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tv   Oral Histories Korean War Veteran Allen Clark  CSPAN  June 26, 2020 1:27pm-2:25pm EDT

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then at 4:00 p.m. eastern on real america, two films on the civil rights movement. february 1, the story of the greensboro four and american revolution of '63. and at 7:00 p.m. eastern on oral histories, an interview with former bennett college president and her role in the 1960 sit in protest in greensboro. explore iing the american story. watch american history tv this weekend on cspan3. the korean war ended with an armistice agreement in july 1953. next, an oral history interview with veteran alan clark, recorded in fall uubrook, california in 2015. he talks about serving two tours in cokorea with the u.s. marine
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kor corps. >> my name is alan b. clark. my age is 92. >> yes. >> my birthday is 10 september '23. >> okay. and where were you born? >> where was i born? i was born in virginia. >> okay. will you tell me brief information about your family? where did your family come from? >> well, they're primarily from the english continent. my mother felt it from the welsh. but my wife primarily did an analysis of where we are and we have a book up to a certain point, but we can't go back much further. we're back to about 1760. >> wow. >> and we have all that in a genealogy book and i can show
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that to you before you leave here. >> sure. >> and but i was born on the farm. my dad raised tobacco. and corn. and horses and cows. and i was born there. there were seven children. three girls that were older than i. two boys that were older than i and one daughter that was younger than i. and they all had deceased now. >> okay. and so you're part of the chosen few association, which means you were at the reservoir during the korean war. is that correct? >> is that is correct. >> then were you a part of the marine corps? >> yes. >> that means you enlisted yourself. you weren't drafted. >> that's right. >> when did you enlist?
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>> i enlisted in a reserve program. i was in college in william and mary. and i enlisted december the 12th, 1942. >> when did you arrive in korea and where did you arrive to? >> >> i arrived in korea at the inchon peninsula. battle of inchon. prior the that, i was in camp pendleton and i went to an artillery school at ft. sill, oklahoma and i studied what i would be doing in korea, which was surveying, flash and sound raging, which meant that we had estimates that could see flashes of guns and mortars. and we had microphones that we put in the ground and we could hear the sound and we could
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analyze and triaung late where enemies were coming from. if we saw a flash of a gun, we called that an a reading and if we saw the smoke of a gun without the flash, we called that a b reading. and if we saw the glow on the horizon, that was a c reading. and i did that most of the time i was in korea. on the second tour, i was there twice, on the second tour, i was with the second and i was a battery commander of d battery. >> okay. so your second tour, you were with the second batallion. okay. then when you first got to korea, which unit were you with and what was your rank? >> my rank was a lieutenant. and i was with headquarters battery marine regiment.
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i landed on inchon in the eighth wave in a duck boat. a duck is a boat that has a propeller on the back that can go in the ocean and on land. >> i see. >> i landed on the island of wamadu with a 45 men. >> yeah. wow. can you tell me about that story of you in that boat coming into korea? what were you feeling and what did you see? what did you hear? what was it like? >> well, we could see the inchon proper, or the infantry was landing and that would be eighth wave when we got to a position we could see. we could see them on the ladders as they climbed up the wall. and then when we got closer to the island, we couldn't see that. but we could hear the fire fights, the infantry on the
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island. >> and after you arrived, where was it that you were stationed? >> you mean in cory eerkorea? >> yeah. >> well, we, we really weren't stationed. we didn't have a station. we moved all the time. >> okay. >> and just a brief analysis of what we did. we landed on wumado and i set up ops there. four ops. and we could observe what was happening in inchon and beyond. and we reported what we saw. we did not see any artillery or mortars. but we did see trucks and troops and people having mortars and so forth. we did see that and we did report it and they were taken on the fire of error on different
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artillery regiment. >> got it. and what was the living condition like? you said you kept moving around. but where ever you stopped at to you know, stay for just a few days or so then you moved around? >> yeah, you would probably stay for a couple of days. maybe a week. but you had a tent. and you had a sleeping bag. and later on, we got a rubber mattress. but early on, we didn't have that, and you slept in the tent. we slept outside. and you were on duty 24 hours a day and you had to learn to sleep and then work and then to work and then sleep. >> wow. which battles were you involved in during your time in korea?
