January 24, 2000
Interview with Clifford Fallon
By Kristen Allen-Hanks, History Major-IUS
BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION FOR CLIFFORD FALLON
D.O.B.3/6/1929 Louisville, KY
WIFE:Minnie C. Fallon
DATES SERVED: 1/2/1951-12/9/1952
RANK AT DISCHARGE:Corporal (CPL)
AWARDS:United Nations Ribbon w/4 stars
UNIT/DIVISION:PAD Press Advisory Division
PIO Public Information Office
EUSAK Eighth U.S. Army Korea
Jan 24, 2000
Floyd County Oral History Project for War Veterans
Interview with Clifford Fallon
“START OF TAPE 1, SIDE A”
Kristen Allen-Hanks:I am going to ask you to give me a description of your military service.
Clifford Fallon:Well, I was in the Army.I went in the Army January 2, 1951.I went through basic training at Fort Knox.I went through clerk typist training at Fort Knox.I was assigned overseas to Korea in May 1951.I got to Korea June 15, 1951, and I was assigned to the Press Advisory Division, part of the Public Information Office. It was in the 8th Army PAD-PIO-EUSAK.
KAH:What was your date of discharge?
Fallon:My date of discharge was December 9, 1952, after serving 18 months in Korea.When I came home, they discharged everybody that had come back with me.
KAH:How would you describe your life today?How large of a family do you have, what kind of career, etc.?
Fallon:Well, I’ve got a wife who had a stroke two years ago and she is paralyzed in part, but she gets around, but she is crippled and uses a cane and everything.She is disabled, but she’s moving pretty good.I have four children, all doing very well in their own professions. I’m still working as a veteran supervisor for the state of Kentucky and the Department of Employment Services.I help veterans get jobs.
KAH:Do you have grandchildren?
Fallon:I’ve got four grandchildren.
KAH:How did your military experience influence or impact decisions you made concerning your work or family?Were you married when you entered the service?
Fallon:No, I was single.I didn’t get married until maybe five years after I got out.
KAH:Did you military experience guide you in any career direction or did it influence you in the type of career you sought?
Fallon:No, not really.
KAH:How did you feel about war as a child when you were growing up?
Fallon:Well, when I grew up it was really bad times because I came through the Depression. Then World War II started, so basically I had older brothers who all fought in the war.In fact, there were five boys in our family and all five of us were in the service. Every one of us was overseas.I had three brothers in World War II and my other brother was in the Korean War.
KAH:Did you ever desire to serve in the military before you were drafted?
KAH:I asked you about your relatives that served in the U.S. military, but did your father, grandfather, or other relatives serve in the military?
Fallon:No, my father did not because he had a house full of kids at the time when World War I was going on, so they did not draft him.
KAH:Okay, and you were drafted when you were how old?
Fallon:I was 21.
KAH:Can you recall any details of your life at the time that you were drafted into the Army?What were you doing, where were you living?
Fallon: Well, I was working and basically just working a job.
KAH:Here in Louisville?
Fallon:Here in Louisville, yes.
KAH: Your from here?
KAH:And you said you weren’t married yet?
KAH:What do you recall from your boot camp training?Did you do that at Fort Knox?
Fallon:Yes, I took training at Fort Knox.We took a six-week basic training course and it just so happened to be the coldest winter we’ve had in 100 years.We had 19 or 20 below zero, when we was on bivouac it was 20 below zero.
KAH:Did they take it easier on you?
Fallon:No, they took us in and let us stay in the barracks.We wouldn’t stay in the tents.They let us stay in the barracks, but they made us stay out all day, so it was just as bad.
KAH:Can you provide a brief outline of what you did after you left Fort Knox?How long, and what additional training did you receive?
it was, I took basic training at Fort Knox, six weeks, and then I went
to an eight-week course, clerk typist school.Well,
I could type about 65 or 70 words a minute at the time and they put me
in with a bunch of beginners and I had a field day; fun with that deal
because I made too much noise for them, they were trying to put their fingers
together and couldn’t get their words straight and I would make too much
noise and they were always getting on me about making too much noise.I
said well put me somewhere else and let me out of this room, but we went
through it and I got my orders to go to Korea.
KAH:Where in Korea did you go?
