I thought it was interesting how the public found the end of the Korean War to be a “relief.” The public had had their fill of war and were just waiting for the veterans to return to normal again. The quote at the beginning of chapter 7 was astonishing to me. The man from the 24th Infantry Division was called to headquarters and ended up being sent off to war for 11 months. I couldn’t believe it. During what seemed like a normal night, a man left his family for eleven months without any warning. Page 173 said that some soldiers were given “as little as 72 hours’ notice to report for duty.” These soldiers (and sometimes even veterans) were expected to drop everything they were doing when called to serve. I cannot imagine how hard it was not only for the soldiers but for their families as well. I mean, one minute, your husband is there and the next he is being called to duty in Korea. It is not an easy thing to just leave your regular life behind but these soldiers did. It just seems unfair. I was surprised at how unorganized the United States was, especialy in the area of mobilization. The army equipment, such as vehicles and even airplanes. Many pilots refused to fly because they believed their aircrafts were unsafe for them and their crews. (Page 177) I think that it was not only the soldiers who had begun to be comfortable, but the government also became too comfortable and was therefore unprepared for war. There is no excuse for the government to not have updated equipment or usable equipment for that matter. Also, the government should have been ready at a moment’s notice for war and it was definitely far from it.
Some might think that the fact the soldiers had become too comfortable was a bad thing. I think that the soldiers and even the American public were not expecting the Korean War to surface, so they had finally begun to settle into a regular routine, living their lives as normal as possible. When mobilization suddenly began, things became unorganized. The army was bringing in veterans, regular soldiers, sailors, pilots, reserve officers, and especially new soldiers. What was the rule for reserve officers? Was it that they could be called on at any time to serve? I was angered at all the corruption in the Veterans Administration. Page 185 said, “Fraud, corruption, and inefficiency were front page news items.” The Veterans Administration should have been one of the more respected administrations in Washington. The veterans deserved a better V.A., one that was able to provide for them without allowing politics to get in the way. I also was angry about how the veterans began to lose benefits towards health care and education. I was happy to read that President Truman pushed bills that increased veteran benefits. I found it interesting that after the Korean War, America was not as vocal about welcoming home the veterans as they were during previous wars. Maybe they were tired of all the wars, but my thought is that the American public was more focused on helping the veterans readjust to normal life once again. Although the public tried to help, Korea still holds the name “the forgotten war” and I am sure a lot of its veterans were considered “forgotten” as well.
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