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
Geographic TagsAnyangAprokgang (Yalu River)BusanByeokdongCheonanCheongcheongang (River)ChuncheonDaeguDaejeonDongducheonEast SeaEuijeongbuGaesongGangneungGeojedoGeumgangGeumgang (River)GotoriHagalwooriHamheungHangang (River)HeungnamHwacheonHwangchoryeongImjingang (River)IncheonJangjinJipyeongriKunsanKunwooriLanggoonMasanNakdonggang (River)OsanPanmunjeomPohangPyungyangSeokdongSeoulSudongSuwonWolmidoWonjuWonsanYellow SeaYeongdeungpoYeonpyeongYudamri
Social TagsBasic trainingChineseCiviliansCold wintersCommunistsDepressionFearFoodFront linesG.I. BillHome frontImpressions of KoreaKATUSALettersLiving conditionsMessage to StudentsModern KoreaMonsoonNorth KoreansOrphanagePersonal LossPhysical destructionPovertyPOWPridePrior knowledge of KoreaPropagandaRest and Relaxation (R&R)South KoreansWeaponsWomen
Wounded While Serving the Citizens and Soldiers
Achille Ragazzoni explains that with the deployment of Italian troops to Korea, this became the first foreign mission involving Italian soldiers. He recalls how his father made preparations for deployment to Korea which involved learning to treat citizens in addition to the soldiers. He shares his father was wounded while transporting medicine and spent some time being treated in an American hospital. He recounts how when his father was offered the chance to go home to recover, he chose to remain in Korea.
English translations begin: 23:52 and 26:20.
Hospital Work in Korea
Achille Ragazzoni shares memories of his father Gianluigi Ragazzoni when he initially arrived in Seoul. He explains that his father found no Italian embassy in the country as it was covered by the embassy in Tokyo. He shares his father knew little of the Korean language and recalls how there were many Japanese words used in Korea. He describes his father's role in working for an Italian hospital which used medicines provided by the Americans and shares that when given days off, his father and others enjoyed traveling around areas in Korea.
English translations begin at 30:50, 32:39, 35:52, and 37:11.
Memories of Children in the Hospital
Achille Ragazzoni recounts stories Gianluigi Ragazzoni, his father, shared of the young children brought to the hospital. Many of these children were orphaned and, as a Catholic hospital, the facility made sure they were baptized and placed with new Korean families. He recounts how after the war, his father received many letters from those families.
English translations begin at 46:30 and 47:27.
Learning to Understand the Korean People
Achille Ragazzoni shares his father Gianluigi Ragazzoni's desire to learn as much as he could about the Korean people. He comments on how his father took advantage of every opportunity to socialize with the Korean people, unlike many of his colleagues. His father noticed many similarities between the Korean and Italian people, notably the music. He adds that though his father left Korea in 1954, the hospital continued its operation.
English translations begin: 49:23, 50:32, and 50:41.
Impressions after Return Trips to Korea
Achille Ragazzoni's father Gianluigi Ragazzoni returned to Korea ten or twelve times over his lifetime. His son shares how his father marveled at the improvements made, especially related to the sanitary situation of the country. He recalls his father expressing sadness that many Korean people had abandoned tradition and history but that Gianluigi Ragazzoni was impressed with one young woman he met along the way studying a medieval Italian map.
English translations begin: 51:05 and 53:46.
Destruction and Poverty
Ahmet Tan describes the conditions of the Koreans during the Korean War. He describes the people as "good," but impoverished. He also described how the Turkish troops looked after some orphaned children, feeding them and providing them shelter in the military tents.
Ahmet Tan describes the enemy and fighting conditions near Cheorwon when he first arrived. The action was very violent, but eased when the Armistice was signed. After the Armistice, Turkish soldiers returned home. Ahmet Tan was happy to be home in Istanbul. He has revisited South Korea once and describes it as beautiful. Also, if war ever breaks out again, Ahmet Tan would go again.
Duties Following Cease-fire
Alan Guy recounts returning to Busan to assist with health aspects following the cease-fire and details several duties. Despite the cease-fire, he recalls an incident that involved a rope strung across the road as an attempted means of decapitating drivers. He shares an account of a situation he found himself in within the black market.
Korea Then and Now
Albert Grocott shares that he visited Korea three times since the war and offers a view of Korea then and now. He recalls small villages with outside toilets while serving and compares them to the metropolis that Seoul has become through the years with beautiful homes and high-rises. He states that the landscape has even changed but the people have not.
For the Love of Learning a Language
Albert Grocott recalls his time spent on Rest and Relaxation (R&R) in Seoul during the war. He shares that he encountered several orphaned children who needed food and clothing while there and details bringing them food from the mess hall and stealing clothing for them. He states that he did it for the love of learning a language, and the only payment he required was that they teach him Korean words and songs.
The Pull to Join the Korean War
Albert Kleine joined the military in May 1950 before the Korean War broke out. He became interested in the Korean War in 1952 when he met a soldier who came home from this war and he had an Indian arrow head. In 1953, he went to Korea with 4 friends.
Albert R. Sayles
GI Bill Benefits
Albert Sayles recalls receiving GI Bill benefits of $600 to attend Hagerstown Community College upon his return. He describes working for the post office while also attending accounting courses. He adds his thoughts on how wonderful the GI Bill was at the time and the opportunities it provided.
Impact of Service
Albert Sayles recounts returning home, stepping off the bus, and not a word being said to him regarding his service. He emphasizes that he simply went back to work and shares his thoughts on why the war was not a topic of conversation on the home front. He acknowledges that his service had a positive impact on his life and is glad the Korean people are appreciative of American efforts.
Headed to Korea and First Impression
Alfred Curtis describes how he felt when he learned he would be serving in Korea. He shares that hardly anyone knew anything about Korea and that he had honestly never even heard of Korea. He adds that he and other young soldiers thought they would go over and take care of business within a few months and be home. He recalls his journey to Korea, landing in Pusan, and the suffering of the South Korean people.
Thoughts on Service, Memories, and the Korean War Legacy
Alfred Curtis offers his thoughts on service and memories of his brother who served in Korea. He shares that his brother was at Incheon and the Chosin Reservoir and that he died from wounds he sustained in battle. He comments on the legacy of the Korean War, sharing that what the country of South Korea has done for itself since the war is unbelievable.
Destruction and Living Conditions
Ali Dagbagli describes the poor conditions of the Korean people. Kids would beg for food and cigarettes. People lived in houses made of rice stalks. Ali Dagbagli traveled from Incheon to Daegu, before moving north to Kunu-ri, North Korea.
Transformation of Korea
Ali Dagbagli describes the transformation of South Korea. He describes what he saw during the war. Kids were begging for food and cigarettes for their fathers. Contrast this with today where Seoul was clean, no dirt and no cigarettes on the ground. Ali Dagbagli could never have imagined the transition in such a short period of time.
Ali Muzaffer Kocabalkan
Recounts From Post-Armistice Korea
Ali Muzaffer Kocabalkan describes post-Armistice South, Korea. He describes women with small feet from forced stunting. He also describes the suffering of the people from a war-torn land. People were starving. Ali Muzaffer Kocabalkan gave food to the people. However, this was against military rules. He had to spend fifteen days in military prison for giving food. He also discusses the taboos of the suffering of the people.
A Civilian War
Ali Saglik describes how the Turkish forces captured a spy. He also describes how enemy forces, hiding in civilian houses, shot and injured a fellow soldier. Not all Korean civilians were enemies, however, as some would provide fresh fish. Ali Saglik also describes the Battle of Kunu-ri and how the "Americans ran away." Turkish soldiers attached bayonets and killed Chinese for two days.
Thoughts on the Korean War Legacy Project
Alice Allen understands the importance of the Korean War Legacy Project and its potential impact on future generations. Her husband, Jack Allen, did not really discuss his Korean War experiences before the interview, and now he speaks freely about it. Alice Allen believes
that it is important that younger generation learn about the Korean War and the experiences of the veterans.
College, Letters, and Love
Alice Allen was going to college when her husband, Jack Allen, joined the military in 1948. During his time away, she earned a degree in education, and began teaching which helped pass the time while he was away. On leave in 1950, Alice Allen was married to Jack Allen and the two stayed in contact through letters while he participated in the Korean War from 1950 through 1951.
Injuries During War Never Tarnished Their Love
Alice Allen was on the home front when her husband, Jack Allen, was injured during the Korean War. Thankfully, he was injured on his right arm and not his left because he is left-handed. Even with an arm and leg injury, Alice Allen maintained her love for her Korean War Veteran.
Allen Clark's First Prisoner of War
Allen Clark was establishing observation posts and was maneuvering around Gimpo Airport when he came across a family who had captured a North Korean soldier. He felt the process of handing him to the property authorities went well, but he was concerned that there were many more POWs with the possibility of being outnumbered. He wasn't sure how the Korean people felt about American's arrival during the conflict, but at that time, he felt they were happy and pleased the US soldiers were there.
Evacuation of Civilians after the Battle of the Chosin Reservoir
South Korean civilians wanted to escape so bad that they were willing to leave behind everything and jump aboard overcrowded ships to leave the war-stricken area. It was estimated that 99,000 civilians were crammed on two boats with the survivors from the Battle of the Chosin Reservoir with aid from a Chaplin who convinced the boat skipper to bring all the civilians to safety.
Korean Culture and Ceasefire
Allen Clark worked with and became friends with some South Korean civilians during his second tour in Korea. He observed Korean burials and was invited to eat octopus for the first time with the locals. During the ceasefire, Allen Clark used the help of civilians at the DMZ to find the enemy on the final days of the Korean War in July 1953.
Leaving Korea after the Armistice and Returning to Korea
Andrew Cleveland recalls leaving Korea earlier than planned in September of 1954. He shares how after the armistice was signed, soldiers who signed up for college could go home and attend school. He recounts attending the University of Texas after leaving Korea, thanks to the G.I. Bill. He shares how he returned to Korea twenty-eight years later on business, specifically to coordinate the manufacturing of new products for his company. He describes befriending a Korean manufacturer and visiting Korea multiple times a year for many years in a row. His shares how his grandson captured this friendship in a work of art.
Children of War
Andrew Lanza's initial encounter as he landed in Pusan was filled with shock because he never heard of Korea. One image that he will never forget is hungry children carrying other children on their backs. Some of the children were, as he described, "disfigured."
Andrew Lanza was upset when the armistice took place in 1953 because he was fighting for every last hill against the enemy. The United States Marines were so sad to see his fellow troops die on the last few days of war. After going home, he was overjoyed to see his girlfriend, family, and friends again.
Experience in Korea
Angad Singh speaks about his living arrangements in Panmunjom, along the DMZ. He describes their living quarters, U.S. tents, being well-built and remembers having kerosine heaters in the tents because the temperatures in Korea were very cold. He recalls some of his duties while in Korea and adds that he left Korea and arrived home in India in August of 1954.
Devastation and Destruction of Seoul
Aristides Simoes reflects on his memories of the capital of South Korea, Seoul, after the war. Despite seeing civilians and soldiers on the streets, the city itself was filled with dust, destruction, and debris. He also details the extreme poverty many South Koreans were experiencing at the time.
Arthur Gentry lived through the "bonsai" attack near Kimpo Airfield. Japan occupied Korea for 35 years, and the North Koreans learned this "bonsai" tactic from the Japanese. Arthur Gentry remembered how Roosevelt made a decision to divide Korea while working with the Soviet Union. The U.S. Air Force was bringing in supplies to the airfield, so protection of the airfield was of great significance.
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.
Legacy of the Korean War
Arthur Gentry believes that if it were not for the Marines, there would not have been victory at the Chosin Reservoir. Casualties were hight with 3600 U.S. soldiers killed in action, and another 6000 suffered from frostbite. Arthur Gentry believes that the Korean War, otherwise known as the "Forgotten War," was the last war the U.S. "won" and accomplished anything. He believes the victory lies within the Marines holding the line and the U.S. nurturing South Korea to flourish economically and democratically.
Arthur H. Hazeldine
The Korean People
Arthur H. Hazeldine describes his encounters with Korean people while aboard the New Zealand Frigate HMNZS Taupo. Further, he describes his admiration for the youth who fought for their country. He shares one memory of rescuing fishermen and returning them to their village.
Arthur W. Sorgatz
Strangers Left The Dead
Based on Korean culture, if someone died and the body was lying along the road, civilians would leave the body there, claiming that if they returned the body to the family, the helper would have to take care of the deceased person's family. Sometimes, bodies would lay in the road for three to four days before it was picked up. Arthur Sorgatz had to drive around bodies any times during his tour in Busan, Korea.
Impact from a Tour in Korea and Japan
Arthur Sorgatz was able to learn about how other people live when he was stationed in Busan starting in 1954. Poverty was very high in Korea after the war and America's poverty level is nothing compared to Korea's at that time. In Japan, Arthur shipped damaged trucks to the port while creating his own fun by scaring Japanese civilians by backfiring trucks right within busy towns.
Asefa Desta describes the details of his service in the Korean War. He describes how Korean civilians were so helpful during the war. American supplies were a necessity. Engagements with the Chinese were frequent. He describes how he did not want to even blink to give his position.
Impressions of Korea
Ayhan Karabulut describes the despair of Korea when he landed in 1951. He describes a train from Incheon to Seoul where it was faster to walk. He also describes women and children begging soldiers for food. There were many orphaned children during this time that were also begging for food.
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.
Joining the Marine Corps
Basilio MaCalino didn't graduate high school and due to his bad choices, he had to join the military.
He enlisted Feb. 12, 1953 for the Marine Corps and was sent to San Diego, CA for his bootcamp training. Right after training, he was sent to Korea. His specialty was a supplier for the military.
The Dangers of Providing Supplies for Troops
Basilio MaCalino landed at Incheon in March 1953. From there, he went to Sasebo on his way to his station in Ascom City. When arriving there, human waste was everywhere and the smell was something that he'll never forget. When leaving his station in a truck to bring supplies to troops, he was shot at multiple times.
Life in Ascom City
Basilio MaCalino was stationed at Ascom City and he hated that there wasn't any fresh milk, eggs and hot water for his shower. When it was cold, he only showered once a week. Basilio MaCalino was able to sleep in an old building and was signed house boys to help around the base.
Protecting a Country Being Attacked
Belay Bekele describes the reasoning for Ethiopian forces going to Korea. Emperor Haile Selassie made a promise to the United Nations to protect nations being attacked. Ethiopia was the only country in Africa to send troops to Korea. Belay Bekele also describes the suffering of the people. He says the people would eat food scraps from the soldiers.
Ben Schrader Jr.
We Suffered Together
Ben Schrader remembered before going up on the hill, they would stop over at the kitchen and pick up whole raw onions and potatoes. He remembered while cooking the C-Ration that contained some form of meat, they would eat the whole onion raw and potato uncooked to add flavor. Koreans would have double rations so that they could share with the American military and the meals consisted of rice with fish.
Everyone Looked Beautiful
Bernard Brownstein describes his arrival in Incheon and drive to his camp. He explains that the soldier driving him whistles at Korean women as they are driving. He explains that initially he didn't find the girl attractive but as time went on, everyone became beautiful.
Ingenuity of the Korean People
Bernard Brownstein shares his memories of Seoul and its disheveled state. He marvels at the ingenuity of the South Korean people as he recounts how they constructed their homes and carried out everyday tasks. He adds that the automatic internal ingenuity of the Korean people led them from where they were to where they are now.
Coping with Loss and Memories of Korea
Bernard Clark is still saddened by the loss of his friends while serving. He dealt with those losses as a young man in a few different ways. He also attended several concerts during his time in Korea, and he remembers a road march while on reserve which entailed a fiery mishap. Napalm drops took place during the Korean War, and he describes the aftermath of this weapon.
What Adjective Would You Chose to Describe Korea during the war?
Bernard Smith described Korea as if the conditions and people during the war went "back in time." He said he could equate what he saw to living the harsh life in rural America where people had next to nothing, but were still happy. He described children would pull empty Hershey boxes with a string as if it was a toy truck and were so content.
Bernard Smith's encounter with Seoul when they arrived was a devastated and torn apart city. An example is a governmental business that had its windows blown out and walls collapsed, but what parts were still standing and areas safe enough to work, the government continued to work there. The area where Bernard Smith was stationed appeared to be untouched.
Bernardo De Jesus Ramírez Santiago
Lucky to be Alive / Vivo de Milagro
Bernardo De Jesus Ramírez Santiago shares one of the most impactful moments of the war. He describes the incident in which he and others were almost killed by friendly fire when they were attempting to prepare mortars in Seoul. Following that attack, he remembers how they went on a trek and forever engraved in his memory is the sight of a little four-year-old girl begging on the side of the road.
Bernardo De Jesus Ramírez Santiago comparte uno de los momentos más impactantes de la guerra. El describe el incidente en el que él y otros casi murieron por fuego amigo cuando intentaban preparar morteros en Seúl. Después de ese ataque, él recuerda que hicieron una caminata y siempre le quedo grabado en su mente el recuerdo de una niña de cuatro años que mendigaba al costado de la carretera.
First Days at War / Primeros Días en la Guerra
Bernardo De Jesus Ramírez Santiago describes his first impressions of Korea and the utter devastation he encountered. He remembers being immediately struck by the fact that the train which transported them to the front was riddled with bullet holes. Furthermore, he details the way in which Seoul was destroyed and the way in which a major bridge was blown up by the allies to prevent troop advancement by the enemy.
Bernardo De Jesus Ramírez Santiago describe sus primeras impresiones de Corea y la devastación total que encontró. Recuerda que le llamó la atención el hecho de que el tren que los transportaba al frente estaba lleno de agujeros de balazos. Además, detalla la forma en que Seúl fue destruida y la forma en que los aliados volaron un puente importante para evitar el avance de las tropas enemigas.
Lucie Paus Falck discusses how her father, and his cousin, worked with the Red Cross to establish a field hospital in Korea. They began their work in Japan buying supplies for the hospital beginning in April of 1951. The NORMASH hospital would open in July of 1951 courtesy of the Norwegian government.
Lucie Paus Falck reads from her father's diary describing the first patient he treated. The patient was a 13 year old boy named Park who was severely burned in July of 1951. The boy was transferred away to Seoul but would return when Dr. Bernhard Falck engineered his return after hearing about him from a nurse who journeyed to Seoul to see him.
Return to Korea
Lucie Paus Falck gives her unique perspective of Korea having worked a year as an intern of sorts with her father in Seoul in 1958 and then returning on three occasions in 2001, 2008, and 2010. In 1958, she describes the country as war-torn and remembers shacks assembled from all kinds of building materials. She marvels upon her return in 2001 about the evolution of Seoul and comments on the growth of traffic! She is particularly proud of Norwegians for their work with Korea including the adoption of over 6000 Korean orphans.
Leaving Chosin (Jangjin) Reservoir
Bill Chisholm recounts leaving the Chosin (Jangjin) Reservoir following the horrific fighting going on in the region. He shares his unit was able to evacuate to Ko-to-ri following the building of a Bailey Bridge across the river and on to Heungnam. He recalls the massive sea of humanity he saw in Heungnam as the port filled with the Marines, the soldiers, and thousands of refugees.
The Plight of the Korean People
Bill Lynn describes the destitute conditions the Korean people lived in during the war. He has revisited Korea and compares what he saw during the war with what he witnessed when he returned. Now he describes South Korea as a paradise and is completely astonished with the way the South Koreans have developed their country.
When Bill Scott arrived in Seoul, they were given 4-5 days worth of rations. After seeing the starving children with or without parents, the soldiers fed the babies with their own food rather than watch them starve. Soldiers knew they had to take care of the kids and they were proud to have done it for them.
Billy J. Scott
The Rubble of Seoul
Billy Scott describes civilian men, women, and children starving in the destruction of Seoul. He shares that he and other American soldiers had never seen anything like it. He recounts gathering c-rations along with other fellow troops and tossing them to those in need.
The Friendship of Two Strangers
Billy Scott describes his friendship with a KATUSA (Korean Augmentation to the United States Army) named Pyon during his time in Korea. He recounts the opportunity Pyon was given to pay a visit to his family he had not seen in roughly a year's time. He shares that American soldiers gathered food, clothing, blankets, and money and gifted them to Pyon to secure his family's safety. He adds that he will never forget him.
At War at Just Sixteen
Bjarne Christensen explains how he exited the hospital ship in Busan to see poverty. He shares that he had never seen anything like it at sixteen. He shares how he saw children begging and it bothered him.
The Eye-Opening Trip to Pusan
Bob Couch discusses his basic training in California and his deployment to Korea. He recounts the "jolt" he experienced upon his arrival in Pusan after seeing the state of destruction and poverty level among civilians. He recalls trucks making rounds each morning to collect bodies of civilians who had died during the night.
Running a Petroleum Pipeline
Brian Kanof explains his role in leading a specialist group in the running of the oil pipeline which was built, maintained, and manned by the US Army. He shares this South-to-North pipeline helped supply petroleum to Seoul. He describes his role in operations and his battalion's interactions with the local South Korean people through cooking a meal to rival the spiciness of local cuisine.
Operation Full Eagle
Brian Kanof qualified as a Green Beret in November 1985. He notes his second deployment to Korea was to train Korean Special Operations Forces in a mountainous area south of Seoul. In addition to details on this training opportunity, he shares how his unit, largely from the South Texas area, was able to show the Koreans they could handle the hot and spicy food that came their way.
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.
The Latent Effects of Korean War: PTSD
Bruce Ackerman experienced Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) due to the Korean War. He found connections between the modern War on Terror and the soldiers who fought in the Korean War because they both are lacking resources to help with their transition back to civilian life. There are psychological and social effects of war on veterans due to their exposure to death, extreme weather, and constant surprise enemy attacks.
Making a Contribution
Bruce Kim describes his experience at the middle school for boys in Samcheonpo. He particularly remembers the lack of heat in the school and the students in the simplicity of the resources. After getting into a routine, he explains how he tried to train them to move away from just memorizing the words and instead focus on making dialogue. He comments on how some of the students enjoyed the different teaching style. Overall, he remembers many excelled with this different approach. Furthermore, he shares he felt he made a contribution by showing them how they could use the English language.
Students Find Success
Bruce Kim reflects on the relationships he developed while in Samcheonpo. He thinks about the perception of the countryside communities in Korea and feels that sometimes they are underestimated. However, against all of their adversities, he shares that many of his students from that small fishing community were able to attend Seoul National University. During a trip back to Korea, he describes one encounter with a former student who became a dentist and returned to Samcheonpo.
Bruce W. Diggle
Bruce Diggle shares photos he took while in Korea. He shows photos of his travels from Pusan to Seoul through the countryside. His photos show the low level of development of Pusan and the destruction of bridges along with the city of Seoul itself.
Departure and Revisit
Bruce Diggle left Korea in 1954 by ship and went to London. In London, he met up with his soon-to-be wife who left for London when he left for Korea. They were married upon his arrival in London. He returned to Korea with a revisit program offered to New Zealand veterans. He is very appreciative of South Korea's efforts to bring veterans back and is impressed by the development of South Korea since the war.
Bryan J. Johnson
Rescuing Refugees from North Korea
Bryan J. Johnson describes his service in the West Sea off the Island of Cho-do. He was defending this territory from North Korean invasion. At one point his ship was responsible for the rescuing a Christian family from North Korean territory.
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.
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.
Carl M. Jacobsen
Carl Jacobsen describes the living conditions he endured while serving. He remembers extremely cold temperatures and not being outfitted with proper winter gear. He recalls the K-Ration meals he ate and recounts a few meals he shared with locals.
Carl W. House
I Now Know Why I'm Fighting in the Korean War!
Carl House's attitude of "why am I here fighting this war?" changed from a free education to the protection of civilians. Carl House and his fellow soldiers were sent on a mission to find the enemy that was targeting US planes. While they were searching, they found women who had been tortured and murdered which instantly changed his perception of war. He would much rather fight to help the Korean people, than see this happen to his own family back in the United States.
Carlos David Rodriguez Boissen
On Their Feet
Carlos David Rodriguez Boissen describes how he feels he helped the Korean people get up on their feet after the war. He shares that his aid came through distributing clothing, food, and assistance where needed while he was there. He explains that he knew they were going through a difficult time and that they needed all the help soldiers and the government could give them.
Speaking Spanish with a Korean Boy
Carlos David Rodriguez Boissen recounts a young Korean boy attempting to trade a weapon with him in exchange for a case of c-rations. He describes the boy speaking in Spanish to him rather than Korean as he had learned it from other Puerto Rican soldiers. He adds that he did not make the trade.
Carlos Guillermo Latorre Franco
Legacy of the War / El Legado de la Guerra
Carlos Guillermo Latorre Franco shares his opinions on why he believes that war should be avoided. He explains that wars lead to hunger, disease, fallow fields, crying mothers, orphans, and leveled cities. In his opinion, he explains that diplomacy is a better way to solve disputes. He laments the fact that the Colombian government did not use their experience to try to solve the problems with guerilla fighters in their own nation.
Carlos Guillermo Latorre Franco comparte sus opiniones sobre por qué el cree que se debe evitar la guerra. Explica que las guerras provocan hambre, enfermedades, campos que no producen, madres que lloran, huérfanos y ciudades arrasadas. En su opinión, la diplomacia es una mejor manera de resolver problemas. Es por ello por lo que lamenta que el gobierno colombiano no aprendió su experiencia para intentar solucionar los problemas con los guerrilleros.
First Impressions / Primeras Impresiones
Carlos Guillermo Latorre Franco discusses his first impressions of the war and Korea. He remembers that he and others experienced real fear upon first landing in Incheon. During the first two months he spent in Korea, he recalls that they trained in modern warfare and took care of prisoners of war. He recounts the desperation of the civilian population, in particular, what women were forced to do to survive.
Carlos Guillermo Latorre Franco cuenta de sus primeras impresiones sobre la guerra y Corea. Recuerda que él y otros tuvieron miedo cuando llegaron por primera vez en Incheon y vieron lo que es la guerra. Durante los dos primeros meses que pasó en Corea, recuerda que tenían entrenamiento y los asignaron a cuidaron a los prisioneros de guerra. El se acuerda de la desesperación de la población civil, en particular, de lo que las mujeres se vieron obligadas a hacer para sobrevivir.
Carlos Julio Mora Zea
First Impressions/ Primeras Impresiones
Carlos Julio Mora Zea reflects on his first impressions of Korea. He explains that he still feels pity remembering the terrible conditions civilians faced. He explains that children lined up along truck routes to beg and offer unthinkable things to soldiers. He remembers the destruction in most of the cities which had no buildings but were simply heaps of rubble.
Carlos Julio Mora Zea habla sobre sus primeras impresiones de Corea. Explica que todavía siente lástima cuando recuerda las terribles condiciones a las que se enfrentaban los civiles. Explica que los niños hacían fila a lo largo de las rutas de los camiones para mendigar y les ofrecían cosas a los soldados que ni entendían. Recuerda la destrucción de la mayoría de las ciudades y cuenta que no habían más edificios sino que eran simplemente montones de escombros.
Carlos Julio Rodriguez Riveros
The Legacy of the War / El Legado de la Guerra
Carlos Julio Rodríguez Riveros shares his thoughts on the legacy of the War in Korea. He states that he is against wars as they hurt too many people and therefore governments around the world should avoid them whenever possible. He adds that he believes communism will eventually be eradicated from the earth and replaced by freedom.
Carlos Julio Rodríguez Riveros comparte su opinión sobre el legado de la Guerra de Corea. Afirma que está en contra de las guerras porque le hacen demasiado daño a la gente y, por lo tanto, los gobiernos de todo el mundo deberían evitarlas siempre que sea posible. Agrega que cree que el comunismo eventualmente será erradicado de la tierra y reemplazado por la libertad.
Memories of a Destroyed Nation / Recuerdos de Una Nación Destruida
Carlos Julio Rodríguez Riveros recalls his first impressions of Korea upon his arrival. He remembers the shock he felt at seeing the utmost misery within the civilian population. He shares that he will never forget the manner in which people begged for food and the ways in which soldiers tried to help.
Carlos Julio Rodríguez Riveros recuerda sus primeras impresiones de Corea. Recuerda la conmoción que sintió al ver la miseria entre los civiles. Comparte que nunca se olvidará de la forma en que la gente pedía comida y las formas en que los soldados intentaban ayudar.
First Impressions / Primeras Impresiones
Carlos Rivera-Rivera describes his first impressions of Korea and the people in the country. He explains that he was astonished by the abject poverty and need he witnessed. He reflects on the fact that he could not understand how civilians were able to survive without water and living under the conditions they faced.
Carlos Rivera-Rivera describe sus primeras impresiones de Corea y de la gente en el país. Explica que estaba asombrado por la pobreza y la necesidad que vio. No podía entender cómo los civiles podían sobrevivir sin agua y viviendo en las condiciones a las que se enfrentaban.
Carroll F. Reusch
Amazed by Progress
Carroll F. Reusch shares he took part in a revisit program in 2010 along with other Korean War veterans from the United States, Greece, Australia, Canada, and Ethiopia. He recollects Seoul, at that time, being the most beautiful city he had ever seen. He describes the city and notes that he had no idea things would shape up so quickly when he left Korea in 1954.
Cecil Franklin Snyder
Cecil Snyder describes Seoul based on his visits there in late 1958 though 1959. He talks about the condition of the city, its infrastructure, sanitation, and people.
Cecil K. Walker
Desperate Living Conditions
Cecil Walker describes the living conditions in South Korea during the time of war. People were in desperate conditions during the time of winter. He describes poor housing and lack of general items. Cecil Walker describes how the people of South Korea needed help and he would go to war again to help people in need.
Conditions In and Around Seoul
Cecil Walker describes conditions in and around Seoul. He helped bring supplies from Incheon to Seoul and transport Australian forces from the Second Line of Defense. Cecil Walker also describes how Seoul was deserted, with the exception of "Street Kids." He describes how when people did return to Seoul, they used any scrap to build shelter.
Cecilia A. Sulkowski
Feelings About the Army, Treating North Koreans, and Humor in Daily Life
Cecelia discusses a wide range of topics in this clip. She wholeheartedly recommends the Army for someone who wants a good and secure life. She recalls treating North Korean patients and how grateful they were for the good care they received. She speaks about the need for humor in their daily lives to help the medical professionals cope with the terrible things they would see on a daily basis. She remembers having to be very careful with their possessions as there was a lot of theft occurring for black market purposes.