Fallon:It was in May. I left Seattle, Washington.They put us on a boat to Tokyo Bay and Yokohama Harbor.Then we went to Camp Drake outside Tokyo and then we were assigned to the company with PADPIO office.
KAH:Had you ever been overseas before?
KAH:When you arrived in Korea, what impressed you most about the country?
Fallon:Well, [laughter] there was nothing impressive about that country because it was an ancient country.It was just desolate.When we landed at Kimpo Air Base, the big international air base today. They had a steel mat runway there.Then we drove into town.The entire town was just about knocked out.Seoul was retaken on Easter Sunday in April, and this was June 15, so they were just getting everything back together.You would drive down the street and all the streets as far as you could see, on one side everything would be destroyed.It would be like driving down something you see now on television, like World War II where they go and bomb everything and blow it up.That is what this was.
KAH:Was there anything about the country that surprised you, or that you didn’t expect?
Fallon:Well, no, not really.It had an odor and I asked someone what the reason was for that odor, they said it would never leave [laughter] because it was the food they eat there.
KAH:Was your final destination Seoul?
Fallon:Yes.We were assigned to this building, the compound, where all the war correspondents stayed.It was a big apartment building and we had our own quarters and such. We would handle all the news copy that came out of Korea to be sent to the newspapers.We took care of it for anybody else as well.So, we knew right off what was going on when most had to wait to read it in the newspaper or hear it on the radio or television.Television was just getting started then.
KAH:You mentioned that your unit was very small. What were your living conditions?
Fallon:Very good.We lived in real nice quarters in a big apartment building that was about a five-stories and we had our own rooms.
KAH:You had a private room?
Fallon:Well, there were two of us to each room.We had a washbasin in the room, but we would use the shower at the end of the hall.Everybody used the showers at the end of the hall.
KAH:Did you have any difficulties in sharing the living space of those quarters?
KAH:Concerning your job as a clerk with the PIO, can you describe the job that was assigned to you, as well as the size of your unit, since we did not record that earlier?
Fallon:Every piece of news copy that came out of Korea had to have some type of check for censorship, because they wanted to make sure that the wrong information did not get out.One thing was that if they were fighting up in say, Hun San, you could not come out and write a story and put on the dateline Hun San, Korea. You had to put Somewhere in Korea.That was one of the things.There was very little that they did not get to go through.There was one story I know of. For instance, one of the writers for AP wrote a story about the war itself, and it had all negative viewpoints on it; how you blame this person and that person and it was a really negative story. They would not touch that one.We transmitted it to the White House because it went on about Harry Truman in it, so they sent it to Harry Truman.That is the only one I know of.
KAH:What other types of things did they train you to look for?
Fallon:We really didn’t look so much.We were making sure that the copy was handled properly, that it was sent through properly, and got to the right place.We made sure it was in order because any time a big story breaks, you have to make sure the first part, second, so forth, go in order.These were scoops or something else.Now, I saw a couple of scoops and the guys that got a big story because they scooped the rest of them.We never would let it out; we would just go ahead.If they found another way to find it, that is their problem.
KAH:You mentioned that you had three years of college. Was that before or after the service?
Fallon:I had about a year before I went in the service and I had a couple after.
KAH:Did you have any previous experience or education that prepared you for your job with the Army?
Fallon:No, I just had a background in office work.
KAH:Can you recall a particularly funny story from your job, or something that happened?
Fallon:Oh, I don’t know there were quite a few of them over the years.One of the best occurred New Year’s Eve night. We were having a big party and, I can’t think of this fellow’s name now, but he worked for the New York Times. He was a reporter. The New York Times was getting better, not fighting the Daily News.The stories they were writing were feature stories and such. They would write about people from New York, or wherever they were from.We had one reporter from Buffalo, and he would try to catch all the Buffalo people to write their stories.This reporter from the New York Times came. It was New Year’ night and twelve o’clock came and he opened a window up, took a 45mm, and shot it in the air until he ran out of bullets.About 20 minutes later, the MP’s were there to take him to the airport and they shipped him home, because this was the worst place in the world to do something like that.You never do anything like that.When the war is on and you are shooting a gun like that, (which he wasn’t supposed to have any weapons of any kind), so they sent him home and he never came back.That was just one story.There are so many, and it is so hard to think of all of them.What I really thought most about was how these people had lived over there, lived on nothing and how they survived.You’d talk about desolate people and how they survived.You would ride down the road and you couldn’t see hardly anything, just something sticking up in the air; it was them putting rice in water [about that deep] about a foot deep in water. [laughter]
KAH:Did anyone run stories through your office about the Korean people and their living conditions, like those you just mentioned?