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>> i have five stars on my ribbons. i'm not sure. inchon. seoul. wansan. the chosen few. central korea at the reservoir, in that area. >> wow. i mean, i'm sure you have so many stories from all those battles. can you tell me a few of them that maybe are more profound to you or that you remember most? >> yes, i'd be happy to try to remember them. sometimes we forget. in the inchon area, one of the
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first things we noticed of course were the families and the children. they were nice people. they were friendly to us. and as i was ordering to find another op, observelation post, i went through this small village near the airport. was it kembo airport? i noticed that the villagers were friendly and started to point and i wondered what they were pointeding out. i stopped and they pulled out a guy and it was a north korean. and they wanted me to take him, which i did. because they wanted to get rid of him and that was the first prisoner that i captured. >> wow. >> and brought him back to the regiment and he was sent through the prison chain of command, however that goes.
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i didn't know what happened to him after that. >> wow. was it kind of an intense moment or kind of easy to handle? >> it's not easy to handle, but it was intense not knowing whether he was the only one because i was only had a jeep and four people and i didn't really know much about how the korean people felt about us coming that way. but they were friendly and they were helpful and so, it helped us. it helped the whole engagement along. i finally got an interpreter and he traveled with us the whole time that we were in korea. so that we would be able to know what's going on. >> right. so without, when you didn't have the interpreter yet, you must have had to use body language and -- >> hand. you did it with your hands.
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and they could shake their heads and like that and, but another thing that happened before we got to seoul, we reached the hahn river and i had, i still had the duck. there and the, observation was best on part of across the hahn river and part of it on this, on the, what would that be, the east. the west side of hahn river. so i found some observation posts on the other side of the hahn river, which i occupied and i had some on this side. and we were able to see seoul. the outskirts of seoul, not downtown, but the outskirts of it. particularly on the side there. and while we were doing that, a message came over the radio with a set of coordinates and said, don't fire on these coordinates.
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it's a brewery and there's beer there. so, i said well gee whiz, that's interesting. and after a day, i saw people going and coming back with jugs, with cans of beer and my men said, we got to have some beer, lieutenant. so i had five, five gallon water cans. one for each observation post and one for the center that i had. i said five, five gallon water conditions down to the brewery and brought back beer. and each op had five can full of beer and then one there. after two days, i got a call from one of the op leaders and he said, lieutenant, you know, he said i've washed in beer, i've shaved in beer and i'm tired of beer. could you please just get water?
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>> wow. >> so i got some water. all had water then. but those were two wonderful observation posts because we could see what was coming out of seoul. before our troops crossed the hahn river and after they crossed it, we were in good position to see and while there, we saw a number of targets, which we reported and finally, we observed six tanks coming out of korea, right toward our infantry. >> wow. >> so i reported that and they, they, then we had an air observer. so we sent the air observer up there and they spotted them and then the artillery, 155 guns, howards, i'm sorry, fired on the
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six tanks and knocked all of them out before they could get down to the infaninfantry. >> oh, yeah. >> so that was a major piece of information that i felt good about. that we were able to stop them there. also, with the same observation post, we saw some glows to the south of seoul. and it was a pretty good distance from the south of seoul. and we got some coordinates on it. and sent it back to our headquarters. and they said that's, we don't have any weapons that can hit that. but would you just wait a minute, i think we can get some ammunition to you. so later, we've contacted the missouri, the battleship, and they can hit it. so we gave them the coordinates and they fired and we adjusted and they fired again.
