September 1951. The Korean War has been raging on for more than 12 months and Glen Huskey, a 18-year-old dairy farmer from Missouri, has just landed on the shores of South Korea.
“We landed with rounds to put in our weapons and did what it took to live,” said Huskey.
Glen and the rest of Fox Company 2nd Battalion were sent to the lines to replace members of 3rd Platoon.
“We had to earn our place, because they didn’t buddy up with the new replacements. I mean they would look out for you, but you felt like you were by yourself for a while.”
Glen served as a machine gunner for the 3rd Platoon for five and a half months before taking a driving position hauling ammo and the Colonel to the front lines.
Glen served the majority of his tour on the east coast of Korea all along the China Sea.
“I got to see the battleship Missouri and see it fire its 16 inch shells. You could damn near see them flying through the air, and when they landed they made a big crater.”
Growing up in Hillsboro, Missouri, Glen was close to his neighbors, mostly because there were only 189 of them.
He joined the Marine Reserves with his close friend Joe Bousha, and hoped to follow his two other friends, George Stillman and Jim Hold, who graduated the year before and went on to serve in the reserves. Together, the four boys made up the bulk of the high school basketball team.
Although Glen was in the reserves he asked to be placed on active duty, and because the war seemed to be tightening its hold on the Korean Peninsula, he was shipped off to training.
“We were kept busy at [Camp] Pendelton taking conditioning hikes. We climbed the higher hills because they knew we were going to Korea. A lot of people were worried about going, but some people didn’t.”
Glen arrived in Korea just in time to welcome in the brutal winters that pushed in from Siberia.
While the winters caused list of problems for the American troops they also helped in ways only noticed when man hunts man.
“The Koreans didn’t wear socks so when they would try and sneak across the snow you could hear their shoes creaking. When you have 25 or 30 of them coming at you you could hear that creaking and know it was them. We also relied on their smell, you could actually smell the garlic on their breath.”
The close quarter fighting reminded Huskey of scenes he had seen from World War I, with the trenches and battle zones, but for a man who has seen the horrors of war first hand he doesn’t like to describe the details.
“I don’t like to get into the gory details, because there were some pretty damn gory details.”
The scenes that played out in the front of our soldiers protecting the world from the evils of Communism have had lasting effects on all of them.
For Glen it was those acts of war that drove him to return to school after being released from the military.
He graduated from the University of Missouri with a Bachelors Degree in Dairy Manufacturing, and went on to receive his Master from MU in Dairy Microbiology. While at school he met a “Kansas Girl” named Janet who attended Stephens College.
“One morning I finished my quizzes and then we were married that afternoon.”
Glen later received his Doctorate in Food Microbiology, Biochemistry and Adult Education from MU.
With his knowledge of the dairy industry, he traveled the world bringing dairy products to many impoverished countries.
From 1986 to 1998, Glen worked as the Director of Technical Services for Baskin-Robbins. His position there took him to Thailand, Russia, China, Mexico, South Africa, and back to Korea.
“When I went back to Samsung, I couldn’t get over the hills being replanted.”
Glen explains that when he was in Korea for the war they would burn all the hills before they took a mountain.
“They had been replanted with typical trees but were laid out like an Iowa corn field, all in rows. All the trees were lined up like soldiers, it was the funniest thing I ever saw.”
In 1998 he took another trip to Korea, and revisited some of the areas where he had fought 47 years earlier.
“Seoul, when I last saw it, there was nothing left. They had done a lot of rebuilding and a lot of progress has been made.”
That same year Glen retired, but his travels didn’t quit.
Glen now spends his retirement traveling around the world working for humanitarian organizations. He recently traveled to Central Asia, Armenia, and Georgia, teaching locals how to process fruits and vegetables.
To date, he has traveled to 33 countries helping to improve quality control and food standards.
He has received the USA Presidents Volunteer Gold and Silver service awards and was also recognized as with the Southern California Section Institute of Food Technology Distinguished Achievement Award in 2008 for his work in the improvement of the health and welfare of mankind both nationally and globally.
For Glen the horrors of war have kept him awake at night, and while he has never donned his uniform since returning home, he has taken the experiences he garnered and turned them into something that has benefitted far more then were affected by the years of bloodshed.
He offers some advice to our veterans who are returning home from the current conflict in the Middle East:
“Get busy, keep your nose clean, be a good citizen, and take advantage of the possibility to get an education.”