Duane Norman Booker


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BOOKER, Duane Norman

Duane Norman Booker was born on November 26th 1924 to Samuel Archie & Agnes [Olson] Booker in Cook, Minnesota.

The family moved to a farm west of Moose Lake when Duane was about eight months old. His mother died when he was very young and he father abondoned the family. Duane managed to graduate from Moose Lake High School.

Mr. Booker tried to enlist with the USMC in 1944 at Ft. Snelling but ended up with the U.S. Navy. He served in the Pacific from 1944 till the end of the War. After the war, he returned home and married to June Caroline  [Anderson] on October 16th 1948 and they started a family.

During this time he joined the "B" Company Marine Reserve in Duluth.

In 1950 President  Truman called on reserve forces around the country to prepare to deploy to Korea. As in the photographs, they marched down from Park Point down to the Depot on Superior Street. There they boarded a train and went out to Camp Pendleton, California.

Once there, they separated the Company into other units. All the guys who had been in the service before went in one bunch, and those who had only had two or three weeks of summer camp (training) would go in another one.

The guys who had been in the service went up to what was called Tent Camp 2. They were on the ones who were ready to go to combat. He earned a Purple Heart during his service in Korea from 1950 - 1952. He rose to the rank of Sergeant (SGT).

After the Korean War he kept active in military affairs as a member of the VFW, the American Legion, the Purple Heart Association, and the B Company Marines.

Mr. Booker died on February 12th 2017 at the age of 92 years. He is buried ot Oneota Cemetery in Duluth, Minnesota.

  Albert J. Amatuzio Research Center | Veterans Memorial Hall (vets-hall.org) 

Duane Norman Booker (1924-2017) - Find a Grave Memorial

U.S., World War II Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947 - Ancestry.com



          Company B Marines Korean War Oral History Project

                       Narrator: Duane Booker (b. 1924) - DB

                      Interviewer: Gina Temple-Rhodes - GTR

                                  [Cedar Story Services]

            Recorded February 8, 2013 at his home in Duluth, MN


GTR: Can you tell me a little bit about your background, where and when you were born?

DB: I was born in Cook, Minnesota on November 26, 1924. We were out in the woods, just a little log cabin. We moved to a farm west of Moose Lake when I was about eight months old. That’s where I went to High school. I graduated from High School in Moose Lake, in 1942. In 1939, my mother passed away. My dad left, so I was on my own. I was thirteen years old. I was on my own until I graduated from high school. After I graduated from high school, I was going to go into the Service. But at that time, they didn’t want farm boys. They needed farm workers to help raise food. So, they deferred me. Then in 1944, I said, “No, I’ve had enough farming, I’m going to go into the service.” So, I went down to Minneapolis, St. Paul, to Fort Snelling, to enlist. I wanted to get into the Marine Corps. But the Marine Corps… this was around noon, and the Marine Corps door was closed. So, I said, I’m not going into the Army, so I went and got into the Navy. I served in the Pacific from 1944 till the end of the War. Then, after the war, I joined the "B" Company Marine Reserve here in Duluth, down on Park Point. Of course, I was married then. In 1950 is when we got greetings from the President of the United States. You are now ready to go to (war). So, we marched down from Park Point. We marched down to the Depot, down Superior Street. We got aboard a train and went out to Camp Pendleton, California. There, they separated us. All the guys who had been in the service before, went in one bunch, and those who had only had two or three weeks of summer camp (training) or whatever they wanted to call it, would go in another one. So, the guys who had been in the Service, we went up to what they called Tent Camp 2. We were on the ones who were ready to go to combat.

GTR: Had you been in combat, in the Pacific?

DB: Back in the Navy, no.

GTR: You had seem some combat back in the Navy?

