Robert Ericson

1st Marine Division

U.S. Marine Corps

As battalion bugler for the 1st Marine Division, I participated in Little Switch, which was the first prisoner exchange of the war. On April 26, 1953, at Freedom Village at Panmunjom, an exchange of wounded and sick prisoners took place. I helped serve as a stretcher bearer unloading the ambulances.

On July 27, 1953, I was at the United Nations Headquarters for the truce negotiations when the cease-fire agreement was signed. The signing took place at 10:00 AM, followed by a twelve hour artillery barrage. Then at 2145 hours the firing stopped, and for the next fifteen minutes we all held our breath expecting a renewal of firing—nothing happened.

I then directed my bugle over the camp and played Taps, signifying that the firing had stopped and that the truce was in effect.

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In honor of playing the bugle at the truce talks, I was invited to Washington D.C., on July 27, 1995 to be the official bugler for the dedication of the National Korean War Memorial. In commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the cease-fire, I was invited to Korea to again play Taps at Panmunjom.

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I have played the bugle now for sixty-five years, and have played Taps for over six-thousand Military Funerals.

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