Honoring & Remembering: Corporal Dean Ticknor

Dean Ticknor

Corporal Dean Ticknor was born May 5, 1930 in Mrs. Stoupe's house in Burke to Elmer and Tillie Ticknor.

Dean was drafted into the Army Jan. 28, 1952. This was just less than two years after they married and his wife, Berniece was expecting their first child in August. When his son was born he received the news by letter from his wife before the telegram which had been sent by an officer reached him.

He left Burke and headed for Sioux Falls. The next jaunt was to Chicago where he was outfitted. Fort Knox, KY was where he spent the next 16 weeks in Boot Camp and Tank Training. Dean belonged to the Tank Division 3rd Armored, 4th Platoon. He was trained as a gunner which shot 76 millimeter guns on the tank. He would look through a telescope, aim, and fire. The shot could go over 2,000 feet. Occasionally, the commander would let you know when there was a target you couldn't or didn't see.

After he left Fort Knox, KY, he was flown to San Francisco, CA to board the U.S.S. General W.A. Mann to go to Japan. The trip took about 12 days. They arrived in Yokohama to get ready for Mt. Fuji which was a training area. Their sleeping quarters were tents, covered by a very large canopy, probably for protection from the weather because it was very cold in the winter and extremely hot in the summer. They usually received two hot meals a day. Breakfast usually consisted of fruit juice, cereal, and sometimes powdered eggs. Dinner was the worst; Spam and fruit were served regularly. Most of the men hated Spam. I cannot eat it up to this day. It was fried, made with soup, or served with rice. Many times the sergeants took any extra food so the soldiers did not have as much food as they wanted. The sergeants would say they didn't send as much food this week and we figured out that the sergeants were selling food to townspeople for extra money, Dean said.

Dean was a gunner on a tank or a talk commander which he didn't do a lot. However, he guarded prisoners most of the time. Since everything needed to be ironed, Dean would iron the men's clothes for 50 cents. This would get him about $100 a month. He would keep 30 dollars and send the rest home to his wife. Bernieces allotment after the baby arrived was $179 a month.

My greatest fear was being captured by North Korea. Prisoners of war died in large number; either from lack of food, shelter, or medicine. Sometimes they were even marched to death; if the prisoner could not keep pace with their fellow prisoners they were left to die or executed by their captors, Dean said. Overall, 130 of 700 prisoners of war died. The United Nation prisoners were moved to compounds and were taken care of. They had a sufficient amount of food and clothing. At one point in time there were over 80,000 prisoners. The International Red Cross kept a close look to make sure the prisoners were treated okay.

In 1953 I was sent to Puson, Korea to go to the front line. When we arrived the peace treaty was being signed and the war ended, he said. So, my journey home started by going back to Japan, taking a ship to California. It was 12 long days, one which included Christmas, so we had Christmas dinner on the ship.

Once we were docked, I flew to Colorado. I was discharged Dec. 31, 1953 at Camp Carson in Colorado Springs, Dean said.

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