Life Before the Military
My name is Charles Honaker. Before I entered the Army, I lived on Crumpecker Hill, between Princeton and Bluefield. I was working for Woodrum Roofing and Sheet Metal Company. I was sworn into the Army on August 4, 1948. I did my basic training at Fort Knox, Kentucky. It wasn’t like a job or like school; it was sort of in between. The war had not started when I went in.
Going to Korea
I had no feelings on going to Korea; it was go or else. To get to Korea, I had to ride a train from Fort Campbell, Kentucky to San Francisco, California. I then had to board a ship, the USS Mulimoria, and went across the Pacific to Yokahama, Japan. From Japan, I went to Korea. The trip was very rough! We had a ship they had just taken out of moth balls; it wasn’t even sea worthy. We had a merchant crew and when we got to about the middle of the Pacific, we had engine trouble. If we wouldn’t have had a battalion of engineers on board, we would’ve been hurting because they overhauled the boilers and we made it to Japan.
I was the 330 Ordinance Depot Company, third division, of the United States Army and the Eleventh Air Borne. I was trained for Infantry Duty; I was also trained for Supply Duty and I had taken Jump School for Paratrooper.
Korea was much like West Virginia in parts; you had mountains, valleys, and some level ground. The timber wasn’t as big, but the terrain was similar to that of West Virginia, although the weather was hotter in the summer and the winters were colder. I saw the temperature get as low as forty below zero.
I made different friends throughout my time in the Army. I can still remember them; they were a very diverse group. There was Robert Bockles, Roberto Gurillo, Donald Hines from New York City, Coy Wishum from Georgia, and Gerrgia Brown from Georgia, just to name a few.
I was in Korea from 1950 to 1952; I served all over Korea. I was in North Korea, South Korea, and, at one time, Russia. I can remember one specific instance where I was involved in the fighting. It was in 1951 in North Korea, at the Chosen Reservoir. That was rough; it was kill or be killed! We were fighting the North Koreans and the Chinese, once they come over the border to help the North Koreans.
Being so far from home was difficult, but it was something that we just had to do. I got letters from home regularly, so that helped some. I think we were in Korea for the benefit of the United States. And at that time, I think the American people supported us over there. But now, I think Korea is America’s forgotten war.
When I got back home, I had to make a lot of adjustments. I drank a lot when I first returned back home. But, I soon settled down and got married. I went to work driving a tractor trailer and I did some construction work; eventually, I raised a family of six.
The war had many difficult experiences for me, one of which when I was a P.O.W. It is very painful for me to remember this. My experiences are ones I will never forget. The memories will stick with me forever.
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