Veteran: PFC Dan Miller
Born 1932 in Canal Winchester, Ohio
Drafted in 1952. Served in Korea from January 1953 until November 1954
Assigned to 231st Transportation Battalion (an historically Black National Guard unit from Maryland)
43rd Transportation Truck Company
Transported ammunition to the front near Panmunjeom.
Participated in Operation Big Switch
“We were known as the best transportation outfit in Korea. The 231st Transportation Battalion used large trucks to haul artillery from a base in Uijeongbu to the front lines north of us, mostly at night, driving with the headlights painted in “cat-eye” style. It was extremely cold. We hauled a lot of 203 mm artillery for 4 months. Every night, “Bed Check Charlie”, Chinese pilots in small airplanes, would light up the area with flares to illuminate our ammo dump. But they never hit it with their artillery. Our jets were too fast compared to their small slow airplanes, so they didn’t shoot down any
“Bed Check Charlies”. We didn’t use anti-aircraft guns to shoot at the Chinese pilots because our army was concerned about accidently hitting our own ammo dump. One time the North Koreans and Chinese overran one of our ammo dumps but our boys were able to push them back.
When the war ended, we moved to Panmunjom as part of Operation Big Switch. We used our new M211 “Cadillac Deuce” transportation trucks to process North Korean and Chinese POW’s back to their country.
Chinese POW’s who asked were transported to Taiwan. One North Korean soldier begged us not to send him back to North Korea, but we were on the North’s side of the truce line and could not help him. He had even cut his wrists hoping to be put in a field hospital. Other PRK soldiers overheard him saying he did not want to return to North Korea, and shot him. We were not allowed to have any weapons, only the Chinese and North Koreans, since we were on their side of the line.
We carried 30 POW’s per truck in groups of 10 trucks. The prisoners would sometimes make balls out the rice we gave them to eat and they threw them at us in anger. Another time, the POW’s figured out there were 300 of them and 20 of us unarmed US soldiers. They jumped us and held us as prisoners for 3 hours until our brass straightened things out.
Liver. I used to love liver but we were served nothing but liver that was tough as shoe leather almost every day for 4 months. I have hater liver ever since.
We volunteered to have money taken from our paychecks to raise money to build schools in Korea.
The United States needed to fight the Korean War. We needed to stand up to the world. I wish they had listened to MacArthur; if they had, Korea would be a unified republic today.”
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Korean War - Key Events
June 25, 1950
A massive artillery barrage from the North signals the beginning of the Korean War. Roughly 100,000 North Korean troops pour across the 38th parallel, and, although South Korean forces are driven back, they retire in good order.
These events are taken from the Encyclopedia Britannica