Tag: 1950 Hamheung Evacuation, 12/10-12/24
Political/Military Tags1950 Pusan Perimeter, 8/4-9/181950 Inchon Landing, 9/15-9/191950 Seoul Recapture, 9/22-9/251950 Battle of Pyongyang, 10/15-171950 Wonsan Landing, 10/251950 Battle of Chosin Reservoir, 11/27-12/131950 Hamheung Evacuation, 12/10-12/241951 January 4 Withdrawal, 12/31-1/71951 Battle of Bloody Ridge, 8/18-9/15/1951 Battle of Heartbreak Ridge, 9/13-10/15/1951 Battle of Jipyeongri, 2/13-151952 Battle of Old Baldy, 6/26-8/41952 Battle of White Horse, 10/6-151952 Battle of Triangle Hill, 10/14-11/251952 Battle of Hill Eerie, 3/21-6/211953 Battle of the Hook, 5/28-291953 Battle of Pork Chop Hill, 3/23-7/161953 Sieges of Outpost Harry, 6/10-181953 Armistice 7/271968 Pueblo Abduction1968 Blue House attack1969 EC-1211976 Poplar Tree Ax Incident1983 Langgoon blowup1996 Gangneung attack1999 Yeonpyeong naval battle2000 South-North Summit2002 2nd Yeonpyeong naval battle2008 Geumgang Mountain killing2006 1st nuclear test, 10/92009 2nd nuclear test, 5/252010 Cheonan sinking2010 Yeonpyeong Island bombing2013 3rd nuclear test, 2/122016 4th and 5th nuclear tests, 1/6 and 9/9
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War Torn: 1950 Heungnam Evacuation
Arthur Gentry had an emotional experience when he and his fellow Marines were evacuated from Hamheung along with 100,000 North Korean refugees. As the reality of war set in, seeing the ships in the harbor the troops and the countless refugees were relieved to be rescued. Arthur Gentry remembered all the ships, his company straightening their lines, and the Marine Corps singing hymns as they marched forward.
So Many Refugees
Barry McLean shares his experience walking through Wonsun in sub-zero temperatures. During the evacuation, he shares he encountered a young girl and offered his rations, but she refused. He recalls the touching moment when the girl came back with a token to trade for his food. Along with this experience, he describes seeing thousands of refugees they loaded onto the ships to evacuate.
Home for Christmas?
Bruce Ackerman feared being surrounded by the Chinese in the Chosin Reservoir and had to endure the cold Korean winters, frost bite, and a near explosion close to his bunker. He thought that the soldiers would be home for Christmas in 1950, but sadly, he was wrong. Bruce Ackerman remembered the evacuation of 100,000 refugees during the winter of 1950 and that included North Korean civilians who were left homeless due to the invasion of the Chinese to support North Korean troops.
We Loaded as Many as We Could
Burley Smith provides an account of the role the SS Meredith Victory played in the evacuation of around fourteen thousand civilians during the 1950 Hamheung Evacuation. Throughout the process of the evacuation, he admires the behavior of the refugees during the evacuation and notes the bravery they exhibited. He notes that the ship was most likely sent there to load equipment but they ended up only loading people. He elaborates on the process of loading refugees into the holds and the living conditions they endured during the trip.
The Level of Trust was Remarkable
Burley Smith explains issues the SS Meredith Victory faced trying to dock and unload the refugees. He recalls the fear of plague delaying the ability to dock and resources being to be brought to the vessel. Through it all, he remembers the excitement the refugees exhibited and the remarkable level of trust they had in the crew.
It is Remarkable It Happened Without Any Incidents
Burley Smith gives details about the minefields of Hamheung harbor. He recounts how the United States Navy marked the minefield for them to navigate around the mines. He describes the United States Navy minesweepers maneuvering beside them to mark the minefield which allowed them to navigate through the mines. Along with this, he shares that the refugees were never searched and could have overtaken the ship at any time. For these reasons, he shares that it is remarkable that it all happened without any incidents.