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they fired three salvos. i don't know whether they hit it or not because it was a, a sea reading. we didn't see any flashes. we saw u the glow. but they stopped firing because they were firing into our troops there. they stopped firing. >> huh. >> so we felt good about that. >> yeah. then going back, do you, what was the reason that you were given this specialty? surveys of sound. did you have background in? >> no, i was, i didn't, i did not have background. i had college training. >> what did you study at william and mary? >> no, but i had enough math that i could do that. and the colonel of the artillery regiment at pendleton did not
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have anybody scheduled that knew anything about this. so i had another job at the time. my job was treasurer at the commission offices and he used to come up to have lunch and so forth. he said i need a lieutenant to go to school. he said what are you doing and would you like to go to school? and i said well, what are you talking about? and he told me. i said, sure. i'd love to go to school. so we went to ft. sill to this school. flash and sound ranging was the name of the school, but it included, we had to survey our ops. and we didn't have our surveying instrument except the instrument we used to side with had the circle and all of the things on it and we could survey with that instrument. so we were supposed to survey every op and every microphone we put in this ground to make sure that when we gave them a, an
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answer on a set of coordinates, it was correct with the coordinates. but i was at ft. sill when the war started. i was just about finished. i had about a week left. i miss ed the first deployment with the first batallion that went down to pouson. i missed that by about ten days. i came back and was at pendleton and organized to go out with the division and pendleton was quite a place then because you had to bring in all the reserves. the organized reserves and individual reserves that had specialties. and they came from all over the country. and was organized into their batallions and supplies and artillery and tanks and all. and we boarded ship and went to
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japan. japan, we, we got off of their ships and went to some barriics and the the weather was bad and some of the ships broke loose. in the harbor and we thought we were going to be delayed on the inchon landing and that's what we were there for. but we weren't. they got the ships back in and we went back aboard ships for the landing and we got aboard an lst, a landing ship dock, and it was operated by the japanese. all of the japanese and they fed us food, which was good food. and most of the japanese are are small amphibious boats were manned by japanese crew and they did a wonderful job in taking us there and put us into the right place.
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>> that's good. >> how about the reservoir. your time there. i heard from a few veterans you know that it was so cold. their sleeping bags would freeze up in all those stories. what was your experience like? >> well, we went up to from the east coast around seoul, we got aboard ship and went over to wansan on the other side of the peninsula then we went north to the vicinity of han hong and from there, we were ordered to go up to the reservoir. up to hager reed, which we did, and i went ahead and just my driver and i and a radio operator, went with other people that were in the regiment there. we went up there and we got up
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there late in the afternoon and began to pitch our tents and so forth and we had some people helping us and some of the young people could speak english and they said, chinese, chinese, in my village. chinese. they say they coming. tonight. so we knew they were coming. we report ed that to division ad they knew they were coming. and we had a perimeter set up inside of a perimeter with our artillery. the infantry was the outside and we were inside with ours. well, they did hit us that night. first night we were up there. and they broke through the lines and came into the part of the, the hagry and they came through to our perimeter and we stopped part of them, but our perimeter there, and some of the other
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units did the same there. and along about 5 a:00 in the morning after the fighting was still going on, the infanry counterattacked and ran them out. and then the next day, they prepared and the lieutenant had hurt one of the third marine batallions, was hurt and killed. i don't know which, and we need an officer for this platoon. so i moved over to the third marines as a platoon commander. and was there as platoon commander the rest of the time we were at hagrury. and even though there were no major attacks in our section, there were sporadic attacks and stifle fire and so forth there. and coming out of the reservoir, out to we got the people back
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and got them organized and started out was transferred over to this first batallion seventh marines and i was assistant artilleriily li ason officer an we came out with the fifth marines. when we came out, it was just a real thin road. you can't pass most of the time. and you just went down that road. that was the way out. you couldn't do that. we were ambushed several times. one was a major ambush with my part of the convoy. and they hit us, we didn't know they were there. they weren't firing. they hit us all at once and the
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jeep i was in, i was in the backseat at the time. the jeep was hit in the engine, which stop ped the engine. it hit the gas tank and the gas tank and puntured the rear tire. i was sitting in the backseat, and nobody in the jeep was hit. but we all jumped out and got in a little hill on the back side and they started coming over their -- railroad tracks was on the other side, and we had a pretty good fire fight. i had an m-1 rifle. and about the second or third round, it jammed. and there i was in the middle of a fire fight with a jammed rifle. and i looked around, and there was marin, who had been hit. and he wasn't moving. i said something to him. he didn't say anything. i picked up his carbine, went to