Mass Grave Site Filled with Civilians
Charles Buckley drove all throughout Korea during his time there and witnessed the narrow roads, trees, and the damage incurred. He recalls a massive grave site that had been unearthed full of slaughtered children. It's predicted that this grave site was from when the North Koreans overran Seoul, South Korea and killed anything is their path.
Thoughts of an Airman: Get the Hell Out Of There!
Charles Buckley's initial thoughts when he reflects on his experience during the war was to "get the hell out of there." He remembers his contribution to the country by helping various people, specifically the orphaned children. Charles Buckley would order from the Sears and Roebuck catalog and he would look forward to seeing the smiles on the children's faces. He also recalled the living conditions of all of the children and the civilians were able to obtain supplies they needed to rebuild their own country.
The Korean People Are Different Than Other People Around the World
Charles Buckley traveled all over the world and he said the people of Korea are so different in such a positive way. He feels their conduct, willingness to help themselves, and loyal to their country is what sets them apart from other countries. Charles Buckley also said the Koreans were so loyal to the US soldiers and respectful to those who died for their cause during the Korean War. They are the only people that continue to thank US soldiers.
Charles Comer describes the Korean civilians that he saw upon his arrival at Seoul. He explains that the city itself was destroyed. He describes the sad state of the people who had been frequently moved around due to war evacuations. He goes on to describe the children, many of whom had been orphaned by the war and would crowd around the passing trains as the troops would give them their c-rations to eat.
Charles Crow Flies High
Entering Korea in 1993
Charles Crow Flies High was sent to Korea for his first deployment in November 1993. He flew into Kimpo Air Force Base, and then he was sent to Seoul to get finished setting up to protect South Korea. He recounts that they were "locked and stocked" at all times from that point forward. His job was to watch for Kim Jong Il and his North Korean troops to make sure that they did not take over Seoul.
Knowledge of Korea
Charles Crow Flies High did not know much about Korea before his deployment, except for the details about the Korean War. Since many of his relatives were in the military, he knew about the Korean War, and it made him really proud to protect the peninsula just like they did. For both deployments, Charles Crow Flies High stayed for fifteen months protecting a variety of areas along the DMZ.
United States and Republic of Korea
Charles Crow Flies High talks about why the relationship between the United States and the Republic of Korea is a good thing for both countries. He believes that Kim Jung Un is influenced by his father, but there is a lot of camaraderie between US troops and Korean civilians. The Korean culture has spread around the United States, and he feels that this is a very positive interaction.
Charles E. Gebhardt
Destruction in Seoul
Charles Gebhardt describes the destruction of Seoul he witnessed when passing through on his way to Kimpo Airfield. He says he "may have became a pacifist at that time," referring to the conditions that he saw Koreans living under.
Charles Eugene Warriner
Charles Eugene Warriner speaks about seeing impoverished Korean children while on his way to his unit. He describes the emotional impact the experience had on him. He recalls how many of those children were starving and had lost their families and homes.
Charles Falugo, Jr.
What were living conditions like in South Korea?
After a twenty-two day trip from Seattle, Washington, Charles Falugo recalls being relieved that they finally landed in Pusan, South Korea. He recalls the poor living conditions he witnessed--all Korean houses were made of clay, the people used oxen to help them transport water, and they picked roots for food. He also recalls South Korean children taking his unit's leftovers home to feed their families. He felt very lucky relative to the South Koreans he encountered and feels immense pride for the advancements South Korea has made today.
What did you experience driving through Korea?
Charles Falugo recalls the roads being so bad that their truck chassis would constantly break. Every time his division would stop to fix its trucks, they would encounter starving children begging for food. He would give his rations to the children. He recalls moving into Seoul and only seeing the blue capitol building and the railroad station. All embassies were blown up. There was one Shell Oil Company building that was guarded, located right next to his company's housing.
Horrors of War
Charles Fowler describes the devastating effects of the war on women and children. He shares that the North Koreans even used children as decoys. He also recounts images of those afflicted by napalm as being some of the most difficult for him.
Charles Francis Jacks
The Korean I Saw
Charles Jacks describes the Korea he saw in the 1950s. He remembers small villages and rice paddies. He describes civilian housing and recalls the unique heating system they used to keep their houses warm in the winter.
Charles L. Chipley
Chinese Attacks Against Civilians
Charles L. Chipley Jr. offers his account of providing evacuation aid to the Marines at Heungnam. He recounts that his ship provided gunfire support so that troops could be loaded onto the evacuation ships. He describes the movement of a speculated 100,000 Chinese troops killing civilian Koreans.
Charles L. Hallgren
Back to Korea During the Vietnam War
Charles Hallgren describes being deployed to Japan in 1970 for the purpose of inspecting Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) units in Korea. He explains that Korea had tactical nuclear weapons which had to be inspected in various base locations on the peninsula. He describes his impressions of seeing a modernized Korea in 1970.
Charles Rangel identified the determination of the Korean people in the aftermath of the Korean war. The resilience and kindness of the Korean people is something that he will never forget. He even has pictures of his time in Korea inside of his office as a United States Representative.
Segregation in the Armed Forces
Although the military was desegregated in 1948, Charles Rangel still experienced segregation during his military career. The only thing that was integrated, were two units. Even when he returned to the United States after the war, Charles Rangel had segregated barracks back on the military base.
Captured by the Chinese
Charles Ross details the lead-up to his capture by the Chinese following the Battle of Unsan. He recalls searching for food and lodging in an abandoned house until meeting a Korean civilian. He recounts the generosity showed by the civilian prior to his capture. He provides an account of his experience as a POW.
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.
The Hardest Part
Chuck Lusardi describes the hardest parts of his time in Korea revolved around seeing the great suffering of the civilian population. He recalls the worst living conditions for Koreans seemed to be near the Iron Triangle. He shares how much of his time was spent within sight and sound of the front lines, and he is proud he never hit a mine with his equipment and was never hit by a sniper. He remembers jeeps bringing out the severely wounded as tough times as well. He notes feeling totally helpless at times.
Never Saw a Korean Cry
Chuck Lusardi recalls finding it difficult to see what humanity had to do just to survive during the Korean War. He shares he was impressed with the resilience of the Korean people. He notes that everything in his memory from his time stationed in Korea is in black and white.
Clara K. Cleland
Caring for Patients Upon Arrival
Clara Cleland discusses her arrival in Korea, approximately ten days after the Incheon landing. She shares her first assignment was to what she remembers as an old schoolhouse which was being used as a hospital to treat civilians. She especially remembers the children she treated there who suffered from burns and other injuries. She recounts how she and other nurses came under fire while attempting to help injured servicemen.
Clarence J. Sperbeck
Camp 1: Sustenance
When Clarence Sperbeck arrived at his first POW Camp (Camp 1-Ch'ang Song), Chinese soldiers gave each man a wash cloth and a bar of soap, but then they were instructed to go to the polluted river at the camp to take a bath. Korean civilians (women and children) stood on the bridge overlooking the river and watched the G.I.'s take a bath. Men were given little food and Clarence Sperbeck describes the pork they ate and how the Chinese would slaughter and drink the blood of the pig.
Hey! Wait A Minute! That's Us!
On the date of Clarence Sperbeck's release, August 19, 1953, the first thing the US did was give him a physical examination. He said while he was there, he picked up the "Stars and Stripes" Newspaper, and saw the headlines read, "Chinese attempt to keep 400 POW's." Clarence Sperbeck said, "Hey they were talking about us!" He mentioned the Chinese kept over 800 prisoners, took them back to China, and used them for atomic experiments. There were others who refused repatriation and were not well liked by the men when they returned.
Clarence Jerke speaks about driving a supply truck while he was stationed in Seoul in 1952. He describes the city, civilians, and the difficulties that he faced when transporting supplies.
Help from South Korean Soldiers and Civilians
Clarence Jerke recalls his experiences with KATUSA soldiers and South Korean civilians. He describes one particular South Korean soldier who was especially adept at laying communication lines. He talks about civilian boys who washed military uniforms for food or money.
Claudio De Felici
Field Hospital #68: Italy's Contribution to the Korean War
Claudio De Felici, author of the book La Guerra di Korea, 60 anti dopo, explains that after the outbreak of the Korean War, the United States and other members of NATO requested Italy send military troops to Korea. He notes that the Italian government was unable to afford to send men at the time so it requested the Italian Red Cross assist with sending sanitary services to Korea. Field Hospital #68 opened in November 1951 and would serve until December 1954 when it was donated to the Korean government.
Note: The interviewee responds in Italian. English Translations begin at 7:44, 10:04, and 10:27.
The Legacy of the Korean War and Italian Field Hospital #68
Claudio De Felici, author of the book La Guerra di Korea, 60 anti dopo, offers his opinion of the legacies of both the Korean War and the Italian Field Hospital #68. His thoughts are based on the countless interviews he did with Italian veterans, Italians who worked in the field hospital and over fifteen years of research on the topic of Italy's contribution to the war.
Note: The interviewee responds in Italian. English Translation begin 39:14.
Jubiliation at Sea
Clayborne Lyles participated in the Navy's ocean search and rescue efforts when there were US pilots that were shot down over the Pacific Ocean. He felt jubilation to be part of 22 pilot rescue missions, but he was sad when none of these missions were discussed in the newspapers. One mission that made him laugh, but it was still serious event was when a pilot was shot down and he was shot in the butt. Clayborne Lyles remembered how the sailors would give each other grief to lighten the mood of war.
Joining the Navy, Basic Training, and Traveling to Show Power
Clayborne Lyles joined the Navy as a 17 year old in order to move away from poverty in Arkansas in 1947. After attending 11 weeks of basic training and Machinist Maintenance (engineer) training, he was sent way on the USS Toledo to travel to a variety of ports across the world to demonstrate the US Navy's strength during the Cold War. He spent all of his time on the ship maintaining boiler operations while working on steam turbines, generators, pumps, air conditioning and refrigeration.
The Start of the Korean War
Clayborne Lyles did not know much about Korea when the war broke out and he was located in the Pacific Ocean near the 38th parallel traveling around the Korean peninsula. He didn't have any fear about the war because he said that since he volunteered for the military, he could 't complain or worry. For the fellows who were drafted, he heard all about their complaints about the war while being stationed on the ship with the draftees.
Knowledge of Korea
Clayton Burkholder was going to junior college and worked at a grocery store in 1951 when the Korean War stared. He read about the war in newspapers and heard it on the television. After volunteering, he didn't know anything about Korea, but he did know about Japan. He knew that there was a conflict that needed to be taken care of in Asia, but that was it.
The Forgotten War and Korea Today
Clayton Burkholder felt that people call the Korean War the "Forgotten War" because people didn't know what to do with a communist country. He thought that great things came out of the Korean War because of the fortitude of its civilians. United States veterans are proud for their service in the war which led to South Korea's freedom today. Clayton Burkholder is surprised to see the change from dirt and huts to paved roads when he looks at Google Maps.
Volunteer Before You Get Drafted!
Clayton Burkholder enlisted in the military because he was about to be drafted. The boss of a grocery store was also on the draft board and luckily Clayton Burkholder worked for him. HIs boss gave him a warning that he would be drafted Monday morning, so Clayton Burkholder volunteered on Friday afternoon before he was drafted.
Clifford L. Wilcox
One of The Greatest Experiences
Clifford Wilcox talks about the remarkable contrast between the Korea he saw during the war and the Korea he saw and experienced while revisiting in 2010. When he first arrived, he saw extreme poverty and destruction. In 2010, his experience was first class, seeing South Korea's progress.
Colin C. Carley
Sneaking into the Military
Colin Carley shares how he was so proud and eager to volunteer for the New Zealand Army at the age of seventeen, but he never realized the conditions that he would have to face. Since it was so cold, he remembers that his drinks froze the first night in Korea in 1950. As a soldier who snuck into the military, he shares how he did not mind any challenges because he knew he had to blend with the traditional soldiers who were the required age of twenty-one.
I'm Leaving For War without Any Ties to Home
Colin Carley shares how he lied about his age to sneak into the role of a New Zealand soldier during the Korean War. He recounts being so sneaky that not even his parents knew where he was. He recalls that the most difficult part of the war for him was the cold. He describes how living and working with both the Australian and New Zealand troops was difficult but adds that they all were good soldiers.
Conrad R. Grimshaw
The Houses of the Korean People
Conrad Grimshaw describes arriving in Korea and seeing the devastation of the Korean households. He recounts their homes being burnt and crudely replaced by stones, straw, and dirt. He shares that American soldiers were empathic and took care of the Korean people any way they could.
Basic Training and MOS Training in California
Curtis Lewis graduated high school in 1952 and jointed the Air Force right away. He attended basic training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. After earning high scores in the technology industry, he was sent to California to learn his military operational specialty. While in California, he was able to see many of his Army friends leave for Korea, but not all returned.
What Is Korea To You? FABULOUS!
Cyril Kubista spent time talking about the impact the people of Korea have had on their country, their grateful attitude, and the dedication to the service of those who fought. He wishes that the military would be mandatory for all who live in the United States. Even after being drafted, Cyril Kubista felt that at least 20 months should be mandated for all civilians.
Life on the Homefront and the US Draft
The Korean War was not spoken about much on the homefront. Civilians thought that it would be over really quick. Then, Cyril Kubista was drafted in June 1953 for the US Army right after he was married. He was upset about going Fort Sheridan, Illinois for basic training, but he prayed with a chaplain to help with his feelings.
Enlisting as a 17 Year Old
Dale Schlichting chose to join the Navy the day after he turned 17 years old. He prepared and studied for the Eddie Test for electronics with help from his favorite high school teacher. Dlae Schlichting chose the Navy since everyone in his neighborhood was active in this branch and he also wanted to follow after his relatives in the Navy.
After 16 months of training, Dale Schlichting was sent to Florida to join Attack Squadron 35. The only propeller aircraft that was still being used in the Korean and Vietnam War was worked on by Dale and this made his so proud. He was supposed to be dismissed from the military two months early, but he wanted to stay with his squadron to travel the world. If was left behind with 13 of this squad mates because Squadron 35 wouldn't be back to their base by the time Dale Schlichting would have to leave.
Daryl J. Cole
Impressions of Incheon
Daryl J. Cole describes the destruction at Inchon and his transfer from infantryman to artilleryman. He explains that the war torn city of Inchon had been thoroughly devastated by the time he arrived. He recalls the civilians hauling the "honey buckets," the refuse from the toilets to fertilize their crops. He goes on to explain his hasty transfer from infantry to artillery overnight, unbeknownst to him.
"People needed us."
Daryl J. Cole describes his motivations while in battle. He explains that his position was only two or three miles away from the front lines and all the while he was continuously thinking the war needed to end. He explains feelings of great sympathy for the South Korean people whose entire lives had been reduced to rubble.
David Carpenter lost four Marines who were taken as POW's off the coast of Wonsan. He stayed on Korea's islands until peace talks began in 1953. He recalls going on leave to Japan to get some rest and relaxation (R & R) before he returned to England.
David Carsten Randby
Electrician for NORMASH
David Randby served as an electrician for NORMASH. Electricity was important for a field hospital. The electrical equipment was very rudimentary and required skill to keep running. He kept the generators running in times of great need.
Medals and President Moon Jae-in
David Randby describes the medals he earned for his service in the Korean War. He has personally met with President Moon Jae-in. President Moon Jae-in spoke with the veterans and reminded them that the North Korean leader is a dictator and South Korea is a democracy because of their actions.
David H. Epstein
A Destroyed City
David H. Epstein discusses seeing Seoul during the Korean War. He recalls that the city was a destroyed, flattened area in 1953, and describes the South Korean people as being very friendly. He describes seeing women and children walking on the roads, and remembers not being able to communicate with them.
Prior Knowledge and First Battle in the Korean War
David Lopez did not know anything about Korea before he was drafted. When he arrived at Pusan, he was living in tents and was given food rations to eat while waiting to be sent to the Kansas Line which was a few miles from the 38th parallel. After the Chinese pulled out of peace talks, he took trucks from Pusan to the Kansas Line while worrying about incoming artillery. He loved receiving help from young Korean boys who would help him carry supplies, wash clothes, and help when he was short on soldiers. He was injured in his right arm when he fought with the 2nd Platoon against the Chinese and North Korean troops.
Impressions of the Korean People
David Nevarez describes his interactions and impressions of Korea. He expounds upon his appreciation of the food as well as the people. He draws comparisons between the Hispanic community and the South Korean people.
Delbert Ray Houlette
Massacre in a Korean Village
Delbert Ray Houlette recollects here on some of his toughest moments while serving in Korea. He describes the disconnect between the Marine Corps with the Army and ROK soldiers. He also details having to build a causeway over a river in the middle of fighting. Lastly, he remembers witnessing a village after it had experienced a massacre.
Marching into Busan
Demetrios Arvanitis describes arriving in Korea in 1953 with the Greek Expeditionary Forces and his first impressions of the country. While marching into Busan, he recalls an interaction with an American colonel who reached out to the Greek Army Battalion Headquarters to praise his unit. He shares his appreciation for the perseverance the people of Korea exhibited and feels lucky to have participated in the campaign for their freedom.
Dennis E. Hultgren
Sandwiches in a War Torn City
Dennis E. Hultgren explains that a stop to transfer trains allowed him an hour or so to wander through a war-torn city. He describes a young boy who was watching him intently as he took a bite of his sandwich. He recounts that he offered the boy the rest of his sandwich, and with a deep bow, the boy accepted it and ran behind a building.
Desmond M. W. Vinten
War Zone and Road Conditions
Desmond Vinten describes the fighting in and around Seoul and how the line shifted three times causing great destruction. Buildings were uninhabitable and citizens evacuated. As the center of the country, Seoul suffered war zone traffic. Road conditions on the routes to Seoul, Incheon, Daegu, and Yeongdeungpo were horrible with a speed limit of fifteen miles per hour. The First British Commonwealth lay four or five miles behind the front lines.
Domingo Morales Calderon
First Impressions / Primeras Impresiones
Domingo Morales Calderon shares his first impressions of Korea. He describes a nation that was cold, mountainous, and devoid of adults. He recalls an incident in which he helped a small child and was hailed as a hero as he brought her to a doctor.
Domingo Morales Calderón comparte sus primeras impresiones de Corea. Describe una nación fría, montañosa y desprovista de adultos. Recuerda un incidente en el que ayudó a una niña pequeña y fue aclamado como un héroe cuando la llevó al médico.
War's Toll on a Country / La Destrucción de la Guerra
Domingo Morales Calderon shares his beliefs on why diplomacy is better than war. He recalls the hardships of civilians and the utter destruction of the nation. He provides an account of a mission in which they were tasked with finding North Koreans hiding in Seoul as evidence of the brutality of war.
Domingo Morales Calderón comparte sus opiniones sobre por qué la diplomacia es mejor que la guerra. Recuerda las dificultades de los civiles y la destrucción total de la nación. El comparte un relato de una misión en la que se les encomendó encontrar a norcoreanos escondidos en Seúl como explicación de la brutalidad de la guerra.
Go to Jail or Go to the Marines
Don McCarty joined the US Marine Corps when he was 17 years old because if he didn't, he would have ended up in jail. With is mom's permission, he was sent away to Parris Island, SC for boot camp. After growing up in Chicago, Illinois and Kentucky, he said that he received the positive push in life that he needed once entering boot camp.
Big Muscles were Needed for Machine Gunners
Don McCarty's specialty during the Korean War was a heavy machine gun operator. The tripod was 54 pounds and the gun with water was 40 pounds. He left for Korea in March 1953 and landed in Inchoeon. Once he arrived in Seoul, it was devastated and there were children begging for candy and cigarettes.
Don R. Childers
Don R. Childers recalls the distressing experience of seeing the remains of enemy soldiers. He notes that the United States military retrieve the bodies of their fallen soldiers to bring them back home. He discusses his role as a forward observer, responsible for locating targets and requesting ammunition as required.
Donald Arthur Summers
Donald Arthur Summers remembers a time when he had to use the last of his money to buy a bus fare to go back home to Oklahoma after finishing his basic training. He could not afford food at one of the bus stops, but the bus driver offered him a meal at the diner. While he was stationed in Japan, he witnessed hunger and poverty that left a deep impression on him.
Nuclear Weapon Tests
On March 1, 1954, Donald Arthur Summers was involved in Operation Castle, a series of nuclear weapon tests. Although they were twenty-seven miles away from the blast site, the explosion brilliantly lit the sky just before daybreak. He recalls the crew thoroughly washing the ship from the bow to the stern to rid it of any radiation contamination.
Basic Training in Hawaii
Donald Clark describes his naive expectations of basic training in Hawaii. He and two other young men that he had just met had thought that the colorful posters on the wall in the recruiting office were signs of what to expect. Unfortunately, shortly after arriving at basic training, he realized he was in "fourteen weeks of hell." He quickly learned that he would be going to Korea.
Donald D. Johnson
Leaving Your Wife Behind
Donald D. Johnson describes being called back in September 1950 to serve in the Korean War. He mentions the battles in which he fought and his reasons for joining the Inactive Reserves. He elaborates on the emotional toll of leaving his wife behind.
Legacies of Korean War
Donald Dempster feels that it is important to remember the accomplishments of the Korean War. He assisted in keeping democracy in South Korea instead of communism. He is very proud that South Korea has succeeded from emulating the government of the United States.
Why the Forgotten War?
Donald Dempster believes that since the Korean War was after WWII, the American public had enough of war. He further feels that the Korean War has been forgotten by the public because it was not reported by US media as much as other wars. He acknowledges that recruitment was not as large during the Korean War as it was during WWII.
Donald Dempster shares how he was promoted to work for the Office of Special Investigations (OSI) in Washington D.C. He was part of a team that researched any inappropriate activities in the Air Force. He had extra training to receive this special position.
Donald Haller recalls revisiting Korea, along with his family, in the 1980s. He shares how vastly different Korea was from how he remembered it in the 1950s. He remembers how poor Korea was in the 1950s, lacking basic infrastructure such as proper roadways and bridges. He remembers the Koreans as both honest and hardworking. He comments he is not surprised that the Korean economy is now booming.
Donald J. Zoeller
Helping a Korean boy
Donald Zoeller says that he did not get to know many Korean people as he was always outside of the cities. However, he remembers a little Korean boy who was orphaned and slept with prostitutes. He invited the boy to stay with the soldiers and later brought him to an orphanage.
Donald L. Mason
Donald Mason discusses his experience during the Incheon Landing. He knew it was high tide and shares that he was in a LST landing craft. His unit, the artillery unit, went in after the infantry landed, and they pushed beyond Incheon to Seoul. He was surprised at all of the destruction he witnessed.
Thoughts about Going to War
Donald Mason discusses his feelings about going to war as a twenty-one-year-old. He remembers feeling hesitant but not scared. Much of his unit was made up of experienced soldiers from World War II. He did know Korea was occupied by both China and Japan at points in history. In a way, he was excited about the new adventure. He talks about his time in Kobe, Japan.
Donald R. Bennett
Last One Up the Mountain, Last One Down
Donald Bennett recounts living conditions while they were in the Chosin (Jangjin) Reservoir. He shares a detailed account of a close encounter between the Chinese and his tank. He recalls the challenge of driving the tanks back down the mountain after the snow had been packed down into the ice. He remembers that his tank was the last tank down. He shares how those that remained in his unit were taken by boat back to Busan and were reformed at an airstrip where they conducted foot patrols before fighting their way up the center of Korea across the 38th Parallel in support of the 1st Marine Regiment.
Donald H. Schwoch talks about the poverty and destruction of Seoul that he saw in 1955. Throughout Seoul, desperate children begged for food among the destroyed buildings. Even in Uijeongbu, the civilian population lived in huts with dirt floors.
Donald St. Louis
The Destruction of Seoul
Donald St. Louis describes what he saw in Korea while serving overseas. He remembers the country's geography filled with rice paddies. He recalls how devastated the city of Seoul was during the war.
FBI Scoured His Home Town Asking Questions
Since Don Stemper and his family had printing skills, he had a huge interest in infrared, aerial, or map-making photography. While at Lackland Air Force Base, they put him into a Casual Squadron which is where the armed forces put you when they don't know what to do with you. He heard from family members that the FBI had scoured the town of Mankato, Minnesota asking questions about Don Stemper in order to receive clearance to do undercover work for the Armed Forces. He learned later that these strategies was standard protocol before giving someone who was working with classified material and map-making technology. While he was in this holding pattern, he pulled duty over trash cans.
Landing in Incheon
Donald Urich remembers first landing in Incheon which he describes as crowded. From Incheon he recalls heading north and seeing the DMZ. He served as part of the 45th Infantry Division but was later transferred to the 7th Division. He recounts duties as part of the motor pool where he eventually became Motor Sergeant in charge of one hundred seven vehicles and dozens of mechanics. He shares the living conditions in Korea especially living in ten-men tents on cots.
Donald Urich recalls Seoul being desolate in 1954. He remembers houses were in shambles and businesses were in bad shape. He recounts seeing kids without shoes and lacking clothes in middle of a severely cold winter. He describes interactions with the children through sharing candy with them. Despite the challenging circumstances, he remembers the Korean people as cordial.
Doris B. Porpiglia
Ladies Don't Do Such A Thing
Doris Porpiglia was asked how her family felt about her being in the military. Although her parents and immediate family were proud of her, her rich aunt told her that "Ladies don't do such a thing." Doris Porpiglia replied, "I am more of a lady than you'll ever be, and what I wear isn't going to determine the person I am going to be."
Training For The Future
Doris Porpiglia explained that many women had standard jobs that most women had during that time period. This included telephone operator and secretary. She said the main thing women wanted from their experiences during the war, was skills they needed that they could use when the war ended.
Doris Porpiglia tells a story that the most surprising thing about her job was some of the men that didn't know how to read or write, so they would quietly ask her to read the letters they received. The male GIs since didn't want others to know that they were uneducated. Doris Porpiglia felt sorry for them and she said that most of the men who had difficulty reading were from the south, but race didn't matter. She believes that it inspired her to become a teaching assistant when the war was over.
Leading the Charge
Douglas Koch describes the 5th Marines' role in the Inchon Landing. He explains that the Inchon Landing was imperative in the cutting off of the rail lines that led to Seoul and fed the North Koreans the supplies they needed to fight in South Korea. He recalls that upon hearing the Marines were headed to Seoul to recapture the city, the civilians fled for the hills.
Earl A. House
Bravery and the Forgotten War
Earl House believes that the Korean War made him into a man. He remembers wanting to get away from everyone in his family to prove that he was not afraid and to seem brave. He shares his thoughts on why the Korean War was called the Forgotten War, noting that people did not want the U.S. fighting in a foreign war.
Knowledge of Korea and Arriving in Korea
Earl House shares he knew little about Korea prior to arriving as a soldier. He recalls the first time learning anything about Korea was in the Naval Reserves. He mentions he was excited to travel to Korea and fight in the war as he had never traveled outside the U.S. except for visiting Canada.
Eddie Reyes Piña
Impressions of Korea and the Korean People
Eddie Reyes Piña recalls always being in danger while serving in Korea. He recounts how, prior to returning home in 1954, he assisted in building Camp Casey and protecting the DMZ. He reflects favorably on the country of Korea and the Korean people themselves.
First Impressions and Relying on the Americans
Edgar Green reflects on his first impressions of Korea. He recalls the stench of human waste as they drew nearer to the dock in Busan and remembers an American band and Korean choir there to welcome them. He shares that they were part of the very first British land forces to enter the Korean War and comments on having to rely on the Americans for food and transport for the first several days.
Korea Prior to War
Edmund Reel recounts being stationed in South Korea prior to the war. He recalls the easy ability to see into North Korea from the mountains near the 38th Parallel. He comments on the peacefulness and shares that right before he left Korea, tensions started to mount.
Edmund W. Parkinson
Proud of Korea
Edmund Parkinson is joined by his wife to discuss modern Korea. They jointly recall their visit to modern Korea and speak highly of the Korean people and their fighting spirit for having rebuilt their country in such a short time frame. Edmund Parkinson shares that the loss of his leg was worth what Korea has become today.
Eduardo Sanchez, Jr.
My Happiest Moments
Eduardo Sanchez remembers his happiest moments in the war came from meeting the other men who were from his home town. They called their little reunion the Mexican Village. However, it was a sad moment when they realized who would no longer be returning to the village due to the war ending. Veterans returning home found it hard to find occupations.
Edward A. Walker
Rolls of Film and a Girlfriend
Edward Walker took photos of the Korean boy he hired to cut his hair and of Korean women carrying their babies on their backs. He sent rolls of film home to his girlfriend, Shirley. Shirley joined the interview and said she missed her boyfriend so much and she cried while he was away. Shirley also noticed that textbooks in New Zealand did not feature much content on Asia, so many people did not know where the men were fighting.
Edward John Jankowski
Personal Connection with the People
Edward Jankowski shared details with his family about a "house boy" who was with his unit in Korea. Noreen recalls her husband sharing how he stayed mostly with them, worked for them, and would take what money he made home to his family. She mentions how she would send the boy toy guns through the mail. Noreen reads a letter from 1954 that the "house boy" sent to Edward after he left Korea.
It Was About the Civilians...
Witnessing the conditions of the civilians firsthand, Edward Mastronardi was sympathetically moved by the Korean people. As the Americans advanced with tanks, guns, etc. through the Porchon Valley, they shot up everything. Knowing the Chinese did too, Edward Mastronardi witnessed so much destruction left behind. He told of a story about the Korean people dressed in white due to a funeral, and he noticed a woman lay, dying, and trying to still breast feed a dead baby. Edward Mastronardi was angry about the reckless killing of all people. It showed truly first hand what effect the war had on the Korean people.
Retreat from the Yalu River
Edward Redmond was surrounded by evacuating Korean refugees. They were leaving behind burned houses and their land. After fighting the North Koreans back to the Yalu River, Edward Redmond held their spot until the Americans started to retreat which surprised the British Army.
Standing Up for a Good Cause with Help From Journalists
Edward Redmond lost some close friends while fighting in the Korean War. He was disappointed about the way the bodies of the fallen British soldiers were just quickly buried behind a building in Taegu. A reporter wrote down Edward Redmond's thoughts and published the information in a newspaper, but a top general didn't like information being leaked to the media, so he almost received a court martial.