Evacuating Heungnam, Off to Busan
Carl Hissman describes his experience at the evacuation of Heungnam. He remembers being the last one off of the beach. He recalls seeing many North Korean refugees and remembers the roads were so full of people. He shares they were able to save some but not all. He remembers seeing a blown-up village and two civilians frozen dead. After Heungnam, his unit went down to Busan and began pushing back up north towards Seoul.
Heading to Korea
Chuck Lusardi recalls the process of learning he and his brother were both headed to Korea while he was at Camp Stoneman, California. He recalls how, from Camp Stoneman, they were consigned to a troop ship which took about three thousand five hundred men on a fourteen-day voyage to Yokohama, Japan. He remembers that upon arrival at Camp Drake, there were no ships left because they had been dispersed from the Heungnam Evacuation. He vividly recounts the masses of humanity upon arrival in Busan on January 11, 1951, estimating the throng of refugees to be about two and a half million.
Clara K. Cleland
Nursing Wounded Soldiers After Various Campaigns
Clara Cleland describes her nursing duties as various battles were occurring, including taking care of patients from the Jangin (Chosin) Reservoir. She recalls how she and her unit set up various Mobile Army Surgical Hospitals (MASH) and remembers witnessing the U.S.S. Missouri firing its guns and heavy fire from other ships as well. She explains how her unit was then moved to assist another unit on a hospital ship and how, from there, they began treating non-emergent patients with illnesses.
A Week as an Infantryman
Felix Byrd describes a week where his outfit moved north, and he served with the infantry until they reached Hamhung, where they were evacuated. He recalls being shot at. He says they had to sleep without sleeping bags in 30-below temperatures.
Refugees During War
Herbert Werner became very emotional as he described being an 18 year old seeing war first hand. He said witnessing the wounded, being under fire, civilians fleeing, and children affected by war made him overcome with emotion. He never saw as much fear as he did while there and it still gets to him even today. Herbert Werner made an instant personal connection with the refugees during the Hamheung Evacuation since he was an orphaned child himself.
J. Robert Lunney
The SS Meredith Victory Volunteers
J. Robert Lunney discusses the decision by Captain LaRue to volunteer his ship for the evacuation efforts in Heungnam. He recalls the urgency to evacuate the military personnel and civilians. He explicitly breaks down the positions and resources involved in the evacuation and the chaotic scene they encountered in the port. Because of the great leadership exhibited by Captain LaRue, he shares the crew never questioned his decision to assist in the evacuation.
Last Ship to Freedom
J. Robert Lunney describes the process of evacuating over fourteen thousand North Korean civilian refugees aboard the SS Meredith Victory. He provides a detailed description of the loading of the refugees and protection of the port. During this process, he explains how teams were securing port so the enemy troops were unable to pursue them. He emphasizes that the people on the ship were seeking freedom, and the S.S. Meredith Victory was the last ship out.
No Room at the Inn
J. Robert Lunney remembers the SS Meredith Victory being denied the ability to off-load the fourteen thousand refugees at Busan on Christmas Eve 1950. He explains that Busan was already overcrowded with UN troops and refugees. After being denied entry, he recalls their redirection to Koje-do and the tricky offloading of the refugees on December 26th.
The Heros of the Ship of Miracles
J. Robert Lunney shares his opinion of the true heroes of Huengnam evacuation and the Korean War. Furthermore, he acknowledges the sacrifices and contributions of the refugees and their descendants to the development of South Korea. Nevertheless, he expresses his appreciation to the Korean people for the gratitude shown to those who served in Korea.
The Battle of the Chosin Reservoir
Jack Allen worked hard to stay warm while fighting in the Battle of the Chosin Reservoir. He was lucky that he didn't get frostbite on his feet or hands, but he knows Marines that lost their limbs after they turned black while in the trenches. After the Chinese came into the Chosin Reservoir, they fought to take the high ground and blew up bridges to slow the Marines' escape. Once they made it to Wonson, the Marines were able to escape to the boats along with the US Army, but Jack Allen was grateful that he didn't have to endure all of that pain for the whole 2 months of the Battle of the Chosin Reservoir.