Fallon:Oh, sometimes they might run one through.It was a known fact, with everybody there.I think it was just like, you can’t see the forest through the trees; you are too close to it, but the people that worked around our building, the Koreans, we always tried to take care of them as much we could and they had a good time. Really, they did not want to lose their time because they got paid by the government to do that. We would pay them a little on the side too for doing things for us, like our ironing, washing, shoe shining, making our beds and such.We didn’t do anything since they did it all, and we would pay them every month.They would also clean the building.These were really nice people, good people, just caught in a bad situation.
KAH:Was it a dangerous area, around your building and offices, and where your housing was located?
Fallon:No, Seoul was secure.They were fighting probably 30 miles from Seoul, so it was secure.Did you ever watch MASH?
Fallon:Do you remember Bad Check Charlie?The airplane comes over and drops the hand grenade?Well, we used to have one of those come over every now and then. On the roof of our building, there used to be a nightclub up there in the summer time.We would go up there and sit around a fire.That was where everyone would go to watch them fly around.
KAH:Could you hear the fighting going on?
Fallon:You couldn’t hear the actual gunfire unless you were close up, but we could be in Seoul and hear the Missouri, which was on the other side of the peninsula, bombing.You could hear those 16-inch shells rumbling.You could hear it 80 miles away.We were probably 80 miles away and could still hear the noise from it.It was a big shell that carried a lot of thrust and you could hear it.I have seen a lot of fighting, but I never was in it.I would go to Hun San, which was a neutral zone, where they had the peace talks.You could go to the camp where the officers talking peace would go, back to where they had a train sitting on the side. It was a Pullman type train.They fixed it up and made it like a hotel. They had a club car, a mess hall, and a movie theater, just everything there.We would go stay up there for a week at a time. I would go for a week or someone else would go for a week, and we would handle all the copies coming out of there at the time.We could sit outside and watch the Marines up on the hill across from there. They would fight all the time.Then you would watch while playing baseball, volleyball, or something, watching the airplanes bomb hillsides.I mean this happened all day long; they were bombing these hillsides.You would see it all day long.
KAH:What about at night?
Fallon:Well at night you would have more of the firefights.We were next to the Marines there. In fact, the Marines, when the replacements came over, pulled the train in there and unloaded everyone next to our train. Right there, Marines waiting to go to battle.These correspondents, like Bob Higgins from Buffalo, New York, would asked me, ‘Help me out, this girl works in the office who sent me a letter saying her boyfriend is coming over and being shipped over and he is a Marine.’He said, ‘Help me out, see if you can find anyone from Buffalo.’So, I said okay.So we were going through the crowd asking if anyone was from Buffalo, anyone from Louisville, Kentucky.So, one guy said, ‘I’m from Louisville,’ and it was a friend of mine!Then, we are going down the line and we found this guy in this bunch and Bob wrote a story about him right there and sent it back to Buffalo and it got in the paper there.But they were replacements to go up and replace the others.After you would see a firefight, like they would have big firefight at nighttime, and the sky would light up with tracer bullets and everything, you could hear the shells going off like this and that.I mean it was real war.Right down the road from us they had a MASH Hospital and it was full of casualties from these fights.It would fill right up, so people were getting hurt badly.
KAH:Besides traveling there, you mentioned going to Japan.Did you have much opportunity or time off to travel while you were in Korea?
Fallon:Yeah, we traveled all through Japan.We could travel anywhere we wanted to.We went all through Japan.Another thing about our division, there were two Air Force officers also checking for censorship and they had a little office there.We would hand copy to them on anything that was the Air Force.So, we helped them out also, and they had to fly so many miles a month to get flight pay.They would take a trainer, one of those T33’s, which at the time had two seater jets. We used to fly with them every now and then, so we went to Bangkok and different places.
KAH:How often did you get time off?
