We’re about halfway through Johnny’s deployment and, with what appears to be a bit of serendipity, I have unearthed a ton of old slides and negatives of the photos that were sent back and forth between everybody during this time.
I’ve been working with old photographs for a while now and fortunately I have the equipment to scan and develop these old mediums in my studio. I’ll include a few images here – some have been edited, others are waiting in line. It’s going to take a while to edit them all but I wanted to share some anyway.
For instance, check out this image:
Here’s a brief gallery highlighting the restoration process:
Below are a few restored images my great-grandparents sent to Johnny that have already been referenced in previous letters. These were developed from the original black and white negatives from 1952. Click on any image for full resolution.
OK, let’s get on with the letters.
The next batch covers the month of February 1953. From digging trenches at outposts T-Bone and Pork Chop, Johnny is sent from Charlie Company way back to Reserve and is given the job of Company Clerk for HQ Company. He immediately regrets it. “I really feel sorry for my buddies in Charlie Company,” he says, “I feel I’ve run out on them.”
From week to week, Johnny is shuffled back and forth between Charlie and HQ Companies before the Company Commander of HQ Company asks him to work in Supply. Johnny looks forward to that job, however, because it comes with a possible advancement to Sergeant.
FEBRUARY 4, 1953
I guess you wonder if I broke my arm or something. No, that isn’t what happened. Just inspections! Today was the last one, I hope! These old cockeyed Colonels give me a pain. Maybe I’ve seen the last of them for a while.
I received a letter from JC and E, Betty, Billy, and two from you two. Dad, the papers exaggerated that deal at T-Bone. It was nothing but a raiding party, not meant to gain any ground. The papers sure must have added a lot to make a good story.
I was surprised to hear that you hung that painting. It isn’t worth a thing. I was going to try and fix it up a bit before calling it finished.
Speaking about the pictures – I can’t remember which one you are talking about, but the fellows are just sleeping, I’m sure! The outdoor show was Jan Stanly and Paul Douglas.
Well, I hate to close, but there just isn’t any news. I’ll have something later maybe – till then.
PS – Those pictures are great – I see that you got the deer head hanging. Sure looks good!
FEBRUARY 8, 1953
Well, here’s your little son at a typewriter. Making all kinds of mistakes, but maybe they will overlook them at first and let me get back in the habit of using this thing.
I don’t know if I will like this business or not. I haven’t had time to get used to it as yet. Everyone is certainly nice here and are very helpful and patient. I still hated to leave the Company and the Sgt.’s job (you can’t have your cake and eat it too).
I will write tonight when I have more time to think and to write. Remember that I still love all of you and will always!
FEBRUARY 12, 1953
I thought I had better drop you all a line before you thought I had forgot how to write.
Nothing has happened around here of interest, so I don’t know what to say. I’m still acting as a clerk and the job is fine.
I slept until 8:30 this morning. The first I’ve done that since I’ve been over here. I also had a nice shower yesterday. That was the first since Jan 17. So you can imagine how good it felt.
Well, I finally made it back. The weather has changed a great deal in the last few days. It has been rather warm. Two days ago it snowed so you never know just how it will come. Tonight it is very warm. I guess I’ll have to take off a layer of clothes.
The electricity has been turned off, so we now have the candles out. It’s very romantic – with the candles and listening to soft music. About every night at this time we can get good music and don’t have to keep turning it off. Some difference a few miles can make over here. I wasn’t but about 2 miles forward from here a few days ago and what a change. I really feel sorry for my buddies in Charlie Company. I feel I’ve run out on them.
Funny things happen over here – like the desire of one of the Generals (Smith by name) wants all the men in the 7th Division to have CIB’s before leaving Korea. To accomplish that, they sent a few men up here to this area for 30 days and they get their CIBs without even seeing the enemy and hardly the MLR. So you see that the CIB is becoming to the point where it is almost worthless. Even our Battalion Commander is one of these 30 Day Wonders. It is almost an insult, it seems to me, to the men who really work for their CIBs. This army can do some strange things.
I’ll be glad when my paints get here. I really have time to do some work now. And an easy way to carry them – just throw them in a Jeep.
Oh yes, I got the large can of cookies today. They were certainly good. Did my wife make them? I’ll be glad to get some mail. I understand that our APO7 is moving to Seoul from Pusan, so our mail has slacked off.
