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Inside 3rd Battalion Headquarters Company bunker

These are three of the people who I shared a bunker with while at 3rd Battalion Headquarters Company.  The person in the middle, Lt. Reimers, was my replacement and is wet from being outside (it was raining) checking out and familiarizing himself with what the P&A platoon was doing and where it was doing it.  The bunker was divided roughly in half with a curtain made of available cloth hung on commo wire.  Noncoms lived on one side of the cloth curtain, officers lived on the other side side (shown above.)

Note the logs which form the structural part of the bunker.  There were no trees this tall anywhere that I saw in the combat zone.  These logs are all imported pines from Georgia (it was rumored) and these long, straight poles were as foreign to this part of the world as we were.  The sand bags behind the logs were there to keep the hill behind from sliding back into the notch that had been cut into the hill for the bunker.

During these rains and shortly after this picture was taken, the hill above turned into mud which was slowly creeping back into the notch that had been cut there and the bunker was starting to lean downhill as it started to go with the flow.  As an emergency measure we dug out the dirt/mud behind the sandbag wall shown above to relieve the pressure.  During the digging we uncovered old Korean bodies which had been buried upright in a crouched position --  our bunker was in the middle of an old Korean graveyard.

That's how I found out that flat, level, fertile dirt was too precious to waste on a burial site.  All Korean graveyards (at least around where we were) were on hillsides.  I never saw any markers so suspect the Koreans may have just had tradition to mark their grave sites.

The PX I mentioned earlier was not a place, but more a time.  When PX rations were delivered (weekly) you could buy things like film, flash bulbs (rarely) beer (sometimes and sorry, only one can - maybe two if the PX gods had been good) writing paper and envelopes, cans of ravioli, civilian (unfrozen) flashlight batteries, etc.  Tobacco (cigarettes, pipe, cigars, snuff, rolling makings, and chewing) were all free and available at the end of each chow line.  Once all items were sold, the PX evaporated.

I can remember being shocked when leaving the combat zone and discovering that cigarettes cost $1.00 a carton in the PX in Seoul (no taxes).  That was the first time I tried to give up smoking.

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ęCopyright  Freeman Bradford.  All rights reserved