Steven Swann in Korea

It is a tradition in the military to publish what amounts to a unit “Yearbook” illustrating the unit and its mission and members. This has been a part of military “lore” since at least the Second World War for units that stuck together for long periods of time. I have a Unit Book from my Step-Father Kingsbury La Due that traces his unit from training in Florida to their completed deployment to Burma and participation in what is known as “Flying the Burma Hump”.

What follows is the content of the book that was published by the Army unit that Steve Swann served in when he was deployed to Korea. His unit was the 2nd Brigade of the 2nd Infantry Division. From the contents, I surmise that it was printed before Steve arrived there as there is, to my knowledge, no record of Steve in the pictures although he wrote dates on some of the pages associated with a number of his fellow soldiers which seem to indicate when they would be discharged.

The book was found, together with a small shopping bag in the first box of pictures I started to scan. In the bag are a number of items I can describe but have chosen not to scan for reasons that should appear appropriate, but I wanted to mention their existence in the event that there was sufficient interest to pursue further. The small bag contains the cards, letters and telegrams that Mom and Dad received from friends and relations upon Steve’s death. There are literally a hundred cards and as many small flower dedication cards. In addition there are 2 books that was signed by the persons who attended the wake and funeral, hand-written notes from Mom and Dad listing the donations and Masses dedicated to Steve. There are 2 partially used boxes of Thank You cards that were sent back to those who came or donated or wrote. Finally, there is a hand-written letter from Steve to Mom, written from the Korean Brig in which he was held before discharge. It relates the circumstances that led to his arrest and eventual discharge. There are also a few newspaper clippings related to members of Mom’s family who had also passed along with some notes related to births and deaths in her family. This might be helpful for anyone tracing her family genealogy.

Each page is scanned in fairly high definition and this allows the individual pictures to be seen is nice detail. There are far too many individual pictures to scan each individually but this can be done and added to the presentation if anyone has an interest in a particular picture. Some of the captions are humorous and casual…see the page titled “Wire” for an example.

BTW – There are no such publications from the Vietnam War at this level of unit detail due to the transient nature of the assignment there but there are some such publications at higher command levels. I have a collection of such items and actively search for them. My picture appears in one of the books that I have. One extraordinary coincidence – included in the book was a copy of the official orders that sent Steve from Fort Gordon, Georgia to Korea. He transited thru the exact same Replacement Unit that I passed thru on my way to Vietnam.

If any of this brings a tear to your eyes, you are in good company.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *