WHEELING, W.Va. (WTRF) — Robert “Bob” McColloch was in the Army during the Korean War from 1951 until 1953 and saw combat on the front lines.
Although it wasn’t his choice to join the military, he was drafted, McColloch said he’s proud to have served.
“It was a tough war,” he remembers. “It wasn’t that long after World War II. We did what we were supposed to do and we knew that what the guys did in World War II and we were gonna do that too.”
After being drafted in 1951, he first had to complete training. McColloch first was sent to Ft. Jackson, South Carolina, then to Japan where he was trained in chemical, biological and radiological warfare.
“I knew how the A-bomb was made,” he explained. ” I knew how it functioned when it was set off. Then I got to see some of the area that it hit in Japan.”
From Japan, McColloch was assigned to the 2nd Infantry Division, 23rd Regiment, E Company and worked with a Browning automatic rifle. He and his assistant on that weapon were stationed at a hilltop area called Old Baldy, in a bunker on Outpost Chicago.
McColloch experienced combat here and heavy fire, and had a close brush with the enemy one night while on patrol.
“They were heading for our bunkers up on the hill,” he continued. “They didn’t see us. So, I shot and took them down and unfortunately my assistant fired him ammo and it jammed.”
Eventually McColloch rotated into reserve, taking an assignment as the company mail clerk in Korea.
“You had to go up to the lines every day with whatever mail needed to be delivered and you had to go deliver it to the guys up on the front line,” he explained. “That was a great thing because it held up their confidence. They had a contact with their family.”
McColloch’s also spent time guarding a prison camp, before his service was up.
“I was very fortunate to get away with a nicked knuckle,” he remembers. “I saw other guys get hurt really bad and you feel sorry for them. What was the difference between them and me? He was there and I was here. The people of the United States should certainly appreciate what the military guys go through.”