August 6, 1950. Pusan, Korea. The U.S. 23rd Infantry Regiment has just arrived at Pusan, having sailed directly from Bremerton, Washington. This was the first Army unit committed to Korea directly from the continental U.S. The port infrastructure at Pusan was of Japanese construction, providing berths for up to 24 sea-going ships at once. Even that was not enough to serve the U.S. Eighth Army's needs in a timely fashion. Because port space was limited during the summer of 1950, Philip Hughes and other troops drawn from occupation forces in Japan fought to delay opposing North Korean forces long enough for ships to cycle through the port to bring in additional supplies and manpower.
On June 25, 1947, The Washington Star ran this advertisement on behalf of the U.S. Army Recruitment Center in Washington, D.C. It appeared a little over a year before Philip Hughes enlisted at the center's office at 403 10th Street, N.W. The Army clearly needed to boost is peace-time garrison in Korea. A naive reader would get the impression that a billet in Korea would be a rustic adventure. The ad conveniently fails to admit that much cushier accommodations were enjoyed by Army troops on occupation duty in Japan. Whether Philip saw this ad or one similar is unknown.
1951. Hwachon, Korea. U.S. soldiers attend outdoor mass. The Army in 1950 accommodated Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish chaplains. They were all rugged, resourceful men. Chaplains were nominally assigned to regimental or division headquarters. They practiced their trade in an itinerant fashion, driving to the encampments of various infantry, engineer, medical, or other units as needed. By international convention, chaplains were recognized as non-combatants, but the insidious nature of combat in Korea - which cost several chaplains their lives - led to others carrying a sidearm for self-protection. Soldiers in war zones especially sought comfort in prayer and religious guidance. Philip Hughes was raised as a Catholic and almost certainly consulted Catholic chaplains during his deployment in Korea.