The Korean War, also known as the forgotten war , was one of the most brutal and violent wars of the 20th century. Less than five million people died during this war. My grandfather, Herbert Victor Sapper, was drafted during the time of the Korean War, but, he wasn’t sent to Korea, he was sent to Japan. Since my grandfather passed away in 1995, I gathered all of my information about my grandfather from my grandmother, Lelia Bell Sapper. Here is their story.
My grandfather was sent to Japan in the year 1950. The Korean War was a few years after the surrendering and bombing of Japan. Japan and Korea were two separate things. Victor was sent to help re-build a hospital in Hokkaido Japan, the most northern island in Japan. My grandmother says he was made a Captain in the Medical Corps and a Paratrooper in the U.S. Army stationed in Japan during the Occupation following World War II. He was to rebuild a hospital in Japan. The previous hospital had been bombed in the war with Japan. They desperately needed another hospital, so the army chose Victor because of his background in medicine. Also, he was an expert linguist. He was able to learn languages fast and efficiently.
“He didn’t write me anything about being a parachutist… but one day I got a great big fat letter containing all his logs. When I read this I thought I would lose my breath.” When stationed in Korea, he was required to train to become a parachutist. If he didn’t complete this, he would have to attend the Korean War, which no one would have wished to attend. He had to jump out of a plane five times to complete his training. My grandmother also told me this: “Fortunately he was a diver… if you didn’t stick to your training you could break your back.” My grandfather was a fantastic diver. He dived off of many tall structures.
During his stressful stay in Japan, he and his colleagues had the chance to take a break. “And while he was in Hokkaido, they had a skiing resort. They had a lot of snow. They went to a ski resort with the rest of his colleagues.” Here at this resort, they stayed at had lots of fun and food.
After three stressful years in Japan he finally got the chance to come back to Oklahoma. When he came home, his goal was to build a medical clinic with the partner, Dr.Freede. “The Army came back and said ‘you owe us one extra month, you didn’t complete all your time.’” Lelia...