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Interview of Korean War Veteran Raymond L. Ayon, October 27, 2004

    Embedded Resource

Courtesy of Library of Congress, Schneider, Dorothy, Veterans History Project, American Folklife Center, 27 October 2004


This interview with Raymond L. Ayon, a Korean War veteran, follows his journey as a young man who was initially told by his superiors that Korea was a brief police action, but he watched the conflict escalate while on the ground. At 16, Ayon was fascinated with his older brothers' letters home from World War II, Ayon dropped out of high school in 1945. He signed up for the Merchant Marines, but after a year they learned he was too young. Ayon went back to school, graduated and enlisted in the Air Force in 1948.

In his interview, he speaks about how his first assignment was with a fighter bomber squadron in Japan, but the Air Force decided to make a medical corpsman out of him. Shortly after the United States went to war in Korea in 1950, Ayon was in the thick of things, loading casualties onto transport planes bound for Japan. He spent time with a MASH unit, claiming it was hardly like what was depicted in the famed TV show - his own unit was staffed by an international crew. Ayon said he was sensitive to those who would diminish his service just because he wasn't an infantry soldier, though he spent four seasons in Korea. He also speaks about using napalm instead of firewood to fuel a tent stove during the winter, how he was almost killed by a casket in the back of a truck he was driving and what it was like to care for enemy prisoners of war. 

*The full video was edited down from the original clip. The edited version focuses primarily between the 24th and 34th minute of the interview. 

Transcript of Edited Raymond Ayon Interview

Click HERE for access to the full 55-minute interview with Raymond Ayon

Source-Dependent Questions

  • Explain how prepared soldiers were for the conditions in Korea according to Ayon. Use specific evidence from the interview.
  • Consider the description of how Ayon and his fellow soldiers treated enemy soldiers that had been captured. What are the benefits to treating enemy prisoners of war this way? How could such treatment help the United States win its war of ideals?
  • How did Ayon describe General Douglas MacArthur? Does it appear Ayon respects General MacArthur? Why or why not? How important is it for soldiers to respect those in command?

Citation Information 

 Schneider, Dorothy, "Interviewee Raymond L. Ayon," Veterans History Project, American Folklife Center, 27 October 2004. Courtesy of Library of Congress