Tag: Cold winters
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
Adolfo Lugo Gaston
Impressions of Korea / Impresiones de Corea
Adolfo Lugo Gaston provides an account of his first impressions of the country upon landing in Korea. He vividly remembers an eerie silence and seeing bodies buried beneath the snow near Seoul. Additionally, he speaks about the difficulty of trench warfare and explains the fact that many soldiers were shot because they left their foxholes to complete mundane tasks.
Adolfo Lugo Gastón relata sus primeras impresiones al llegar en Corea. Recuerda el silencio que había y una tristeza porque había cuerpos enterrados bajo la nieve cerca de Seúl. Además, habla sobre lo difícil que era la guerra de trincheras y explica que muchos soldados fueron fusilados porque abandonaron las trincheras para tareas mundanas.
Harsh Weather in Korea
Al Lemieux describes the weather conditions in Korea. He explains how harsh the summers were for the young men who had to carry heavy loads. He also mentions the effects of the monsoon season. Additionally, he describes the heavy snowfall they experienced, touching on the various types of harsh weather that they experienced during the war.
Arriving in Korea and Placement
Alan Guy recounts his arrival in Korea. He remembers bitter cold and a horrendous smell as Koreans had just fertilized nearby rice patties with human manure. He recollects a band playing rousing music upon arrival and being transported to a transit camp in Busan. He details his placement in a field hygiene section.
Alan Guy details the health education he provided to soldiers in the infantry. He shares the means by which soldiers on the front lines were instructed to avoid malaria by taking pills and frostbite by putting their bare feet on their mate's stomach if one thought he was getting frostbite. He describes the various trench latrines used based on the time frame spent in an area.
The Cold went Right to Your Soul
Albert Kleine felt that the cold weather was the worst part of fighting in Korea. Even though he was stuck there fighting the Chinese in the terrible weather, he doesn't hate them because they were only told to fight. He wasn't fighting the man, he was fighting the country.
Albino Robert “Al” D’Agostino
Al D'Agostino is describing the way in which men were sent to Fort Hood for basic training when the Korean War started. From either Fort Hood or Fort Dixon they were sent on a plane straight to Japan and then on to Korea. However, his training was a bit different as he was a replacement and had cold weather training instead.
"Radio Communications Defense and Guerillas"
Al D'Agostino describes his role in establishing a radio relay to communicate with the soldiers. The winters were very cold and they had to set up shelter on a mountain. They handled their own defense against the guerilla fighters which was an extremely difficult job.
Alford Rodriguez Rivera
Living Conditions in the Foxholes
Alford Rodriguez Rivera recounts his meals and his living conditions during the war. He explains that he ate C-rations and slept in foxholes during his time there. He shares that he did not know anything about Korea before arriving. He recollects Korea being mountainous with many trees and there being snow in the winter.
Harsh Weather Conditions in Korea
Alfred Curtis recalls the harsh weather conditions while in Korea. He describes extreme cold and heat and recounts excessive rain as well. He mentions specific gear--rubber-lined boots and a parka--that kept him from developing frostbite during the cold months.
Allan A. Mavin
No Water and Warm Food
Allan A. Mavin remembers his most difficult moments during the Korean War. He describes his living conditions with no water, electricity, and living in tents. He describes lack of hygiene and warm food.
Highway Through The Danger Zone
Allen Clark described the harrowing scene he experienced coming out of the narrow road while leaving the Chosin Reservoir making them easy targets for the enemy. Allen Clark was sitting in the back seat of a Jeep when the enemy fired a shot that punctured through the gas tank (quickly emptying it), and shooting a hole right through the tire. They jumped out of the jeep and ran behind a small hill that was just beyond some railroad tracks as a parapet while the Jeep driver hooked their vehicle to a truck and pulled it out of Kunwoori.
G.I. Gear at Chosin
Allen Clark explained different GI provisions that were a life saver. He describes his field jacket, and his overcoat manufactured by London Fog that is reinforced with additional material that you slept and lived in. The temperature dropped to 42 degrees below zero and the soldiers covered themselves with the scarf all the way up to his eyes to prevent them from freezing.
Star for the Chosin Few at Koto-ri
As an Assistant Artillery Liaison Officer of the 7th Marine Regiment, Allen Clark told the story of the Frozen Chosin, who survived the 42 degrees below zero temperatures for several days while attempting to secure a place in the mountains that gave them an advantage point that overlooked a bridge. He described the conditions at Koto-ri were so bad, the scarf he described was the only thing that kept him from further hypothermia damage. Anxious and ready to go as the weather began to improve, Colonel "Chester" Pulley on a clear night had pointed to the star that was in the sky and said, "We are going in the morning," and that rallying point for the Marines when they needed it the most.
The Most Difficult Events in the Korean War
Allen Clark had difficulty choosing which event was the most difficult, but he chose the events going into and out of the Battle of the Chosin Reservoir. General Smith told his fellow leaders that the Marines were now going to blow up their supplies and sneak out of the Chosin. Instead, he said that they would bring their wounded, dead, and supplies first and then head out as Marines, so everyone looked up to General Smith.
Alves James “AJ” Key
Korea in 1968-1970
Alves James "AJ" Key describes what life was life for him as a member of the Air Force stationed in Korea between 1968 to 1970. He describes the weather. He also explains how the base where he was stationed was too crowded and that aircraft were constantly leaving and arriving.
Alvin A. Gould
The 10th Special Services Company
Alvin Gould describes the 10th Special Services Company. He talks about the formation, organization, and mission of this unit that was put together to entertain troops. He mentions that they often performed their shows in dangerous areas near the front lines.
Service in Korea
Asoke Banerjee was a medical officer in Korea from 1950-1953. He used to look after the ADS, the advanced dressing station attached to many of the battalions on the front lines. Amitava shares some correspondence his father wrote. His father recalls Korea being very cold, especially as they moved towards Pyongyang. Once the Chinese began their advance, his father's unit moved south towards Seoul. His father was working in a large hospital associated with the United States MASH hospitals.
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.
Andrew M. Eggman
Andrew M. Eggman describes the bitter cold weather he encountered in Korea. He discusses coming in contact with Chinese soldiers while serving in perimeter security during the Chinese attack at Yudamni. He recalls how the men tried to focus on various conversational topics to keep their minds off the bitter cold.
Tootsie Rolls on the Front Lines
Andrew M. Eggman talks about how code-words were devised by the American soldiers for confusing the Chinese enemy when having to call for supplies. He describes how the use of the term "tootsie roll" was misinterpreted as the actual candy, rather than as the code of a needed supply of weaponry. He explains how nice it is for veterans to receive tootsie rolls in remembrance of when they got them on the front during the Korean War.
Andrew V. “Buddy” Blair
Cold Weather and Living Conditions
Andrew V. "Buddy" Blair describes how shocking the cold air of Korea was to him. He shares that on one particular occasion, they were forced to spend the night in a foxhole, and their shelter half froze to the ground. He adds that living conditions for his unit mainly consisted of tents with wooden floors and potbellied stoves to keep warm during the cold months.
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.
Ángel David Jiménez Jusino
Assigned as Scout / Asignado como Scout
Angel David Jimenez Jusino discusses the living conditions soldiers faced during Korea. He relays the story of how he came to be assigned as a scout, which was a perilous job, after he disobeyed orders. He explains the living conditions soldiers faced during the brutal winter of 1952.
Ángel David Jiménez Jusino describe las condiciones de vida que enfrentaron los soldados durante Corea. Relata la historia de cómo llegó a ser asignado como explorador, que era un trabajo peligroso, después de que desobedeció las órdenes. Explica las condiciones de vida que enfrentaron los soldados durante el invierno brutal de 1952.
Difficult Moments / Momentos Difíciles
Anibal Ithier-Rodriguez describes the patrol which almost cost him his life. He explains that he was left on patrol to guard a bridge for three days and nearly froze to death. When he was finally relieved of his duty, he was unable to move or speak and two soldiers warmed his body over a fire until he was able to move again.
Aníbal Ithier-Rodríguez describe la patrulla que casi le cuesta la vida. Explica que lo dejaron patrullando para vigilar un puente durante tres días y casi murió por el frio. Cuando finalmente fue relevado de su deber, no podía moverse ni podía hablar y dos soldados calentaron su cuerpo sobre un fuego hasta que pudo moverse de nuevo.
Finding the Remains of Chinese Soldiers
Tony Vaquero tells a story when he and several of his comrades, while exploring the countryside near his station, found the aftermath of a battle. At the top of a heavily damaged hilltop they found shoes, soon after finding the remains of Chinese soldiers.
Conditions in Korea
Aragaw Mselu describes the conditions he fought in. He remembers the extreme cold the most. Soldiers would have to wear four pairs of socks. In addition, he also describes how soldiers did not sleep at night. The soldiers would be on alert from possible attack. The war comprised not just of the major nations, rather many nations participated.
Life as a Prisoner of War
Arden Rowley describes his experiences as a Prisoner of War . He explains how they marched 24 nights before arriving at the camp which became known as “Death Valley” or the “mining camp.” He shares their living conditions, losing many of his fellow soldiers, burial detail and the indoctrination they received daily.
Faith and Survival Along the March
Arden Rowley offers an overview of the issues the POWs faced as they marched to the first camp. He explains how they marched during the night and hid in houses during the day. He recalls only thinking about how he would survive after the first few days. He explains how fortunate he was to have multiple layers of protection. He recalls the condition of one Turkish soldier’s feet which were so damaged that he gave his overshoes to the soldier. He remembers a few nights later being forced to give up his new combat boots to a Chinese guard. He believes he is still here because of his faith.
Arthur C. Golden
We Should Not Have Gone Up There
Arthur Golden reflects on why soldiers were sent to Korea and General Douglas MacArthur’s decision to push further north. Now looking back, he reveals he disagrees with General MacArthur’s choice and rationale to push further north. He remembers the struggles they faced because of the cold and the surprise of suddenly being surrounded by one hundred twenty thousand enemy soldiers. After fighting their way out, he states they were lucky to make their way to Heungnam.
Never Could Get Used to the Cold
Arthur Golden describes how fighting in the cold weather was the hardest part of his time in Korea. He recalls one experience in which their sleeping bags were never delivered. He remembers continuously walking back and forth all night in order to stay warm. Throughout the night, he recalls hearing people moaning from the frostbite. He states his legs eventually gave out. He explains that he was lucky the enemy was not around because he just laid in the snow.
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.
Arthur H. Hazeldine
Young Bill's Action at Yang-do
Arthur H. Hazeldine describes action aboard the New Zealand Frigate HMNZS Taupo patrolling the east coast of Korea during the war and how he got the nickname - "Young Bill." He recounts his duties in gun direction during an attempted North Korean invasion of the island of Yang-do, which is in North Korea. As a result of Yang-do, his memories of the dead haunt him to this day.
Arthur Leroy Brown
How His Brother Was Buried at the POW Camp
Arthur L. Brown died during freezing cold weather in North Korea. As a result, he was buried in a grave dug as deep as could be dug near Camp 5. This was devastating news to his family.
Assefa Demissie Belete
Bravery through Difficulties
Assefa Demissie Belete describes working with the 7th Division of the US military in the Korean War. Difficulties that the soldiers encountered was the snow and cold. Also, there were many snakes that were always following them. Overall, all of the troops fighting in Korea were very brave. When the troops came home to Ethiopia people received them nicely.
Evacuating Wounded Soldiers During the Korean War
Austin Timmins describes his job evacuating wounded soldiers as part of the flight crew of a Canadair North Star (RCAF). He did not have the opportunity to speak with the soldiers or nurses. Many of the soldiers that they transported did suffer from frostbite.
Living Conditions, Daily Routine
Avery Creef recalls never being able take a shower. He recounts never being dressed properly for the freezing winter weather. He slept in a bunker and ate C-rations. He shares how he enjoyed eating the pork and beans and adds that everything else tasted terrible. He remembers receiving packages from home periodically which would include better food options. He also remembers writing letters home.
Barry J. McKay
Cold and Rough
Barry J. McKay describes his most dangerous and difficult moments aboard two other ships in his time in Korea, a British destroyer for training and then the New Zealand frigate, the HMNZS Taupo. He describes enemy attacks and his role in escorting landing parties.
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.
The Battle of the Chosin Reservoir
Basil Kvale fought in the Battle of the Chosin Reservoir in weather that reached 40 degrees below zero. The men nicknamed the region the "Frozen Chosin" since the temperature was cold enough to freeze a soldiers' skin. He worked with a lieutenant to create locations to hit the enemy throughout his time in this battle.
Fighting in Ujeongbu and the Taebacek Mountains
Basil Kvale was taken to Ujeongbu (Northern Korea) with an amphibious military group to set up for battle. They moved a lot and were so close that they could see the Chinese right near their location. At a new location in the Taebacek Mountains, Basil Kvale was over 3,000 feel above sea level and it was an important location to give orders of where to bomb.
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.
Belachew Amneshwa Welbekiros
Bleak Aspects of Korea
Belachew Amneshwa Welbekiros describes the hardships of Korea. One of the hardest things for Ethiopian soldiers was the weather. Amazingly the heat during the summer months was difficult for Ethiopian soldiers. Further, winters were extreme and caused conditions they were not used to. In addition to weather, mortars were a constant threat.
So Many Surrenders
Belay Bekele describes fighting conditions in Korea. He explains how the threats were everywhere, because of all of the enemy surrenders. Ethiopian forces took in all people, enemies, and civilians. He also discusses how the winters and mountains were the most difficult things outside of the enemy. Winters were extremely cold and there were so many mountains.
Ben Schrader Jr.
10 Days and a Much Needed Shower
Everything was provided for the soldiers, so pay was always sent back to the US. Combat fatigues were provided and showers were only provided every 10-12 days. Charcoal was provided for heat and since you had to carry your water for drinking, water was scarce. Ben recalled the trucks carrying large containers of hot water pulled up and they had installed pipes that sprayed hot water to produce a "shower" effect for the men as they stood under in 20-degree weather.
Benigno Ramos Perez
Dangerous Moments / Momentos Peligrosos
Benigno Ramos Pérez shares some of the most difficult moments he experienced during the war. He explains how an enemy combatant tried to infiltrate their unit and was caught trying to do so. Following that incident, he recounts how a young man in his unit was killed during a forward observing mission. He shares the story in which his clumsiness saved his life as a mortar fell where he should have been if he had not dropped his helmet.
Benigno Ramos Pérez comparte algunos de los momentos más difíciles que vivió durante la guerra. Explica cómo un soldado enemigo intentó infiltrarse en su unidad y fue atrapado al intentar de hacerlo. Después de ese incidente, comparte la historia de cómo un joven de su unidad murió durante una misión de observación avanzada. Por último, comparte la historia en la que su torpeza le salvó la vida cuando un mortero cayó donde debería haber estado si no se le hubiera caído el casco.
An Emotional Letter / Una Carta de Amor
Benigno Ramos Pérez reads a letter he wrote to his girlfriend who became his wife of sixty-one years. He explains the toll the separation had on his psyche and the belief that God would reunite them. His reading brings tears to his wife who accompanies him on this portion of the interview.
Benigno Ramos Pérez lee una carta que le escribió a su novia, quien se convirtió en su esposa de sesenta y un años. Explica lo duro que fue la separación y su creencia de que Dios los reuniría. Su lectura hace llorar a su esposa que lo acompaña en esta parte de la entrevista.
Wounded - Sent to a MASH
Benjamin Allen speaks about being wounded and narrowly escaping becoming a prisoner-of-war (POW) like one of his friends. He recalls the cold weather and the frostbite he suffered due to being issued inappropriate clothing for the conditions.
Surviving Winter in Korea
Benjamin Allen recounts the most difficult part of the entire war, the winter. He speaks about the gear he and other soldier had been issued which proved completely incompatible with the severe weather conditions. He jokingly recalls the extreme measure he might have been willing to go to in order to get his hands on a coat. He describes the severity of the frostbite he developed that impacted his health well beyond his time in Korea.
Bernard Clark had to live in trenches near and on the front lines because there were not any shelters of any kind. The trenches were six feet deep and a fire could be made during the winter to stay warm. C-Rations were eaten most of the war, and they included beans and tea. He recalls taking over for the Greeks at "Kowang San/Little Gibraltar" area near Hill 355, and he remembers finding many dead bodies left in the trenches.
Life in the Iron Triangle
Bernard Dykes elaborates on what living conditions were like in the Iron Triangle. He often had to sleep inside a tank with four other soldiers. He describes the food and the cold weather.
Bernard Smith- Struggles with Equipment
Bernard Smith described that the equipment that was set up was only good for a 50 mile radius and many times they would need to reach as far as 200 miles to get a signal. Since there wasn't a hill in between their location, they could operate from machines and make compromises to get it to work. They had multiple diesel-fueled generators to ensure they were able to continue to operate if the other ran out and the freezing cords were another concern as Bernard Smith lived through the cold winters in Korea.
Bernardo De Jesus Ramírez Santiago
The Effects of the Winter / Los Efectos del Invierno
Bernardo De Jesus Ramírez Santiago recounts the living and weather conditions they faced in Korea. He remembers being amazed by the frigid temperatures and describes the effects on both living and deceased soldiers. He further elaborates on the weather by describing how allied troops left North Korea by boat after blowing up the port.
Bernardo De Jesus Ramírez Santiago relata las condiciones de vida y del clima que enfrentaron en Corea. Recuerda estar asombrado al frio que había y describe los efectos del invierno tanto en los soldados vivos como en los muertos. Da más detalles sobre el tiempo al describir cómo las tropas aliadas se fueron de Corea del Norte en barco después de volar el muelle.
Conditions at Chosin (Jangjin) Reservoir
Bill Chisholm recalls four horrific days in the Chosin (Jangjin) Reservoir. He notes having nothing to eat and basically living in foxholes which had been made using grenades to blast areas of the frozen ground. Furthermore, he remembers not being outfitted for the -70° temperatures. He provides a detailed account of a mixup when an officer requested additional mortars, code named Tootsie Rolls.
Bill G. Hartline
Lucky You Got Lost
Bill Hartline recalls an old farmhouse at the bottom of Funchillan Pass packed full of men from his unit as well as those of a utility company all trying to seek warmth. He recounts how being tasked to look for a missing soldier, prior to his unit departing for Hagaru-ri, saved his life.
We are taking Prisoners of War
Bill Lynn describes his company taking two prisoners of war. Once they had the North Koreans imprisoned, the Koreans told plans the Chinese had to ambush Americans. It was a cold, snowy day and the Chinese were all dressed in white to camouflage themselves. The Americans would have never known they were coming had it not been for the prisoners of war they captured.
Billy J. Scott
The Black Moon of Korea
Billy Scott describes the two types of weather in Korea regarding visibility in the moonlight. He shares that the Chinese possessed the ability to adapt to the moonlight more so than the Americans. He recalls rotating watch and only sleeping a few hours in between and explains the danger of falling asleep during war.
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 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.
Recollections of Korea and the War's Legacy
Bob Couch mentions his wound again and shares he was sent back to the States due to it not healing properly. He recalls arriving home on a Friday and returning to work on Monday. He offers his account of the war's legacy and states that he views all Korean veterans as heroes. He explains that he was fortunate compared to other Korean War soldiers and admits that he still has a hard time believing all he and others went through during the war.
Fear on the Front Lines
Bob Garcia talks about his first days on the front lines in January 1952. He describes, at the age of nineteen, being "scared to death" by the strange noises found in an artillery battery.
Sleeping with Gun Parts
Brian Hamblett's first memory of Korea was black and dismal. He describes winter in Korea and his battalion. He explains that they were surrounding a crater and that he was positioned with a machine gun. He describes having to cool the guns with glycerin rather than water and having to sleep with the gun parts so that they would not freeze.
Prisoner of War
Brian Hamblett describes life at Camp I after the Chinese took him as a prisoner of war. He explains that it was like a Korean village with mud huts and paper windows. He describes how the soldiers would find warmth sleeping on the floor which had flues running underneath it. He goes on to describe the indoctrination the Chinese forced on the men.
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.
Bruce R. Woodward
Bruce Woodward talks about the missions pilots flew out of Wonsan Air Base in support of the United Nations ground forces. He assisted the work of around 25 pilots and about the same number of aircraft.
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.
Hitchhiking Their Way Home
Burley Smith reminisces about the time he and a fellow merchant marine, Merl Smith, become stranded on a trip to see the front line. After hitching a ride up to the front, their pilot receives orders to head to Japan. He elaborates on their journey back to the SS Meredith Victory, which includes a ride in a Sherman Tank and an encounter with bed check charlie.
Burnie S. Jarvis
Duties of the U.S.S. Toledo
Burnie Jarvis recalls he and the crew of the U.S.S. Toledo served mainly in the waters off of the east coast of Korea and about ten miles north of where the action was. He remembers spending about two weeks in any one location. He notes there was small arms fire from the shore but that it ended up being little more than splashes in the water. He notes there really was not much resistance from the enemy toward the U.S. Navy in the region. He explains the ship's main duties were to provide artillery fire for whatever the spotter located and even breaking up ice during the cold winters to prevent the enemy from crossing the rivers to resupply troops.