DB: No, I had never been in combat before. They loaded us aboard two ships. The USS Okanogan and the USS Bear. That was all reserve from Minneapolis, Duluth, all this area, you know. Not only us, there were others. We went to Kobe, Japan and we did what they called combat loaded. I think we were there a day or two, and then we made the Inchon landing on the 15th of September. That’s kind of a…. that landing is kind of a blackout in my mind. We had several of my friends who were killed in that…

GTR: In the landing.

DB: So, then we went through Inchon and moved up to Seoul. They got us out of Seoul, and we retook it again. I remember I was in a foxhole in Kapo airfield. Then we got word that we were being relieved by the Army and we were going to make another amphibious landing in North Korea. So, we marched back to Inchon, and on the way down, we met the Army coming up. They had their trucks, their showers, their ovens… all that good stuff. We never had that! So, we loaded aboard a Japanese-crewed LST that the United States had given Japan. On the way up to North Korea, to Wonsan. Wonsan Harbor was mined, so we couldn’t get in there. We had to wait until we got a minesweeper to clear the mines out of Wonsan Harbor. So, after they cleared the mines, we went ashore and started going up North. I was still in B Company. I was the only one from this area that was in B Company. At first, the Lieutenant wanted me for a runner. So, I was a company runner for a while. Then our radioman got hit, so he asked me if I would take over the radio. I said, “Yeah, I’d take over the radio.” I said, “I have to have someone carry my pack, because I can’t handle both of them.” He said, “We’ll assign somebody to take care of your pack.” But, nobody did.

GTR: Did you have to carry both, then?

DB: No! No. I just left it there. I figured the radio was more important, not thinking. Then, when we were going up in North Korea, I volunteered for being the point. They told me, the officers told me what all to look for on point. You’re about 20, 25 yards ahead of the Company. So, we come around…. What to look for, anything that shines, leaves that are dry… So, we came around the corner. It was a dry river bed on one side, and a mountain on the other side. So, we come around a corner, and we were probably a quarter of a mile from the curve in the road. They called for “Take a five!” So, the ground was rounded up right from the edge of the road, so I just took my pack off and laid down. Then the other guys all came up to me. I started looking around, and I spotted something. I looked and I looked, and here is a muzzle of a tank! They had dug the tank down in the ground. So, I told the guys, “This looks like a tank!” where they had brush and stuff on top of it. So, we got a hold of the Weapons Company, and they came up and set up the Mortars in the river bed. They blew it to hell.

GTR: There were no Chinese or troops around it? It was just there by itself?

DB: They had it aimed at the corner so that when we came around the corner, you know. But evidently they were sleeping or whatever. I don’t know. It was North Koreans in there, but we never seen them until after. All night long, it was just like big explosions, small explosions. All that ammunition was going off because the tank was burning. So, then we went on and I was still on point. Then we got up close to the (Chosin) Reservoir. We had to cross a small stream. Before that, we were in this little town. The women and kids were crossing this bridge, so they asked me if I’d take a detail down and check out the people who were crossing the bridge, because there was contraband and stuff getting through, you know. So, I asked for volunteers and we took about six guys down there. We had to check each person who went through, you know. But not the women! So a day later I got word, officers came down, and they said, “Are you checking the women close?” We said, “No, we haven’t been.” He said, “You better start!” Because the women wore great big baggy clothes. They were taking grenades. They had all kinds of stuff that they shouldn’t be taking. Even the little kids.

GTR: What bridge was that?

DB: I don’t know… there was no…just a small bridge.

GTR: Okay.

DB: They had what they called… their hand grenades were like… we called them potato mashers! They were like half a rolling pin. How they detonated them, they rapped them on their helmet. Ours had the pin. Well, anyway. We crossed this river or stream, and of course I never had no clothes. Just what I had on. Then we had a firefight that night. Our Lieutenant that we started out with got hit. We had a Lieutenant Lee, from California. He spoke Chinese real fluently. So, that night, I don’t know if it’s in order or not, that night the Chinese hit us. They came with bugles and drums and whistles and they were hollering, “Malinee, you give up! You’re going to die, Malinee!” They couldn’t say, “Marine”, it was “Malinee” or Joe. This Lieutenant Lee, he was talking Chinese to them. He was directing their fire away from us, you know. The next day, it was Chinese piled up like cordwood. In fact, before this, when we went into a foxhole, we used the dead Chinese, frozen, in front of our foxhole for protection.