Well, I guess I’ll sign off and write Betty.
All my love,
PS – Would you put a small pen knife in the next air mail package? I can’t seem to find one over here.
FEBRUARY 14, 1953
I just received your letter today written March 4th. We had a little trouble with the mail lately. It seems that a bridge had been washed out and the mail hasn’t been able to reach here, but I guess they have it solved now.
Now you see going back to C Company wasn’t bad. I did get a pretty good deal out of it after all.
How has the painting job come out? Did you make a mess of it? I bet not.
I was at the Company area when I heard about Stalin dying. It didn’t cause any great concern. In fact, to most of us it didn’t matter one way or the other but I do hope something will come of it sooner or later.
The Chinese made a statement over a loudspeaker saying that they wouldn’t fire if we didn’t. They got their answer with a few artillery shells and now we’ve set up a round-the-clock firing schedule. That’s what I like to see! They just could be wasting time to build up their supplies.
I don’t blame the Aggies for getting upset. Of course, they (the board of directors) have been holding that over their heads (the Aggies) for quite some time.
Well, I had better run along. Give my love to each of you. I love you all very much.
FEBRUARY 15, 1953
Dear Mom & Dad,
How’s my sweet folks tonight? Mom, that was the cutest card I ever saw and it was nice of you to pick out that one.
Well, we have moved again back to the same area we left about a week ago – back in Reserve.
I’m afraid I got all of you excited when I wrote about R&R. I won’t be going for another 4 months and maybe not then. It might even be the last month before my name comes up.
Yep, we always have movies in Reserve – that is if the generator or projector aren’t on the blink. Tonight they are on the blink. And we have a good movie all ready and waiting – Against All Flags. Sounds like it would be good.
One of the fellows brought a portable record player from Japan and the other night I got a pile of records from the medics. I stayed up until about 2 in the morning playing every one. I almost wore out my arm cranking so much. I’ll sign off for now, but I’ll leave my love with you.
Love me cause I love you,
FEBRUARY 19, 1953
Dear Mom & Dad,
Well, this place was just running over with brass a few minutes ago, but they have all left now. The fuss was all over two men that had the same names and who were missing in action on the same day. Only the records on one have been lost. You can imagine the investigation we’re having. Only no one is here that was working in the office at that time, so they can’t get on us.
Dad, you’re fishing trip sounds like fun, but did you really catch anything? Dad, you should have been here the other night. We really got into a hot argument over automobiles. I haven’t had time to convert these fellows as yet. I should have a price list for some facts on prices. Give me a little time – I’ve got some tough customers this time. It will be good to watch the increase in sales when the controls are taken off. If Ford keeps up the good engineering as they showed in 52 and 53 they can’t miss. Especially when they bring out the new motor – they really need HP now. Chevy’s 115 HP should be pretty hot. What have you noticed about them?
I received the package (the two pkg) from Barbara White in perfect condition. I guess the altitude doesn’t effect it at all.
Say, when are you going to write down that hunting trip? It must be pretty good!
I received the large pkg with all of the eats. They come in handy when we have to work late.
Speaking of late – that it is getting, so I had better say so long for now.
All my love to all of you,
PS – Give each a kiss for me!
FEBRUARY 27, 1953
Long time no write, huh? I’m really sorry, but I have really been going lately. I wrote Betty just the day before yesterday or maybe a few days before that – I’m not sure now. But anyway, you know I came back to the Company, then the next night or so the Company Commander called me in the BOQ and asked if would start working in the Supply room to find out the duties of the Supply Sgt. as the Supply Sgt. will rotate to mo-skoshi. It was too good of a job to turn down so here I am in Supply. And it seems to be very good. I think I will like it much better than the HQ job.
We moved again yesterday – this time the Company is on “Old Baldy” but I’m well in the rear, so there’s no sweat.
Dad, I just received your letter which you wrote on the 14th giving me the minute-to-minute happenings of the day. You sure keep me posted on letters like that. Thanks. I’m just sorry that I’m so sorry on my writing – I’ll try to do better – really.
Well, I must write Jennie a line or two – I received a letter from her a few days ago.
I love you so love me also,
JOHNNY'S KOREAN WAR PHOTOS
Below is a gallery of select images Granddad took while in Korea. I haven’t had a chance to restore them yet beyond developing the old negatives – still some neat images even without intensive restoration. Click on any image for full resolution.