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his pocket and got some ammunition and continued to fight. and finally, with 50 or 100 men altogether in this one section, our sergeant said, i'm a sergeant, who's in charge here? and i said, well, i'm a lieutenant. i don't know whether there's anybody senior to me or not. he says, lieutenant, you're it. what do we do? i said, okay, let's move over to the railroad tracks, and everybody lie down and use the railroad tracks as a paratent. we got down and continued to fight, and that's what we did. and we finally -- they finally stopped. the jeep i was in. the driver was pretty resourceful. he began to look for something and he found a rope and a truck in front of us. he tied a rope to the bumper of the truck and to the jeep, and
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we were pulled in by that rope. >> that's intense. i'm picturing the scenes in my head. >> yeah. >> all of a sudden you're given -- you're asked, what do we do? you have to just think of the solution quickly. wow. >> well, with that particular section, there was nobody really in charge. it was just the end of a column and the beginning of another column and just a short space like that. and somebody had to be in charge. >> right. wow. >> i have some clothing if you want me to discuss. >> clothes? >> yeah. >> oh, yeah, yeah, let's show that to the camera then. so, you have some jackets here next to you. so, yeah. if you just hold it up, we can
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show the camera. >> okay. first off is the field jacket. >> yeah. >> and it has the hood on the back that can zip off or button off. and it's real thick. >> right. >> and the other one is -- this is really a god-send that we had it. it's an overcoat. it has an insert which is fur and it's london fog. and everybody had one of these, and everybody wore them. you slept in them. you wore them, and you were lucky to have one. >> right. >> in addition to that, we had a
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wool scarf which was wonderful because you could put it around your face when it was really cold. one place we were, the wind was blowing like crazy. we were communicating with headquarters. as i stood there with the wind blowing, at that time it was 42 degrees below zero and the wind was blowing like crazy. and if i faced the wind, in a length of time i couldn't close by eyes. they were freezing. so, i head my turned around like that and trying to blink them and finally get them so they could. >> oh, my goodness. >> but once we got we
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refurbished and replenished, the real blizzard hit that i'm talking about. we had to get the bridge in and take care of the mountains overlooking the bridge. we had to occupy those mountains. we kept waiting. the blizzard was about two days, and it was one of the worst blizzards in history, what they said. >> really? wow. >> worst blizzards in history. and the colonel there was well known and he was there and he kept wanting to know when he could leave. and about the third day the
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clouds began to dissipate. at night he went out in his tent and looked out and saw it was flurry, and he saw one star. and he says we go in the morning. and that one star is what the chosen few has chosen as their motto. and i have a copy of it right there. >> that's fabulous. >> that's a wonderful star. and we really appreciate it that not many people other than chosen few people could get this. their wives got it or could get it, but it was a different color. so, i'm proud of that. i'm proud of every marine that was up there. it was just, you helped one another and you tried not to create anything that would be
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more dangerous than someone else and you tried to help them. >> right. all the way through. >> you have so many -- i mean of course it was the war, so so many hardships that you had to endure. which -- would you say you can pick the most difficult, most dangerous moment or incident that you went through out of all those? >> oh, boy. that would be very difficult because there were -- i would say that coming out of the chosen and before we started out was probably the most difficult moment because we didn't know -- most of the marines didn't know. and even when the officers wouldn wouldn't tell you this, they didn't know either. our division commander, general
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smith, what a wonderful man he was. mcarthur's former chief of staff was in charge of the 10th brigade. and he came up and the general smith division was under the 10th brigade. and he came up there and we were -- didn't know whether we were going to make it or not. and he said what i want you to do, general smith here says i want you to abonn dandon all yo equipment, destroy it and walk out the best way you can. and general smith looked at him and said, general, he said, we're coming out as marines. he says, we bring in our wounded, we bring in our dead,
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we bringing in our equipment and we're coming out. and that's what he did. he was a religious man, i think, in some ways, but he was well-respected by his staff. he made sound decisions, and he tried to take care of everybody. for example, he -- they had trouble -- they wanted to have an airfield up at hagarau-ri and there wasn't really a place for a strip. but he talked to the engineers and said, you know, there's a flat area right here and there's a mountain. they said the mountain is not too big. why can't we have a flat area right here and take the roadway
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up the mountain. and it would stop the planes so you would wouldn't have to go so far. and that's what they did. and that's how a lot of the aircraft came in and picked up the wounded, brought in supplies and so forth. >> i see. >> but general smith was a wonderful man, and he got us out of there. when we -- continuing on down after, we got the bridge settled and got the mountain taken. ai a battalion from the south came up and took them out. so, they came from that way. we got down to hanhong area. the navy was there with everything they had that floated that area and we started to board these ships.
