The Art of Tetman Callis

Some of the stories and poems may be inappropriate for persons under 16

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Entries Tagged as 'The Korean War'

Is it ever

March 14th, 2017 · No Comments

“On a warm day, and all alone, it was not easy to die. Death could be slighted or even ignored close by; but when the time came to meet it unexpectedly, no man could find it in himself not to cry silently or aloud for just one more reprieve to keep the world from ending.” […]

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Tags: The Korean War

Goes the same for women

March 13th, 2017 · No Comments

“Anything that men would willingly die for had to be considered seriously.” – James Salter, The Hunters

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Seemingly willingly

March 12th, 2017 · No Comments

“The Korean War ended inconclusively on 27 July 1953. Not until long afterward was it even dignified by the name of war—the government euphemism was Korean conflict—and it rapidly became the most forgotten war in American history. There was little in it, from near-disastrous beginning to honorable but frustrating end, that appealed to American sensibilities. […]

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The truth will out

March 10th, 2017 · No Comments

“A diplomat’s words must have no relation to actions—otherwise what kind of diplomacy is it? Words are one thing, actions another. Good words are a concealment of bad deeds. Sincere diplomacy is no more possible than dry water or iron wood.” – Josef V. Stalin (as quoted by T. E. Fehrenbach in This Kind of […]

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Tags: Politics & Law · The Korean War

And to every other living being

March 9th, 2017 · No Comments

“From the time man first raised fist to man, the lot of prisoners of war has been hard. The ancient peoples sometimes crucified captives; they invariably enslaved them, for life. From the time of Peter of Dreux, who burned out the eyes of prisoners, with hot irons, to the captives of Stalingrad and the hell […]

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Tags: The Forever War · The Korean War

Snowflakes and hailstones

March 8th, 2017 · No Comments

“The values composing civilization and the values required to protect it are normally at war. Civilization values sophistication, but in an armed force sophistication is a millstone. The Athenian commanders before Salamis, it is reported, talked of art and of the Acropolis, in sight of the Persian fleet. Beside their own campfires, the Greek hoplites […]

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Tags: Lit & Crit · Politics & Law · The Korean War

An unintended side-effect

March 7th, 2017 · No Comments

“There is no getting around the fact that cops and sergeants spoil your fun.” – T. E. Fehrenbach, This Kind of War

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Tags: The Korean War · Verandah

A man could stand up

March 6th, 2017 · No Comments

“There is much to military training that seems childish, stultifying, and even brutal. But one essential part of breaking men into military life is the removal of misfits—and in the service a man is a misfit who cannot obey orders, any orders, and who cannot stand immense and searing mental and physical pressure. For his […]

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How to win wars

March 5th, 2017 · No Comments

“Under the Constitution of the United States, Congress holds the power of life and death over the military, and no one would have it otherwise. History has shown very clearly that for democracy to continue, the people, and not the generals or even the executive branch, must have control over the military. The people must […]

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Tags: Politics & Law · The Korean War

No drink before the war

March 1st, 2017 · No Comments

“When American soldiers went into action, it had become customary to provide them with a free issue of candy, cigarettes—and beer. In the places American troops fought, there were rarely any handy taverns or supermarkets. Reported to the home front, the ‘beer issue’ rapidly became a national controversy. Temperance, church, and various civic groups bombarded […]

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Executive action

February 28th, 2017 · No Comments

“In using whatever means necessary to stem the attack against South Korea, the government of Harry Truman unquestionably acted in the best interests of the United States and of the world. But characteristically, that government took action in a manner that could only make later trouble. As with every major policy decision that Administration had […]

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Better that way

February 26th, 2017 · No Comments

“I no longer wanted any buddies. Afraid I’d lose them. If I liked someone, I believed he’d get killed. Who needed the additional trauma? I sure as hell didn’t. If you get killed, I don’t know you and I don’t care. You’re just another number, another rifle—who cares. New people: ‘What’s your name? How ya […]

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A bird in the hand

February 25th, 2017 · No Comments

“I remember the bitter cold and the snow and never being warm. I remember always being hungry, never having enough rations or being able to find any food. I remember the chicken my buddy found, killed, and gutted. I remember how small and skinny it was and how I carried that chicken in my field […]

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Brothers in arms

February 22nd, 2017 · No Comments

“That night I had the first watch. It was bitterly cold. Toward Hagaru-ri I heard the thump of artillery and saw flashes from exploding shells. I became very depressed. There were snow-covered hills all around and the wind bit into me. . . . When my watch was up I woke my buddy. ‘Anything happen?’ […]

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Advancing in the other direction

February 21st, 2017 · No Comments

“In the morning casualties lay all over the place. We dragged the dead down the slope like you would deer—slipped a rope around their boots and dragged. At the road the bodies were stacked in six-bys. Word was passed we were going to fall back. I believe those were the orders—‘fall back,’ not ‘retreat.’ Marines […]

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Praise the Lord and pass the frozen gravy

