A personal announcement to all my friends and buddies
After 14 years of putting pen to paper, I have completed my manuscript.
A YOUNG SOLDIER’S MEMOIRS: My One Year Growing Up in 1965 Korea
--Julio A. Martinez, author
The pages of this book vividly conjure up the sights and smells and sounds of Martinez’s
adventures in Korea. He enthusiastically spent every free moment traveling everywhere,
taking hundreds of photographs, teaching himself to speak, read, and write the language.
Nothing escaped his youthful eyes, from ancient temples to rice planting and harvesting to little
known facets of the country’s rich 5,000 year old culture. His exuberance with each of his
discoveries is faithfully recorded, as are the familiar things we all felt—homesickness and fear,
camaraderie and purpose. If you want to see the Korea of forty-five years ago through the
bright eyes of a nineteen-year old soldier from Texas with a truly remarkable memory for every
detail, this is the best way to do it.
Author of MUFFLED SHOTS: A Year on the DMZ
|513 pages - Over 300 images - Hardback $34.99 - Paperback $23.99 - Ship $5.00
Order your book from author: Julio A. Martinez 7916 Broadway Dr. El Paso, Texas 79915
(Please make your check payable to Julio A. Martinez, and mail to above address, Thank you.)
|Cover photo: author with human skull unearthed on Mt. Easy Queen;
background panorama of Camp McGovern and community.
Skeleton Find on Easy Queen
High overhead, the skylarks wing
They never rest at home
But just like me, they love to sing
As over the world we roam
—The Happy Wanderer
| During a monsoon lull on a Saturday in September 1965,
Marvin and I were strolling down a path on the west Easy slopes following
another escapade on the Queen. We just could not seem to get enough
of clambering all over Mother Korea. We were approaching the compound
when a small round plate embedded on the earth attracted our attention.
At first we thought it was a mine from the war and decided to fling rocks
at it. We then jumped into a huge nearby crater expecting an explosion.
After several attempts we bravely approached and began knocking on it.
Since there was no response, we began digging around it with a stick. We
then excitedly forced our working fingers round and round not knowing
what we would find. The deeper we dug, the more we found what we
identified as an apparent steel helmet. Filled with adrenalin, with about
two inches of earth to go, I wiggled my fingers deeper in the mud around
the steep pot and secured its edge with a good grip. As I pulled it up, we
heard a “shwop” sound as the earth’s suction finally gave up the helmet. To
our great shock, a human skull rolled out of an attached well-preserved
helmet liner. Marvin crossed himself and exclaimed, “Dios mio!” (My God!).
Dumbfounded, we both just stood petrified and, in silence, stared at our
find. Decades later, while viewing the Sam’s full-frame photos, I discovered
that in my excitement I had lost a little control over my urinary system.
After we recovered our faculties, we began to examine our find.
Some brown straight soiled gritty hair had remained stuck to the inner liner
fabric straps when the skull rolled out. For this one split second in my life, I forgot
all about my camera. However, upon our recovery, I began to take pictures of the
skull in the liner, with and without the hair. Bravely, Marvin and I then
picked it up and took more pictures of each other with it. Oddly enough,
all teeth were intact with no fillings or cavities. Disrespectfully, I pulled
out a molar and a bicuspid lined with stain that appeared to have belonged
to a once healthy body. I carefully hid them and told no one. Marvin and I
continued digging and uncovered some corroded 30 mm shells; some
were hollow, some contained tiny pellets, and all showed greenish-bluish rust.
Excitedly, after covering our dig, Marvin and I continued our descent of
Easy Queen heading to the main gate. The following Monday we reported
our find to Captain Baker, CO of HHC Second Battalion Thirty-eighth
Infantry. He called some unit in Seoul and two GIs came around a few days
later. We all then hiked up Easy to the skeleton’s location—it was still there,
untouched. We continued our dig and unearthed a complete human skeleton
with well-preserved bones that displayed traces of sinew and cartilage within
a three-foot depth. The bones were cream and off-white in color. The only
item of clothing remaining was the pair of boots on its foot bones. They
were remnants of green canvas uppers that were once attached to rubber
lower quarters. Chinese characters were visible on the soles right where the
molded rubber sole joined the almost flat heel. We placed the bones and
artifacts in a black body bag that was taken to Seoul for examination and
Upon further inquiry, Sergeant Morgan of S-3 confiscated all our
pictures. I managed to retain a few that I had hidden. The stolen teeth
haunted me for the next twenty-plus years until I finally drove to Concordia
Cemetery here in El Paso. I buried them with a small prayer pleading
forgiveness of the Almighty for having disrespected one of his children,
though perhaps a once rival brother-in-arms.
Sadly, because of this epic unearthing, Marvin and I talked about the
MIAs and KIAs in the Southeast Asian country of Vietnam (where a war
was going on during our present tour of duty), and of future unearthing
and finds. For days, Marvin and I could not help but reflect that we had
truly unearthed and handled bones and artifacts of a once live Korean War
combatant. Personally, I felt privileged that destiny had singled me out to
uncover the remains of a brother soldier at this Far East corner of Asia.