My time in Korea

West Islip, NY

My name is Larry Cohen. I was born and raised in Brooklyn, N.Y. I am the oldest of ten children. I was drafted in February 1952. I did my basic training in Fort Jackson, S.C., and then was sent to Seattle. From there I, along with the rest of the GIs, got on a ship and 12 days later, we arrived in Korea. The troops got off the ship and were put on a train with no windows. The train traveled through the night until we got to our destination. All of the troops were sent to different outfits. I was sent to 8th Army Truck Transportation. It was 396 T.T., in the outskirts of Chun Chun. We were in the middle of Seoul and the 38th Par, on the east side of Korea. When I got to my company, I saw that the trucks had no doors and were standard shifts. When you drive over mountains with a load on your truck you have to know how to shift the truck into low or lower. We were happy when we finally got new trucks with automatic transmission. We went out on convoys day and night.I would go out and then come back, and then my partner would go out. I would sleep while he was out and he would wake me up when he got back to repeat the cycle. I would get about 4-5 hours of sleep. This went on day after day.
When we would drive at night we were so tired that our eyes were hanging. I would have to stomp my feet or slap myself in the face to wake up. I would see things on the road that weren't there. Sometimes a tree down the road would look like a person or a sniper.
I am writing this to give truck transportation some recognition. Convoys went out day and night. We went out over mountains in rain, in mud, in snow and ice. We would go out in any conditions. We would bring ammo, oil and gas to all the companies in the 2nd, 3rd and 7th divisions. We brought ammo to the Turkish and Korean camps. When I was at the Korean camp, I saw them march out to the front line in the middle of the night. We also picked up wounded Korean troops from the ROK Army. Convoys took GIs near the front line. I will never forget the fear I saw in their faces.
When we would go out on long trips we would take our K-rations and our sleeping bags. We would sleep on the back of the truck until daylight. On one convoy, I was a CPL and I led the convoy, SGT Harris was last. He was accidentally killed driving off a mountain. On another convoy, my partner was with me on a long trip. I was driving and he was sleeping next to me. I fell asleep while driving and the truck went into a ditch. One minute sooner I would have driven off the mountain and killed both of us. Every time I think of that, I choke up. On another long trip at night we had to cross a river on two long planks. We had to put our headlights out and use our cat eye light. There were missiles flying over our heads which actually made it easier to see. Our captain led the way, but we didn't know where we were going. When we arrived, we realized that it was the 7th Division Tank Corp. My brother-in-law was in the 7th and I asked if he was there and the C.O. said that he was. We saw each other and hugged. We stayed there until daylight. We left at daybreak. Seeing him made this dangerous trip a little easier.
There is so much more to tell. But for now it is enough. I will never forget my stay in Korea, I will remember it always.

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