Korean War Era:  Life at Camp Carson


With the 14th at Camp Carson, 1949,
Cold Weather Training Command

By Sam Zafran

Kit Carson

I don't know about you present day grunts, but back in the old days in 1949, barracks life was a little bit different.  Quarters were in two-story barracks, 20 men down, 20 up.  Typical layout, was 10 men on each side of the floor.  A steel cot with mattress, a footlocker in front of each bed.  A clothes rack consisting of a shelf and a clothes bar behind each bed.  Believe it or not, two wooden rifle racks, centered in the middle of the floor.

Your clothes were hung in certain order.  IE. trousers, shirts, jackets, coats and last any Civvies.  Socks and underwear were rolled and stashed in bottom, the locker tray at the top contained Toilet articles and personnel effects.  We had a GI party every Friday night.  No not that kind of party . . . the floors were scrubbed and mopped, latrines were shiny bright and footlockers open for inspection for Saturday morning.

Payday was quite an ordeal, for me anyway.  They paid in alphabetical order, so you know where I was - yep, last.  You had to recite your name, rank, serial number and the Ten General Orders before you got paid.  That was Army life in the 40's.  They issued us new combat boots, the old two-buckle type, the outside leather on the boots was cowhide with the rough side out.  No way could you get a shine on them.  You took a piece of glass, scrapped off all the hair that was on the outside, took a can of black shoe polish, poured in some lighter fluid, lit it with a match and held the boot over the smoke till it turned black and all the hair was gone.  Then you rubbed the liquid polish into the boot and shined it up

Typical I&R day during the summer

Arise at 0500 stand Reveille, do the standard 12 position exercises.  Eat chow and prepare for Demonstration Rock.  This was a natural Amphitheater, a sloping hill on one side, converted to bleacher type seats.  On the other side was a 100 foot tall rock formation.  Spectators were bussed by 2 1/2 ton trucks to the Amphitheater from a staging area.  Demonstrations consisted of one and two-man free style climbing, Squad climbing, with strung rope guides up the rock.  Off to one side a two man team was climbing what we called Needle Rock: a tall rock structure with different types of surface.  This included spider climbing: ropes strung out under an overhang.  We demonstrated other different types of climbing to include rescue with a stretcher and back carry.  The finale was a cable stretched across the amphitheater from the top of the rock to a tree on the other side.  A stretcher was sent over first, and then a squad would hook up with D rings and slide down the cable one after the other, over the heads of the spectators, while others would rappel down the rock surface. After the show, we would answer questions.

Korean War Ear:  Life at Camp Carson
Copyright 2012  14th Infantry Regiment Association
Last modified: January 21, 2013