The Army taught me about Life
Because his unity constantly on the front lines, Calvin Karram explains that there was often no place to sleep even during the winter. Often they would sleep under trees or in foxholes and only sometimes were able to carry their sleeping bags with them. Despite this, he says he had no regrets about joining the army as it taught him a trade and about life.
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.
Protecting Himself from the Chinese
Carl Hissman describes his sleeping arrangements. He remembers trying to find foxholes that were already dug out by the Chinese. He shares that the Chinese were better at digging foxholes than they were. He recalls it being cold but adds that he did not realize it was sometimes colder than sixty degrees below zero. He recounts how his mom sent him an additional gun so he could defend himself if the Chinese tried to take him as a prisoner while he was sleeping. He remembers the Chinese soldiers being very quiet and notes that it was an advantage seeing as they did not have the equipment the Americans had.
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
Surrounded at Jangjin: Last Line of Defense
Carl House arrived at Jangjin with his unit and was told no enemy forces were within a fifteen-mile radius. He recalls many soldiers began building fires, drinking coffee, and preparing sleeping bags. He shares that Chinese forces surrounded the U.S. soldiers in a horseshoe-shaped position around three in the morning, making it nearly impossible for them to escape. He remembers fighting for three days and running low on artillery after a failed airdrop landed in enemy territory. He recounts his captain ordering his unit to stand rear guard while fellow soldiers pulled out and recalls doing what he could to hold off the Chinese.
Carl House's Capture
Carl House and his Squad Leader, Raymond Howard, were the only 2 remaining soldiers holding the line as the Chinese were throwing concussion grenades at both men. As he was covering for Raymond Howard, a gunshot broke his arm and caused massive blood-loss. The only thing that he had to hold his arm together was a slang he used to keep his arm straight during the healing process. When he made the attempt to cross the valley himself, he fell unconscious from his injury and when he woke up, Chinese had surrounded the area. He made an attempt to play dead, but the thirty-degree-below-zero temperature gave away the heat from his breath, so they stuck a bayonet in his back and took him away.
Life in Camp 3 and 5 as a POW
Carl House marched to Camp 5 from February to May of 1952, but he was moved to Camp 3 where he was later released. Each room the prisoners occupied held ten people (tip to toe) which would be beneficial to them to keep warm. Since many of the US soldiers were well-fed and strong when they arrived, they were able to survive the rest of the winter while slowing losing weight. He said the one thing that mattered the most was food, but many soldiers hated the idea of eating rice that had once been on the floor. Most of the food contained glass, rocks, rat droppings, and many men died.
Carlos Eduardo Cuestas Puerto
Cold Patrols/ Patrullas Frías
Carlos Eduardo Cuestas Puerto describes a typical day on the front lines. He explains that night patrol as a machine gun operator was the most difficult assignment, especially on cold winter nights. Additionally, reconnaissance patrol duty instilled immense fear in him as he could not make a sound which was especially difficult on nights when temperatures were low. He concludes that he and others feared weather conditions more than combat.
Carlos Eduardo Cuestas Puerto describe un día típico en el frente. Explica que la patrulla nocturna como operador de ametralladoras era la tarea más difícil, especialmente en las noches frías de invierno. Asimismo, la patrulla de reconocimiento le daba un miedo inmenso, ya que no podía emitir ni un sonido, y era más difícil en las noches cuando las temperaturas estaban bajo cero. Él y otros temían las condiciones climáticas más que el combate.
Long Nights / Noches Largas
Carlos Rivera-Rivera explains that night patrols were the most dangerous moments of the war. He recalls feeling that the nights would never end as they had to wait in the trenches from six in the evening until six in the morning. He remembers the anxiety he experienced as he waited for orders.
Carlos Rivera-Rivera explica que las guardias nocturnas fueron los momentos más peligrosos de la guerra. Recuerda sentir que las noches nunca terminarían ya que tenían que esperar en las trincheras desde las seis de la tarde hasta las seis de la mañana. Recuerda la ansiedad que tenían mientras esperaban órdenes para disparar.
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.
Cecil Walker describes re-supplying the front lines. The roads of Korea were trecherous and supplies were delivered in convoy. Cecil Walker describes night driving with only a singular light and even one episode during the winter when a "white out" occurred. Delivering supplies was essential, but very dangerous due to the conditions of the road system.
Cecil Phipps talks about his capture by Chinese soldiers, becoming a prisoner of war. He describes his initial three-day evasion and a fateful decision that led to his capture. He shares how he and seven fellow soldier were made to march north at night until they reached the Chinese border.
"Always Trying to Escape"
Cecil Phipps talks about a fellow soldier that attempted and failed several times to escape Camp #3. He describes how he tried to aid his friend and what happened when he was captured and returned.
Cecilia A. Sulkowski
Experiences with Patients and First Experience in Korea
Cecelia Sulkowski recalls the variety of patients she saw, describing them as seasoned soldiers, not new recruits. She describes the feelings of the patients and how they felt disheartened with the lack of supplies they were sent in to fight with. She becomes quite emotional when she recalls her feelings about these soldiers. She continues discussing her arrival to Korea and remembers the cold winters especially.
Conditions of the Battle of Kunu-ri
Cevdet Sidal describes conditions at various battlefields. At the Battle of Kunu-ri the Turkish soldiers were surrounded. One Master Sergeant had to eat grass for three days. There was constant threat from machine gun fire. Also, the Chinese had aircraft support. Cevdet Sidal turned to praying due to fear of death. The conditions were so cold that water would freeze to your face.
Folly During Wartime: An Important Mission
Cevdet Sidal describes an important mission. The mission was to acquire Sul, a Korean Rice Wine from an Alcohol Factory. The Turkish troops drank at the factory. The troops had trouble returning to base. Taking over the Alcohol Factory meant they always had alcohol. Cedet Sidal also describes fishing by grenade. As a result, this provided fresh fish for the soldiers.
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.
Charles E. Gebhardt
The Beginning of the Battle of the Chosin Reservoir
Charles Gebhardt describes the scene at the beginning of the Battle of the Chosin Reservoir. He talks about the KATUSA soldiers assigned to his unit and how he thought they had gotten spooked. In reality, the Chinese offensive had already begun.
"It was Very Scary"
Charles Gebhardt describes his encounter with Chinese soldiers on the first night of the Battle of the Chosin Reservoir. He talks about shooting at enemy soldiers that were within arm's reach.
"You Should Not be Afraid of Some Chinese Laundrymen"
Charles Gebhardt recounts the words the General Edward Almond in a meeting of officers and intelligence personnel on the morning after the first fighting of the Battle of the Chosin Reservoir. Describing the meeting in which he attended, he mentions that several officers present were taken aback by the comment. The comment was "You should not be afraid of some Chinese laundrymen."
Retreat from Chosin
Charles Gebhardt describes his unit's retreat from the Battle of the Chosin Reservoir. He talks about destroying equipment. He also describes loading up the wounded on the slow retreat to Hagalwoori.
Losses, Conditions, and Rescue
Charles Gebhardt talks about the lives that were lost in the retreat from the Battle of the Chosin Reservoir. He describes the difficult conditions on the trek. He also tells the story when he and his comrades borrowed Marine vehicles to rescue wounded soldiers.
Charles Earnest Berry
Capture and Escape
Charles Earnest Berry discusses the cold in Korea and being captured at the Jangjin (Chosin) Reservoir. He describes how he was able to escape and return back safely to American lines. He recalls the waves of Chinese soldiers and artillery bombardments.
Bearing the Extreme Cold
Charles Eggenberger talks about being able to withstand the extreme cold he encountered in Korea. He describes a childhood of not having enough warmth because of poverty and neglect. He recalls seeing the injuries some soldiers suffered from not knowing how to take care of their extremities in the cold.
Charles Eugene Warriner
Winter in Korea
Charles Eugene Warriner describes the winter conditions at his outpost near the DMZ in 1953. He remembers there was a terrible ice storm. He describes wrapping barbed wire around his boots to aid walking upon the ice.
The Biggest Apples and Frostbite
Charles Fowler describes how the North Koreans used human waste to fertilize their crops and recalls the apples being the biggest he had ever seen due to this fertilizing method. He recounts accidentally eating a cat once as well while trying to stave off hunger. He describes the cold winter and shares his encounter with frostbite. He details being flown to Incheon, put on a ship, and a doctor telling him he could go home if he signed to have his feet amputated.
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.
The Destruction at the Battle of Kunu-Ri
Charles Rangel and other American troops were surrounded by the Chinese Army during the Battle of Kunu Ri in November of 1950. During this battle, more than 5,000 American soldiers were either killed, wounded, or taken as a POW. This battle was on the edge of the Chongchon River.
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.
Never Laid Down to Sleep
Charles Stern reflects on his experiences with limited resources in the Chosin (Jangjin) Reservoir. He elaborates on the consumption of turnips found in the fields on the way to the Reservoir which landed him in the hospital. Due to being in the hospital recovering, he remembers not receiving a parka and relying on many layers of clothing to stay warm. After the Chinese attack on Thanksgiving, he recalls receiving orders to get rid of all of their supplies, including sleeping bags. After Thanksgiving, he shares how he never had a chance to lay down but it may have been a good thing. Even though he experienced long term effects of frostbite, he shares how frequently changing his socks saved his feet.
Thanksgiving in the Reservoir
Charles Stern describes the evacuation from the Chosin (Jangjin) Reservoir. As they started out, he notes how no one told him they were surrounded by the Chinese. Since it was Thanksgiving, he remembers being told they were to have a hot turkey dinner, but they never saw any hot meal. He provides an account of the chaos during the Chinese attack on his unit and holding their position on the hill. After surviving the Chinese attacks, he recalls being promised time in the warming tent but only being allowed a quick walk through the tent.
Surviving the Chosin Reservoir
Charles Stern shares the tactics he used to survive the cold in the Chosin (Jangjin) Reservoir. Due to his shoe size being thirteen, he explains how they had to issue him a smaller size boot and he was unable to rely on the rubber shoe packs to keep his feet dry. Lucky for him by continually changing his socks and not relying on the rubber shoe packs, he states he did not lose any toes to frostbite. Along with protecting his feet, he discusses the inability to eat most of the food in the c-rations because they were always frozen and they were unable to build fires to heat them. After not eating for so long, he shares the challenge of keeping food down after he came out of the Chosin (Jangjin) Reservoir.
Charles T. Gregg
Protection of the DMZ in the 1960's
Charles Gregg talks about his time in Korea as an Assistant Executive Officer for I Corps Artillery. He describes his job which was to help plot where the rounds would go. A typical day protecting the DMZ included training, cleaning, and patrolling day and night.
"I Didn't Change My Socks"
Charles Weeks talks about his decision not to change his socks which resulted in him being sent to Japan to recover from frozen toes. He feels like he dishonored his country, by not doing something so simple. He discusses this situation and his regrets.
One of Those Things You Did, Survived, but Never Want to do Again
Chuck Lusardi offers a detailed account of what it was like to be on the front lines as a heavy equipment operator. He recalls living conditions and that they varied greatly depending on what type of unit to which they were attached. He shares a recollection of the front wash stations to which they would occasionally have access. He recounts how his second winter in Korea worse than the first.
Clarence G. Atzenhoffer, Jr.
Freezing on the Airstrip
Clarence Atzenhoffer describes the weather in Spokane, Washington, and dealing with the harsh conditions during his duties. He shares his experience guarding jet squadrons during blizzards as part of the special service. He details the scant clothing they were given to carry out their duties and the lack of warmth they gave.
Poorly Prepared for War
Clarence Atzenhoffer describes his opinion on the Korean War and how unprepared he felt the United States was for the conflict. He expresses that American soldiers lacked training and were under-equipped. He describes flying to differing arsenals across the United States gathering weapons to send over to Korea.
Clarence J. Sperbeck
Frozen In Fear
Clarence Sperbeck recalls while on the move picking up extra men who had been displaced from their unit and abandoned weapons. He found one guy frozen (not literally), just sitting there whether fear or uncertainty, Clarence Sperbeck kicked him in the shin with his combat boot (said it hurt like hell), handed him a weapon, and told him to fall in line with the rest. The other soldier was a new replacement paralyzed again with fear who didn't speak or move even after being kicked by Clarence Sperbeck.
The Hardship of Just Living
Claude Charland describes how hard it was to stay clean while serving on the front lines. He describes where they lived. He describes the attack by the bugs. He describes the weather and how it affected his living conditions..
Hockey During Reserve
Claude Charland remembers how he and other Canadian troops played ice hockey on the frozen Imjin River during January. He shares how the games were organized around teams from different regiments and were set up as a round-robin tournament. He shares how playing the national sport of his homeland allowed him to escape the reality of war for a little while.
Clifford L. Wilcox
A Great Discovery
Clifford Wilcox talks about experiencing cold nights while on duty as a forward observer. He stayed in a cave and froze for about two nights. He quickly discovering the ancient Korean way of heating a home.
Injuries at the Inchon Landing and Chosin Reservoir
Clifford Petrey describes landing at Inchon. He recounts injuries he received as a soldier both at Inchon Landing and Chosin Reservoir. He details his subsequent capture by the Chinese and camp movements while a POW.
Living Conditions as a POW
Clifford Petrey comments on the food rations provided by the Chinese. He recalls suffering through cold winters in North Korea as a prisoner of war even after being given Chinese uniforms by his captors. He describes the healing of his wounds he sustained at the Chosin Reservoir despite being a POW with little medical attention.
Clifford Petrey further details his POW experience. He recalls there being little firewood and comments on the close sleeping arrangements. He shares that lice was an issue and how he and other soldiers picked lice off of each other. He details food portions and content and speaks of rampant dysentery.
Snow and Supplies
Clyde Fruth talks about the most difficult times he had in Korea. He describes deep snows forcing traveling by foot to his mountain forward observer post. In this predicament, they had to carry all their food, supplies, water, and weapons that were heavy to carry in the cold.
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.
Radio Operators in the Korean War
Colin Carley shares that he worked alongside an Australian brigade when he patrolled near Panmunjeom in late 1950 through early 1951. As a radio operator for his New Zealand Battery Brigade, he recalls being scared of all the tracer bullets that would whiz by him. He remembers how he would feel sick when battles began because he never knew if he would be able to return home again.
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.
The Trek to POW Camp #1
Dan McKinney describes the roughly sixty-day march to POW Camp #1 after he was captured by North Korean forces. He talks about carrying a wounded fellow POW on his back for much of the journey. He mentions being forced to give the wounded soldier to Chinese forces so that they could attend to the soldier's wounds.
Day-to-Day Work at POW Camp #1
Dan McKinney talks about the day-to-day work of POW's at Camp #1. He describes going to nearby mountains to harvest firewood during the warm months for the upcoming winter. They would hike about four miles to and from, carrying the large logs.
Food, Clothing, and Propaganda in POW Camp #1
Dan McKinney describes the food he was given as a POW in Camp #1. He talks about the clothing that he wore during his captivity. He also tells the story of a captured photographer whose photographs the North Koreans used to create propaganda materials.
Daniel J. Rickert
Life in the Winter of '51-'52
Daniel Rickert describes life during the winter of 1951-1952. He talks about his duties, frozen food, and "hot bunking." He also details other aspects of bunker life on the front lines.
Darrell D. McArdle
Running the POW Camps
Darrell McArdle explains that his company was downsized and his new role as a coordinator of POW camps. He notes how camps moved, and his role was coordinating movement of POWS and resources. He shares that the majority of the prisoners were equally distributed between Chinese and North Koreans and that many of the Chinese soldiers did not know where they were.
Darrell McArdle remembers one night the stoves in their squad tent were red hot but their canteens near the stove were frozen solid. He notes how cold it was but fortunately he could sleep through anything. Some mornings, he recalls seeing mounds in the snow and checking to see if they were rocks or people. He shares that because of the United States Marines, they did have parkas and sleeping bags.
Korean War Reinforcements
David Carpenter was a reinforcement for different Marines groups that had fought in Korea for over two years. His regiment replaced the wounded or killed. At least twenty-five percent of the casualties in Korea were from frostbite.
Traveling to Korea
David Espinoza describes his journey to Korea and his arrival on the front lines. He explains having to board a ship in California, and his arrival at Inchon in late 1950. He recalls having to replace other men who were much younger and had been fighting for some time.
Camping in Korea
David Lopez felt that being in Korea was like camping because of the daily living conditions, meals, and terrain. There were still many dangers while being stationed in Korea, but he tried to not let them get to him. Some soldiers hated the conditions so bad that they injured themselves to be taken off duty because the atrocities they experienced became too severe to handle.
Korea: Taste of the Manchurian Wind
David Nevarez shares that he went to Korea for the first time in 1984 as part of the 3rd Service Support Group headquartered in Okinawa, Japan. He describes setting up camp in Korea. He remembers the temperature drop from 40 degrees to 40 below zero in the span of less than 30 minutes and recounts the cold winds that hit him in the camp. He expresses he then understood what the 1st Marine Division experienced at the Chosin Reservoir during the war and adds that the memory of that level of coldness stays with him to this day.
Retreating from Pyongyang
David Valley talks about what happened as his unit retreated from the north into Seoul. He describes burning villages as they moved south and talks about the condition of Seoul upon their return.
Life as a Platoon Leader
David White talks about his duties as Platoon Leader. His responsibilities included setting up ambushes and relieving his men and the conditions under which they operated. Most of these operations were against the North Koreans and took place at night.
The Auster Aircraft
Dennis Grogan describes the mechanics and construction of the Auster aircraft. He explains that it was a very practical plane with no armored plating, and a metal frame that was covered with canvas. He shares how he was proficient in helping to start the aircraft, which involved switch off, throttle closed, brakes hard on. He explains the details of checking aircraft maintenance in the winter compared to what needed to be done in the summer.
Desmond M. W. Vinten
War is Hell, Winter is Worse
Desmond Vinten describes spending twenty-seven days in an English military prison. His charge was "firing on the Queen's enemy without the Queen's permission." His sentence reflected the reality that sometimes shooting at the Chinese created more danger due to the Chinese soldiers' skill at firing mortars in retaliation. Besides the challenges of engaging the enemy, the heat, cold, and dust left him with the understanding that "war is hell, but winter is even worse."
Domingo B. Febre Pellicier
Landing in Incheon
Domingo Febre Pellicier describes what it was like when they landed in Incheon after a month's-long journey to Korea. He talks about climbing down rope ladders to get off the ship. He shares how they then went to the train which took them to the front lines. He remembers how cold it was when they landed. He recalls how friendly the Korean people were.
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.
The Nevada Campaign: Bloody Nevada
Don McCarty fought North Korean and Chinese soldiers during the Nevada Campaign. He experienced battle fatigue and fear while fighting at the front lines. Don McCarty still thinks about the death of his assistant gunner and ammo carrier.
Cold Winters as a Radio Operator
Donald Clark describes the cold winters in Korea. He explains that the men would fight over who would get to serve the midnight shift because the radio truck was much warmer than their tent thanks to the BC10 transmitter and other equipment. He recalls a time in Seoul when they had to cut cardboard boxes to cover the holes in the tent and block the cold winds.
Donald D. Johnson
Almost Prisoner of War
Donald D. Johnson elaborates on his job responsibilities as the Lieutenant's Jeep driver. Three times a week he had to drive to the Division Headquarters to pick up new maps. New maps were made using aerial views of Korea to assist in artillery attacks. He describes the commute he had to take when driving through the roads of the Chosin Reservoir and how cold he found it. He recalls an incident where, by chance, he missed becoming a Prisoner of War.
Donald H. Jones
Donald Jones describes the interior of a US Army bunker.
Donald L. Mason
At the Chosin (Jangjin) Reservoir
Donald Mason recalls his experience at the Chosin (Jangjin) Reservoir. He remembers having Thanksgiving dinner while there, and they stayed at the Reservoir through Christmas. He was responsible for guarding the ammunition. He remembers how bitterly cold it was.
Donald Peppard describes the exact moment the North Koreans ordered their vessel, the USS Pueblo, to follow them into port. He recalls being fired upon by the North Koreans. He shares that they could not fire back due to their two .50 caliber machine guns being exposed and frozen from the bitterly cold weather. He confirms that all eighty-three crew members, including himself, were taken as prisoners.
Surviving North Korea
Donald Peppard describes how he and his fellow crew members spent their days as prisoners in North Korea. He recalls having to entertain themselves for eleven months through card games, exercise, and reading and writing. He shares that he and others endured what they referred to as "Hell Week" where they were beaten for forty-eight hours straight before they were released.
Donald R. Bennett
We Were in Big Trouble
Donald Bennett begins this portion of his account of the Battle of Chosin (Jangjin) Reservoir with his unit's departure to headquarters. Along the way, he remembers seeing burning trucks and witnessing American and Chinese units shooting at each other. He recalls their encounter with the Chinese who eventually knocked the track off of the first tank and then shortly thereafter surrounded the American trucks and tanks, including his. He details the night being very cold and dark. His tank was hit by something, which he later would discover was an anti-tank weapon that knocked off his 50-caliber machine gun. He shares the damage that was done to his tank and the destruction of another tank.