Edwin R. Hanson
I Jumped In Front of a Torpedo Bomber to Mail My Postcard
Edwin Hanson reminisces about one occasion at Kor-'o-ri when a torpedo bomber (plane) came through to pick up wounded soldiers. He had a postcard that he wanted to deliver to his mother. He remembers the bomber sitting at the end of the runway, preparing to take off, and running down the middle of the runway blocking his takeoff and waving his letter. This postcard was among the many sent home to his mother, but he notes that most dealt almost exclusively with the weather.
First Impressions of Korea
Edwin Vargas gives his first impressions of Korea. He explains that while the hot summers did not bother him, he really struggled with the Cold Winter. While he did not have the chance to interact with many people, he recalls that those he met were very friendly.
Eilif Jorgen Ness
Seoul - Then and Now
Eilif Jorgen Ness describes the Seoul he knew in 1952 compared to the Seoul upon his return in 1995 and 2013. In 1952, Seoul was not a city, it was ruined a landscape. Upon his return, years later, he describes that there was no resemblance between the two. He was impressed with the efficiency and ability to deal with large numbers of people.
Helping the Korean People
Eingred Fredh describes the Busan she experienced in 1952. She reflects on seeing many refugees and people in need. She describes the various wards she worked in throughout her time at the hospital and treating a variety of patients. Yet, she recalls many of her patients were Korean people who sustained injuries from being in the streets.
Transformation of Korea
Eingred Fredh expresses her amazement with the transformation of Korea and discusses the differences she saw. Even though she likes the transformation, she admits preferring to live in a little calmer place free from the hustle and bustle. She expresses her appreciation for the citizens of Korea continuing to recognize their work.
A Happy Time
Eingred Fredh describes her service in Korea as a big adventure for them and a happy time. She shares one experience in which she and Roland were invited to a patient’s home. While there, she enjoyed tea and sang songs with his family. She explains how they sang Swedish songs for them, and the family sang Korean songs. She emphasizes how the Korean people are very thankful people.
Recollections of a Revisit to Korea
Elburn Duffy shares he returned to Korea in 1987 as part of a trip sponsored by the Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs. He recounts how, during his revisit, he noted tremendous changes between the Korea of 1952 and that of the country over three decades later. He recalls they visited Taegu, Suwon, and Uijeongbu/Seoul. He explains the pride he felt being a part of something that helped the people of Korea.
We Knew Why We Were There
Elburn Duffy remembers leaving Ft. Lewis Washington in early April 1951 and arriving in Busan by the end of the month. He notes they did not stop in Japan as most other servicemen headed to Korea did because troops were desperately needed at the time of his arrival. He recalls the shock of the total desolation of the country and in particular the state of the children.
Preparation for Joining the Greek Army
Eleftherios Tsikandilakis didn't know anything about the Korean War when it began. He was a a civil servant that took care of the military horses. His specialty was to transfer food and ammunition on mules during the Korean War.
Eleftherios Tsikandilakis left Korea in July/August 1951. After returning twice to Korea, in 2008 and 2013, he was able to see the great advancements that were made in Korea. Korea's advancements were 100 years more advanced than Greece.
Destruction in Seoul
Eleftherios Tsikandilakis saw extreme hunger and destruction when he entered Seoul. It was so bad that he considered Korea to be 100 years before Greece in 1950. Korean children begged for food from UN troops as they exited restaurants and food tents.
Seoul During the War
Elliott Landall describes how Seoul was in a terrible state. He explains that the people were living in a shell of a city and he felt sorry for them. He was amazed at the spirit of the people, including how the people would listen and were good learners.
Elliott Landall is satisfied with his service in the Korean War. He really liked helping the people of South Korea and feels he had a lasting impact. He explains that the Korean War is a Forgotten War because it was after the "Big Wars," World War I and World War II.
Daily Life in Seoul, 1964
Elvin Hobbs describes Seoul after the conclusion of the war in 1964. He talks about the rebuilding of the city and its transformation from total destruction. He expands in detail on descriptions of transportation and Korean daily life.
Exploding While Searching for Metal
Elvin Hobbs describes the most common injuries they saw at 121 Hospital. He describes how many Koreans were injured while scavenging for metal. Many civilians were drastically wounded when they came across live ordnance that had not exploded during the war.
Engineering Role in Korea
Erich Reuter recalls his role as a Siemens engineer in Korea. He shares that he was a "doctor" for the Siemens medical equipment provided which included x-ray, electromedicine, and dental equipment. He comments on Koreans working with them while there.
Ernest J. Berry
"Luxuries, which we dreamed of"
Ernest J. Berry describes being ordered to move out quickly at one point. His unit encountered an abandoned American M.A.S.H. outpost. He describes his amazement at encountering the luxurious conditions and resources the Americans had abandoned. Ernest J. Berry describes American abundance. When Americans left a camp, they buried their supplies. In contrast, New Zealand soldiers would have to pay for lost socks.
Basic Training and Meeting Refugees
Ernest J. Berry describes the training as a medic at Waiouru Military Camp and sailing to Korea. He knew nothing of Korea. As he arrived, the communists were penetrating southward. He remembers streams of refugees traveling south as well. He explains his first impressions of Korean people.
Esipión Abril Rodríguez
The Voyage to Korea / El Viaje a Corea
Esipión Abril Rodríguez recalls feeling a sense of adventure as he left for Korea in 1951. He explains that the voyage lasted about a month with a one-day respite in Hawaii. He shares his memories of the devastation he encountered in Korea as he arrived after Busan had been attacked. Additionally, he remembers the poverty of the civilian population and the way in which civilians helped soldiers with everyday tasks.
Esipión Abril Rodríguez recuerda la sensación de aventura que tuvo cuando partió hacia Corea en 1951. Explica que el viaje duró aproximadamente un mes con un respiro de un día en Hawaii. Comparte sus recuerdos de la devastación que encontró en Corea cuando llegó que fue después que Busan había sido atacado. Además, él recuerda la pobreza de la población civil y la forma en que los coreanos ayudaban a los soldados en las tareas cotidianas.
Eugene Buckley was trying to make it back to the front line after escaping from the ravine when he and O'Donnell got on the back of a family ox cart and spent most of the day traveling. Not having eaten in 4 or 5 days, Eugene Buckley broke into a large container of applesauce and ate the whole thing. He said it wasn't long after that when they were back in the same situation of extreme hungry again.
Eusebio Santiago recalls how the sight of Korean villagers catching and cleaning fish reminded him of daily life in Puerto Rico. He describes the rice fields and how villagers continued their life with war around them. Eusebio Santiago recalls his childhood while war was going on.
The Impact of the Orphans
Everett Kelley shares how his service spent in Korea impacted his life in many ways. He describes his involvement in sponsoring orphaned children through various donations. He recalls the number of orphans in Korea at the time being extremely high.
Medley of Korean War Topics
Fekede Belachew describes various topics about his Korean War experience. He discusses talking to wounded returning soldiers about their experience. He describes Korean people in sad shape. He also describes that the Americans supplied United Nations troops with food and clothing.
Felipe Cruz recounts his experience of supplying the infantry at the front lines during the Korean War. He proudly lists the medals he received for his service, one of which was the Ambassador for Peace Medal that he was presented with during his return to South Korea in 1998 through the Republic of Korea's "Revisit Program." He shares the highlights of his and his wife's trip to South Korea, which included a visit to the location of the armistice agreement. He expresses he was initially reluctant to return to South Korea due to the devastation he witnessed during the war, but he acknowledges the positive impact it had on him.
Concluding Service Stateside
Felipe Cruz describes his experience of returning to the United States after the armistice agreement in Korea. He shares that during that time, he was suffering from an ulcer, which he was treated for at a naval hospital in Oakland, California. He notes that following a three-month stay at the hospital, he was to report to Del Mar near Camp Pendleton. He recalls how an officer gave him the option of reporting to Del Mar or working as a truck driver for the Department of the Pacific in San Francisco. He expresses his gratitude for getting the opportunity to conclude his service by driving trucks near his childhood home.
Felix Miscalichi Centeno
Impressions of Korea / Impresiones de Corea
Félix Miscalichi Centeno describes his first impressions of Korea. He explains that even though Busan was a city, most of the civilians were farmers who were incredible different to the people he knew. He details the way in which Koreans built their homes and utilized heated floors.
Félix Miscalichi Centeno describe sus primeras impresiones de Corea. Explica que, aunque Busan era una ciudad, la mayoría de los civiles eran agricultores que eran increíblemente diferentes a la gente de Puerto Rico. Detalla la forma en que los coreanos construían sus casas y utilizaban suelos radiantes.
Legacy of the War / Legado de la Guerra
Félix Miscalichi Centeno shares his thoughts on the legacy of the war. He remembers that even though Koreans were very different, he made friends and learned some of the language. This skill was useful when a group of Koreans burned by napalm were asking for water.
Félix Miscalichi Centeno comparte sus pensamientos sobre el legado de la guerra. Recuerda que, aunque los coreanos eran muy diferentes, se hizo amigos y aprendió algo del idioma. Esta habilidad fue útil cuando un grupo de coreanos quemados por napalm les pedían agua.
Forrest D. Claussen
Winter Clothing from Home
Forrest Claussen recounts cold winter nights in Korea and shares a story about receiving winter clothing from home. He recalls writing home to his mother, asking for additional winter clothing as the military had not issued winter clothing yet. He recounts receiving the clothing, only to be ordered to discard it as other men in his group did not have access to the same. He describes digging a hole and placing the clothing inside in hopes that South Korean civilians would find and utilize his discarded items.
Home Front Hardship
Francis Bidle recounts the hardship he experienced upon his return home. He shares that he was turned away from several job opportunities simply because he was a Korean War veteran. He recalls claims of US soldiers at the time treating the women in Korea poorly and shares that many business owners on the home front where he returned associated all Korean War veterans with the claims. He shares that he eventually passed over the fact that he had served in his succeeding job interviews.
Francis John Ezzo
Korea Then and Now
Francis Ezzo describes walking through the countryside. He recalls seeing rice paddies and giving kids some food. He shares that even though he has never been back, he is thankful that Koreans appreciate the sacrifices American soldiers made for their country.
Frank E. Butler
Frank E. Butler describes going ashore in Seoul while serving in the New Zealand Navy. He remembers seeing millions of people in Seoul and describes it as being very busy. He reminisces about his later return visits. He appreciated the gratitude the South Korean people showed him upon return.
"A Shocking Experience"
Fred Liberman describes a "shocking experience" that he had while in Korea. He recalls having to raid a village and forcefully remove civilians, including the elderly and children. He explains how he wrote a letter home to his brother about it. This is an experience that still bothers him today.
Korea Revisit Program in 1986: The Evolution of Korea
Fred Liddell could not believe that evolution of South Korea in 1986 when he revisited through the Korea Revisit Program. He remembered Seoul train station completely in ruins along with all the buildings, but when he saw it rebuilt, it was a miracle. When he visited the Suan cultural center, Fred Liddell was able to share all of the changes that he saw from 1951 to 1986 including straw huts to homes and women plowing fields to mechanization. Fred Liddell was invited to visit the hut where the peace treaty was signed, but he felt extremely nervous because it was so close to North Korea.
Letters From Home as a POW
Fred Liddell received letters from his wife who delivered their baby right after he was released from the hospital, but before he became a POW. He received a picture from his wife and the baby and it was supposed to contain a religious medal, but the medal was taken. Fred Liddell was so upset that he screamed at the leaders of the POW camp and was punished by standing overnight with his arms outreached. He was thankful that another man, who had been thrown through the door, was there to lean on during those long hours.
Arriving at Incheon
Frederick Schram describes first impressions of Korea. He arrived by ship to a city annihilated from shelling. He remembers his first encounters with Koreans and describes distributing bars of soap to desperate people.
Potpourri From Around the World
Frederick describes his first assignment in Dongducheon. He was encamped in a valley with soldiers from all over the world including Turks, Danes, and Brits. He vividly remembers Australian parties in the evenings. He recounts joining KMAG, the Korean Military Advisory Group, to work directly with Koreans in Busan.
KMAG & the Railroad
Frederick Schram describes his time with KMAG working on the reconstruction of the railroad near Busan. KMAG was a critical component in the rebuilding of the South after the war. He describes the challenge of the work and the surrounding destruction and poverty.
Galip Fethi Okay
In Korea, Now
Galip Fethi Okay describes his arrival into a war zone. His brigade was relieving the previous brigade. He describes the reaction of the previous brigade's men. The previous brigade was so happy to be leaving Korea. He also describes the conditions of the Korean people.
American G.I.s and the KATUSA
Gary Routh describes his interaction with the KATUSA stationed with the American G.I.s. He describes how the American forces would view Korean culture as strange, such as bathing each other or eating ramen while seated on the floor. He then describes how Koreans would view the Americans as strange, including the harsh language and loud nature of the U.S. soldiers.
Like Living in a Ghetto
Gary Routh describes what it was like to live in the barracks stationed in Korea. He explains that the conditions were rough and that the buildings were falling apart. He describes being able to hang out with soldiers who were friends at a moment's notice but that the majority of the experience was similar to living in a ghetto.
Gene Bill Davidson
Finally Understood the Scripture
Gene Bill Davidson reflects on the work he completed during the war and standing out because of his height. Even after the signing of the armistice, he explains they still encountered ambushes. Because of this, he shares he continued to view the delivery of every message as life and death. Because of his work during the war, he reveals he finally understood and related to a verse of scripture that he received from his father in high school.
Incheon Then vs. Now
Gene Jordan describes how hard working the Korean people were during the war era. He discusses how the Korean people have established a united, stable democratic society. He shares how he never thought much about Korea after he left, but when he attended the Marine Corp Reunion, he was amazed to see and hear about the economic growth.
Mostly Gunshot Wounds
Gene Peeples describes his treatment of the most common wounds he encountered as a medic during the Korean War. He explains his quick treatment of gunshot wounds before sending injured soldiers off to evacuation. He also describes another of the most common conditions they saw in the hospital, venereal disease.
Regrets of Hearing About Their Son's Death
George Brown recalls his parents were hit very hard by the news of their son Arthur Leroy Brown's death. He recalls his mom was pregnant with their first daughter and all were excited with the news. He remembers how Arthur eagerly shared the news with his fellow soldiers. He recounts how before Arthur left for boot camp, he and his father got into a scuffle because his father did not want him to quit school to join the Army.
The Burial of a POW
George Brown shares he was only six years old at the time his family was notified of his brother Arthur's death in POW Camp 5 in North Korea. He states that Arthur was temporarily buried in North Korea in a shallow grave due to the ground being frozen solid. He explains that the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency lists Arthur as unaccounted for and shares that Arthur is memorialized on the Courts of the Missing at the National Cemetery of the Pacific.
The War's Innocent Victims
Dr. George Drake discusses his research on Korean War information found in various archival locations. He explains the repercussions of war on society. He describes the problem with poverty left in Korea because of war, and his passion for getting more information out about his humanitarian concerns.
George Enice Lawhon Jr.
Preserving the Legacy of the Korean War
George Enice Lawhon Jr., was president of the Korean War Veteran's Association until 2014. The Korean War Veteran Association's Tell America Program is the "single most effective" effort to educate current and future generations about the Korean War. The program provides resources to students and teachers for use in the classroom. The program also sends Korean War Veterans to classrooms to engage with students.
Radio Transmitters, Ghost Towns, and Orphanages in Seoul
George Enice Lawhon Jr.'s job in the US military was to fix a BC 610 (a Collins radio Transmitter). When he arrived in Seoul, there was not anyone there and it was a ghost town. Sadly, some old and young people found in a rice field shot and bayonetted. He had a Chaplin in his group that started an orphanage for Korean children because there were so many that were left alone.
PTSD on Korean War and War on Terror Veterans
George Enice Lawhon Jr. was assigned to the Korean War for one year because the US government knew that men couldn't handle the mental stress of warfare. He recognizes the strain on present-day veterans when they are sent back to war zones over and over again because they'll need mental help. George Enice Lawhon Jr. and his wife knew that the veterans' hospital is going to need to take in a lot more veterans to make sure that they can handle the transition back to civilian life.
George Enice Lawhon Jr. felt the impact of the Korean War on his life with a lot of tears. He felt that he did his job well as a communications officer during the war, but there are still problems with the relationship between North and South Korea. George Enice Lawhon Jr. identified the need for the North Korean government to speak to its people to find out what would be best for them and then there might be a chance for reunification of the Korean nation.
Stringing Popcorn on Christmas During the Depression
Because George Geno lived in the country, he avoided seeing a lot of the soup lines and problems in the cities, but the farms had a share of their own poverty. People would work in the field or paint your barn just to get food. They didn't have anything, but they didn't know any better. They would string popcorn to decorate the Christmas tree. To keep watermelon and their soda pop cool, families would put them in the draining ditch to act as a refrigerator. You couldn't buy tire outright, but you could buy the boots to use inside the tire. Toys weren't available, so they handmade everything including their bow and arrows for hunting pheasants, squirrel, and duck.
We Fished In the Basement Of Our House During the Depression
The house George Geno had growing up had a dirt basement and it would fill with water in the spring. His dad would take them to Reese's to buy nets and they would catch fish. Not many people can say that they went fishing in their own basement during the Great Depression!
The Korean War Draft
George Geno received his draft card in November of 1950 during some cold weather, so he worked hard to get the car running for his family before he left. He first took a train to Fort Wayne, Detroit for basic training and then he found out that his hometown dentist had been drafted too as he went in for his military checkup. After basic training, he was trained as a combat construction engineer specialist. He was also chosen for Officer Candidate Training School even though he didn't really want to go.
George J. Bruzgis
Strong Appreciation for the Korean People
After his revisits to Korea and and a banquet in honor of soldiers who fought in recent years, George Bruzgis shared his sincere appreciation and gratitude for the people of Korea. The Korean population continues to show their love for the United States Military Forces. George Bruzgis was honored to go back and visit the country he had fought for all those years.
The Difficulty with Sharing the War
George Myron concedes that he experienced difficulty in sharing his experiences with war and that opening up was a slow process. He particularly remembers what he saw the civilian women having to endure as unfortunate, such as them lying down in gutters to deliver their babies. He recalls offering his poncho to one such lady as she gave birth there on the street.
George P. Wolf
Flying in the Berlin Airlift
George Wolf was a pilot in the Air Force during the Berlin Airlift after WWII. He provided food, but mostly coal to the people living in West Berlin during the Russian blockade. He flew the same path that the famous, Gail Halvorsen, flew during the 11-month blockade.
George Padar tells of his work in the Civil Affairs Unit. His job was to work to win the hearts and mind of the local population as it related to the refugees. He also assisted with government and non government agencies to assist refugees who were suffering in war torn areas.
George Van Hoomissen
George Van Hoomissen remembers Seoul being absolutely demolished. He notes that the capitol was a shambles. He shares his thoughts on the Korea of today, especially as related to the successful economy of the country.
George W. Liebenstein
Daily Life in Battery Supply
George "Bill" Liebenstein details the living conditions during his time serving in Korea from April 1953 through July 1954. He recalls activities during his spare time including playing and coaching softball. He notes that the men in his unit were not provided showers at their location until a few months after their arrival. He explains that there were few Korean people in the area where they were stationed except for a few civilian workers. He tells of the challenges some of them presented when they took supplies, but he further notes that he could not blame them as they had nothing. He offers a story of a young North Korean man, who worked in supply with whom he became quite close.
George Warfield was in the reserves when he was called into active duty. He was sent to Fort Campbell for two to three weeks to retrain for war. After training, he was shipped to Japan to set up for the Korean War with the 25th Reconnaissance Company, 25th Division. As a radio operator in a reconnaissance company, he had to find the enemy, go to fill-in the front line if the enemy broke the line, and he was the last unit to retreat.
Destruction on Christmas Eve
George Warfield landed in Korea on December 24, 1950 and had Christmas Eve dinner on the ship before he was dropped off at Inchon harbor. He counted 17 tanks that went out to battle from Inchon, but only 1 came back the next morning after fighting. George Warfield passed through Euijeongbu one night and saw the terrible conditions for civilians, but he did not stay in any location longer than a day.
Live or Come Home In A Box
Gerald Land described how long the journey was from California to Japan which was a total of 14 days. When he arrived in Yokohama, Japan, they were picking up more soldiers to take to Korea and he stumbled upon an old high school friend (yelling down from the top of the ship to the deck). They had some time to talk about why he was in Japan, and his friend said he had gone AWOL while in the Air Force because of a girl he wanted to be with in Japan, but was located and brought to trial. He was given a choice: go to Fort Leavenworth to serve a 4-year sentence or be sent to Korea with the 40th Division. "Live and your record is wiped clean or come home in a box."
Gerald Land was disgraced by the term police action instead of calling the Korean War, a war. He was also upset that people, particularly educators, didn't know anything about the war when he came home. With so many people who risked their lives for the people of South Korea and to label it the way people have, is just awful.
Don't Take Life For Granted
Gerald Land left the interview with advice for the listeners. Don't take life for granted, buckle down, get out to get a job, and earn what you get. Don't expect handouts and work your way to the top. He also said the technology that kids have today isn't completely necessary to live a good life. Working hard is the way to go!
Patriotism, A Better Life, and Water Brought Me to the Navy
Gerald Spandorf volunteered for the Navy because he loved to swim and to be in the water. He also wanted to serve his country. For basic training, he went to Bay Bridge, Maryland and then he was assigned a his ship in Road Island.
Traveling with the Navy
Gerald Spandorf loved when his ship was in port because the sailors were able to walk around different countries. In Germany, the Germans asked him his name and they loved him because he had a strong German name. Gerald Spandorf told them that the Germans didn't like his family because his parents and grandparents are jews.
Concerns About North Korea Today
Gerald Spandorf felt mad at North Korea because they are test bombing different areas around Korea. He's afraid that their bombing will start another war and he doesn't want anything bad to happen to the Korean people. Since he's been out of the Navy, Gerald Spandorf has been learning more about the Korean people and they have all been so sweet to him.
Germaye Beyene Tesfaye
Helping Starving Civilians and Funding Orphanages
Germaye Tesfaye witnessed terrible destruction in Korea. Arriving in 1952, he encountered Koreans in dire circumstances. Many civilians lacked basic food. Rather than throwing away uneaten food as directed by fellow American soldiers, Ethiopian solders gave their leftovers to hungry Korean people. Further, many Ethiopian solders donated their salaries to fund the creation of orphanages for Korean children who had lost their parents in the conflict.
Occupation and Missing Apologies
Gilbert Hauffels compares German occupation of Luxembourg to the Japanese occupation of Korea. Largely due to apologies from Germany, Luxembourg has been able to move past resentments from occupation, exchanging the negative term "Prussia" for the more expansive term "Deutschland" in reference to Germany and Germans. Although Shinzo Abe apologized to the Korean nation for occupation, Gilbert Hauffels notes that Japan falls short of apologizing for the use of Korean women as sex slaves. Having read much about Japanese atrocities throughout east and southeast Asia, he finds the lack of apology unacceptable.
Gilberto Diaz Velazco
Entertainment and rest and relaxation / Entretenimiento y R and R
Gilberto Diaz Velazco explains that war includes times of peace and joy. He details the entertainment provided to troops and the time they had for rest and recovery. He thoroughly enjoyed his time in Japan as Colombians were treated exceptionally well and he encountered many people that spoke Spanish. He recalls that there was even a store in Yokohama named “Batallón Colombia.”
Gilberto Díaz Velazco explica que la guerra incluye tiempos de paz y alegría. Detalla el entretenimiento que había para las tropas y el tiempo que tenían para descansar y recuperación. Disfrutó mucho de su tiempo en Japón ya que los colombianos fueron tratados excepcionalmente bien y se encontró con muchas personas que hablaban español. Recuerda que incluso había una tienda en Yokohama llamada “Batallón Colombia”.
Children of War
Gordon Evans describes how he felt children of war suffered the most. He tells of a young boy he came across who was alone in the cold with no coat and how he took that boy in as his own houseboy. He points out that this was not uncommon due to the orphanages being overrun.
Speaking About War: A Healing Process
Grace Ackerman feels that the Korean War Legacy Foundation is important because it allows the veterans to speak about their experiences during the Korean War. Students and future generations will also be able to gain knowledge from the interviews. Experiences such as the cold weather, being away from family, and personal experiences endured during the Korean War.
PTSD: Iraq and Afghan War Veterans
Grace Ackerman goes to the veterans' hospital in Syracuse, New York with the Auxillery group to help in the healing process. Her group is not officially there to help veterans from the Iraq and Afghan War overcome their Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD), but they are there to listen when the veterans need it. Older war veterans have had time to heal and process their experiences, whereas the young veterans are still finding their way. Grace Ackerman believes that veterans' hospitals should be doing more to address PTSD in our young veterans.
Releasing Memories About the Korean War: Terrifying
Grace Ackerman was glad that she was able to be there for her husband, Bruce Ackerman, when he started to talk about his experiences during the Korean War, but it was terrifying to know the conditions that the veterans had to endure. Bruce Ackerman didn't start speaking about it until he was retired and able to have more time to ponder his time in Korea. Grace Ackerman recalled how most of the US didn't know about Korea when the war began in 1950 until the media started to cover the Korean War.
Returning to Korea and Supporting the US Veterans
Grace Ackerman was told by her husband, Bruce Ackerman, about the poor conditions in Korea during the war with mud paths, dirt roads, and huts. While visiting Korea during a church trip, she was able to see their new beautiful churches and the teenagers who were so courteous. As part of the Auxiliary, Grace Ackerman helps the veteran community by adopting a floor at the local veterans' hospital to make food, send gifts, and play bingo.
Graham L. Hughes
The HMNZS Pukaki During the Korean War
Graham Hughes experienced an intensive nine-month basic training as a radio operator. The training included typing and touch typing. The HMNZS Pukaki, his ship, was armed with a variety of weapons to aid in the Korean War.
Winters and Children in the Bunker
Gregorio Roxas shares how the winters were the hardest part of his service but the bunkers on the frontline were the best place to be during these months. While in the bunker, he remembers Korean children being with the soldiers. He recalls interactions with one Korean boy who he met in the bunker.
Growing Up in Greece
Haralambos Theodorakis was born into a farming family with 5 brothers and 3 sisters on Crete, Greece. While attending only a few years of school, he was not taught about Korea. He didn't even know about Japan or China, so his schooling was very narrow based on his home country.
Korea at the Beginning of the War
Haralambos Theodorakis left for Korea in 1950 and came back in 1951. Everything was destroyed when he arrived and the people were very sweet people. Korean civilians didn't have a lot of clothes to wear or food to eat. If Haralambos Theodorakis had extra food, he gave it to the civilians and he saw a lot of Korean children running the streets during his 8 months there.
Haralambos Theodorakis knew that he was fighting communists during the war. Now, Korea is the 10th strongest nation in the world and he feels that it was a destroyed country in 1950. Now, he's excited to see the progress that has been made in Korea.
Haralambos Theodorakis has a weakness for the Korean people because he loves all the Korean people. As he recalled the war, there were many times that he almost died. He went and fought a war without knowing what he would face, but luckily, he was never wounded.
Redeployed as Machine Gun Squad Leader
Harold Don discusses being redeployed to Korea during the Chinese major offensive. He shares he was unaware, at the time, that Chinese forces had retaken Seoul and that he became a machine gun squad leader. He remembers partaking in Rest and Relaxation, which meant moving back several miles from the front for a hot shower and food. He notes he remembers the country itself when asked what he remembers most from this eleven-month tour in Korea. He describes Korea as being like a third-world country at the time with primitive farming, sanitation, and construction methods.
British Troopship to the Korean War
Harry Hawksworth recalls being summonsed to serve in Korean War. He recounts enduring a six to seven-week training program where he practiced trench warfare prior to departing for Korea on a troopship. He remembers the ship stopping at many locations on the seven-week journey to gather additional supplies.
Pusan Landing and Retreating to the Imjin River
Harry Hawksworth recalls arriving in Korea and docking in Pusan. He describes how African American United States troops were playing instruments as they arrived and creating a grand entrance. He shares how he, along with the Gloucestershire Regiment, traveled by foot up to the Yalu River in December of 1950 without spotting a Chinese soldier. He remembers being told he would be back home by Christmas and shares how he knew that would not happen after the US and British troops were forced to withdraw to the Imjin River.
Life as a POW in Camp Changsong From April 1951 to July 1953
Harry Hawksworth shares how he walked at night for six weeks until he reached the prisoner of war (POW), Camp Changsong, in May 1951. He remembers how many of the British POWs escaped but notes that all were caught and punished by being placed in solitary confinement depending on the distance they escaped. He recalls becoming very sick after getting down to seven stones (ninety-eight pounds) due to eating only one bowl of rice with one cup of water a day. He recalls brainwashing sessions held by the Chinese and remembers how the US and British POWs had to fight to survive every single day.
The Release of British POWs After Armistice
Harry Hawksworth recalls knowing that peace talks must have been starting while he was trying to survive in a Chinese POW camp called Camp Changsong because the Chinese began to feed the POWs larger rations of food each day. He shares how this helped him fatten up after being held captive since May 1951 and weighing only ninety-five pounds. He explains that once the Armistice was signed in July 1953, he and other POWs were brought to Panmunjom at the 38th parallel. He recalls that it was there where they crossed over the famous Freedom Bridge back into Allied hands.
Memories of Women and Children Hiding
Harry Olson reflects on one experience during the retreat from the Battle of Unson. He details his discovery of a cave during the retreat and finding eight to twelve Korean women hiding with their children. He recounts how the image of those women holding on to their children has haunted him. After this encounter, he remembers witnessing the destruction of supplies at the airport and being upset that they were burning food because he could not remember the last time he had eaten.
Dangers of Protecting the Retreat
Harry Olson recounts how his extremely depleted battalion protected the line during the retreat from Unsan. He describes his experience returning from protecting the line and experiences in the rice paddies. He shares details about his first near-death experience and the enemy fire just down the hill from his position.
Harvey J. Ernest
Harvey Ernest said it was cold in Korea but not quite as cold as Wisconsin. There were some Koreans he worked with while serving in Korea but does not remember too much about them. He was paid a dollar a day, and he would write his family back home. He was reluctant to talk about some of the things that happened in Korea.
A Wonderful Feeling
Henk Bos shares he has returned to Korea twice since his service ended there in 1954. Each time it was to create documentaries based on the Korean War experience. He reminisces about his final trip in the 1980s when he saw a thriving country. He notes that at the time there was still a nighttime curfew with troops still walking the streets but that despite this he had a wonderful feeling knowing he had helped Korea continue to grow.
