Dad heads off to the Korean War in August 1950 following WWII! This was too much war and trauma for one person let alone thousands like my Dad who fought two wars.

by | Jul 23, 2013

USS Andromeda (AKA-15)
(United States of America)
Laid down: 22 September 1942
Launched: 22 December 1942
Commissioned: 2 April 1943
Decommissioned: 1 May 1956
Struck: 1 July 1960
Fate: Sold in 1971
General characteristics
Displacement: 13,910 tons
Length: 459 ft 3 in (140 m)
Beam: 63 ft (19.2 m)
Draft: 26 ft 4 in (8.0 m)
Speed: 16.5 knots (31 km/h)
Complement: 404
Armament: 1 × 5 in (127 mm)
1 × 38 caliber dual purpose gun mount
4 × 3 in gun mounts

Museum of Military History…  Quote and photo from this website…

“This Day in Military History: July 23, 1950 – USS Boxer sets record crossing of Pacific to bring aircraft, troops, and supplies to Korea at start of the Conflict. She made a record-breaking crossing of the Pacific Ocean, leaving Alameda, Ca… on 14 July 1950 and arriving at Yokosuka, Japan on 23 July, a trip of 8 days and 7 hours. She carried one hundred forty-five P-51 Mustangs and six L-5 Sentinels of the United States Air Force destined for the Far East Air Force as well as 19 Navy aircraft.”

I really don’t hear a whole lot about the Korean War and the sacrifice of combat veterans who are still very much with us, especially if they were just 17 when entering the service at that time in the early 1950’s.  What really shocked me is that my father, Vernon, after being diagnosed with severe “battle fatigue” following extended combat duty in WWII was sent away to the Korean War on the USS Andromeda just a few years later.  “Andromeda provided logistics support for United Nations forces fighting the Korean War until returning to San Diego at the end of the year. After 10 months of duty on the west coast, the ship returned to the Orient and logistics support for the United Nations defense of South Korea.”  Dad was told that he would not have to go back to any war while still in the Navy.  He was away again for about one year supporting the troops in the Korean War even though his condition and symptoms of PTSD worsened according to his medical records and observations by family members. 

I remember Dad coming home, as written in my book, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story.  “I was standing with my Mother, brothers, Jerry and Danny, and could see him waving from the ship when it was being secured to the dock.  The really tough times for Dad and our family were in the 50’s and vivid memories still persist.  We were all afraid and walked on egg shells most of the time.  It is sad for me to think of these times, and even more troubling to think that the US Navy sent my Dad and probably thousands of other WWII combat veterans back to war during the Korean conflict.  Dad’s symptoms were especially apparent with panic attacks and nightmares of shipboard duty.  He along with thousands of WWII veterans served America with pride and honor in combat during WWII and should not have had to return to duty during the Korean conflict.”

The Museum of Military History touched me personally during my visit last year…  I was honored to have participated in an open house event and share my family’s post WWII story with veterans from all branches of service who attended.   It is now my pleasure to honor the veterans and families who served both in WWII and the Korean War on this anniversary day of the Korean War on July 23, 1950.  We should never forget the realities of life after war, especially for veterans who serve multiple and extended combat duty in all wars… 

Steve Sparks
Reconciliation: A Son’s Story  click to review and order…

About the author

Steve Sparks is a retired information technology sales and marketing executive with over 35 years of industry experience, including a Bachelors’ in Management from St. Mary’s College. His creative outlet is as a non-fiction author, writing about his roots as a post-WWII US Navy military child growing up in the 1950s-1960s.
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