Welcome to my World

Welcome to my World

Memorial Day 2013


A Soldier's Promise Kept
Jan 1950, Lewis Hillis had just transferred from active duty to the reserves. In September 1950 he received a letter from President Harry S. Truman.  It said “this is to notify you to depart from your home September 20, 1950 and arrive at Fort Hood Texas, no later than September 24, 1950.”
At Fort Hood the soldiers took an eleven day refresher coarse on battle tactics. On the 11th day they were at Camp Stoneman, California ready to be shipped to Korea. They arrived in Lnch’on , Korea December 1, 1950. They were put on a train and headed North where they joined the 2nd. Division, 38th ,  L Company in Monsun, South Korea. By the time they arrived  only  one-fourth of the 2nd Division, 38th  Company  had survived previous  conflicts with the Koreans.
Lewis  met a  soldier  from Moody Missouri and they became “good buddies”.

February 12th late in the afternoon the solders received mail from home. There had not been any mail from home for Lewis since leaving the States and for those soldiers that were already there, they had gotten no mail from home for months.
The young soldier Lewis had made friends with  had received a letter from his young wife announcing the birth of  his child, a girl. The two young soldiers, knew they were heading into  Wonju, Korea that evening for fierce fighting. The young soldier from Moody told Lewis , “ Lewis, I don’t feel good about this and I have a feeling I will never see my baby.” Lewis promised the young soldier if something did happen to him and if and when he could he would visit the young soldier’s wife and daughter and tell them he had gotten mail and knew of her  birth. The young soldier had another request of Lewis. “ Lewis, will you tell her I love her .”

February 13th 1951 Pvt. Melvin Matlock was killed in action and Lewis was hit in the hip with shrapnel and taken prisoner by the North Koreans.
Lewis returned home to Poplar Bluff, Mo. and his parents, Labor Day1953.

The young  soldier from Moody was my Dad, Pvt. Melvin G. Matlock and several years ago Lewis came to visit me……..I in my  mid 50’s  and Lewis now in his mid 70’s  stepped back into time and had a wonderful visit blesses with many tears and the feeling we had known each other forever.

Lewis told me had drove to West Plains in 1954 to keep his promise.  He went to my Grandparents house, where my Mother and I lived. He was greeted at the door by my Grandfather. My Mom refused to see or talk to him.  Lewis said he drove back to Poplar Bluff that night with complete understanding why my Mom might not want to face the pain of their visit,  but in his heart  he felt he needed to fulfill the promise he had made so many years ago.


Anonymous said...

Hello Glenda,

I read your Memorial Day tribute to your father and about Mr. Hillis. I'm very sorry you never had the opportunity to meet your father, but what a wonderful thing that he learned about your birth before going into combat that day.

I'm a Korean War historian writing about the battle in which your dad lost his life. A Marine combat veteran who came upon the site three weeks later has been putting together a casualty list to include with the book, and I'm hoping to find photos of men like your dad and Mr. Hillis. If that would be okay with you, please contact me at mhelm(at)cableone.net. I would appreciate it very much. These men went through such terrible things, but they've been ignored ever since.

All the best,

Merry Helm

Glenda's World said...

Anonymous (April 16)
I've tride to contact you via the email you gave, but cannot. Would love to correspond with you.