A Veteran’s Story: Korean War was enough for him (Just think, he was only there 13 months?)

If this man, a captain can hardly sleep with what he saw in a mere 13 months, can you imagine what our father would say in his 37 months as a P.O.W.? Dad is gone now and in a “better” place. After the war he came home to work two jobs at a time to provide for his family, it was not until the 70’s when a NEW WAR ensued; OURSOURCING JOBS to those very communists we fought that continues today.

I would like to say thank you for serving, but for your efforts to fight communism this would be an intense slap in the face! My dad was a devoted Democrat, I just wonder if he were alive today what he would think of his party? Have I ever said…and we wonder who the terrorists are?

Nice story you are about to read, too bad they didn’t tell these 30 years ago, maybe we wouldn’t be outsourcing today if we only knew what was about to come?

I salute you sir, and thank you for your service even if it was all for not? (The jury is still out)

Page dedicated to dad – http://www.mansfieldersperspective.com/patriots.html

A Veteran’s Story: Korean War was enough for him

Jul. 7, 2013 10:49 PM   |
Written by
Ron Simon
News Journal
  • Filed Under
James Hunter gestures as he talks about his time serving in the Army during the Korean War. / Daniel Melograna/News Journal

About this series

Every day, this nation loses thousands of its war veterans, men and women who put aside their other duties to serve their country. Each Monday, the News Journal will profile an area veteran. The profiles are archived on our website.


MANSFIELD — When it comes to remembering what happened on the front lines in the Korean War, former Army Sgt. James Hunter would just as soon forget.

“There are things that happened there that I never want to talk about again,” Hunter said.

A weapons instructor working as an adviser with a Republic of Korea line infantry company, Hunter spent 13 months in Korea.

Many of them were spent on the front lines. The things that happened made sleeping a miserable experience for years after he came home.

He remembers Korea as a land of great weather contrasts.

“I remember one night when it was 32 degrees below zero,” he said. “It was 114 degrees above zero when I shipped out of Pusan.”

Finding a friend

Away from the front lines he noticed a Mansfield News Journal on the desk of another sergeant.

“I asked him how he got it and he said his mother sent it to him,” Hunter said. “His name was Gib Frontz and he was from Lucas. We were friends from that day until the day he died.”

Hunter, 84, grew up on Mansfield’s northeast side.

He joined the Army National Guard while he was still in high school and graduated from Mansfield Senior High School in 1948. Between that time and the moment his unit was called up to active duty in 1951, Hunter worked as a carpenter and house builder with his father and brothers.

The Hunter clan has a strong military history.

His oldest brother, John, was an Army Air Force officer and fighter pilot who flew more than 140 missions in the European Theater. He said John stayed in the service and was a major when he died in a fighter plane crash after the war.

Another brother, Robert, was an enlisted man in the Army Air Force. He served as John’s armorer.

“He took care of John’s guns,” Hunter said.

A third brother, Richard, served in the Navy in the Pacific Theater during the war.

“There were four girls and six boys in my family and I’m the only one left,” Hunter said.

Called up

When Hunter’s Guard unit was called up, he had basic training at Fort Polk and weapons training at Fort Benning. He was an expert with nearly all infantry weapons and was sent to Korea as an instructor.

He remembers the long flight on a Canadian Pacific Airlines plane from Vancouver to Alaska, the Aleutian Islands and Japan.

From there he went by ship to Inchon, Korea, and then on to join a Republic of Korea infantry unit as an adviser.

After his tour, his ship left the dock at Pusan, just three days before the war in Korea ended.

“I had planned to re-enlist in the Army, but after Korea I said the hell with it,” he said.

He came home, went back to work with the family carpentry business and married Leona. The couple has been together for 59 years.

He said the Hunter clan built more than 150 homes for developer Frank Gadfield.

“You couldn’t have found a better man to work for,” he said.

Back problems forced him to retire in 1989.

Busy now

He and Leona have two children. Their daughter, Valerie Liston of Mansfield, is a retired teacher. Their son, Steven, lives in Clinton, Miss.

There are three grandchildren and five great-granddaughters.

Hunter said two of his grandsons are in the Army and both have served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Hunters live in a condominium on Mansfield’s south side.

He is a member of American Legion Post 16 and 40 et 8. He has driven the boxcar that unit uses for parades.

“I’ve fired that cannon, too, and whoever fires the cannon has to clean it,” he said.

The Hunters are members of the First Methodist Church in downtown Mansfield and spend their winters on the Gulf of Mexico coast in Texas.

“We spent winters in Florida for 25 years until somebody told us we might like Texas,” Hunter said. “We sure did and still do.”

The couple enjoys traveling and Hunter plays golf on every course he can find within 5 miles of Mansfield.

Ron Simon is a retired reporter, award-winning columnist and veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces. He can be reached at ronsimon@neo.rr.com.

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