|Korea � Two Generations In Country
|I did my time in
Korea, in 1983.
It wasn't really a hardship; I had my wife Dawn with me.
We were both in the Air Force doing a one-year remote on the ROK.
You spend a lot of time checking the calendar and watching the
"I want to go state-side"; I just want to go home.
But it wasn't really so bad and if we were lonely, we got on the
We could call the family in the "states" any time day or night.
The mail came twice every day, and you could always write.
We got there in January and could not believe it was so cold.
Come summer it was so hot, the weather was very hard on the sick and
But there was no war and no one was getting shot in the middle of
Now what about my father-in-law in 1952 and his combat plight.
John Rausch was an Infantry soldier positioned on what became the
There, with his recoilless rifle, watching the north, what would he
The enemy trying to kill him, coming south every night,
Serve his country, stay alive and get home, this was his personal
John was unhappy when my wife told him we were headed to Osan Air
He could only remember the cold and the fighting, what a miserable
Friends he had shipped over to Korea with were never to come back.
Now his daughter was going to Korea, all he could remember was that
bloody nightly attack.
Our tour in Korea involved a lot of training exercises and shopping
down in the vil.
John's tour was living in a sandbag bunker, on a treeless windswept
We ate our meals in the Officer's club almost every night.
He ate his combat rations, in the cold rain, under a poncho by a
We drove my pick-up truck on a four-lane highway called a Military
John walked on muddy or frozen trails, everyday until he was finally
We came home to an airport full of excited family, waiting with
John came home to the knowledge, of his sister's recent illness and
We would drive up to Seoul, to the Embassy Club for a dinner of
He would fight the elements of the night, to stay alive; he had to
We had a house girl to look after us and clean up our mess.
John had a Korean soldier assigned to him, who suffered like the
Our war was the Gulf War, fought on TV every night.
John's war, Korea, was fought away from the public's sight.
America thought we were wonderful freeing those poor people in the
John got home in the middle of the night, minus the Army Brass Band.
As a nation, we just wanted to forget about Korea, that "Crazy Asian
We just wanted to get on with the good life, sugar and gas
This nation had already done its best in World War II.
Now they were fighting in a forsaken country, out of sight, out of
John hardly had any contact with his family while engaged in those
cold & bloody fights.
We on the other hand, brought over a large part of our family to
Korea, to shop and see the sights.
They road the luxury trains of Korea from Seoul in the north to
Pusan in the south.
John was in his sandbag bunker, living hand to mouth.
For my wife and I, our time in Korea was not unpleasant to say the
We worked hard, ate & slept well and went head to head with that
John earned a Combat Infantry Badge and got out of Korea with his
He got back home to Minnesota and married his future wife.
For, two family generations in the military, Korea means different
One, it means fighting for your country and the horrors that war
For the other and her husband is was a short stop in a promising
But for both, the thoughts, good and bad of Korea were always near.
Korea has had a major impact on our family's life.
But I am glad I did my time there, in relative peace with my
Our daughter is young and I don't like what I see happening on that
She wants to join the Air Force, but I would like to see her
generation stay out of another Korean War.
Listed February 21, 2010
About Author... Major Van E. Harl USAF Ret., was a career police officer in the U.S. Air Force. He was the Deputy Chief of police at two Air Force Bases and the Commander of Law Enforcement Operations at another. Major Harl is a graduate of the U.S. Army Infantry School, the Air Force Squadron Officer School and the Air Command and Staff College. After retiring from the Air Force, he was a state police officer in Nevada.
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