Austin Civil War Round Table

Eugene Barkley

Private First Class, United States Marines

A Letter from Korea

Larry Barkley's father, Eugene M. Barkley, was nineteen when he volunteered for the U.S. Marines and was sent to Korea. Eugene sent this letter home to his mother in April 1951.

Eugene Barkley P.F.C. Eugene M. Barkley, 657345 U.S.M.C.R.
Service Company, 1st Tank Bn.
1st Marine Division, F.M.F.
c/o F.P.O. San Francisco, Calif.
Free Via Air Mail

April 12, 1951
Chuncho, Korea
Friday 6:30

Dearest Mom and Family,

Well, Mom, I hope that this letter will find you all well and in the best of health. I am doing pretty good, but dirty. I haven't had a bath in about two weeks, sure am dirty, never thought that I would be as dirty as I am, but I guess that I'm lucky to be where I am. Today we went to the front lines to haul gasoline to tanks. Mom, I am in the truck corps instead of the tank corps, but I'm still a part of the tank corps.

Mom, we sure are lucky that the war is on this side of the world instead of our home land. Today I saw a whole town flat to the ground, it was so flat that some of us boys didn't know that it was a town.

Mom, little children are homeless. They hang around our camps and eat old left-over food, they are 6, 8 years old, and some are homeless and no mother or father. They run loose like wild animals. Every time I see one I give them my food, and we get candy bars every day and I give my candy bars to them. If the presidents of the various countries could see them, they would stop this useless war.

Eugene Barkley Mom, old women 80's and 90's are barely living and are half dead, but the worst is seeing town after town in ruins and burned to the ground. Mom, today I saw my first dead person, and it was a North Korean, he was hit by a flash-thrower, he was burned to charcoal. We haven't seen too many dead people yet.

The weather here is pretty good so far. It is clear and pretty warm, but in the morning it is pretty windy, and at night it is kind of cold. It rained a little today, just enough to keep the dust down. We got plenty of dust, in fact too much. How is the weather back home? Sure hope good.

By the way, what is the news? We haven't got no newspaper or radio, and we are told nothing. If you can, send me some newspaper clips, just so it is something to read. Send something about football or any other kind of sport, but don't send too much, because when we move to the front lines I will not have much time to read. We are going to move up to the front lines in about two days. Sure hope that I'm lucky.

Mom, how is my car doing? Is it still running? And has it been painted yet? And if so is it a good job? Probably is, sure hope that it is a good job.

Mom, how is Martha doing in school? Tell her do do better, because if she don't it is going to be me and her when I get home. Tell her she better have all A's or I am going to know the reason why not.

Mom, how is old Nita and her boy friends?

Mom, it is getting too dark to write.

With Love,
Your Son

 

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