Veterans recall smells, cold of Korean War

www.army.mil – WASHINGTON (Army News Service, June 25, 2010) — War stinks. According to one veteran of the Korean War — which started 60 years ago today — it stinks specifically like coal and kimchi.

Richard Whittle stood June 23 before an audience at the Armed Forces Retirement Home in Washington, D.C., to tell his story based on memories of the Korean War. He called his story “Coal Pile and Smellin’ Kimchi.”

Whittle said he arrived in Pusan, Korea, Jan. 31, 1953. He was assigned then to a railroad unit in the engineering section.

“My job was to push coal in a pile as it was being unloaded,” he said. “But that only lasted for a short time, until I learned to operate the crane. Then they gave me a crew of four and we worked seven days a week, around the clock, keeping the steam engines rolling, carrying supplies and troops to where needed.”

At night, he said, North Koreans flew suicide missions overhead. “If they saw a light from anything below, they would drop a bomb in that area.”

He said it was rumored the bombs were homemade and “no two were alike.” And the planes, he said, weren’t much better. “Their flights were a one-way trip, and when they ran out of gas they crashed,” he said.

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