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 ]

about 18 Sep 54
aren't too sure

Hi Everybody

Apparently my pen got lost in the shuffle. Hence this graphite dispenser will have to suffice.

I just consulted (isn't that an ill-fitting word for such a simple procedure) my pocket calendar and with a minimum of finger counting and rough estimating I find that today really is the 18th and much more pleasant to think about, tomorrow is Sunday. Very pleasant indeed. But my new assignment. I can almost say I rotated. This is very similar to a stateside assignment. We live in quonset huts which are as good as barracks. It is crowded and uniform like a barracks. Cots (with mattresses [air & regular], pillows, pillow cases, white sheets) all in a row, shoes shined and lined, foot lockers colored grey and against the wall, and mosquito nets all tight (which necessitates improper erection of the ugly lifesavers).

Hospital. Note missing roof and top floorThe hospital is a big (as big as Franklin County Hospital) 3 story building originally 4 story and now with top story windows and roof missing. The rest has been repaired and is in fine shape. Cement walks, real doors, tile roofs, glass windows, thick brick walls, steady city electricity and a good shower (which broke down upon our arrival and has furnished only cold water since [the guys that haven't been up in Division cry like they've been abused when the water is cold])

We eat mediocre food in the hospital, providing and cleaning only our silverware. However there is a line which is foreign and disagreeable to me.

Chemistry section Entomology sectionThe lab is quite an outfit. It is in the same compound as the 121 Evac but attached only for food & quarters. The lab proper is located in a large, one-story brick building behind the hospital. This lab detachment consists of several branches: Hq. (as always), Chemistry, Pathology, Serology, Bacteriology (and related works as parisitology and a couple others), Entomology, and Supply. Attached to this detachment is a photo-developing unit to develop x-rays and any other Medical photographs that there may be.

Our Entomology unit has an L shaped room in the rear of the building. For men we have SFC Wilson and 3 of us Pfcs. In addition is an Entomologist, 1st Lt. Equipment is a typewriter, 6 to 8 microscopes (and they are excellent scopes too) and odds and ends of materials necessary for mounting insect specimens and identifying them.

Us EM mount specimens for identification by the Lt. At present we are mounting and iden. mosquito larvae from all over Korea that were collected during the last three years. The purpose of it all, I am told, is to get an idea of what, where, what time of year, and how the numbers, types etc. of mosquitoes correlate with records of various types of diseases caused by squiters.

Totman at his microscopeI personally am somewhat disgusted at it. I can't see the importance of the darned work and don't particularly care about the work. It is boring, repititious, demanding of fine and patient work, and not requiring any great amount of learning or ability. But I'm stuck with it so I'll just have to make the best of it.

I was lucky in getting that first stripe up in N. Korea. Down here Pfc's are scarce, but the others are fairly numerous. By spring I should have Corporal. However, in this here man's army no amount of guess work is of any avail so next spring I'll tell you all about it.

In many ways it is nice to get back to Civilization. No more slickie boys to steal you blind in the middle of the night.

No artillery practice to wake you up, no alerts to send you scurrying for the foxhole, no complete absence of all but peasant civilian life, no flapping tents, no dirty strangle sheet to get twisted in.

But a lot of the things I will miss so that next spring I may want to go back (after the cold winter has been spent in a quonset hut). In summer the tents are cooler. They are more homely and comfortable and friendly. The work is more interesting. The people, for all their roughness and lack of the cosmopolitan social graces, are more friendly, less conceited, more bare human goodness, and less hard to get along with. The air is fresher and doesn't stink as much. The movies, altho not as enjoyable are, like the EM club, free of charge. This is a softer life, that one is more satisfactory.

YongdungpoWe are located near Yong Dong-Po about 3 miles out of Seoul proper. We have Class A passes to go outside of the compound, but it is like leaving an oasis to wander in the desert, so I believe that I'll not be drawing my pass too often.

One interesting note concerns the latrine. Up in a division, we'd dig and fill and dig again. Down here we have a cement floored building with a long wooden many-holed box built over a large deep cement pit. Outside the small long building are "man-holes" into the pit. Koreans with their "honey-buckets" pull up and remove the fertilizer, transport it to the rice-paddies and make good use of it. Saves many diggings and stabilizes Korean economy. I'll have to get a shot of the honey bucket one of these days.

A man using a honey-bucketHere we have a wonderful library of 3000 volumes and numerous periodicals. Makes my traveling library needless, if pleasant to have. So I'll read my own anyway.

Guess I'll close now and take a look at the lab.

Bye now,