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 Schneider (Part 2/2)
Weather in Korea
Like many other soldiers in Korea, Donald Schneider talks about how cold it was during the war. He states that the weather was like that in Wisconsin- really hot in the summer and freezing in the winter. He said that the difference was the monsoon season, which would include massive amounts of rain in short periods of time.
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 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.
Doyle W. Dykes
Doyle W. Dykes reminisces on a time he wrote his family asking for a new pair of gloves to endure the extreme cold. Upon receiving them that day, he had to bury over two hundred and seventy Chinese soldiers who died after a napalm attack. He shares that his gloves were immediately ruined and that he buried them with the soldiers.
Basic Training Experience
Ed Donahue recalls his experience at boot camp in Parris Island, South Carolina. He remembers how his life changed as soon as he arrived. He describes being awakened the first night at three in the morning because someone spilled something on the floor. He recounts how he and all of the other new recruits were required to scrub the floor with a toothbrush. He shares how he only spent eight weeks there due to a growing need for troops in Korea. He recalls attending advanced rifle training at Camp Pendleton in California before being sent to Kobe, Japan, and then on to Pusan, Korea, in October of 1950.
The Chosin Few at Yudamni
Ed Donahue recalls arriving in Yudamni on Thanksgiving, November 23, 1950. He remembers not minding that their holiday meal was ice cold as their sights were set on being home for Christmas. He recalls being assigned to forward observation and recounts the difficulties of digging in as the ground was frozen. He remembers singing "I'll Be Home for Christmas" while at his post until the Chinese attacked.
On the Frontlines at Yudamni
Ed Donahue recalls being woken up by the sound of bugles early in the morning on November 28, 1950. He describes how the Chinese soldiers were attempting to take over the area, and he remembers being told by his officers to just keep shooting. He shares how this lasted until dawn for multiple nights. He recalls how once the sun went down, the enemy fire started again. He remembers the troops kept coming and coming, at a ratio of at least ten Chinese to every one American. He remembers losing many of his comrades. He comments on how cold it was and adds that they were forced to urinate on their guns to keep the firing mechanisms from freezing.
Cold Weather and Visits to the MASH Unit
Edgar Green recalls the weather he experienced while in Korea. He recounts how they only had tropical clothing when the temperature dropped to forty degrees below zero and shares that the Americans brought them parka jackets. He describes his visits to a MASH unit on multiple occasions as he dealt with pneumonia and a broken tooth.
The Making of Foot Booties in Camp
Edmund Reel shares how he made thirty-two pairs of foot booties for fellow prisoners while a POW. He details the materials used to make the booties and offers an account of how he assembled them. He provides an example of the booties he made.
Eduardo Arguello Montenegro
First Bayonet Fight / Primera Batalla de Bayoneta
Eduardo Arguello Montenegro recounts one of the most fearful nights in Korea. Lieutenant Vasquez never allowed his soldiers to use sleeping bags, but because soldiers were tired and cold, many of them disregarded this order. One night, North Koreans infiltrated a Colombian platoon and killed twenty soldiers while they slept. Two Colombian platoons surrounded those North Korans and were forced to draw their bayonets to fight them. It was his first bayonet offensive, and he was amazed at the fear that the bayonets evoked in the North Koreans. Through their actions, they were able to save fifty percent of the platoon that was attacked.
Eduardo Argüello Montenegro relata una de las noches más temibles que paso en Corea. El teniente Vásquez nunca permitió que sus soldados usaran sacos de dormir, pero como los soldados estaban cansados y tenían mucho frío, desobedecieron la orden. Una noche, los norcoreanos infiltraron un pelotón colombiano mientras dormían y mataron a veinte soldados. Dos pelotones colombianos rodearon al enemigo y usaron sus bayonetas para combatirlos. Fue su primera ofensiva de bayoneta y él estaba asombrado al miedo que las bayonetas provocaban en los norcoreanos. A través de sus acciones, pudieron salvar el cincuenta por ciento del pelotón que fue atacado.
Most Honorable Mission / Misión más Honorable
Eduardo Arguello Montenegro was asked to participate in what he recalls as the most honorable mission, which, was the rescue of two deceased Colombian soldiers. They were all dressed in while camouflage as Korea was blanketed by eighty centimeters of snow. They crawled for hours in the middle of the night and utilized hand signals and mine detectors to remain undetected by enemy forces. The mission took the majority of the night, and they successfully returned to their base by five in the morning.
Eduardo Argüello Montenegro participo en lo que recuerda como la misión más honrosa, que fue el rescate de dos cuerpos de soldados colombianos. Todos estaban vestidos con ropa de camuflaje blanca porque Corea estaba cubierta con ochenta centímetros de nieve. Se arrastraron horas durante el medio de la noche y utilizaron señales manuales y detectores de minas para no ser detectados por las fuerzas enemigas. La misión tomó la mayor parte de la noche y regresaron con éxito a su base a las cinco de la mañana.
Edward B. Heimann
Life in Korea
Edward Heimann describes life in Korea after his winter arrival at Incheon. He recalls his living conditions, being fed well, and being able to take warm showers most of the time. He explains that he was also able to enjoy leave (rest and relaxation) in Japan and received care packages from home.
Edward F. Foley, Sr.
Edward Foley describes the living conditions while in Korea. He recalls the winters as "colder than blazes" but admits that he was lucky as he had warm clothes and a lot of downtime. He shares that it was hard for him to be away from home and that letters were sporadic.
Edward F. Grala
C-47 Crew Chief
Ed Grala talks about his job in the US Air Force, crew chief on a C-47 Skytrain. He describes his job of maintaining the aircraft, delivering supplies, and helping set up radar sites around Alaska.
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.
Edward T. Smith
Becoming a POW during the Battle of Kunuri
Edward T Smith was taken as a POW during the Battle of Kunuri at the beginning of December in 1950. He remembers being with a few stragglers when they ran into a Command Post of Chinese. He states they were told they were not being killed but that the Chinese wanted prisoners.
Life in Camps
Edward T. Smith describes life in the camp. He shares that most of the day focused on whatever work detail there was, often either wood or burial detail. He recalls how the Chinese tried to indoctrinate the prisoners and some believed it enough to move to China. He remembers the cramped sleeping quarters and limited uniforms.
Edwin Durán González
First Impressions / Primeras impresiones
Edwin Durán González details his first impressions of Korea upon his arrival in the winter of 1951. He was most shocked by the cold he encountered. Furthermore, he explains that he could not understand how a country could divide itself in the way Korea did. He still remembers the fear he felt upon arriving and the relief that followed periods of rest and relaxation.
Edwin Durán González relata detalles sobre sus primeras impresiones de Corea a su llegada en el invierno de 1951. Lo que más le impactó fue el frío que encontró. Además, explica que no podía entender cómo un país podía dividirse en dos como lo hizo Corea. Todavía recuerda el miedo que sintió al llegar y el alivio durante los períodos de descanso y relajación.
Edwin R. Hanson
You're the Guy that Saved My Life
Edwin Hanson recalls his first encounter with Chinese at Kor-'o-ri. Edwin Hanson threw four grenades and two went off, so the following morning he went down and picked up the 2 that didn't go off and threw the remaining grenades at their front lines. Ralph Alfonso Gastelum vividly details the chaos breaking out one evening while he was eating as the Chinese moved near his tent. He remembers grenades going off and it proves to be decades later that he finds out the Hanson saved his life.
First Shots at the Chinese at Chosin Reservoir
Edwin Hansen describes an occasion when a Chinese soldier played dead near an American campfire. He recollects US troops were heating C-rations by the campfire when noticed about 15-20 yards away, the enemy had lifted up off the frozen ground and began firing upon the US servicemen. Hanson shot and killed the Chinese soldier attacking his regiment. He and Ralph Gastelum recall the immediate impact of killing the enemy and its long-term effects.
Edwin S. Leak
Living Conditions on the 38th Parallel
Edwin S. Leak describes living conditions on the 38th Parallel in post-war Korea. He elaborates about sleeping quarters and food provided. In addition, he explains improvements being made to improve the devastation caused by the war.
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.
Conditions in Korea
Elliott Landall describes the weather in Korea. The winters were extremely cold and summers extremely hot. He explains that men were well fed and living conditions had ten men to a tent.
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.
Ellis Ezra Allen
Living Conditions in the Prison Camps
Ellis Ezra Allen describes the long march from the mining camp to Camp 5. He explains that many died of exposure due to the lack of sufficient winter clothing and recalls that within a six weeks period over one thousand men died. He discusses the treatment of POW's by the North Koreans and the Chinese as well as the propaganda campaigns.
Ernest J. Berry
Skating Over Dead People
Ernest J. Berry describes traveling by truck from Busan to the Han River. He recalls the unsettling realization that people were paid and encouraged to kill him. Upon arrival, he and his unit found Canadians skating on the frozen river, so the new arrivals joined them. Beneath the ice, he saw the faces of dead soldiers and people peering up at him.
Being Drafted and Making a Living
Ernesto Sanchez describes his mother's reaction to his being drafted. As a result, his mother said she would go with him, which clearly she could not. When first arriving in Korea, the US Army provided winter clothing due to the cold, but expected to Ernesto Sanchez and his platoon to walk from Incheon to Seoul. While walking he was able to hitchhike aboard some American tanks the distance to Seoul.
Surrounded by the Enemy at Thanksgiving
Eugene Dixon gives a detailed explanation of encountering the Chinese soldiers just after Thanksgiving in 1950. He recalls being prohibited from crossing the 38th Parallel, and recounts his experiences during the landing at Wonsan. He describes having a hot Thanksgiving meal just before providing relief for other soldiers at the Chosin Reservoir, where the Chinese had cut the supply lines.
Home, Food, and Weather
Eugene Dixon describes how he communicated with his family through letter writing during the Korean War. He details experiences in eating combat rations, and recalls the difficulty in accessing food in extreme cold weather conditions. He recounts the impact of low temperatures on the functioning of weapons and communications devices. He describes the precautions he took to prevent having frost-bite during the war.
Details of Living Conditions as a POW
Eugene "Gene" Evers describes the difficult daily living conditions of being a prisoner of war. He explains what it was like during a seven month period (July 1952-January 1953) as a prisoner in a Chinese POW camp in North Korea.
Cold Nights in POW Camp
Eugene "Gene" Evers talks about the frigid nights he endured and conditions he was placed in as a prisoner in a Chinese POW camp.
Marine Corps Advanced Infantry Training
Eugene Gregory describes training in the Marine Corps Advanced Infantry. He recounts exercises involving barbed wire and training under live fire and in cold weather situations throughout the courses. He shares that this type of training was meant to prepare them to adapt in combat situations and for Korean winters.
The Biggest Threat Support Faced
Eugene Gregory describes the dangers faced by artillery support and how they differ from the front lines of the battlefield. He shares that the biggest threats were not from rifle fire but from martyrs and artillery and recounts having to jump into foxholes often to take cover. He recalls the North Koreans and Chinese being very skillful in artillery weaponry and attributes their skill to their recognition of possessing limited ammunition resources.
A Week as an Infantryman
Felix Byrd describes a week where his outfit moved north, and he served with the infantry until they reached Hamhung, where they were evacuated. He recalls being shot at. He says they had to sleep without sleeping bags in 30-below temperatures.
Felix DelGiudice and his peers recall how important Tootsie Rolls were to them during the war. They explained how they were able to warm them up inside the soldiers' coat since they would often freeze in the weather. The Tootsie Rolls were not only a treat, but they were used for other purposes as well.
Freezing Cold Weather
Felix DelGiudice explains how cold it really got to be in Korea, with one night being 42 degrees below zero. This impacted their guns, the machinery, and even their bodily functions. While he says that its not something people like to talk about, it was the reality of their living conditions.
Battle at the Chosin Reservoir
Felix DelGiudice and his battalion describes how their battalion was ambushed and fourteen people were killed. He explains how the units were divided and argues that the General was in too much of a hurry. He remembers how much of a struggle the units had during that time.
Felix Miscalichi Centeno
Most Impactful Moments / Momentos Más Impactantes
Félix Miscalichi Centeno shares the moments which were most difficult during the war. He explains that while fighting in the North, he ran out of ammunition and felt unprepared for the weather. Moreover, he explains the importance of his job finding sounds from the enemy.
Félix Miscalichi Centeno comparte los momentos más difíciles de la guerra. Explica que mientras luchaba en el norte, se quedó sin municiones y no tenía la ropa necesaria para el clima. Además, explica la importancia de su trabajo encontrando sonidos del enemigo.
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.
Francis John Ezzo
Just Doing My Job
Francis Ezzo explains that he does not remember specific hills or battles because he was just doing his job. He describes being outnumbered at the Chosin Reservoir. He recalls that the Chinese were not well equipped as some did not have rifles or shoes.
Escaping the Chosin Reservoir with Frostbite
Frank Abasciano shares he was a radioman and sorted communication between the companies. He describes how cold the Chosin Reservoir felt and his frostbite. He explains that they only had a pair of combat boots. He notes that he still suffers the effects of the frostbite.
Football Leads to Korea
Frank Montolio describes how two of his high school friends ended up in Korea and suffered physical consequences. Because they were unable to play first-string football after receiving a full-scholarship, the two young men joined the Navy reserves in order to actively play. However, they were soon given orders to go to Korea where, unfortunately, they got severe frostbite on their feet.
Surrounded on "The Frozen Chosin"
Frank Zielinski trained as a machine gunner and landed at Incheon with General MacArthur. One of his friends drowned clambering over the side of the ship to go ashore. Another died in Incheon when North Koreans attacked their encampment as they slept. The soldiers lived in trenches on the front lines, sometimes without proper equipment. At times, his division was surrounded by North Koreans and Chinese.
Franklin O. Gillreath
Lice Popping Contests
Franklin Gillreath describes the grass mats they were given to sleep on in the POW camps. He explains that the mats were infested with lice as well as the clothes they were forced to remain in for two years. He describes contests between the captured men to see who could kill the most lice between their fingers.
Daily Life in Camp Five
Franklin Gillreath explains what daily life was like inside of POW Camp Five. He describes the food mostly consisting of millet. He explains the wood and burial detail he was forced to conduct when fellow POWs died.
Fred J. Ito
Thanksgiving at Usan
Fred Ito describes Thanksgiving in Usan. The 25th Division came to relieve the 2nd Battalion while they enjoyed their turkey, but the Chinese unit, which had been hiding behind the mountains, made a big offensive against the 25th Division, including Fred Ito's friend. Fred Ito and some of the 2nd Battalion went back to help, but found themselves having to escape through the deep river.
"I did what I was told to do"
On a freezing, snowy night, Fredrick Still was told guard a dozer because it quit on the Punch Bowl pass. The other man that was assigned to the task with him took the opportunity to go back when a Jeep rode by, but Fredrick Still stayed all night because that is what he was told to do. He attributes his promotion to staff sergeant to this decision because it followed shortly after.
Life on the Front Lines
Garry Hashimoto remembers what it was like to be on the front lines in Korea. He recalls having to spend at least thirty days on the front lines, never having a shower or brushing his teeth. He remembers having to wear the same uniform and socks the entire time. He recalls how even if his boots were filled with water, he could not take them off until he made it to a safe place. He remembers his socks smelled so bad and how he ended up suffering from trench foot. He recounts how the allied forces would wear fluorescents so the airplanes knew where to drop food. He shares how they had c-rations to eat and remembers the ham or pork and beans being the best. He explains that he never went hungry and had plenty of cigarettes. He describes his bed being a foxhole, and he remembers it was very cold.
Gene Bill Davidson
Delivery From the Commander
Gene Bill Davidson gives an account of how he eventually received his winter gear. Since he arrived during the spring, he shares he was equipped with summer gear. As it grew colder, he recalls the other soldiers receiving their winter clothing but he still lacked equipment. He describes making multiple requests for winter boots. After being caught in a blizzard and arriving back to the bunker with severe frostbite, he shares how he decided to take further action. In order to get the name of his Senator, he recalls how he decided to write to his mother. Eleven days later, he remembers pulling a message off of the teletype demanding resources for Gene Davidson. The next day, he remembers a helicopter landed with his size fourteen boots. He reveals that his mother wrote President Eisenhower a letter, and that is why he received his winter boots.
A Pile of Rubble
Gene Jordan describes what it was like when he landed in Incheon. He describes the horrific scene and the utter despair of Korean children. He describes the shock he experienced from the damage and civilians begging for food.
Gene Jordan describes being on the trench line at night for thirty days straight during the Korean War. He describes how the enemy was on one side and they were on the other. He explains that it was a stationary war at this point, and that they lived in the trench lines and bunkers depsite the extremely cold weather.
Living Conditions at Osan Air Base
Gene Welch describes the living conditions in Korea. He remembers staying in a metal hut with concrete floors. While there was fuel for heat, it would get extremely cold in the winter. He also explains what the showers and chow hall were like.
Recollections of Korea
Geoff Grimley remembers seeing Korea for the first time and observing telegraph lines down and burning T-34 tanks. He speaks about having to sleep in a field and waking up with frost on his things, but he says it was better than school because he would get a beating every day. He briefly recalls the Battle of Kapyong.
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.
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.
Scouting Troop Movement During the Battle of Jipyeongri
George Wolf was a Mosquito pilot during the Korean War who located enemy troops and directed fighters during the Battle of Jipyeongri. During the February 1951, he helped provide information from the air to help lead the UN troops to victory. This was a tough battle against the Chinese troops near the village of Chipyong-ni, present time Jipyeong-ri.
Nobody Believed Us
George Wolf encountered Chinese troops early in the war while performing reconnaissance as a Mosquito pilot in February 1951. He reported many times about Chinese presence, but he felt they were ignored. In late October through early November 1951, George Wolf saw thousands of Chinese cross the Cheonggyecheon River, so he reported this information to the US intelligence officers, but they did not believe that the Chinese were fighting in the Korean War.
Bound for Korea and First Experiences
George Parsons chronicles his departure from the States and arrival in Korea. He comments on the ride over aboard the troop ship USS Anderson and recalls landing in Pusan. He recounts the cold weather as it was January of 1951 and recalls there being no lodging available, stating that he remembers sleeping out in the field and crowding around fires to stay warm. He details his journey to Incheon and through Seoul, sharing that Seoul was completely flattened from the fighting.
Impressions of Korea
George Sullivan talks about his experiences in Korea during the 1950s. He remembers how cold the weather was and how destitute the South Koreans were. He recalls many of them living in tents or broken down cars and shares that Seoul was totally destroyed. He is amazed at the transformation South Korea has made over the last half century and adds that he really enjoys kimchi.
Well Worth It
George Zimmerman describes the landscape of Korea as "something else." Winters were especially cold near the DMZ and the Chosin Reservoir. He is still amazed at the soldiers trying to get from one hill to the next in battle. At one point, he had permission to take R and R in Japan, but he felt too committed to his work in Korea and turned it down. George Zimmerman reminds students of today that Korea was important, with terrible loss of life for an important cause.
Gerald ‘Gerry’ Farmer
Eyes Frozen Shut
Gerry Farmer describes the cold as unbelievable and recalls the temperature dropping to forty-two below at one point. He remembers his eyes would be frozen in the morning because they would go to bed wet. He explains had a parka that was warm and shares they were not allowed to wear the hoods to ensure their hearing was not hindered.
Captured near Pyongyang
Gerald Cavagnaro describes how his unit was cut off during an attack by the Chinese. He describes running out of ammunition. He shares how he along with 100-150 other men were captured in November in 1950. He describes a march he took to what the soldiers named "Death Valley".
Bayonet Checks "Across His Neck"
Gerald Land admitted he had never heard of Korea before he was sent and he described his Marine friend, Bill Carroll, of Fox Company, who Gerald Land thought had been wiped out at the "Frozen Chosin." Bill Carroll managed to survive after being shot by laying on the ground pretending to be dead during "bayonet checks". His friend recalled the bayonet sliding across his neck, but he survived and woke up on the hospital ship even though he wanted to go back with his Company. A soldiers' best advice was, "don't get captured!"
Government Issued (G.I.) Gear
When they arrived at Inchon, Gerald Land had to wear khakis and a short sleeve shirt in the middle of the winter while traveling to Chuncheon. Once the soldiers arrived at Chuncheon, they were given two pairs of long underwear, a towel, soap, brush, pants, fatigues, field jacket, and pile lined jacket (no overcoat). The men were also given a M-1 Rifle w/ bandolier, cartridges, and a helmet.
Gerald Land described how he felt in December 1952 on Heartbreak Ridge in the middle of the winter. An Army loudspeakers would play Christmas carols and a woman would be telling stories back home of your girlfriend cheating on you with your best friend. He also recalled a time shortly after New Years when one of the guys started firing his weapon by making a series of shots that sounded funny and the Patton tank at the base of that mountain fired a round which it lifted their spirits. He said he felt very homesick.
Girma Mola Endeshaw
"Not the Worst"
Girma Mola Endeshaw describes his Korean War experience. Men lived in bunkers. There was no hot food. Men did not sleep, due to constant attacks. Mortar shells would shake the ground at all hours. Soldiers showered every ten days because the Americans made them. Girma Mola Endeshaw still describes his Korean experience as "not the worst."