James “Jim” Valentine
I Was Only 17/18
James Valentine discusses being evacuated. He discusses that he thought he was leaving but was sent back to liberate Seoul the second time from North Korea. He explains how he didn't completely understand since he was just a teen and how it changed him. He shares his struggles post-war. His wife, Beth, adds a story about rations and being able to eat during the cold. She explains how he didn't speak of the war until being involved with the VFW in Washington.
Time in Korea
James Houp speaks about his time in Pusan and Heungnam, up towards the Yalu River, and recalls meeting Chinese forces. He describes how his unit was pushed back to Heungnam where he worked to set up communication lines with the ships. He recalls how his unit stayed in a warehouse and remembers seeing the Army retreating away from the Chosin (Jangjin) Reservoir. He comments on the temperature being thirty-two degrees below zero at the time. He recalls his departure via a U.S. ship headed back to Pusan and then to other locations south of Seoul.
John H. Jackson
Battle at the Chosin Reservoir
John H. Jackson shares he fought in the Battle at the Chosin Reservoir through Christmas Eve of 1950. He recalls how the weather was very cold, reaching down to fifty degrees below zero. He remembers how some of the soldiers were freezing to death as the Chinese continued to fight.
Escaping Heungnam by any means necessary...
John Levi talks about his emotional encounter with Korean citizens in Heungnam. Fleeing the war zone, many Korean citizens looked for any way out with backs that were loaded with children and anything they could carry. He shares how he saw the plight of his people, the Native American people, in the same struggle that many Koreans had to endure during the war.
A Bright Spot in the War: Humanitarian Evacuation of North Korean Refugees
Lawrence Elwell, despite all the horrors he witnessed while serving in Korea, describes witnessing the evacuation of ninety-seven thousand North Korean refugees from Korea to the United States. He muses they almost depopulated North Korea in doing so. He recalls meeting some of those refuges who were successfully settled in the Dallas, Texas, area.
The Hungnam Evacuation
Merl Smith discusses his role in the Heungnam Evacuation. He shares that his ship saved over fourteen thousand people from Heungnam after being called to duty from Pusan. He details how the ship only had supplies for forty-eight men, did not have heat or toilet facilities, and had very little water. He remembers the Chinese blew up the port as the ship was exiting Heungnam and sailing with the Korean refugees for three days while bringing them to safety.
Always Have a Backup Plan
Paul Hummel remembered when the enemy forces figured out the weaknesses of United States' planes. Due to this, there needed to be a back up plan created to outwit the Chinese. Mosquito pilots used a variety of maneuvers while in the Hamhung area.
Robert L. Jewitt
A Chaotic Withdrawal
Robert Jewitt describes his experience after the Battle of Pyongyang and General MacArthur’s push further into North Korea. He explains the attachment of his battalion to the United States Army’s 7th cavalry and receiving orders from General MacArthur to move south of Pyongyang. He continues by providing details about the overwhelming experience of the Chinese making a stand. Consequently, he elaborates on the chaos of the withdrawing troops and their role in providing some level of protection for the retreating soldiers and refugees.
Hamheung Evacuation aka Hungnam Evacuation (code name Christmas Cargo)
Robert Talmadge talks about the Miracle Evacuation of Korean civilians from Hungnam including the loading of the civilians onto the USS Victory. He remembers 99,000 civilians on the pier that loaded onto the ship. He explains how the civilians had to leave all of their belongings before boarding.
One of the Greatest Things We Ever Did
Robert Whited recalls movement of his unit from Seoul to Inchon and later Wonsan. The 5th Marines did not immediately go up to the Chosin Reservoir, but instead ran patrols out of Heungnam where he remembers encountering their first Chinese. He describes how when they were establishing a roadblock they were hit by the Chinese and pushed back to Hagaru-ri and Koto-ri and ultimately to the seashore. During the retreat, they were protecting thousands of Korean refugees who were ultimately loaded on a cargo ship and taken to Busan.
Marine Corp Hymn and Japanese Whiskey
Rollo Minchaca talks about spending Christmas and New Years during the Korean War. Many of the men were collapsing due to the stress of being in the extreme cold and living in tents. They evacuated to Pusan and had to regroup because of the extreme temperature.