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"I called my mother up and told her, 'I signed up for the Airborne.' She says, 'Yeah, what do they do?'" (00:12:14.0)

   Gordon G. Talbot
Collection image
Gordon Talbot at time of interview
War: Korean War, 1950-1953
Branch: Army
Unit: Headquarters Company, 19th Infantry Regiment, 24th Infantry Division
Service Location: Korea
Rank: Specialist Three
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When Gordon Talbot's draft notice arrived in the mail in 1954, his cousin, a veteran of World War II, told him sarcastically, "Have fun." At the time, Talbot was playing on a semi-pro baseball team in Glen Rock, New Jersey, so it probably did seem like the "fun" was over for him. Qualifying for Airborne, he trained to be among the elite of Army warriors. However, by then there was a truce between North and South Korea, and when Talbot arrived in country, he found himself recruited to play for the Sixth Tank Battalion baseball team. Talbot and his fellow players constructed their own ball field, only to have the materials stolen the first night after building it. Nevertheless, Talbot spent the summer of '55 playing ball instead of fighting. He enjoyed himself so thoroughly, he says, "I never took a leave from Korea."

Interview (Video)
»Interview Highlights  (4 clips)
»Complete Interview 
Download: video (67 min.)
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»First, Serve: Athletes in Uniform
 Video (Interview Excerpts) (4 items)
Playing semi-pro baseball in New Jersey before joining the Army. (02:22) Joining the military; his mother's reaction (01:06) Jumping out of an airplane for the first time (01:23)
Playing baseball while stationed in Korea; team built their own playing field. (01:42)  

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  October 26, 2011
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