Shelter and Rations
Glen Collins recalls the hardships of war. He describes living in a pup tent. He recalls his favorite rations and the occasional hot meal.
Gordon Evans recalls having to dig a hole in the ground and put a tent over it. They would then put a pot belly stove on top for warmth. He remembers only having a hot bath once in six months. When he was getting ready to leave, he recalls being deloused. He shares they were lined up like animals and sprayed in order to kill the lice. He recalls having fun with his buddies and one Filipino bringing his fighting rooster with him, making it all the way to the front lines with the animal.
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.
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.
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.
Thanksgiving Day at War
Harold Barber describes a Thanksgiving Day that he spent during the Korean War. The soldiers were given a bowl of soup to eat, but they had to leave and return to patrolling their area and became completed surrounded by the enemy. Those who did return after the ambush, only returned to soup that was frozen solid.
Battle of the Chosin Reservoir
Harold Don shares memories from the front lines at the Chosin Reservoir. He recounts how the United States units were surrounded by the North Koreans and Chinese on all sides. He notes how cold the temperature dropped in the winter when the lake would freeze over. He comments on how the Battle of the Chosin Reservoir was one of the epic battles in United States Marine Corps history, evidenced by many Medal of Honor recipients.
Extremely Cold Conditions
Harold Don describes the challenges of digging foxholes in Korea's frozen ground during the winter. He details how one had to clear enough snow to make an indentation to rest in. He notes how, as he was assigned to heavy machine guns, his foxhole was located at the most vulnerable point. He explains how, in an effort to keep the machine guns' barrels from freezing, he had to utilize antifreeze.
A Typical Day
Harold Huff discusses his workload in Japan. He recalls working on an old zero base, in the middle of a hydroponic farm. He shares that the farm was sending produce to the front lines in Korea. He recollects stories of Korea from soldiers who witnessed it firsthand, saying it was cold and dangerous.
Harry C. Graham Jr.
Frostbitten and Wounded
Harry C. Graham talks about his experience during the Battle of Chosin Reservoir. He describes suffering frostbite and being shot through the shoulder while performing his duties as a Radio Operator. He was evacuated on a truck convoy, narrowly escaping the heavy fighting against the Chinese.
Escape from the Battle of Chosin Reservoir
Harry C. Graham talks about his escape from the Battle of Chosin Reservoir. He describes having to wait until dark to traverse a mountain by foot because of being stranded in trucks on the mountainside. He recounts how after hours of walking, he and seven fellow soldiers found themselves in a minefield before being rescued by United States Marines.
Experiences at Incheon in 1945
Harry Castro described experiencing snow for the first time. He shares that he spent Thanksgiving there. He describes the visuals of the area. He shares that they had no weapons and were there due to a typhoon. He shares the destruction he saw in other places as well.
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.
40 Degrees Below
Harry Heath describes the harsh cold that faced the soldiers in Korea. He shares the injuries that caused him to spend two months in a hospital. He describes the failure of equipment given to the soldiers. He explains things that were limited due to the harsh temperatures for soldiers and their hygiene.
The Chosin Few
Harry Heath describes the organization he belongs to which includes American soldiers who found in the Chosin Reservoir during the Korean War. He shares the struggles that both he and his fellow Chosin Few members faced such as frostbite wounds and PTSD. He shares how he feels fighting in Korea made him a better person.
Physical and Mental Toll of War
Harry Olson elaborates on the physical toll and terrible conditions of the retreat. He remembers the relief the soldiers felt upon returning from the frontline. After his return from the front, he explains how he was resupplied and reassigned to the United States Army, 61st Field Artillery Unit, 1st Cavalry Division. He reflects on not have any buddies while in Korea and how that made it easier for him during the war.
Boys Would Use Anything to Stay Warm
Harry Olson elaborates on the lack of equipment to protect them from the dangerous weather conditions. He explains what the men would have to use in order to stay warm. He shares how he could not lose the memories and had to live with them.
Life in a POW Camp
Hartwell Champagne describes time spent in a Chinese POW camp during the war. He shares how he would pick up injured men and what he had to do with the dead. He describes the harsh realities he faced while in Camps 3.
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.
We Were Going There to Help
Henk Bos, a volunteer in the Dutch Infantry who was attached to the 3rd US Army, recalls his enlistment and training. He remembers the journey to Korea taking a few weeks to travel by American transport boat and the sea sickness that many experienced. He notes that it was very cold when they arrived which many felt since most were still in their summer uniforms. He shares the mixed feelings he felt as his unit was transported to the Kumhwa area.
The Best Period of My Life
Henk Bos recalls the early days following his arrival in Korea. He shares he served as an infantryman attached to the 38th Regiment of the 2nd Division of the 3rd U.S. Army. He remembers being a soldier as the best period of his life. He shares with pride how he and his fellow soldiers maybe helped save a whole nation. He recalls the challenges of living in bunkers along an ever-changing front and the death of one of his Korean buddies.
Henry Kosters explains his decision to enlist with the US Navy after being drafted into the US Army. He describes his discussion with a Navy recruiter who explained that he could forego a four-year commitment with the Army and enlist with the Navy for two years instead. He recalls being assigned to the USS Gladiator (Mine Sweeper) and being transported to Korea.
Henry Winter describes what it was like to live on the front line on Heartbreak Ridge. He speaks about sleeping in trenches and army rations. He recounts taking showers once a week in the rear. Henry Winter also remembers the cold and the many cases of frostbite suffered by soldiers.
Herbert Currier shares how although he didn't go to Korea he knew things. He shares how he has pictures from the 38th parallel. He describes the pictures and how they show the only way to save men out of the foxholes in the cold temperatures of Korea. He shares how he felt it was a good thing that America went to help the Koreans.
The Chosin Reservoir Brotherhood
Herbert Werner states that conditions at the Chosin Reservoir were terrible due to confusion, miscommunication, and constant attacks by the enemy. He recalls U.S. soldiers were given insufficient clothing, and they avoided taking them off to relieve themselves. He shares that he never knew if or when their next warm meal would come. He speaks of the bond of brotherhood at Chosin and recounts never knew what was going to happen next.
Homer W. Mundy
Homer Mundy talks about the cold weather and the lack of proper cold-weather equipment. He discusses the injuries he and other men sustained as a result.
Nothing Worse Than The Cold
Horace Sappington describes being cold as the most difficult thing during his service. He recounts low temperatures near the 38th Parallel and during the Battle of Chosin Reservoir. As part of a task force, he shares that he was sent in to help bail out Marines before the Chinese took it all.
Fighting at the Battle of Pyongyang in October and November 1950
Howard Ballard recalls leaving Pusan after fighting there in August of 1950 to fight the North Koreans all the way through Pyongyang, North Korea, and up to the Yalu River along the Chinese border. He describes fighting the North Koreans at the Battle of Pyongyang in October of 1950, noting there was little resistance. He remembers seeing Chinese captured in November 1950 at the Yalu River despite General MacArthur telling President Truman that the Chinese were not fighting in 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 Street shares that his most difficult obstacle in Korea was keeping clean. He recalls it being tough to find a shower and good food. He recounts having to sleep on the ground in tents, even in snow as high as six feet and temperatures below 40 degrees.
Ian J. Nathan
Winter Quarters: Engineering a Tent and Shower
Ian Nathan and the Workshop Unit designed warmer quarters with petrol tanks for the troops. They pieced together a building for relatively warm showers in the frigid Korean winters. Many of their projects involved re-purposed military equipment to make new supplies the soldiers needed.
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.
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.
Rice and Beans
Iluminado Santiago explains that the U.S. Army provided rice and beans for the 65th Regiment. The food reminded him of traditional Puerto Rican food. His platoon slept in sleeping bags in tents wherever they went, despite the extreme cold. He clarifies that he served his country and that he felt lucky to be able to fight for democracy in Korea.
Life in Korea During the War
Isabelino Vasquez-Rodriguez was constantly traveling during the war and had to sleep wherever he could find a spot to rest his head. Eating canned food rations was the norm. He recalls the extreme cold in Korea.
J. Robert Lunney
Last Ship to Freedom
J. Robert Lunney describes the process of evacuating over fourteen thousand North Korean civilian refugees aboard the SS Meredith Victory. He provides a detailed description of the loading of the refugees and protection of the port. During this process, he explains how teams were securing port so the enemy troops were unable to pursue them. He emphasizes that the people on the ship were seeking freedom, and the S.S. Meredith Victory was the last ship out.
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.
The Battle of the Chosin Reservoir
Jack Allen worked hard to stay warm while fighting in the Battle of the Chosin Reservoir. He was lucky that he didn't get frostbite on his feet or hands, but he knows Marines that lost their limbs after they turned black while in the trenches. After the Chinese came into the Chosin Reservoir, they fought to take the high ground and blew up bridges to slow the Marines' escape. Once they made it to Wonson, the Marines were able to escape to the boats along with the US Army, but Jack Allen was grateful that he didn't have to endure all of that pain for the whole 2 months of the Battle of the Chosin Reservoir.
A Near Death Experience By Friendly Fire
Jack Allen went on a ship from Incheon to Wonson in order to invade North Korea in November 1950. He was the farthest North company in Korea going over hills and feeling the temperature drop each day. The North Koreans were hiding in caves and holes in mountains to do surprise attacks on the US troops, so Jack Allen volunteered to bring a case of hand grenades to the front line US troops because they ran out of supplies. After all of the warfare, one US soldier almost killed Jack Allen because he didn't recognize him, but Jack Allen knew that that soldier had been killing so long that he was mentally lost.
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.
A Picture of the Chorwon Valley
Jack Cooper paints a grim picture of the Chorwon Valley as he shares his memories. He recalls the gloom of winter, the cold temperatures, and the landscape destruction as the vegetation was reduced to mere stumps. He recounts the setting as dangerous due to close proximity to the Main Line of Resistance (MLR) and the excessive amount of North Korean, Chinese, and American mines hidden about. He recalls most fighting taking place with the Chinese rather than the North Koreans and elaborates on his living conditions in a foxhole.
Duties and Thoughts on Battle
Jack Cooper details the duties of soldiers assigned to a howitzer weapon and shares that there never was really any downtime. He recalls men rotating on and off shifts and most of the action taking place in the afternoon and evening. He shares that the intensity of battle made one nervous at times but that one grew accustomed to the reality over time. He adds that one did what he had to do.
The Aftermath of the Death March
Jack Goodwin recalls his experience after surviving the Death March. He describes being housed in a school building as a POW until February 1951. He recounts frigid conditions as temperatures dipped to forty and fifty below zero and shares that roughly two hundred men either froze to death or died of malnutrition during that time frame. He describes there not being much to do during the day other than kill the lice that infested their bodies.
Radio Operation in Battle
Jack Sherts describes his job as a radio operator during the Korean War. In one episode, he had to take batteries to the soldiers in the infantry line. On the journey, he slipped and went down a mountain while trying to deliver the batteries under enemy fire. Jack Sherts also describes relaying fire orders for the 18 guns of his unit.
The most difficult part of war
Jack Sherts describes the intense cold. During his time in the Punchbowl, he would have to break the ice off of his eyelids. The weather during this time was 20 degrees below zero. Since he was also a jeep driver, driving in the snow and mud was very difficult as well.
On the Move to Chosin Reservoir
Jake O'Rourke describes his time spent in the hills fighting guerrilla forces and moving to and from various locations. He details the high casualties caused by frostbite among the Chinese soldiers, adding that it was both an ally and an enemy. He attributes much of the Marines' successes to experienced leadership as many higher ranking soldiers had served during WWII. He also recounts his experience at the Battle of Chosin Reservoir, sharing that the Chinese would play their bugles when they attacked and retreated, and he describes the use of napalm against the enemy.
James “Jim” Valentine
Death on the Ice at Chosin Reservoir
Jim Valentine discusses crossing the ice in the Battle of Chosin Reservoir. He explains how he was surrounded. He explains how they had to not attract attention due to Chinese soldiers. He discusses the harsh winters he experienced. He explains that he is still unsure as to how/why he survived.
I Was Only 17/18
James Valentine discusses being evacuated. He discusses that he thought he was leaving but was sent back to liberate Seoul the second time from North Korea. He explains how he didn't completely understand since he was just a teen and how it changed him. He shares his struggles post-war. His wife, Beth, adds a story about rations and being able to eat during the cold. She explains how he didn't speak of the war until being involved with the VFW in Washington.
James “Jim” Wetmore
Dead Marine in the Snow
Jim Wetmore recalls an incident when he and some fellow soldiers discovered a frozen Marine in the snow. He explains that he and some men in his unit were throwing Russian hand grenades down a hill for fun to see who could make the biggest explosion. He saw a hand sticking up out of the snow and called for a patrol to come inspect the situation. They found the body of a marine wearing only fatigues and a tee shirt. He assumes the man had escaped imprisonment and was caught in the snow and froze to death.
Cold Korea and Capturing a Chinese soldier
James Burroughs recalls the extreme cold in Korea and how the snow was up to his shoulders. He recounts finding a Chinese soldier behind the line and learning that the his unit was about to be attacked by the Chinese and North Koreans the next day. He discusses his unit setting up for the attack and firing until his gun barrel had to be changed.
James C. Delong
Life as a POW - Marching
James C. Delong describes the march to the POW camp. He explains that the men were given one frozen potato a day. He recalls trying to find the biggest one, knowing that would be all he would receive for the entire day. He describes climbing mountain after mountain for eighteen days to reach their destination that was sixty miles away. He explains that he never sat down along the way because if you sit down then you would freeze and die.
James C. Humphreys
Husband's Service in Korea
Lisa Lee discusses her husband's service during the Korean War. She shares he was twenty-one when he joined the US Army and served in a combat unit in Korea. She recalls him remembering how cold it was in Korea and adds that, despite the extreme temperatures, he enjoyed 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.
Troopships and Preparation for Deployment into the Korean War
James Ferris describes being put on an American troopship with five thousand Marines. He recalls traveling twenty-nine days to reach Japan. He shares that once in Japan, his division was so large the soldiers were split and sent to multiple locations around the country to wait for deployment to Korea.
James H. Raynor
New Year's Eve at T-Bone Hill
James H. Raynor describes his News Year Eve at T-Bone Hill. He elaborates on the poor food rations, the extreme cold, and calling out to his "mommy" for strength. He describes a surprise attack that destroyed everything around him.
Time in Korea
James Houp speaks about his time in Pusan and Heungnam, up towards the Yalu River, and recalls meeting Chinese forces. He describes how his unit was pushed back to Heungnam where he worked to set up communication lines with the ships. He recalls how his unit stayed in a warehouse and remembers seeing the Army retreating away from the Chosin (Jangjin) Reservoir. He comments on the temperature being thirty-two degrees below zero at the time. He recalls his departure via a U.S. ship headed back to Pusan and then to other locations south of Seoul.
Cold at Chosin
James Jolly describes the extreme cold temperatures his platoon endured while at the Chosin Reservoir. Temperatures were usually twenty degrees Fahrenheit below zero and sometimes as low as forty degrees below zero. He recalls many soldiers suffered from frostbite while some froze to death. He also elaborates on their Christmas miracle known as "the star of Kotari" which gave them the will to persevere.
James Jolly recalls that while at the Chosin Reservoir, his platoon survived on Tootsie Roll candy. He explains that their C-rations were frozen and the only way they could thaw them was by holding them against their bodies, which was very unpleasant. He goes on to explain how the delivery of this candy was originally a mistake; they had ordered mortar shells which happened to be the code name for Tootsie Rolls, thus tons and tons of candy was delivered from Japan.
James Kenneth Hall
Dreaming of Bologna, Peanut Butter, and Peaches
James Hall describes how he was able to survive nearly starving to death in Camp 5, a Chinese prisoner of war camp. He discusses what he was fed while in the encampment. He recalls that when peace talks to bring about a ceasefire started, he noticed the prisoners were fed rice as a means for them to regain their strength.
James R. Kaleohano
James Kaleohano arrives in Korea and his company is replacing the company that was just ambushed. They are transported in cattle cars to the front lines in North Korea. James's company goes straight to the front line and he is given the job of a machine gunner.
I willed myself to live.
In this video James Kaleohano describes the brutal winters in Korea. Coming from Hawaii, his company had no winter clothing. The Chinese army pushed them back to Seoul. It was so cold that sometimes the weapons did not even fire.
Flying U.S. Soldiers into Battle and Flying the Injured Out
James Shipton shares how their planes were used to fly United States soldiers into Japan. He recalls how once in Japan, soldiers boarded troop ships bound for Korea. He recounts that his flights transported forty-five soldiers at a time. He notes that in November of 1950 he began flying injured soldiers back to the U.S. He recalls the RCF nurses who took care of soldiers and Marines who were suffering from frostbite.
James Tilford Jones
Cold and Hunger
James Jones describes his plight when the Chinese overran US forces at the Yalu River. He describes times when his unit went days without c-rations because their kitchen could not "find" them. He figured out that he could go into a rice paddy, shred rice with his bayonet and pop it over a fire to make popcorn.
Jean Paul St. Aubin
Minefields and Cold Temperatures
Jean Paul St. Aubin describes his duty laying minefields. He recounts carrying out sweeps after opposing forces dropped shells on the fields and on their trenches. He also mentions that Canadian forces used dugouts to keep warm, utilizing gasoline and ammunition cases to create their own sources of heat.
Jean Paul White
Jean Paul White describes war activity with the Chinese. He explains the living conditions and injuries that resulted. He describes the movements of the Marine Corps leading up to the Battle of Chosin Reservoir. He describes events that happen during and after the Battle of Chosin Reservoir. He explains learning about General MacArthur asking them to retreat with orders from his Commanding General, General Smith.
Fighting the Cold
Jean Paul White describes how difficult it was to maintain weapons in the cold in Korea in the winter of 1950. He explains the effects on food. He explains the extents to what people had to do to keep items in use. He shares an interesting story about the medical professionals struggle difficult conditions.
Shot But Not Wounded
Jean Paul White describes an incident while he and his squad were taking a hill. He describes a Chinese soldier with an automatic rifle. He mentions a fellow officer, PFC Walter Talbot, who was hit. He explains that after dispatching the enemy soldier, he was surprised to find that PFC Talbot had been shot but not wounded. He explains how he was miraculously saved.
Maybe She Helped Spring Korea Forward
Jeff Liebregts shares his experience of saving a baby while walking with his friend after the Battle of Hoengsong. He describes walking along the road and all of a sudden being under fire. As they took cover, he recalls hearing a baby crying and seeing a child strapped to a mother who had expired. For fear that the child would die from exposure, he shares how he extracted her and delivered the child to the medical station. When he sees people on the street, he wonders if any of them are the child that he saved. He hopes she was part of the generation that helped Korea become successful.
Jimmy A. Garcia
The Last Days of Service
Jimmy A. Garcia pays tribute to two of his closest comrades who lost their lives during the Korean War. He acknowledges they all experienced moments of fear, but they did their best to conceal their emotions. He narrates two incidents where some soldiers he knew had trouble coping with the uncertainty and horror of war. He shares how he found solace and happiness by joining the regimental choir during his last days of service in Korea, which brought joy to those who heard the performances.
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.
Joe H. Ager
Confusion on Thanksgiving
Joe Ager provides details about his experience on Thanksgiving in 1950. During the meal, he remembers an announcement from General MacArthur coming over the loudspeaker stating that the war was over. He emphasizes there was a great deal of confusion among the men. He recalls a few days later another message stating the troops will head to the Yalu River. As part of the 31st and 32nd regiment, he describes the cold journey to the area east of the Chosin Reservoir.
We Did Not Expect an Attack
Joe Ager shares details about the slow drive along the narrow roads to the east of the Chosin Reservoir. After reaching where the 5th Marines had been, he explains how they chose to stop and dig in. He notes the harsh living conditions they experienced. He describes the surprise of being attacked and surrounded by the Chinese.
Glad I Survived
Joe Ager offers an overview of the withdrawal. Under the orders of Lieutenant Colonel Don Faith, they began abandoning resources so that the Chinese would not know they were retreating. He reflects on Lieutenant Colonel Don Faith’s treatment of African American soldiers. During the withdrawal, he remembers encounters with the Chinese and the heavy loses they suffered. He shares that three hundred eighty-five out of the two thousand men reached Heungnam. He reflects on feelings of guilt for surviving but emphasizes not wasting time and energy on regret.
Harsh Winters and Ways to Detect the Enemy
Joe Larkin described the conditions on the mountains at Punchbowl were terrible including 10-20 degrees below zero weather which made it very difficult for guns to work properly. He said the oil and grease would freeze, so the soldiers weren't able to shoot their guns. They also developed searchlights that would beam off of low lying clouds so they could detect movement and see both the enemy and their own soldiers during the Korean War.