Fallon:We would get off any time we weren’t working. If we wanted off someone would replace us.So we kept changing around.We always had a couple extra and so the two extra would fill in and if you wanted off, you took off.I would take care of it.There was no place to go; you just would not be working.It was just the way the situation was and if I wanted to take a plane trip or something and they would say ‘Oh, go ahead, I’ll take care of that.’
KAH:Did you travel around Korea much at all?
Fallon:I’ve been to Musan, Tagu, Seoul; mostly south.I went to Pan Moon Jang also.I saw many from the other side when we went in.You’d think if they smiled their face would have broke.I went up there a couple of times, but all we did was stand around up there, so I usually just stayed back at the base.We could do more there.
KAH:When you were off work in the evening or weekends, what did you do to pass the time?You’ve mentioned volleyball, baseball…
Fallon:Well, we played cards or played sports.I played basketball in high school and they had a basketball league.We used to play against the Koreans all the time.They would go for the basketball.We always found something to do.
KAH:Was there much left of the buildings or the area around your camp?You said there was a lot of destruction.
Fallon:Not that area.You see we were a block away from the capital building. We could throw a rock and hit the capital building.They weren’t using it at the time because a couple hand grenades were thrown in there and blew up certain areas.The palace where the President stayed was right behind the capital building.It was a large building with a big blue roof on it.They, (the Korean staff) used to have little parties, cocktail parties and things, and we were always invited to them.The correspondents would always go to all of these things and I have been in the president’s palace, that building.In fact, when a young fellow came back from Korea recently, I asked if it was still blue and he said yes.He said it was still blue and I guess they just kept painting it blue.All in all, you would have something to do.We went riding around in the jeep or go down to the PX, or maybe go over to 8th Army headquarters.I knew some people and I would go there every now and then.That was about a mile down the road from us.The 5th Air Force was right across the street from the 8th army headquarters, so I knew people in both places that I would go see.We always had something to do. You’ll find something to do.
KAH:Were there any personal articles you really missed having while you were there?
Fallon:Yes, it was food mostly.
Fallon:If you think about it, we would not get milk; it would always be powdered milk.Like ice cream and things, we would go to Japan and get all that stuff, but we got good food where we were because they always made sure that the correspondents and officers ate well.We ate well right along with them.
KAH:Were there items that you needed or wanted that you couldn’t find or buy at the PX?
Fallon:No, not really. Most of your toiletries and things you could get. In fact, when we first went over (during the first six months), we would go in the mess hall and they would have all that stuff sitting there. You just picked up what you wanted.
KAH:Recently there have been a lot of shows on the History Channel, A&E, and others about different wars. They are taking a more personal interest in talking about friendships that were formed during times of war and letters that focus more on individual soldiers rather than the battles. Who do you have strong memories of that you either served with or spent time with in Korea, and are you in touch with anyone from the war?
Fallon:Well there was a fellow from Lancaster, Kentucky, we were pretty close. We ran together all the time.We got out together and we left together.
KAH:He was in the same division?
Fallon:Yes, he was with me.We worked together.He later got cancer and died very young.He was about 30 years old when he died.We had two from Ohio, one from Chicago, one from Texas, scattered all over the country and I didn’t keep up much with them.I went to this one fellow’s wedding in Cincinnati, Ohio.He called and wanted me to come to his wedding, so I went up there after I got out.But most of the people I met in basic and in school were all scattered, and they might end up anyplace. You couldn’t keep up with all of them, but I have kept up with some of the correspondents.In fact, I was working in Atlanta, Georgia, and the President came to town. I think it was Johnson. Bob Pierpoint, who was from CBS, had always helped us out. We would go to Tokyo and he would help us out and we would stay in his room, the CBS room. We would stay in a lot of rooms, but Bob was always a really nice guy, and he was the White House correspondent at the time while he was down there (Atlanta).I called him up and we were talking about old times.
KAH:You spent a lot of time with him when you were there?
Fallon:Yes, he was always around. Most of them treated us like we were their kids.Bob was a little older, he is dead now, but he was a little older and most of these guys treat us like we were their sons or something.Some of them were about our age, or a little older, like Jim Becker. He was just a couple of years older than I was.
KAH:Were the journalists that were in Korea actually working there for the Army, or were they civilian journalists?