GTR: Would that have been called the Nightmare Alley battle, or did it not have a name?

DB: I’ll tell you this… I’m a Christian, and I never repeated the 23rd Psalm so many times, in my life {with emotion}. Because many of the places we were…. “Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death”…. That was 100% right. This was the valley of the shadow of death.

GTR: Hmmm {sympathetic}.

DB: Then, after this firefight, we took the hill. It was real cold that night. It got real cold, nasty. So, of course, I was so wet. During the night… While we were up on the hill, I got blown by the concussion. They guys said it was a concussion grenade. I don’t know what it was, but I was knocked out. They said I flew about ten feet. Medics couldn’t get in there; we were cut off because the enemy was all around us. We stayed there on the ground, and the next day, we got word that we could have a fire. So, we started a fire. We wore leggings. These hooks and eyes, you know. They were all froze. So, I had to hold my feet close to the fire to melt so I could get the leggings off. After I got the leggings off, of course, my socks, when I took my socks off, the bottoms of my feet came right off with the socks. The bottoms of my feet were just raw, bleeding. So, they called the medics. They came with a metal ambulance. Some of the ambulances were jeeps with racks on them. But this was a metal one. They put me in this ambulance, but we couldn’t get out because we were cut off. So, they parked the ambulance. That night, I don’t know if I was afraid that they’d come find me in there, because I could remember I was shaking so bad. I don’t know if was fear, I don’t know what it was. But I froze some more.

GTR: With cold! Were you by yourself?

DB: I was all by myself in the ambulance. Then, the next day, we got out. They took me… I don’t even know the name of the town, where the railroad was. It was small gauge railroad tracks. They put me aboard this train. It was a narrow gauge railroad. The cars were just made out of the wood. They had just benches in each side. So, they tied me on this bench, and went down to the port city of Hamhung. There was a MASH outfit there. So, they dressed my feet. I was there probably that day and the next day I got evacuated to a hospital in Japan. I was there… my birthday was the 26th of November, and on the 26th of November I was evacuated to Tripler Hospital in Hawaii. We got to Hawaii, it was the 26th of November. So, I had two birthdays that year!

GTR: Oh, the dateline! Interesting! 19:54

DB: Yes. Then, from Tipler, they transferred me to Oak Knoll Hospital in Oakland, California. They gave me what they called a nerve block; I don’t know what it did. I can remember laying on my stomach with pillows. They gave me a shot in the spine with a big, big needle. I was there only a couple days, then they transferred me to Millington, Tennessee Navy hospital. I think I was there until Spring. Then they transferred me to Great Lakes Hospital, Naval hospital in Illinois.

GTR: So you were getting closer!

DB: I was getting closer to home. On Christmas, they let me go home. But I had to go back. So, I wasn’t discharged until sometime in October, 1951. So, that’s about the end of my story.

GTR: So, you were able to come back to Duluth for a little while, but then you had to go?

DB: I came home on kind of a leave, Christmas time, and I went back to the hospital until October, when I got discharged from the hospital. And that was the end of my Marine (career).

GTR: And that was because of your feet, or because of other injuries? You had the concussion, too?

DB: I had the concussion, but mostly because of my feet. They still bother me.

GTR: So it was frostbite and losing the surface?

DB: Yeah. It took a long time for that skin to grow back. I’ve still got a red line around my feet where the… a frostline, I call it {chuckles}.

GTR: Wow. So, were you getting word back from what else is happening in Korea, when you’re in the hospital?

DB: I wasn’t worried about that anymore, no.

GTR: Were you getting mail from home?