Poverty and Survival
Henry Kosters describes his interaction with some South Korean children who took some of his possessions. He explains that upon landing at Inchon, the city was mostly occupied by US Marines. He recalls how he and another man went off together and came upon a group of teenagers who stole his watch band and camera film from his pockets. He shares that though he was not pleased with his loss, he understood that the children were desperate and needed to take whatever they could.
Staying On The American Base
Henry MacGillicuddy speaks about what it was like staying on the American base. He shares his favorite food was turkey, and he remembers ice cream being served at every lunch and dinner. He remembers many Korean children worked on the base, cleaning and doing other jobs. He recalls writing home frequently.
Henry River, Jr.
Korea in the 1950s
Henry River, Jr., recalls the living conditions of Koreans in the 1950s. He remembers life being tough for the Koreans and speaks about a nine-year-old Korean boy who did his clothes in exchange for bags of rice. Additionally, he recalls the human waste fertilizer smell in Incheon.
Henry T. Pooley
Revisiting Korea and Memories
Henry T Pooley remembers his return to Korea in 2000. He recounts his amazement at the progress and compares it to his time in 1952. He shares his memories of the destruction and his hope that Korea reunites during his lifetime.
Landing in Korea and First Impressions
Herbert Schreiner describes landing in Korea for the first time as a soldier and his impressions of the smell and scenery. He recalls being greeted with a stench from what he believed to be the honey buckets used to fertilize fields with human waste. He adds that the area was ravaged and war-torn. He also recounts the houseboy who cleaned soldiers' clothing and offers his impressions of the Korean people during wartime.
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.
Korea Is My Second Home
After returning home from his service in Korea, it wasn't long before Herbert Werner was back in Korea as a professional boxing referee. He described after spending 3 full years of his life there, he was amazed at the resilience of the people despite the terror of war, how much the country of South Korea has improved, their patriotism, and the respect the civilians had for the soldiers who fought for South Korea. He felt like he was treated with so much respect and built an unconditional friendship.
What Serving in Korea Meant to Herbert Werner
When Herbert Werner was still in an orphanage during WWII, the boys that left to fight during that war had such a lasting impression on him, so he joined the Marine Corps. Originally, he wanted to go to China as a Marine, but after the war broke out in Korea, he was so caught up in the moment and excited that he wanted to go to be a part of this war. Much of what Herbert Werner saw was terrible including the treatment of refugees during the Korean War.
First Glimpse of the Korean People
Homer Garrett described the Korean people when he first arrived in Korea as hungry and begging for food/supplies. It was the worst the worst catastrophic area that he had ever seen and Korea really needed a lot of help to rebuild. Korea was still in ruins 12 years after the Korean War ended.
Earnings for his Service
Homer Garrett briefly described, what few kids understand, which is how little soldiers were paid for their service. When he first entered as a Private First Class soldier, he started making $43.00 per month even while having a wife and two children back at home. When Homer Garrett came home, his highest earning was $130.00 per month which was much better than when he first entered the service in 1965.
Captured Submarine & Firing at the UN Troops
Homer Garrett described encounters with North Korean agents during his service in Korea. His unit captured a 2-man operating submarine that was trapped on a sand bar which carried 4 North Korean agents. That same submarine is now located in the 2nd Infantry Division Museum. The other close call incident involved their Military Police Jeep and a lady who was standing in the road. She ran from the intersection when suddenly shots were fired piercing the radio in their jeep.
Dedicated to Improving Civilian Lives
Homer Garrett never witnessed people in such despair not want help from their government, yet the Korean civilians continued to prosper with what they had. Korean civilians had a willingness to improve their lives. Homer Garrett felt the values of the South Korean people are lessons all Americans could learn from. He appreciated what he witnessed and respected Koreans' desire to succeed.
When Homer Garrett first arrived in Korea, the only means of transportation were ox-drawn carts for the wealthy, buses, and small taxis ("red birds"). The roads were only dirt roads that the Military Police shared with the civilians to transport goods and supplies. When Homer Garrett revisited Korea in 2007, (his wife visits often since she is from Korea- met and married her there and brought her back to Texas) he recalled the highway system in Seoul rivals that of our highway system in the United States, and that there are more cars on the road there, than there are in Dallas or Houston, Texas!
Homer W. Mundy
Homer Mundy talks about returning home and being tasked by the Army to train new recruits who were being sent to Korea. He also talks about his rapid advancement in rank due to his combat experience. Lastly, he recounts an episode at a VFW with WWII veterans upon discharge.
Hong Berm Hur
Recognition Not Going Unnoticed
Hong Berm Hur mentioned the gratitude the Republic of Korea has for the soldiers that sacrificed so much by honoring them with the Distinguished Ambassador for Peace Medal. He went on to share that during World War II, no countries ever thanked the US soldiers for extending their efforts to help rid the world of dictators. Hong Berm Hur believes that recognition and the sacrifice of soldiers should be done around the world.
Howard Ballard discusses being trained to serve in Korea from 1947 to 1948 with the 57th Field Artillery Battalion, 7th Division. He recalls leaving Korea but returning later after re-enlisting. He remembers landed at Pusan at night to fight the North Koreans at the Pusan Perimeter on August 2, 1950. He recalls how he saw North Korean soldiers slaughter entire South Korean villages which made it difficult for him to speak about the war.
Landing at Incheon
Howard Lee recalls his first impressions of South Korea upon landing at Incheon. He remembers the early morning journey on a Landing Ship Tank (LST) and walking in waist-deep water towards the shore where he saw a city on fire. He recounts dead bodies floating in the water and the fear he felt as he and his company made land and rallied at the assigned checkpoint.
Howard R. Hawk
Life at Camp St. Barbara
Howard R. Hawk explains he served as a Korean Defense soldier at Camp St. Barbara which was near the end of the supply routes from the Spring of 1969 until July 1970. He recounts details of the large black market in the villages for American supplies. He recalls army rations being pretty bad in general which led him to eat frequently in the villages.
Howard W. Bradshaw
Howard Bradshaw's Love for Orphaned Koreans
Howard Bradshaw encountered many orphans during his time in Korea. He offered them candy and expressed his love for these kids.
Howard Bradshaw took pictures of these children while he was there during the Korean War.
English and the Mormon Church
Howard Bradshaw spoke of a professor from Cornell University and the soldiers who came to Korea during the war. They helped to organize English courses for the Korean civilians and they spoke about the Latter Day Saints. A Mormon temple is now located in Korea and it's estimated that over 125,000 Koreans are Mormons.
a Soldier's Wife Remembers Life Without Her Loved One
Laverne Bradshaw, just like Howard Bradshaw, spent every night writing letters to each other. She described how she grew a vegetable garden to save money while her neighbors would shoot a deer to help feed Laverne Bradshaw's family. Howard Bradshaw wrote about how he would help to feed orphans while he was away in Korea.
Hugo Monroy Moscoso
First Impressions / Primeras Impresiones
Hugo Monroy Moscoso remembers his first impressions of Korea. He details the destruction he encountered in every town as they arrived after the Chinese and North Korean invasion. He recalls that it gave them pleasure to share food with civilians because they understood how much they were suffering.
Hugo Monroy Moscoso recuerda sus primeras impresiones de Corea. Detalla la destrucción que encontró en cada pueblo porque llegaron después de la invasión china y norcoreana. Recuerda que les daba placer compartir comida con los civiles porque reconocían la miseria y el hambre que sufrían.
Hussen Mohammed Omar
Money for an Orphanage
Hussen Mohammed Omar describes the condition of the people in Korea. People were in bad shape. He describes how the Ethiopian soldiers donated money to help build an orphanage. Once the orphanage was built, soldiers continued to donate money to keep it running.
Ian J. Nathan
Small Boys, Heavy Loads, and Weather
Ian Nathan shows pictures of his time in Korea. One photo has a small Korean boy carrying a load supported by an A-frame pack. Other photos represent living conditions such as a tent covered in winter snow and a swollen creek blocking access to the latrines in the rainy season.
Letters to Mom
Ian Nathan did not have a girlfriend at the time of his service in Korea, but he wrote to his mother and brother. His brother helped him identify Venus from his observations of the dark night sky from his tent. He visited Seoul once during his time in the Army, but the city was in shambles due to the fighting that occurred there. Markets were set up, but most of the goods had been created from scavenged items. He contrasts his experience with pictures of modern Seoul.
Democracy v. Totalitarianism: Walls Don't Work!
Ian Nathan considers the Korean War very important in world history, particularly due to the development of South Korea as a highly educated, economically strong nation with a stable government. He feels the seventy-year time span since the armistice is unfortunate, with gamesmanship and the sadness of separated families between North Korea and South Korea. He compares the divide between North and South Korea to the Berlin Wall and the wall on the southern United States border.
Desperation of the South Koreans
Ibrahim Gulek describes the people of South Korea. South Korea was war-torn. The people were desperate. He describes South Koreans as having no clothes and constantly begging for food. The conditions were heartbreaking. Ibrahim Gulek and his fellow soldiers would give food and supplies to the people in need.
Inga-Britt Jagland describes her work as a nurse. Originally, she worked in the tuberculosis ward. However, the Red Cross started to take UN soldiers fighting in the North. These men were only there for two or three days before evacuated to Japan. A nurse would work from 6am to 10pm, caring for men that had serious injuries. Some men would panic and need restraint from other marines.
Inga-Britt Jagland describes being very happy to be in Korea. The people of Korea were so friendly and thankful for the help. The country was so beautiful with a sunrise over the mountains. With all the beauty, the people were suffering. Some children had no legs or arms. Inga-Britt Haglund also describes providing food to Korean children.
Big Love in Busan
Inga-Britt Jagland describes meeting her future husband in war-torn Busan. She met him at a Swedish spring festival. He slipped her vodka and orange juice. He was a driver taking people back to their villages for the Red Cross.
Ismael Heredia Torres
Message to Future Generations / Mensaje para las Generaciones Futuras
Ismael Heredia Torres offers his views on the war and the toll it had on civilians. He states that he believes that civilians suffered the most as they faced hunger, poverty, and attacks. He is proud that the allied forces stopped the spread of communism and helped save the people of South Korea.
Ismael Heredia Torres ofrece sus opiniones sobre la guerra y lo difícil que fue para la población civil. Afirma que cree que los civiles fueron los que más sufrieron al enfrentar el hambre, la pobreza y los ataques. Él está orgulloso de que las fuerzas aliadas detuvieron la expansión del comunismo y ayudaran a salvar al pueblo de Corea del Sur.
Israel Irizarry-Rodriguez recalls his interaction with South Korean orphans during the war. He shares how he felt seeing the orphans and remembers wanting to help them. He speaks of how he and other soldiers would take the orphans to get food.
Reflection of Service
Israel Irizarry-Rodriguez shares his thoughts on his service during the Korean War and why the United States went to help South Korea. He expresses his fondness for the Korean people and culture. He shares his pride regarding the progress South Korea has made economically since the war.
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.
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 how 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.
Concussion Grenades and the Aggressive Chinese Army
At the end of November 1950, Jack Allen was wounded by the Chinese who overran the US troops. The Chinese had so many troops that they easily came over the hills. A concussion grenade took the nerve out of Jack Allen's right arm, so he couldn't use it and his knee was shot too. He was laid on straw and a tarp until a helicopter basket took him back off the line and onto Japan to recover. There were hundreds of wounded that accompanied Jack Allen, but he knew that he wouldn't be left behind because that's a Marines' motto.
Frozen Bodies and Paralyzed Limbs
Jack Allen was sent to an Army hospital in Japan and he stayed there for 7-10 days until he was shipped to a Naval hospital where Marines were supposed to be sent. When he walked in there, there were over 100 frozen bodies that lost arms, legs, and/or toes. Thankfully, a neurosurgeon performed surgery to help get feeling back in his arm while at the Naval base. Jack Allen was sent back to the US in February 1951.
Pride and Korea Today
Jack Cooper shares that he is proud to say that Korea is what it is today thanks to the efforts of the American military and the partnership created in Korea between both entities to stop Communism. He states that the Korean people are very grateful as they often thank him for his service. He also comments on Korea's economic status, the legacy of the Korean War, and offers a message to younger generations.
People Who Fall in a Death March
Jack Goodwin describes the Death March as a POW which took place November 1st-9th, 1950. He shares that 86 men died along the way from either wounds sustained prior to the start of the march or from being shot by the North Koreans who were forcing them to march. He recounts civilians being forced to march with them as well, including nuns, priests, engineers, and politicians.
Teaching English at the English Language Institute at Taegu
Jack Pettipas remembers being solicited by Colonel Orlando Stevenson, who established the English Language Institute at Taegu, to spend some of his off-duty time teaching conversational English to mostly Korean youth. He notes that some of these students would spend half of their day just getting to the site to learn English. He explains the importance of breaking the "ugly American" stereotype that was dominant at the time through working with the young people.
First Impressions of Devastated Refugees
Jack Spahr expresses that he knew nothing about Korea until he entered the service. He shares that his first impressions of Korea were depressing as he saw many refugees searching for food and assistance. He recounts servicemen trying to help them as much as they could. He recalls several South Koreans working on the base with them and states that they were paid well compared to what they would get elsewhere at the time.
Write About the People
Jack Whelan notes the first day of advanced training was an exercise of being terrified and luckily he was asked during this training to be a correspondent. He explains how the American government wanted family members to feel connected and know what was going on in Korea. Because of this, he recounts how his focus was on the people and not the ugly parts of war. He elaborates on the inspiring stories he wrote about Father Waldie.
James “Jim” Valentine
Giving Money to the Children
James "Jim" Valentine discusses how he got disoriented and was in a tank in the 1950's liberation of Seoul. He discusses the destruction. He shares an emotional experience he has with the South Korean children. He explains that due to an accident he lost his few items and that he didn't have/take pictures.
James A. Newman
Nobody Argues with Padres
James Newman was sent ashore in 1951. Rare for a Navy man, he was able to see a devastated Seoul and fight on the frontlines. He had rare access due to accompanying an Anglican clergyman.
Return to Korea
James Newman has participated in five trips back to Korea since 2002. He is very impressed with the modern nation. He feels pride in the accomplishments of the Korean people and his part in freeing South Korea from North Korean rule.
Joining the Army During the Korean War
James Butcher joined the Army as a 17 year-old after he tried to join at the age of 16, but he was too young because he felt that it was his duty to help the US after the Korean War began. This took place in 1951 and he went to basic training in Pennsylvania in order to train on their hills to prepare for the hills of Korea. After that, he went to jump school since he joined the Army Airborne. James Butcher could have stayed in the US training paratroopers, but he wanted to go to Korea so bad that he contacted his senator to help get into Korea.
Conditions in Pusan
James Creswell describes his first impressions of Korea. He recounts the horrible living conditions civilians faced in Pusan. He shares that people were living in river beds, freezing to death due to lack of clothing, and had no food or money.
Supply Train Ambush
James Creswell recounts a supply train ambush where guerrillas had dynamited the track, forcing the train to stop roughly twenty miles from its destination. He shares that the civilians on the train got off, and the guerrillas then gunned down around four hundred of them. He recalls the event being so horrific that it made headlines in the U.S. and believes it to be the largest civilian massacre in 1952.
James Elmer Bishop
Joining the United States Army National Guard
James Elmer Bishop discusses enlisting in the United States Army National Guard at the age of thirteen. He recalls getting to drive a jeep and handling supplies. He admits that he was the Sergeant's pet and would always do more than asked. He shares that he missed three National Guard meetings and was drafted at the age of sixteen. He describes waiting for them to call him out on his age, but they did not.
Keeping the Memory of the Korean War Veterans Alive
James Ferris shares about his daily work to keep the memory of the Korean War alive, honor the fallen soldiers, and celebrate all the accomplishments of South Korea. He explains as State and then National Korean War Veteran Association President, he strives to reach out to all the Korean War defense veterans (soldiers after 1954) who have served at the DMZ. He expresses that the longevity of the Korean War legacy is with the next generation.
The Difficult Job as a US Marine
James Ferris shares that his assignment did not allow him to stay in Korea for a long time. He explains that his job had him flying in and out of the entire country. He shares he earned good money for the 1950s as a corporal and recalls how he sent most of it home to his family. He adds that once he arrived back home, he went on his first date with a girl he wrote to for over a year while serving in the war.
Truman's Executive Order 9981: Desegregation of the Military
Racial tension grew after the Executive Order 9981 was issued. When James Low was in the US National Guard, he saw a confrontation between Southern soldiers and African American soldiers from Harlem, New York. Racism still existed for African Americans on the home front during the 1950s. Since James Low went to an integrated school, his beliefs were different than the Southern soldiers that were stationed with him.
Contemporary Korea and a Message to Future Generations
James Low hopes that future generations are able to experience one democratic Korea. He stresses the importance that future generations understand the Korean War was fought against three Communist countries: North Korea, China, and Russia. James Low believes that the Korean war helped to impede any further advancement of Russian Communism.
Begging to Join the US Army
James Low wanted to join the US Army after he graduated high school because he wanted to do his part just like everyone else did during WWII. There was a group of James Low's friends that went to volunteer month after month until there was a spot open. Finally, in February 1951, he was accepted into the Army, but had to wait until he was 18 years old to sign the paperwork because his mom refused to give permission to his 17 year-old son.
James M. Cross
Impressions of Korea
James Cross discusses his first impressions of Korea. He remembers everything as small and ruined and recounts children being hungry as there was not enough food. He shares that he would give candy bars or whatever else he had to the children.
James M. Oyadomari
I Couldn't Even Imagine: Returning to Korea
James M. Oyadomari shares he has been fortunate to return to Korea on two occasions. Although his recollections of what the country was like while he was stationed there are limited, he explains he was amazed by how much it has been rebuilt over the past 50 years. He shares he is proud of the country's success and the role he played in it. He articulates he would like to one day see the war officially come to an end and lead to a unified Korea, but he questions how this will be possible under the current leadership of North Korea.
Korean House Boys
James Rominger talks about the duties of the Korean house boys who took care of all the general housekeeping needs of the soldiers. The house boys washed clothes, cleaned shoes and kept the general area clean in the foxholes and the bunkers in exchange for food and clothing. James Rominger shares why the teenage boy was unable to even return home.
James Ronald Twentey
Cigarettes as Money
Ron Twentey describes the need that still existed among the Korean people during his time there.
He explains that though the war was over, the people were still terribly impoverished and begged for food. He describes the children begging for food and for cigarettes which they sold to make money. He explains that he has never smoked but he would pay for the cigarette rations so that he could use them as currency and for trade. He recalls paying for his clothes to be laundered with cigarettes.
James T. Markley
Message to the Younger Generation
James Markley gives students a message on the achievements of the Korean people. After the devastation of World War II and the Korean war, the Korean people have set a great example for the entire world. They have become a resilient nation of people.
James Vance Scott
The Big Grenade and Surrender of North Korean Soldiers
James Vance Scott describes the grenade attached to his anti-aircraft machinery that he was instructed to activate if the troops were ever overrun. He recounts how they were also to be back-up support with machine guns. He describes the Battle of Old Baldy, including the surrender of two North Korean soldiers who voluntarily walked into the American camp starving and cold. He describes his first encounter with Chinese soldiers, as well as seeing a dead enemy civilian.
The Korean People
James Warren explains his adoration of Koreans. He discusses his wife, who was Korean, to whom he met and married while stationed in Korea. He discusses the close-knit community, and how he is still involved even after her passing.
Jean Paul St. Aubin
First Impressions of Korea
Jean Paul St. Aubin describes his first impressions after landing in Korea. He recounts the destruction, seeing few trees and buildings. He shares that it was hard to believe how poor the living conditions were for the Koreans as he witnessed malnourishment, naked children begging in the streets, and women working in the rice fields with their babies.
Jeff Brodeur (with Al Jenner)
We were there during the Cold War
Jeff Brodeur and Al Jenner received word that the North Koreans wanted to participate in the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, so they were heavily guarding the 38th parallel. They were doing this to ensure that the Olympics would remain safe. The 38th parallel is the dividing line between North and South Korea that we created during the signing of the armistice on July 29, 1953.
Korean War Veterans Response to KDVA Accomplishments
Al Jenner responds that if the veterans could see the impact that was made by their efforts to deter against communism, they would see a country that is now the 11th largest economy in the world. They would also see that it's the first nation to go from a debtor nation to a creditor nation while enjoying the freedoms they have there. Jeff Brodeur and Al Jenner are very proud of the progress and success in South Korea.
First Impression of Busan
Jeremiah Johnson recalls traveling to Korea aboard the General Black troopship and describes the experience. He recounts arriving in Pusan and seeing Korean men in boats he was unfamiliar with. He remembers men from his ship tossing down fruit to the Korean men in the boats and watching them put the fruit into boxes.
Hiring Orphans to Help
Jeremiah Johnson remembers two orphaned South Korean boys who worked for the unit. He describes the jobs they were given. He shares how they paid them and comments on how they learned from the soldiers.
Message For Future Generations
Jesus Perez shares an important message for future generations about why it is necessary to learn our history. He explains the significance of understanding sacrifice and the suffering of war, so that we can be better prepared should we face it again. He describes the impact of seeing orphans fighting for garbage because they were hungry.
Jimmie A. Montoya
You'll Remember This Someday
The term "Forgotten War" upset a lot of people. Georgia remembered when she watched her black and white TV as a little girl. When her family who served in the Korean War came back to the US, her parents always said, "Remember what you are watching on TV. This will be history some day."
Jimmy A. Garcia
Conditions on the Front Lines
Jimmy A. Garcia recounts his experience of serving in Korea and the food he ate during his time there. He notes that while South Korean civilians occasionally brought hot meals to his unit, he mostly relied on C-Rations--canned wet foods that were already prepared. He discusses the challenges of maintaining personal hygiene while serving on the front lines, including taking weekly showers and sponge baths using their t-shirts. He provides an overview of the North Korean military campaign against South Korea and the role played by the United Nations and the United States during the war.
Care Packages that Warmed Not Just Soldiers' Heart, But Also His Body
Joan Taylor was 21 years old when the Korean War was taking place. She lived with her parents while her first husband was away at war. Joan Taylor provided care packages for her husband that included warm clothes because winter military clothes were not provided yet.
Personal Understanding of the Korean War
Joan Taylor loves the Korean War Legacy Foundation because she believes that the program will create a personal understanding of the Korean War through interviews of veterans. She was able to visit South Korea with her Korean War veteran husband, Neal C. Taylor with the the help from her United States Presbyterian Church along with a Presbyterian church in South Korea. It was a history trip for her and she was treated so well by the Korean people.
Korean War Soldiers Returning Home
Joan Taylor's first husband came back home early from the war due to a death in the family. His father passed away and his mother was left to run a business, but she needed help. Joan Taylor's first husband was stationed as an Army Security Agent (ASA), so he did not participate in any fighting, but he recalled the bombs dropping and hiding in the bunkers at night.
Korea after the Armistice
Joe Henmuller describes what Korea was like when he arrived after the Armistice was signed and what he knows about South Korea today. He recalls how Korea was devastated by war and that Seoul had been destroyed. He explains that the destruction after the war makes the transformation Korea has gone through all the more amazing.
Girl In The Picture
As his battalion moved from the south to northern Korea, Joe Larkin's battalion passed through several villages coming in contact with the Korean people. The civilians were very thankful for what the US troops were doing. One little girl saw a picture of Joe Larkin's niece in his pocket, and kept pointing at the picture, but Joe Larkin didn't understand. He called over an interpreter and he said the girl couldn't believe that his niece had a flower in her hair.
The Korean War Armistice
Although the armistice was signed, communication from coast to coast was still limited, and Joe Larkin said the farther east he went, the less people knew about the armistice. He explained that if you wanted to call back to the east coast and you were in San Francisco, you had to pick up a rotary phone, dial 0, the operator took your number, then called you back at some point. Therefore, communication was lacking, which bothered Joe Larkin since he had been in some horrible circumstances and so few knew about the war coming to an end.
Joe O. Apodaca
Baking at Sea and Corresponding with Spouse
Joe O. Apodaca recalls experiencing bouts of seasickness while aboard the USS Henrico. He shares how severe weather and rough waters made baking cakes and other goods difficult. He remembers how the ship's crew graciously enjoyed the food despite any mishaps. He explains he had married a woman in the last year of his enlistment, and during that time, his wife lived in an apartment in San Diego, working for various government agencies. He recalls how hey kept in touch regularly through letters.
Ox Steps on a Field Mine-We have meat!
Joe Rosato did have C-Rations that he took advantage of for meals. As he was passing through villages, he was aware that the food was grown in human waste, but that didn't stop him from eating the cucumbers, watermelons, peppers, and beans. Joe Rasato saw an ox step on a field mine and blew itself apart, so the soldiers built a fire and made sauce with the chili peppers to go along with this fresh meat.
John A. Ciburk
Bombing in North Korea
John A. Ciburk describes several bombing missions in which he participated. He recalls bombing an oil refinery as well as roads and bridges in North Korea as a means of stopping enemy forces on the ground. He shares that when the Chinese forces came in, they were ordered to start bombing villages as the Chinese were using them for housing.
Military College: Preparing For Military LIfe
John Bierman grew up during WWII and joined the Boy Scouts of America so that he could collect aluminum along with bacon fat. During the Great Depression, he would eat one piece of bread with warm milk poured over with as dinner. After graduating high school, he graduated with a pre-engineering degree at a military college in 1947.
The Holloway Program
John Bierman applied for the Holloway Program which was the Naval version of the ROTC. He was accepted after interviews and an exam, so he was sent to the University of Oklahoma. He studied chemical engineering and Naval Science until he graduated in 1951 as an officer.
Typical Day as a Pilot
John Blankenship remembers spending lots of time sleeping when he wasn't flying missions. He was provided food from Japan that was made my cooks in the Air Force and he was given one hot meal a day. The pilots often ate WWII C-Rations to supplement meals. An important mission that John Blankenship was part of included the bombing of Pyungyang and a town near the Yalu River.
Returning to Modern Korea
Mr. and Mrs. John Cantrall described their trip to Korea in 2005. Although they did not get the opportunity to visit Pusan, they were impressed by how modern and industrialized everything was that they saw. They felt appreciated by the Korean citizens because of John Cantrall's service right after the Korean War ended through 1955.
Prior Knowledge About Korea
John Candrall was very sad when he went to Korea at the end of the Korean War in 1953 because he saw what true poverty looked like even compared to the US during the Great Depression. The advancement that took place from 1955 until he went back for his revisit was huge and John Candrall included the advancements in transportation in addition to housing. He was very proud of his service in the military and the help that he was able to provide for Korea between 1953 and 1955.
Life in Korea then and now
John Denning describes the living conditions of the South Korean people when he was there compared to when his son was in Korea more recently. He describes the people living in packing crates and huts with thatched roofs and the unpaved roads that were just mud and rubble. He describes the pictures he saw that his son recently took and being amazed at the vast developments and modernization.
A Christmas Eve Miracle for Joe
John Farritor recounts the beautiful story of how he befriended an orphan on a cold Christmas Eve. He shares he took him in to clothe and feed him and hired him as his houseboy, naming him Joe. He explains how war had left Joe alone in the world, so he did everything within his power to keep Joe with him for as long as he could, handing him off some months later when his assignment there was complete. He recalls teaching Joe everything he could to make him a valuable asset so that the Army would want to keep him and provide for him.
First Impressions of Korea
John Funk shares how he saw sadness the first time he laid eyes on Korea and the Korean people. He recalls people being hungry, sad, and poor, and he offers an account of their impoverished living conditions at the time. His adds that his time in Korea made him and other soldiers realize that they needed to help the Korean people.
John Funk offers an account of the 8076 Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (MASH). He describes the facility and the nearby area. He recalls soldiers being admitted with their uniforms still on as well as sometimes still in their sleeping bags and details the triage system utilized to determine who was tended to first. He additionally speaks of the role women played as nurses.
John Funk shares how he saw more devastation and pain than the average soldier because he was with the medical unit. He recounts the stories of three patients which have remained with him through the many years since his service. He recalls one centering on a Korean solider he transported in the middle of the night, another regarding an American soldier that had attempted suicide and was airlifted to his team, and finally, the image of a Korean child who lost both parents.
John G. Sinnicki
Encounters with the Koreans
John Sinnicki reflects on his encounters with the North Koreans in various settings. He describes how on the battlefield, they were dedicated to their Communist cause; however, in a civilian sense, they were very friendly and willing to engage with the Americans. He recalls KATUSA playing an incredibly helpful and important role and regrets they haven't received the credit they deserve.
John Hartup, Jr.
Korean Reaction to the American Soldiers
John Hartup, Jr., recalls the Koreans loving the American soldiers. The American soldiers operated the port of Incheon, so the Koreans depended on them to provide jobs. He recalls there were probably one thousand workers hired to operate the port. He remembers the presidential election of 1948 when Syngman Rhee was elected as the first president of the new Republic of Korea. He remembers being paid roughly fifty dollars a month, saving some of it in a U.S. bank and spending the rest in the base exchange (PX).
John J. Baker
Vivid Memories of Murdered Civilians
John J. Baker details movement from east of Taegu to a place called Ulsan. He recollects moving through the region with his company commander when they encountered the National Police and the Korean Army on both sides of the road. He recounts how the commander explained that these people were South Korean Communists. He notes that much of his unit had been wiped out in Taejan leaving only one hundred seventy-nine left in the unit and how they returned to Taegu and onto Kumchon with the 19th and 21st Infantry. He describes how when they arrived, they encountered a gory scene along the roadside.
A Sergeant's Mistake and a South Korean helper
John Jefferies shares memories of an encounter with a drunk American sergeant. He recalls happening upon a drunk American sergeant who was firing at children running in a village. He shares that when he confronted the sergeant, the gun was turned on him. He recalls running to seek the help of several South Korean soldiers, but upon his return with aid, the sergeant had fled. He adds that he luckily found no children wounded.
Answering the Call For the Australian Navy
John Moller recalls enlisting in the Australian Navy in 1950. He shares that he was stationed on the HMS Sydney from 1951-1952. He comments on returning to Korean twice after the war and shares how he was able to see, first-hand, the evolution of the buildings, roads, and culture in South Korea.
Can I Please Join the Australian Navy?
John Moller recalls joining the Australian Navy when he was seventeen with his parents' permission. He describes working in the supply branch aboard the HMS Sydney, which was an aircraft carrier with three flight squadrons. He shares that he on the aircraft carrier along with multiple Spitfire planes.
