Richard Hyde recalls his service in Korean War
The first time Richard Hyde killed someone in the Korean War, he cried. Then he threw up. He was 17 years old.
“We saw a lot of things and a lot of things you want to forget,” he said. “There’s still a lot of things I don’t want to write about – things people don’t need to know.”
Hyde, 68, is writing his war experiences and is hoping to get submissions from other Korean War veterans to compile an anthology of a war that is little-documented.
“I’d like to put together a book to remember the Korean War,” he said. “But there’s a lot of them that are reluctant to write about it – too many bad memories.”
Hyde also struggles trying to decide which stories to write and how to write them.
“It’s hard to describe things you’ve seen that you know people shouldn’t see. A lot of times, I wake up in the middle of the night from a nightmare,” he said. “Now, I just get up and write at the computer. I still cry a lot.”
After retiring from the police force and later from the gaming industry, Hyde decided he wanted to document his life.
But years on the police force made it hard to regain his writing style.
“When I started writing, I found out I’d forgotten the English language,” he said. “I had written too many police reports – I had to go back to school.”
He enrolled in Marilee Swirczek’s creative writing class at Western Nevada Community College. He said his first couple of assignments flopped.
Then Swirczek suggested he write about his life as a soldier in the Korean War.
So he began his account where it all began – on a ranch in Steamboat Springs, Colo. Just over 16 years old, he got in an argument with his parents over whether he should go to summer school to make up for a failed math class.
Instead, he convinced his parents to let him join the Army. It was just after World War II and he was sure there would be no more wars in the near future.
He turned 17 fighting in Korea.
“I was like most young kids, I wanted to go,” he said. “I wanted to get in on the action.”
His excitement vanished the first day.
“It scared the hell out of me,” he said. “I never had anybody shooting at me before.”
After being shot in the leg, Hyde returned home at age 19.
He became a police officer for 20 years in Denver. However, he was granted medical retirement after being shot on duty and came to Nevada in 1974 to work in gaming.
He now lives in Carson City with his wife of 20 years, Joann. He has two sons, Thomas and Jonathan.
Although he agrees with the action of the military in the Middle East, he said the main thing he learned in battle is “we don’t need wars to survive.”
And he worries for those fighting today.
“They’re going to see things they never thought imaginable,” he said. “They’re going to do things they never thought they could do.”
He spent this Veterans Day marching with his comrades in the parade in Virginia City.
“It’s a time for me to be grateful that I’m still alive,” he said. “And to say a prayer for those who didn’t make it. “