Korean War Legacy Project

Tag: 1953 Battle of Pork Chop Hill, 3/23-7/16

Political/Military Tags

1950 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

Geographic Tags

AnyangAprokgang (Yalu River)BusanByeokdongCheonanCheongcheongang (River)ChuncheonDaeguDaejeonDongducheonEast SeaEuijeongbuGaesongGangneungGeojedoGeumgangGeumgang (River)GotoriHagalwooriHamheungHangang (River)HeungnamHwacheonHwangchoryeongImjingang (River)IncheonJangjinJipyeongriKunsanKunwooriLanggoonMasanNakdonggang (River)OsanPanmunjeomPohangPyungyangSeokdongSeoulSudongSuwonWolmidoWonjuWonsanYellow SeaYeongdeungpoYeonpyeongYudamri

Social Tags

Basic trainingChineseCiviliansCold wintersCommunistsDepressionFearFoodFront linesG.I. BillHome frontImpressions of KoreaKATUSALettersLiving conditionsMessage to StudentsModern KoreaMonsoonNorth KoreansOrphanagePersonal LossPhysical destructionPovertyPOWPridePrior knowledge of KoreaPropagandaRest and Relaxation (R&R)South KoreansWeaponsWomen

Alfredo Forero Parra

First Impressions / Primeras Impresiones

Alfredo Forero Parra remembers the complete devastation he encountered upon arriving in Korea. He conveys the disbelief he felt when he saw the destruction of most structures and bridges. He recalls the suffering of the civilian population as they begged for food. He states that suffering was most reflected in the eyes of the children.

Alfredo Forero Parra recuerda la devastación que encontró al llegar a Corea. Habla del horror que sintió cuando vio la destrucción de la mayoría de las estructuras y puentes en el país. Recuerda el sufrimiento de la población civil y como rogaban por comida. En su opinión, el sufrimiento se reflejaba más en los ojos de los niños.

Alvaro Almazo

Deadliest Battle

Alvaro Almazo recalls the worst battle he was in was Pork Chop Hill on March 23, 1953, in which the attack killed nearly his entire company. He remembers the Chinese attacked at night and he especially noted the artillery attacks. Because so much of his company were killed, he notes he had to be assigned to a different company.

Bernard Dykes

Iron Triangle Strategy

Bernard Dykes details the strategy at his placement within the Iron Triangle. He describes why it was named this and being there with French soldiers. He also mentions battles that happened before and after his time there and the devastation endured.

Bill Scott

We Called Them Hoochies

Bill Scott described what it was like on many of the hills he fought and the sand bags filled with dirt and rock used to protect them from the enemy. He described digging into trenches on the hill, and his mortar squad was placed just on the other side of the hill to fire at the enemy. Bill Scott pointed to a shadow box as he's describing the shrapnel that was collected from the battlefield that was fired at them by the Chinese.

Almost hit by the Chinese

Bill Scott described the fighting and living situations on the top of Pork Chop Hill. He recalled the area they were quartered in during their time on the hill.
Bill Scott was resting in his bed in this living quarters when it was hit and mortar barely escaped his head by inches. He said when he woke, the sound was deafening, and the area was heavily damaged. Bill Scott picked up pieces of the shell and stuck it in his pocket.

Bob Couch

Recollections of Korea and the War's Legacy

Bob Couch mentions his wound again and shares he was sent back to the States due to it not healing properly. He recalls arriving home on a Friday and returning to work on Monday. He offers his account of the war's legacy and states that he views all Korean veterans as heroes. He explains that he was fortunate compared to other Korean War soldiers and admits that he still has a hard time believing all he and others went through during the war.

Donald Lynch

Injuries and Difficult Experiences

Donald Lynch talks about being injured twice. He recalls going on a patrol one day on Hill 812 and the lead man stepping on a "Bouncing Betty" release-type booby trap. He recounts how all eight to ten men were hit by pellets. He shares how a pellet hit his thigh and came out about 50 years later when he was messing with it. He notes another injury which entailed a bayonet. He recalls of his war experience occurring in the Punchbowl region, close to the 38th parallel. He references witnessing all of the wounded men leaving the frontlines when he first arrived as his most difficult experience in Korea. He also recalls assisting the sewing of wounds.

