Private First Class Gilberto Díaz

Private First Class Gilberto Díaz

After a month of arduous preparation, Díaz was one of men who took part in the second replacement of the Colombia Battalion. He left Bogotá at the end of May 1952 by land and arrived in the port of Cartagena to wait for the ship that would take him to Korea. There, he had three days of rest that were enough for him to know the walled city before the American ship arrived.

My best friend

My best friend

He is one of my best friend Private First Class Benjamin Herrera. He lives in Pereira now.

Sylvester Antolak

Sylvester Antolak

This was the ship Díaz sailed on to Korea. It was built in 1945 in Baltimore, Maryland (United States), to transport troops during World War II. It was perhaps the last journey she made transporting troops to the port of Yokohama, Japan, before being relegated to perform surveillance and transport tasks in the Pacific Ocean.

Sylvester Antolak

Sylvester Antolak

This was the ship Díaz sailed on to Korea. It was built in 1945 in Baltimore, Maryland (United States), to transport troops during World War II. It was perhaps the last journey she made transporting troops to the port of Yokohama, Japan, before being relegated to perform surveillance and transport tasks in the Pacific Ocean.

Sylvester Antolak

Sylvester Antolak

Private First Class Gilberto Díaz, aboard USNS Sgt. Sylvester Antolak, poses with a fellow showing the points of departure and arrival. He and many of his fellows from the Colombia Battalion knew little about Korea, but they knew very well the itinerary of the trip and that it would take approximately four weeks to complete it. The route was Cartagena Port-Panama Canal-Hawaii (refueling stop)-Japan-Busan Port, in Korea.

Postcard sent to Colombia before his way to Korea

Postcard sent to Colombia before his way to Korea

Postcard of the ship Sylvester Antolak that Gilberto sent to his family as he made his way to Korea. A little more than a month had passed, and the men who had set sail from Cartagena and arrived in the camp as part of the second relay of the Colombia Battalion were welcomed by Lieutenant Colonel Alberto Ruiz Novoa, who took on the position of Battalion Commander on May 7, 1952.

In the port of Pusan

In the port of Pusan

Although Díaz does not remember exactly the day he was granted the first Korean War permit, he does recall the day he bought his color Kodak camera in Tokyo for five dollars. From that moment on, he tried to capture every moment during his service in the Korean War.

In the Port of Pusan

In the Port of Pusan

This was one of the first pictures of the Port of Busan, one of the most important and populated. Its location later turned it into a strategic port for troop disembarkation during the Korean War.

Memories in the train from the Port of Pusan

Memories in the train from the Port of Pusan

Some parts were crossed by train, but many others were crossed by truck at night to avoid attacks by enemy aircraft. Díaz watched the shots from the tracers as they lit up the sky. That indicated that he was closer to the battle front.

Memories in the train from the Port of Pusan

Memories in the train from the Port of Pusan

From the train, Díaz sees how all spaces are used to cultivate. All land was useful for coping with food shortages

Memories in the train from the Port of Pusan

Memories in the train from the Port of Pusan

The Korean peninsula could be reached from Tokyo in two ways: by air, in a couple of hours; and by sea, which was usually avoided because it was the most dangerous route.

Memories in the train from the Port of Pusan

Memories in the train from the Port of Pusan

Korea is not a very large country, but it is characterized by its mountainous landscape, especially in the north. Numerous ports and coastal cities can be found along the south coast.

Memories in the train from the Port of Pusan

Memories in the train from the Port of Pusan

Two years of intense war resulted in a high number of civilian victims, many of them were children.

Memories in the train from the Port of Pusan

Memories in the train from the Port of Pusan

Ruined landscape because of the war

  • At the Boot Camp

  • Straight to the Line

  • Everyday on the front line

  • In Front

  • Back to Colombia

  • Colombia Veterans' present