By Max Hrenda
During his time stationed in Korea during the Vietnam War era, Carter County native Charlie Maricle got into a taxi in a South Korean village after a day of leave and told the driver to take him back to the U.S. Army compound, called Camp Casey.
Little did he know that, hours later, he would be running for his life through the Korean wilderness.
“I didn’t know where I was,” Maricle said. “I just ran and ran and ran.”
Despite not serving in the Vietnamese conflict, Maricle was no stranger to danger during his time in Korea.
Before that, however, Maricle had grown up in the western part of Carter County.
“I was raised up on Powder Branch Road, right across from Powder Branch Baptist Church,” Maricle said. “I went to Oak Grove Grammar School, then I went to Happy Valley (High School).”
When he wasn’t in school, Maricle was working on his family’s 50-acre farm off Powder Branch. Lumber from that farm was used to build a house on Stanley Avenue in Johnson City, the house where Maricle still lives to this day.
On Oct. 29, 1968, Maricle was drafted into the U.S. Army. Even though more than 30,000 American soldiers had died by the time he was called on to serve, Maricle said he had no qualms about entering the service.
“I really wanted to join,” Maricle said. “I had a lot of friends going over there. I felt like I wasn’t any better than any of them.”