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Master Sergeant Harold E. Bade
Submitted by Marissa Bade

Villa Grove, Illinois-
Korean War Veteran of the United States Army

"Little did Harold know that was how the Korean War would be run. The powers that be would command in fits and starts while the soldiers in the hills would be left to wonder, does anyone care about us?"

- Harold E. Bade

 



Harold E. Bade was the third son of Herman and Leone (Harlow) Bade. He was the second of their four sons to serve in the U.S. military, and be sent overseas, a bond he shared with his older brother, Stanley.

Harold was drafted into the United States Army in June of 1950 at the age of 22 years. He was told to report to Tuscola, Illinois, to board a bus bound for Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.

Once the men were assembled at the bus station, they were introduced to a woman assigned to handle the details of their departure. After all of the goodbyes had been said and the bus was headed south, the woman realized she had not distributed a set of documents and a specified amount of money. Stanley told her to jump in his car and they would chase down the bus. They caught up with it in Arcola where she was able to turn the money and documents over to the men.

Little did Harold know that was a tip off for how the Korean War would be run. The powers that be would command in fits and starts while the soldiers in the hills would be left to wonder, does anyone care about us?

Besides receiving his basic training at Fort Leonard Wood, Harold had additional training at Fort Carson, Colorado. He was assigned to Company C of the 19th Infantry, 24th Division, and 1st Battalion.

In November of 1950 he climbed aboard an aircraft in Seattle, Washington for the flight to Japan. By the middle of December he was in Pusan, Korea. Like the draftees before him, Harold underwent a crash course in live combat. The following letter was written by Harold to his brother Stanley. It gives a glimpse of what the "police action" soldiers experienced while being push pins on the war map of Korea. It didn’t take long for Harold to discover the startling truth that endless hours spent waiting for the enemy to strike does make a man question his will to live.

April 8, 1951
Happy Birthday Bro.,

This may seem like an odd time to think of your birthday, but we were sitting here on a hill trying to think of what day it was, and I realized you were another year older. Time seems to pass, so I am hoping my time that I have to spend over here will go fast. You know they have finally gotten around to starting the rotation of troops that are over here. There are several fellows leaving the Co. on the 10th, and just two days from now. Then from then on out there will be 4 or 5 fellows leave every week. That is if they don’t keep us here for more than 6 months. My 6 months will end about the 20th or 21st of Sept.

About the only other way I can get out is by getting shot. (In some way I don’t like that though). So the only thing I can see I can do is to sweat it out.

Say, I’m sure doing a fine job of writing. The reason it looks so bad is that I’m laying on my stomach trying to write on the butt of my M-1 rifle.

Well, Stan, I hope you are taking everything slow and easy. For if I had the chance I’d be doing the same. Although we are going slow, but it isn’t easy. These Mts. are high and you have to be a Mt. goat to climb them.

The Big Wigs are suppose to have a meeting over here in the Field this Wed., so I hope they get things fixed up.

We are to jump off again today or tomorrow on another attack. So Stan keep me in mind. You know, I don’t like those bullets flying past my ears. Although if I want to stick out my arm and get hit, I might get to go back to Japan. But still that doesn’t sound to good. Although a man feels like doing it after he has been over here awhile.

Well Stan I’m about to run down and also run out of paper so I’ll say HAPPY BIRTHDAY and close.

Your Bro.
Harold

Harold had no intentions of staying in the Army any longer than he had to, he counted down the days until he would be back on American soil. The long anticipated day finally arrived in July of 1952. Harold was discharged with the rank of 1st Master Sergeant. He liked to point out that he made sergeant just like his great grandfather, Henry Bade. (See Civil War Section)

Like his great grandfather, Harold was ready to get married and settle down with a family. While in the service Harold met his wife to be, Margaret Jean Waterhouse. They were married on December 1, 1952, in Reno, Nevada. In January or February of 1953 Harold and his new bride came home to Villa Grove, Illinois. It was the first time Margaret had been introduced to her new in-laws. Harold was the best man at Stanley and Madonna’s wedding in March.

During that summer Harold helped to harvest crops, hauling grain from the field to the elevator. While Harold was sitting in the truck waiting his turn to unload corn at the Villa Grove Farmers Elevator, the town siren blew. Upon hearing its piercing shriek, Harold leaped out of the truck and belly crawled underneath it thinking it was an air raid siren. He endured a lot of ribbing to his reaction to the siren from the ones who never went to war

Both Stanley and Harold sent the lion’s share of their military pay home to their parents to keep the family concrete business going. A fact seldom mentioned within the family.

Harold did not see a future for himself in Villa Grove. Around September Harold and Margaret moved to Grand Junction, Colorado, where they settled in to stay.

Margaret and Harold were the parents of two sons, Harold E. Bade, Jr., and Richard D. Bade. Harold was proud of the fact his son Rick joined the Marines. Rick is the only grandchild of Herman and Leone Bade to have served in the military.

Margaret Waterhouse Bade died November 1, 1994. After being a widower for five years, Harold married Violet Martin Moyer on January 1, 1999 in Grand Junction, Colorado. On April 24, 2002, Harold Bade fought his last battle with cancer.

Harold would have been thrilled to have held a copy of this military history in his hands and to have seen his story in print. He would have been able to have added so many more details about how he served his country. Harold rarely spoke about his experiences in Korea , but he had strong opinions about how America treats her troops. He felt the Korean War veterans did not get the recognition and the benefits they deserved. He was active in two veterans groups: The American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

I would like to add one more memory….

One of the things that I associate with Uncle Harold and the military has to do with childhood mealtimes at our house. Whenever my four sisters and I complained about what Mom had prepared for the meal, Dad would give us the "lecture".

Other children may have heard stories about starving children in the third world countries, but at our house it was thirsty soldiers starving in Korea. It usually went something like this.

"You kids don’t have any idea what it is like to go hungry. Your Uncle Harold told me stories about soldiers in Korea who were happy to find a scrap of food whether it was fit to eat or not. Men so thirsty they would get down on their hands and knees and drink water out of a muddy hoof print and be glad they found it. You just be thankful for what you’ve got!" Shouldn’t we all, as Americans, be thankful for the many men and women in all of the branches of our military who have fought for our freedoms throughout our nation’s history?

Submitted in loving memory of my courageous Uncle Harold Bade who like to call himself the black sheep of the family.

Marissa Bade.

 

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