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it was best for us to stay where we were. You ask how was combat for me? Im sorry

Time:2018-08-05 00:34Shoes websites Click:

Korea Reminders Daily Oldt

The Korean War is sometimes referred to as the forgotten war, but that is both inaccurate and a disservice to history. For one thing, the war never officially concluded, though the firing mostly ceased in 1953 with an armistice that is still in effect. For another, it is still in today’s news with grave concerns over North Korea’s nuclear arms and delivery systems, even as the alleged remains of American war dead are occasionally repatriated.

Certainly, for those who fought there, it is hardly forgotten. Though many of its soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen have already passed away, most combat veterans who remain carry daily reminders — some mental, some physical — of their service in that fiery and oftentimes freezing hell more than six decades ago.

Oliver Green, now 85, spent his professional life as a lawyer, magistrate and finally judge in municipal, circuit and appellate courts. The Lakelander was a 17-year-old, newly enlisted Army recruit when the war began with the North’s invasion of the South. His memories are vivid — they are written indelibly on his body — and his recollections sharp.

Q. From all accounts your childhood was not one of silver spoons, Southern mansions and European vacations. What were the circumstances of your upbringing?

A. We had a life that was based on my father’s salary. He was a soldier for 32 years, an enlisted man. When he finally made master sergeant making $20 a day and we had an old secondhand Willis automobile, we thought we were sky high.

When my father got into the service a little earlier than 17, he had one pair of shoes but didn’t wear those to save them. That was fairly common then. He and a fellow just like him were lined up for breakfast at basic training and the cook asked, “How do you like your eggs?” Nobody had ever asked him that and he said, “I like them a lot!”

I used to go down to the commissary where you could buy a loaf of bread, sliced, for 5 cents or you could get it unsliced for 3 cents. And I would cut off the ends, hollow those things out, and put canned soup in them. But we made it and I wouldn’t trade anything for the experience.

Q. When you decided to join the Army, did you just want to follow in your father’s footsteps?

A. I went into the service primarily to get a college education because in those days we did not have the opportunities that are common presently. While I was rated the best right guard Huntsville (Alabama) high school had — I weighed 174 pounds — the University of Alabama took a look but wasn’t interested. So I went into the Army as soon as I finished high school — in fact the morning after our prom. I joined the Army for academics with the anticipation of becoming an officer. I had planned a military career.

Q. It has been said that experience is what you get when you don’t get what you want. How did things go in the Army?

A. I worked out all my plans with the recruiting sergeant who assured me it would all happen and a couple weeks later at Fort Knox for basic training the North Koreans had a different idea and invaded. And then my mother, unbeknownst to me, contacted Sen. John Sparkman, who was a member of our church, and said “When I signed for him I didn’t know he was going to war.” He refers it to the military and a Col. Blakeney writes a letter to the senator — a page and a half; I can’t imagine why he spent so much time on it — saying it was going to be a cakewalk and your son is going to be just fine.

Q. Which turned out to not be entirely accurate. What kind of training did you receive after basic in preparation for combat?

A. After our six weeks basic training we graduated, took the train to Chicago, then Seattle, then they flew us to Japan where we had what they called combat training. I give my drill instructor credit for being alive, but from the standpoint of complete training — immersed with other soldiers in combat simulated situations — we had none of that. We were just put on the front lines. Our division was made up of the 7th Regiment, which was Anglo; 15th which was African American — this was when Truman integrated the armed forces; and the last division was Puerto Rican. Then they put in South Korean troops with us and they were wonderful people but you couldn’t talk their language, they couldn’t talk our language. You talk about us not being completely trained, they weren’t trained at all. Some of them hadn’t even shot a gun but they did valuable service in carrying ammunition and digging foxholes, where we could dig foxholes. That winter in North Korea in 1950 was cold, so cold you couldn’t think about digging in the ground.

Q. How did you protect yourself?

A. The answer is that we didn’t. Overall, we had more casualties from the cold weather than we did from combat injury. I don’t know where I got it but I ended up with a heavy winter sweater but even with that wool sweater I had frostbite.

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