When the Nation Calls, You Answer
John Munro shares how he was called to service for the Australian National Army in 1952 and was going to be stationed on the home front. Since he wanted to fight in the Korean War, he describes joining the Regular Army in 1953. He recalls being sent to Korean as a nineteen year old in 1954 after the ceasefire to patrol the demilitarized zone (DMZ).
Growing Up in a Korean Orphanage
John Munro shares that he did not experience any dangerous moments while patrolling the DMZ in early 1954. He recounts how, as part of 1 Battalion, he went to Seoul to spend the day at an orphanage. He recalls his time spent at the orphanage and how he was given six children to eat with and play with throughout the afternoon.
Then and Now
John Naalstad describes the state of Korea during this time. He recounts a local Sunday school service he attended and the rough state of the church. Later, he contrasts that image with his pride in what Korea has become today.
Work as a British Radar Plotter
John Pound was trained as a radar plotter in the operations room. The ship operated in a constant state of darkness to avoid enemy detection. From the operations room, John Pound would search the sea for enemy boats with the occasional star shell burst breaking the silence to help illuminate the water to identify ships in the surrounding water. Often, he would spot small fishing ships.
The Various Jobs of a REME Engineer
John Pritchard helped a group of English entertainers by fixing the ambulance they were transported in after breaking down in transit. They kept a very unique souvenir hanging from their flagpole. This humorous episode was balanced by the realities of war, including one episode where John was sent off base to tow a mortared tank and came face to face with human loss.
R&R in Tokyo
John Pritchard took a 5-day R&R in Tokyo which was his first 5 days off after an entire year in Korea. Armed with a lot of cash, he and his mates were ready for a break. From the food to the stiff bedsheets, readjusting to normal life and conditions was odd for the men.
John Sehejong Ha
"We were Fooled"
John Sehejong Ha describes listening to the Seoul radio station to get information about WW II. He shares how the Korean President Syngman Rhee told the people we were winning the war on the station. He explains how he soon realized "we were fooled. He shares how he found out it was not true not only by word of mouth but also how he saw the Korean refugees fleeing from the North passed his house.
The Luxury of Food
John Sehejong Ha describes obtaining food during wartime. He shares how he had the responsibility to get food and market. He explains that they could buy food but it wasn't much. He explains how eating more than once a day was a luxury. He shares how he is not sure how they managed but thankfully they were able to survive.
John Sehejong Ha describes being at Douglas MacArthur entering South Korea. He describes being in attendance for the Seoul recapture. He shares a memory of seeing S. Koreans who had been forced to collaborate with North Korea's army. He shares how he witness the first group of US Marines enter South Korea.
Working with Koreans
John Singhose recalls being reasonably warm in his sleeping bag when he had to sleep in a tent while in Korea. He describes interacting with Koreans in several capacities, and speaks of them with admiration. He shares that everyone he encountered, from their cook to construction workers, were industrious and honest workers.
John T. “Sonny” Edwards
Memories of South Korea, 1957
John T. "Sonny" Edwards describes his experience getting to South Korea in 1957. He recalls seeing meats hanging in the market, honey buckets, and the smell of kimchi. He describes his impression of Korean people and his appreciation for their warm sentiment toward Korean War Veterans.
Memories of Korean Friends from the War
John Tobia gets very emotional regarding a memory he had of a young boy his company encountered while clearing buildings. He shares that the boy lived with his company for about a month. He also recalls a young Korean interpreter that worked with his company who became as close to him as a brother would be. He recalls giving cigarettes to the interpreter so he could trade them for food for his family.
What was Korea like when you were there?
John Turner discusses what Korea looked like on his journey north towards the 38th parallel. He recalls the destruction he witnessed in Incheon, Seoul, and Panmunjeom. He recalls starving people begging for food. He would give them some of his rations, as would other soldiers. His unit went on patrol near the 38th parallel, walking along deep trenches, and spying on North Koreans at Outpost Kate, about five hundred feet beyond the front lines .
John V. Larson
U.S.-France Relations During the Korean War
John V. Larson describes the importance of guard duty, and having a lot of leftover World War II equipment to manage. He remembers the merging of races in the military as many African-Americans were being placed into all white units in Europe. He explains why getting help from the French seemed to be difficult when U.S. troops broke down on the roads.
Working for the United States 8th Army
Johnney Lee recalls being paid for his work with the United States 8th Army. He describes the living conditions at the time and states that he was assigned to at tent with US soldiers. He remembers traveling back and forth each day between camps for negotiations, leaving in the morning for Panmunjeom and returning in the evening to base camp.
Jorge Eliecer Cortez Medina
Lying to go to War / Mentiras Antes de La Guerra
Jorge Eliecer Cortez Medina recounts the way in which he lied to his family about his decision to go to war. He explains that he knew they would object, so he told them he was being sent to Panama to train in communications. He admits that it was only when he arrived in Korea and saw a nation turned to ashes and the devastation of the civilian population that he understood the reality of war and the consequences of his decision.
Jorge Eliecer Cortez Medina relata la forma en que le mintió a su familia sobre su decisión de ir a la guerra como voluntario. Explica que sabía que se opondrían, por eso les dijo que iba hacia Panamá para hacer un entrenamiento en comunicaciones. El admite que fue sólo cuando llegó a Corea y vio una nación convertida en cenizas y la devastación de la población civil, que entendió la realidad de la guerra y las consecuencias de su decisión.
Jorge Hernando Uricoechea Castro
First Days in Korea / Primeros Días en Corea
Jorge Hernando Uricoechea Castro provides an account of the devastation and poverty he encountered upon arriving in Korea. He explains that he will never forget the way in which civilians begged for food and clothing at every train station. Additionally, he describes the living conditions the Colombian army faced in Korea.
Jorge Hernando Uricoechea Castro describe la devastación y pobreza que vio cuando llego a Corea. Explica que nunca olvidará la forma en que los civiles pedían comida y ropa en cada estación de tren. Además, relata las condiciones de vida que enfrentó el ejército colombiano en Corea.
José Aníbal Beltrán Luna
Impressions of Korea / Impresiones de Corea
José Aníbal Beltrán Luna describes the destruction he encountered in Korea. He explains that it is difficult for anyone that lived through a war to explain what happened. He recalls being saddened by the fact that Koreans, including professionals from universities, were forced to take menial jobs.
José Aníbal Beltrán Luna describe la destrucción total que encontró en Corea. Explica que es difícil para cualquiera que haya luchado en una guerra explicar lo que vio. Recuerda que le entristeció el hecho de que los coreanos, incluidos los profesionales de las universidades, se vieron obligados a aceptar trabajos manuales ayudando a los soldados.
Helping Civilians / Ayudando a los Civiles
José Aníbal Beltrán Luna details the heartbreaking conditions that civilians endured during the war. He remembers entering living dwellings and encountering weak elderly people and malnourished children. While it was frowned upon by American troops, he explains that Puerto Ricans gave rations to those civilians.
José Aníbal Beltrán Luna detalla las condiciones de los civiles durante la guerra. Recuerda entrar en viviendas y encontrarse con ancianos débiles y niños desnutridos. Él explica que los puertorriqueños les daban raciones a esos civiles aunque las tropas estadounidenses no lo hacían por miedo de darle comida al enemigo.
Jose E. Colon
From Driving to Typing
Jose E. Colon remembers his duty as a driver for the company commander after six months of service. He discusses attending night school during his eight months driving the officer to learn typing and shorthand. He recalls the time when the commander complimented his driving and offered assistance. He recounts how he immediately informed the commander about his typing and shorthand skills which led to his new assignment as a clerk at headquarters in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Jose E. Colon reflects on his three years of service in the United States Army Reserves. He shares his main duty was to reenlist WWII veterans who had recently returned home. He notes that when the Korean War broke out in 1950, he called fourteen hundred U.S. Army Reservists to report to duty in the 65th Infantry Regiment 43rd Battalion. He adds he continued his recruiting efforts in Puerto Rico while the 65th Regiment was in Korea. He discusses the lack of replacements for the 65th Regiment and his reassignment to the 7th Regiment upon his arrival in Korea.
Poor and Dangerous Living Conditions
Jose E. Colon presents an overview of their living conditions in Korea. He describes the South Koreans’ primitive farming and sanitation methods, which led to an infestation of snakes and rats in the unit's living quarters. He explains how the rats carried insects that caused some soldiers to develop a fever by penetrating their veins. He discusses the low quality and limited supply of food and shares his unit had only C-rations to eat while on the front lines.
José Guillermo Posada Ortiz
Most Difficult Moments / Momentos Más Difíciles
José Guillermo Posada Ortiz remembers the most difficult moments of the war. He explains that any time they were on the move it was incredibly dangerous as they were always met with mortar attacks. He remembers how they were ambushed one night, and his friend was killed. He wonders if he killed anyone as they shot in all directions as they could not see the enemy. Forever etched in his memory are the hardships of civilians and what they had to resort to in order to survive.
José Guillermo Posada Ortiz recuerda los momentos más difíciles de la guerra. Él explica que cada vez que se movía del sur hasta el frente era increíblemente peligroso porque siempre lo atacaban con morteros. Recuerda que una noche los emboscaron y mataron a su amigo, y ellos disparaban en todas direcciones porque no podían ver donde estaba al enemigo entonces él no sabe si mato a nadie. Las miserias de los civiles y lo que tenían que hacer para sobrevivir le han quedado grabadas en su memoria.
First Impressions / Primeras Impresiones
José Guillermo Posada Ortiz discusses his first impressions of Korea. As soon as they landed in Busan, they were transported by truck to the north, and he recalls the terrible condition the country faced. He was especially taken aback by the misery of civilians. Within hours of arriving to the front, he witnessed an American airplane shot down.
José Guillermo Posada Ortiz explica sus primeras impresiones de Corea. Tan pronto como aterrizaron en Busan, fueron transportados en camiones hacia el norte, y él recuerda las terribles condiciones en las que se encontraba el país. Mas que la destrucción, se acuerda de la miseria de los civiles. A las pocas horas de llegar al frente, el enemigo derribo un avión estadounidense.
Jose Jaime Rodríguez Rodríguez
Memories and Lessons Learned / Recuerdos y Lecciones Aprendidas
José Jaime Rodríguez Rodríguez reflects on his feelings about leaving Korea at the end of his tour. He explains that he learned what it meant to be a soldier and could have only done so through his experience during the war. Additionally, he laments what the people of Korea experienced during the century of conquests which culminated in the war.
José Jaime Rodríguez Rodríguez reflexiona sobre sus sentimientos cuando se fue de Corea. Explica que aprendió lo que significa ser un soldado y solo pudo haberlo hecho a través de su experiencia en la guerra. Además, lamenta lo que vivió el pueblo de Corea durante un siglo de conquistas que termino con la guerra entre el Norte y el Sur.
Jose Ramon Chisica Torres
Impressions of Korea and Its People / Impresiones de Corea y su gente
José Ramón Chisica Torres describes the extreme poverty the Korean people faced in the last year of the war. He explains that the soldiers were well taken care of even though the weather was bitterly cold. He goes on to describe the extreme measures taken by some Koreans in order to find food and other necessities.
José Ramón Chisica Torres discute la suma pobreza del pueblo Coreano en el último año de la guerra en Corea. Él comenta que hacía mucho frio cuando llegaron, pero los soldados tenían todo lo que necesitaban. Después, el discute las medidas extremas tomadas por algunos Coreanos para encontrar comida y otras necesidades.
Joseph C. Giordano
Korean Service Corps
Joseph Giordano describes the Korean Service Corps. He shares that the members were mainly older Koreans who were too old to fight. He recalls Korean Service Corpsmen being assigned to each platoon to help do various activities, and he speaks of the friendship that he developed with one such worker named Kim.
Joseph De Palma
Creating The Demilitarized Zone (DMZ)
Joseph De Palma describes his experiences during the creation of the Demilitarized Zone and his interaction with the local Koreans who lived in the area along the 38th parallel. He describes the day a woman with two toddlers needed to be moved south to safety. He recalls that along the way she wanted to stop and build a fire and prepare a meal for her children but since that was not feasible, he gave her cans of food and she and the children sat on a rock and had a picnic.
Joseph F. Gibson
Working with Korean Civilians
Joseph F. Gibson shares how he worked daily with Korean civilians who helped take care of the wounded soldiers. He shares how he was often invited into the village to eat within the homes of civilians. He explains that he built a relationship with South Koreans. He shares how he learned some bad words in Korean.
Joseph Lewis Grappo
Inchon Landing and Seoul Recapture
Joseph Lewis Grappo explains how he participated in the Inchon Landing as a sixteen-year-old. He shares how he had little fear since he didn't know what to expect. He explains that since he was a part of the heavy mortar company, he created a defensive line behind the US Marines in order to recapture Seoul from the east side. He explains that he then went to Busan awaiting orders for the next invasion but there was a delay. He describes how he then traveled to Hamheung. He shares a memory from Hamheung where he witnessed money coming from a looted North Korean bank so he took some and bought apples from the locals.
Joseph T. Wagener
Joseph Wagener remembers an incident during the Spring Offensive of April 1951 when UN troops tried to locate Chinese forces across the Imjin River. In order to assist the Belgian B Company, he provides an explanation for his unit's occupation of a key bridgehead. Despite reports from nearby villagers that the Chinese had recently retreated with their equipment, he describes the Chinese positioning themselves a mile away from their location. He elaborates on his experience during the Chinese assault on the Luxembourg battalion as they held the bridgehead.
Army Pay During Korean War
Josephine Krowinski did not recall how much she was paid while working during the Korean War as an Army nurse. She sent all the checks directly to Boston to her mother. Josephine Krowinski could tell that her mother needed the money more than she did, so that's why all her pay was sent back home.
Josue Orlando Bernal García
Returning to Korea / Ll Regreso a Corea
Josue Orlando Bernal García marvels at the transformation of South Korea following the war. He describes both of his return visits to the country and includes details about how they were treated. He sees the Korean people as his brothers, and after the welcome he received on his return, he believes that Koreans reciprocate the feeling. He states that they were treated like kings and their wives like queens when they too were invited to visit South Korea.
Josue Orlando Bernal García se maravilla ante la transformación de Corea del Sur después de la guerra. Describe sus dos viajes al país e incluye detalles sobre como lo trataron. Considera al pueblo coreano como a sus hermanos y, tras la acogida que recibió a su regreso, cree que los coreanos sienten lo mismo. Afirma que fueron tratados como reyes y sus esposas como reinas cuando ellos también fueron invitados a visitar Corea del Sur.
Jovencio P. Dominguez
They Were Asking for Food
Jovencio P. Dominguez remembers seeing the people of Korea living in extremely poor conditions during the war. He recalls seeing children asking for food. He shares how the soldiers would give the children biscuits and some of their extra rations.
Juan Andres Arebalos
Stationed in Japan
Juan Andres Arebalos recounts his experience sailing on the USS Hope to Japan for advanced training on weaponry and fitness after completing basic training. He notes that every soldier had duties aboard the ship, and he worked in the ship's galley. He shares he visited the location in Hiroshima where the atomic bomb landed during WWII, vividly remembering the indention in the land and people searching for belongings.
Landing in Korea on the Fourth of July
Juan Andres Arebalos recalls playing ping-pong on a Japanese base when an announcement came on the radio about North Korea's invasion of South Korea. He remembers receiving orders to pack his belongings for combat and the next day, landed in Korea on the Fourth of July. He recalls seeing bright flashes of lights in the distance that could have been mistaken for fireworks. His shares his duty was to hold the enemy back until reinforcements arrived from the United Nations Forces.
The Battle of Taejon
Juan Andres Arebalos provides an overview of the North Korean's advancements in Taejon. He recounts retreating from the city to reinforce his troops. He remembers observing the city burning after the North Koreans seized it. He provides information about General William Dean, the United States general who was captured during the retreat from Taejon.
Tales of Survival
Juan Andres Arebalos admits he did not feel he would survive the situation in Taejon. He comments on how enemy troops would snatch the food and supplies dropped by United Nations airplanes. He recalls being so hungry that he ate fly-infested rice in a South Korean village. He recalls an enemy sniper shooting at them as they filled their canteens with water at a creek. He admits to being unable to sleep at night because of his fear.
Juan Figueroa Nazario
First Impressions / Primeras impresiones
Juan Figueroa Nazario recalls his first impressions of a war-torn Korea. He describes the civilian living conditions and the plethora of refugee he encountered. In his opinion, the poverty of the Korean people was worse than that of Haiti. He shares he could not believe the way in which the infrastructure of the nation had been decimated.
Juan Figueroa Nazario recuerda sus primeras impresiones de Corea devastada por la guerra. Describe las condiciones de vida de los civiles y los refugiados que encontró. En su opinión, la pobreza del pueblo coreano era peor que la de Haití. No podía creer la forma en que había sido diezmada la infraestructura de la nación.
Juan Manuel Santini-Martínez.
Prior Knowledge of Korea / Conocimiento Previo de Corea
Juan Manuel Santini Martínez explains that he did not have any prior knowledge of the war in Korea had never heard anything about the country. He remembers that they boarded the ship without being told where their destination was. He shares that the only thing they were told was “Good luck and Good aim” by the honorable Don Luis Muñon Marín at Fort Buchanan.
Juan Manuel Santini Martínez explica que no tenía ningún conocimiento previo de la guerra de Corea y nunca había oído nada sobre el país. Recuerda que abordaron el barco sin que les dijeran a dónde iban. Comparte que lo único que les dijeron fue “Buena suerte y buena puntería” por parte del honorable Don Luis Muñon Marín en Fort Buchanan.
Juan R. Gonzalez-Morales
Lost Battalion / Batallón Perdido
Juan R. Gonzalez-Morales describes his first memories of Korea. He recollects feeling uneasy in Busan and being struck by the smell of the fertilizer used. He remembers that the first few days were difficult as his battalion, Company L, was lost for days during a training mission, and they were forced to drink contaminated water. He recalls that the news of this disappearance made headlines in Puerto Rico.
Juan R. González-Morales describe sus primeras impresiones de Corea. Recuerda que se sintió incómodo al llegar en Busan porque el olor del fertilizante que usaban era tan desagradable. Recuerda que los primeros días fueron difíciles ya que su batallón, la Compañía L, estuvo perdido por días durante una misión de entrenamiento y se vieron obligados a beber agua contaminada. Él se acuerda que la noticia de esta desaparición llego hasta Puerto Rico.
Prior Knowledge of Korea / Conocimiento Previo de Corea
Juan R. Gonzalez-Morales discusses his prior knowledge of the war in Korea and his feelings about mandatory service for Puerto Ricans. He explains that he did not fully form an idea on whether Puerto Ricans should be sent to war. He clarifies that he was happy to join the United States Army but did not want to be sent to Korea at that time.
Juan R. González-Morales discute su conocimiento previo de la guerra en Corea y sus sentimientos sobre el servicio obligatorio para los puertorriqueños. Él explica que no tenía opinión sobre si los puertorriqueños debiesen ser enviados a la guerra. Aclara que estaba feliz de unirse al ejército de los Estados Unidos, pero no quería que lo enviaran a la guerra en ese momento.
Julio Cesar Mercado Martinez
Julio Cesar Mercado Martinez shares that seeing the children in Korea experiencing poverty made him more family oriented. He recounts a touching story about a boy he befriended in South Korea. He shares that he offered food to the boy, receiving hugs in return.
Jutta I. Andersson
Busan: September 1950
Jutta Andersson describes Busan when she arrived in September of 1950. She describes the despair of the people living around Busan. She also describes life as a nurse and how nurses could not freely move about. However, she did visit the hills surrounding Busan and go to a Buddhist Temple with an escort.
Kaku Akagi shares he was ten years old when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. He remembers listening to President Franklin D. Roosevelt address the nation on the radio. He recalls going through town on his way to school the following morning and seeing a sign hanging from a storefront that said, “No Japs Allowed.” He speaks about a time when someone on the sidelines during a basketball game intentionally tripped him as he ran down the court. He describes the next four years as “tough” but says the experience helped him empathize with others from diverse backgrounds.
Kaku Akagi describes the significance of his duties in the 500th Military Intelligence Service Group. He recalls how the unit gathered accurate and helpful information from North Koreans in a POW camp in Koje-do. He explains why most of the detainees spoke Japanese in addition to Korean. He notes he questioned the prisoners in Japanese, and mentions that some of them even spoke English.
Kebede Teferi Desta
Arriving in Korea
Kebede Teferi Desta describes his arrival in Korea. He had no previous knowledge or experience with Korea. He was part of the First Kagnew Battalion arriving in 1951. Kebede Teferi Desta describes the situation as bleak for the people. Buildings were destroyed, with lots of destruction overall.
Keith G. Hall
"Smashed to Bits"
Keith G. Hall describes the differences between Korea in 1950 and Korea in 2010 when he returned. He describes poor conditions in the villages, with villagers farming rice paddies with primitive wooden plows. Seoul and Daegu had been "smashed to bits."
Prior Knowledge of Korea Before Entering the Korean War
Ken Thamert was given a book about Korea from the United States military once he enlisted since they assumed that's where most of the soldiers would be headed after bootcamp. The book included Korean culture and the games that Korean children played. Ken Thamert still has the book about Korea along with many pictures that he took while stationed in Korea.
Kenneth D. Cox
Rewarding Experiences with Children
Kenneth Cox recalls one of the most rewarding times during his service. He recounts offering food to child laborers and remembers a musical experience. He shares that the children would sing songs learned from missionaries while working, and he states that he would join in with them for particular songs he knew.
A Unique Meeting in Hawaii
Kenneth Cox shares a story of meeting a Korean waitress in Hawaii years after his service in Korea. He recounts that she lived near the hospital the 44th Engineer Battalion built near Teagu. He recalls exchanging a few memories and catching up on its present state.
Kenneth F. Dawson
Hill 355: Death and Danger
Kenneth F. Dawson remembers being in the thick of fighting when the Chinese tried to take Hill 355. Driving up to deliver ammunition, he met an oncoming truck of Canadians. Blood was pouring out of the truck. Another time, on the Imjin River, he pulled the body of a dead American from the water and buried it in a sand bank. In a third instance, he drove a family north to the 38th Parallel so they could rejoin their relatives.
Seoul Was a Dead Place
Kenneth F. Dawson describes the cruelty of Chinese soldiers and their murder of a Korean woman as they retreated from a battle. He recounts the destruction that took place in Seoul. He is proud to have served the Korean people and asks to join a group of veterans returning to Korea for the 70th anniversary celebration.
Kenneth J. Winters
Reflections about the Korean People
Kenneth Winters describes the Korean people he encountered during his deployment to Camp Casey in 1967-1968. He remarks about the friendliness and industriousness of the people in nearby Tongduchan Village. He also mentions his interactions with Korean children and how they reacted to American soldiers.
Kenneth S. Shankland
"When Can You Start?"
Kenneth Shankland recalls undertaking compulsory military training in high school. He shares how the army did not appeal to him, so he decided to train as a sea cadet. He recounts how learning to sail led to his love of the Royal New Zealand Navy. He describes enlisting in 1955. He shares that after training in Australia, he specialized in guidance technology such as weapons systems, communications, and tracking.
Retrofitted Ships and Bombed-Out Cities
Kenneth Shankland recalls how his ship, The HMNZS Royalist, had been modified for atomic, biological, and chemical warfare. He shares how the ship sailed all over the Pacific Ocean, eventually landing in Incheon and Pusan in 1957 to enforce the peace. He recounts how Korean civilians were living in terrible conditions among piles of rubble. He remembers naked and hungry children begging for food.
Kim H. McMillan
First Impressions of Korea
Kim McMillan describes his journey to Korea by boat to Busan. The terrible smell met him as he sailed into the port. Passing through Seoul to join his unit, he was dismayed at the sad and backward state of the country. The Korean people looked depressed. Initially assigned as a driver in the transportation unit of 10 Company, his superiors later assigned him to the workshop unit as a carpenter.
Lakew Kidane Goshene
Korea in 1954
Lakew Kidane Goshene describes the conditions of the country upon his arrival. He describes how Korean women would scavenge for wood. He also explains how his unit would share their rations with civilians. He is amazed at how different the Korean people's lives are now from then.
Lakew Kidane Goshene never thought that South Korea would become what it is today. He remembers the poverty and poor living conditions in 1954. He thinks the transformation is a miracle and nothing he thought could happen.
Impact: Economic & Military Relations with Korea
Lawrence Dumpit described the economic impact Korea has had on the US and its boom in technology throughout the 1990s. He mentioned that even on base at Miramar in San Diego, soldiers had a lot of LG and Samsung products which were made in Korea. He observed that there are a lot of cars on the road today that were manufactured in Korea (Hyundai, Kia).
First Impressions of Korea in 1997 and Korean Culture
Lawrence Dumpit was not a lot to go off base when he went to Camp Casey until he was given a one-week training about the Korean culture including the food, language, and civilians. The living conditions in Camp Casey were old WWII barracks because they were the oldest on the base and it was a lot better than the Koreans living in one room. He was paid 3,000 dollars a month.
South Korean Soldiers Work With US Troops
Lawrence Dumpit worked with South Korean soldiers, but they were not professional soldiers because they were drafted into the military. Therefore, many of the soldiers were not as professional as the US troops. The Korean soldiers made rank, but the US soldiers felt that they didn't earn it, so this started some problems with the US troops.
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.
Leandro Diaz Miranda
Hunger and Sadness / Hambre y Tristeza
Leandro Díaz Miranda describes the conditions he encountered in Korea upon his arrival in 1951. He was shocked at the poverty in the country as it was worse than the poverty in Puerto Rico. He explains that he, and many of his colleagues, would toss food rations over the fence to help Koreans that were continuously begging for food. He and others were willing to disobey orders to help starving orphans.
Leandro Díaz Miranda describe las condiciones que encontró en Corea a cuando llego en 1951. Se sorprendió por la pobreza en el país, porque era peor que la pobreza en Puerto Rico. Explica que él y muchos de sus amigos puertorriqueños tiraban raciones de comida por encima del alambrado para ayudar a los coreanos que continuamente pedían comida. Él y otros estaban dispuestos a desobedecer las órdenes para ayudar a los huérfanos hambrientos.
Lee A. Smith
Service as a Firefighter
Lee Smith describes his service in the US Army as a firefighter. He speaks about how his duties not only pertained to the military instillation but to the community as well. He shares how their role was to help battle fires within the community by sending tankers and manpower when available. He recalls there being many such fires to assist with.
Leo C. Jackey
Frozen to Death
Leo C. Jackey shares a moving memory. He remembers seeing lines of Korean civilians, including children, frozen to death with their hands up one morning while in the Jangjin (Chosin) Reservoir area. He speaks with pride of the small role he played in helping Korea pick itself up and rebuild itself into a leading economic power in the world.
Selling Their Mothers and Sisters
Leo Calderon describes the atmosphere of South Korea after the war. He notes that some of the people did not like the American presence. He also describes the crime and poverty after the war. The people sold anything, including their mothers, sisters, haircuts and boot shining for cigarettes. Bars eventually popped up though American soldiers were not allowed to go beyond the MSR (Main Supply Rode).
They Have Everything Now
Leo Calderon describes the difference between first seeing Korea during the war and the country it has become today. He explains the physical characteristics of Seoul at the time: buildings no taller than half a story, potholed roads, homes made of hay and mud. He says at that time the people had nothing compared to today, that they have everything.
Seeing the Troops Off
Leona Stern recalls hearing about Charles deploying from someone in her office. She shares how they were not supposed to know about the men shipping out but her father drove her to the railroad station to say goodbye. At the station, she remembers soldiers asking them to deliver things to their loved ones, because they did not know what to do with their belongings. She discusses how it took them about a week to organize and send all of the personal items to the families.
Leslie Peate elaborates on the work of the Korean porters. He defines them as mostly farmers and/or anyone who would help out during the war. He shares that those men worked harder than any other group of people during the war and stresses that they received no recognition at all and most likely no payments for their efforts.
The Ebert Boys Heard the Calling to Arms
In June 1949, Lewis Ebert enlisted in the US Air Force a few weeks out of high school. He took his basic training in Lackland Air Force Base in Texas and then he was trained at Lowry Air Force Base in Colorado for military supply training. While in Colorado, the Korean War broke out, but Lewis Ebert already had a lot of prior knowledge about Korea since his brothers all fought in WWII with one stationed in Korea.
F80 Ammunition Supplying and Documenting History Through Letter Writing
Lewis Ebert came over with 3 squadrons of F80 Jets. He was assigned the ammunition supply section of the base and worked on the ammunition reports each night including replenishing the 50 caliber machine guns bullets. His letters home helped remind him how much ammo that the military went through each day because his mom and sister kept all the letters that he wrote twice a month.
Christmas In Korea
Lloyd Pitman describes a Christmas day in Korea. The army gave him two beers and two cigars. He had spent three Christmases away from home and spent some time thinking about his family. The horrors of war returned as he soon found South Korean civilians executed by the North Koreans and Chinese as they retreated.
Civilians Digging In The Trash to Survive
As a naive young man who had never witnessed much beyond a small Midwestern town, Lloyd Thompson saw Korean civilians digging in the US soldiers' trash for scraps. The realization was knowing what the UN were fighting for. Lloyd Thompson recognized the hope to give Korean civilians a normal life again.
Finding Body Bags
As Lloyd Thompson was shoveling sand on a 2 1/2 ton 6X6 truck near a flood plain at Kimpo Air Force Base, he unearthed a wooden box and unveiled an abandoned burial ground filled with body bags. He reported the incident, but nothing ever came of it. The bodies were left right there in the flood plain.
Louis F. Santangelo
Louis Santangelo describes the conditions of the people in and around Busan Harbor. He describes people coming up to the ships in boats begging for cigarettes and being "poor." Louis Santangelo compares the conditions of Busan Harbor during the Korean War to the pictures he saw during the 2018 Winter Olympics and was amazed at the changes.
Luis Fernando Silva Fernandez
First Impressions and Religion / Primeras impresiones y religión
Luis Fernando Silva Fernández recalls his first impression of a devastated Korea. He expresses the sorrow he felt given the terrible conditions that civilians were forced to endure. Furthermore, he shares a story of how he heard a calling from God when one of his friends needed help on the battlefield.
