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Interviews conducted as part of the Nash County Cultural Center’s Oral History Project. Thurman Lee Brown, born Nov.11, 1927, reflects on his time in the Army during the Korean War. Thinking he’d likely be drafted anyhow, Brown says he volunteered for service. He talks about basic training at Camp Gordon, GA; receiving just 8 weeks of training (vs. the typical 16 weeks) before being sent to Korea for 12 months. He describes traveling to California via passenger train; taking a ship to Yokohama, Japan; spending time at Camp Drake; and traveling by train in Japan, seeing friendly locals of all ages lined up along the tracks, waving to the U.S. troops. Brown talks about arriving in Pusan (aka Busan), Korea by boat at night. He recalls his first night there, trying to sleep in a pup tent with constant artillery fire happening nearby. He tells of being sent to the front lines near the 38th parallel on his second day in Korea, where he worked as a wireman for Headquarters Company. Brown gives descriptions of his duties and daily life on the battlefield. He discusses finding comfort in meeting fellow soldiers from near his hometown, and mentions many soldiers being unhappy with President Truman’s firing of Gen. MacArthur in favor of Gen. Ridgeway. He talks about being at Heartbreak Ridge and Old Baldy, comparing the mortar-and-artillery-shelled ground to tilled farmland. Brown says in 1952, he left Korea for California aboard the U.S.S. Randolph. He then took a train back to N.C. He says he got married, and served out the remainder of his enlistment at Fort Smith, AR, Camp Polk, LA, and in Germany. After his service, Brown says he worked for 16 years at Bob Melton’s BBQ in Rocky Mount, N.C. and then 20 years at a Western Sizzlin’ Steakhouse. Brown briefly talks about his family, mentioning his father was a share farmer who grew tobacco; reflecting on meeting his wife and their time in school; and mentioning their daughter, Janelle Brown Williams. - The audio continues with a short interview of Brown’s wife, Dorothy Cooper Brown (b. Feb. 22, 1930). Mrs. Brown says her father was a farmer who grew tobacco, corn, and cotton. She mentions that he died of cancer when she was 14, and describes the struggle her family had trying to keep the farm afloat after his passing. She talks about going to school in Spring Hope and names some of her teachers. Mrs. Brown lists jobs she held later in life, including work at Carolina Office Equipment Service. She discusses cooking and speaks about attending various churches in the area.





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