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it was crowded. sometimes ten to one. for example, i went and bought a small pc oboat i think it was called, just a little smaller than a destroyer. and the mess hall served 24 hours a day beans and they had the meet. i've forgotten what the meat was but it was navy meat there. and everybody was there and nobody was assigned a bunk. but people took a bunk. and finally there was agreement that you would sleep this long and then i would sleep. it reached the point that it was four to one. you had four people slept in one bunk. >> wow. >> like that. and the civilians, they wanted
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out of there. they did not like the chinese and they did not want to be there. think left their homes. they brought their children. they brought their whole families and tried to get in a convoy. and we started letting them get in our convoy. and finally the chinese were ill filtrated the civilians in coming into our convoy and firing on us. >> oh, my. >> so, we kept them out of the convoy and said get at the end of the convoy. and that's what they did. and we got down, there was 99,000 to 100,000 people that wanted to get aboard. and they had trouble finding ships that would carry them. and finally a chaplain was, i think, instrumental in talking
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to some of the commanders of the ships. and finally commander of lst which is one that can run aboard the bank on the sand and get in there. and he agreed to take them. and that's what they did. and that ship did the same thing. there were two ships that took the civilians out and they got them aboard and it was 10 to 1 anyway what they should be. they took them down to an island off of south korea, not on the way to busan but just put them on the island because they weren't sure the ship was going to hold up. >> i see. >> and the one that the chaplain, there were nine babies born. >> wow. oh, my gosh. >> so, that -- that was really something. those people wanted out of
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there. 99,000 of them. that's what they estimate, came out. >> right. there was a recent movie that was made that captured -- re-enacted that scene. and it was so, so many people just running for their lives to get into the ship. and some people even falling off the ship, unfortunately, even after having gotten on because it was so crowded on the deck. >> they did what? >> they fell off the ship too. >> yeah, oh, yes. >> yeah. >> because a ship just has a little wire or chain around it. and people aren't used to it and the ship is going like this. they can fall off, particularly young people. even older people sometimes can fall off. >> yeah. so, yeah, it was a really intense moment. but you are someone that --
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>> i was right in the midst of it. and that chaplain. and i wasn't there when he talked to the skipper but i was right close. and the skipper said we've got to do something. he said, i'll take it. >> and that was it. >> yeah. and then the other captain said well, if you take them i'm going to take some too. so, they got all of them that were there. >> yeah, wow. how about with korean soldiers. did you often work together with korean soldiers, korean marines? >> yes, korean marines primarily. some korean soldiers -- korean marines were tough. their discipline was ten times tougher than ours. they just didn't put up with anybody that didn't cooperate and didn't try. they just didn't put up with it. and they had wonderful -- when
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they were asked to advance, they advanced. when they were asked to defend, they defended. they were wonderful. they were absolutely great. the marines, i'm talking about. i don't know much about the soldiers. but i'm sure that the same thing is there. >> were they kind of smaller in stature compared to u.s. marines? >> yes, yes. they were smaller. >> yeah. and they didn't -- probably a lot of them didn't speak english well, but there were translators, right, to help? >> that's right. >> i see. >> that's right. there was always an interpreter somewhere and the interpreter i had was so good. he got so he could speak -- not initially. he got so he could speak pretty well. >> i see. >> when we were down at busan after we came down and we were
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there replenishing and getting supplies and training, he said, i have a friend here i'd like to take you to dinner, they would like to have you for dinner. i said, well, that sounds nice. what are we going to have? said, we're going to have octopus. and i had never -- i said, octopus? so, i said, okay, i'll be there. and i went over, and it was good. it was really good. nice couple. >> wow. you had some delicacy too. >> yeah. >> yeah, did you ever get a chance to just kind of tour the country and the countryside and just do some sightseeing during your time there? >> no, i never did that. but we normally -- if there's no fighting, we did tour the
