Often called the “forgotten war” because of its close proximity to World War II, the Korean War is not forgotten by those who served and sacrificed much to protect the United States. July 27 marked the 60th anniversary of the end of the Korean War.
Jimmy Reagan, an 84-year-old resident at Parkway Place, shares his experiences in reflection of the war and its upcoming anniversary. During his service, Reagan was assigned the duty of administrative clerk and later was promoted to unit personnel sergeant, with the role of supervising and coordinating administrative functions and personnel records. He was recognized for his service with a commendation ribbon and with a medal pendant.
“I was drafted into the Army in 1952 and served for two years in Korea at the 306th engineer battalion headquarters,” said Reagan. “When I first got to Korea the fighting was constant and then it subsided as our front line became stationed there. The war had stabilized and become less hazardous. When the war ended, we just held our position.”
Reagan’s company was responsible for inspecting the field of the front lines, clearing the supply route with dump trucks and crushing rocks from the river bed to line it, bringing artillery shells to the front line when the soldiers ran out and inspecting the field hospitals. On one occasion, Reagan decided to spice up his daily routine and accompany a commanding officer while he inspected a field hospital 50 miles from the battalion headquarters.
“The hardest part of serving overseas was being apart from my family and friends for two years,” Reagan said. “Prior to leaving for Korea, I had not given much thought to what it would be like to not see my family and friends for that length of time. I was really excited to see them when I came home from Korea. I had traveled over the Pacific and sailed under the Golden Gate Bridge. It was wonderful to be back home. I had witnessed so much; I was ready to be surrounded by the joy of my family and friends.”
Reagan said there was one perk of serving overseas and that was going on leave for rest and recuperation. He was sent to Japan for one week, stayed at a resort on a lake with cherry trees all around it and woke up to the spectacular view of Mount Fuji, a famous inactive volcano in Japan. He traveled there with a close friend from Indiana who was also serving in Korea at the time.
“When I was first drafted I had mixed emotions about traveling to Korea, but I felt that I needed to fulfill my obligation to our country,” expressed Reagan. “I was loyal to my assignment and feel good about the work I accomplished. My advice for those serving our country today is to be faithful to your assignment and it will be rewarding in the long run.”
Reagan was recognized for “thorough knowledge of military administrative techniques and his diligent application to every phase of his assignment, which were instrumental in the smooth and efficient functioning of the company.” Reagan completed his service as a respected, credited and devoted sergeant.
“There are many veterans at Parkway Place and they each have a truly unique story to share about their experiences serving this country,” said Jimmy Johnson, executive director at Parkway Place. “From serving behind lines to fighting in combat with the enemy to conducting research for warfare, we have heard many fascinating tales. It is a privilege that these men and women are willing to share their personal historical accounts with us.”
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