War Through the Eyes of a Veteran Who Never Saw it

Jeremy Frederick

Explosions in the sky, people running in the streets, chaos, Mardi Gras.


Not all veterans see combat. For Frederick T Shea, a Korean War veteran who served from 1951-53, service meant basic training in New Orleans and overseas service in Germany and France. Born in Somerville Massachusetts, Frederick T Shea did not come from a line of military. His father worked for Ford Motor Company, and his mother was a housewife. However, when duty called he threw his hat into the ring.


At the age of 18 Shea either had the option of putting his name in for the draft, or enlisting into his preferred branch. In the end he chose to join the Air Force: “I could either be sea sick for six months straight or airsick for only three to six hours a day. So I chose the air force”.


Not on the frontline, the closest Frederick T Shea ever saw to live combat was being halted in a Moroccan Air Force Base by the French Foreign Legion. His squadron once stayed in Ireland for an extra month to play golf. He was trained in repairing aircraft instruments as well as basic electronics. His life in the military was mostly repair jobs, running tests, and making sure that planes were airworthy.


During his time in Europe, the only person who kept in touch with at home besides his family was his girlfriend, and luck struck when he was mustered out of the service a month in advance. “Your back, said my father when I returned home a month early”. Others may have been more surprised, but all were happy as Shea returned safely home from Europe.


War is different for everyone who experiences it, Shea’s brother saw the frontline in Korea and it changed him for life. He would end up dying from Alcohol consumption early in his life. From someone in Shea’s shoes, his service was a chance to hone his technical skills and to get a free college education. For others, it changes them for ever. “War is a necessary evil, just pray that we all don’t kill ourselves”.