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villages and things and we talked to the people and saw the people and saw their little children. and most of them want a candy bar. and that's true wherever you go. in britain, the children want a candy bar. but they were nice. i was impressed with their culture. while we were on my second tour there, the people we got to know a little better next to us and observe several burials which was interesting, how they did that. not too much different than how it is, but emphasis maybe on certain parts of it more than we
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do. >> wow. >> but they did. >> interesting, yeah. >> they helped us out while we were there on the 38th parallel. they had the so-called cease fire. and i was battery commander then on the second tour. and we still had to fight our end, do interdiction fire particularly when they would send patrols out across dmz and try to find out where we were and what we're doing and maybe get in a fire fight. we had to be prepared and we did. we did that the whole time. and i came out with a division when it left korea, and we came to camp pendleton and i still had my battery on, my d battery there. >> were you wounded in korea at
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all? >> no, i was not wounded, but i had a chronic disease -- not a disease, but i had a chronic sickness on my second tour. no, it was on my first tour, not the second tour, my first tour. i was up in central korea, at the wang tong reservoir. i had breakfast one morning and i had cereal and i used that canned milk. and i had more pain in my stomach in here than i could barely understand. there was a surgeon -- not a surgeon, but a doctor in the battalion next door to us. and some of my people went over and got the doctor. and he came over and examined me and said we've got to get him out of here right away and they
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called a helicopter and took me down to an army aid center which they had there. and i was in the army aid center and they diagnosed me as having peptic ulcers. and they said that your best bet -- we don't like to do those here, we can but we don't like to do those. the best bet -- the hospital ship is in busan and you need to go to busan for the hospital ship. they put me on a korean train. and the train is smaller than the trains here. i don't know how wide the rails are, but it's smaller and the train took me down to busan and i went aboard the hospital ship. and they got me to the operating room and said we're going to take one more picture and we'll be operating, about six doctors there. so, they took the picture and they came back and they looked and they got together and they
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said, you know what? we don't see any peptic ulcer. said we aren't going to operate. we're going to send you to japan and you're going to the army hospital there. i went by plane to the hospital they began to examine me and test me, and they said we need to operate. one, you have stones in your bladder, your gall bladder. and also you have -- your stomach juices aren't what they should be. they are different than they should be and we're going to operate with that too. so, i was operated on there. and they cut some of the optic nerves that control some of the
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stomach solutions and they operated on my stomach. and i was there for a couple months, and then i came home and was here at home for a little while. and then i went back on the second tour. >> i see. >> but i still have that -- what they operated on. they changed the valve in my stomach. they cut it so it releases more than it normally does, and they cut some of the bile things that do that there. so, i take medicine for that, and it seems to work fine. >> and so during your second tour, you didn't have -- >> no, no problems, no injuries. >> i see. >> very lucky.
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>> yeah, oh wow. and so when did you then leave korea now? what month was it and year? >> i'm sorry. >> when did you leave korea? when did you -- about what month and year? do you remember? >> it was in the -- i think the spring of the year. i've forgotten exactly. wait a minute. maybe i can figure it out. >> the war ended in '53, right? 1953 -- i mean, not ended, but cease fire in 1953. >> well, i came back in '53 or '54, at the end of that, and not long into that.
