 

Did you feel stress or pressure about the war and its effects?

The only time I think about it is when I have conversations with people like you, and the students. 

Did you face any anti-semitism while in the Army? If so, in what way? 

I do not recall any anti-semitism during my tour in the Army. However, my first exposure to anti-semitism actually happened when I entered Georgia Military Academy. I was one of a very few Jewish students and also a ‘Yankee’. I recall attending the local churches on Sundays since there were no Synagogues nearby. Anyway, I made friends, and my Jewish faith did not become an issue. The real discrimination I noticed was to the black population, and did not understand why the blacks had to sit in the back of the busses.

When, or why, did your service end?

I got discharged.

How did you get home?

I went on a troop ship back. Of course, the commissioned officers had our own little cabin, so it wasn’t bad.

How did you feel about returning home after the war?

I [had] not [made] a lot of good friends in Lorain, because I was going to military school in that early period of my life. When I returned home, I had a hard time adjusting to civilian life- Lorain, Ohio, is a fairly small town. I didn’t go into family business, and I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I was not very happy, living in Lorain. I decided I had to leave Lorain. I tell students when I go to high schools- you don’t leave Ohio, you escape. {Laughs} I was told the future was on the West side of the United States, so I said, “Well, Phoenix was too hot, Denver was too cold.” I said, “We’ll go over to San Francisco.” “Why there?” “That’s where all the pretty girls were!” Obviously, I decided to go to San Francisco, and that’s where I started my career. It worked out, because that’s where I met my wife. {Laughs} 

Are there any people that you kept in touch with after the war?

I wish I’d kept in touch, but no. 

After the war: 

The only thing I remember is when the armistice was signed, I got a hold of a Jeep. We drove into Seoul, and I did not see one building over three or four stories tall. Today, as you can see, Seoul is a striving metropolis. The only thing I remember is that I was walking with my sergeant, and all of the sudden, Korean kids started running towards us. How cute these kids were! The first thing I know, they’re after my camera, and my 45 revolver- they were trying to strip me of everything I had! {Laughs} They were street urchins, and I was unsophisticated. My wife and I went to South Korea in 2013, and [it was] a marvelous experience. Really, it was great. Was it strange to be back there? The only time when I felt uncomfortable was when I went up to the 38th parallel. Other that than, it was fine. That did bring back some memories. Every year on September 15, South Korea celebrates the ceremony of Inchon landing. I happened to be there, and we attended the ceremony. They’d pull all stops out; there were boats, there were destroyers, there were planes. I remember, the touching moment- here, you’ve got a bunch of 80 year old guys- and we’re escorted to our seats in the Grand Stand [by] a group of South Korean girl scouts. They came and took the hand of each 80 year old veteran, and led us to our seat. That was emotional- showed good faith on the Korean side, and also respect to the veterans. That was a very touching moment. There were 100,000 orphans [after the war]. Actually, there’s an Oregon agency that adopted a huge amount of Korean orphans, and they have a ceremony here in Wilsonville. The former orphans show up, about 200 at the last event. It’s very, very emotional. 

Did you have a family after the war? How did the war affect this?

I have two daughters, and two granddaughters. One is married, and lives in Hayden Island. The other one lives in Berkeley; she is a career person. She’s an environmentalist- she’s an expert in environmental psychology. She’s much in demand. She’s got one textbook out, and is in the process of writing another. She graduated from Wales, in Great Britain. I didn’t get married until I was 40. I was single a long time, and didn’t think about family. My joke is that my father was a Westpointer, and when I met my father in law, I didn’t know whether to shake his hand, or salute him. {Laughs} 

How did your military service affect how you think about wars today?

It’s mixed feelings. I’m not quite sure. I’m distressed [about] the Vietnam War, because it’s similar to Korean War, which was run by a bunch of people who didn’t know how to run a war. They lied. I’m disappointed in the way our country has managed the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, but now I feel scared about North Korea. I’m really concerned, because there’s 25,000,000 people in South Korea, plus 30-40,000 Americans living there. Because I’m a Korean vet, people ask, “What do you think?” I say, “I have no idea what this crazy guy is going to do.” Mixed feelings- I don’t have anything strong. I’m pro-military, and I tell the students, “If you’re thinking about going into the military, go for it. I think it’s a terrific experience; good discipline, teaches you a lot of skills…” So I am pro- military, but I’m not necessarily happy about some of the wars we’re calling. 

Has serving in the military affected any decision making today?

I think so. As I say, I think I’m disciplined in a lot of ways. I try to be careful. I think the experience was helpful to me in the long run. I didn’t think so at first. {Laughs} I enjoy going to the service clubs, and talking about the war and my experiences. I really enjoy going through all these thank- you notes. I think I’m doing some good. 

I would like to include the following observation: we enjoy our freedom, as long as we have young Americans who are willing to look beyond their own comfortable lives, go to dangerous places, [and] hunt down those who would do us harm. They are to be respected and admired. 

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At Georgia Military Academy; age 18
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Graduation from Officer’s Candidate School
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Map of Korea and battle locations

fullsizerender-29.jpg This interview has been lightly edited for readability. However, to maintain integrity, and to respect the stories of the veteran, content has not been altered from the original transcription. This interview was originally recorded and later transcribed. Questions partially retrieved from:

“Guidelines.” Veterans History Project. Library of Congress, n.d. Web. 23 June 2017. <www.loc.gov/vets/guidelines.html>.

2 thoughts on “AL: “I can’t remember what I had for breakfast this morning, but I know exactly what I saw on July 6th, 1953. It was the most unbelievably horrible sight I’ve ever seen in my life.”

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