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“If you're going to light a bomb, a time bomb for war or combat, then you better be able to find a way to defuse that bomb when you get it out of that, and they never have.” (video interview 1:17:13)

   Raymond Eldred Metcalf
Image of Raymond Eldred Metcalf
Raymond Metcalf at time of interview
War: Korean War, 1950-1953
Branch: Navy
Unit: USS Philippine Sea (CVA 47); Task Force 77
Service Location: San Diego Naval Training Center, California; Sangley Point Naval Station, Philippines
Rank: Aviation Photographer's Mate Third Class
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At the age of 17, fresh out of boot camp, Raymond Metcalf talked his way into a job as a Navy photographer, claiming he needed to learn the family business. During the Korean War, he traveled between combat units to collect images of Navy planes in action, surviving bombings and sniper fire, all while armed with nothing but his camera. When he returned home, he experienced nightmares and suffered from depression; and though he eventually found help through the VA, in his VHP interview he says “I wish I would have found it 50 years…56 years ago.”

Interview (Video)
»Interview Highlights  (5 clips)
»Complete Interview 
Download: video (86 min.)
»Transcript
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 Video (Interview Excerpts) (5 items)
Arrival in the Philippines; assigned to mow grass and polish fire trucks; talking his way into reassignment as a photographer. (03:38) Hiking through the jungle to the site of a plane crash; followed by guerrilla fighters; reaching the halfway camp. (06:47) Orders to travel to various combat units; travel into Korea; bombed by North Korean forces. (07:58)
Plane shot at before taking off for flight back to his aircraft carrier; photographing plane crashes and a suicide; developing aerial photographs; nightmares. (13:13) Suicide attempts; seeking help; effects of being in “combat mode” for long periods of time; difficulty documenting his experiences. (16:34) 
  
 

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  The Library of Congress  >> American Folklife Center
  October 26, 2011
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