Fallon:They were civilian journalists.Now the Stars and Stripes had a couple, but those were the only ones.The Army might have had a few, one running around with cameras and things or doing television work.But your wire services, which were writers, UPI, AP and such, were all civilians and they would send people over.So many would come over at a time, going back and forth to Japan and Korea to work.They would go right on the front lines, a lot of these guys would.Some of them wouldn’t, but a lot of them would.They would get right up in the heart of it.I knew most every one of them.I will tell you how good they treated us; we would go to Japan and stay at the Press Club and that did not cost us anything.We would go down to the bar to get a drink and you would sign someone’s name to it.You would go in the restaurant to eat, and sign someone’s name to it.It never cost us anything.We could sign about 30 or 40 names to the ticket.Everyone would say, ‘Well go ahead and use mine’, so we would just take turns. [laughter]
KAH:Did you develop an interest in journalism, writing, or news correspondence?
Fallon:Not really writing, but I learned a lot about journalism and I look at it differently now than I did before, like editorial pages and things like these editorial writers in the Courier Journal are ridiculous.These guys now, I mean they are absolutely ridiculous.They couldn’t compete with that bunch over there, which worked harder than spades.They knew how to write stories.These guys today just write what they want to write and what is negative; that’s what they write about.They love it.
KAH:You went back to college after your got out of the service.Did you take any courses in any of those areas?
Fallon:No, I didn’t do that. I didn’t want to get involved in the newspaper business, so I just didn’t do it.My biggest achievement was probably when General Van Fleet, who was a four star general and commander in chief of the whole Far East came to our compound one day to give a medal to a guy.We had a long conversation.He was a real nice person.I was in the newsreels with him and on television, right there next to him.He was asking me all kinds of questions. He was really a good person and I really liked him.
KAH:Did you ever expect to have that kind of open communication with someone of his rank?
Fallon:Not a four star general, not with the headman of the whole thing, when you are just a PFC. It just does not make sense.But that was just one of the things.There are just so many things that come to mind over a period of years, like how we worked with the correspondents.They would go out on an interview and they would ask, `Are you doing anything?’ and I would say no, then ‘come on, go along with me.’ Then they would go out and interview somebody.We had a little swimming hole up in mountains and we would go up there. It had a spring and was a real nice place with a big Buddha temple.Buddhist temples you would see all over the place, but it was quite an experience.It was an ancient country, basically. It isn’t now, but it was then.These people were like a hundred years behind us at the time.
KAH:Something we touched on before we started taping, and a comment you made. The Korean War is often referred to as the “Forgotten War”. Would you like to see the same amount of attention paid to it as they have to the other wars lately?
Fallon:I think the Vietnam War is overplayed.I think the people from the Vietnam War think there was only one war, and that it was the Vietnam War, not any other war.It is in their mind that way.All wars are terrible, bad.Any time a person gets killed, it is bad.I do not care which war it is, no war is fun and they are all the same.We shouldn’t say this war is better than that war because it is not, and I feel this way.World War II with the Holocaust and everything, this was something that shouldn’t have happened, but it did and as many people got killed in that war. I don’t care if one person got killed, it was wrong.All wars are wrong.If there is anything you can do to avoid a war, avoid it.The reason why I say it is the Forgotten War is because when we came home, we would get off the airplane and no one would be there to meet you. You would just go right on about your business.They go over to the Persian Gulf and sit there in airplanes and bomb places for 50 days or something and then they say the war is over and everybody comes home and they give them a ticker tape welcome.The people didn’t do anything; they didn’t get shot at even or anything else and they are given a ticker tape welcome.The Persian Gulf was the biggest joke. Now you talk about a joke war that was a joke war. It was an airplane war.The airplanes took care of everything.
KAH: You talked about how you felt about war when you were growing up, and you say now that all wars are definitely wrong. Did you always feel that way or was it made stronger by your experience?
