Memories of a U.S. 3rd Infantry Division man on 50th anniversary of service

One night about 50 years ago this March, in the Chorwon area in North Korea, there was an earthquake. I was serving with the Third Infantry Division. The next morning - early - I crawled out of my foxhole, made it to mess hall and asked my sergeant if I could go off premises and look around. He said OK.

I walked about a quarter or three-eighths of a mile parallel to the frontline trench, and I saw some fresh dirt to my right. I went about 200 yards and there was a hole in the ground about 40 or 50 feet across, and the dirt on top of it had fallen against the side nearest me. I went down into this hole. It was dim and scary down there but I could see a good ways on either side. Seemed to be an old mine.

There was shallow water everywhere and all kinds of Japanese Army material - guns, monitors, shells, grenades and so on. Green clothes floated about in three or four piles on top of the water. I suspect beneath were the skeletons of Japanese soldiers.

As I started to look for souvenirs, I remembered what we had been told: not to go in or around caves, tunnels or old mines because in that part of the world there lived man-eating tigers.

At about the same instant - whether real or imagined - it seemed I heard a big tiger running through the water. I immediately departed. When I got back to the mess hall, I told my sergeant I, like General MacArthur, had returned. He said OK.

In all this time I have never told but two or three people about this for fear of being court-martialed.