[First update December 9, 2008. See photo at very bottom.]In honor of those who died in Pearl Harbor, I got out some old photos from my father. He was in Korea sometime in 1952-1954. His highest rank was Sargent First Class.
He gave me his dress hat, his sargent stripes and his Third Infantry ID patch (blue and white diagonal stripes) when I was too young to appreciate them. I played with them when I was approximately 6-8 years old, but have long since lost them. I sure wish I had them now.
He was approximately 22 years old in the photos. My older sister was conceived before he shipped out and he never saw her until she was approximately 2 years old. My older brother was born 9 months after he returned home. I was an unwanted accident later. Thank God abortion wasn’t legal back then. My father died several years ago, but he would have been 77 if he was still alive. Attached are some photos that were taken approximately 55 years ago.
On the back of the top photo Dad wrote: ”Vern Rystad & I. Vern is from Fosston Minnesota.” On the bottom he wrote “A “Willy Peter” shell 106# [White Phosphorus]
Dad is front right on top, middle in bottom (yes, he was height challenged, 5’9″. I outgrew him by 4″ as did many men of my generation.
The back of the bottom my father wrote: “#6 gun, 155 [mm] Howitzer” [battery C would have several different guns, and this is gun number 6.]
I’m sure some of these photos were posturing for my mother. They were childhood sweethearts who married before he was drafted. He graduated in 1950, she in 1951.
Thank God for all our brave men and women who have fought to keep us safe!
Not to leave anybody in suspense here is a photo of my father about 10-11 years later (I’m guessing at how old my sister is in the pic). I’m on the left.
Korean War (1950-1953)
When North Korea invaded the border of South Korea in 1950, the 3rd Infantry Division was one of ten active divisions in the U.S. Army. Manpower shortages resulted in the 30th Infantry Regiment and the 41st Field Artillery loaned out to replace members of other units. The 3rd Infantry Division was brought up to strength with Republic of Korea replacements and the addition of the “Borinqueneers”, the 65th Infantry Regiment from Puerto Rico. The division arrived in Korea in September 1950 and joined in the operations in the Hamhung-Hungnam area. On November 23, 1950 China entered the war and the massive strength of the Chinese Army was felt all along the front. The Allies were forced to retreat. From November 30 to December 24, the 3rd Infantry conducted the most massive beachhead evacuation in American military history: 105,000 troops, 100,000 refugees, 17,500 vehicles, and 750,000 tons of cargo. By 1951, elements of the 3rd ID helped recapture Seoul, the Korean capital, and the Chinese were pushed back to the 38th Parallel. As the Chinese tried to recapture the capital, the brunt of the attack fell on the 3rd Infantry Division’s sector and the Marne division became the “Rock of Seoul.” Again the Chinese were driven back to the 38th Parallel and the 3rd Infantry Division settled into front-line duty, defending all attempts by the Chinese to seize strategic positions. The war ended in July 1953 and by October 1954 the division returned to Ft. Benning, Georgia.