DB: I never got any… my wife sent me a camera when I was over in Korea. I never got it back. When I came home for Christmas, here it came in the mail!

GTR: It came back here?!

DB: So, I never got any mail that I can remember. Because we were moving so fast when we hit North Korea, even our payroll records never caught up to me. So, she (his wife) never got a penny all the time that I was over there, until just before Christmas.

GTR: And you left in August…

DB: Right, we left in August, yeah. The 21st of August that we left.

GTR: So, your feet freezing… was that in the Chosin Reservoir, or was that before?

DB: No, that was up at the Reservoir, yes.

GTR: But they were able to get you out. That’s great.

DB: Somebody told me after, that little train that I went down, on it’s way back up to wherever that town was, it got blown up. So nobody ever came back down it.

GTR: Wow.

DB: When I was in the hospital in Japan… this is the funny parts of it. These Japanese girls would come in and give us alcohol rubdowns. They must have had shifts, because one bunch would go and another bunch would come. It was always “Joe, you want… “oh, what do they call that, when they give you a rubdown?

GTR: A massage?

DB: A massage, yeah. “Want massage, Joe?” And I said, “Yeah, I’ll have one.” She said, “You just had one!” “No….” “I could smell the alcohol!” she said. {laughs}. So…

GTR: {laughs} Couldn’t get away with it?

DB: No, couldn’t get away with it. When I was in Tripler hospital in Hawaii, I was sleeping and some Naval Officer came. I can remember that there was a fellow next to me by the name of George Cider from Minneapolis. We both received the Purple Heart. They pinned it on my pajamas, there, in the Naval Hospital. Somebody took a picture of us, you know, not my feet. Of course, my sister who lived in Moose Lake seen the picture and she said, “Oh, they’ve amputated his feet!” {chuckles} I told them right away, as soon as I was wounded, I said, “Do NOT tell or say anything so my wife finds out! {emotional}”

GTR: Hmmm. She just didn’t hear anything about you, though? She didn’t know?

DB: No. I wrote her a letter and told her.

GTR: Did you have children by then?

DB: I had two, a son and a daughter, yes.

GTR: It would be interesting to talk with her (his wife). I wonder if she’d be willing to chat with me when we’re done here? About her memories?

DB: June? I don’t know!

GTR: Okay, in a little bit, maybe, we’ll ask. I just wanted to go back to you for a minute… if you think back to when you were enlisting, why you chose to join the Reserves, and what you expected? Did you expect to be reactivated after WWII?

DB: No, we weren’t… we didn’t figure that there would be another war that soon. So…

GTR: Right. Did you know anything about it, as you were marching down Superior Street in August, what did you know about (Korea)?

DB: We didn’t know. All we know is that we’re going out to California. They told us that the guys that has been in previous service would probably be DI’s, drill instructors. But that was a lot of baloney.

GTR: Dan Hartman, down at the Depot (Veteran’s Memorial Hall), was kind of wondering what the scene was like at the Depot as people were marching. Was the crowd excited, or sad?

DB: Oh, my wife brought me down there. June brought me down there. Pretty sure the kids were with. That’s tough! Tough to leave your wife and two kids, you know.

GTR: How old were they?

DB: Mike was one year old, and Carol was four.

GTR: Wow.

DB: When I was in the Navy, I was stationed in New Guinea. I had what they called Dengue Fever or Japanese Fever or whatever they called it. They had an old tub with the legs on. They packed me in ice. They put me in this tub and they packed me in ice. They told me that I had a high, high fever, and that I’d probably never have any children. Well, I fooled them! I had twin girls and another girl.

GTR: After…

DB: After they told me!

GTR: Wow, that’s good. So, how many children in total do you have?

DB: Five. I had twin daughters, and I’ve got… One of my daughters had twins, but it wasn’t the twin that had it.

GTR: So, it runs in the family! So, that was unusual; most of the people that you were marching with that day were younger. Not many of them were married, is that right?