Luis Fernando Silva Fernández recuerda su primera impresión de Corea cuando recién llego. Lamenta las terribles condiciones que los civiles se vieron obligados a soportar como la tristeza y el hambre. Igualmente, comparte una historia de cómo escuchó un llamado de Dios cuando uno de sus amigos necesitaba ayuda en el campo de batalla.
Luis Perez Alvarez
The Front Lines / Las Líneas del Frente
Luis A. Perez Alvarez shares his memories about the first time he saw the front lines in Korea. He remembers it as being hell on earth. Additionally, he shares his impressions of the impoverished civilians and the Korean country ravaged by war.
Luis A. Pérez Álvarez comparte sus recuerdos sobre la primera vez que vio las líneas del frente en Corea. Lo recuerda como un infierno. Además, comparte sus impresiones sobre el país devastados por la guerra y la pobreza de los civiles coreanos.
Impressions of Korea and Withdrawal from Seoul
Luther Dappen describes his arrival in Korea and his transfer north from Inchon. He describes his unit's experiences during the withdrawal before Seoul was taken over by the Chinese. He recalls seeing not only the troops retreating but also lines of civilians carrying everything they could carry away from their homes. He goes on to explain that his company was the last to cross the bridge at the Han river, leaving them with the responsibility to blow the bridge up in order to slow the Chinese' progress.
Prior Knowledge of Korea
Lynwood Ingham was in high school when the Korean War broke out, but he wasn't taught about Korea at school. Instead, he was kept in the loop because his older brother, Walter Ingham Jr., was fighting in the Korean War as a Marine. The brothers didn't speak much about the Korean War when Walter Ingham returned from the war because that's when Lynwood Ingham went away on active duty.
Lynwood Ingham Entered the Marine Corps
Lynwood Ingham went into the reserves as a 17 year old in high school while attending reserve meetings. From 1954-1956, he went into active duty and then again for 3 months over the summer. When on active duty, he was at Cherry Point, North Carolina and Atlanta.
Lynwood Ingham appreciates all the soldiers today who are trying to end communism on the Korean peninsula. Like many other countries around the world, the US wants to help the people by getting rid of communism. The US and South Korea have a strong friendship and trade-relationship because of the Korean War.
Manuel A. Bustamente
Manuel Bustamante said that a little white baby was found in a Korean Orphanage. The baby was kept in the sickbay on the ship and it kept the moral high for months. Sailors all took turns caring for the baby. The doctor and his wife adopted the baby once he arrived in America. They named him Daniel Keenan and he went to many of the Korean War reunions in order to see his rescuers.
Enlisting and Basic Training
Manuel Bustamante knew about Korea when the war broke out because his brother was in the United States Navy on an aircraft carrier. Luckily, Manuel Bustamante and his brother were assigned the same ship, the USS Point Cruz. The brothers were surprised that they were allowed to be on the same ship because usually the United States military tries to separate the family members so that they would not get injured at the same time.
Marian Jean Setter
Serving in Korea with the Army of Occupation
Marian Setter discusses her next assignment, which was to Korea prior to the war. She shares she served for two years at the 34th General Hospital, about twenty-five miles north of Seoul, with the Army of the Occupation (later the Army of the Liberation). She remembers the hospital being housed in a former training academy and states they were lucky to have an actual facility rather than living in tents. She recalls her patients were all military with some Korean civilians as well.
Second Tour in Korea
Marian Setter remembers her second tour to Korea in the 1960's, where she served as Assistant Chief Nurse at the 121st Evacuation Hospital for five months and as the Chief Nurse at a hospital in Busan for seven months. She reflects on the difference in Korea from her first assignment, pre-Korean War to her second assignment, post-Korean War. She notes that during this assignment, she had much more contact with Korean civilians.
Mario Nel Bernal Avella
First Impressions / Primeras Impresiones
Mario Nel Bernal Avella details his first impressions of Korea upon arriving. He recalls arriving in Busan and being received very well by American and Korean dignitaries before being sent to a training camp nearby. The human misery and terrible sadness of Korea at that time is vivid in his memories and exemplified by one incident in which a Colombian soldiers threw a tin of C-Rations over the truck, and they watched a malnourished child, a starving dog, and man running towards the can of discarded food. He also bears witness to the devastation and utter destruction of Seoul and explains that it looked like a ten-magnitude earthquake hit the city.
Mario Nel Bernal Avella relata sus primeras impresiones de Corea. Recuerda haber llegado a Busan y haber sido muy bien recibido por dignatarios estadounidenses y coreanos antes de ser enviado a un campo de entrenamiento. La miseria humana y la terrible tristeza de Corea en ese momento están vívidas en su memoria y ejemplificadas por un incidente en el que un soldado colombiano arrojo una lata de C3-Ration fuera del camión y vieron a un niño desnutrido, un perro hambriento y un hombre viejo corriendo hacia la lata de comida desechada. También es testigo de la devastación y destrucción total de Seúl y explica que le parecía que un terremoto de magnitud diez arrasó la ciudad.
The Forgotten War and Causes of PTSD
Marion Burdette feels the Korean War is known as the "Forgotten War" because there was not a lot of publicity back on the home front. He recalls how many of the veterans did not speak about the war when they returned back home. He shares how he shot thousands of rounds of artillery while serving in Korea, leading to hearing loss. He recounts how he was stationed in Northern Korea and mentions he was almost caught as a POW. Due to his experiences on the front line, he shares that he has nightmares and PTSD.
Marion Burdette recounts walking in front of his vehicle when multiple land mines killed U.S. Army soldiers in his regiment. After clearing the land mines in the area, he recalls being able to set up the howitzer guns to engage in warfare. He describes how the impact of war on his life led him to feel that he needed to traveled the U.S. to release his stress. He recounts how he decided to reenlist in the Army for three years. He adds it was hard to readjust to life back in the United States.
Marjorie Elizabeth Cavanaugh
Impressions of the Treatment of Women in the Military
Marjorie Cavanaugh recalls the treatment of women in the military as being very good, saying that she had good experiences and never felt deterred while in the military. She remembers her treatment upon leaving the military was much worse than the treatment she received while serving. She discusses being treated fairly by men while serving but details the caste system between enlisted servicemembers and officers.
Thoughts on the Racial Integration of the Armed Services
Marjorie Cavanaugh speaks about the racial integration of the military, offering her thoughts and experiences specifically as well as other examples she noticed second-hand. She remembers the differences in opinion based on the region where the service members were from, noting that she believes the women from the South likely did not like having to take orders from their African American officers.
First Impressions of Korea
The train ride from Pusan to Seoul was incredible. Martin Rothenberg saw so much beauty on the trip, particularly with the rice crops. While the rice crops were in their stages of growing, the vistas of patterns within the fields was beautiful. Poverty was all around, especially at Seoraksan Peak where people were living in cardboard straw-thatched-roofed homes. The villages always smelled because the sewage laid in a trench that ran through the middle of the street.
Civilians' Lives in Poverty-Stricken Villages
Martin Rothenberg was stationed at the base of a mountain during the winter of 1954 near a village that was poverty-stricken. This village had a wood-burning flute that ran under the houses to keep the floors warm and the villagers slept on the floor. He also saw a round stone based where the villagers had planted colored flowers. Martin Rothenberg thought that it was nice the way South Koreans took the time to make their homes special.
Mission Impossible: Speaking a Foreign Language
Martin Rothenbert was proud that the US Army had provided soldiers with a book containing Korean instructions and he used it to ask simple questions to the Korean people he met. He recalled a time while in the village at the base of the hill, an older Korean man wasn't friendly to anyone and never spoke. Therefore, Martin Rothenberg took the time to learn some basic questions to get to know the older Korean man and his attitude totally changed. This made all the difference to build a bond between soldiers and civilians.
Literacy Would Prevail
Martin Rothenberg noted that there was a little girl he befriended who's mother worked in the wash tent and she would talk to him because she wanted to learn English. When Martin Rothenberg left Korea in 1955, he knew there would be a massive economic boom in South Korea because the majority of the people were literate. Plus, South Koreans had a desire to be educated and work toward the reconstruction of their country after the Korean War.
Not Much Experience with the People Until Later Years
Martin Vasquez explains that he didn't have much experience with the people of South Korea during wartime. He recalls his only experience with the people was with the South Korean military men who were fighting along with him. He explains that he has seen a very different Korea during the times he has revisited compared to during the war. He goes on to describe the purpose for the United States entry into the war.
We Didn't Know We Were Poor
Marvin Denton described how much candy, movies, and cigarettes cost, along with getting no time off from school no matter how much snow, how hot, or how much rain fell. He described the manager patting him on the head and telling him "Marvin you've done a good job so we are paying you $1.25 this week," and that's how they paid you. He remembered there was a cashier who earned $15 a week and he thought if he ever made that much, he'd be a millionaire. He was moved to a cashier but never made over $12.50 a week and it all went towards helping the family. Marvin Denton commented, "We didn't know we were poor; there was always food on the table."
Seoul: A Sad Sight
Marvin Denton recalled the hardships many Korean people faced during the Korean War. Men and women yoked with long poles carrying heavy buckets filled with sewage (honey pots).
Groups of children ransacked the soldiers for anything they had (pencils, papers, etc.). Marvin Denton felt so sorry for the civilians in South Korea.
Prisoner of War Exchange
Marvin Ummel recalls witnessing the exchange of prisoners of war (POWs). He remembers the released prisoners changing clothes once released and many Korean locals picking up and taking the clothes back to their homes. Doctors would inspect the released POWs before sending them back home. Often the POWs were in poor condition, some even being sprayed with DDT insecticide to kill off vermin. He recalls that while the soldiers were thrilled to be back, the condition the POWs arrived in was poor and very depressing.
Impressions of South Korea, Then and Now
Marvin Ummel revisited South Korea in 2017. He reports that the opportunity to travel back with Revisit Korea was incredible. He recalls the development in Seoul being impressive, as there were no undamaged buildings present when he was there in 1952. Now, the buildings, houses, and roadways are numerous and well-constructed. He rode the bullet train from Seoul to Pusan and was impressed that it went over one hundred and eighty miles an hour! He also remembers just how thankful the South Koreans were to Americans for their help during the war.
Prisoners of War
Mathew Thomas speaks about his experiences with prisoners of war (POWs). He recalls how some POWs did not want to return to their home countries and explains that some were left behind or even taken back to India. He shares that other POWs wanted to go to North Korea as they felt they might have a chance of reuniting with their families.
Matthew D. Rennie
Witnessing Poverty and Devastation
Matthew Rennie vividly recounts the poverty and devastation he witnessed in Busan upon his arrival. He recalls the refugee camp there with hundreds of thousands of civilians living in cardboard boxes and children begging for food. He comments on their suffering during the cold winters as they possessed inadequate clothing and heating. He describes the countryside as he made his way up to Euijeongbu.
Maurice B. Pears
Korea Revisit: A Time to Remember the War
Maurice Pears shares how he traveled back to Korea in the early 1990's as a guest of the Korean government. He describes remembering how Seoul was in rubble and there was poverty everywhere while traveling around the nation. He shares how impressed by the evolution of the shops, modern businesses, and transportation he was upon his return.
The Forgotten War Being Remembered in Australia
Maurice Pears states that the Korean War is known as the "Forgotten War" because it came right after WWII and that was a time when the world was tired of war. He shares how he worked with many organizations to gather donations for a monument in Australia to help people remember the Korean War. He recalls how after thirteen months, he was able to reveal the beautiful Korean War memorial.
Life as a Korean War Soldier and Operation Minden
Maurice Pear recalls living in foxholes during his year in Korea from 1951-1952. He remembers patrolling through small Korean villages that were filled with only women and children. He recounts that during Operation Minden, his troops fought the Chinese for Hill 355, 317, and 227 while enduring many casualties.
Life of a Korean War Soldier
Maurice Pears shares how he was on the front line for one month without a chance to shower or eat a hot meal and recalls dealing with a water shortage. He remembers how each soldier had his own foxhole where he endured snow and heat. He shares that the soldiers were able to travel up and down the Korean hills with the help of Korean civilians.
Chapters and Verses
Maurice Morby describes his job of picking up and delivering supplies. He talks about how they communicated about supplies, how his truck was loaded, and the difficult overland journey.
Enlisting in the US Marine Corps
Mayo Kjellsen enlisted when he was 20 years old because he figured that he would be drafted soon. That was the culture, so decided to join the US Marine Corps and he was sent to Camp Pendleton in California. Without any prior knowledge about Korea, Mayo Kjellsen was surprised to see a Korean woman openly nursing her baby right near Inchon.
Condition of Seoul
Mehmet Aksoy describes the condition of the people in Seoul. He describes the people as desperate. Moreover, people were constantly begging for food and supplies. For example, the people would constantly be saying "chab chab." The Turkish soldiers were well supplied and would give food to people. Most everything was destroyed. Consequently, the buildings left standing were pock marked by bullets. The situation was desperate.
Mehmet Cemil Yasar
First Experiences of War
Mehmet Cemil Yasar describes the people he encountered after arriving in Korea. He describes how Busan was a ghost town. He saw only one person, who had frozen to death. The buildings were all riddled with bullets. Overall the war brought hunger, misery, disease and death. Mehmet Cecil Yasar also describes the constant danger. There were many traps set by the enemy.
Devastation of Korea
Mehmet Çöpten describes the condition of Korea when he landed in Busan. The city was destroyed from war. People, specifically children were orphaned and starving. The Turkish troops were being supplied by the American forces and had more than enough food. They would secretly give food to the children and needy.
Caring for Orphans
Mehmet Esen describes how he cared for two orphans he met while in Korea. While he was in a hospital he met Chin Chol. He provided her with money for her schooling. He also provided for another orphan named Kerim. Kerim followed the Turkish troops everywhere they went.
Condition of Busan
Mekonen Derseh describes the condition of Busan. People were starving and Ethiopians gave them leftovers. Ethiopians were supplied by the Americans and needed the supplies also. He tries to make a comparison between Ethiopia and South Korea. The main difference was Ethiopia was not going through war.
Excitement for War
Mekonen Derseh describes an excitement for going to war. He went to Korea partially because of his personal experience with Italy trying to conquer Ethiopia. He did not want this to happen to another country. Mekonen Derseh still has some resentment for Italy and aggressor nations.
Children Crying in the Streets
Melese Tessema arrived in the first detachment on May 6 of 1951. The city was in ruins. Orphaned children cried in the streets. Poverty reigned. He returned five years ago and was surprised at the progress of modern Korea. Haile Selassie donated $400,000 dollars to Korea during the war. Now Melese Tessema notes that Korea’s and Ethiopia’s roles have reversed economically.
One-Room Schoolhouse Education
Melvin Colberg recounts his educational experience in a one-room schoolhouse growing up in Illinois. He shares that learning and even teaching on some days were cooperative efforts between students and the teacher. He expresses that the experience allowed students exposure to an environment conducive to learning how to get along with others and learning how to adapt in preparation for the real-world setting beyond the classroom.
Impressions of Korea in the 1960s
Melvin Colberg recalls his impressions of Korea in the 1960s during his service, a perspective which centers on the years between the war-ravaged Korea of the 1950s and today's modern Korea. He recounts that infrastructure was still in the development stage as there were many dirt roads at the time and few factories present. No large farming equipment as water buffalo were mainly used in the agricultural setting along with a few rototillers here and there. Most people were still poor, living in one-room houses heated through the floor, and many civilians still wore traditional Korean clothing.
American Weaponry and Transfer of Knowledge Contributions
Melvin Colberg offers an account of his life as part of the 83rd Ordinance Battalion in Gimpo, South Korea, which was responsible for special ammunition and served as the northernmost depot. He summarizes the weaponry at the time and Melvin Colberg assisted in the testing and maintenance of the weaponry. There was a transfer of knowledge from American soldiers to the South Korean civilians in many forms and he agrees that these contributions should be highlighted.
South Korea: A Success Story
Melvin Colberg shares his views on the relationship between Korean War veterans and defense veterans along with the legacy of the Korean War. The outcome of the Korean War is a success story for both the South Koreans as well as the Americans. South Korea has changed so much, for the better, since he left, and he acknowledges that it is a shame that this success story is not taught in schools today.
Serving as a Merchant Marine
Merl Smith discusses his role as a merchant marine in the Korean War. Merchant Marines were a civilian unit supplying troops with whatever they needed. He recounts his time at the Incheon Landing. He remembers taking on four North Koreans who wanted to surrender. He also recalls seeing the invasion from afar on his boat. He, alongside a friend, rode up to Seoul, following the American troops.
First Impressions of Korea
Merl Smith recalls his first image of Korea. One of the first sights he remembers seeing was that of destroyed tanks. He remembers the Korean civilians he met were all very stoic and never crying. He is still amazed at how well they handled the effects of war. He recalls how each time he would cross paths with children, he would give them something and shares a warming story of giving a shivering girl his winter coat. He adds that he witnessed a totally devastated Seoul.
Merl Smith discusses his impressions of Korea during a visit in 2007. He recalls not believing the recovery of Seoul. He was amazed at the prosperous and happy people, which was in complete contrast to what he witnessed in 1950. He believes the Korean people are resilient people and have a positive outlook on life.
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.
Enlisting, Training, and Preparing for the Korean War
Merle Degler enlisted in the National Guard as an 18 year old in 1951. After attending Fort Polk for basic training, he was shipped to Yokohama and Tokyo, Japan to get equipment for the war. Soon after that, Merle Degler took a ship to Pusan in Jan. 1953 and he was sent right to Yeongdeungpo, Korea. After being picked up by his regiment, he was brought to his duty station in the Iron Triangle (Kumwa Valley).
Mike Corona honors the strength of both the US soldiers and the Koreans loading 1-ton jets onto the Landing Ship Tank (LST). South Korean soldiers harnessed wooden boards to their shoulders and connected chains to the jets. Together, four South Korean soldiers sang a song while they dragged the 1-ton jet onto the LST.
House Boys and Sleeping Conditions
Everywhere Mike Corona's unit went, no matter how long they stayed, they had to dig a hole to sleep. He still remembers the two house boys the soldiers named "Pat" and "Mike." These boys cleaned and helped the soldiers with basic daily needs. In return for payment, US soldiers provided the boys with food and clothing.
Michael Daly's earliest political recollection of the Korean War was when he was 5 years old. He and his dad knelt by the side of the bed to say their prayers and he remembers his dad praying, "We thank God tonight for the armistice in the war in Korea." Since Michael Daly was born right before the Korean War, he was too young to remember the draft and other small nuances of the war.
What is Korea to United States?
As many Koreans have migrated to the US, Michael Daly feels it has inspired a community of entrepreneurs and are hungry to succeed. He has seen the impact the Korean children have had on his own children with the edge of competitiveness they have. He has learned that the younger generations don't feel the same way as their elders do with US military support in Korea, yet without US there as a safety net, South Korea is vulnerable (nuclear development).
Impressions of Korea
Michel Ozwald shares his travels from Camp Drake to the front lines in Korea. Much of his travel was via train through Busan and Sasebo. He recalls one incident on the train when his food rations seemed to disappear. He recalls a short stay in Seoul which he remembers as completely destroyed.
Miguel M. Villamor
Impressed with Korea's Progress
Miguel M. Villamor recalls traveling between Seoul and Pusan during his time in Korea. He describes a desolate land with no buildings. He expresses admiration for the industry and resilience of the Korean people in rebuilding their nation into the success it has become.
Mike Scarano was stationed in Korea in 1948 before the war broke out. He remembers about visiting St. Teresa's Orphanage in Incheon while he was there, including candy for the children and playing with them. He also recalls the poor living conditions of the people he saw on the streets.
"There were no draft dodgers"
Mike Scarano describes good relations with the Korean people. He comments that not many people know about WWII or the Korean War, but many know about the issues surrounding the draft in Vietnam. He states that there were no draft dodgers in Korea.
Milton W. Walker
Interactions with the Locals
Milton W. Walker describes his interactions with the local Korean people during the war. He explains that despite the hardships the Korean people endured, they consistently showed their appreciation and gratitude for the American presence by waving American flags along the roadside as his convoy passed them. He goes on to explain that despite being told to limit their interactions, the troops helped the civilians when they could and the civilians helped them as well.
Kitty Movie Experience
Kitty Curry, Monte Curry's wife, was not told a lot about what her husband was experiencing during the Korean War. Before a movie began, instead of previews of other movies, a black and white news reel would review what was life like for the US soldiers in Korea. This included fighting and bombs dropping on the enemy. Kitty Curry's reaction about the news worried her, but her friends and faith kept her going.
Morris J. Selwyn
Rude Soldiers at the American PX
Morris Selwyn's memories of his time in Korea do not involve any direct fighting during his service. Rather, he describes losing a fellow solider and friend to the Asian flu. Another particularly troubling memory is the way U.S. soldiers treated Korean women. While visiting an American PX, he disliked the way U.S. soldiers made rude demands on the Korean women. He has never forgiven the Americans for their behavior.
Neal C. Taylor
First Impressions of Korea
Neal Taylor never thought about Communism when he was sent to fight in the Korean War. He just went there to do a job. After he flew in, he noticed the lack of cars and technology. Sanitation conditions were deplorable.
Return To Korea
Neal Taylor felt pride when he revisited Korea. There was also a feeling of "closure" when he returned because of all the progress created by the people of Korea. He noticed all the trees and tall buildings that were built around the country.
Pain of Captivity
Necdet Yazıcıoğlu describes the suffering in Busan. People were out of hope. Moreover, they had lost everything. Many children, four to six, were parentless. Turkish soldiers were well supplied and would give candies, biscuits and chocolates. The Turkish soldiers even had a Korean houseboy. Importantly, they treated him like their own. For example, the houseboy was listed in official Turkish government correspondence. Likewise, the houseboy would complete errands for the Turkish soldiers. His name was Zeki or clever.
Nelson S. Ladd
Dear John Letter
Nelson Ladd was very in love with a young lady and he planned to get engaged before deployment. However, after 6 months of being overseas, he received a letter from his fiance stating that she had met someone else. There was nothing he could do being 7,000 miles away from home, and by the time he had returned, she was already married to someone else.
Advancements in Korea: Then vs Today
After having visited Korea in 2013, Nelson Ladd is still amazed by the advancements Korea has made and how ambitious the people have been throughout the years. He had seen images of what Korea looked like before his revisit, however he had feared that Korea would have become like many East Asian countries, disparaged and unable to recover. Nelson Ladd described the Taft-Katusa Agreement (1905) between the US and Japan that led occupation of Korea and the Philippines that created the oppression upon the peoples of those countries.
Military Allowances during Korean War
When Nelson Ladd was drafted into the war, he was paid $88.50 a month. By the time he came home as a Corporal, he earned $135 plus 50$ in overseas pay. Nelson Ladd said he earned enough to buy his first car for $1,600 and he gave money to his family.
Nikolaos Filis identifies his wife who recounts a few of his observations while serving in Korea. She shares that he saw disaster and found ruins of houses, people massacred, babies crying on the bodies of their dead parents, and poverty. She adds that he did not think solely of protecting himself and that he had even made preparations to ensure he would not be captured alive by the Chinese.
Building a Hospital
Nina Movin recounts her father's medical support in Daegu. In August of 1951, when the hospital ship he was working for made its first departure, Rasmus Movin decided to stay in Daegu to support the soldiers and civilians. He worked with the United Nations to set up a hospital in a school building in Daegu.
Noel G. Spence
Conditions for Korean Children
Noel G. Spence describes his duty driving trucks of waste. He recounts how desperate Korean children would come to the dump to find supplies. He remembers how Seoul was captured and re-captured many times and how people were in desperate conditions. He recalls that the "lucky" Koreans had boxes for houses, clothing from soldiers, and scraps for food.
Yankee, Go Home
Noreen Jankowski recalls her husband sharing memories of Korean civilians telling him and other American soldiers to go home as they did not want them there. She points to pictures stating that the Koreans wanted unification or death. She remembers meeting a Korean American years later, and he expressed his thanks for the sacrifices American soldiers had made for South Korea.
Norma L. Holmes
Norma Holmes shares that she had the opportunity to visit Korea with her husband in 1989. She recalls having a wonderful time as a wife of a Korean War veteran. She recounts that they were treated like royalty while they were there by the Korean people, including Korean children.
Prior Knowledge of Korea
Ollie Thompson did not know anything about Korea until the Korean War broke out. He joined the military because his brother joined and Ollie Thompson felt that he could help out during the war. He even thought that maybe his effort helped out the next generation of Korean civilians.
Osman Yasar Eken
Osman Eken describes how the condition of the Korean people increased his fighting morale. The Korean people were hungry, wearing shabby clothes, and did not have a home. People were just wandering around begging for food. This condition made Osman Even even more determined as a fighter.
Pablo Delgado Medina
Difficult Moments / Momentos Dificiles
Pablo Delgado Medina shares his thoughts on why every soldier returned with some trauma. He rationalizes that anyone who had to kill or be killed, especially in bayonet combat, was forever changed. He states his belief that witnessing civilians caught in the crossfire and seeing so much destruction can traumatize any person.
Pablo Delgado Medina comparte sus ideas sobre el trauma qué cada soldado tuvo al regresar. Él racionaliza que cualquiera persona que haya tenido que matar o morir, especialmente en el combate de bayoneta, queda cambiado para siempre. Además, afirma que cree que presenciar a civiles atrapados en el fuego cruzado y ver tanta destrucción puede traumatizar a cualquier persona.
Horrors of War / Los Horrores de la Guerra
Pascual Rosa Feliciano reflects on how terrible life was for both troops and civilians in South Korea. He describes incidents in which troops burned down small houses to draw out the enemy from hiding in small villages. He compares this suffering with the horrors of a battle in which so many of their troops were massacred after the use of napalm.
Pascual Rosa Feliciano discute lo terrible que era la vida tanto para las tropas como para los civiles durante la guerra. Describe incidentes en los que las tropas quemaban las casas pequeñas para sacar al enemigo de su escondite en los pueblos chicos. El compara este sufrimiento con los horrores de una batalla en la que muchos soldados fueron masacrados con el uso del napalm.
Patrick Vernon Hickey
Kids Taking Care of Kids
Patrick Hickey remembers all the little boys without parents. He recalls taking in a boy named Kim who was about seven years old to do little jobs around camp. He shares how he would cut off the legs of his trousers to give the orphans something to wear. He recalls how some children carried babies on their backs - kids caring for kids.
Paul H. Cunningham
Radar Sites in Korea and a Last Look in February 1952
Paul Cunningham set up a large radar station near the Kimpo Air Base, and that ended his seventeen-month deployment in Korea after spending two long winters there. He recalls leaving Korea with the image of poverty, huts, and dirt roads in February 1952. He also remembers the rail transportation office in Seoul as being all broken down and adds that he never thought Korea would rebuild itself like it has today.
Connections to the People
Paul Harris gives an overview of his role in the transportation outfit in Germany and France. He notes he was impressed by the work ethic that the German citizens exhibited. While in Germany, he explains how he became connected to one family and how they visited each other after he left the service.
Korean Medical Experience
Paul Ohlsen describes the ailments of the civilians treated by the Swedish Red Cross Hospital. Tuberculosis and worms often accompany poor and/or crowded living conditions. Paul Ohlsen was the only doctor in the camp with experience reading and understanding X-Rays.
Photos around the Swedish Red Cross Hospital
Paul Ohlsen provides pictures of the Swedish Red Cross Hospital. He describes living conditions at the hospital and how free time was spent. He provides photos depicting life around the hospital in Busan. His photos also share glimpses of the civilians he treated, offering rare insight into what life looked like following the Armistice.
Life within the Confines of the Hospital
Paul Ohlsen describes life inside the Swedish Red Cross Hospital. He recalls not being allowed to go outside the converted high school due to the enemy being close at hand. He remembers various lessons and lectures provided to the doctors as a source of entertainment and intellectual stimulation. He reflects on how his experience was different from other doctors because his wife was stationed with him.
Pedro Hernando Vergara Hernández
Hopes for Korea's Future / Esperanzas Para el Futuro de Corea
Pedro Hernando Vergara Hernández describes the hopes he had for Korea after he left the country. He remembers the tremendous pain and suffering endured by the civilian population and wished they could find peace. He marvels at the progress of the nation and shares that he believes Korea could serve as an example for nations that have not fully developed.
Pedro Hernando Vergara Hernández describe las esperanzas que tenía para el pueblo coreano después de que se fue del país. Recuerda el tremendo dolor y sufrimiento que padeció la población civil y deseó que pudieran encontrar paz. Se maravilla ante el progreso de la nación y comparte sus pensamientos en que cree que Corea podría servir como ejemplo para las naciones que no se han desarrollado.
The Voyage to Korea / El Viaje a Corea
Pedro Hernando Vergara Hernández details his voyage to Korea and his first impressions of the country. He describes the route taken by the boat and the month-long training that awaited them in Korea. He remembers the utter destruction in Seoul they encountered.
Pedro Hernando Vergara Hernández detalla su viaje a Corea y sus primeras impresiones del país. Describe la ruta que tomó el barco y el mes de entrenamiento que les esperaba en Corea. Recuerda la destrucción que encontraron en Seúl.
Pell E. Johnson
Pell E. Johnson remembers all the details about returning home from his duties in Korea. When he got home, his outlook on life changed. United States civilians did not understand the lifestyle soldiers had lived. He also feared the uncertainty of the future to come.
Pete Arias has vivid memories of being chosen as a Second Raider in the United States Marine Corps. He vividly recalls the excitement he felt when he became a part of the special outfit that was newly created. He shares the meaning behind the name Gung-ho Raiders, which translates to “work together.” He details his rigorous training as a Raider, which involved learning hand-to-hand combat and water rescues. However, he admits to feeling a sense of arrogance due to the fancy equipment and unique uniforms they received as Raiders.
Serving in Korea
Pete Arias shares his experiences of being discharged from the military in 1946 and later enlisting in the United States Reserves. He recounts how his brother was captured while serving in the U.S. Army overseas and spent thirty-four months in a prisoner camp. He remembers when the military planned to send him home, but he refused, as he wanted to stay and fight for his captured brother. As a result, he was transferred to an outfit in Seoul, which he admits was the best living conditions he had experienced while serving in the military.
Encounters with the Korean People
Philip Linsley explains that because of his role with radar, he did not have a lot of contact with the Korean people. He recounts one interaction with a Korean family and the generous hospitality the family provided them. During another experience, he remembers the Korean army protecting their station and never interacting with any of them.
