Duane O’Connor asked, “Do you know where I was 65 years ago today?”
I did not but I assumed it had something to do with his time with the 25th Infantry Division in Korea. Turns out I was nearly correct, just that he had already left South Korea on a troop transport. He couldn’t quite remember the name of the vessel, but it was a US Navy ship that held 3,500 soldiers.
Duane said it took about 18 miserable days to cross the Pacific Ocean and they arrived at Seattle, Washington on July 10, 1954. After breakfast on board, they disembarked. He said it was while eating lunch later in a giant military mess hall that it fully hit him that he was back in the United States. Afterwards, he was put on a troop train for the four day journey to Fort Smith, Arkansas and to out process from the US Army at the nearby Camp Chaffee where he had been inducted in 1952.