Eddie Reyes Piña

Witnessing the Horrors of Pork Chop Hill and Then the Armistice

Eddie Reyes Piña served his country as part of the Battle of Pork Chop Hill. He reflects on how the unit fought back against the Chinese and North Koreans. He notes how he left his position in the rear guard to assist a medic in bringing the dead and wounded back. He further explains that the medic received a Bronze Star for Valor, but he did not in part because he did not know how to advocate for himself to ensure he received the medal. He concludes by sharing his recollections of witnessing the Armistice.

Edward L. Kafka

Inchon Landing and Radioman Training

Edward Kafka landed at Inchon in April 1952 and the military switched his MOS (military operational specialty) from surveyor to radioman while being stationed two miles from the front lines. While dealing with severe battles every day, he deciphered messages that were send through Morris Code from the outposts.

Life as a Soldier in Korea War

Edward Kafka worked near a mess hall and the headquarter's battery since he ran radios. Therefore, he had access to a shower once a week and he was able to get clean clothes too.

Korean Terraign and Fighting in Major Battles in Korean War

Edward Kafka described the mountains and farm land that reached all over that land. He fought at Heartbreak Ridge, the Iron Triangle, and Porkchop Hill.

Fermín Miranda Valle

The Battle of Pork Chop Hill / La Batalla de Pork Chop Hill

Fermín Miranda Valle was assigned to an American unit, as opposed to the Puerto Rican 65th Infantry, and fought during the Battle of Pork Chop Hill. He explains that his mission was to move artillery to the top of the hill in a tank. He provides a compelling narrative of the battle and the dangers he faced.

Fermín Miranda Valle fue asignado a una unidad estadounidense, porque habían desbandado la Infantería 65 que era puertorriqueña, y luchó durante la Batalla de Pork Chop Hill. Explica que su misión era llevar la artillería a la cima de la colina en un tanque. El provee la historia de la batalla y de los peligros que enfrentó.

Gene C. Richards

Avoiding the Final Mission

Gene C. Richards earned 4 Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters in addition to his Air Medal. He was one mission away from earning his fifth. He was determined to make one last mission, however, last minute was convinced not to make the attempt. Gene C. Richards describes how he is grateful to not have taken that mission due to that plane being shot down.

Gene Peeples

The 7th Med Battalion

Gene Peeples describes his role as a combat medic in the 7th Med Battalion. He describes combat medics rotating between different units every two weeks. He explains that he would spend time with engineering troops, then switch to another unit such as infantry.

Gerald Harbach

Just Keep Running

Gerald Harbach describes scenes of intense battles that he witnessed at Outpost Harry and Pork Chop Hill, as well as the Battle of White Horse. He recalls moments where all he knew to do was to try and keep running. He vividly remembers the sound of the bullets as they whizzed past his head.

Girma Mola Endeshaw

Medical Assistant

Girma Mola Endeshaw describes serving as a Medical Assistant during the Korean War. He observes that Ethiopian soldiers were not assigned a doctor. Instead, there were six medical assistants designated for every shambles, which consisted of two hundred fifty men. He confesses to still having nightmares about many of the wounded he helped treat.

"Not the Worst"

Girma Mola Endeshaw recounts his time during the Korean War, where men resided in bunkers without access to hot meals and suffered from sleep deprivation due to frequent attacks. The constant barrage of mortar shells would shake the ground at any given moment. Additionally, soldiers were only allowed to shower every ten days under orders from the Americans. Despite these hardships, he still considers his Korean experience as "not the worst."

Hiroshi Shima

I Wanted to Come Home Safe

Hiroshi Shima offers an account of a one-time visit to Seoul. He recalls the joy people felt with the signing of the armistice and his return home to Hawaii. He admits that one of the greatest difficulties soldiers faced was fear, especially because everyone wanted to come home. He explains that many saw buddies die, but that really they were not there long enough to have real buddies.

