We go to Korea first
21.07.2013 - 21.07.2013 89 °F
While my main reason for going is to assist and accompany my brother and my nieces, I also have certain other curiosities based on family history.
My father fought as a Marine in the Korean War and, at that point, he was largely in combat with the People Liberation Army of China. I have been recently going through some of his letters (he passed on in 1990) and have been trying to get a sense of his location during his combat. His main work was as an artillery officer, but there were occasion when he was a forward observer, and times when he was on patrol. He entered the Korean War as a Second Lieutenant, was promoted to first Lieutenant, and later was made a Captain in the reserves when he came back home. He was "in country" from June of 1952 to May 1953 and was in many battles involving that late period of the war. I have appended a photo of me going over some of the photocopies of some of these letters.
By then, the Korean War had ground into a World War I type of static warfare with the additional terror of jet combat, accurate and powerful artillery, and massive Chinese wave attacks. Some of his letters communicate a lot of the intensity of these brief but terrifying exchanges, and he was in the process of culling the warfare recollections when he was felled by a heart attack in August of 1990.
i don't know how much I can really pull together during this short time before we head to Seoul. We will only be there a few days, and the one full day will have a tour of the DMZ area in the morning. We won't be able to visit the Joint Security Area in Panmunjom because the UN regulation prohibit anyone under 10 from passing into the zone. Our youngest will be 9 years and 9 months at the time. They check passports, and we have already been told that she would be prohibited. We will go no where without her. It's too bad.
Some of the letters have small drawings dad made showing where he was located compared to recognizable landmarks, like Panmunjom, and I hope that I can make some sense of these things over the next few weeks. While we won't be able to visit Panmunjom, we will be going to other areas in the DeMilitarized Zone, or DMZ. He also shot a number of slides. I am going to try to rent an old projector, as he wrote on each slide what it was portraying. This is kind of fun sleuthing for an old history teacher.
I'll keep you informed of whether I can figure these things out. I can say one thing...if you've seen the movie "Pork Chop Hill", you have some idea of what it was like. Even if it was Hollywood! I know he was involved in a battle over a location called "Bunker Hill". If I can figure out where that is today, it will be a big step forward.