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Home | Oral History Archive | Reporter's Notebook

All of the veterans we interviewed had amazing stories --about comraderie, warfare, pain, and sacrifice . We've arranged some of their most thought-provoking stories into a series of Editors' Picks--each on a different subject like combat, POW experiences, integration, conditions in Korea and homecoming. These will rotate each week, so stop back for future picks.

This week the focus is on
Homecoming Stories.

The Korean War was a staggeringly bloody war, killing almost 37,000 Americans and two million or more Koreans and Chinese. Hear Korean War veterans describe fighting hill by hill against a determined enemy.

Korean veterans often compare their homecoming to what World War II veterans received less than a decade before. Reamer Bell of Cincinnati, Ohio describes the contrast.
Listen (:35) or Read

Oscar Cortez of San Antonio, Texas was taken prisoner by the Koreans in February of 1951. He finally got the homecoming he was looking for many years later.
Listen (1:12) or Read

Shorty Estabrook oof Marianna, California was in a POW camp with his buddies when a long line of trucks went through and he learned the war was over and he would finally go home. But that wasn't the end of his troubles.
Listen (3:04) or Read

During the "Red Scare" --the anti-communist fervor that gripped America during the 1950's-- veterans who had been captured by communists during the Korean War were under suspicion of being collaborators. Shorty Estabrook remembers being interrogated by the FBI upon his return home.
Listen (2:03) or Read

Jack Goodwin of Waco, Texas describes the long recovery from the psychological trauma of being a prisoner of war.
Listen (1:07) or Read

When the Korean War started, it was considered a police action, not a war. For many years, it was only referred to as a conflict, not a war. Veteran John Jackson of Houston, Texas...
Listen (1:35) or Read

Previous week's topics:
Combat Stories

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image credits: left and center - National Archives and Records Administration; right - Department of Defense