February 20th, 2017 · No Comments

“It was very, very late when we got back to the company and found the field kitchen there preparing Thanksgiving dinner. It was actually the day after Thanksgiving, but no one minded. We were served turkey and all the things that go with it on tin trays, just like aboard ship. Darker than pitch. We […]

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There were no re-takes, either

February 15th, 2017 · No Comments

“Believe me, sleeping in foxholes in a drizzling rain, cold and waiting to attack, dodging bullets, and going for three or four days with one small meal is not as romantic as the movies make out.” – Private First Class James Cardinal, I Company, 5th Cavalry Regiment (quoted by Donald Knox in The Korean War: […]

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How to make an anti-communist

February 14th, 2017 · No Comments

“The Communists gathered together all the opposition leaders, those friendly to America, and beat them terribly. Then they tied their hands behind their backs and shot them. More than fifty lay all over a small field in front of a school. When I got there relatives were claiming the dead and washing and cleaning and […]

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Tags: Politics & Law · The Korean War

Priorities

February 13th, 2017 · No Comments

“Much time was spent bullshitting. Talk was of home. We did not have any idea what [General] MacArthur was going to do next and we didn’t care. Food had top priority in our bull sessions. We smoked like fiends. Surprisingly, some of the conversations turned to sex. Up to then the only sexual references I’d […]

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Les fleurs du mal

February 11th, 2017 · No Comments

“The scene was in a wild ravine. First I saw piles of brightly colored silk gowns and black conical hats. Many of the corpses also appeared to wear Western-style clothing. In these mounds of ruffled clothing, I could also see parts of bodies, a head here, an arm there. While the company was somewhere between […]

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Suffer the children

February 10th, 2017 · No Comments

“I recall one day finding this little girl who couldn’t have been more than eight, trodding down the road crying hard. In her hands she carried a rusty tin of water. We tried to stop her because she was entering a dangerous area. She tried to get away from us; her screaming broke our hearts. […]

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The answer is, ‘Because.’

February 9th, 2017 · No Comments

“We begged the wounded lad to our front to hang on until morning when we’d be able to take him off the hill. With the first gray light the man lay quiet, then he was still. I lay there helpless, numb, sick clear through. I asked God in his infinite mercy, ‘Why so long?’ The […]

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A face of battle

February 8th, 2017 · No Comments

“Within a few moments I, too, was hit, first in the right arm, then in the chest. It felt as though I’d been hit in the chest by a sledgehammer. I could not breathe. Somehow, I gasped for air and lay panting until the initial shock wore off. To this day I remember the pain […]

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The Wrath of God

February 7th, 2017 · No Comments

“I was up on a hill that day at a machine-gun position with a master sergeant named Barber. We saw this long procession of people coming toward our line. I said to Barber, ‘What the devil is happening here?’ He said, ‘I don’t know.’ So I said, ‘I’ll go and see.’ I went down and […]

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Last rites

February 6th, 2017 · No Comments

“At this time the kid next to me got hit in the chest. I rolled him over and cut open his jacket looking for the bullet wound. A slug had gone right through his lung, in the front, out the back. There were no corpsmen up to us yet. The kid began to wheeze and […]

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Death and transfiguration

February 5th, 2017 · No Comments

“I motioned for him to get up and put on his shirt. He gestured he would like his cigarettes. I nodded. After he lit one I marched him to the rear where I met the South Korean police detachment that was assigned to the brigade. To a police sergeant I explained I had orders to […]

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Alternative facts

February 4th, 2017 · No Comments

“In the late fall of 1961, [President] Kennedy decided to up the ante in the ongoing but still relatively low-key guerilla war in Vietnam. At the time there were only six hundred American advisers in South Vietnam. His was the most dangerous of moves geopolitically. even if at first it was a limited commitment of […]

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Tags: David Halberstam · Politics & Law · The Korean War

Just wait until the next one

February 3rd, 2017 · No Comments

“Perhaps all wars are in some way or another the product of miscalculations. But Korea was a place where almost every key decision on both sides turned on a miscalculation . . . . in the single greatest miscalculation of the war, MacArthur decided to go all the way to the Yalu because he was […]

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Tags: David Halberstam · The Korean War

The blood is always red

January 31st, 2017 · No Comments

“At the most forward edge of Love Company was the Second Platoon, commanded by Lieutenant Gene Takahashi of Cleveland, Ohio. Takahashi—Tak, not Gene, to his men— had, as a Japanese-American, spent part of his World War II boyhood in an internment camp in California. Impressed by the exploits of the famed, highly-decorated all-Nisei 442nd Regimental […]

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Tags: David Halberstam · Politics & Law · The Korean War

They’d’ve seen it coming if they’d’ve looked

January 21st, 2017 · No Comments

“It was on the night of November 25 [1950] that the Chinese finally struck. Rarely has so large an army had such an element of surprise against its adversary. The Chinese had precise intelligence on the Americans, and the Americans on the [Korean] west coast—the Marines on the east were shrewder and better led—were essentially […]

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Tags: David Halberstam · The Korean War