Veteran Stories:
Aimé Jean

Army

  • Mr. Aimé Jean, July 2011.

  • A platoon of C Company, 2nd Battalion, Royal 22e Régiment in training at Fort Lewis (Washington) in the United States. Mr. Jean served in C Company in Korea. The captain leading the way is Charles "Charlie" Forbes, a WWII veteran having served with the Régiment de Maisonneuve. Forbes later became lieutenant-colonel and died on May 19, 2010 at the age of 89. According to Mr. Jean Forbes was a "very human" officer.

    Aimé Jean
  • Some of Mr. Jean's comrades in Korea resting behind the lines.

    Aimé Jean
  • Soldiers from the Royal 22e Régiment in full combat gear preparing to go to the frontline during the Korean War. Mr. Jean served with C Company, 2nd Battalion of the Regiment in 1951-1952.

    Aimé Jean
  • Mr. Jean and his comrades preparing their weapons before going to the frontline (Korea, summer 1951).

    Aimé Jean
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"He stood up, I don’t know why he stood up, if it was to surrender or whatever. We didn’t ask questions. We took care of him."

Transcript

We did our training in the United States, at Fort Lewis (in Washington State). I enlisted in the month of August and then in December, we left for Fort Lewis. From there, we had Dextraze (the lieutenant-colonel Jacques Dextraze, commander of the 2nd Battalion of the Royal 22e Régiment in Korea) who they called Kid 28. It wasn’t for nothing. He was severe. With him, whether you killed someone or you lost a shovel, it was 28 days of detention. They didn’t call him Kid 28 for nothing. With him, everyone was the same; 28 days. In the trenches, we were no more than three. We made dugouts (subterranean shelters) to sleep in. One kept watch while the others slept. One of us always had to stay awake to do our guard shift. When a gun is fired at night, it’s incredible how far away you can hear it. Once, I was in front of the point, among the first in front. I heard someone speaking Chinese, but we didn’t know if it was the Chinese or Japanese or what have you. They were South Korean (allied forces), but I didn’t know it. They were spread out. They arrived a bit closer in front of us. If it hadn’t have been for our sergeant, we would have killed a bunch of them. I had kicked my friend who was sleeping on the ground. I had kicked him and I motioned for him to keep quiet and listen. We prepared grenades, machine guns, everything. If it hadn’t have been for our sergeant who came to see us and told us not to fire. He had received the message, I suppose, that they had spread out. Without that, they would have been well received. That’s why we’re always… It’s not like in the movies, you don’t ask any questions. If someone is in front of you, he shouldn’t be there. Once, I was with two of my friends, we were in front and were being fired at. My friend was shot in the shoulder. He said, “I’ve been hit.” I replied, “Now’s not the time to be making jokes.” It’s true, he was hurt. There was one guy… we called them ‘Mongolians.’ They were bigger than the Chinese, they were tall and wide. There were three of us. I was the biggest of our bunch, I weighed 145 pounds. I weighed 100 pounds less than today. One of them was left and he was standing. He didn’t have time to surrender. Maybe he wanted to surrender, but… We were close, they were maybe ten or so feet away from us. It’s him who shot my friend, who was firing at us. He stood up, I don’t know why he stood up, if it was to surrender or whatever. We didn’t ask questions. We took care of him.
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