Philip S. Kelly
From Inchon to Wonsan
Philip S. Kelly describes the amphibious landing at Inchon. He recalls seeing the extreme poverty of the Korean people and how his life was changed after he saw children fighting for scraps. He explains why he had limited information about his missions before they were carried out.
Philip Vatcher was most bothered by the murder of a military officer in Korea. He witnessed an officer killed because his life was worth less than the value of a military jeep. Despite the circumstance, he understands that war is war.
Philip Vatcher details a time when they rescued a guy on the road. This man's intestines were outside of his body. They had to clean up his intestines and wrap him up. The man's life was sparred and he kept communications with him after the war.
Phillip E. Hahn
Encountering Guerrillas and Civilians
Phillip Hahn recalls the heartbreak of war when he describes seeing children serving as guerrillas and watching as they had to be eliminated. He describes the plight of the many refugees who barely had the clothes on their backs. He remembers being hungry enough while on the front lines to fight for dead soldier's rations.
Letters, Cookies and War
Phillip Olson tried his best to consume his time while he was not on the front lines working with large equipment. He wrote letters to his family about Korea. They in turn sent cookies and letters back to him while he was stationed there from 1952-1953.
Transitioning From Basic Training to Running Heavy Equipment
Phillip Olson enlisted in 1951 and attended a variety of training while in the United States as part of the United States Army. His specialty was heavy equipment such as bull dozers, cranes, caterpillars, and earth movers. One of the roles that he remembered fondly was building an air strip between the 36th and 38th parallel so that the US Air Force could drop bombs on North Korea.
Death All Around While Landing in Pusan
Phillip Olson could smell the port by Pusan even before he entered the bay. Dead soldiers were still floating near the shore while dead fish also added to the smell of decay. He was shocked at the beginning because it was not what he would imagine it would look like in Korea.
Prudencio Manuel describes an unexpected but welcomed exchange with a local resident while stationed in Korea. He shares a story of how he found himself the recipient of an act of kindness while taking a walk one evening. He remembers how this local resident invited him to stop for conversation and then gifted him with sugar.
Rafael Gomez Hernandez
Chosin Reservoir Experience
Rafael Gomez Hernandez describes his experience at the Battle of Chosin Reservoir. He recalls the deep snow, cold temperatures, cold food, and having to fight the Chinese. He shares that he saw many refugees at the time and that his unit was the last to leave the Heungnam port during the Chosin Reservoir evacuation.
Rafael Rivera Méndez
First Impressions / Primeras impresiones
Rafael Rivera Méndez shares his first impressions of Korea upon his arrival. He explains that he was unable to get a sense of the country upon landing on the beaches because he had to run for his life with his equipment. He recounts his impressions of civilians and their lifestyle when they were sent to different villages in search of guerrilla groups.
Rafael Rivera Méndez comparte sus primeras impresiones de Corea. Explica que no pudo tener una idea de lo que era el país cuando desembarco en la playa porque tuvo que correr con todo su equipo. Luego comparte las impresiones que tuvo de las familias coreanas cuando salieron a los pueblos a buscar grupos guerrilleros.
Brothers and Relatives
Rahim Günay describes revisiting South Korea in 2008. The buildings of steel and thirty to forty stories amazed him. He enjoyed how Korean textbooks discuss Turkish involvement. Koreans showed their appreciation during his revisit. Rahim Günay identifies with Koreans and thinks of them as relatives and brothers.
Being Drafted and Going to Korea
Rahim Günay describes how his regiment, Bergama Regiment, was drafted to go to Korea. He served as a Cryptanalyst. When first arriving in Korea the destruction of Korea amazed him. He also describes the conditions of the people. People were living in shabby shelters.
Not a Forgotten War in Korea
Ralph Blum revisited Korea in 2012 with his son. He shares how his view of Korea changed because of the advances he saw. He recounts wearing his Korean War cap and jacket while visiting the DMZ and Seoul. He shares how everyone thanked him for his service, including cab drivers and school children. He explains that his revisit answered his question about why he served in Korea.
Ralph Burcham arrived in Busan in 1952. He felt that the scene was "heart wrenching" to see shoeless children running next to the trains in the hopes that U.S. soldiers would toss out food. Families were so poor and willing to do anything for food scraps.
Suffering All Around
Ralph Hodge notes there was suffering all around in Korea. He recalls soldiers suffered from frost bite and trench foot. He shares how showers were few and far between for soldiers on the front line. He explains suffering was not limited to the soldiers. He adds the Korean people suffered severely as well. He recounts an occasion when a little boy tried to sell his grandma to the soldiers for food or money.
The U.S. President Wants You for the US Military!
Ralph Howard recalls being in Alaska when the Korean War started and listed as 1-A (available for military service). He mentions he was disappointed after being drafted because he was making good money. He recounts being sent to training as a paratrooper after having his hair cut, passing the aptitude test, and taking a physical.
U.S. Paratrooper Training
Ralph Howard discusses how he was trained to be a U.S. paratrooper in January 1952 after being drafted into the Army. He emphasizes that a great deal of physical training and practice using the parachute was needed. He recalls how his job was to drop into battles, cut off supply routes for the enemy, and support the U.S. Marines who had been fighting in the war since 1950.
Chute-Packing Races, C-Rations, and Poor Civilians
Ralph Howard discusses how he was scared until his parachute opened. He recalls not having to pack his own chute but adds that during training, they would compete to see who could pack his chute first. He remembers how General Westmoreland tried to ensure all men on the front lines received a hot meal once a day. He recalls enjoying beanie weenies, sausage, and hamburger from C-Rations. He notes that during his downtime, he would share some of his rations with Korean civilians as they were very poor.
Recollections of Korea
Ralph O'Bryant shares is recollections of the Korean people during his time stationed in Taegu, Busan, and Seoul. He notes that he was not very close to most of the fighting as he was stationed largely in Seoul. He states unit spent most of its time building airstrips for the U.S. Air Force.
Raul Martinez Espinosa
First Impressions / Primeras impresiones
Raúl Martínez Espinosa shares the memories of his arrival in Korea. He describes a desperate Korea full of orphans, widows, hunger, and indigence who resorted to desperate measures to survive. He discussed these conditions with fellow soldiers and Puerto Rican troops, as he notes that even the South Korean army was decimated.
Raúl Martínez Espinosa comparte sus recuerdos de su impresión de Corea a su llegada. El describe una Corea destruida que estaba llena de huérfanos, viudas, hambre e indigencia y habla sobre las medidas que tomaban los civiles para sobrevivir. Discutió estas condiciones con soldados compañeros y tropas puertorriqueñas, ya que nota que incluso el ejército de Corea del Sur fue diezmado.
Raul Segarra Alicea
First Impressions / Primeras Impresiones
Raúl Segarra Alicea describes his first impressions of Korea and the war. He remembers that he could not understand how a nation that was so poor could withstand such brutal winters. He laughs at the memories of being yelled at for falling asleep while on night patrol during the cold winter months.
Raúl Segarra Alicea describe sus primeras impresiones de Corea y la guerra. Recuerda que no podía entender cómo una nación tan pobre podía soportar los inviernos tan brutales. Se ríe de los recuerdos de cuando le gritaban su teniente por quedarse dormido mientras patrullaba de noche durante los meses de invierno.
Raymond L. Ayon
The War’s Painful Memories
Raymond L. Ayon vividly remembers his deployment to Korea, just two days after news of the war breakout on his base in Japan. Upon arrival in Suwon, he shares he could hear the sounds of artillery in the distance. He recalls how, as soon as he disembarked from the C-47 transport plane, he and other medical personnel immediately tended to the wounded and attended to casualties. He emphasizes he was taken aback by the number of pine boxes he saw, which he later discovered were caskets made by South Korean carpenters. He shares how his experiences treating young soldiers, many of whom were no more than eighteen, nineteen, or twenty years old, left him with painful memories he still carries with him to this day.
The Risks of Being at War
Raymond L. Ayon vividly recalls the day when he was in the back of one of the last vehicles in a truck convoy. He recounts how, as they were passing a road raider that was clearing the area, their driver had to swerve to avoid a collision. As a result, he shares he was thrown out of the truck bed and was left suspended in midair. He remembers feeling like his life was flashing before his eyes before hitting the ground, which he believed would be unsurvivable. He notes he and the other passengers were injured and remembers applying first aid to himself shortly after the crash. He states the accident impaired vision in his right eye, which is now officially blind.
Reginald Clifton Grier
Criminal Investigations in Korea
Reginald Clifton Grier discusses, going back to the reserves and college after World War II. He recalls that in 1952, he was called back into service and spent eight months in Korea. He describes his primary job of investigating accidents and other crimes in the Busan area.
Third Return to Korea
Reginald Clifton Grier discusses returning to Korea for a third time in 1969. He discusses being in Korea as United States forces and South Korean forces changed places guarding the border with North Korea. He recalls having the opportunity to work with an orphanage when he was in Korea and having a little girl follow him around every time he visited. He admits that he adopted this little girl and he now has four grandchildren.
Reginald V. Rawls
Life Leading into the Army
Reginald Rawls grew up living in a poor section of town and he had limited options to improve his quality of life. These circumstances served as the impetus for his enlistment in the Army. He rose up the military ranks because he was respectful to everyone and he went to a lot of training.
Reginald Rawls arrived back home after being gone for three years. He was stationed in Japan before being sent to fight in the Korean War. Most people did not know where he was, or what he had been doing since the media had not discussed the Korean War on the home front.
A Strong Love for Korean Civilians
Reginald Rawls believes that the Korean War should be recognized and remembered.
That's why many people call this war, the "Forgotten War." Any extra food, he gave to the Korean civilians because most were starving. During the war, Reginald Rawls had many interactions with Korean civilians, one man was even his driver.
Ricardo Roldan Jiménez
Difficult Battle / La Batalla Más Difícil
Ricardo Roldan Jiménez remembers the difficulty of the Battle of Kumsong. He recalls that there were very old people in the town which they had to forcibly move out of the combat zone to spare them their lives. He admits that it was difficult to keep fighting while his buddies were killed in action. He explains that he will never forget the terror of hearing bombs before they exploded.
Ricardo Roldán Jiménez recuerda lo difícil que fue la Batalla de Kumsong. El recuerda que había ancianos en la ciudad y los tuvieron que sacar a la fuerza de la zona de combate para salvarles la vida. Admite que fue difícil seguir luchando después de ver a sus compañeros morían en combate. Explica que nunca olvidará el terror que sintió al oír las bombas antes de que explotaran.
Living Conditions / Condiciones de Vida
Ricardo Roldan Jiménez discusses the living conditions Colombian troops faced while they were stationed in Korea. He admits that they had too much food as the United States Army supplied them with an excess of rations which they were happy to share with civilians. Furthermore, he states that as a citizen of a tropical nation, he was happy to have been able to experience the four seasons in Korea as they do not exist in Colombia.
Ricardo Roldán Jiménez describe las condiciones de vida de las tropas colombianas mientras estuvieron en Corea. Admite que tenían demasiada comida ya que el ejército de los Estados Unidos les proporcionó un exceso de raciones que ellos estaban felices de compartir con los civiles. Además, afirma que, como ciudadano de una nación tropical, estaba feliz de haber podido vivir las cuatro estaciones en Corea, ya que no existen en Colombia.
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 Ceasefire, Korean Civilians, and the Death of a Friend
Richard Houser protected the 38th parallel throughout the winter of 1953 from a trench and Camp Casey. After the ceasefire civilians wanted to go back to their land to farm, but it was filled with mines which took the lives of many civilians.
Returning to the US After Serving in the US Army
Richard Houser returned to the US in the spring of 1934 and most of the people from his town didn't even know he was gone. Newspapers didn't publicize the Korean War since it was tired from WWII, so most of the veterans did not get a warm welcome home.
Richard Houser went back to Korea with his wife a few years before the interview was taped. The bright lights, huge buildings, and prosperity of the Korean people made him proud for fighting to free the Korean civilians.
Richard A. Simpson
Richard Simpson recalls the despair of the Korean people. He describes an incident of a woman trying to commit suicide by lying on train tracks and describes giving simple necessities such as a shirt to Korean people. He offers an account of troop actions.
Tragedy of War
Richard Simpson describes the raping of a South Korean woman by an Allied soldier. He express his thoughts on the utter depravity of the actions of the soldier and his lack of respect for the human race. He describes this as the tragedy of war.
War, What Is It Good For?
Richard Simpson describes war through religion. He questions what God thinks of war and ultimately what comes from war. He discusses the impact of the war on his life and how the war helped him enter the priesthood.
Radio Maintenance Specialty and a Civilian Encounter
Each soldier is trained with a specialty to strengthen the military. Richard Bartlett's duties were to keep the radio equipment working and operational as it was used to guide aircraft along the 38th Parallel. There was a lot of on-the-job-training. While stationed at Osan, Richard Bartlett encountered many civilians off base.
The Air Force's All-Korean Basketball Team Experience
Richard Bartlett played for the All-Korean Basketball Team while in the Air Force and stationed in Korea. He traveled to Seoul and played a variety of Korean teams. These experiences allowed him a chance to get to know some Korean civilians. The Korean teams were comprised of talented basketball players.
Legacy of the Korean Defense Veteran
Richard Bartlett believes that the defense veterans serve and fill the void after the Korean War ended. He feels defense veterans over the years have done a very good job keeping the North and South Koreans separated since the war. He wishes he had personally done more to help the Korean people while there.
Helping a Father See His Son
The most memorable moment in Korea was when a young soldier from Iowa ran up daily for mail call to get information about his new baby. Every time they got mail, the young soldier received many pictures of his son bathing in the tub (always naked), he was so proud. The young soldier asked Richard Brandt when he was going home and he replied that it was within two weeks, but after speaking to his commander, Richard Brandt allowed the young soldier to go home in his place to see his son.
First Impressions of Korea
Richard Davis recounts landing in Pusan and offers his first impressions of Korea. He recalls what older gentlemen were wearing and remembers many children asking for food. He states that his impressions of Korea made him appreciate living in the US.
Desperate Times, Desperate Measures
Richard Davis describes the Thanksgiving meal offered at the Chosin Reservoir. He recalls airplanes dropping the food, it being cooked, collecting the food, and it being frozen by the time he could eat it. He recounts sitting on food to keep it warm. He mentions eating c-rations as well as vegetables from Korean civilian gardens which gave him and other soldiers worms due to being fertilized by human waste.
Thoughts on War
Richard Davis shares his thoughts on war. He vocalizes that it does not really settle anything and that many lives are lost in the process, often at the hands of politicians. He comments on the need for a military force and offers his thoughts on how to stock US forces.
Poverty in Korea
Richard Ekstrand recalls arriving in Korea in April 1951. He relays his first impressions of Korea. He speaks about poverty in Korea, including the poor infrastructure of the country and how many Korean homes had dirt floors but also had under-floor heating systems.
Engineering in Korea
Richard Ekstrand explains how he was redeployed to an engineering outfit in Busan after his hospital stay resulting from an injury in the infantry. He presents an overview of the types of labor he did there, including bridge and road work.
A Visit From a Brother
Richard Ekstrand shares the story of his younger brother, David, coming to visit him while he
was hospitalized in Japan. He explains that David was also serving in Korea, including in the Chosin (Jangjin) Reservoir, but was also in Japan at the time. He recalls how they made it so that the two brothers could spend the night side-by-side in the hospital ward.
Richard H. Fastenau
Just Trying to Get Anything They Can
Richard H. Fastenau describes the arrival of Helen Moore Van Fleet, wife of General James Van Fleet, with supplies from the American Red Cross for the Korean people. He recalls the supplies being sorted for distribution near the main gate but that chaos broke out as crowds pushed down the gates and fencing in a rush to get supplies. He speculates that many of the goods taken ended up on the black market.
Richard J. Dominguez
Being Drafted and Training With Mules
Richard J. Dominguez shares how, after graduating high school in 1942, he wanted to join the United States Army Air Corps. He notes, however, he was unable to pass the physical exam due to a muscular imbalance in one eye. He recalls spending a year rehabilitating his eye and taking university courses. He describes how, in 1943, he was drafted into the U.S. Army and sent to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, for basic training. He explains how, during his training, he was part of a special group that trained with mules to carry a 0.35 millimeter Howitzer. He remembers the discipline and physical fitness required to work with the animals and hike across hilly terrain.
U.S. Air Corps and Infantry Training
Richard J. Dominguez explains that the United States Air Corps was a division of the U.S. Army before the establishment of the U.S. Air Force. He shares how, in 1944, he was sent to Arizona State Teachers College to complete coursework in preparation for his duties in the U.S. Air Corps. He remembers how, at that time, women did not serve in the U.S. Air Corps. He recalls his experiences during his training at the college, which included ten hours of flying instruction. He recalls, however, before he could complete his Air Corps training, he was transferred to the Army Infantry, 13th Armored Division, where he received instruction on firing anti-tank weapons.
Preparing for the Korean War as a U.S. National Guard
Richard J. Dominguez shares he made the decision to join the United States National Guard while working as a police officer. He mentions that his choice to reenlist in the service was largely influenced by the payment of thirty dollars that he received each month, which helped to supplement his income from the police department. He remembers how, a few months after joining the National Guard, he was sent to Camp Cook, California, to train as a medic and mobilize for the Korean War. He describes how his training and departure affected his wife and young daughter, who went to live with relatives.
Korea Arrival and Departure
Richard J. Dominguez shares his experience of arriving in Korea during a ceasefire for negotiations among opposing forces. Upon arrival, his unit was sent to replace another division on the front lines. He describes how the previous division had constructed trenches and tents to maximize protection from incoming fire. He recalls his own division losing men on the front lines, including a fellow medic. He reflects on receiving an emergency furlough while in Korea to travel home and visit his ill mother.
Richard L. Boxwell, Jr.
Navy Injuries Led to Lifelong Pain
Richard Boxwell experienced lifelong injuries he incurred from his service on an aircraft carrier. A plane ran over part of his leg. Earplugs were not used on aircraft carriers during the Korean War and this led to his permanent hearing loss.
Travel, Food, and UN Attacks on Chinese as a POW
Robert Battdorff and one other US POW were forced to walk south to the 38th parallel in May 1951 as the US soldiers were pushing the Chinese back in battle. He was told that he was brought down south just in case if the Chinese came across additional prisoners. He would walk at night 6 days a week and then take Sunday off. Since the Chinese were traveling with supplies during the night, UN pilots looked for the headlights of the trucks to know where to hit.
Robert C. Jagger
Impressions of Korean People
Robert C Jagger discusses his impression of the Korean people he met, both in 1952 and in visits back since. He is amazed at the progress Koreans have made since the war. He describes the poor living conditions he saw contrasted to Seoul today.
Robert D. Davidson
First Impressions of Seoul
Robert Davidson recalls landing in Incheon and his first impressions of Seoul. He describes the devastation and damaged buildings he witnessed. He shares that civilians lacked housing and food and adds that the city of Chuncheon was leveled. He comments on Korea's weather, comparing its similarities to the weather of Wyoming.
Feeding Hungry Civilians
Robert Davidson shares how sorry he felt for the Korean civilians while there. He speaks of how many had no food or proper clothing and of how GIs would give them candy or whatever they had to spare. He recalls an incident at the mess hall where GIs were collecting the food they were not eating to give to the Koreans. He recounts an angered lieutenant informing the mess sergeant that the GIs should be eating the food, not giving leftovers to civilians. He describes the mess sergeant standing his ground and stating that he was in charge of running his kitchen and would continue to do as he saw fit.
Most Difficult Thing
Robert Davidson shares a heartwarming story about assisting a pregnant Korean civilian. He recalls having been out with a fellow soldier working on a rock crusher, and on their drive back, he noticed something odd along the road. He recounts finding a pregnant Korean woman in the middle of labor and describes how they loaded her into the back of their truck and took her to a nearby MASH unit. He explains how the unit refused to offer her services until he spoke with the commander and urged him to do so.
Robert D. Edwards
Learning Korean and Japanese
Robert D. Edwards discusses learning some Korean and Japanese will stationed in Korea and Japan. He recalls that the Korean people spoke much better English then he spoke Korean. He shares that the people in Korea appreciated him speaking some Korean. He remembers how to say a morning greeting in Korean.
Training for the Korean War in the US and Cuba
Once Robert Dahms graduated high school, he volunteered for the military. He was sent to the Great Lakes for 16 weeks of basic training. After training, Robert Dahms went to Pensacola, Florida to rescue downed planes by using a lot of different types of technology to aid the rescuers.
Training and Protecting Pilots While Purifying Water
Robert Dahms continued to work on the home front to train and protect pilots while they were learning to become effective soldiers. While doing so, he also ran evaporators to purify salt water in order to turn it into drinking water. Both of these jobs were important for the soldiers during the Korean War.
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.
C Rations and Life in Wartime Korea
Bob Mitchell offers a description of the C-Rations soldiers received during the war. He recalls there were few favorite meals among the offerings. He shares the one thing all wanted when they had the opportunity to go on Rest and Relaxation. He remembers the utter poverty and the suffering of the children.
Robert P. Gruber
Life in Daegu
Robert Gruber describes experiences he had while stationed at the Fifth Air Force Headquarters in Daegu. While serving at the headquarters, he explains they worked seven days a week, scheduling air support for the frontline. He recalls the streets of Daegu with streams of water running through them and people cleaning their laundry. He remembers living in quonset huts and having a house boy who would help clean.
Robert Gruber describes a few instances in which he was concerned about his safety. While walking home one night, he remembers a Korean soldier all of a sudden yelling at him. He recalls fearing he would not make it home alive. Eventually, he explains the soldier understood he was a GI and he was escorted home. Even though it ended well, he shares how he never went back that way alone again. He provides an account of another close call involving bed check Charlie. He describes a bomb landing on the compound and some soldiers feeling more exposed to danger than the officers.
Robert R. Moreau
From Merchant Marine to Drafted
Robert R. Moreau began his service career by enlisting in the US Merchant Marine. He shares how at the time of the Korean War, the Merchant Marine was not considered part of the service branches, and as a result, this made him eligible for the draft. He offers details on his career both as a member of the Merchant Marine and his service with the 13th Engineer Combat Battalion.
Robert S. Chessum
Forgotten Men of the Unknown War
Robert Chessum describes how the Korean War is "forgotten." He explains how there was nothing for the troops when they returned. Robert Chessum also describes how changing the perception of the Korean War will be difficult, because teaching about war is unpopular.
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 Incheon and later Wonsan. He explains the 5th Marines did not immediately go up to the Chosin (Jangjin) 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. He describes how, during the retreat, they were protecting thousands of Korean refugees who were ultimately loaded on a cargo ship and taken to Busan.
From Rubble to Riches!
Rodney Ramsey is the president of his Korean War regiment's organization and ever since 1989, they meet for a yearly reunion. The year of the interview was the 27th reunion and about 50 members attend. During his Korea revisit in 1991, Rodney Ramsey was shocked to see the improvement in living conditions. He took a picture when he was in Seoul, South Korea in 1952 and it only had an ox cart and a military jeep, but in 1991 during his revisit, it was filled with cars.
Legacy of the Korean War Veterans
Rodney Ramsey was proud that the UN troops for pushing back the Chinese and North Koreans. He wishes that they could have made all of Korea non-communist, but life was better for the civilians in the South. The Korean War was named the "Forgotten War" due to it being called a conflict, not a war. After the Korean War, civilians on the home front did not see the war on television like they did for the Vietnam War. As the Korean War veterans came home, many people did not even know that they had left to fight in a war.
Working His Way from Wyoming to Korea, What a Ride!
Rodney Ramsey studied petroleum jelly at the University of Wyoming. He graduated from there in June 1951 and was activated to right away because he was in the United State Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC). After receiving basic training at Fort Benning, GA and additional training in California, he received his orders for Korea in 1952, but Rodney Ramsey figured that he was being sent there because he had been tracking the war since 1950.
Roland Dean Brown
First Impressions and Friendly Fire Encounters
Roland Brown recalls his first impressions upon arrival in Pusan. He describes the scene as horrible, recounting the sewage running in gutters down the streets, children begging for food, and the poor living conditions. He shares that many soldiers were killed from friendly fire due to inadequate training and a lack of communication, adding that he and others even dug holes with their helmets as defense during friendly fire encounters.
Songs from Korea
Roland Fredh describes music during his service. He sings a classic Korean song for the viewer. He recalls his favorite Swedish music that he would sing in Korea. Yet, he is much more impacted by the Korean music and songs that he learned while in Korea.
Ronald A. Cole
A Promise Kept
Ronald Cole vividly recalls the process of enlisting ultimately in the U.S. Army after keeping his promise to his mother to finish high school. With a strong desire to serve his country upon graduation from high school, he inquired with many branches of the service regarding becoming a pilot and serving in Korea. Ultimately, he did not end up as a pilot, but instead received training as an officer and served in the infantry. He offers a detailed account of what he remembers learning while attending El Camino High School about the events leading to the conflict which became the Korean War.
Remembering Post-War Korea
Ronald Cole served in the U.S. Army following the cease-fire in Korea. He offers details on what he remembers about the people and cities in South Korea while he was there. He talks about people being in poor shape and diseases being widespread. He notes that Seoul was still heavily damaged, but was making progress in rebuilding.
Ronald Bourgon comments on the changes South Korea has made since the Korean War. He recalls scenes from his revisit experience and compares them to years past. He expands upon how genuinely nice the people are and expresses his gratitude for having played a small role in helping South Korea become what it is today.
Ronald P. Richoux
C-rations For the Starving Children
Ronald Richoux describes sharing C-rations with starving children that would run after them. He shares the turmoil and inner conflict of duty verses humanity when having to guard cargo that he knew the Koreans needed as well. He recalls how Marines had a code to never harm or abuse a civilian, so he was told to just fire a shot in the air and hope they would leave, though it was an incredibly difficult thing to do.
Most of the Time They were Running
Royal Vida describes the situation in Taejon after the capture of General Dean. He makes note about his assignment to an all black regiment and the drastic shift from being stationed in Japan to their assignment in Korea. During the withdrawal, he discusses one time when the Integrated 159th Field artillery was the only regiment able to hold the position. He briefly reflects on the experience of being assigned to an integrated unit. He recounts the confusion and experience of constantly moving and the sadness he felt while watching the Korean people fleeing from the battle.
Does Not Know Why So Many Had to Suffer (Graphic)
Royal Vida expresses his sorrow for the loss and suffering the Korean people endured during the war. He shares memories of seeing the remains of hundreds of slaughtered Koreans and does not know why innocent people suffer. After sharing details about the resilience of the Korean people, he reminisces about the local food soldiers acquired and recalls an unpleasant experience with hot chocolate.
Russell A. King explains how the Korean civilians suffered. He remembers that people did not have a lot of food, especially in Incheon which had been badly damaged. However, the civilians were extremely grateful for what they received. He states that he thought it seemed senseless that the civilians suffered.
The Chinese Military Was Impressive
Russell A. King was impressed the most by the civilian population. He was also amazed by the discipline and the organization of the Chinese military. He remembers taking Chinese prisoners from one prison camp to the other. With ingenuity, and they made their own communist style uniforms out of the clothes they were given.
Sahlemariam Wmichaea describes his feelings about going to war and what he though when first seeing Korea. He was not afraid ro fight and was instead eager to help due to the destruction and poverty he witnessed.
Salvatore Scarlato describes the story behind a drawing he was given. He shares that during a revisit to South Korea in 1999, a high school student promised him she would create a drawing depicting the relationship of the United States and South Korea. He recalls the drawing arriving in the mail several months later and states that her drawing shows how, after sixty years, the United States and South Korea are still united.
Japanese Imperial Control
Snagmoon Olsson describes life as a child under Japanese Imperial control. The Japanese restricted children in school from speaking Korean. Students lost a coupon when speaking Korean. Other punishments and control measures included the Japanese changing the names of the people of Korea to Japanese names.
Life During the War
Sangmoon Olsson describes her life during the Korean War. Her brother had a high position under the Japanese Imperial control and when the communists took over, they wanted to capture her brother. Sangmoon had to go into hiding for a total of eight months, interrupting her nursing studies. When the Allies eventually pushed back the Communists, Sangmoon Olsson was able to complete her nursing studies.
Swedish Red Cross
Sangmoon Olsson describes the services the Swedish Red Cross offered. The Swedish Red Cross in 1954 treated mostly civilians, but a few veterans because the war had ended in 1953. The Swedish Red Cross offered Surgery, Operation, and Plastic Surgery. Sangmoon Olsson describes that her training prepared her well to help the civilians of Korea in the various medical services.
Revisiting Korea and Socialism
Sangmoon Olsson describes her experience when re-visiting Korea after many years. She did not want to put out her family and make them come to her. She remembered the roads of "old Korea." However, the family met her and reminded her the country had changed and was not the "old country." She was filled with pride and amazed at the rebuilding of South Korea. Sangmoon Olsson also describes that Sweden, being more left on the political spectrum. Being left probably impacted Sweden's positive relations with North Korea.
Shirley F. Gates McBride
We Were All Just Kids
Shirley Gates-McBride comments on the fact that all of the Korean War soldiers were kids during the war. She remembers tales from the soldiers about children following them around for treats. After traveling to Korea herself, she emphasizes that she finally understood the tales.
Arrival in Busan
Somdee Musikawan arrived in Korea as part of the second rotation in 1951. He shares his fear at the time of not knowing when he would die. He notes the special connection between the Korean people and the Thai soldiers. He offers details of the living conditions in Busan when he arrived.
English translations occur at 3:51, 8:00, and 11:45
Relations Between the Korean People and Thai Soldiers
Somdee Musikawan describes the war as very severe. He ponders on how people who are like family could go to war with each other. In sharing his battle experiences, he explains the close relationship the Korean people had with Thai soldiers who they viewed as the "same" as them.
English translations begin at 18:38 and 21:14
Suffering in Korea
Somdee Musikawan shares examples of the strong connections between the Korean people and the Thai soldiers. He recalls the living conditions and suffering that went on across the country as the war dragged on. He recounts sharing his own food with the children who came to him crying because they were hungry. He concludes by sharing his recollections of witnessing deaths among the Korean population.
English translations begin at 23:18 and 24:58
Korean War Veterans Involvement
Sotirios Patrakis details his pathway to involvement with Korean War Veterans. He shares that as a member of the Army reserve officers, he took part in a convention in Korea commemorating the start of the Korean War. He recalls how kind the Korean people were and felt it a pity that there was no opportunity for veterans from Greece to gather together and relive that period of their lives. He comments on Korea's progress since the war and is proud of its economic efforts.