The Most Difficult Conditions Were Being Constantly Cold and Wet
Joe Rosato described that in most places around Korea, it wasn't safe to walk around. During the winter months, the scariest times were when they lived in the fox holes and it rained so much that it would fill the fox holes with water. Sleeping in a foot of water made Joe Rasato fear that he would freeze to death or drowned, so they had to make the choice to stay where they were or sleep outside the fox hole and risk getting shot.
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.
Memories and Dreams
John Atkins describes the disturbing dreams he had while in college after serving in the war. While taking a comparative anatomy course in college, the images of the frozen dead bodies that he recovered during the war haunted him. He states that he thinks about his time there more since he has a grandson the same age.
John Boyd's Life and Duty as a Signal Officer
John Boyd shares details of his various duties as a Signal Officer. He explains the living conditions including some of the sleeping arrangements. He reminisces about an occasion where he was left alone and was not sure what to do.
Fire! Another Korean War Enemy
John Boyd remembers having to deal with several fires during his year in Korea. He recalls one such occasion when a space heater caused a fire in the signal office and the subsequent chaos that followed.
Attack in the Fox Hole
John Cole used his great hearing as one of his fighting tools. He shares when he was about to fall asleep in his fox hole, he could hear the enemy gathering across the rice field. He recalls the Chinese soon began their attack and notes that when one thought the enemy combatants were dead, they usually were not. He recalls finding out the hard way as the enemy crept into his fox hole through the rice field.
Battling for Hill 1520
John Cole fought for Hill 1520 during the Battle of the Chosin Reservoir. He recounts how many men were lost defending that hill. He remembers three Chinese soldiers climbing into his fox hole and how he had to fight using hand-to-hand combat. He notes this was when he was shot through his right arm.
Was Never Supposed to Be There
John Cumming shares how he did not have experience loading the Dakota aircraft and a commanding officer quickly taught him the ropes. He describes quickly realizing that there were many soldiers doing the same job from other nations. After the group decided to work together, he admits there was no original plan for him to travel to Busan and he was never supposed to be in Korea. He recalls his first flight into Busan and common issues during the landing process.
By God They Were Tough
John Cumming describes finding ways to keep casualties from freezing to death while traveling on the Dakota Aircraft. He reflects on one experience during a flight in which he attempted to do everything he could to keep a soldier warm. Even with all of his efforts, he shares how his jacket had to be cut off of him because there was no saving the soldier. He recalls not knowing who you were handling during transports and just focusing moving the soldiers. Yet, he notes one particular incident in which he did know a group of soldiers were from Turkey because they were upset with the Americans leaving them behind.
The Dreaded Stacking System
John Cumming describes a few close calls due to the stacking system used at runways and the layout of the Dakota aircraft. During one return flight, he recalls the pilot making the decision to land without the greenlight from the ground because he had been circling the runway for forty five minutes. After a precarious landing, he remembers wondering why the pilot had chosen to land. He comments on another return flight in which they were shaken because they were forced to circle the runway three times with a full load of casualties.
Stories from Friends in Combat
John Davie recalls stories he heard about Korea from childhood friends. He received a letter from a friend who was fighting in Korea in 1953. This friend told him he was lucky to not be in Korea, that it was a cold, and a tough time. He had another friend who was wounded as a paratrooper in Korea. That friend lost part of one of his leg calves in gunfire and didn't talk much about his experience beyond that. Korea seemed so distant to him, but many of his friends were affected directly.
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.
Their Bodies Froze (Graphic)
John Farritor describes the gruesome but necessary job of retrieving the casualties of war. He shares one particular account of retrieving the body of a fallen Marine who was found in a cave, frozen due to the extreme cold. He recalls how sometimes, the task seemed insurmountably difficult, but their goal was to get the job done and bring them home.
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 G. Sinnicki
Impressions of the Chinese
John Sinnicki describes his experiences with the Chinese. He recalls feeling sorry for many of them, as they were very hungry and cold and would take clothing and shoes from dead Marines in the field for their own use. He explains that the Chinese POWs were sometimes executed rather than being allowed to leave and possibly rejoin the Chinese military.
John H. Jackson
Battle at the Chosin Reservoir
John H. Jackson shares he fought in the Battle at the Chosin Reservoir through Christmas Eve of 1950. He recalls how the weather was very cold, reaching down to fifty degrees below zero. He remembers how some of the soldiers were freezing to death as the Chinese continued to fight.
Returning to the Korean War after being Evacuated from Chosin Reservoir
John H. Jackson explains he was put back into battle after he was evacuated from the Chosin Reservoir. He shares he fought at the Imjin River and Han River. He recounts how he continued fighting during the Seoul Recapture, Chorwon Valley, and Ontrang.
John Hartup, Jr.
John Hartup, Jr., discusses his mixed emotions about his time in Korea. While he shares that he did have some fond recollections of his time, he describes the living conditions as miserably cold during the winter. He remembers their heaters not working most of the time and feeling the need to try anything to get warm. He recounts his relief to leave Korea and return to college at Washington State in November 1947. He shares that he studied civil engineering.
John Hilgert describes what conditions were like in the camp where he spent two years as a prisoner of the Chinese Army. He explains that the Chinese were not as brutal as the North Koreans who would dismember the enemies. He recalls sleeping in dirt floored huts, eight to twelve men to a hut. He describes the terrible lice infestation they experienced that was out of control until they were able to boil their clothes. He describes how he gathered wood to heat their hut during the winters.
The Frozen at Chosin
John Levi shares his experience from the winter of 1950 when the United States Marines endured the harsh conditions at the Chosin Reservoir. The brutal winter still stands out clearly as one of the most memorable parts of his entire experience in the war. He recounts how the winter required an unexpected shift in his corpsman duties - from blood freezing to morphine freezing, the Marines had to alter their craft fast to survive.
While in the Combat Engineer Battalion
John McWaters shares that while near Heungnam, he provided jackhammers and an air compressor truck to some Marines who needed help breaking up large rocks. He reported to General Oliver Prince Smith and assisted him with running the equipment. He recalls the general looking up and thanking God for his help.
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.
Watching Over the Enemy
John Munro recounts how he tried to go home and work at his parents' cafe and service station. He shares that he decided to go back into the military as an Australian Army Reservist. He recalls being stationed with the 38th Battalion, F Unit, and being sent to the DMZ to patrol right across from the North Koreans. He shares that it was rough protecting South Korea through the freezing winters and steamy summers.
John O. Every
The Terrible Cold and Frostbite
John O. Every talks about being in combat near the Chosin Reservoir, and being evacuated due to extreme frostbite. He recalls seeing airplanes drop supplies, and recounts the tough losses of fighting. He explains being evacuated and taken to various hospitals for recovery.
Close Encounters Under Enemy Fire
John O. Every speaks about being under enemy fire and encountering Chinese soldiers. He was awarded a Marine Corps Commendation Medal for enduring the enemy fire. He explains having to repair ammunition that was not properly operating.
John P. Downing
Life as a Soldier on Hill 355
John P. Downing explained that life as a soldier was cold, wet, and hungry. He had limited rations and many of his friends died during his time participating in the Korean War for 13 months. Hill 355 was a hill that overlooked the 38th parallel and it was constantly under attack by the enemy. Artillery and mortars were incoming while John was protecting the hill.
Christmas in Korea
John Pritchard spent Christmas off for 24 hours due to his commander speaking up for his men. To show that he cared for the commander, John Pritchard and a few lads went to Seoul to buy a Christmas present for him, 400 cigarettes, and this made him cry.
Moments of Danger
John Rolston shares how he had to land on pierced steel planking instead of cement. He shares concerns he had about flying in certain weather conditions. He explains how the snow and rain were terrifying conditions that made his plane spin around. He shares the fears he had that he might not survive some landings or take-offs.
Life at Osan Airbase in 1954-55
John Rolston shares his fourteen-month experience at the Osan Airbase. He shares information about the F-86 planes there and the number of pilots that would be there. He states the weather was so cold that the fuel would freeze in the planes. He shares information about food during this time and missing his family. He explains the stability at the DMZ during this time since both the North and South didn't want to restart the war.
John Shea recalls the rain while serving in Korea. He details how it would be raining when he went to bed and still raining in the morning. He remembers freezing cold weather and trucks not starting.
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.
From Busan to the Punchbowl
John Snodell describes his first impressions of Busan, Korea. He recalls having a negative experience getting on a truck in Busan, then connecting with the 1st Marine Division for the Battle of the Punchbowl. He recalls being in Korea during a very cold winter.
The Coldest Winter
John Snodell describes being with the 1st Marine Division and working as a combat engineer, and recalls seeing Cuban, Greek and Turkish soldiers during his time in Korea. He describes the weather as being very cold and remembers having to sleep on the ground. He recalls seeing Korean soldiers sleeping in trenches.
Experiences in Battle
John Tobia discusses his recollections of being in battle. He recalls most of the fighting he witnessed occurred at night, and the next day, he and others would often go to the front lines and see how many troops were killed. He recalls how severely cold the winters were. His company used heaters and stoves to stay warm and often saw rats in their bunker also wanting to warm up. He also mentions how important it was to keep toilet paper in one's helmet.
Everyday Life in Korea
John Turner talks about what it was like to sleep and eat in Korea. They slept in sleeping bags inside two-man tents and would receive one hot meal a week; other than that, they ate rations. He recalls the weather not being as cold as it was up north. They were occasionally allowed to shower. He recalls writing letters to his wife when he could.
Living Conditions in the British Army
John Wallar describes his unit's living conditions during his time in Korea as a part of the British Army near Uijeongbu. He talks about living quarters, bedding, and how they kept their tents warm during the cold winter.
John Y. Lee
John Y. Lee, an interpreter assigned to UN Headquarters unit, explains the organization of the unit during the Battle of Chosin Reservoir. He describes the difference between his headquarters unit and a normal infantry regiment. He recalls the way Headquarters was set up at Hagalwoori, defended by only two Marine companies.
Jorge Luis Rodríguez Rivera
Living Conditions / Condiciones de Vida
Jorge Luis Rodríguez Rivera recalls the living conditions he faced while he was in Korea. He remembers the cold temperature and how bundled up they were to cope with the freezing temperatures. He adds that he never saw snow, but instead he recollects ice pellets falling from the sky.
Jorge Luis Rodríguez Rivera describe las condiciones de vida que enfrentó mientras estuvo en Corea. Él recuerda la fría temperatura y lo abrigados que tenían que estar porque no estaban acostumbrados al frio. Añade que nunca vio nieve, sino hielo que caía del cielo.
Jose A. Vargas-Franceschi
Keeping Warm with Newspaper
Jose A. Vargas-Franceschi describes what he found most difficult during his time in Pusan (Busan)--the cold. He recalls layering in heavy clothing yet was still cold. He shares that he took part in a local Korean tradition of using newspaper to help him stay warm.
Jose Jaime Rodríguez Rodríguez
Living Conditions / Condiciones de Vida
José Jaime Rodríguez Rodríguez describes the living conditions they experienced. He remembers that they did not have any wants as the American Military provided them with everything they needed. He adds that the logistical support provided by the United States was excellent.
José Jaime Rodríguez Rodríguez describe las condiciones de las tropas colombianas. Recuerda que no les faltaba nada ya que el ejército estadounidense les proporcionó todo lo que necesitaban. Agrega que el apoyo logístico brindado por Estados Unidos fue excelente.
José Luis Irizarry Rodríguez
The Cold / El Frío
José Luis Irizarry Rodríguez explains the difficulty soldiers faced when serving during the winter. He notes that the trenches were minus ten degrees Celsius and that many soldiers lost their feet due to frostbite. He describes the way in which fires were used to warm up.
José Luis Irizarry Rodríguez explica la dificultad que enfrentaban los soldados al servir durante el invierno. Cuenta que hacían diez centígrados bajo cero en las trincheras y por eso muchos soldados perdieron los pies y se los tuvieron que amputar. Describe la forma en que se usaban los fuegos para calentarse.
Jose Maria Gomez Parra
First Impressions / Primeras Impresiones
José María Gómez Parra shares his first impressions of Korea upon his arrival. He recalls how he was immediately struck by the weather. Arriving in winter, he shares he was astonished at the barren landscape in which everything was frozen. He comments on the terrible state that civilians were in at the time.
José María Gómez Parra comparte sus primeras impresiones de Corea al llegar al país. Inmediatamente fue impresionado por el clima. Al llegar en invierno, se asombró que no había nada en el paisaje porque todo estaba congelado. Además, comenta el pésimo estado en que se encontraban los civiles en ese momento.
José Pascagaza León
Living Conditions / Condiciones de Vida
José Pascagaza León describes the living conditions he faced during his time in Korea. He remembers that the United States Army provided them with excellent food and uniforms. He reminisces about the fond times he spent during rest and relaxation in Japan.
José Pascagaza León describe las condiciones de vida que enfrentó durante su tiempo en Corea. Recuerda que el ejército de los Estados Unidos les proporcionó excelente comida y uniformes. Recuerda los lindos momentos que pasó durante el descanso y la relajación en Japón.
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.
José Vidal Beltrán Molano
First Impressions / Primeras Impresiones
José Vidal Beltrán Molano describes his first impressions of Korea and the living conditions they faced. He shares the awe he felt upon witnessing the complete destruction that resulted from the first offensive wave. Moreover, he describes the living conditions they faced and the supplies they were given.
José Vidal Beltrán Molano describe sus primeras impresiones de Corea y sus condiciones de vida en el frente. Comparte el asombro que sintió al ver la destrucción completa de la primera ola ofensiva. Además, describe las condiciones de vida que enfrentaron y los suministros que recibieron.
Joseph Dunford, Sr.
Battle of Chosin Reservoir
Joseph Dunford shares how he participated in the Battle of Chosin Reservoir which is known in Korea as the Jangjin Battle. He explains that there were so many Chinese there that he couldn't even count. He explains how he had to sleep on the ground without a sleeping bag since they were told to burn everything except a few C-Rations and weapons. He shares how the lack of food, proper shelter, and other necessities made survival difficult.
The Bitter Cold of War
Joseph Gruber shares he was assigned to the 958 Ordinance Company. He recalls an old locomotive near their compound on which the company had guards. He notes that it, one day, disappeared. He vividly remembers the cold weather and describes how he sent a letter to his mother begging her to buy him warmer clothing.
The Punch Bowl
Joseph Horton describes his experience trying to hold a line against North Korean forces. He recalls his first real combat duty and seeing wounded and killed soldiers. He describes how his job was to extricate the wounded from the battlefield.
Joseph Lawrence Annello
Stacked Up Like Cordwood
Joseph Annello describes the cold winter's affect on dead bodies during the Korean War. He explains that bodies would be stacked up like wood and frozen limbs would have to be broken to evacuate them. He describes the horror of the situation not setting in until after the fighting had ended.
Joseph Lewis Grappo
Battle at the Chosin Reservoir
Joseph Lewis Grappo describes heading towards the Chosin Reservoir. He shares how he was meant to advance to Yellow River but stopped. He shares how he didn't hit any resistance since they defeated that North Koreans and the men thought that the Chinese would not get involved. He describes the frozen ground and how it was so cold that the soldiers couldn't dig a fox hole, so they slept on the ground in their sleeping bags. He shares how the Chinese attacked them and there was nowhere to hide.
"It Was the Fourth of July"
Joseph Lewis Grappo describes that they were stuck at the top of the hill because of a roadblock created by the Chinese. He shares how this maneuver blocked the US soldiers in with their trucks, supplies, and ammunition. He shares how he along with other men charged the Chinese blockade but were outnumbered. He shares how he was shot an injured. He describes how once the trucks were filled with injured, Chinese continued to attack the soldiers from all sides. He explains how he was shot again but this time in his soldier. He describes shots by the Chinese that sounded like the 4th of July.
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.
Brutal First Days / Primeros Días Brutales
Juan Manuel Santini Martínez presents an overview of his time in Korea as he was only there three months before being wounded in combat. He recoils at the intensity and brutality of the war as he shares a story of being told to bathe in a river which was full of corpses. He recalls having to trek for days to reach the Yalu River and ruining his kidneys due to a lack of available drinking water. Once they arrived at their destination, He explains that Chinese forces outnumbered them and all his men, but two individuals were killed in action.
Juan Manuel Santini Martínez describe sus impresiones de Corea, ya que sólo estuvo allí tres meses antes de ser herido en combate. Se horroriza cuando se acuerda de brutalidad de la guerra y comparte la historia del tercer día en combate que lo mandaron a bañarse en un río que estaba lleno de cadáveres. Recuerda haber tenido que caminar por días para llegar al río Yalu y cuenta que se arruino los riñones debido a la falta de agua potable. Una vez que llegaron a su destino, él explica que las fuerzas chinas los superaban en número a ellos y a todos sus hombres murieron menos dos individuos que fueron heridos.
Reasons he Enlisted / Razones Por las que se Alistó
Juan Manuel Santini Martínez shares memories of his older brother as he was the one that inspired him to join the military during the Second World War. He remembers being incredibly young and impressed with his brother’s uniform. While deployed, he served in the Alps to restrict troop movements by the Axis Powers.
Juan Manuel Santini Martínez comparte recuerdos de su hermano mayor ya que él fue quien lo inspiró a unirse al ejército durante la Segunda Guerra Mundial. Recuerda ser increíblemente joven y estar impresionado con el uniforme de su hermano. Mientras estaba prestando su servicio, estuvo en los Alpes y su misión era de restringir los movimientos de tropas de las alemanas.
Juan R. Gonzalez-Morales
Living Conditions / Condiciones de Vida
Juan R. Gonzalez-Morales describes the living conditions that Puerto Rican troops faced in Korea. He remembers that they felt lucky whenever they were assigned a Puerto Rican cook who provided them with meals like those of their homeland. He recalls the bitter cold of winter and one bad storm with two feet of snow; he states that most Puerto Rican soldiers decided not to get breakfast the morning after the snowstorm.
Juan R. González-Morales describe las condiciones de vida que enfrentaron las tropas puertorriqueñas en Corea. Recuerda que se sintieron afortunados cuando les asignaron una cocinera puertorriqueña que les cocinaba comidas como las de su país. Él recuerda el frío y una tormenta con dos pies de nieve; Afirma que la mayoría de los soldados puertorriqueños decidieron no desayunar la mañana después de la nevada.
Julius Wesley Becton, Jr.
Medical Care and Rejoining the Unit
Julius Wesley Becton, Jr., explains he was wounded in September of 1950. He recounts being sent to a hospital in Japan. He describes being able to walk and wanting to rejoin his unit. He comments on his return and shares a situation that occurred after his unit moved into North Korea. He reflects on how after reporting his patrol encountered the enemy, he was not believed, was forced to go back to his position, and was subsequently shot. He admits he was not too happy with the officer that did not believe him. He remembers showing his wound to the officer and asking, "Do you believe me now?"
Juvenal Sendoya Vargas
The Voyage / El Viaje
Juvenal Sendoya Vargas details the voyage to Korea. He describes the way in which they travelled through Colombia to reach the coast and then by ship to Hawaii, Japan, and finally Busan. He remembers the cold they encountered arriving on the peninsula in January.
Juvenal Sendoya Vargas detalla el viaje a Corea. Describe la forma en que viajaron a través de Colombia para llegar a Cartagena y luego en barco a Hawái, Japón y finalmente Busan. Recuerda el frío que sufrieron al llegar a la península en enero.
Keith H. Fannon
Difficult and Happy Memories
Keith H. Fannon talks about his experiences trying to help orphaned children. He talks about seeing dead orphans. Keith H. Fannon shares how helping an orphan family brought joy to him.
The Enemy Talked To Us
Bodies lay dying on the battlefield not too far from where the troops were stationed on the hill they were defending territory. Kenneth Borchers recalled the sounds bodies were making as the men were dying during the night. There was death all around and soldiers moaning from their pain was a constant sound.
Two Trips to Korea
Kenneth Dillard describes his experiences at sea during the Korean War. He was on one of many destroyers that were stationed in the East Sea and Yellow Sea. He recalls chipping ice off the ship, and chasing submarines in the East Sea.
Kenneth E. Moorhead
Kenneth E. Moorhead describes his living conditions while serving in Korea. He discusses some of his most difficult experiences with the freezing weather as well as food rations and mailing letters home. He recalls the weather at night would often be twenty degrees below freezing and though he was from New England, he still found the winter to be difficult. He goes on to describe eating c-rations mostly but upon occasion receiving b-rations which were more substantial.
Kenneth F. Dawson
Kenneth F. Dawson describes his experiences delivering supplies to the front lines. No one wanted to accompany him due to the danger. One cold night in the middle of a battle, he drove with his lights off to the front lines to deliver food and cigarettes to the soldiers. Flares lit his way to the top of the hill.
Battle of Chosin Reservoir
Kenneth Newton recounts the days leading up to the Battle of Chosin Reservoir which included seeing Manchuria and partaking in a Thanksgiving meal. He remembers waking up to explosions late one night and realized they were under attack by the Chinese. He explains that chaos ensued, everyone being assigned a weapon and sent to the front lines.
Chinese-American vs. Chinese Soldiers
Kenneth Newton describes Chinese soldiers, sharing memories of them freezing to death due to the harsh weather conditions. He offers a story of an American officer with them who was Chinese and could speak Chinese fluently. He recounts the soldier's bravery and his ability to confuse the enemy by countering orders due to understanding the language.
