AMVETS Support American and UN Involvement in the
Washington, June 27 . . . Harold Russell, National Commander of AMVETS, [the] only
Congressionally chartered veterans organization of World War II vets, this morning at 1100
A.M. sent the following wire to President Truman
"AMVETS (American Veterans of World War II) respectfully urge a recommendation by
the United States to the United Nations that proportionate military elements of member
nations be immediately requisitioned--in lieu of a world police force--for the effective
support of the armed forces of the lawful South Korean republic for the purpose of
restoring the status quo in that country by force of arms if necessary.
As veterans of World War II we are painfully aware of the implications of such action.
But as veterans we are equally convinced that no other course can now preserve the
influence of the United Nations as an effective instrument for peaceful settlement of the
world's ills. The time has come, if it has not already passed, for a firm stand against
the creeping gains of international gangsterism in which is all too evident the old and
evil pattern of piecemeal conquest which, if unchecked now, must lead inevitably to world
conflagration on a scale too terrible to contemplate.
The lawless and defiant invasion of Southern Korea is a calculated affront to the
peace-loving nations--the first major test of our strength and our will. AMVETS will
support the commitment of American military elements in proportionate conjunction with
those of other member nations in the conviction that the calculated risk of action now is
the lesser of the dangers facing the world.
"AMVETS Wire to President Truman," 27 June 1950, Harry S. Truman
Library, Student Research File, B File, Korean War Responses to North Korea's Invasion,
Boxes 1 and 2, Official File.
Letters to President Harry S. Truman
New York, NY
July 12, 1950
President Harry S. Truman
The White House
Dear President Truman
It is with horror that I read of the losses of American lives in Korea, and I ask
myself, what are we doing there?
This is clearly a civil war, and the UN Charter clearly states that there shall be no
intervention in domestic situations. How would we have felt had some European country sent
troops to the South during our own Civil War?
It is also evident that Rhee had lost favor even with his own party, that he had not
gotten a majority vote in the elections of May 30th. Must we pull his chestnuts out of the
fire for him? The Koreans don't want him. Why should we?
I therefore urge that our troops are immediately withdrawn and that we use our good
offices in helping to mediate the dispute, but that above all, we allow the Koreans to
decide for themselves what parties are to respresent them.
Ann Ash and George Ash
July 13, 1950
President Harry S. Truman,
Dear Mr. President,
I write to express my indignation at the acts this government has taken of late -
sending our young men thousands of miles away from their homes to interfere in the lives
of other people and pay with their own lives. While our own resources are being depleted
by negligence and incompetent management - lands flooded and soil washed away to the sea,
- while our own people are in large numbers ill-fed, ill-clothed and ill-housed we are
trying to grab the resource of other countries and threatening their people with
destruction. I urge you now, before it is too late, to reverse this unreasonable action,
call our armies out of places where they do not belong, proceed to show by our acts that
we are a peace-loving nation, and cherish the United Nations by acts that are honorable
and above reproach.
(Mrs.) Ruth H. Ashley
July 18, 1950
Dear Mr. President,
I am praying with all my heart that you will be guided by God to do what is right for
I am with you in anything you do or say and so is my husband.
May God help you to carry on your wonderful work for years to come.
Mrs. Betty Williams
August 8, 1950
My dear Mrs. Williams
I want to tell you how much the President appreciates the letter you sent him.
Expressions such as yours are a source of strength and courage and he asks me to extend
Very sincerely yours,
William D. Hassett
Secretary to the President
Mr. Betty Williams
Harry S. Truman Library, Student Research File, B File, Korean War, Responses to
North Korea's Invasion, Boxes 1 and 2, Official File.
