The Grahams’ of Cochran County – Chapter 58
Personal experience during the Korean War 1951. In the previous chapter I described contact with the enemy (North Koreans and possible the Red Chinese). After a few days rest behind the lines the lst Battalion of the 32nd Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division was on the move toward the front line again. We were on the Eastern Front and moving toward North Korea. We had not entered North Korea yet since we had been evacuated from North Korea by ships. We were about a days march from the 38th Parallel that was the division between North and South Korean peninsula. We were expecting to have some viscous fighting as we approached the parallel.
We had been given some ROK troops to take with us to fill our depleted ranks. As we moved forward we were met with some North Korean soldiers with a white flag and no arms. The South Korea Soldiers with us started interrogating them and found that they were tired of the war. The South Korean Soldiers took off up the hill and started firing at something. They left me and my squad to guard the North Korean captives. In a few minutes South Koreans came down the hill carrying a deer that had been their object of gunfire. After they got back to our position one of the South Koreans took his long knife and disemboweled the deer. I was quite surprised when they pulled out there canteen cups and started reaching into the deer cavity for some of the remaining blood. They were happily drinking the blood and offering some to me which I refused.
My squad was selected to escort the prisoners and the deer and a few of the South Koreans to the rear. The battalion Lt. Col. wanted to interrogate as many of the prisoners as possible and especially the officers. As we were departing there was some gunfire from Sgt Skaggs (not his real name) squad. I sent one of my squad up to see what was happening. He came back rather excited and perhaps agitated and gave few details but suggested that I go look. When I got to that area it was apparent that Sgt. Skaggs had made a couple of North Korean Officers kneel and he shot them in the back of their head. If I have PTSD that incident may be the cause of the problem. I hated war and after that finding I hated war even more. The information had already reached our captain and they started asking me for details. All that I could truthfully say was that I did not witness the episode but had heard the gunfire and found two dead officers from the North Korean Army who apparently chose not to surrender with their enlisted men. I was not sure that they had not fired at Sgt Skaggs first.
I was getting increasingly frustrated with this war. I prayed for my rotation home soon. Man’s inhumanity to man was the theme of my dreams and thoughts for many days to come.