Chapter 5

"Welcome Home!"

We went by truck to the city of Inchon. We spent about two days there waiting for a troop ship to arrive. Also, there was a problem with the harbor at Inchon. When the tide comes in it doesn't stay long, so things have to happen fast. They leave the large troop ship out quite a ways from shore and use LST landing craft to haul us out to the big ship. These are just large open boats that can haul a lot of men at one time. They would come up along side the ship and then a short climb up a ladder carrying a duffle bag and then we were aboard the USS Collins. About a month before I left I wrote home and asked my mother to send me some seasickness pills, which she thankfully did. I started taking them before we went aboard ship. They really worked, as I survived the trip home much better than coming over. Oh, there were a couple of times in rough seas that I felt kind of queasy, but it didn't last long. We left Korea in the morning and came directly to California with no stops in-between. There was a rumor aboard ship that we were going to French Indo-China, as there was a war going on there and the French needed help. The country that was then known as French Indo-China is now known as Vietnam.

But it was only a rumor, and we did go to San Francisco. I won't go into detail about the trip home, because other than being seasick on the way over, everything was about the same. Two weeks of boredom.

As we neared the California coast we could see Alcatraz Prison, which at that time was still an active Federal Prison. The next site we saw was the Golden Gate Bridge. All of a sudden we could see the lights of San Francisco. As we docked, the army band was playing California, Here I Come. Right Back Where I Started From.

From the ship, we rode busses back to Camp Stoneman, which was only a few miles from the docks. We were there only about three hours for some paperwork, and then we were hauled to the train station. We boarded a passenger train for a trip to Camp Carson, Colorado. This was a very fancy train with sleeping quarters and all. This was a very interesting trip, with the way the trains would wind their way around and through the mountains. We arrived at Camp Carson, and spent about two days there getting discharged. Even though I said early in this narrative that one should never volunteer for anything in the military, I did volunteer for KP duty the last day just to have the day go by faster.

The next day we were officially discharged from the army and were free to leave. A lot of us caught another train for Omaha, Nebraska, and were on our way home. I remember the train stopping out in western Nebraska and letting a GI off. He must have lived down the road. There was no one there to pick him up. And then the train pulled away. I can still see this GI walking down that dusty road, carrying his duffle bag over his shoulder.

The train pulled into Omaha in the early evening. I took a bus to the Greyhound Bus depot, but had to wait until after midnight for a bus to Sioux City. I remember stepping outside the depot to walk around a little, as it was tiresome sitting there in the depot. Some weird guy approached me and tried to talk me into going somewhere with him. As I was still in uniform, he probably had visions of taking my money or who knows what. I thought to myself, I survived Korea, and I'm not about to let something happen to me in Omaha, Nebraska. I told the guy to get lost and then returned to the bus depot. I sat at the lunch counter and drank coffee until the bus was ready to leave.

We arrived in Sioux City about eight in the morning. I took a cab up to the old St. Joseph's Hospital where Dolores was working. I met her at the hospital, and after hugs and kisses we walked back downtown, and as I didn't have a car, we went down to the Chevrolet dealer and bought a car. Now we had wheels, so we headed out to the farm. More hugs and hand shakes, then we all sat down to one of my mother's famous chicken dinners that she had prepared for the homecoming. That evening we went to Hawarden, Iowa, to visit Dolores's mother and father.

Final Thoughts

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