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Collection Kenneth G. Reich
WVM ID Number OH 181
Object Name Oral History
Title Oral History Interview with Kenneth G. Reich
Date 1996
Event Korean War
Narrator's Name Kenneth G. Reich
Interviewer's Name Mark Van Ells
Description In this oral history interview, Kenneth G. Reich, a Milwaukee, Wisconsin native, discusses his service during the Korean War as a supply specialist in the 443rd Quartermaster Base Depot.

Reich describes enlisting, trying to get into an engineering or chemistry unit, and basic training at Camp Atterbury (Indiana). He describes the shortened, intensive training and having Friday night complaint sessions with the company commander. Reich reflects on training with only white soldiers, and serving alongside black units in Korea that still seemed segregated. Transferred to the 790th Quartermaster Reclamation Maintenance Company, he speaks of supply school at Fort Riley (Kansas), recreation while on leave, and being shipped to Korea aboard a Merchant Marines vessel. Reich portrays his first impression of Korea as "filthy" and not having much to do for thirty days until the equipment arrived. He describes duty as the supply sergeant, transporting equipment by train, and living in cold weather. Reich talks about his unit's role as a repair outfit for clothing and quartermaster equipment. He explains the unofficial barter system they used, such as trading spark plugs for C-rations. Stationed seven miles behind the front lines, he comments on occasionally having air raids, hearing news of the war from infantry officers, interacting with British and Australian troops, and working with Korean interpreters. Reich portrays visiting the open-air markets and getting dysentery from eating some local produce. He comments on religious services, sight seeing around Seoul, gambling, the alcohol sold at the Army clubs, and corresponding with home via typed letters.

Reich recalls activity winding down after the Armistice was signed. He details the homecoming parade he was part of in Seattle, having a furlough, spending the rest of his service at Camp Carson (Colorado), and readjusting to civilian life, with emphasis on swear words and toilet flushing. Reich talks about his career in the drafting field, using the GI Bill for additional education, becoming involved with the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and his impression of how Korean War veterans fit into the veterans' organization.
Extent and Medium of Description Analog audio recording: 1 audio cassette (approx. 50 minutes)
Transcript: 25 pgs.
Reproduction Conditions / Copyright WVM owns copyright to this material. Contact WVM Research Center for further information about Terms of Use.
Biographical Record Reich, Kenneth G.