School Construction Assistance
Stelios Stroubakis shares his experience assisting with the construction of a school large enough to serve 200 students when complete. He recalls that the school was located next to a Greek Orthodox church. He recounts putting tiles on the roof and adds that the school was still under construction when he left.
Photos from the Past
Stelios Stroubakis provides a glimpse of the past through several personal photos. He offers a picture viewing of his unit's Korean translator as well as photos related to a baptism which took place near the school he helped construct. He additionally provides a photo of the soldiers and staff who aided in the construction of the school.
What Did You Do While Not Working with Radios?
Stephen Frangos recalls spending a great deal of time in the fields. He mentions the poverty that was still common. He shares that he befriended a group of Irish priests, and together, they helped build orphanages. He recalls how the orphans would often go to the Army camp to have meals. He adds that many Americans also sent food and clothing over to help the orphanages.
Impressions of Korea and of Koreans
Stephen Frangos reflects on his impressions of Korea and of Koreans. He describes a Seoul that was devastated but adds he did see signs of revival. He remembers having tremendous optimism for Korea because of the hard working and industrious people. He comments that he knew they would be successful but states he did not realize just how successful they would turn out to be.
Sterling N. McKusick
The Dead Stick in Your Mind
Sterling N. McKusick states that the dead always stick in his mind. He recounts one occasion near Wonsan in October 1950 when his unit discovered between three hundred to four hundred civilians slaughtered by the North Koreans. He believes he had it easier than many of the infantrymen who were constantly under fire while in Korea. He notes that after a short time, he simply got numb to the stuff. He provides an account of seeing North Korean tank units in Seoul who had died at the hands of napalm deployed by U.S. Marines and the Navy. He concludes that it never really goes away but that he came to see himself fortunate that it was not him.
Return to Korea
Suwan Chinda recalls his return visit to Korea. He describes his experience and the changes he witnessed, stating that the transformation was unbelievable compared to Thailand which is still a developing country. He shares that he never dreamed Korea would be what it has become and adds that he felt welcomed there.
Taddese Weldmedhen Metaferiya
Ethiopian Donations Create an Orphanage
Taddese Weldmedhen Metaferiya describes donating money that opened an orphanage in Korea. Ethiopian soldiers had endured in battle. In addition, they also donated money to Korean people suffering during the war. The orphanage was able to help many Korean children. Korea has not forgotten about this donation.
Transformation of Korea
Taddese Weldmedhen Metaferiya describes the transformation of Korea. He describes the war-torn Korea. Buildings were destroyed by the enemy. Even the water was contaminated. However, now Korea has become green and everything is clean. This is a major difference from his war-torn experience. He is happy that Korea has undergone this transformation. He is not asking for compliments.
Remembering through Photos
Ted Bacha remembers that many people were killed. He uses photos to explain what they did on the front lines and all of the lives that were lost. While he was there, a little boy gave him some film as a gift for helping him during that time- Ted Bacha's father developed the pictures and said that he couldn't show them for years. Ted Bacha even had a shop where he would display his Korean War memorabilia.
Tesfaye Asmamau Kewen
Arriving in Korea
Tesfaye Asmamau Kewen describes his voyage to Korea. Men aboard the ship were mixed between Ethiopians and Greeks. At first, both countries were friendly but soon erupted into constant fighting. Upon arriving in Korea, Tesfaye Asmamau Kewen did not see anything memorable. He describes one farmer having an ox, but that was it.
Humble Beginnings to Big City
Teurangaotera Tuhaka grew up on a farm in New Zealand. His life was simple, and people were considered wealthy if they owned a bicycle. Once he passed the Navy test and traveled to the big city of Aukland, he had to get used to city life with cars and ships. He was also trained on an island outside Auckland.
After a Year in England
Theodore Garnette remembers his year-long assignment in England, where he encountered a lot of people who were fascinated by his American Indian heritage. He recalls feeling disappointed when the military halted personnel promotions after the Korean War ended. This prompted him to not re-enlist. After returning to Illinois, he worked in a watch factory and car garage to support himself and his mother.
The Affects of Serving
Theodore Garnette expresses his frustration when he was discharged from the military due to the classified duties he performed while serving in Korea. He reveals that he signed a secrecy act upon leaving the service, which prevents him from discussing his missions during the Korean War. He did not receive any medals for his classified work. Despite these challenges, he acknowledges that serving in the military had a positive impact on his life, and he continues to receive excellent care from the VA hospital.
Thomas F. Miller
Basic Training and Korea During the 1960s
Thomas Miller went to basic training in Georgia and then he was shipped to Inchon Harbor to start his tour of duty. After landing, he noticed poor living conditions of the civilians which looked like America in the early 1800s.
Living and Working Conditions in Korea During the 1960s
Thomas Miller was a supply specialist who helped provide clothes, oil, and food rations to the troops. He stayed in quonset huts, had cold showers, and ate a hot meal most of his time in Korea.
Graphic Encounters in the Bay
Thomas LaCroix describes his experience in the United States Navy aboard an aircraft carrier that was guarding ocean bays along the coast of Korea. He explains the task of taking enemy remains to a location that appeared to be quarantined due to the presence of severe illness. The location was in a bay area off the southern coast of Korea. He explains seeing people with sickness, leaving the impression that he likely encountered a leper colony.
Thomas M. McHugh
A Unique Respect for Veterans
Thomas M. McHugh describes the Korean people as the most thankful in the world to American veterans. He tells of his amazement at the efforts the people went to in making sure his needs were met during his visit to Korea. He explains that seeing citizens on the sidewalk respect him for his service was shocking, compared to how the rest of the world reacts to American veterans.
Thomas Norman Thompson
Laundry on the War Front
Thomas Norman Thompson recalls the winter conditions faced by men on the Korean war front. He tells that after he washed his socks in the cold river, he had to put them in his underarms, using his body heat to dry the socks. He remembers that Korean women would do laundry for the entire company he was in. Additionally, he would pay $1.00 for the women to clean and press his uniform. He tells of how much gratitude the Korean people continue to show American veterans.
The Forgotten War
Thomas Nuzzo felt that the Korean War was the forgotten war. Since it was so close to the end of WWII, the civilians in the United States didn't want to fight. Soldiers didn't even have supplies that they needed, so this hurt the moral.
Prior Knowledge About Korea
Thomas Nuzzo was attending Fordham University when he was drafted for the Korean War. Unlike most draftees, Thomas Nuzzo knew about Korea from stamp collecting and his schooling. Being sent to Korea was not scary he said because he found the Korean culture so interesting.
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.
Korea: Unbelievable Differences Between 1952 to 2000
Thomas Parkinson shares how he saw unbelievable differences between the time he was stationed in Korea in 1952 to 2000 during his first revisit. He describes going back four times since 2000 and recalls how the advancements in buildings, technology, and bridges was astounding. He shares how the changes from the Korean cardboard houses to the multi-stored houses was a visible difference.
Volunteering, Training, and Entering the Korean War
Thomas Parkinson shares how he tried to volunteer for the Korean War when he was seventeen years old but that he was too young and had to wait until April 1951. He recounts how all of the Australians volunteered to join the military and that no draft was needed. Thomas Parkinson recalls being trained in Puckapunyal, Australia, for three months and being shipped away to Korea on March 3, 1952.
Fighting and Living in Korea From 1952-1953
Thomas Parkinson recalls fighting from the Kansas Line and the Jamestown Line while in Korea from 1952-1953. He remembers eating American C-Rations, sleeping in trenches, and writing letters home to his mom along with pen pals from England.
The Korean War Yielded the Most Difficult and Rewarding Moments
Thomas Parkinson shares that his most difficult time was when a Jeep landed on his legs with petrol and napalm spilling around him. He recalls how, even though it was such a scary time, he will never forget the Indian regiment that helped him recover in a field ambulance. He shares that the most rewarding moment was related to helping the Korean children in and out of Seoul and the surrounding cities.
Journey to Korea
Thomas Tsuda recalls his journey to Korea and landing in Incheon in September of 1952. He speaks of the destruction he witnessed and shares that he felt sorry for the Korean people. He adds that he soon found himself on the front lines fighting the Chinese.
Thomas Tsuda reflects upon his revisit to Korea. He compares modern Korea with the Korea he saw in 1953, commenting on its buildings and prosperous economy. He describes the Korean people as friendly and kind.
Tirso Sierra Pinilla
First Impressions / Primeras Impresiones
Tirso Sierra Pinilla describes his first impressions of Korea. He explains how he and other Colombian soldiers were added to American troops. Furthermore, he remembers the sadness and demoralization of the civilians he encountered.
Tirso Sierra Pinilla describe sus primeras impresiones de Corea. Explica cómo él y otros soldados colombianos se sumaron a las tropas estadounidenses. Además, recuerda la tristeza y la desmoralización de los civiles en el país.
Tom A. Bezouska
Tom Bazouska recalls the strange experience he shared with his brother when returning home. After their father picked them up from the airport, he remembers stopping at the hangout where they often meet their buddies. He recalls walking in with his brother and many of their buddies simply asking where they had been. He shares how few people knew about the war. The brothers admit that their friends treated them differently and nothing felt the same. They explain the impressive show of gratitude they experience when interacting with the Korean people.
Hill 355 and Military Life
Tom Collier describes the fighting at Hill 355 and said many New Zealand soldiers died in the battle. He was never in imminent danger, but there was a constant threat from Chinese artillery. Tom Collier also fondly recollects a South Korean houseboy who was about fourteen years old that completed chores such as laundry and Tom Collier said the boy lost all his money gambling. He looked for the houseboy upon return to South Korea, but could not find him.
Pusan and Seoul Living Conditions
Tom Collier describes a rough trip to Pusan by ship and overall conditions of the people. People would make houses of anything they could, mostly tin and cardboard. The people did not know English and lived in poverty. Tom Collier then transferred to Seoul and describes the conditions of the people as similar to Pusan.
Tom Collier returned to South Korea in 2004 and was amazed at the different place Seoul had become. He tried to locate landmarks from his days fighting in Korea and could find nothing that was similar because of the transformation. Tom Collier is also proud of his service and how South Korea has turned out.
Tom Muller describes life on the front lines and compares this to the TV show M*A*S*H*. He likes the show, but disagrees with the drama and the antics of the show. He describes having a potbelly stove that was adequate up to 10 feet away. He goes further and describes the South Korean people, scrawny and begging for food near Busan.
Landing at Busan
Tommy Clough recounts how he knew little about Korea prior to shipping out on a five and a half week voyage to Korea. He recollects his first impressions of Korea, sharing that there was a stench in the air as they neared the shoreline. He remembers a United States African American band playing as they disembarked the ship and recalls South Korean women dressed traditionally and handing out apples.
Chinese Enter and Refugee Recollections
Tommy Clough remembers advancing with his unit up to Pyongyang and within sight of the Yalu River. He shares that he and fellow soldiers began to wonder what was going on when they say American soldiers and Korean refugees coming back rather than advancing. He recounts how the Chinese had entered the war and crossed the Yalu River, forcing the Americans to retreat and causing the Korean civilians to flee. He comments on the poor conditions of the refugees.
Hiding Under a Bull
Tony White recollects an occasion while on patrol when they received a tip from a local regarding a Chinese soldier hiding in a house they had just searched. He explains there was a cow shed attached to the main house, and the local Korean civilian pointed to a bull. He shares that when he poked the bull, a Chinese soldier who was hiding in straw underneath the bull bolted out of the house.
Trygve Jensen explains why he chose to go to an active war from his peaceful service in the Norwegian Army occupying Germany. At the time, he thought the experience treating wounded patients would be good for his paramedic career. He arrived during the final three months of the war and assisted with surgeries.
Tsege Cherenet Degn
His Most Important Contribution
Tsege Cherenet Degn was most proud of his work with the poor in South Korea. He recounts his work helping with the poor children and their school. His pride also extended to an orphanage that was sponsored by the Ethiopian army.
Headed to Korea
Vartkess Tarbassian spent time training for war at boot camp. After that, he was given a 10-day leave to spend time with family. On the train to the coast, he was treated like royalty by the the train's workers.
First Impressions of Korea near Busan (Pusan Perimeter)
Vartkess Tarbassian was surprised when he saw the devastation in the Pusan Perimeter (Busan). There were shell holes from the mortars all across the land. Korean civilians were staving and missing shelter.
Vartkess Tarbassian struggled with nightmares once he returned home from Korea. His mother would have to wake him when he was screaming in his sleep. After about a year, the nightmares began to go away.
Pride and Family during Imprisonment
Veli Atasoy describes his pride in South Korea. He sacrificed so much being imprisoned, subsequently he is more prideful of his service in Korea than his native country of Turkey. While imprisoned, he had no communication with his family. His family had no news and even asked the Turkish government about their son. Therefore a certain hardship of not knowing and suffering occurred between Veli Atasoy and his family occurred.
Supporting Infantry behind the Front Lines
Vern Rubey comments on his branch change from infantry to artillery which he was pleased with and recalls landing at Incheon. He describes the role of the service battery that he was assigned to as a First Sergeant in the Army. He shares memories of the scenery he saw while traveling throughout Korea supporting differing artillery units.
Vern Rubey comments on his return to Korea and speaks highly of the Korean people, praising their friendliness and support. He details his trip in particular and recalls the progress Korea had made since his departure back in the 1950's. He offers his opinion on Korean-US relations.
Victor Burdette Spaulding
Images of South Korea and Working with UN Soldiers
Victor Spaulding describes the Korea he saw in 1953, commenting on the state of the buildings and peasant life. He explains it was not the images of South Korea seen today and likens the images to going back in time two hundred years. He details fighting with other United Nations troops. He elaborates mostly on the courage of the Korean soldiers (KATUSAS) and says most historical accounts depict them inaccurately. He comments on serving with other countries' troops as well.
Victor D. Freudenberger
Victor Freudenberger describes the usage of butterfly bombs by the United States Air Force. He details this particular bomb and his role in destroying over six hundred of them when they were no longer needed. He recalls civilians sneaking into the danger zone that had been roped off at night and bombs detonating, wounding and killing those who stepped on them. He reflects on the time his own life was spared despite walking around a bomb during this particular assignment.
Victor Freudenberger talks about his impressions of the Korean people while he was stationed at Chosin Reservoir. He recalls the suffering of civilians and families being displaced. He describes observing a Korean woman washing clothes in sub-zero temperature at six in the morning and marvels at the resilience and commitment of the Korean people. He comments on the war atrocities committed by the Chinese against civilians he saw along the way.
Víctor Luis Torres García
First Impressions / Primeras Impresiones
Víctor Luis Torres García shares his memories of the first days in Korea. He recalls being shocked at the destruction and poverty in the country. He speaks about his first mission to search and destroy in Munsan and shutters as he remembers how his friend was killed in the Chorwon Valley.
Víctor Luis Torres García comparte sus recuerdos de los primeros días en Corea. Recuerda que quedo impresionado por la destrucción y la pobreza que encontró en el país. Habla de su primera misión de buscar y destruir en Munsan y con lastima recuerda cómo mataron a su amigo en el valle de Chorwon.
Message to Future Generations / Mensaje a Las Generaciones del Futuro
Víctor Luis Torres García reflects on the legacy of the war and what he wishes future generations will learn from it. He explains that while he would like to see a reunified Korea in his lifetime, he doubts it will happen. He hopes people remember the sacrifices made by so many to protect democracy against communism.
Víctor Luis Torres García reflexiona sobre el legado de la guerra y lo que desea que las generaciones futuras aprendan de ella. Explica que, si bien le gustaría ver una Corea reunificada durante su vida, duda que eso suceda. Él espera que la gente recuerde los sacrificios hechos por tantas personas para proteger la democracia contra el comunismo.
Victor Max Ramsey
Friend or Enemy?
Victor Max Ramsey recalls his interactions with guerrilla fighters. He describes an incident where he passed two horsemen. The two men later committed atrocities against a United States camp. He discusses how one can't tell who was an enemy and who was just a civilian.
The Experience of India's Custodian Forces
Lieutenant General Mohan Lal Tuli took many photographs. He witnessed a desolate Korea. He recounts that both the north and the south saw the Indians as partial, which was proof that they were not. Many of the troops whom he served with were experienced fighters who fought with the British Army in World War Two. He also recalled the incredible strength of the Korean people.
The Costs of War
Vikram Tuli talks about the effects of war, and how the families of veterans from twenty-two countries were affected by this conflict. Generations will pass before that wound fully heals. He believes the deeper connections between countries such as education, commerce, and culture will help prevent these types of conflicts in the future. He reminds us to love thy neighbor and that we are one.
The Tank on the Front-lines
Vincent Ariola remembers that South Korean soldiers were present in camps with American soldiers, but not brought north with tanks to prevent them from getting killed by American soldiers who could confuse them with the enemy. He describes fighting against forces atop Hill 266, at the Battle of Old Baldy. He remembers seeing a young American soldier in a foxhole before closing the tank hatch when firing broke out, and then seeing the same soldier dead after the firing stopped. His recollection includes his description of the hot atmosphere inside the tank.
Legacy of the War / Legado de la Guerra
Vicente Segarra reflects on the legacy of the war and his participation in it. He believes that people should remember that Puerto Ricans fought bravely and helped defend the United States and allowed democracy to triumph in South Korea. He urges future generations to join the military as wars are necessary to stop evil dictators from destroying the planet.
Vicente Segarra refleja sobre el legado de la guerra y su participación en la misma. Él cree que la gente debería recordar que los puertorriqueños lucharon con valor y ayudaron a defender a Estados Unidos y permitieron que la democracia triunfara en Corea del Sur. Insta a las generaciones futuras a unirse al ejército, ya que las guerras son necesarias para evitar que dictadores destruyan el planeta.
Impressions of Korea / Impresiones de Corea
Vicente Segarra shares his first impressions of Korea and its people. He recalls the poverty and cold he witnessed while there. Moreover, he remembers the joy he felt when he found a friend from his town who helped him by giving him a sleeping bag.
Vicente Segarra comparte sus primeras impresiones sobre Corea y su gente. Recuerda la pobreza y el frío que presenció mientras estuvo allí. Además, recuerda la alegría que sintió cuando encontró a un amigo de su pueblo que lo ayudó el primer día y le dio una bolsa de dormir.
Life in Daegu During the Korean War
Virgil Malone shares photos he took while stationed in Daegu, South Korea. These photos illustrate the living and working conditions of the South Koreans in Daegu area. They touch upon the economic disparity among South Koreans during the war; some lived in farmhouses, while others lived in huts.
Walter Bradford Chase, Jr.
I Fell in Love with the Korean People
Walter Bradford Chase, Jr., shares how he fell in love with the Korean people during his time in the country. He recalls being in a position where he had daily contact with the Korean people which he notes the average soldier did not experience. He offers details on the living conditions of the Korean people when he was stationed there after the cease-fire.
Walter Kreider Jr.
Contrasting Korea: 1950s vs 1980s
Walter Kreider, Jr., contrasts the Korea he saw in the the 1950s to the Korea he revisited in the 1980s. He shares his recollections of Seoul and the destruction he saw while serving. He comments on how the war left many children orphaned. He shares that the Korea he saw on his return visit starkly contrasted his memories as there were many cars and buildings, and he comments on its beauty. He attributes the transformation to Korea's quest for education.
Warren Housten Thomas
Revisit to Korea
Warren Thomas revisited Korea and he appreciated how well the Korean civilians and the Republic of Korean government treated him. The streets were filled with civilians and he was excited to see the population surviving so well. Even after returning home to the United States, he continues to receive letters and presents from South Koreans.
Warren Thomas had difficulties communicating with family back home. Most soldiers in the Korean War used letters to stay in contact with family. It took about 4 to 6 weeks to receive a letter.
Chapter 312: "The best thing that ever happened"
Warren Middlekauf discusses the Korean War Veteran's Association Chapter 312 located in Maryland. Chapter 312 is the most active chapter in Maryland, the East Coast, and perhaps the country. He also makes a contemporary connection analyzing the help and support veterans receive today, unlike the Korean War Veterans who never even got a proper welcome home. He remarks about the numerous entities that exist today to honor, and provide assistance to war veterans.
Basic Training and Specialty Training to Join US Army
Warren Middlekauf was drafted into the US Army in 1952 and he was informed of this event from a letter through the mail. After attending multiple training locations, he was prepared as a Stevedore to load and unload ships during the Korean War. Stevedores were also known as the transportation corps. After that, he was trained to use amphibious duck vehicles to transport supplies to troops.
School, Letters, and the Excitement of the Armistice
Warren Middlekauf's military base was located near a Korean school that continued through the war. During the armistice of 1953, he was in Korea and was excited to send the US soldiers home. Throughout his time in the war, Warren Middlekauf wrote letters to his wife along with money to save for after the war.
A Quiet, Ignored, Forgotten War
Warren Ramsey was stationed in Germany from 1952-1955 when the Korean War ended. He considered it a quiet war because United States civilians were not informed through mass media about the Korean War since WWII just ended 5 years before the war started. Since Warren Ramsey fought in both the Korean War and the Vietnam War, he was able to compare the experiences of soldiers coming home from war. He was ignored for one and called "Baby Killer" after the other war.
Early Entry into the Military and Loving Every Minute of It!
Before the Korean War, Warren Ramsey was in high school and joined the Air Force before he graduated high school in 1947. After graduating high school, he went to Lackland Air Force Base for boot camp. Thankfully, warren Ramsey thought that the transition to the United States military was not difficult because we grew up in Boy Scouts and the Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC). After training, he was stationed at Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii where he worked with troop and supply transport.
Wenseslao Espinal Villamizar
Most difficult Moments / Momentos Más Difíciles
Wenseslao Espinal Villamizar shares the most difficult moments that he experienced during the war. He explains how he lost his hearing after a mine exploded near his ear. Additionally, he shares the story of an attack in which he was transporting goods when they were bombarded with mortars. He explains that he was able to escape, but lamented the fact that all their Korean civilian workers were killed during the attack.
Wenseslao Espinal Villamizar cuenta los momentos más difíciles que vivió durante la guerra. Explica cómo perdió la audición después de que una mina exploto cerca de su oído. Asimismo, comparte la historia de un ataque en el que transportaba mercancías cuando fueron bombardeadas con morteros. Cuenta que él pudo escapar, pero lamentó el hecho de que los coreanos civiles que trabajaban con ellos fueron matados durante el ataque.
Basic Training and Ship Duties
Willard Maktima recounts his experience of attending boot camp, where he was the only American Indian in his company but was able to interact with people from different backgrounds. He shares how basic training involved a lot of marching, learning about Naval history, and firing weapons. He recalls how, upon completing boot camp, he was stationed on the USS Furse destroyer ship, which was docked at the San Diego Harbor. He explains their main responsibility was to protect battle and supply ships that sailed out at sea. He details how the crew would track foreign submarines and prepare to intercept any potential torpedoes.
Discrimination in the Southeast U.S.
Willard Maktima explains that during the war, his squadron was split in half, with one half being sent to Korea and the other half (to which he belonged) being stationed in Norfolk, Virginia, to prepare for the Cold War campaign. He shares how he, unfortunately, experienced discrimination while stationed in the southeastern region of the United States due to being an American Indian. He recounts how this discrimination was enforced by the Jim Crow laws, which required him to use separate bathrooms and drinking fountains from White people. He recalls how, on one occasion, he informed a bus driver that he was an American Indian, not White, and chose to sit in the back of the bus where African Americans were also segregated.
Land of the Morning Calm
William Alli describes his arrival to Korea at Busan. As he was leaving the ship, there was a morning calm that quickly disappeared with a horrible stench, people in rags, and the anxiety of not knowing what comes next. He describes travelling deeper into Korea by trains and trucks, and his realization of his being a part of the sixth replacement draft. He describes his experience with being a machine gun ammo carrier and his first encounters with tracers and sniper fire from the surrounding hills.
William Arthur Jones
Airplanes and South Korean Villages
William Arthur Jones explains the type of airplanes used and the types of weapons and bombs that were dropped from them. He then provides photographs taken during the war of Korean villages located forty miles south of Seoul. He describes how the South Koreans grew crops and prepared food and contrasts the area to its current urban development. He shares last photograph is of him using his military-issued hunting license to hunt pheasants in Korea.
Last Year in Korea and Returning Home
William Arthur Jones recalls a "house boy" on the military base being discovered as a North Korean spy. He reflects on his final year in Korea after the Armistice and shares his experience of playing football on the base, where his team emerged as the Korean Touch Football Champions in 1953. He recounts how, after returning to the United States, he was sent to Wendover Air Force Base where he led efforts to clean up an atomic testing site.
Hey Bill Where Have You Been?
William Burns was very excited to come home after his time in the war because he missed his mother's favorite chicken dish. After meeting up with a friend back on the home front, he did not remember that William Burns went away to war due to the lack of media coverage. The Forgotten War was definitely evident in his hometown of Auburn, NY because WWII was so publicized and there were not a lot of information coming to the US about the Korean War.
US Soldiers Fighting Along Side KATUSA
William Burns worked with many KATUSA and Korean civilians during his 11 months in Korea during the war. The Koreans who worked with the US troops worked hard, but had a difficulty with communication. William Burns showed personal pictures of two KATUSA that he worked closely with during the war, but he remembers about 10-15 were stationed with this regiment.
William D. Freeman
Gone for Good
William Freeman elaborates on how he has no interest in returning to the Korean Peninsula. He communicates his knowledge of South Korea's successes today and adds he has a great rapport with the South Koreans in his community. He shares his pride for his war efforts but continues by stating that he had enough experience in Korea for a lifetime.
William Eugene Woodward
Wounded and Returning Home
After being wounded in Korea, William Eugene Woodward returned to the United States with forty-two other wounded Marines for treatment. When he disembarked the naval ship in San Francisco, he was overwhelmed with joy and kissed the deck in gratitude to be home. He remembers how people expressed their gratitude for his service in Korea.
Importance of the U.S. Air Force
William Eugene Woodward discusses the significant impact that the United States Air Force had during the wars of the twentieth century. He recalls a personal experience where he had a near miss with a U.S. fighter plane in Korea. He expresses his patriotism and pride in serving his country during the Korean War.
Wounded, But Alive
William Hall recognizes how lucky he was to have survived the Korean War without being captured or killed. He vividly remembers the harsh conditions of the Korean landscape and the poverty-stricken state of the local population. After being wounded in Korea, he was sent to a hospital in California where he received medical attention.
William Hall recalls the moment on the front lines when his legs were severely injured. He remembers retaliating by throwing grenades into an enemy bunker. A short time later, he was ejected from a helicopter by enemy fire. He notes having to spend twenty-seven months in the hospital as a result of his battle wounds.
Thievery in Wartime
William Kurth describes stealing as one of the biggest challenges he faced while serving. He recounts both American soldiers and Korean civilians stealing supplies to either eat or sell for a profit. He recounts building relationships with several Koreans throughout his service.
The Songs and Culture of Korea
William Kurth offers his experiences with the deeply saturated Korean culture. He describes physical appearances of the Korean people, the Korean alphabet, and a folk song. He performs his own rendition and shortened version of the Korean folk song, "Arirang."
Tricking the US Government to Join the National Guard
In 1945, William MacSwain lied to recruiters at the age of 15 when he told them that he was 17 so that he could join the National Guard with friends. Due to the low number of military divisions, recruiters signed him without a second thought. In 1949, he was put to work in Oklahoma to protect businesses after a tornado tore through the state.
Military Leadership Training
In September 1950, William MacSwain reported to a military leadership school that was led by WWII veterans. Since he was already trained on a variety of weapons, William MacSwain felt that psychological warfare treatment was important lessons that he learned. Once he returned to Fort Polk, he was in charge of 4th platoon (an infantry division) who were all older than him.
Training for War in Japan
In May 1951, William MacSwain was sent to Japan to train with his platoon on terrain that was similar to Korea. General Ridgway said that the US National Guard should not be sent to Korea because they were not trained well enough. After watching William MacSwain's platoon in Japan practicing a maneuver, he was impressed with what he saw, so the National Guard was free to fight in the Korean War.
Arrival in Korea in 1952
William O'Kane arrived in Korean in 1952 at Sokcho-Ri. He was assigned his job as a wireman with Head Quarters Company 2nd Battalion 11th Marines. He remembers a lot about the conditions in Korea when he arrived and the conditions of the villages.
Interaction with Korean Marine Corps and Anzacs
William O'Kane worked with a seventeen year old Korean interpreter for his battery group. The Korean Marine Corps were tough and they worked on the left side of William O'Kane's regiment. He also fought along side with the Commonwealth Division of New Zealand (Anzacs/Australians) and had fun sharing stories about politics.
Volunteering After WWII
William O'Kane volunteered for the Marine Corps because his brother was in the military along with many of his friends. While in bootcamp at Camp Pendleton, SC, he read about the war and followed it because many people he knew were involved in the war. He said that since he was so young when he enlisted, he felt that he was invincible.
Desolation: No Houses, No Building, No Nothing of Any Kind
William Whitley shares he spent much of his time in Korea as an ammunition truck operator. He recalls how when he first arrived in Korea, the country was dominated by forests, but these forests were soon destroyed by napalm bombers to prevent the North Koreans and Chinese from using them as cover. He recalls the desolation of the area at the time. He notes that he does not remember ever being in a building while in Korea.
Willie Bacon, Sr.
Living Conditions in Korea
Willie Bacon, Sr., describes his living conditions in Korea. He describes living in a squad tent. Even though they had a heater, he comments about how cold it was in Korea. He mentions having a Korean "house boy" who was a grown man that kept his tent clean and could also get them whiskey. He recalls a time that their duffle bags were stolen. When they found the bags the only that was missing was the clothes, not any guns and equipment. He reflects that the clothes were stolen by Korean civilians to keep warm.
Yilma Belachew describes the condition of Korea upon arrival at Busan. He describes the destruction he observed. For example, there were deceased people lying in fields and destroyed buildings. However, the people of Korea were still working in the fields during the Civil War. Yilma Belachew also describes having to retrain on newer American weapons in Korea.
We Tried to Help
Zacarias Abregano describes the interactions he had with the Korean people and the lack of resources for the people. While on reserve, he recalls having a Korean bus boy wash their clothes. Around Christmas time, he remembers seeing a little girl in a village that kept looking at them. Because of this, he ended up giving her some of his C-rations. He explains that the Koreans were very poor and the soldiers tried to help the people.