Homefront Support During the Negotiations
"During the truce negotiaitons at Kaesong in August 1951 the chief Communist
delegate, Lt. Gen. Nam Il, a chain-smoker, tried to light a cigarette with 'Red Star'
matches and then with a Communist-made lighter. To no avail; the matches and lighter
sputtered without effect. In desperation, Nam picked up some American-made matches that
were lying on the table, and, of course, they worked every time. On hearing of Nam's
predicament, the president of the Diamond Match Local of the United Match Workers in
Oswego, New York, cabled the chief American delegate at Kaesong, Vice Adm. C. Turner Joy
'Products made by free men under a competitive economy will always be of high quality and
superior to those of regimented slave labor. With the thought that they might demonstrate
this point if presented by you to Gen. Nam we are sending you air express a case [2,500
books] of good American matches. . . . Who knows but what they will help the general see
John Edward Wiltz, "The Korean War and American Society," in The Korean
War A 25-Year Perspective, ed. Francis H. Heller, with a Preface by Francis H. Heller
(Lawrence Regents Press of KS, 1977), 152-53.
John Edward Wiltz, "The Korean War and American
Society," in The Korean War: A 25-Year Perspective, ed. Francis H.
Heller (Lawrence: Regents Press of KS, 1977), 152-153.
"During the truce negotiations at
Kaesong in August 1951 the chief Communist delegate, Lt. Gen. Nam Il, a
chain-smoker, tried to light a cigarette with 'Red Star' matches and then with a
Communist-made lighter. To no avail: the matches and lighter sputtered
without effect. In desperation, Nam picked up some American-made matches
that were lying on the table, and, of course, they worked every time. On
hearing of Nam's predicament, the president of the Diamond Match Local of the
United Match Workers in Oswego, New York, cabled the chief American delegate at
Kaesong, Vice Adm, C. Turner Joy: 'Products made by free men under a competitive
economy will always be of high quality and superior to those of regimented slave
labor. With the thought that they might demonstrate this point if
presented by you to Gen. Nam we are sending you air express a case [2,500 books]
of good American matches.... Who knows but what they will help the general see
Box of letters to a young wife holds glimpses of Korean War
By KELLY D. PATTERSON Arlington Morning News
ARLINGTON, Texas -A tattered U.S. Keds shoe box rested on a hall shelf for
several years in Ed Carriker's house. He knew the contents, but never slipped
off the black rubber band that kept the lid in place. The box is filled with memories, both happy and sad. Its contents tell the
first-hand story of a young dentist who served his country during the Korean
War. But more than anything, the letters in the box tell the story of a man
who longed for his bride back home. The once stark white envelopes and stationary have now faded. Age gives them
a faint sepia tint around the edges. The paper is somewhat brittle. Carriker, now 73, finally decided to open the letters a few days before
~Veterans Day. He had been asked about his recollections of the war and what
it meant to get mail from home. He agreed to share his memories. He hasn't read the letters since he wrote them between 1950 and 1951 to his
wife, Trudy, who waited in Georgetown, Texas, for his return. Trudy died in 1952, almost a full year after Carriker returned from duty.
As he carefully opened one letter, the past rushed over him. Until this week he had hesitated to revisit his past. The retired dentist and
former Blue Cross executive has since remarried. He thought opening the box's contents would hurt his new wife's feelings.
At first he chuckled at the writings of a 25-year-old U.S. Army First Lieutenant. He smiled, reading aloud the words that described the camaraderie
and antics he shared with his fellow Army buddies. He described the realities of war -the sounds of the enemy around his camp and the young boys who did
not make it home alive. But as he neared the end of the first letter, Carriker's voice began to ;~
crack, then fade. He stopped just as tears began to fill his blue-gray eyes. "I don't have to tell you how I love you or miss you, because you know it,"
read the letter dated Dec. 12, 1950. "It's going to be a lonely Christmas and I know we'll be blue, but keep your chin up and join in the Xmas spirit.
''I'll love you forever and ever, and I'll be seeing you someday before very long. All my love, Ed. "
Carriker regained his composure as he carefully folded up the letter and placed it back in its envelope. He thumbed through the delicate box. Some of
the almost 200 letters were bundled with string and another group held together with pink ribbon.
Looking at the postmark stamped across the top of each letter, Carriker searched for one certain envelope. The note inside detailed an explosion th
sent hundreds of casualties to the MASH unit where he served as a dental surgeon and often assisted medical doctors.
