“I thought it was just a new adventure” US Army Veteran recalls service in South Korea – KCAU 9

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SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) – After the end of World War II, Kelton Houts joined the United States Army and served two years in South Korea.
“I thought it was just a new adventure. I’d do whatever, whatever I had to do, I’d do it. I was just following orders. I embarked on a Liberty ship not knowing where we was going until we got out to sea. We arrived about two weeks later in Busan, Korea,” Houts said.
Even after arriving in Korea, Houts was unsure of what he would do.
“We took a train into Seoul, and I was assigned to the headquarters company of the entire command of South Korea. Not knowing what I was going to do, I ended up being a chief clerk in the special services section,” Houts said.
During Houts’ time in special services, he recalls how his fellow soldiers would pass the time.
“We were in charge of sporting events. Table tennis matches and tennis matches, soccer games. We had three GI’s from the finance division with calculators we used at the time. And we had three Koreans with abacuses, and we would put a problem on the blackboard and see who could do it the fastest. By golly, the Koreans with the abacuses won every time,” Houts said.
Houts was also in charge of drafting rosters for leaves to Tokyo, something he was also able to experience.
“My buddy and I were walking down the street one day and all at once, a big limo came up with four or five military jeeps in each direction, and the Koreans rolled out a red carpet, and I was about six feet from General MacArthur,” Houts said.
During his time in Korea, Houts doesn’t recall too many harrowing moments.
“This building I lived in one night, everybody got up and accused everybody of shaking the bed and what it was was an earthquake,” Houts said.
Two years after docking in Busan, Houts completed his service and went home.
“The last few months, all of us there, my buddies and stuff kept ex’s on the calendar when we could come home,” Houts said.
And, Houts doesn’t take his time in the service for granted.
“I found out that I was lucky to have served when I did and lucky to receive the benefits that I received from the government. I was very fortunate with the service that I did,” Houts said.
When Houts returned to the United States, he had his college paid for by the military. He earned a General Science degree.
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