FROM THE DISTAFF SIDE

The following letter was in response to Tom Segal's recent article we carried here. This one was longer than the usual “brief comments” on that subject, but was so typical of our unsung wives and dependents who seldom get the credit they deserve. So I thought you might enjoy what Joyce C. Rusch, God bless her, has to say. Jug.

Letter From A Service Wife
Forwarded by BGen Bob Clements

My husband was stationed in Korea for three years, 1980-1983. I am a fourth generation Navy brat and Navy wife so I joined him with my two young babies in tow. It was a difficult tour for a young wife with two little ones. We were not allowed to live on base and we were advised not to bring our cars. I relied on taxis and the bus system.

It wasn't long and I noticed that Korea was desperately trying to learn English since the Olympics were going to be held in the near future. I along with other wives gave English lessons to many Korean well-to-do women.

I also taught at Dai Han paint and ink factory for a while but eventually my singing talents won me a place as the American star in a Korean USO show. I sang at all the bases for the young soldiers trying to give back to these fine men. Perhaps I helped a little in this far-off cold land. I hoped I did. I was and I am still amazed and grateful for the hardships they endured.

I didn't last too long in the Korean music industry mainly because I missed kissing my babies and rocking them to sleep. The weather was also a factor since the tour bus was not heated and the cold made my health suffer. I also must say I was frightened after we went over the Freedom Bridge/DMZ. I suddenly realized as our papers and my ID card were checked that this was real.

The darkness with only the bridge flooded in light seemed eerie as both Korean and American soldiers patrolled the short bridge span to the enemy side. Sure we had a small post or two but it didn't seem like they could stand for long. I felt that any quick attack would make safety a distant possibility. I could just read the papers now. Officer's wife killed or captured while traveling in a USO group. Although my intentions were good, my safety was important to my loved ones.

I guess growing up within the Navy lifestyle, whether living on base in my fathers home or living in Scotland and isolated duty with my husband, I had always felt safe. Now I realized that I wasn't and I had a family to think of.

I survived Korea with the culture differences, black market, rationing, and homesickness. I became strong in a land that was prepared for war. Not in the fact that I would fight anyone that would jeopardize my children's safety but that I could survive what I thought was a difficult hardship tour.

I have become fiercely patriotic and proud to be an American. I thank any Veteran wearing a hat stating where they were and in what war they fought. I wish I could do more to thank these fine men, my lifetime heroes.

I do want to shout to all that can hear that you can count on four votes for Bush from my family and another five from my parents and siblings. All I know in life is not to give up. I was brought up to be proud of America, to fight and vote for my rights. The soldiers that were on the plane with me coming home from Korea kissed the ground, American soil.

Sure, I didn't like Clinton, I was ashamed of this immoral man, and thankful he couldn't run another term. However, I will, always vote and stand up to all that threatens my freedom, my family, and my way of life. You soldiers have taught me how to live. You soldiers are my heroes and I will not let your sacrifices be in vain.

Grateful Retired Navy Wife/brat
Joyce C. Rusch