Fifteen letters
[ Fifteen Letters ][ Introduction ]
1954: [ June 5 ][ June 15 ][ June 26 ][ July 10 ][ July 27 ][ Aug. 1 ][ Aug. 11 ]
[ Sept. 18 ][ Sept. 30 ][ Oct. 29 ][ Nov. 3 ][ Nov. 11 ][ Dec. 13 ]
1955: [ Jan. 23 ][ Feb. 20 ]
[ Epilogue ]

Tuesday AM
July 27, '54

Hello Lee

I leave it to you to judge who should read this. It's not really raw, but it's straight from the shoulder.

Sketches of A-frameToday was "a day off." It's the 179th anniversary of the Medical Corps. So this morning we sprayed 2 sanitary fills. They are places where all G.I. garbage & trash is dumped. We spray them and then they are covered by a bull-dozer. They are trenches about 10' deep and 12'-15' wide. Trucks dump into them. Flocking around them are Koreans with "A" frames. These frames are such that by putting their arms thru bamboo straps they can carry amazingly tremendous loads on their backs.

They carry for miles loads which we can't even pick up. How do we know? We've tried to lift them up. The upper diagram is of a loaded man (no kidding). The lower is side view and back view of the frame on placed the ground. His walking stick serves as a prop to hold the thing up for loading.

Man and A-Frame in actionThese men pick up empty boxes, they salvage all cans, shoes, any thing salvagable. They may break down orange crates and stack 200-300 pounds on their backs. The waifs are the pitiful ones. They will wade around in garbage up to their knees picking out oranges, pieces of bread or soggy cake, buns, carrots, anything out of this soggy, stinking, rotten, fly-infested mess. This is their food. Where they can do so, they take scraps out of garbage barrels. We get cold cereal in the one-person kits like we sometimes have at home. They run their fingers around inside these used boxes to scrap out any flakes or chips of cereal that we may have left. They gnaw meat off bones that we chew on and throw away. The cereal that our cats eat is far cleaner and better than this, their daily diet.

At dumps where we throw away discarded equipment, the ROK army has "rescue men" who's job is to salvage anything they can and try to get it to work. This is part of the equipment that makes up the 15 "fully armed and motorized" ROK divisions. Last month one moved up to the front of us. We saw trucks being towed - not to the rear to be repaired but to the front. Time after time on the roads we pass their trucks, broken down, stalled, or somehow out of commission. They are quite some divisions.

Horse and cart in YongdungpoThe regular food of the Koreans is something. They dry out fish, untouched in any way, salt them and sometime in the next day, week, or month or year these fish will be eaten, heads, guts, and all. Kimchee is a mixture of everything. It has a smell resembling that of silage juice. The other day Sarge dipped for fly larvae in this urn (in a village) containing a dirty, messy goo like a bunch of grass silage stirred up in some juice. Thinking it was waste that had been soaked with rain, he dipped. Then a woman rushed out of her hut shouting away in Korean and motioning him to leave it alone - it was their food. Ugh, my stomach wasn't made to subsist on Korean food. Their water is taken from wells sometimes 20 feet from a latrine. The water is almost always muddy, so muddy that one can't see the bottom of a gallon can filled with it.

TotmanWe dig latrines, fill them up to the prescribed limit, and cover them. Then we have to guard them or the Koreans will dig them up, scoop out the excreta and put it on their rice paddies and gardens. I believe beets and potatoes are quite the delicacies.

And sexys are in all villages of any size. Say you stop at the roadside stand. The sexys will stream out of the shop, start talking business, flashing their gold mines (mouths full of gold fillings) and tickling, pinching, and in general bothering you with their hands. They wear too much lipstick, rouge, hair ribbons, falsies, tight sweaters and skirts, and have a natural cheap sexy look. You say no, and their inevitable response is "cherry-boy scared sissy." They know only G.I., a vulgar, not rich language necessary for conducting their business and making retorts. Their price is around $2 for a half-hour or an hour or two. How do I know? Well, the fellow getting a 368 discharge found out one way, and anyone can ask. They'll tell you gladly. These girls have heard of V.D. They should. They all have one or more types of it -- every one. How does one get to the village. One way is to walk over the fence when the guard is going the other way, but either make sure the guard is a friend of yours or walk gently. But that's the rough way. The other way is to get a pass one way or another, walk out the front gate and bum a ride to the village. In either case, it is wise to avoid the MPs. Now, 9/10th of this is 2d hand information. Now maybe I'm a scared sissy, but that's T.S. Until I change my morals, I'll continue to be Cherry Boy. I assure you that I'm in the minority, less than 10% are with me, maybe only 5%, but I enjoy being with a minority. Regardless of what makes a man, this minority has a much harder time remaining so, then the majority has in increasing it's ranks. Sex is accepted, no not accepted, a person is, well, darned near odd and certainly different if he doesn't indulge. Always was odd.

And liquor? The club has an endless supply of beer. If I so chose, I could get drunk every night of every week of every month of every season of every year -- if I chose. However, they have coke and ginger ale, too. I had a beer on 30 June and another on 2 July. And that's it.

Today at the party beer was 10 a can. But coke was free, so I drank coke when I was around. So beer just doesn't have a chance.

So much for that. When does your deferment run out? If you get any notice, let me know as soon as possible. And sometime I'll write you and tell Lou about what your first address will be, if you get called, so that you can I start getting mail the day you get to camp. To hell with what they say. A letter the first day is worth a fortune. And also, so much for that.

Take care of everyone