Continued Service

Since the Korean War started so soon after World War II, many of those who served fought in both wars. Some had signed up or been drafted during the 1940s and continued to serve into the 1950s. Others were recalled after being out for a couple years. Both wars involved people in the same generation, but the experiences were vastly different.

Dean Aarvig served as a platoon leader for intelligence and reconnaissance missions in World War II. After his discharge, he signed up for the inactive reserves for five years. Since the Korean War happened within that five year period, he was recalled into the military and served as a Company Commander of the 25th Infantry Division in Korea. However, when asked which war he would do all over again, he said:

"World War II. My personal feelings were entirely different about the two situations. I was anxious to serve [in World War II], thought it was a noble purpose, and as far as I could tell, everybody pretty much felt that way. Korea was an entirely different thing. I was married and had children, I had gotten my mother and father further involved cause I’d come back to the farm. Very few people around here were going and really between ’51 and ‘53, nothing changed that much. Realistically, it could just as easily have been settled in ’51 as in ’53 - for as much as anything changes. Everybody felt that you get shot today and the war ends tomorrow."

Dean Aarvig

During World War II, Marcel Froneyberger helped rebuild railroads and infrastructure in North Africa and Europe as part of a transportation corps. He was discharged after that war ended, but he decided to keep his rank and rejoined the Army less than 3 months later. As a non-commissioned officer with a combat engineer battalion in Korea, Froneyberger fought along the front lines of the Pusan Perimeter during the Battle of Bloody Ridge. When asked what it was like on his first day in Korea, he said, "It was like baptism with fire."

Interview with Marcel Froneyberger, World War II Veteran Collection, St. Cloud State University, St. Cloud, Minnesota

Sherman Richter left high school to enlist in the Marine Corps during World War II. After fighting in the South Pacific, he returned to civilian life in Minneapolis after war’s end. Later he was drafted to fight in the Korean War, too. Richter participated in “Nightmare Alley” and other battles with the enemy. He spoke about his experiences and, like Dean Aarvig, compared the wars in this interview:

"Korea was much more hazardous to me than World War II. Remember, in World War II, we had a conglomerate of almost every available man in the United States. You had the whole Fifth Fleet. We had all of the people. In Korea, they didn’t even know we were at war."

Sherman Richter

For more on the wartime experiences of the 1950s, use the page links below.