Paul-Émile Cloutier

Home Town: Quebec Conflict: Korean War Branch: Army

  • Badge of the Royal 22e Régiment, the unit in which Mr. Cloutier served during the Korean War.
  • Mr. Paul-Émile Cloutier in July 2011.
Badge of the Royal 22e Régiment, the unit in which Mr. Cloutier served during the Korean War.
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Another thing that marked me was when we did a patrol in the enemy’s territory. That was very, very stressful. I was a sergeant at that time and that was especially stressful since you were responsible for your men...

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I was with the anti-tank platoon. In Korea, there were no anti-tank platoons, so we served as an infantry platoon. They had placed us, instead of placing the anti-tank cannons, they had given us the 60-milimetre, the 60-millimetre mortar (the M2 American 60-calibre mortar). We had a lot of them.

What really marked me is that one evening, after supper, we were bombed and a bomb landed in one of my mortars. But it didn’t explode. We prayed to God because my men were there. We had to evacuate the place so that specialists could come in and disarm the bomb, and so that we could resume our positions.

Another thing that marked me was when we did a patrol in the enemy’s territory. That was very, very stressful. I was a sergeant at that time and that was especially stressful since you were responsible for your men as well.

Wake-up time was usually around 5:30 or 6:00, depending on the day. I had to conduct a tour of my platoon because I was the officer responsible. I went to see if my positions were there as well. I had to conduct inspections at night to make sure that the men were at their positions. When the morning came, we had our breakfast. We did it half-and-half: one guy would stay in front while the other went to eat his breakfast. He would come to eat his breakfast; there was a place to eat our breakfast with the platoon. And then we ate breakfast. After breakfast, the others, the first relief team, otherwise said, returned to the line. And then the second relief tame came to eat. And that continued until noontime. Then, at noon, it was the same thing.

If the enemy attacked during that time, we dropped everything and resumed our positions. We were lucky though because it was the end. The enemy was attacking in darkness. For them to approach our lines, they had to be hidden. But, with the weapons we had, with the 60-milimetre cannons, we sent flash bombs (illuminating rockets shot using a mortar or a flare gun and which glided down in a small parachute) to illuminate the area in front of our lines to see if the enemy was coming.

Also, depending on the temperature, when the temperature was poor, we expected to be attacked. That’s was one of the tricks they (the Chinese forces) played. They attacked during those times. They knew that we were inclined to camouflage ourselves in the snow or cold so that’s when they would attack. When the war ended, I expected to stay there, but they called me and I was transferred to the Hiroshima (Japan) battle school.