John I. Reidy

Final Days at Pork Chop Hill

John Reidy describes what fighting was like during the final days of the Battle of Pork Chop Hill. He recalls showering the Chinese with leaflets stating that in celebration of the United States' Independence, the Americans were going to take the hill. He remembers the fighting continuing and compares the difference between American and Chinese military tactics.

John T. “Sonny” Edwards

We Need to tell the Story

John T. "Sonny" Edwards shares his opinion on why the story of the Korean War has been absent in history. He discusses how having a proper historical perspective has been affected by the attitude from the United States Government toward the Korean War. He shares his vision for getting more information out to the public and imparting it to the younger generations.

José Luis Irizarry Rodríguez

Dangerous Arrival / Llegada Peligrosa

José Luis Irizarry Rodríguez recounts the story of his voyage to Korea. He explains that his platoon were replacements for all those lost at Pork Chop Hill and Kelly Hill. His company was divided into two and he was part of the second wave of soldiers that would be sent to Korea. He provides an account on how fifty soldiers from the first wave were killed the day they arrived, as the train transporting them to Seoul was bombed by Russians.

José Luis Irizarry Rodríguez cuenta la historia de su viaje a Corea. Explica que su pelotón reemplazó a todas las bajas en Pork Chop Hill y Kelly Hill. Su compañía se dividió en dos y él formó parte de la segunda ola de soldados que serían enviados a Corea. Brinda un relato de cómo cincuenta soldados de la primera ola murieron el día que llegaron, cuando los aviones rusos bombardearon el tren que los transportaba a Seúl.

Nom Supaphol

Experience at Pork Chop Hill

During the Battle of Pork Chop Hill, Nom Supaphol recalls finding himself stationed in the second line, close to the T-Bone area. Amid the conflict, he explains one of his comrades lost their life while fetching rations. Nights were intense with fighting, and mornings brought the grim task of retrieving fallen comrades. However, he faced these challenges without fear, recognizing the battle was solely against the enemy.

Life on the Front Lines

Nom Supaphol shares he found military training to be the most challenging aspect of his time in the Thai Army. Homesickness crept in, especially during moments of complete exhaustion. He remembers sleeping outdoors and receiving canned food rations and cigarettes daily while on duty. During their downtime away from the front lines, he fondly remembers how the Korean people would sell them food and even take him on trips around the area.

Pablo Delgado Medina

The 65th Infantry / El 65 de Infantería

Pablo Delgado Medina shares his thoughts about the 65th Infantry. He remembers the language barrier was a problem for Puerto Rican troops because Americans used slang during combat which they found difficult to understand. He states his belief that the 65th Infantry was the toughest combat brigade as it was assigned to the toughest missions including the Battle of Kelly Hill and Pork Chop Hill.

Pablo Delgado Medina comparte su opinión sobre el 65 de Infantería. Recuerda que a veces tenían problemas con el idioma porque los estadounidenses usaban una jerga durante el combate que les resultaba difícil de entender a los puertorriqueños. Afirma su creencia de que la 65.ª Infantería fue la brigada de combate más dura, y por eso fue enviada a las misiones más difíciles, incluyendo la Batalla de Kelly Hill y Pork Chop Hill.

Paul Hockla

Fighting on Pork Chop Hill

Paul Hockla describes what combat was like fighting against the Chinese at Pork Chop Hill.

Letter from Perry Edgar

Paul Hockla reads a letter from Perry Edgar, whose life he saved in combat while they were in Korea.

Phil Feehan

First Assignments

Phil Feehan discusses heading to Sandbag Castle, where he was stationed upon first arriving in Korea. He described it as being opposite a North Korean division. After being at Sandbag Castle a short time, he was sent to Christmas Hill where he described fighting four nights in a row.