Fallon:When World War II happened, everyone was in favor of war because they wanted to get rid of the Germans and the Japanese.These were evil people and you had to get rid of them.So, we had to go to World War II; it was a definite must to go.At the time the Korean War started, Communism was running over Russia and China and it was trying to take over the world, so you had to stop it.There had to be a stopping point, so Korea was one of the stopping points.It had to be somewhere along the line.You had to say, `look, you have pushed your way far enough, and we are going to have to stop you somewhere’. That was it.Vietnam War, if you go back to when it started and how it started over there, it basically went back to the same thing.I felt like the Vietnam War was only going to involve one country, but the Korean War was just going to keep spreading because they were really powerful. In the Vietnam War, they weren’t getting enough backing because Russia didn’t have the money. They couldn’t do much, and I feel like it was a stopping point.It wasn’t as necessary as the other two wars were.I mean that’s my own opinion.
KAH:Looking back at your 18 months that you spent over there, what is your favorite memory?
Fallon:I don’t really know, I can’t think.Really, a lot of good things and some bad things happened, mostly good things.We never had any really disastrous things happen to us while we were there. It was just living your life and going through your duties; just going in and doing a job.That is what it was.There were some good things that happened.Nothing really stands out as spectacular.I guess the biggest thing that happened to me was with General Van Fleet.
KAH:What about bad things?You said there were some bad things that happened.Anything that affected you personally?
Fallon:No, not really.Just some of the Koreans caught stealing things out of the compound.They put them in jail and they whipped them; beat this one guy so badly that you couldn’t tell who he was.Things like that happened there.The Koreans did not believe in putting you in jail, but slapping your hands and saying ‘Be a good person’.They whipped this guy and beat him up so bad they couldn’t tell who he was.They took care of him.I don’t think he would have stolen anymore.I think that is one of the things that slow you down.
KAH:What was the most important thing you learned from your war experience?
Fallon: Your making me think now?
KAH: Whether something you can relate to your personal life or how you feel about politics.
Fallon:Younger people they think they rule the world and that nothing can happen to them.I was that way, but the older you get, your values change altogether.I had a sheltered life and a good family that took care me.I went to school and that was all I did.I went out and got a job right after I graduated, I worked and then I went into the Army.I was still a kid, but I learned a lot in the Army, like how to grow up and be a man instead of a boy.
KAH:We talked about the hospitals and how they would be full the next morning after the marines fired down the hill; do you think that changed your values sooner?
Fallon:It could have because it made you think a lot. I guarantee it did.It made you say, ‘thank God I’m not up there instead of where I’m at.’You would also think, ‘why did they pick me out for this job? Why didn’t they pick one of those people out for this job?’
KAH:Did it change the way you felt about the government sending people to war?
Fallon:No, I never did have any thoughts on what the government did.If you are put in the service, you go where you are told.If you don’t have A,B,or C, then you have to go.That is the way I look at it.If you are in the military and they say go there, you go there.It is just part of being in the military.You have to cover duties and go where they send you.You know that when you go in.
KAH:What about the young men who are drafted when they are 18 or 19 years old?
Fallon:Well, they had to be 21 to be drafted.Now in World War II they might have gotten them earlier, but when we were drafted, you had to be 21. That is all right, it is just one of those things.If you don’t do this, you will have Hitler or someone like him over here telling you what to do.Just because you got drafted, that is your bad luck or good luck, whichever.A lot of people make careers out of the service after being drafted.I didn’t want to stay.I could have stayed and was asked to stay, but I didn’t want to stay because I felt like the military was not for me.I didn’t have anything against the military, still don’t.In fact, I think it is a good career for someone that likes it, especially today. The kids getting out of high school are so dumb that they don’t know if they are coming or going, and the best thing to do is put them in the service for two or three years. You would see a different person coming out.If the draft were still on, you would have a more positive person when they get out of service than when they went in.Because of the discipline and structured life they lead, they have to follow certain patterns and routines.I feel this way because today I meet some of the dumbest kids I have ever seen in my life. You meet some that have graduated high school, and they can’t even add!The other day, I stopped by a store and my total came up a nickel difference.In other words, she charged me the wrong amount. It wasn’t about the nickel; it was about what she did.It came to like $1.75 or something and she said, ‘$1.80.’ I said, “Hey wait a minute, this plus this, plus this, equals that,” right in my head.She says, “Wait a minute, oh yeah, you are right.”She had to use that damn machine to figure it out.That is what I am saying.The trouble with education today is that all they worry about is putting money into it.They are not getting anything for their money.The worst thing that I see about education today is the fact that they let kids use calculators and things.They don’t let them use their mind anymore.You have to use your brain.That thing there (computer) is taking brainpower away from you, the same way as the calculators.They let machines do the thinking for them when that is what your brain is for.I will tell you what, I mean I’m an old man now, but I can go up against any of these kids and do just as good a job.In fact, I took an accounting class one time when I was in Atlanta. This company I worked for wanted me to do it because they needed someone in accounting.They asked if I would and I told them yes.I went in there and they gave me an entrance exam.I was 38 or 39 years old and when I turned mine in and he checked it off and he said, `I don’t understand this.’I said, `What do you mean?’He said, `You didn’t miss any of them; you got them all right.When did you go to school last?’I said, `Oh about 15 years ago,’ and he said, `These kids come right out of high school and can’t even answer these questions, and you got every one of them right.’There is the problem.They don’t use their brain.They let the machines do the thinking for them.
