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Oral History interview of Robert Vanas. Interview conducted by Alex Thorp at Lake County, Florida.


0:35 Birthplace and date; 0:55 Growing up during the depression; 1:05 Playing baseball; 1:35 Encountering racism and segregation in Florida; 2:45 Lack of regulations on age in baseball; 3:15 Gets job as a carpenter and plays minor league baseball; 4:00 Learned of draft notice while playing on the road; 4:30 Joined Marines and sent to engineer battalion; 5:50 Entertainment after work at Camp Lejeune; 7:00 Conducts a series of landings in Puerto Rico, Guantanamo, Labrador; 7:40 Liberty and playing baseball at Camp Lejeune; 8:50 Volunteer for Korea, trained in California; 10:50 Deciding to join the Marine Corps; 12:10 Decision to get out of the Marines; 13:00 First experience on the front lines; 15:30 Enemy attacks his position; 17:30 discovers injury in shoulder; 19:25 Go into reserve after couple of days; 21:10 Found dead Chinese soldier on top of bunker; 21:30 Sent back to frontline to outpost, received another heavy attack; 25:00 Sent back in reserve after repelling attack, put in for Silver Star; 26:00 Replaced with Turks and U.S. Army; 26:55 Sent back to front lines to hill 229; 27:30 On the way to Seoul, acquire a.50 cal machine gun; 28:15 Sent to school to use it, given ammo and barrels; 28:50 Exchanging weapons and ammo with other nation's soldiers; 29:30 Going on patrols and ambushes; 30:55 While moving back to the frontlines, hit by a mortar; 33:50 Learned of the ceasefire, told to disarm; 34:30 Koreans retrieving the dead; 35:35 Made a supply sergeant after ceasefire; 48:20 Stuck in port, quarantined for Ebola; 39:00 Sends home "grease gun" through mail; 40:20 Interaction with local population; 41:45 Interaction with Turkish military; 43:20 Army training; 43:40 Ebola fears and measures to combat it; 44:15 Married the girl who wrote to him during Korea; 45:30 Adjusting to life after the military; 46:30 Working as a carpenter and going to school; 49:30 Starts own business and family grows; 52:53 Left business after giving shares of company to sons; 53:25 Health and surgeries; 54:20 Health declines, goes on trial experimental drug for cancer; 56:45 Member of veterans' organizations; 57:30 Advice for prospective service members; 59:00 Success of experimental drug; 59:20 Reasons for joining the military; 1:00:00 Political and international situation of the world and the U.S. armed forces; 1:00:40-1:03:30 Reading of the citation for the Silver Medal.

Date of Birth


Place of Birth

Haledon (N.J.)





Home State

New Jersey

War or Conflict

Korean Conflict



Begin/End date of Service - 1st



Video; MovingImage


Entrance into Service


Branch of Service

U.S. Marines

Unit of Service

H Company 3rd Battalion 1st Marine Regiment

Location of Service

Parris Island (S.C.); Camp Lejeune (N.C.); Newfoundland and Labrador; Pendleton (Calif.); Korea

Highest Rank

Corporal; Cpl

Prisoner of War


Service Related Injury



Battle of Bunker Hill


Purple Heart; Silver Star Medal


Served as a Machine Gunner.


Was a baseball player with Philadelphia Phillies prior to enlistment. Awarded Purple Heart twice.

City of Birth


Country of Birth

United States


Thorp, Alex

Interview Date

Fall 11-5-2015

Location of Interview

Lake County, FL.


Vanas, Robert; Korean War, 1950-1953 -- Personal Narratives; United States. Marines

Collection Description

Contains logs, audio and video recordings of interviews with Central Florida's veterans as part of a history class project for the students at the University of Central Florida (UCF). The UCF Community Veterans History Project(CVHP) started in fall 2010. It collects, preserves, and makes accessible to the public the experiences of Central Florida's veterans so that future generations will better understand the realities of conflict. It is a collaborative endeavor supported by multiple departments and offices at UCF. The veterans' histories are archived and made digitally available through the UCF library and selected materials are contributed to the Veterans History Project at the Library of Congress.

Contributor Affiliation / Organization

RICHES; University of Central Florida


Thorp, Alex

Length of Interview

64 Minutes


Department of History, University of Central Florida




All rights are held by the respective holding institution. This material is posted publicly for non-profit educational uses, excluding printed publication. For permission to reproduce and/or for copyright information contact Special Collections and University Archives, University of Central Florida Libraries, (407) 823-2576. http://library.ucf.edu/about/departments/special-collections-university-archives/


University of Central Florida Libraries, Special Collections and University Archives

Contributing Project

UCF Community Veterans History Project

Document Type