Korean MemorialKorean War & Korea Defense Service Veterans, Lake Co. (FL), Chapter 169

Remarks of Cpl Art Canale July 27, 2014, Veterans Memorial Park, The Villages, FL


These remarks are from the eyes of a combat engineer. Welcome to the Village Memorial Park.

We celebrate this great park with great honor. Thanks to you for your support. As you know the Korean war was a disgrace from our government calling this as a police action and a conflict. Then sending automobile license plates and expecting us to buy this lousy piece of lies just to make money.

I lost a very good friend. His name was Col. Ted Patton Retired. The service was at Biers Funeral Home. I met with his family, his son was Col. David Patton.

I had the privilege to see post 147 American Legion. I honor you and salute you for a great job you have done. I have worked with you in the past and I thank you, God bless you.

I enlisted Nov 17, 1948; basic training at Ft. Knox, KY.

The best basic training I ever had. I was sent to engineering training school then sent overseas to Guam, Tiniam, Saipan where I was assigned to demolition. This island was never cleaned up since WWII. The bodies laying there just as it was when they invaded the island . Bodies and bones, ammunition, ready to explode at any time. We had injuries but we marked off the land in squares and removed the explosives. We made the island more safe for the native and the children.

The Korean War broke out June,15 1950. Truman took his office as president of the United States of America on Jan 31, 1950. Truman authorized research for the hydrogen or a fusion bomb.

I had orders to go home 5 times but my orders were canceled all 5 times. The night was dark and foggy as we arrived at the Korean port. We landed not knowing if the enemy owned the port or not.

Our job was to hit the west flank of the Pusan perimeter. The first night, all hell broke loose. We got fired on. We stayed at a school building. Quote bad location. We had low ground; they had the mountain. I learn fast. After the fire encounter we maintain stability 50-50.

The next day I was assigned to the warehouse at the port. As I looked over the dock area what a terrible site that I will never forget. Hundreds and hundreds of dead Americans bodies. We unloaded the supplies, while the other men loaded the bodies on the ship.

The battle raged on  with 2nd Div, USMC, 25th Div, 24th Div, 1st Cav, ROK.

At the dock, and the box car after box car as far as you could see. How they were laying on the ground. That was the way they were when they went down on the battle field.

The warehouse I had a large workforce group of Korean men. As they unloaded the supplies, all hell broke out, a big explosion. I went down injured. Gunfire started. I shot two. The ROK rushed in took out four enemy North Korean enemies and interrogated them. Then took them out side of the wherehouse and disposed 4 enemy, military style shot them behind the head.

The battle for the Naktong River was bitter, the 8tharmy and the 2nd inf, 24th Div, 25th div, usmc battalion, the ROK.

Our Gen. Johnnie Walker was with us at Guam. We talked with the General daily at the boxing ring, as you might not know. Gen Walker was not in the clique with you know, the West Point boys. We also had the Chief of Staff. I had the honor to speak to Gen. Vandenburg.

The next phase of the war. The invasion of the Inchon landing. That strategic move on General MacArthur plan was excellent move. The weather and the huge tidal waves and the currents, but it was a success. This allowed our group to free us from the perimeter. Now we had a chance to go on the offence. North to recapture Seoul  and take the North Korean Capital of Pyongyang.

As I was heading through Seoul at the railroad station a little girl stands. No shoes. No dress on. Naked. I picked her up and put her in the arms of a Korean woman. Handed her some money and went to my next job.

The big screw up and it cost us badly. 300,000 Chinese lay in the mountains. What in the hell was the high intelligence that was so smart I never will know. Info from our Korean boy 16 years old infiltrated little Eddie Ko calls intelligence. Eddie Ko words to intelligences hello, hello Eddie Ko makes a report to intelligences how many. Eddie reports says in broken Korean English many, many. Intelligence reply how many is many? Eddie Ko his wonderful words spoke loudly many, many, many, many, many.

Back--at the White House---President Truman calls Gen Douglas MacArthur for a meeting. After the meeting MacArthur was fired. His thought was to end the war was to go directly to China and complete the war with atomic bomb. Gen Ridgeway was assigned to be our new General, Commander.

The next hard event the bitter retreat: As we headed South our company commander gave us the orders to stay and blow up all supplies. As our company headed South we had 1st LT with 24 men. It was tuff we did our job. We called our 1st LT Captain Midnight he loved being that name. He did a great job and no one will never know his story.

Heading south, bitter freezing cold. We laid in the snow. Cold 40 degree below zero. I never was so cold in my life. I was down to 119 lb. For a short time you will freeze. Keep moving. Frozen feet, internal bleeding, hepatitis, and more.

We come into friendly territory. We see a big Red-Cross tent. What a relief. We stand before a Sgt. He asks name and serial no. Hands me five dollar script. He gives money to me. Step one pace to the left. A second Sgt reached over. He just takes the 5.00 dollar out of my hands. Now go get your coffee. Yes I just been had.

ROK…. As the Cpl lay on the ground he was sent to the hospital ship in Inchon Harbor, then sent to Kyoto Japan. After recovery, the hospital nurse Angel. Her real name> Angle was a great nurse. I went back to my outfit behind a mountain as a supply leader. There was a M.A.S.H. hospital.

I was putting in emergency landing strip. Just then a P-51 Mustang plane comes over the mountain started strafing me and the air strip. A second later in comes a second P-51 Mustang all shot up with holes, oil smoke, going for a crash landing. He hits the ground, spins to a stop, jumps out black with oil. The pilot sees me. I said can I help you? He said, I sure can use a large stiff drink. I said make it two large stiff drinks! We entered the hospital surgeons tent. As I step in the captain said what in the hell are you doing here Art? Just don't stand there get to work. I had a soldier laying there with his jaw half way blown off. I stuck an oxygen pipe down his throat. I saved his life.

I returned to Ft Eustis. I was assigned to transportation research and development. It was quite interesting.

Before I leave I want to thank all you men that I know what you have been going thru with the government and the VA. And the war let us not forget we have an obligation to your family and the United States of America, and all our brothers that did not make it back. We carry heavy heart. No one will know how many tears have fallen. Men, we will lead, not follow. We will march together. We will climb that last mountain.

And I will meet you on the other side. Thank you, and may God be with you

Cpl Art Canale