"We got loaded with casual ties and everyone was working around the clock, Carriker said as he searched. "I was taking blood pressure and catching men
before they went into shock. We had an MD decide if they would live or die. .int-~n
..11.. \.,l1.LneSe are hitting us pretty hard around Wonjun, " Carriker wrote. "They
got me out of bed at 3:30 yesterday and I worked until late yesterday evening. The surgeons all worked 24 hour shifts.
"At 5 they had a table empty and asked me to do a facial case under local anesthesia since all the anesthetists were busy ...I spent 3 hours cleaning
it out, and I was able to do all by local blocks. The poor boy lost both eyes, and when I closed that hole he looked pitiful, n he added. "I talked to
him while I worked and he was doing OK. I was about willing to forget oral surgery after that.n
Carriker wrote his wife at least twice a week. Some letters went out on a daily basis. At times, like when his unit was traveling to a new camp site,
he would go days before sending one. Receiving mail was important to all military personnel overseas. But Carriker
said writing home was just as important. It was somewhat therapeutic, being able to talk about what he experienced, he
said. But most importantly, the letters let loved ones know all was well and even dispelled false news reports.
Before joining the MASH unit, Carriker was with a battalion just a few miles from the front line. On Sept. 22, 1950, he described what life was like
there. "We assembled on the beach and at 3 a.m. we start marching. We marched with
full pack and equipment for about 2 hrs. We then fell out along the side of the road in the grass and tried to sleep,n the letter read. "We nearly froze.
We're camping on the ground and as yet I only have one blanket with me. It's hard and cold. I bet I don't actually sleep four hours at night."
A later letter, dated Sept. 26, 1950, told his wife of some casualties. "We hear the Marines had trouble in Seoul today. A lot of them are being
killed. I saw their graveyard yesterday, " he wrote. "Our battalion has had no battle casualties. We had one man killed in Japan -run over by our trucks
while he was sleeping in the grass. The other day one was shot, in Inchon, by some of our own men, but he'll be OK. One other was lost by falling in a hole
at night, but he'll be OK soon. "We have little business in our aid station. I haven't seen a dental patient
in two or three days. "On April 24, 1951, Carriker wrote of uncertainties taking place.
"After I wrote my letter last night, we got a call from the Col. He wanted the trucks all sent up empty at once, so they could move out, " he wrote. "I
have no idea what will happen next, but I'm sure confusion will reign supreme for a few days yet. I guess the Chinese are really putting on a show. The
guerillas have also started acting up again...At the moment we're without mail or any news. Don't worry, these things straighten out in time."
Once Carriker was settled with the MASH unit, he had more time to enjoy his surroundings while helping injured soldiers.
He wrote his wife that the unit had received a movie tent, though the films they received were old. They also had parties to ease the realities of war.
On April 30, 1951, Carriker wrote of a ballgame the officers played against an African American ambulance company.
with news from the war, Carriker's letters also were intended to keep ~p with business at home. He often reminded his wife to make sure to change
the oil in their car every 3,000 miles. One letter reminded her which bills were due on which dates. Another, dated
~ay 2, 1951, reminded her to get both their mothers gifts for Mother's Day. The final letter in Carriker's collection is dated Oct. 19, 1951. He was in
Japan waiting for his orders to return home. In his letter, Carriker was expecting Trudy to meet him in San Francisco at the Sir Frances Drake Hotel.
the final lines read: "I'm looking forward to seeing you very much, and I'll be yours forever and ever. I love more than I can ever express in this
letter, but in two weeks I'll show you. I love you very much, Ed."rudy received a Western Union telegraph in at 8:52 a.m. Oct. 21, 1951, at
her home in Georgetown. The short message said: "Arrive in Frisco about 2nd aboard USNS General John Pope. Plan to be there. Letter follows. Love, Ed."
Carriker said he and Trudy spent a week in San Francisco before he was stationed at Fort Sill, Okla. to complete his two years of service.
Trudy died a few months later. As he finished reviewing the letters, he remarked that Darlene, his current
wife, would "get a kick" out of reading them. He may share them with her once he gets a chance to go through them all
himself, he said. And sifting through the box full of memories will take time.
Copyright © 1998 Korean War Veterans National Museum and Library
Of Interest to
Korean War Veterans
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