The Best Service Assignment Ever! May 5, 2014Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Life Lessons, People, Special Events.
Tags: Army, Korea, Korean War, South Korea
After three weeks at sea dodging typhoons (and sergeants), dad made it to Korea on November 1, 1946:
“Here I am in Korea. The country is quite backward ~ noticeable from the first glance. The chief crop is rice and most rice fields have a rather strong odor. Human manure is used as fertilizer.”
“The food is quite well infected with disease germs. Soldiers are not allowed to eat Korean food. The houses are built of mud with rice stalks for the roof.”
“I have not been assigned. Most of the men have though. Healy left yesterday. He is going to be an M.P. Others went to infantry, engineers, signal corps, harbor patrol, and medical corps.”
A few new arrivals interviewed for “the best service assignment ever” ~ as agents with the Army’s Counter Intelligence Corps:
“Six of us had special interviews with an officer and may get the biggest break that I could even hope for. It is better than going to O.C.S.. Now we are waiting with our fingers crossed. We are sleeping in tents on cots. There are twelve men in each tent. They gave us comforters so we were plenty warm even if we could see our own breath.”
On November 6th, dad shared his good news with his step-mother:
“Dear Margaret ~ I am now in Seoul, the capital of Korea. The special work I was interviewed for has headquarters here. Out of the 6 of us, 5 were selected. What a break! I am living in a Japanese Hotel. There are two of us to a room. We are served at tables by waiters. The chow is very good. There is a jeep for every two men. I had a driving test yesterday and will have an army license soon.”
“About the work ~ I am assigned to the Counter Intelligence Corps. I can’t tell you much about it except that it is some of the army’s most important and secret work. I was issued an army 38 cal. police colt today with holster. I don’t want either you or Dad to worry. Unless some serious international trouble arises the work is not especially dangerous.”
As agents, they received officer uniforms to wear, without insignia, and were instructed to ignore the rank of superior officers. Everyone was treated as an equal. No saluting required.
“This work is the most desirable in the whole army. We live in better quarters than a lot of officers and get the best food. We are allowed to wear officers clothes and are not supposed to salute officers ~ even generals. I am very lucky to get into this outfit.”
“The usual requirements are 20 years of age, a college degree, and F.B.I. or similar training. They are short handed now and I was lucky. Out of the last 2000 men to reach Korea, we were the only 5 who met the current qualifications.”
Dad had another nice surprise which he shared with his sister Marjorie on November 23rd:
“Last night, I was in the theatre and right under my name [in the book signed by fellows from Vermont] was Stanley! I went and found him and drove him around Seoul a little in my jeep.”
“I think I will go hunting over here. There are deer, partridge, and pheasant right near here. We have M1’s, carbines, and shot guns to hunt with. On one hunting trip they shot a couple of wild boar. I finally received my first letter from home since October 1st.”
Aah . . . that’s better!
Continued next Monday . . . Say CHEESE!