Injured and a Gentleman's Agreement

Phil Feehan was wounded in the hand by a mortar shell that also killed his artillery officer and first sergeant that were beside him. He noted the Chinese would not fire at you if you were carrying wounded soldiers. However, they would shoot at you in the exact same spot when you returned, especially if you were carrying supplies.

Ralph Hodge

Pork Chop Hill

Ralph Hodge details how he and his unit came under fire on Pork Chop Hill on September 16th, 1953. He recalls the location was key in protecting the city of Seoul. He remembers being pinned down by wave after wave of Chinese descending on the hill and shares American casualties were devastatingly high.

Raul Segarra Alicea

Wounded at Pork Chop Hill / Herido en Pork Chop Hill

Raúl Segarra Alicea details the events which transpired at the Battle of Pork Chop Hill. He describes the way the allied lines were arranged and explains how he was shot during combat. He shares that he earned the Purple Heart because of his actions during this battle. Furthermore, he notes that there were tactical mistakes made by the United States which may have resulted in more casualties.

Raúl Segarra Alicea detalla los hechos que ocurrieron durante la Batalla de Pork Chop Hill. Él describe como estaban situadas las líneas aliadas y explica cómo lo dispararon durante el combate. Él comparte que obtuvo el Corazón Púrpura por sus acciones durante esta batalla. Además, él se acuerda de que Estados Unidos cometió errores tácticos que pueden haber provocado más bajas.

Raymond W. Guenthner

PTSD and Bronze Stars

Raymond Guenthner describes his memories of being injured during the war. He discusses his PTSD and therapy. He explains how his commanding officer was angry that he lost his weapon while trying to save his own life and his disappointment in not reaching the top of the hill. He also highlights earning the Purple Heart.

Richard A. Houser

Leaving for Korean War in 1953

Richard Houser took a ship and landed in Inchon in April 1953 after a lonely 20 day ship ride to Korea. While traveling to his base in the Chorwon Valley known as the Iron Triangle, Richard Houser was able to see Seoul leveled, small thatched homes, and dirt roads all around him.

The Korean War Ceasefire

Richard Houser fought until the last second to hold Porkchop Hill in the Chorwon Valley right before the ceasefire. It felt great for him when the war ended because he was able to build new trenches farther off the 38th parallel.

Fighting Alongside with UN Nations

Richard Houser fought along with Turks, Aussies, Ethiopians, Greeks, and Columbians while fighting against communism. The Chinese were afraid of the Turks because they would cut off the ear of their enemy as a trophy.

Robert Chisolm

Battle of Pork Chop Hill

Robert Chisolm shares how he was assigned to the 187th Parachute Regiment, 7th Infantry Division. He recalls being stationed right near Pork Chop Hill in the Cheorwon Valley in defensive positions. He recounts how the Chinese attacked on July 25, 1953, (a few days before the ceasefire) and how he was tasked with calling for an artillery barrage.

Living Conditions During the Battle of Pork Chop Hill

Robert Chisolm recalls how he and others were not able to shower until they came returned to camp. He recounts sleeping inside a bunker near his trenches with three other men in the company command post.

Letters Home and Life on the Home Front

Robert Chisolm shares he married his childhood sweetheart in 1946 and wrote letters to her throughout the Korean War. He notes that she volunteered with the Red Cross. He recalls a time she had to ask the Red Cross to determine if he was alright after the Battle of Pork Chop Hill since their local newspaper wrote a large article about his regiment in that major battle.

Saiyud Kerdphol

Had to Patrol So the Enemy Would Not Creep Up

Saiyud Kerdphol led his patrol in the Iron Triangle. He explained they had to go on patrol through the night or the Chinese would creep up on you. He explained you did not have to go on the attack but it was for security measures. They needed to accurately relate their positions to American air support. As a result, none of his men were killed while on patrol.

Could Not Lose - If We Die We Die

Saiyud Kerdphol related the importance of Pork Chop Hill. They could not lose or else it was a straight shot to Seoul. There were repeated fights and they were ordered to hold at all costs. He emphasized "if we die, we die." Despite the harsh fighting, if they stayed in the bunkers they survived. Only those that left the bunkers were killed.