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>> okay. any other -- you mentioned a few friends, a few colleagues that you were with that you remembered and you talked about any other friends or colleagues that you would like for us to also know about during the war? >> no, not really. most of them have gone on. most of them have passed on. i say "gone on," they've passed on. and i thank god every day that i'm able to do this. >> yeah. >> i really do. and so does my wife there. she's 93. but we work at it. we walk every day -- every other day. we try to walk two miles up and down the road. we pick up trash as we go down. we even pick up cigarette butts as we're going down the road there. so, we try to clean up the road and have it more beautiful for
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everybody else. >> that's how you stay so healthy. you took very healthy. >> well, i do that. and i try to eat right. we both do. my wife's a home economist and she's famous for her entertainment while i was in the corp. throw the marine corp., she really is famous for that. and i make a salad every night. i have ten vegetables in the salad and i try to rotate them and i try to have as many colorful vegetables, red and yellow and green and purple, any of those. and we do that. i got started on that in 2008. my wife was in a hospital. she had colon cancer and i was
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at the hospital reading some of their books. and it said you need to eat at least five vegetables a day to be healthy. and i said, gee whiz, i don't think we are. so, i came back and started eating five vegetables. and i said, well, what's wrong with ten? so, i begin to take ten vegetables a day. that's what we've been doing now for a long time. >> i see. >> so, we've tried to stay healthy and we try to walk and keep our exercise, keep our body in the right shape. >> thanks for the tip. >> just like marines. you've got to be ready. >> right, right. >> we've got to be ready for what we're going through. >> right. >> i do -- i have done -- i'm not doing it now, but i have done a lot of work for the
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church. but with helping her i'm not doing much in the church anymore. >> yeah, when you returned from korea, you -- where did you come to in the u.s.? >> when i went to korea, my wife and the children went to her family in ohio. and it's a small town in bellville, ohio. and everybody knows the family. everybody knew her. and when i got up there at the chosin reservoir, everybody knew i was up there. but nobody up there could mail anything because there wasn't any mail. i mean, you had ammunition but no mail. so, i didn't write anything or couldn't write anything until i got aboard ship. and i finally got a postcard from one of the sailors and i
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wrote my wife then. and she got it on christmas eve. and how she got it, the postmaster knew all about this and the postmaster brought it to her at 8:00 at night and gave it to her. so, she knew i was aboard ship going down to busan. >> wow. >> so, the wives and family suffered, i think, as much as the marines did, particularly the children because they didn't know what had happened. and once they found out, a lot of them was real glad and some of them were real sorry because they didn't make it.
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>> right. and when you -- once you returned, did you think of korea often, think about korea often and think back to your time there? >> oh, yes. i thought about it often. i still do. >> i see. >> i really thought about it often. and later on when i went to school at quantico, i got on a traveling team. there were five of us and we talked about amphibious warfare. and i would often, if asked questions -- i would never bring it up -- on the lesson plan i have, but if somebody in the audience brought it up and asked about it, i would tell them about it, whatever they asked about. but i don't consider myself a hero. i know what everybody did up
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there how they suffered. and i think about the men that had frozen feet. see, i have on support hose right now. my feet are cold all the time. when i came back, my feet were black and blue. i hope that you will just be aggressive the rest of your life and do what you're doing. i'm just so happy you came over and so happy you're doing this. >> well, thank you. i really thank you for your time and telling me all these stories. so, now i know more about the history and also even the things that you talked about like situation right now. it's good for me to hear all those things. so, this was really good for me. >> yeah. >> thank you so much. >> well, thank you for coming. >> yeah, thank you. >> and i hope you can get a dvd or a tape or something.
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i know that my grandchildren probably don't think much about it -- one of them does. i have two great grandchildren. one's 14 and one's 12. the 12-year-old is more into doing this than the other one. >> okay. sure, sure. >> but they're both into it. and i know that they would love to see it. tonight on american history tv beginning at 8:00 p.m. eastern, a night of programs on espionage. we begin with paul kicks talking about his book "the saboteur," the aristocrat who became france's most daring antinazi commando. watch american history tv tonight and over the weekend on c-span3. american history tv on
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c-span3, exploring the people and events that tell the american story every weekend. coming up this weekend, 60 years ago, four african-american students protested segregation at a wool worth lunch counter which began the lunch counter sit ins of the civil rights movement. live on american history tv and washington journal, we'll discuss the sit ins and deseg ration with tracy parker, author of "department stores and the black freedom movement." then at 4:00 p.m. eastern on real america, two films on the civil rights movement. february 1, the story of the greensboro 4, and "american revolution of '63." and at 7:00 p.m. eastern on oral histories, an interview with former bennet college president
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esther terry and her role in the sit in prozests in greensboro. exploring the american story. watch american history tv this weekend on c-span3. now on american history tv, korean war veteran james sharp talking about his experiences as one of the few african-american soldiers in his company while serving as a machine gunner in the u.s. marine corp. >> my name is james sharp. when i was in korea i was marine pfc, and i'm very pleased to be doing this interview with you on may 29, 2014. it's a long time after the end of the war, so you'll have to forgive any mem

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