As a graduate of the 9th Special Basic Class at Quantico in December 1951, I was fascinated by the parallels between my personal chronology and Mr. Brady’s journey from the 5th Special Basic Class to Korea (“Leaving for Korea,” February/March): same places, same experiences, and same characters, albeit with different names. I, too, joined the 1st Marine Division as a rifle platoon commander late in January of 1952 and got home months later relatively unscathed.
Our efforts during that war were directly responsible for the birth of South Korea as a modern entity on the Pacific Rim. However, I used to feel that our achievement was not fully appreciated on both sides of the ocean. That was until 1971, when a contingent of South Korean businessmen and engineers visited the site where I was managing a chemical manufacturing operation. At lunch that day I found myself engaged in a conversation with one of their engineers, and we discovered our similar paths during the war; he had been a South Korean officer and I a Marine. When we exchanged our farewells at the end of the tour, he took me aside and, with a genuine look of appreciation, said quietly, “Thank you.”
At that moment my doubts vanished. The people we had left behind and the rest of us who came home from the Korean War had not merely paid a price; rather we had made a very successful investment halfway around the globe.