Winters on Deck
Kenneth Oberstaller describes a typical day and his duties on the flight deck while stationed near the Korean Peninsula. He often had to sleep on deck, on the catwalk, in his aircraft and even standing up. He elaborates on enduring these conditions while not being at all prepared for the extreme winter cold. He goes on to describe the close relationship between crewmen and pilots.
The Realities of the Bitter Cold
Kenneth Warner shares his first experience ever with death. Having never seen a dead body, he explains that one of his primary tasks was to retrieve the deceased from battle. He describes the shock from seeing bodies frozen solid and the struggle in trying to find the most respectable approach in removing them for transport. He recalls hearing the moaning and whimpering of the Chinese Prisoners of War as they stood barefoot in the ice and snow suffering terribly from frostbite.
Treadway Bridge (graphic)
Kenneth Warner describes the obstacles created by the dangerously cold temperatures and the engineering behind bridge drops, where floating box cars would descend with all the necessary items to construct a bridge where existing bridges had been destroyed. He credits such engineering as the reason why they were able to get out of that area. He recalls learning sometime after the war that the Chinese dead were used to fill the holes between the steel and the ground because the ground was so frozen they were unable to get sufficient dirt.
Kim H. McMillan
Engaged, Alone, and Cold
Kim McMillan left his fiancée, Elizabeth, to enlist in the New Zealand Army, but he wrote letters home twice weekly. Memories of Korea include going to bed fully dressed in the cold winters and the state of Seoul as he left in 1956. Seoul remained damaged by the war. Very little construction was underway, although Syngman Rhee diverted funds provided by the United States for a hospital into the building of a hotel.
We Knew We Were at War
Kirk Wolford tells of situation he witnessed while serving on the front lines. He recalls his communication chief stepping out into the road in the middle of the night to confront what he thought was friendly noise only to find himself facing a Russian tank, the first they would encounter followed by masses of Chinese soldiers. He remembers coming to the realization that he was indeed fighting in a war.
A Prisoner's Winter
Lawrence Shadler describes spending the winter in a Chinese P.O.W. camp. He was given a "long-John," a piece of steamed bread. The flue from the stove tunneled under the building and created heat under the floor. The men had to move around or "you would burn your butt." The cold was so overbearing that birds wings froze in mid air.
Prior Knowledge of the Korean War
From 2004 to 2008, Lawrence Dumpit's second tour, was filled with working with tanks on the ground. This was a change from the first tour in 1997. He didn't know a lot about Korea before he was stationed there, but he did know about the war because he learned about it during school.
Tonight Marine, You Die!
Lawrence Elwell describes fighting the Chinese at Yudamri. Among his revelations, he speaks about the esprit de corps of the Marines in this battle and the courage of their Chinese counterparts. He also mentions that, ironically, many Chinese soldiers carried Thompson Machine Guns manufactured in the United States which resulted in high casualties among American troops.
A soldier's life
This clip conveys the conditions that soldiers faced in the Korean War including cold weather, and dangerous situations with enemy snipers. Leland Wallis also describes his endearing interactions with South Koreans who helped out in the camps.
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.
It shook us up
Leo Glover recalls what he most remembers from his tours in Korea. He describes one particular mission to fly into the Chosin Reservoir to retrieve men and fly them to safety. He explains that the plane's skin was very thin and the men feared grazing a piece of ice would be disastrous.
Good time and bad times
Leo Glover describes some of the better and worst times he experienced during the war. He recalls his appreciation for the friendliness and togetherness of those he served with in the seaplane outfit. He describes several tragedies that occurred including the loss of a man to drunk driving. He goes on to explain what it was like to fly through winter storms in Korea, elaborating on the extreme cold and huge ice chips stuck on the plane.
Leon “Andy” Anderson
Twenty Degrees Below
Leon "Andy" Anderson describes his time in Korea. He describes forming into boat units in freezing temperatures and landing in Korea to live in just a thin tent. He describes giving the order for his men to gather what they could in order to make life better inside the tent. He explains what resources they found. He shares how even when the went to the range to practice the weapons would be frozen.
The Chinese Were Smart, But Napalm Was Stronger
When Leonard Laconia's air squadron went on "strafing" missions, the Chinese were smart to just lie down flat on the ground to keep from getting shot which was a great defense tactic. Leonard Laconia's group responded by dropping napalm which wiped out most of the Chinese troops. He described that one canister of napalm would cover the diameter of a football field spreading across consuming the oxygen in the air and heat would rise under the plane. The Chinese wore thick heavy coats during the winter and the napalm would just stick to it aiding in the burning of bodies.
Keeping the Guns Warm
Lester Griebenow recalls an incident that he was not involved with, how an officer told a gun crew to light fires underneath the heavy artillery to keep the guns from freezing. Unfortunately, the fires notified the North Koreans of their location. The soldiers were taken prisoner and the guns were destroyed.
Arriving and Setting Up Camp
Lester Ludwig describes arriving on New Years Eve in 1952. He describes first arriving at Inchon and continuing on to just east of the Punchbowl. Upon arrival, his duties included setting up the bivouac which required digging in the frozen ground in order to erect the tents. He goes on to describe various experiences such as another soldier building a snow woman and later moving to just west of the Punchbowl.
The Fierce Drive From the Chinese in November 1950
During Thanksgiving in November 1950, the Chinese entered the Korean War and pushed their troops down into Seoul. In January 1951, Lewis Ebert's troops were told to evacuate the Air Base in Taegu, but 10 airmen had to remain, so Lewis Ebert stayed. After the United Nations troops retook Seoul, Lewis Ebert was told to be a liaison in Pusan at the large gas depot.
Arriving in Korea
Lewis Ewing talks about his arrival in Korea, his journey to his unit in Chuncheon, and his first impressions of war. He explains how he felt about his deployment, and describes his rapid journey to the front lines. He recalls the living conditions on the base where he arrived.
Lisa Humphreys Hwaja Lee
Husband's Service in Korea
Lisa Lee discusses her husband's service during the Korean War. She shares he was twenty-one when he joined the US Army and served in a combat unit in Korea. She recalls him remembering how cold it was in Korea and adds that, despite the extreme temperatures, he enjoyed Korea.
Cold Weather Training
Loren Schumacher describes his arrival at Camp Pendleton and from there leaving for the mountains of California for Cold Weather Training at Pickel Meadow. He describes being paired with another soldier who he shared a pup tent with and the Permanent Party of Marines who disturbed the sleeping soldiers. He explains that the true purpose of cold weather training is to acclimate the men to cold weather as well as being disturbed night or day.
Louis G. Surratt
Two Brothers Serving in Korea
Louis Surratt was selected to spend Christmas with his brother. While he spoke on the phone with his brother to make plans, a deadly plane collision happened on the airport runway. All men aboard the two planes died in the crash. The high number of casualty reports that ensued meant that Louis Surratt could not join Donald for the holiday.
Luis Arcenio Sánchez
First Impressions / Primeras impresiones
Luis Arcenio Sánchez describes his voyage to Korea and his first impressions of the country. He explains the route the boat took from Colombia including the many ports in which they stopped. He then goes on to describe the sadness within Korea and marvels at the intelligence of the Korean people.
Luis Arcenio Sánchez describe su viaje a Corea y sus primeras impresiones del país. Él explica la ruta que tomó el barco desde Colombia, y da detalles sobre los puertos en los que se detuvieron. Luego describe la tristeza dentro de Corea y se maravilla de la inteligencia del pueblo coreano.
Luis M. Juarbe
The Struggle for Sanitation and Sleep
Luis Juarbe remembers the living conditions he endured while serving in Korea. He describes how the winter was brutal, and he shares how he had on "four pairs of pants and five shirts" in order to keep himself warm in the negative fourteen-degree weather. He recalls that the sanitary conditions were not ideal and that he had to wait three months to bathe at one point in the war. He recalls receiving letters from home and that he wrote letters to family.
Luis Maria Jimenez Jimenez
Korea after the Armistice / Corea después del Armisticio
Luis Maria Jiménez Jiménez shares his feelings about heading to Korea after finding out that the Armistice had been signed. He remembers being prepared to fight because he knew the peace agreement was fragile. When he arrived in Korea, he saw terrible devastation and hunger.
Luis Maria Jiménez Jiménez comparte sus sentimientos acerca de viajar a Corea después de enterarse de que se había firmado el Armisticio. Recuerda estar preparado para luchar porque sabía que el acuerdo de paz era frágil. Cuando llegó a Corea, la devastación y hambre lo impresionó.
Luis Rosado Padua
The Battle of Kelly Hill / La Batalla de Kelly Hill
Luis Rosado Padua recalls his experience during the Battle of Kelly Hill. He was originally in the tank company, but when he was transferred to the medical unit, he was responsible for carrying out the wounded from the battlefield. He describes the carnage of the battle of Kelly Hill which seemed to be unending.
Luis Rosado Padua recuerda su experiencia durante la Batalla de Kelly Hill. Originalmente estaba en la compañía de tanques, pero cuando fue transferido a la unidad médica, estaba a cargo de sacar a los heridos del campo de batalla. Describe los horrores de la batalla de Kelly Hill que parecía interminable porque había tantos chinos que estaban peleando.
Toughest Battles / Las Batallas Más Duras
Luis Rosado Padua remembers the terrible fighting which ensued during the Battle of White Horse and Kelly Hill. He explains how much soldiers suffered during these battles. He adds that the cold weather exasperated the situation.
Luis Rosado Padua recuerda las terrible battallas de White Horse y Kelly Hill. Explica que sufrieron los soldados durante estas batallas porque pasaron hambre. Agrega que el clima frío exasperó la situación.
Madiam Lamboglia Alvarez
Different from Home
Madiam Lamboglia Alvarez recalls that when he arrived in Korea, it was very different from his native Puerto Rico. He explains that living conditions were so poor that his troop had to make a lot of makeshift items for survival. He also describes the various things needed to be done to survive in the extreme cold.
Battle of Chosin Reservoir
Manuel Carnero describes his experience at the Battle of Chosin Reservoir. He describes arriving and experiencing temperatures 20-30 degrees below 0. He describes the weapons available and how the machine guns they carried utilized belted ammunition though the soldiers were given linked ammunition. He goes on to describe seeing what he thought looked like a German grenade from WWII and being unable to escape the explosion. When he awoke, his tongue half cut-off and mouth full of blood, he looked up the hill and thought he was dead and headed to Valhalla.
Injuries and Casualties
Manuel Carnero describes how the cold and frostbite affected soldiers. He explains that he had frostbite on his hands and feet while many other men froze to death. He says it was not unusual for men to fall asleep and not wake up; that the weather claimed more lives than the Chinese. He goes on to describe how the Navy Corpsmen serving with the Marines were picking up the casualties at the battle site when they found him and helped him to a truck.
Bombed by Your Own Side
Marc Villanueva describes an incident that occurred while he was a platoon leader during a winter attack. He describes hiding in the trees of Korea near an enemy encampment and calling in for support. He radioed in the coordinates and soon the support began firing mortars at his platoon's location. He describes having to wait until nightfall, lying in the snow so that the enemy could not see them.
Fox Holes in the Snow
Marc Villanueva explains that many of his new recruits from the United States were very young, right out of high school. He describes the cold conditions and necessity for having to dig the fox holes deep and wide. Unfortunately, two young soldiers did not follow instructions and instead of digging a fox hole, they slept on top of the snow in their sleeping bags. When the enemy saw them, they used their burp guns to spray them with gunfire and the men were killed.
Marcelino C. Nardo
Challenges of Serving on the Front Lines
Marcelino C. Nardo recalls many difficulties of serving on the front lines. He remembers it was often hard to see where the enemy was and could only hear the sounds of incoming artillery fire. He shares the story of a friend being killed while trying to deliver water to the front line. He speaks frequently of the cold and the lack of equipment many encountered when facing Korea's cold winters.
Mark C. Sison
Shelling in Korea
Mark C. Sison provides an account of the U.S.S. Iowa's shelling in various locations in Korea, including Wonsan and Busan. He explains how the ship used smoke screens to conceal the transport of United States Marines. At Busan Harbor, the U.S.S. Iowa bombarded the North Korean's railroad construction to disrupt their supply line. Today, he is a member of the Intertribal Warrior Society, which performs honor guard duties for veteran burials.
Marshall W. Ritchey
Keep Your Head Down
Mitchell W. Ritchey describes the 3 most important things to making it home: stay warm, keep your head down (always wear your helmet), and doing everything you could to stay alive. He recalls the year he was there was marked by one of the coldest winters ('52) and says they had "Hoochies" that they made while on the front lines where they would dig a hole into the side of a mountain and put sands bags into the hill (in case of incoming mail-grenade drop) and 3-4 bunks at one time. Most of the men slept in sleeping bags and Mitchell said he never took his boots off.
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.
Marvin Garaway elaborates on the enemy taking the headquarters of the United States 5th Marines at the Chosin (Jangjin) Reservoir. Due to the extreme cold, they encountered problems with the weapons malfunctioning. Reflecting on his experience, he recalls another soldier providing him protection and a close encounter with the enemy. He describes the impact of an air drop, code name "Tootsie Roll," dropping a load of tootsie rolls and the tootsie rolls helping save their lives. Along with this information, he describes the impact of the cold weather and the lack of cold weather gear. He remembers how, after a short time, they are able to regain control of their headquarters.
Life in the POW Camp
Mathew Thomas discusses the living situation in the POW camp. He describes how they lived in wooden structures and canvas tents and remembers having heaters because it was very cold. He recalls eating goats, having good morale in the camp, and the bathrooms being outdoors. He shares he was able to mail letters home if he wanted.
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.
Battlefield and Memories
Matthew Rennie details suffering a head wound during an encounter with Chinese soldiers. He recalls a bullet grazing the back of his head and spending several days at a MASH unit to receive care. He reflects on the fear he experienced on the battlefield and his feelings of helplessness as he watched fellow soldiers die. He shares that he suffers from PTSD and nightmares despite so many years having past since his service in Korea.
Maurice B. Pears
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.
Maurice L. Adams
Returning to the United States
Maurice L. Adams describes his transportation back to the United States. He recounts how after dropping off Columbian troops in Columbia, his ship then crossed the Panama Canal. He describes arriving in New Orleans and a parade thrown for the returning soldiers where a civilian commented on him needing to shine his shoes. He recalls finding out that he was going to Fort Lewis in Washington and keeping his cold weather gear from Korea since he new Washington was close to Alaska and that he would be cold.
Maurice Morby describes his unit's encampment near a factory. He describes the size of the camp, where and how they slept, how they dealt with cold weather, and what not to do with beer.
Mauro C. Lino
Challenges and Comfort in Battle
Mauro C. Lino discusses some of the challenges and comforts of being on the front line. He describes the harshness of the cold weather, the delay in receiving winter clothing, and how the rain only added to the misery. He also recalls the comfort that the Korean children added by having them there to help with cooking and washing, as well as their kind company.
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.
There's a Snake in My Bed
Mekonen Derseh describes the toughest thing that happened to him in Korea. The fighting was over when Mekonen Derseh was in Korea. He describes the cold winter as being the toughest part of his service. One night a snake was cold and made its way into his sleeping bag. He did not know until he was folding his sleeping bag up.
Melvin J. Behnen
First Days in Korea
Melvin Behnen describes his first few days in Korea in February of 1951. He shares the challenges of staying warm because soldiers were only provided summer gear. He emphasizes how even with all of their clothes on, they still froze. He remembers the soldiers moving in makeshift box cars to their new assignments shortly after arriving. With only eight weeks of training, he explains that many felt certain they would not be put immediately into battle. Yet, he recalls encountering artillery fire shortly after arriving at their assignment.
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.
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.
The Chinese Invasion Changed the War
Merle Peterson describes fighting the Chinese at the Yalu River. He explains that though his unit had been told they would be home for Christmas, when the Chinese invaded, their plans to return home were ended. He describes having to retreat alongside many of the Korean people. He recalls having to fight in summer military clothes during the winter in the freezing weather and delousing after not showering for thirty days, which was the norm.
Life as a Truck Driver in Chinchon
Merlin Mestad describes arriving in Inchon Harbor in October 1952. He explains that he was assigned to the 540th Trucking Company and drove trucks until the war was over. He describes hauling ammunition, fuel oil, troops, POWs, barbed wire, etc., day and night. He goes on to describe living in a province of Inchon called Chinchon in a tent with an oil burner and a wooden floor and experiencing cold winters.
Meeting Marilyn Monroe and Transporting POWs
Merlin Mestad describes meeting Marilyn Monroe in Korea when she performed for the USO. He recalls being surprised when she sang "Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend" in below zero weather. He goes on to describe transporting North Korean POWs from Panmunjom to Seoul after the war ended. He explains that many South Korean people were incredibly angry with the North Koreans after the war and threw rocks at the POWs when they arrived in Seoul.
Mert Lassere details the difficulties faced while seeing action in the Punchbowl. Having to ration ammunition and food due to supply chain issues, he recalls daily life was a struggle. He remembers not feeling prepared for combat or having what was needed to withstand the cold weather.
Michael Berardi describes how he incurred frostbite. In the midst of combat, a priority for him was to keep the radio equipment warm enough to function. While doing this, Michael Berardi was not consistently able to take measures to keep his own body warm and safe from frostbite.
Lice and Rats
Michael Fryer talks about the cold weather that he experienced in Korea. He describes the living conditions, what he wore, and how how he slept during the bitterly cold months. He recalls his experiences in encountering lice and rats during his service in Korea.
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.
Battle of Keum Hwa
Michel Ozwald recalls his engagement being at the Battle of Keum Hwa in January and February of 1952. He served as part of Queens Company which had armaments like machine guns, 81 mm mortars, and Seventy-Five Recoilless. He recalls the weather being very cold which meant there was not much fighting other than covering gun fire. He explains that he would accompany scouting parties as a gun layer.
Korea making an Impression
Mmadu Onyeuwa was sent to Korea during the winter of 1968. He describes seeing very deep, waist high snow. He explains that though he spent a good deal of time with the Puerto Ricans, his instinct told him to spend more time immersing himself in the Korean culture. He describes learning the Korean language as well as customs and music.
Morris J. Selwyn
Patrolling for Communists
Morris J. Selwyn describes his arrival in Korea in 1954 as "bloomin' cold," with not trees of forests. Since the Korean war had ended, the Kaniere patrolled the Han River in 1954 to contain the spread of communism, but he faced no confrontations. During his second tour in 1957-58, patrols were much more intense, but he still encountered no real threats as his ship patrolled the sea.
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.
Keeping US Forces Supplied
Narce Caliva discusses the mission of supplying US forces. He explains that every infantry man has 8-10 people in support positions backing him, making sure he has everything he needs to fight a war. He lists the items that were carried on supply trucks: food, ammunitions, clothes were some of the most important items he transported. He goes on to describe the difficulties they encountered; for instance, driving large convey trucks on newly cut roads that had frozen over on the Korean mountainsides.
Toughest Battle at the Nakdong River
Nelson Skinner describes a fierce battle fought near the Nakdong River. He explains that his mission was to protect his regiment and another one in front of him. He describes the weaponry used during the battle. He goes on to describe being shot in the leg by a sniper and having to go to an overwhelmed MASH unit for medical aid.
Nelson Skinner describes his duties as a forward observer and working with two Counter-Intelligence Corps officers from North and South Korea. He explains the CIC officers received one-fourth of a cent a month for pay. He recalls sharing his Coke rations with them and they, in return, gave him their blankets when his sleeping bag was wet. He later realized that that winter was the coldest winter Korea had experienced in many years.
Nicolás Cancel Figueroa
Preparing for Combat
Nicolás Cancel Figueroa explains why he believes his basic training experience was not enough to prepare him for the realities of the war. He notes that while he learned how to be an expert rifleman, he was not trained in how to conduct an amphibious landing and would have drowned were it not for his friend helping him. He shares he was not prepared for the brutal Korean winter.
Nicolás Cancel Figueroa explica por qué cree que su entrenamiento no fue suficiente para prepararlo para las realidades de la guerra. Explica que, si bien aprendió a ser un experto en rifle, no estaba preparado para realizar un desembarco anfibio y se habría ahogado si no fuera por la ayuda de su amigo. Además, no estaba preparado para el invierno coreano.
Sending Supplies from Home
Noreen Jankowski recalls a conversation about the cold winters in Korea. She mentions sending supplies to her husband in Korea to keep him warm. She highlights how he endured some difficulties with his legs later on perhaps due to the cold exposure.
Norman Spencer Hale
Norman S. Hale speaks about the food his Chinese captors gave the prisoners. He also speaks about the "March" to POW Camp 5 that began in early December 1950 and ended in February 1951.
Osman Yasar Eken
Description of War
Osman Eken describes war. He did not feel danger or think about death. The Vegas Battles left many Chinese dead. Osman Eken provides one of the most vivid accounts of the battle. Turkey lost one hundred and forty-seven soldiers in twenty-six hours.