DB: No. I think I was probably one of the oldest ones, because I think I was probably 25.

GTR: Did you try to sort of educate the younger men, as you were on the train. They just thought it was a grand adventure?

DB: The train we went out was an old smoke, coal-burning. As we went through the mountains, the coaches that we were in, there were cracks around the windows. That soot came in! The soot was settling on the window sills and inside the cars. It was cold and very uncomfortable.

GTR: So, that went all the way to California? Or Fort Snelling on the way?

DB: No, we went all the way from Duluth right to California. Camp Pendleton. I don’t know if I told you, we went to what they called Tent Camp 2. We had some field problems up there you know.

GTR: You had to get sorted and get your gear, and all that. You said you ended up in the Navy, but you wanted to be in the Marines. Why did you want the Marines?

DB: I don’t know. I just thought that was the most… {laughs}. I like the best!

GTR: Okay. So, what role do you think being in the Marines later played in your experience or even in your later life? How did being a Marine later, has that followed you through the rest of your life? That Marine….

DB: Well, I think being a Marine, it makes you a better person.

GTR: How so, or why?

DB: Well, I don’t know. I really don’t know. It’s hard to explain. Because for one thing, when I was in the Navy, the camaraderie was not like what it was in the Marine Corps. Everybody looks out for each other in the Marine Corps. Of course when you’re in combat, you have to.

GTR: Sounds like it. Is there something different to the training, or the discipline? Or something?

DB: I went to boot camp with the Navy in Farragut, Idaho. I was only four weeks in boot camp, and out of the four weeks, I was one week working in the scullery peeling potatoes and onions and stuff. So, it really wasn’t much training that I got in the Navy as far as that goes.

GTR: So, then, what was it like to return back to Duluth?

DB: Well, it was a happy day for me, I’ll tell you that! But we never got…. Of course, only one or two guys came back at the same time. You’d get out of the hospital, and everybody didn’t get discharged the same. As far as I know, I was the only one. Some of the guys hired a cab from California. That was in the paper.

GTR: To get back, in ’51 or so?

DB: I got discharged in October ’51, yes. But like I say, some of the guys went to Quantico, Virginia and some went all over. A lot of them stayed until ’53 or so!

GTR: That’s a long time! When did you start meeting with other Company B, these reunions?

DB: Oh, reunions? I think we had the first one at five years in ’55 or ’56. Then we’ve had one every year since. Of course, we have our luncheon at Blackwoods the first Wednesday of every month. We were just there Wednesday.

GTR: That’s a long time to keep meeting. That’s great. What role do you think that plays for you or the others.

DB: Well, you talk about old times. Yeah. A lot of the guys were more or less reluctant to talk about the bad things. Then, these doctors, they say that we should talk about it. That’s where we do the talking.

GTR: With each other?

DB: Yes. War stories, you might say.

GTR: Right. So, would you have any advice for veterans returning from overseas today?

DB: Well, I tried to put a wall on my past experience. I’ve tried to do that. When I first got home, I’d wake and jump and holler and scare the hell out of her (his wife June). So, I tried to, like I say, put a wall between what’s happened. So far, it’s worked. It’s been pretty good.

GTR: What did you do for a professional life, after you got back home?

DB: When I got back home? I was working at Interlake Iron before I went into the Marine Corps. Of course, coming out of the hospital, they wouldn’t take me back until I had some physicals. In the mean time, I went to work for Arrowhead Creamery. I had a wife and two kids to support; I had to work. So, after, I took some physicals and went back to work at Interlake. I forget when Interlake closed down and moved to Chicago or down in that area. Then Weyerhauser was just starting up in Cloquet, the box plant. So I went down there and put an application in, and I got a job. I ended up being a foreman while I was there. I was foreman, and worked for Weyerhauser until they moved out. In the meantime, I retired.

GTR: Do you think your service or your experience in the Military had any bearing on how you approached work, or being a foreman or anything like that?

