Korean War Memories 

Campbellsburg-based author
relives Korean War days

By Helen E. McKinney
Contributing Writer

CAMPBELLSBURG, Ky. • "Call to Duty" is a new book chronicling actual events during the Korean Conflict. It is told in the simple language of a soldier who lived through the war, Campbellsburg, Ky., resident James D. Randall.
Randall said he devoted 18 months to researching and writing the book. It paints a vivid picture of events he personally experienced and those actions brought to his attention by soldiers engaged in combat from December 1951 through October 1952.

"I would just like the story to be out," Randall said of his reason for writing the book. "My publisher said it's a book that should be out."
Randall said he wanted his readers to be aware of the dangers and hardships the U.S. military personnel faced while fighting in Korea. He dedicated his book to their "dedication and commitment to duty." The setting for the book focuses on ground combat operations Randall was a part of as a volunteer with combat units in Korea. Similar to his main character, William R. Kidd, Randall rose to the rank of platoon sergeant.
Kidd seeks to accomplish two things in the novel: to do his job and keep himself and the soldiers under his command alive.
This also was Randall's goal while commanding his troops in battle. "I realized my responsibilities more after I had written the book than when the actions were taking place," he said.
Randall's book was published by Elderbury Press, located in Oakland, Ore. Elderbury Press originated five years ago and currently has 15 titles by various authors on the market. 
In a telephone interview, Randall's publisher, David W. St. John, said that Randall is "telling the absolute truth. It's very factual and it's an honest book. It straddles the fiction and non-fiction genre." St. John pointed out that the book's release late last year coincided nicely with the 50th anniversary of the Korean Conflict.
Randall was born and raised in a coal mining community in West Virginia. He entered the armed services through the Selective Service System at age 16 instead of the required 18.
"I liked it," he said of military life. "I'm the only military person in my family. My life in service was better than my life would have been in West Virginia." A graduate of Indiana's Ball State University, Randall spent 23 years in active duty service with the Marine Corps and Army. He served with different Department of the Defense entities for 40 years. He served as a civilian employee with the Air Force and Army after retiring from active duty.
One of his jobs was a safety manager position at the Jefferson Proving Grounds in Madison, Ind. Randall monitored the safety of simulated nuclear explosive tests. He also inspected the storage and handling operations conducted by the Army to insure an accident-free environment for the Army's lethal chemical agents stockpile.
Randall said he was stationed in many countries during his military career: North China, Austria, Germany, London, Korea, and Vietnam. While in Germany, he met his wife, Inge, 35 years ago. The couple have two sons and recently revisited Germany. "Call to Duty" will be a featured title in June 2001 at the Book Expo of America, held in Chicago and San Francisco.
"These are the two largest book fairs held in America this year," said St. John. Many well-known authors will have their books on display, alongside "Call to Duty."
Randall's book can be purchased for $19.95 through these Internet websites: amazon.com, borders.com, barnesandnoble.com, or by placing an order with any local bookstore.

• The Korean War Project website, meanwhile, was created for vets to stay in touch. It can be found at www.koreanwar.org.

Back to March 2001 Articles.



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