Samuel Stoltzfus

Close Calls in Korea

Samuel Stoltzfus arrived in Pusan to board a train for the front lines north of Seoul. As a truck driver and radio operator, he hauled his radio across locations that included Old Baldy and Porkchop. He drove officers and radios through enemy fire. Once, during a speedy dash through enemy-observed territory, a hand grenade tumbled from the glove compartment onto the floor of his Jeep.

Sterling D. Mestad

Communicating with Pork Chop Hill

Sterling D. Mestad offers his account of the Pork Chop Hill experience on the communications side. He shares that he did not see as much as the men who were on the lines but adds that he was never far from danger. He recounts a soldier right behind him hit in the face suffering a serious wound.

Suwan Chinda

Pork Chop Hill

Suwan Chinda recalls his experience at the Battle of Pork Chop Hill. He shares that he was assigned to communications and was sent to repair lines when needed. He remembers receiving orders to repair a line that had been damaged by bombs near the front lines on one particular occasion and recalls members of his team arguing with the officer who assigned them to the job as they were fearful of becoming injured. He shares that he was not scared and was willing to fight. He adds that he sustained no wounds at the battle.

Tereda Mersha

Wounded in Action

Tereda Mersha describes his arrival on the frontlines and action at Yoke Mountain. His unit lost their commander in the fighting. Tereda Mersha was shot three times and believes he only survived death with the help of Emperor Haile Selassie.

Thomas O’Dell

Using DDT to Cook in Korea

Thomas O'Dell used DDT for killing insects including gnats and fleas. He even used DDT for cooking C-rations by adding it to his fire in the trenches to warm he food. Hot water for baths were also warmed over a DDT-created fire.

Chinese Propaganda Leaflets and Speeches

Thomas O'Dell fought against the Chinese and North Koreans. There was propaganda slogans broadcast over loudspeakers throughout the night to try to brainwash the US troops. Leaflets were shot over the trenches by the Chinese to convince the US troops to surrender or to switch to the Chinese's side.

Fighting the Chinese While Eating Kimchi

Thomas O'Dell was told not to shoot the Chinese, so he fought hand-to-hand combat against a a soldier with a sword. While fighting on the frontlines, he received food from the South Korean soldiers who were stationed with him. Still to this day, Thomas O'Dell makes fresh kimchi just like he was fed in the trenches by his allies.

No Fear and The Invincibility of Thomas O'Dell as a Fifteen Year Old in the Korean War

Thomas O'Dell was not scared during the Korean War because he was only fifteen years old and he felt invincible. During the Battle of Pork Chop Hill, as he was dug in the trenches, Corporal Thomas O'Dell was confronted with his commander with his birth certificate. He was caught being a fifteen year old in the Korean War, but he was able to sneak back into another battle during the mayhem.

Vincent Ariola

The Loneliness of Warfare

Vincent Ariola recalls that due to the isolated nature of serving in a tank, during the Korean War he did not learn names of fellow servicemen other than for functional purposes of doing his job. He remembers that his primary feeling during the war was the feeling of being alone. He describes why he did not take time to tell his family about his Korean War experiences. He tells of his son never opening up to his own warfare experiences in Somalia in the same way, and reflects on the American losses during the Korean War.

Wayne Pelkey

Wayne Pelkey Wore the Poncho He Wore on Christmas Hill

Wayne Pelkey wore the poncho he wore on Christmas Hill where his platoon leader and two others were killed from a mortar only twelve days before the armistice was signed. One soldier died in his arms as he held him. This poncho was used as the model for the Korean War Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Wayne Pelkey Is Wounded as His Friends Die but Received No Purple Heart

Wayne Pelkey and three others tried to reinforce another company but were hit with a mortar round. The other three died but he survived with a severe concussion. He had to identify one of his friends that was decapitated by the mortar. He bled from his ears, nose, and mouth for two weeks even though there was not a hole in his poncho. He was not awarded a purple heart because his skin was not broken.