DB: Oh, yeah. I was what they called a Buck Sergeant in the Marine Corps. You have some responsibilities and a few guys under you. At Weyerhauser, I had as many as 30 or 40 people who worked (under me).

GTR: That’s great. But did you have a permanent disability, or some disability pay?

DB: I have 100% disability.

GTR: But you still were able to work all that time, too? Sounds like you worked hard, too!

DB: No, I didn’t get disability until about 3 years ago. I finally… somebody talked me into checking it out, about getting a disability. So, I checked it out. I had to go to Minneapolis. They came up with… My right knee was replaced, both hips have been replaced. So, they figured 50% of that was caused by when I was in the military. All that walking. So, it all added up to 100%.

GTR: I don’t know a ton about how that works in the military, but when you first came back and you were young but you had these injuries, you didn’t receive any support at that point?

DB: No, no.

GTR: You just had to go work?

DB: I had to go to work. Yeah.

GTR: Hmm. Were you able to work pretty well, at first? Or did your feet really bother you?

DB: For a while, yeah. When I worked for Weyerhauser, I had to find, because of my feet and legs, I had to finally retire.

GTR: That doesn’t sound like a lot of support when you first came back!

DB: No, not any!

GTR: That’s hard! What do you hope will be different for people returning now? There are all of these horrible injuries they have.

DB: Well, I really haven’t thought much about it. I try to block off all that stuff.

GTR: Yes. Well, thank you for sharing all this that you have, now. Is there anything else that we didn’t cover that you’d want to…?

DB: Not that I can think of. I think we hit all the highlights.

GTR: Well, thank you.

DB: When we were in Japan… Of course, we had to get out and exercise, you know. We had a guy aboard ship, a Scotsman. His name was Colleen. We called him Killer Colleen. When we got out on the dock in Kobe, Japan. Killer Colleen was playing his pipes, and we marched up and down the dock just for exercise!

GTR: Back and forth! Someone else said something about marching through town that way!

DB: Oh, yeah.

GTR: Interesting! He was not from the Duluth area, right? He was from somewhere else?

DB: Oh, yes. This was in Kobe, Japan.

GTR: So, you weren’t with people from Duluth very much when you were in Korea, right? It was just all mixed companies, and the men that you knew here in Duluth were in all kinds of different companies?

DB: Yes.

GTR: Well, thank you. If you think of anything else, you can let me know.

DB: In fact, when I was a company runner, I think I said that. But then I was also a wire… when I was company runner, I went with a wire guy, the guys that laid the wires for communications. We had to know, every day, they changed the code, you know. Sometimes it was like “George” and you had to answer “Washington” or somebody would shoot you, you know.

GTR: How did you learn all the codes?

DB: Well, they had to get it from the command post.

GTR: It would get carried somehow, that you would learn it?

DB: Well, when I was runner, I would go every day and I’d get this. Then I’d have to relay it to the Company Officers in charge. They would let people know what it was.

GTR: Seems like that would be hard to be sure you knew the latest one!

DB: Yeah!

GTR: Great. Do you think your wife would be interested, and she could come on in?

DB: June! Come in here a minute, would you? They didn’t have it easy when we were gone, either!

GTR: I know! I don’t know how much they’ve talked with women!

To June: He had mentioned that you were already married, when he went to Korea. I didn’t come prepared with questions, really, but I wondered would you be willing to sit down and just remember a little bit about that time?

June: I don’t think so.

GTR: It was not a good time? I understand.

June: No. I’m not a speaker, and when I do talk about anything like that, I get teary, and then I can’t talk at all.

GTR: It does sound like a challenging time.

June: It wasn’t easy, that’s for sure.

GTR: It doesn’t sound like much support, from the government. Hmmm. Well, thank you so much for letting me come here and talk to him.

June: I was listening. It was interesting.

GTR: I can make a copy of the recording on a CD and then I can send this out.

June: Oh, okay!