Patrick Vernon Hickey
Cold Guns and Ingenuity
Patrick Hickey shares that he woke up at five each morning to remove guns from action for maintenance. He recalls that during the heat of summer the routine was fairly straightforward but adds that the guns froze in winter. He shares how he developed a mix of oil and kerosene to prevent the gun components from freezing, an innovation that spread quickly to other units. He describes the winters being so cold that soldiers had to disassemble their guns at night and place the parts by the fire so the guns would fire in the morning.
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.
Paul H. Nordstrom
Braving the Cold as a Minnesotan
Paul H. Nordstrom details his living conditions while in Korea. He comments on meals, sleeping arrangements, and the climate. He shares that he was more accustomed to colder temperatures than others due to having grown up in similar conditions in Minnesota.
"All Hell Broke Loose"
Paul Summers and his division investigated a village overrun by guerrillas. When a firefight began, he ran toward a mound of dirt to throw a hand grenade into a group of North Korean soldiers. A bullet caught him in the shoulder, and he went down. A corpsman gave him a shot of morphine and some brandy while he awaited rescue.
The Costs of War
Paul Summers remembers lying down in a skirmish line and watching a truck dump dead U.S. Marines into a big hole. Tanks filled in the hole. The image still haunts him. Later, his division marched to Hagalwoori but ran into a fortified bunker controlled by the Chinese. As the division pondered their situation, a general up the road announced they would take the hill no matter what.
Pedro A. Santana
Korean War Army Medic: A day in the life
This clip discusses the life of a medic, and the circumstances that led to Mr. Santana's hearing loss. He describes the events of February 14, 1953 where after 5 pm, in the blistering cold, he encountered Chinese troops. The Chinese were engaging in mortar attacks as Mr. Santana, in his jeep, was diligently evacuating wounded soldiers and taking them to the first aid station for medical help. He received a Bronze and Silver Star for his heroism, and Mr. Santana is still emotional about the events of that day.
Pell E. Johnson
Protecting the Front Lines at Old Baldy
Pell E. Johnson understood the importance of protecting the battle lines at Old Baldy. It was difficult to drive the Chinese out of the area. He won't ever forget changing the troops out and celebrating Thanksgiving on a cold night.
Percy D. Mohr
We Never Saw a Bed!
Percy Mohr describes the worst parts of war. The cold weather made sleeping outside uncomfortable, and baths were rare. He also disliked the food.
Why Did They Miss Me?
Percy Mohr recounts the battle in which Chinese soldiers overran his division, pushing them back to headquarters. He was standing beside a captain who was shot by the Chinese, and he pauses to wonder why he survived. During the battle, Chinese soldiers overran his artillery division. When the U.S. soldiers returned to camp, they were greeted by a surprise.
Peter Elliott sheds light on the living conditions around the Battle of the Hook. He recalls how the men lived in dugout habitats with weather conditions that were either very hot or very cold depending on the season. He remembers that there was a lot of activity occurring before the major battle.
Freezing Water and Oil
Peter Ford speaks about the cold weather. He gives an examples of how quick water would freeze. He shares that he had proper winter clothing and the effects the cold could have on vehicles. He explains a scenario where he made a mistake in the cold.
Fortunate to Make it
Philip Linsley shares his experience during extreme cold and rumors of the Chinese surrounding them. He shares how the men were only able to work on connecting coaxial cables for a minute at a time due to the extreme cold. He elaborates on the stressful experience of completing guard duty in complete darkness and his concern that he only had a little gun to fend off the enemy. As rumors began to spread, he recalls his outfit suddenly being told to pack up everything they could and evacuate the area. He explains that since the enemy crossed the Yalu River, they headed south. He emphasizes they were fortunate to make it to Seoul because other outfits were attacked along the way.
Philip S. Kelly
64th Anniversary of the War
Philip S. Kelly reads letters he wrote for the 64th Anniversary of the Korean War. He describes the Battle of Chosin (Jangjin) Reservoir by reading details of his personal experience. He recalls hearing the bugles of the Chinese blaring and engaging in hand-to-hand combat as a combat infantryman.
The Battle of Chosin Reservoir and Roadblocks
Philip S. Kelly describes thinking he would be home by Christmas 1950, but instead, he encountered a surprise attack by the Chinese in what became the Battle of Chosin (Jangjin) Reservoir. He recalls that the United States Army pulled out and left the U.S. Marines exposed to the Chinese attack. He explains how he fought as an infantryman and the difficulty experienced by the soldiers in trying to clear out Chinese road blocks.
Pradit Lertslip describes his role as a military police officer in Korea. Since he was assigned to the rear position, he states the situation was not too intense. As a military police officer, he explains his primary duty entailed controlling the traffic in the area. He recalls the main problem he faced was during the winter and checking to make sure the trucks were equipped to deal with the conditions.
Ingenuity and Ice Cream
Prudencio Manuel recalls a time when his friend made the best out of a dismally cold day by making ice cream. He remembers feeling thankful to have not experienced much difficulty during his time in Korea but adds the cold weather presented the biggest obstacle. He describes how his friend took the ice that had formed on their tent and mixed it with milk and sugar to make a delicious treat.
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 Gómez Román
Training Tragedy / Tragedia durante Entrenamiento
Rafael Gómez Román explains the living conditions he faced while in Korea. As he describes the weather, he includes a story in which Lieutenant Higgins was showing new recruits how to throw a grenade and because of the cold it got stuck to his hand and killed everyone around including three officers. He considers himself lucky as he should have been next to him during the demonstration but was called to a different task at that moment.
Rafael Gómez Román explica las condiciones de vivienda que tenían en Corea. Mientras describe el clima, incluye una historia en la que el teniente Higgins estaba demostrándole a los nuevos reclutas cómo lanzar una granada y, debido al frío, se le quedó pegada a la mano y mató a todos, incluidos tres oficiales. Se considera afortunado ya que debería haber estado a su lado durante esa demonstración, pero en ese momento fue llamado a una tarea diferente.
Rafael Rivera Méndez
Difficult Moments / Momentos Dificiles
Rafael Rivera Méndez shares the most difficult moments of the war. He recalls the worst part of combat, which was waiting until after daybreak to remove the dead and take their places in the trenches. He reflects on the horrors of war and the degradation of human life.
Rafael Rivera Méndez comparte los momentos más difíciles de la guerra. Recuerda que la peor parte del combate, era esperar hasta después del amanecer para sacar a los muertos y ocupar sus lugares en las trincheras. Reflexiona sobre el horror de la guerra y la degradación de la vida humana.
Ralph A Gastelum
Death Results in PTSD Chosin Reservoir
Ralph describes the number of bodies on the battlefield as far as the eye could see both the enemy and their fallen comrades frozen the way they had fell. The bulldozer that was shoveling North Korean soldiers bodies and covering them up.The moaning and the groaning at night just got to them both and the bitterness they have. Their wives didn't talk at the time but when they sleep they tell them what they say and their reactions to it. Both Ed and Ralph live with this daily they just learn to cope with it.
Ralph A. Milton
The Impact of Chosin Reservoir
Ralph Milton describes the impact the Battle of Chosin (Jangjin) Reservoir has had on his life. He details some of the struggles he faced there as well as the struggles that followed him home. He describes seeing those he pulled from the Reservoir later in life and the friendships that grew from the experience.
Makeshift Stove for Warmth
Ralph Blum recalls building a bunker with a couple other Marines. He describes how their bunker had three feet of dirt on top. He shares how they made a stove out of a fuse box by putting sand in it, using fuses from shells, and sorting beer cans to make a chimney. He recounts how they used a five-galloon can with diesel fuel which kept them reasonably warm when they were in their bunker at night.
Weather in Korea
Ralph Burhcam and other soldiers were negatively affected by the weather. The cold winters weren't the worst part, it was also the summer heat and mosquitoes. Soldiers tried to be creative to survive the elements, but their creativity was not always encouraged by military regulations.
Life on the Front Lines
Ralph Hodge notes how his arrival to the front marked the first real integration of his unit and how he did not remember anyone that was not glad to see them. His shares his unit was sent to the front to replace a unit of Turks who had seen fierce fighting. He offers a detailed account of the challenges of surviving the cold on the front line.
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.
Raoul Van Ocker
Living Conditions as a Sergeant
Raoul Van Ocker served in Korea from 1952 to 1954. He vividly recalls the living conditions he and his fellow soldiers endured, including horrific cold with little protection from the low temperatures. He shares that when the ceasefire was announced, he felt it was a good thing because soldiers on all sides did their jobs.
Walking Like a Duck
Raul Aguilar describes his first impressions of arriving in Korea and how arriving as a replacement, he was completely unaware of where he was or how to go about things. He describes one night when he arrived in December when he went to visit the latrine. He remembers there was snow and ice on the building and having to wipe the ice off of the boards so he could sit down. He describes wearing a lot of clothing and having to take everything off when suddenly explosions began around him. He explains grabbing his gun, not having time to pull up his pants and finding his way back to his troops only to discover there was a friendly reason for the explosions.
It Just Happened You Know
Raul Aguilar describes getting ready to relieve the Marines when he received a Dear John letter from his girlfriend. He explains that immediately after reading the letter from his girlfriend, he was sent off into the dark with his troop. He describes how cold the weather was and that due to the lack of stops, several soldiers evacuated their bowels onto themselves.
Raul Martinez Espinosa
Living Conditions / Condiciones de Vida
Raúl Martínez Espinosa explains what the living conditions were like for Colombian troops. He felt that because all supplies were issued by the United States army they were of the highest quality. While the uniforms they received were excellent, he explains that Colombian troops found it difficult to deal with the cold as they were unaware of the danger of frostbite. He concludes by sharing the story of spending Thanksgiving in Korea.
Raúl Martínez Espinosa explica cómo eran las condiciones de vida de las tropas colombianas. Él piensa que debido a que todos los suministros fueron emitidos por el ejército de los Estados Unidos, eran de la más alta calidad. Aunque los uniformes que recibieron eran excelentes, él explica que los soldados colombianos no sabían cómo lidiar con el frío ya que desconocían el peligro de gangrena. Concluye compartiendo la historia de pasar el Día de Acción de Gracias en Corea.
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.
Treacherous Trips as a Navigator
Rayond Scott's job as a Navigator during the Korean War consisted of taking a trip to Japan about every three months to assist Pilots. He recalls that the most difficult flights were landing in and taking off from Shemya Air Force Base in Alaska. He recalls the encounters of difficulty due to the intense fog and high winds.
Life in POW Camp #3
Raymond Unger describes the living conditions in Camp #3 during his time as a prisoner of war.
Arrival to Korea, Duties, and Hiroshima
Rebecca Baker discusses her first assignment to a hospital ship where she would perform medical evacuations from Korea to Japan. She discusses her time aboard the ship and notes a memorable experience when she went to Hiroshima. She reflects on witnessing lasting effects from the atomic bomb and expresses the profound impact this had on her.
Arriving in Korea
Rene Rodriguez recalls arriving in Incheon before being taken by train for more training in Seoul. He remembers Seoul as being very cold as winter had set in. He notes how, upon transfer to the front lines, he was instructed to make a sketch of where he was as no maps were available. He shares what life on the front lines was like.
Just Like a Nightmare
Rene Rodriguez confesses he does not want to remember his time on the front lines. He shares how it is like a nightmare and it is gone. He recalls the whole experience being much like camping where they had little. He notes rations were frequently dropped by helicopter and showers were few and far between when on the front line.
Richard A. Houser
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.
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.
Chosin Reservoir Reflection
Richard Davis reflects on his experiences at the Chosin Reservoir. He recounts the bitterly cold conditions and being outnumbered by the Chinese. He describes the sleeping bag situation, digging foxholes, and the food available.
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.
Remember the Death March North
Richard Donatelli remembers that in spite of the heavy artillery being used, it was no match for the Chinese near Kotori who would over run their unit, forcibly moving them with bayonets north.
He explains that they lost a lot of men on this "death march" due to the rough, cold conditions and lack of water and food. During a few times, Richard Donatelli wanted to give up, but he kept going.
POW Camp 5 Morning Ritual
Richard Dontelli says that they hard a hard time sleeping and medical care was not the best. The Chinese doctors would only give them pills. He remembers that if you didn't eat what they gave you, you died. Richard Dontelli tells the story of one time he was caught stealing wooden shingles off of one of the cabinets and he was punished.
Introduction to the War in Korea
Richard Franklin describes the first night after joining his medical unit in Korea. He talks about sleeping between two oil drums and waking up to wounded soldiers.
Korean Refugee Retreat, 1950
Richard Higa describes witnessing streams of Korean Refugees fleeing south in late 1950. He talks about the difficult terrain and conditions that the refugees encountered that led to many of them dying during the journey.
Richard P. Holgin
Burning Bridges at the Chosin Reservoir
Richard P. Holgin experienced subzero temperatures and fierce fighting at the Chosin Reservoir. After his company's missions, they would have to blow up bridges and roads so that no enemy could follow them. The weather was a major factor in the Battle of the Chosin Reservoir.
Persevering through Frostbite
Richard P. Holgin experienced terrible frostbite on his leg. Despite this condition, he continued to serve to the best of his ability, until a superior noticed his injury. Richard P. Holgin was then cared for in Busan and in Japan.
Richard V. Gordon
Lasting Memory and Pictures from the Ship
Richard V. Gordon describes his one lasting memory, the loss of a fellow shipmate in the China Sea. He, also provides pictures of the USS Missouri and cold conditions aboard the ship. Richard V. Gordon provides a picture where people are covered in snow while on the ship during the winter.
Richard W. Edwards
Pocket Warmer Scarf
Richard Edwards describes developing a sore throat from sleeping in a pup tent his first night in Korea. He explains that his First Sergeant ignored his concern and so in an effort to feel better, Richard Edwards improvised. He describes how he assembled a makeshift treatment by wrapping his pocket warmer around his neck.
Robert “Bob” W. Ezell
Bob Ezell describes how he survived being wounded by playing dead as the enemy stole his gloves.
Survival In the Aid Tent
Bob Ezell describes surviving while wounded in the aid tent as his unit was cut off and surrounded for 5 days near the Toktong Pass
Traveling to the Chosin Reservoir
Robert Battdorff moved through Seoul, Ko do Re Pass, and then went onto the Chosin Reservoir. Using a line of soldiers, 20 feet apart, he made his way to East Hill overlooking the Chosin Reservoir. Without any enemy resistance, Robert Battdorff sent out patrols to check the different possible enemy positions in November 1950.
The Chinese Take Robert Battdorff
Marine engineers were building an airstrip near the Chosin Reservoir when Robert Battdorff moved onto Toktong Pass to set up positions. That's where the Chinese took over the hill and he was taken prisoner while on watch. It was November 28, 1950 and he was on watch in a sleeping bag because the weather was 40 below zero.
A Near Death Experience with the Chinese
The Chinese put Robert Battdorff in a cow shed and then put him in their own foxholes because the sun was coming up, so they assumed the US would be bombing soon from the air. Two other men were captured with him, but no US soldiers came to resume them right away. On the first assault, there were 28 casualties during that attack. The guard that captured the 3 US soldiers had the men kneel near a frozen stream so that he could kill them, but another Chinese soldier stopped the killing.
Marching and Traveling all over the Chosin Reservoir as a POW
After a further search and surviving a shooting, Robert Battdorff had to hide in a foxhole because the Australians were shooting up multiple buildings where the Chinese were hiding. One guard walked the POWs all day to Yudam ni, near Hamgyong, North Korea. He was moved many places to hide throughout December 1950 while the Chinese were picking up additional British POWs.
Robert C. Jagger
Challenges and Rewards
Robert Jagger discusses his greatest challenge and biggest rewards while in Korea. Like many, he remembers the bitter cold. He also remembers he was in Korea on Armistice Day and remembers warmly his relationships with other soldiers.
Robert D. Edwards
Living Conditions and Food in Korea
Robert D. Edwards describes living in bunkers that were made with logs and filled in with dirt. He recalls the rats that would come out and run over them at night. He details that there was little choice of food in Korea, and he ate packaged foods like C or K rations. He notes that the food could be warmed up but that it was all pretty much the same. He provides that each stage had points and that once a soldier reached enough points, they would go home.
Joining the Air Force
Robert Greitz describes his reason for joining the Air Force. He explains how he was just 18 and after seeing so many Korean War veterans coming home missing fingers and toes from frostbite, decide to enlist in the Air Force. He also discusses using the G.I. Bill.
Robert H. Pellow
It Was Colder Than Hell
Robert H. Pellow describes the cold winters of the Korean War. He explains how his feet would freeze despite protection from the cold. He describes that his feet still hurt him to this day from his time in Korea.
You Ate Tootsie Rolls
Robert H. Pellow describes hunger during the Korean War. He describes how food would freeze and that the Marine Corps would survive on shipments of Tootsie Rolls. He explains that the last good meal he had was at Thanksgiving.
My Helmet Heats My Food
Robert Hiroaka describes what it was like to eat on the front lines. He recalls how a good C-ration was the one that had a cookie in it and they were willing to fight over it. He shares they would often heat their food in their helmets unless it was minus forty-one degrees for it was hard to heat anything at those temperatures.
Surviving the Elements in a Tent
Robert Johnson describes his living conditions while in Korea. It was extremely cold during the winter as they lived in tents. He also recollects on the food. After winter, they had to prepare for the floods due to all the snow melting and the monsoon season beginning.
Robert M. Longden
Service Conditions, Cold, and Fear
Robert M. Longden constantly feared the Chinese and North Koreans would break the armistice while he was stationed near the DMZ. Winter was brutally cold. At one point, his hand stuck to a frozen chain while he worked with his truck. Soldiers had adequate winter gear and slept in military tents, but food was very basic.
The Reality of Trench Warfare
Bob Mitchell offers details of the living conditions during the trench warfare in the latter stages of the Korean War. He describes dealing with giant rodents, freezing conditions, and body lice. He recalls when they left the trench and finally taking a hot shower.
Typical Day: North of the 38th Parallel
Robert Stephens describes a typical day North of the 38th parallel. He describes the extremely harsh weather, living conditions, and a near death experience where he almost drowned. The weather was cold enough to freeze tank tracks. At another point, Robert Stephens had to cross a river that swelled due to rain. The tank retriever stalled in the middle of the river and Robert Stephens almost drowned trying to make it to shore.
Living Conditions in Korea
Robert Whited speaks about the difficult living conditions the men in his unit found themselves in upon arriving in Korea. He notes there were no permanent tents when they arrived, and due to them moving about frequently, there was very little "comfort" in their accommodations. He recalls never really having much accurate intelligence on what was happening no matter where they were located.
Robert Whited recalls the Battle of the Chosin (Jangjin) Reservoir was the worst memory of the war. He remembers having very little intelligence when they were hit by one hundred thousand Chinese. He shares how he and the other members of his unit dealt with tragic events such as having to fight their way out of the Chosin (Jangjin) Reservoir, resulting in the death of many men.
Roger S. Stringham
Out on Patrol
Roger Stringham explains that he spent his first six months in Korea serving in Item Company of the 21st Infantry Regiment and the last six months in Headquaters Company. He recounts his duties in Headquarters Company which entailed night patrols through the hills in temperatures that reached fifty degrees below zero at times. He shares he did not regret the experience but adds that he thought often of his friends while there and has since experienced PTSD.
Marine Corp Hymn and Japanese Whiskey
Rollo Minchaca talks about spending Christmas and New Years during the Korean War. Many of the men were collapsing due to the stress of being in the extreme cold and living in tents. They evacuated to Pusan and had to regroup because of the extreme temperature.
Sleeping Near the Enemy
Ronald Bourgon describes moving towards the front lines near Jipyeongri. He remembers counting eighty-nine dead American soldiers along the way who had been killed in their sleeping bags or while attempting to run away from the North Korean enemy. He shares that many were African-American soldiers and that they had been stripped of their clothes and equipment. He recalls orders being given to not sleep in their sleeping bags despite the cold February temperature after the incident had been discovered.
Ronald L. Swift
Ronald Swift describes the living conditions in the camp. He remembers having fuel to keep the stoves hot because the winters were so cold and they only had “horse blankets.” He is thankful that he made it through those conditions.
The Whole Picture Changed Dramatically
Ronald Yardley describes the intense cold upon arriving in North Korea. He explains that temperatures went thirty degrees below zero. He describes that no one could touch the upper parts of the ship for fear of losing that hand from freezing to the metal.
Rose L. Gibbs
Recalling Patients She Helped Treat
Rose Gibbs discusses notable patients she helped treat while stationed at the hospital in Osaka, Japan. She recalls the cold winters which resulted in seeing many frostbite patients being brought in, so many that the Army issued a statement to servicemen that they would be court-martialed if it was found that they were not wearing their wool socks.
"An Angel Sitting on My Shoulder"
Roy Aldridge describes their unit being the first airborne unit that was completely self-contained. He explains how they had artillery, trucks, jeeps, ammunition, and medics. He describes the dates and movements of his Batallion. He describes the extremely cold temperatures ranging between 40-50 degrees below zero, and how they were attacked by the Chinese.
