Veteran Stories:
David Lucas

Army

  • A photograph of David Lucas taken at the Korean Veteran Associations' "Last Hurrah" in August, 2011.

    David Lucas
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"Well, one night, Hill 355, the RCRs [the Royal Canadian Regiment], they got run over. And the FOO [Forward Observation Officer] at that time called fire right down on his own position to keep the [North] Koreans from coming in."

Transcript

When you leave to go into one of these arguments, you’ve got to grow up within five minutes. And I just turned 19. I had to wait as a matter of fact for two years because I was 17 and they wouldn’t take me until I got 19. And I was pretty well trained but you didn’t really understand what was going on. They send your sit reps [situation reports] and all sorts of stuff and they point their finger at you, pack your bags, you’re on your way, then you start thinking. You get on the boat and it took 21 days on a troop ship. And then you’ve got to go ashore by landing barges. So you’ve got a whole bunch of stuff in there rattling around. And by the time you get to the front, you have, like I say, you grew up within 21 days. But again, being on that ship, there was some of the older vets and they kept talking to us and keep the morale and it worked. Operation point one is to get rounds on the ground to defend the infanteers. In order to do that, is what we just discussed with the Second World War guys, they had us sharp as tacks. So our artillery was, I’m not going to say it’s the best, but there was no better. Well, one night, Hill 355, the RCRs [the Royal Canadian Regiment], they got run over. And the FOO [Forward Observation Officer] at that time called fire right down on his own position to keep the [North] Koreans from coming in. And it was Hill 355. You see, when you lay down your plan of attack, you want to get control of highest parts possible. So if you’re sitting down here and there’s a little tiny hill in front of you, you can’t see. If you’re way up there, you can see the flats or you can see these guys coming and where they’re coming from. And you can have rounds on the ground same time as they hit there. We’re so close or far, we actually count the seconds that that round is in the air. So it’s fire at target, minus 1-5 time of flight. So that round is going before them guys are moving. And when they’re moving, when they make the attack, it’s there waiting for them. When I got off the airplane in Seoul [South Korea], if I would be taken [in the present day], if I was taken in there blindfolded and got off the plane and said, where do you think you’re at, I would have never said Korea. It was, everything’s so beautiful over there now. And you know, there’s a line, 38th parallel and these guys, now, we put bombs on there and killed a lot of the foliage, they carried trees up the hill on their backs and you could see the line just as straight as the green here, yellow on the other side. It’s just fantastic how these Koreans come back. They just refused to quit. And I really appreciated them and it’s going on still. You walk into a café, I walked into one, well, there was four of us, and one of the guys said, there’s an oriental one, let’s go down there. So we walked in, Jesus, they come over the counter and everything. Canada, Canada, I said, I know, them are Koreans. Yeah. And they never forgot. And there’s one in Brandon [Manitoba], they invite us in every year for supper. So they appreciated us and it’s nice to see that they did appreciate it. You know, and it’s, they were really nice people and they had, it was about, I’m just saying roughly, 15 years that they were beaten and bald because prior to the Second World War, there was some Japanese in there and they really gave them a hard time. Well, they stayed there through the six years and then when the war was over, they were just starting to get back on their feet and they come down from the north [when North Korea invaded the south on 25 June, 1950. And then they got throttled again. So when the UN [United Nations] went in there, and put the line up and held it and you know, they’re there, they just can’t thank you enough.
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