Samuel J. Truax
Lincoln Specialist, U.S. Army
Served from December 1956 to December 1958; with I Corps for 15 months in South Korea; Army Reserve 1959 to '64; Army National Guard 1993 to 2005.
Memory: “The 'Cold War' was pretty cold in Korea in the winter, because at that time there were only uninsulated Quonsets, or tents in some cases, for troop living quarters in the area of the Demilitarized Zone that divides the Koreas. A pot-bellied stove provided heating.
“Quarters were shared with Republic of Korea soldiers, with impressively disciplined Turkish soldiers stationed nearby. Even though the weather got cold, the action occasionally would heat up. There were three skirmishes during my tenure on the DMZ, with one American KIA (killed in action) and five or six Republic of Korea KIAs.
“My job as engineering technician was to locate, triangulate and map enemy positions and activities. I was attached to headquarters engineering, providing information to the intelligence branch. Our tour in Korea was extended beyond the usual 13 months, because the Chinese were shelling the offshore islands of Quemoy and Matsu, which were claimed by the government of Taiwan.
“An item that I found interesting: When the young veterans got together with young nonveterans, the vets had some difficulty relating to the issues being discussed by the nonvets, unless it was girls. The vets were so much more goal-directed and decision-oriented that they felt some of the values discussed by the nonvets seemed kind of frivolous. Or maybe the vets were just trying to reorient to a very different way of life.”
Order ‘At War, At Home’
The World-Herald’s “At War, At Home: The Cold War” is a special look back at the Nebraskans and Iowans whose courage and commitment helped prevent nuclear war and lift the Iron Curtain. Its 330 pages include:
» Gripping stories and compelling photographs from the OWH archives.
» Service memories submitted by Nebraskans and western Iowans.
» Commemorative coverage of July's Cold War Victory Salute in downtown Omaha.
The book, which costs $29.95, can be ordered online at www.OWHstore.com
or by phone at 402-444-1014 for delivery.