Food Could Have Been Better
Roy Painter describes his living conditions in Korea during the war. He explains that the food was frozen solid just from walking away from where it was cooked. He also explains how the location was full of rats, so he used his mosquito nets to keep them out of his bed.
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.
Captured by the Chinese
Russel Kingston describes how he and his group could not stay outside freezing and starving any longer, so they took shelter in the house of a North Korean family. The next morning the family left, and shortly thereafter the Chinese kicked down the door and held them at gunpoint. He believes that the family informed the Chinese that they were there.
Conditions in the POW camp
Russel Kingston describes the conditions he faced, including the limited food and freezing conditions. He remembers their captors would tell them lies about the status of the war, trying to get them to convert to Communism. In the spring, the captors would take their shoes to prevent them from escaping.
Ruth Powell (Wife of John Powell)
Ruth Powell, wife of Korean War POW, John Powell, talks about the things that he remembers from the war. She explains that he has forgotten many experiences from his time spent in Korea. She shares that her husband's memory has been compromised as a result of his electric shock therapy.
Salvatore R. Conte
Salvatore Conte explains that he was placed in an isolation box for eight months since he was considered a leader among the POWs. He remembers being in the box from May through December 1952 and was only let out twice a day to use the bathroom. One time he was marched over to a hillside to be killed by the Chinese, but they allowed him to live and he was placed back into the box.
Always C Rations
Salvatore Schillaci explains he does not recall where he landed when he arrived in Korea in 1951. He recounts how, as part of a reconnaissance team, they slept in foxholes or even on the open ground. He remembers extreme cold and C Rations. He describes how he tried, unsuccessfully, to heat up a can of pork and beans on the exhaust manifold of a truck.
Heartbreak Ridge Memories
Sanford Epstein describes the living conditions he experienced during his first winter in Korea. He recounts how cold it was and comments on the food available. He recalls a fellow soldier's death during the Battle of Heartbreak Ridge.
Shirley F. Gates McBride
I Was So Young, I Did Not Understand
Shirley Gates-McBride reflects on her experience as a nurse during the Korean War and connecting to other veterans. She admits, as a young nurse during the war, she did not really understand what the men in Korea were going through. After listening to veterans open up to each other, she shares now has a better understanding of what the men she treated experienced and why certain procedures had to be performed.
Stanley I. Hashiro
Moving from Place to Place
Stanley I. Hashiro moved around a lot with his unit in Korea. He had to live in desolate conditions, taking baths in the river, and living in bombed out concrete buildings. Within the desolate mountain valleys was another location that Stanley I. Hashiro had to stay in the extreme weather conditions.
Sterling D. Mestad
Breaking Ice to Bathe
Sterling D. Mestad recounts bathing experiences during the winter months in Korea. He details having to break ice and heat water and recalls the winter shower point experience which involved a big tent with warm water followed by a clean clothes distribution. He shares that a group of soldiers were headed to the shower point on one occasion and were hit by a mortar.
Sterling N. McKusick
Injured, Hospitalized, and Returned to Korea
Sterling N. McKusick remembers how during the trip down the mountain from the Jangjin (Chosin) Reservoir that it got dark quickly, and they were ordered to travel without lights. He recalls how about nine miles down the road, they encountered a Chinese roadblock in the area of a frozen creek bed. He explains his truck was sandwiched between other trucks ahead of and behind his when the Chinese started shooting. He describes how his truck was hit and how part of the engine destroyed. He shares he was wounded during this time and recalls spending a long cold night in a ditch before things subsided as the Chinese did not like to fight in daylight. He eventually spent six or seven weeks in a hospital in Yokosuka, Japan, before returning to his unit to finish out his time in Korea.
Steven G. Olmstead
"High Diddle Diddle, Right up the Middle"
Steven Olmstead describes his unit's movement through "Hellfire Alley" on its way to Hagaru. He talks about being engaged by enemy Chinese soldiers and the esprit de corps among the marines in his company. He recalls the actions of Rocco Zullo, the first sergeant in his marine unit, during the movement to Hagaru. He describes Sergeant Zullo's heroic actions which were thought to have led to his death and shares surprising news about the first sergeant.
"We Were a Team"
Steven Olmstead describes his state of mind on the battlefield. He talks about being too busy to think about food or home while engaged with the enemy. He comments on the winter living conditions and offers his reasoning as to why he and his comrades were able to survive in such a harsh environment. He recounts his unit's withdrawal from the Battle of Chosin Reservoir, the significance of the "Star of Kotori", and the sufferings of the Chinese Army.
Hoengsong Massacre February 1951 (Full Story)
T.J. Martin chronicles the Hoengsong Massacre where he states that approximately 2,400 Americans died. He details the events of the massacre, recalling thousands of Chinese soldiers advancing with hand grenades, rifles, and some even empty-handed, and provides a vivid account of his movements during those two days. He recalls the moments leading up to his capture by the Chinese.
Heaven to Hell
Telila Deresa describes living conditions during the war. Soldiers would battle for three months and rest for one month. During one rest, he was able to go to Japan. In Japan, men could go to nightclubs. Comparing nightclubs in Japan and going to the front is like heaven and hell.
Patrolling the Han River and Frigate Life
Teurangaotera Tuhaka spent a lot of his service patrolling the Han River (also known as the Hangang River) while receiving support from additional United Nations ships. He had to focus on his job so that he did not have fear while fighting the North Koreans. Conditions were rough at sea because he had to break through ice to get the frigate through the water.
April 1951 Attacks From the Chinese
On April 23, 1951, Tex Malcolm was protecting another hill when the Chinese were trying to take Charlie Company out. By 2am, the Chinese started to attack his hill and the US Marines were running out of ammunition. Sadly, a Marine right next to Tex Malcolm was shot and killed.
Thomas B. Smith
Thomas B. Smith shares the details of an incident which cost the lives of two American soldiers and wounded others. He recounts Chinese soldiers overshooting their target and hitting a bunker being dug to serve as a warming place during the winter months. He adds that two soldiers were killed; two were wounded; and the other three involved were deeply shaken by the event.
Thomas E. Cork, Sr.
Fighting at the Chosin (Jangjin) Reservoir and Frostbite
Thomas E. Cork, Sr., recalls fighting at the Chosin (Jangjin) Reservoir and units finding Chinese soldiers behind the front line. He discusses fighting from the front and behind as they moved south to meet United Nations soldiers coming North. He describes the cold and cutting the ground with his knife to dig foxholes. He shares that the cold was so bad he lost toes to frostbite.
Food in Korea and the Chinese Attacking Across the Border
Thomas E. Cork, Sr., discusses the food in Korea. He recalls that the eggs would exploded when cooked, and even when they were cooked, they did not taste like eggs. He discusses eating candy bars and his love for chocolate. He admits that his love of black coffee started during the war. He discusses being close enough to China to see people walking on the other side of the river. He expresses that they thought the river was secure before they were attacked.
Thomas J Dailey
Chosin Reservoir Recollections
Thomas Dailey recalls his arrival in Korea and time spent at the Chosin Reservoir. He describes collecting injured and frozen soldiers and placing them on the back of armored tanks due to the lack of space inside the tanks. He remembers one occasion where he was forced to pull his pistol on a soldier who kept attempting to get inside the tank due to thinking it was warmer.
Thomas Norman Thompson
The Forgotten War
Thomas Norman Thompson recalls seeing small children who were bare feet in the snow as he describes devastation in Korea during the war. He says it seemed that civilians only had the choice of going to the rice paddies or mountains to get away from combat areas. He tells that although a cease-fire was ordered, some people did not realize it, causing him to be ambushed a few times as he attempted to make his deliveries. He tells why the Korean War is the forgotten war.
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.
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.
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.
Living Conditions in Korea
Tine Martin shares his memories of the living conditions he experienced while serving in Korea. He recalls living in 12-man tents and the cold temperatures. He comments on the food offered at Kimpo Air Force Base which included only one hot meal a day and the others consisting only of C-rations. He mentions trading items from his rations he was not fond of for Coca-Cola.
Air Force Selection and Knowledge of Korea
Titus Santelli explains his reasoning for joining the Air Force in 1950. He details his experience in basic training and shares his view of the war. He admits he could not figure out why the U.S., at that time, felt required to protect Korea, but he offers his opinion.
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.
Ulises Barreto González
Cold Trench Warfare/ Guerra de Trincheras y el Frío
Ulises Barreto González recounts the consequences of the weather. He explains how fellow soldiers were affected by the cold and how some died from exposure. He describes the difficulty of surviving trench warfare.
Ulises Barreto González relata las consecuencias del clima en Corea. Explica cómo sus compañeros fueron afectados por el frío y cómo algunos murieron a causa de la temperatura. Describe la dificultad de sobrevivir a la guerra de trincheras.
Welcome to Your Duty Station
After arriving in Korea in 1953, Vartkess Tarbassian was stationed in the Iron Triangle. He had to live in a foxhole to protect the area from the North Koreans. After surviving the cold and terrain, Vartkess Tarbassian was sent home in November 1954.
Veli Atasoy describes life after being taken as a Prisoner-of-War (POW). He, along with other prisoners were held near the city of Pyoktong, a city in North Korea near the Chinese border. While a prisoner, the Chinese military tried, unsuccessfully, to use propaganda to convince the Turkish troops to switch sides. There were massive infestations of lice in the camp and even a "fake" Sergeant. Veli Atasoy describes how, above all, even in the most dire of situations he turned to Allah above.
Vern Rubey recalls the harsh weather he experienced during his time in Korea and likens the cold conditions to Minnesota weather. He shares how a monsoon delayed his rotation back home. He recalls his journey home aboard ship.
Fighting Through the Winter of 1950
Vernon Walden was only seven miles from China's border when General MacArthur wanted to invade, but he was told to pull his troops back. Vernon Waldon explains that when his regiment began to retreat in 40 below zero weather, gas began to run out along with food and ammunition. He describes how snow blindness was a condition that troops had to deal with while traveling on foot with snow up their knees.
Victor Burdette Spaulding
Puerto Ricans: Cultural Barriers
Victor Spaulding describes the difficulties when working with Puerto Rican soldiers due to cultural barriers (e.g., language). He shares how it was hard for Puerto Rican soldiers to adjust to the change in climate from their native land. He adds that despite these challenges, Puerto Rico's regiments were strong, and he recounts how he successfully integrated with them.
Victor D. Freudenberger
Not Just Fighting but Surviving
Victor Freudenberger talks about the role every Marine played during the Battle of Chosin Reservoir--working during the day and fighting at night. He describes how exhaustion set in after a couple of days and remembers a nap in which he awoke to find that captured mortars had been thrown into his tent by the Chinese. He remembers that the pins of the mortars had not been pulled out and laughs about simply returning to his nap.
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.
Victor Max Ramsey
From Hot Summers to 10 Feet of Snow
Originally from Louisiana, Victor Max Ramsey recalls his time in basic training in the cold Wisconsin winters. He discusses a train ride going from positive temps to below zero temperatures. During training exercises, cadets were required to be out in harsh cold conditions to prepare for Korea.
Vincent A. Bentz
Scavenging for Fresh Food
Vincent Bentz describes how soldiers got food to eat other than the issued C-Rations. He remembers catching chickens and cooking them. He explains how he lost weight because they were not eating regularly.
The Loneliness of Warfare
Vincent Ariola recalls that due to the isolated nature of serving in a tank, during the Korean War he did not learn names of fellow servicemen other than for functional purposes of doing his job. He remembers that his primary feeling during the war was the feeling of being alone. He describes why he did not take time to tell his family about his Korean War experiences. He tells of his son never opening up to his own warfare experiences in Somalia in the same way, and reflects on the American losses during the Korean War.
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.
Virgil Julius Caldwell
Stove Explosion Incident
Virgil Julius Caldwell describes the cold of the winter of 1952, and he recounts how his squad was forced to use gasoline because it was too cold for the diesel to run the heater. He shares how his squad was unlucky, and he discusses the stove blowing up. He explains how the explosion caused the enemy to shell their location, how he was court-martialed, and how he was forced to pay for all damages caused by the explosion. He notes that even though he was court-martialed, he still received an honorable discharge when he left Korea.
A Typical Day of an Air Policeman
Virgil Malone explains a typical day in Daegu included riding shotgun to protect the military vehicles. from guerilla warfare activity along all the roads. He shares there were three shifts each day in the two compounds surrounding 5th Headquarters which members of the Air Police took turns standing guard the best they could.
Life in Daegu
Virgil Malone notes that while stationed guarding the 5th Air Force Headquarters in Daegu, he was far from the fighting and dangers of being on the front line. He describes life on the compound including living quarters, the food, and the coffee.
I Think They Could Hear My Heartbeat.
Wallace Stewart explains a typical day on the main line of resistance as consisting of long periods of boredom punctuated by moments of sheer terror. Soldiers often stayed awake and on alert all night. They cleaned and maintained their weapons, updating their fire direction cards. Wallace Stewart preferred patrolling at night due to his excellent night vision, but sometimes the soldiers hid in rice paddies to hide from Chinese patrols.
Warren Housten Thomas
Fighting in the Punch Bowl
Warren Thomas was stationed in the "Punch Bowl" which was an area in Korea surrounded by hills and mountains. The Punch Bowl is an area south of the 38th parallel in the Gangwon Province. In between the mountains, drifts were 20 feet high which made it difficult to travel using his tractor.
Wayne Dierlam describes the living conditions in Korea in the early 1960s. He shares how there were various living quarters and talks about the names of the camps he slept in. He explains that he had food, but it was cold.
Life in an Artillery Unit
Wayne Mitchell recalls his experiences in an artillery battalion stationed roughly three to five miles behind the front line. His unit had hot food and beds every night during the war- a privilege that not many soldiers in the war had. In his unit, many Americans worked side-by side with Koreans in jobs that ranged from manning the artillery guns to cooking in the kitchen. He goes on to describe the cold weather and living in tents.
Wenseslao Espinal Villamizar
American Support for Colombian Troops / Apoyo Estadounidense a las Tropas Colombianas
Wenseslao Espinal Villamizar discusses the living conditions that Colombian troops faced while in Korea. He marvels at how well the American government supplied all troops which was a stark contrast from his basic training in Colombia in which they would be admonished for misusing even one cartridge of ammunition. He explains that they were supplied with everything they needed in large quantities.
Wenseslao Espinal Villamizar analiza las condiciones que enfrentaron las tropas colombianas en Corea. Se maravilla de lo bien que el gobierno estadounidense abasteció a todas las tropas, que fue muy diferente a su entrenamiento básico en Colombia, en el que no podían ni perder un cartucho de municiones. Explica que se les suministró todo lo que necesitaban en cantidades impresionantes.
Cold Living Conditions
Wilbur Barnes discusses how, on the front, they always ate cold food since they could not have fires. He remembers being on duty for thirty-six to forty-eight hours. He notes that the canned food of today is better than the quality of canned food he experienced in Korea.
Willard L. Dale
Early Days in Korea
William L. Dale shares he left for Korea on November 12, 1952. He remembers the temperature being negative fourteen degrees when he landed in Pusan. He recounts staying that first night in an enormous tent with about one thousand eight hundgred others and details his movement to his duty station with the 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, Weapon Company into the area near Panmunjeom and the Imjin River. He recalls one engagement with the enemy that lasted about six and a half hours.
William “Bill” F. Beasley
Did Taking My Shoes Off Stop the Pain? Frostbite.
William "Bill" Beasley describes the suffering and cold at the Chosin Reservoir. He describes that it was so cold that if he stopped crystals would form on his feet. He recalls being told since he couldn't feel his feet to remove his boots and socks while on a listing post, which resulted in him getting severe frostbite.
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.
Stuck in the Mud
William Beals explains what happened when they landed in Incheon. The first thing that he noticed was the Union Pacific switch train and then a house that had been destroyed. He explains how they then moved to a hospital tent in a muddy, freezing area.
Conditions in the Korean War
It was trench warfare in 1952 and it was hit or miss fighting because the Chinese were very savage. The United States fire power is what saved William Burns' troops. The soldiers slept in the ground during the winter and it was just as cold as New York because it was not as bad as the winters of 1950-1951. Hill 1062 was a huge hill that was located near William Burns' trench and the Chinese had hospitals built into the hill along with military weapons.
William C. Hoehn
Pot Bellied Stoves Running on Gas
William C. Hoehn describes the cold winters of Korea. He explains that all the Army tents were equipped with pot bellied stoves to keep men warm. Most stoves were fueled with oil, but William C. Hoehn describes taking gas from the garage where he worked to fuel their stoves better.
Pants on Fire
William C. Hoehn describes the furnace that was used to keep the garage where he worked in Korea warm. He explains that a young Korean boy was standing in front of the furnace to get warm himself and caught on fire. He explains that the boy ran down the road on fire and that he had to chase him to put the fire out.
William D. Freeman
Life at Camp One
William Freeman elaborates on his experience as a prisoner of war at Camp One. He shares that Camp One was managed by Chinese soldiers. He explains how he purposely acted "crazy" at the camp because the Chinese would treat him better due to their superstitions of people with mental illnesses. He recalls acquiring roughly forty-two dozen eggs over a period of one and a half years which helped keep him and his comrades alive.
Serving in Korea
William Duffy shares what it was like in Korea. He recalls it being freezing cold, calling it "the coldest place on Earth." He talks about his day-to-day duties and cites water being very difficult to find. He also recalls filling sand bags at his bunker with snow. Once the weather warmed, he recounts losing all protection in his bunker.
Base Life in Korea
William Edwards describes daily life at the 607th Aircraft Warning Squadron.
William F. Borer
"Made me reappraise my opinion of the American Army Officer"
William Borer describes his capture by the North Koreans and their executing about two-dozen men simply because they were American. After marching north, they arrived at a large village and were placed in a compound dividing officers and enlisted men. He recalls one particular night when two enlisted POWs were placed in the not-so-crowded officers quarters but the officers quickly sent them to the very crowded enlisted side. Sergeant Estrada, who was in the same room as William blocked the door and wouldn't let the men in, saying the room was too crowded. Both men froze to death that night, and though Bill reported Estrada, the Army's criminal investigation said there was nothing they could do.
William F. Honaman
Arriving in Korea
William Honaman describes his long route to Busan, Korea, from the United States. He remembers arriving in Busan and it being full of military personnel. He describes being herded to the trains and not remembering much of Busan. He recalls eventually arriving at the front line across from the Freedom Bridge. He notes his first impression of Korea in 1953 was of war and lots of devastation.
Hot and Cold Basic Training Conditions
William Hall reminisces about his time at Camp Pendleton, California, where he underwent rigorous training as a United States Marine Corps recruit. He recalls the intense physical training, weapon qualifications, drill sergeants, and church services. He remembers when his unit was sent to Nevada for additional training, where they had to endure the frigid temperatures.
Dangerous Situations in Korea
William Hall recalls his experience as one of the first troops to land in Korea in 1950. He lost a close friend in an ambush during the early days of their arrival. He discusses his role in the mortar company when his unit took over from other soldiers at the Chosin Reservoir. He describes the dangerous situation they faced and how he felt that his survival was uncertain.
Wounded at the Chosin Reservoir
William Herold recounts his Thanksgiving meal experience before heading up into the mountains of the Chosin Reservoir. He describes being outnumbered by the Chinese 36 to 1 and a fire fight commencing. He remembers silence that followed except for one round sounding out, adding that it was the round which wounded his right leg. He recalls being transported via jeep out of the mountains and eventually to the hospital ship, Consolation.
Living Among the Cold and Bullets
William Herold shares his experiences with the freezing cold of Korea. He describes keeping his shoes in his sleeping bag in order for them to keep from freezing and adds that one's urination was ice by the time it hit the ground. He explains how war made one reckless and offers a relating story of a WWII veteran who removed his helmet and was momentarily shot in the head. He recounts the changes he experienced in weight due to lack of food.
Horrors of War
William MacSwain describes some of the horrors of war experiences. He portrays a vivid image of scenes of war that illustrate the hardships Korean War soldiers faced. These first-hand accounts show the fear in every soldiers' mind.
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.
Sacrifice: Serving Others Before Self
William Steele details the sacrifice made by the Navy Corpsman assigned to them. He recalls how the corpsman kept them patched up and always appeared with dry socks for their feet in hopes of avoiding frostbite. He remembers how checked them all in upon arrival at the hospital, putting himself last only to have his own foot come off with his boot.
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.
Fighting the Cold
Zacarias Abregano provides a few details about the living conditions on the front line. Because of how cold it would be, he shares that he might only shower once a month during the winter. He recalls adding pills to the river water to make it safe to drink.
Zenebwrk Balaynea Geamda
Dangers of a Sniper
Zenebwrk Balaynea Geamda describes being a sniper during the war. On one occasion a mortar exploded near him. The explosion covered him in dirt and took the life of the man beside him. Events of the war, however, made him stronger, not scared. He also describes Chinese were good at karate.
Ziya Dilimer describes being given a pack of cigarettes a day. This would have been part of his K-Ration. Each man in his unit received a K-Ration daily. Zika Dilimer was fond of the Chesterfield cigarettes included. Also, men were given ice cream, even in the winter.