Veteran Stories:
Keith “Alan” Wilson

Army

  • A photograph of Keith Wilson taken at the Korean Veterans Association's "Last Hurrah" in August, 2011.

    Keith Wilson
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"And the worst part of my whole deal was at nights, on the road at night. You’re driving down the road and all of a sudden, people step out of the shadows, they’ve got guns pointed at you and it doesn’t matter how many times that happens, you get the same reaction every time they step out with the weapons."

Transcript

You see, my weapon was a 303 [calibre Lee-Enfield] rifle. Well, when you’re driving a jeep, and something happens, how are you going to get a 303 rifle into action? So I acquired an M1 carbine [a compact rifle, though he incorrectly states the name], American, and a 45 [calibre pistol]. And when I was on the road that night by myself, I used to ride with the 45 in my lap. I would go through the Camouflage Road, they called it Hell’s Half Mile or something after, it was known as the Camouflage Road when I was there. I go up to [Hill] 355 and go into observation post and you could see the Chinese or North Korean moving around the hills across the big valley. And the worst part of my whole deal was at nights, on the road at night. You’re driving down the road and all of a sudden, people step out of the shadows, they’ve got guns pointed at you and it doesn’t matter how many times that happens, you get the same reaction every time they step out with the weapons. Your heart goes, boom, boom. Yeah. And I got stopped nine times one night, that’s the most I ever got stopped. Usually two, three and I had one day, at 7:00 at night, these two officers, we had a medical officer and a captain, both of them, two officers were captain. One was in charge of div [division] communications and the other was next to a medical officer and he looked after all us, New Zealand signals [communications troops] were there. I was pretty well with foreigners all the time I was there. Although I shouldn’t say foreigners but they all spoke English. But one night, we started out at 7:00 and we went to the Norwegian MASH [Mobile Army Surgical Hospital] which was down the road, the closest one to us and they went in there for some reason, I don’t know what they were doing, anyway, we come back out, went back to the Indian ambulance and then we got, they come out and then we went down the road to 8055 MASH [a field hospital on which the popular television show M*A*S*H was loosely based]. That was on the rail line, at the rail head. They showed you 8055 MASH but not the way I know it. There was too much Clinger [a M*A*S*H character] in it. When you hit the gate at 8055 MASH, there was a quad 50 calibre [machinegun] sitting there. And I don’t know who was to man it if anything happened but it was sitting there. And right beside them was ordinance return depot. So after the 8055, we went back to the Norwegian MASH and then we went back to 8055 and then we wound up going to Seoul. And I don’t know what I was doing, I was just driving them, they were saying, go here and I was going. And anyway, we wound up at Seoul, and that was fine, they come back out, we were at someplace close, Kimpo the airport, we come back out, they got in the jeep and said, we’re going to Inchon. Well, I wound up on a Danish hospital ship in Inchon, because there was a compound there with Provost [a military police unit] and we just put the vehicle in it and they said, come on. And I was on the Danish hospital ship.
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