Today’s Veteran of the Day is Chester Pedersen. Chester served in the U.S. Army from 1951-1954. Chester completed basic training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, and soon after completed a basic engineer course, but he didn’t receive a job designation or MOS. “I didn’t know what I was going to be doing, but I knew I was going to Korea” Chester said.
He was assigned to the 523rd Engineer Petroleum Distributing Company which received deployment orders to Korea.
The company traveled to Washington state by train and soon after embarked for Japan. Once arriving in Japan, Chester and the 523rd took a ferry to Pusan, Korea.
After arriving in Pusan, the 523rd became the 781st Engineer Pipeline Company and Chester was finally assigned a MOS, company artificer or as Chester put it, “I fixed things that needed fixin’.”
His company maintained the pipelines that pumped kerosene, aviation fuel and gasoline from Pusan to the other camps throughout Korea. All three fluids would flow through the same pipeline at different times which presented many challenges.
“The locals would siphon the pipeline thinking it was gasoline, but we would be pumping kerosene or aviation fuel. It was funny to watch the buses in the area break down because they were stealing the wrong type of fuel,” Chester recalls.
Chester left Korea in 1953 and was assigned to Dugway Proving Grounds in Utah. He left the U.S. Army in 1954.
Originally returning to his native Illinois, Chester now lives in Wisconsin. He is a member of the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign War.
To Veterans and future service members he says, “Enjoy life and take it one day at a time.”