GTR: Then our goal is to transcribe, type it all out, so that people can kind for read through things. I know not everyone sits down and listens to a whole interview, but grandkids or however might read through it. Then it’s also more accessible.

DB: I’ve had a lot of support from my kids, grandkids.

GTR: That’s good. Have they heard some of your stories?

DB: Oh, yeah. June: They’re all very proud of him.

GTR: That’s good. Did any of them enter the military?

June: Our son was in the Navy!

DB: Yes, our son was in the Navy. He was in Vietnam. He was on the aircraft carrier Midway.

GTR: That would be hard. I suppose that would be hard, having your experience, and then knowing where he was.

DB: Yes, for sure.

GTR: I’m so grateful. My family, just from the oddity of ages, hasn’t had much military experience, so I appreciate so much, learning from those of you who did.

DB: I think at 1:30, you’ve got Pete (Hildre, another interview).

GTR: Yes, I’m going to run over the Depot and set up again, and it will be good. Thank you so much! I’ll stop the tape.


                            Second Follow-up Interview

                               Duane Booker

                                    February 12, 2013

                                  At his home in Duluth


GTR: Thanks for speaking with me again.

DB: We were moving up, we were getting close to the Chosin Reservoir. The Lieutenant asked me to get some volunteers to go on a patrol. This was about dusk. So, I got five other guys. We took off. Ahead of us, about a half a mile or so, there was a great big rice paddy. There were mountains on three sides. On the left side, there was a rock ledge. It was probably 20 feet high on the north side, that’s the way we were coming from. And it tapered down. We called it a camelback. This rice paddy was divided into three dikes, divided it like a pie. So, we got up, we come up along side this camelback. We got out into the rice paddy, and they opened up fire on us. On this camelback, they had machine guns set up. There was a bunch of brush and small trees and stuff. So, we started, headed… we tried to get to the dikes. Oh, we were about 20, 30 feet from the one dike, and one of the guys behind me hollered, “Booker, I’ve been hit!” About the same time, I felt something hit my side, and my foot. I said, “I can’t…” I could feel something wet, but it was cold. I said, “We’ll be back and get you!” So, we went over the dike. Here, it was my canteen that had a hole in it. I looked at my foot and there was chunk taken out of the sole of my shoe. The machine gun had…. That’s how close I come (to dying). Then, after I again, said the 23rd Psalm, because I figured the Good Lord was really with me, that day. So, that’s the part that I wanted to let you know.

GTR: That’s a big important piece for you! What happened to the other guy?

DB: He got hit in the leg, and he was okay. He got evacuated.

GTR: Huh. That’s good. So this was right before the Chosin Reservoir?

DB: Yes. I’m just judging 10, 15 miles from there. Maybe even farther.

GTR: That was before you were the radio operator, right?

DB: Yes, that was after that (the radio operator time).

GTR: And that was when you had your feet frozen.

DB: Yes, that (incident) was after.

GTR: So, what does that make you… you said the 23rd Psalm. Does it make you think anything, later? How do you think it affected the rest of your life to have that experience?

DB: Well, {chuckles}, it did affect me. I started going to church, more {chuckles}.

GTR: When you got back?

DB: When I got back, right? To me, it did make a big difference in my life.

GTR: Well, you’re here! And your kids. Did you ever tell your family or your kids about that?

DB: Oh, yeah. We’ve got a church group that we have this 3rd Saturday every month, we meet someplace in a restaurant in Duluth-Superior. They always want something interesting to talk about. So, I’ve told our club this same story.

GTR: That’s good. You never know what’s going to happen!

DB: That’s for sure.

GTR: Well, thank you for sharing that, definitely.

DB: It was just short, but I thought it was very important in my life, and you know.

GTR: Definitely. And nobody else got hit in that group, other than that guy?

DB: No.

GTR: Wow. Well, you’re lucky. That’s great! Glad that I can speak with you about it!