KAH:Did you have any machines in your office?Were there typewriters?
Fallon:There were typewriters and telephones because we used them quite a bit, but we didn’t have an electric typewriter.We had a manual typewriter.
KAH:Do you have any additional comments about the U.S. participation in the Korean War?
Fallon:No, I don’t.It was like I said, something that had to be done, so we did it.A lot of people got killed on account of it, but something had to be done.
KAH:Are there any other aspects of your military service you would like to share, that you would like to have recorded for the oral history project.
“END OF TAPE 1, SIDE A”
“START OF TAPE 1, SIDE B”
Fallon: The military part of it was the first six weeks, basic training.Outside of that, I went to school and worked in an office all the time.I would be out, and go different places like Mun San or another office because of the peace talks.I was still in an office structure so I never really got into the hard military outside of basic training.I saw war, like I said, and I didn’t want any part of it because it is dangerous, real dangerous, but it just so happened I was one of the lucky ones.I did learn a lot from the correspondence and about the newspaper end of it.
KAH:I just wanted to ask you one more question about the public information office.Did they handle any military films or propaganda, something like that?
Fallon:We never had anything to do with that part of it.We were only hooked up with one section of it.The PIO handled all your military films and they would do all the television work, all the radio work, all the propaganda films and so forth.That was part of that.
KAH:The Press Advisory Division, that fell under the PIO?
Fallon:It was just one section. We were under them really, associated with them.It is like they were the boss and we worked for them, but they never told us what to do and we never told them what to do.We worked together with them all the time. I would call them all the time and they were all friends over there.We would go over and visit them in Japan and so forth.
KAH:Did they have offices in Japan as well as Seoul then?
Fallon:The only thing PIO had in our building was a Master Sergeant and a couple people working there that took care of the building we were in.They just made sure that the building lights were on and that the building was up to par.But they didn’t tell us how to run our operation and didn’t have anything to do with us other than knowing each other.In Japan, it was a different story; they run the whole operation out of Japan.
Fallon:Tokyo.At the time, they were operating out the Radio Tokyo Building.
KAH:Are there any other comments you would like to add?
Fallon:If I ever have to go back in the service, I would want my old job back.That is the main one. [laughter}
KAH:It actually sounds like a good job.
Fallon:It was.You don’t realize it when you are in an area like that. It was nothing, a desolate area, like being out in the desert.You had a lot of people around, but you saw destruction everywhere you went.You would go past a guy asleep on a wagon and you would see them miles of them, just sitting on the side of the road. You would smell that smell when they were out there dumping it on rice patties, waving that thing.I tell you one thing I learned, I didn’t think water would stand on a hillside, but I saw it.Anywhere they could plant rice, they planted rice.All over the place.
KAH:Once you returned home, do you think you appreciated what you had even more?
Fallon:Well you don’t realize what you have until you see the haves and have-nots.They are okay now, but at that time, they had nothing.You had to feel sorry for those people, so we tried to do everything to help them out.They were nice people.We had young boys working around the building there that would help run our copy for us, and they would do things for us. They were smart kids, but they just didn’t have the opportunity.It was taken away because of war.There was one, who was about 15, but he hadn’t been in school because of the war for 3 or 4 years and he wanted to start back.In six months time had a calculus book in his head. That was how smart he was.
KAH:Thank you for participating in our project.
“END OF INTERVIEW”