An interview with a Korean War Veteran: My grandpa, Donald Hesse, was living with his mom at the time that he was drafted for the Korean War in December of 1951; he was 20 years old. He is now the oldest living Korean vet in American lesion in Dewitt. My grandfather’s memory is a little hazy, so he could not remember many memories or details. He claims that he “doesn’t think or talk much about it.” Prior to the war, he was working in a weight room on airplanes for some company in Iowa for $1.25 an hour; he hated his job. When he arrived to Korea at night by plane, the train drove by the 38th parallel line, covered him in black coal dust as the windows were not existent, and it was “10 below. It was cold… I still don’t like getting cold.” Since he worked as a bulldozer engineer in the army, he was stationed wherever the army needed him; he was stationed 14 times at locations such as Suah Juan, NG, and Saulture. My grandpa usually operated the bulldozer to build roads, shovel snow, or to make a pathway for the tanks to pass through and get more distance on shells. He never saw combat or civilians, at most p.o.w’s, because the military “valued the bulldozer more than me.” Korea was his “home” for three years, and life was very different in war than it was back in Iowa. He slept in a sleeping bag, and he had to take off his boots to wear two pairs of wool socks, two jackets, and two pairs of pants to bed since it was so cold. The food, “let’s just say, I weighed 190 before the war, and after I was 147,” was the basic “C rations” or canned goods with the addition of “green eggs” which were just dried powdered eggs that they had to add water to. On occasion, they received meat- liver, and since my grandpa was one of the few who actually loved it, he would get around five servings of liver from his companions. While he was far from home, hints of home were always near. From time to time, they received the Stars and Stripes Newspaper, around three issues a year. He had a general idea of what was happening in the war. His mother often sent letters, and he responded. She made a book of the letters, and my aunt currently has the book. One letter included a brochure of a new chevy car that was “$1,953 including license.” He bought it, and when he returned from the war, the car was sitting in his driveway. This may seem odd, but his partner was “full blooded Indian. He was a heavy set guy.” My favorite story involves my grandfather’s experiences in Japan. He went to Japan for five days on a R and R mission (rest and rear) to get water and whiskey; they were going to sell the whiskey for some $$$, but ended up drinking it all themselves. Anyway, when they arrived in Japan at midnight, they ate at the mess hall with the officers at a table, in which he felt “pretty good about themselves.” In other words, it was an honor. Also for the first time in a couple of years, he saw real eggs. Thus, he ate 10 eggs that night. On the day that they were supposed to leave, the bus to the airport was overcrowded with other soldiers, so my grandpa and about five other soldiers stayed in Japan another night. The next morning, there was no bus to pick them up, because the airplane that was filled with the soldiers that my grandpa was supposed to be on crashed, and there were no survivors. Everyone thought my grandpa had died, and his mother in Iowa was informed. Little did they know, he was not on the airplane. He did not die. He was supposed to, but he did not. Since then, my grandfather has “never be first in line for anything.” My grandfather recalled a memory in which he encountered other people besides his soldiers. He was operating his bulldozer through a town. There were riots everywhere and even a Japanese prisoner of war camp from World War Ⅱ. He ordered them out, but they refused to get out of the prison. Thus, he was ordered by an officer to force the prisoners out via bulldozer, and the prisoners finally fled. He said, “now, that – that was an experience.” On a humorous experience according to my grandfather, he states that there was a new officer in his platoon. “It was an army rule to get off the bulldozer and turn the engine off when saluting,” and this new officer did not quite understand that. The officer did not know how to operate the bulldozer, so he ended up breaking the rule. My grandfather recalls the general yelling at the officer to shut the machine off in which the officer responded with some sassy remark. My grandfather’s favorite moment is when the general asked the officer “how long have you been an engineer.” The next day, the officer was not there, so my grandpa assumed he got fired by the general. My grandfather laughed about the incident, while I did not. Maybe it’s an army thing? My grandpa got to come home from war in March of 1953. After the war, he got a new job handling bulldozers since he really liked working with bulldozers in the army; he got paid $1.46 an hour with short work days. He married my grandmother some time after that and had children. After the bulldozer job, he got involved with the trash business which he eventually retired from. He “never had to look for a job.” I guess that leads us to today. Since my grandpa is a Korean War Veteran, in exchange for his service he went on an all expense paid trip to Washington, D.C a couple of years ago. A couple weeks ago, my grandpa was picked up in a van with about four other veterans and was driven to the VA hospital in Iowa City. My grandpa has been ½ deaf for a while, and he finally got hearing aids! He calls them “earphones,” and it did not cost him anything as he is a veteran.