A Slow Boat To Korea April 28, 2014Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Life Lessons, People, Special Events.
Tags: Army, Korea, Korean War, South Korea
Once on the West Coast, dad boarded a slow boat to Korea. On board, he got tapped for clean up detail since he was one of only a handful of new recruits who had not succumbed to seasickness. He had a chance to practice his disappearing act:
“I expect that I am now about 400 miles out to sea. We left San Francisco yesterday. We’re on the Haverford Victory. It’s not very large. We have been underway for about 28 hours. At last I think the fellows are getting over being seasick.”
“We had been at sea for only half an hour when the latrine was full of sick guys. At chow the first night a lot of fellows were sick in the chow hall. They lost all their K.P.’s that way. When they found out I wasn’t sick, a sgt. put me to work. I disappeared in about 10 minutes.”
The crossing from California to Korea coincided with the World Series, with every game played over the loud speakers. Saturday, Oct. 12:
“Today is our 4th day at sea. We are approximately half way to the Hawaiian Islands. We expect to reach there Monday. So far we have had every World Series game put over the loud speaker system on board. They have programs and music on from 9 A.M. to 9 P.M.”
As time and tides rolled by, the constant oceanfront views lost their appeal. Sunday, October 13:
“There is little to write about aboard the ship. All we see is ocean and more ocean. Our quarters are down two floors below the main deck. They are pretty crowded. There are four bunks, one above the other in each group. They are composed of canvas tied between pieces of pipe on four sides. Tomorrow we hit Honolulu. I will turn this letter in to be mailed there.”
October 26th, dad shared some thoughts about typhoons and tigers:
“We are nearing Jinsen, Korea at last. Probably we will arrive in about 3 days. We have been delayed a couple of times by going around typhoons or something. One day it was so rough that no one was allowed on deck. A few waves were coming over the side of the ship.”
“I guess I won’t do any deer hunting this year. Not in Vermont anyway. We have been told that we can hunt in Korea year round. Partridge and tigers are the most common game. What you could do with a dead tiger is beyond me.”
Two days later, on October 28th, dad had Korea in his sites:
“Tomorrow we are supposed to debark at Jinsen, also known as Inchon. It is located about halfway up the western coast of Korea. Korea is about 450 miles long 250 miles wide and is occupied by U.S. and Russia. Russia is north of the 38 degree parallel. The climate is supposed to be much like New England.”
“Yesterday we passed by the southern tip of Japan proper, close enough so that we could see the surf. We must have been 3 or 4 miles from shore. It looked mountainous.”
Continued next Monday . . . The Best Service Assignment Ever!