It was good to see my friends, my family, my fiancée and to know that I was in a place that was safe, that I didn’t have to worry about walking the streets and no pressure. Had to face life on life’s terms. And to me, that was like gold. Like gold. Still is today.
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They sort of fast forwarded me off to, after basic training and a quick course or two, I was off to Korea. Unfortunately, I got there just after the war had finished but we were still into the danger zone and it doesn’t just, the war stops but there’s many, many dangers still lurking around. In this case, it was no different.
These dangers entailed mines, they entailed the rough terrain, the roads that we had to drive on were just more or less paths, and there was a lot of people running loose from North Korea that were still running through various sections of our area that you would never know when you might meet one of them. But then we also had to, at this stage of the game, about the South Koreans who were our allies but were, it’s survival of the fittest. So these people would try to break into our accommodations, our compounds, and they would come armed, of course because if they were caught, they were going to defend themselves. So we had to be alert and we had to do a lot of heavy guard and always be alert to what could be happening around you.
Well, there’s things that went on there that didn’t, at that time, make a lot of sense to me. But I seen a South Korean being shot in the stomach, stealing a towel off a clothesline at our unit. It was something that was never ever spoken about at the time. The two guys that were, the one fellow, the two people that were involved were looking after our laundry. We had a laundry unit that we had set up. Our unit itself had moved up to another area, so there was only these two people there. And I happened to come along with a friend of mine just in time to have, we were going in for a shower, we had a shower and the laundry, the whole thing there. And that just had happened. And I felt at the time, there was a better way of doing it, they could arrest the fellow and turn him over to the South Korean army. Or that’s what they should have done. But that’s not what they did do, they had already shot him. So then we were, the other two of us were young guys, young soldiers, 19 years old, and these other two gents were a little older and we of course had to help bury the corpse. It was something that I had a lot of problems with for a long time. As a matter of fact, as a result, I suffer from PTSD, post-traumatic stress disorder and that was part of it.
One other incident. I seen a woman being raped at the point of a gun. There was two of them [Canadian soldiers] in there, in this village and my friend and I went in and we were a distance off and we heard a lot of commotion. And one guy held the husband at gunpoint while the other fellow raped his wife. I don’t know how many people seen it, it was myself and of course, one other. And that kind of stuff, you didn’t report, how do you prove this stuff? To start with, we shouldn’t have been in the village. That’s the first thing that we shouldn’t have been there that night.
That was something else that I witnessed and didn’t cherish. It was good to get back, it was good to see my friends, my family, my fiancée and to know that I was in a place that was safe, that I didn’t have to worry about walking the streets and no pressure. Just life in general. Had to face life on life’s terms. And to me, that was like gold. Like gold. Still is today.