DB: After it got dark, we tried to get back out there and help this fellow that got hit in the leg. They sent up flares. So, when you’re out in the middle of a rice paddy, and there’s flares, it’s brighter than sunlight, days, you know.

GTR: So, how did they not get you at that point? How did the Chinese not get you again?

DB: Well, the rest of the group that was back of, behind us, heard the firing. They sent another patrol up, I think it was another patrol, and they seen where the fire was coming from, so they called in air support. They cleaned them out.

GTR: Mmm-hmmm. That guy had to wait. After that was all done, it was safe to go get him.

DB: Somebody did. I don’t know who did, but I know somebody did.

GTR: That was just on the way up. And at that point it was all Chinese?

DB: I’m not sure. It could have been North Koreans. If there were any up there, I don’t know. It was pretty far north, so I don’t know. It could have possibly been Chinese that were there.

GTR: Okay.

DB: At that time, it didn’t make much difference!

GTR: Right! Just somebody shooting at you. I suppose. But in the Chosin Reservoir, that was mostly Chinese?

DB: Mostly Chinese, yes.

GTR: Other parts of the battles that you were in, you would have seen North Koreans that you were hitting, or you don’t really know?

DB: Orientals, it’s hard to tell one from the other. In fact, the South Koreans, the ROKs, Republic of Korea Army, it was hard to tell even between them and the North Koreans, because they were all the same!

GTR: I suppose. Were the uniforms different enough, or not really?

DB: Well, the uniforms were different, but some of the North Koreans had South Korean uniforms on, so you didn’t know! I know that’s against the rules to wear different uniforms. I know if the Americans got caught in Europe with German uniforms on, that was it! But…

GTR: That was happening, then, huh. So, it was really had to know. But you weren’t really fighting WITH South Korean troops, they weren’t really with you?

DB: We didn’t have any South Korean in our outfit.

GTR: You were just on your own.

DB: All Americans.

GTR: A big job that you all had! What do you think now, today? The things that are happening. Did the War do good at that point? Or did it not do enough?

DB: I think they should get the hell out of there!

GTR: Even where they are, now, the Middle East and things?

DB: That’s where I mean, yeah.

GTR: It’s a high price, isn’t it?

DB: One’s man death is too high to pay for what they’re going to get out of it.

GTR: It’s hard. And the price at home. That’s what I was thinking of… your wife saying there wasn’t support for the families. Now, the same. When people are over there, are we supporting the families that are left behind? Because people don’t know.

DB: No. In the 50’s there was no support whatsoever. June went three or four different places. Like I said, I left in September, and it was Christmas time, just before Christmas, that she go the first help. I forget where it was. She went to the Catholic Charity and she went to different places. One of them said they’d give her like $50 a week or month or whatever it was, which what could you do with that! It helped. I don’t even know if it was $50, but she got some money. But, she just had to scrounge.

GTR: I’ve heard of other people moving in with family…?

DB: She had a sister, I think her sister was living with her or stayed part time with her or something, and she helped her out. It was tough on the women, too.

GTR: Definitely. Some compensation later, like Congress did something for the Reservists families?

DB: Yes, after. It was a long times after.

GTR: And you couldn’t be sending back your wages, could you? You couldn’t send those back at that point?

DB: I wasn’t getting any! We were moving so fast in Korea after we made the landing in Wonsan. We were moving so fast up North that our pay records were… I don’t know where they were, but they didn’t catch up with us. So, we couldn’t get a payday. We didn’t have no records until just before Christmas.

GTR: Then they paid you there, and you could send things back? You got paid in Korea?

DB: No, no. I never got a penny while I was in Korea. Everything came home.

GTR: So, it got mailed directly.

DB: Yes. That’s where it should have went. Because I didn’t need any.

GTR: So, a little before Christmas. That’s crazy if you were moving too fast. Well, thank you! If there’s anything else, you can call me.

DB: No, that should be it!

GTR: Well, thank you very much!

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