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
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.
Basil Kvale captured a Chinese POW named Ping who later was sent with other soldiers. As a Marine, Basil Kvale was asked to help give the coordinates for the bombing to aid his commander. He had the cannons and bombs attack from four different sides which led to total disaster for the Chinese.
Bruce W. Diggle
Hill 355 and the "Apostles"
Bruce Diggle shows the famous Hill 355, also known as Kowang San. The British Commonwealth forces fought for possession of Hill 355 during the series of battles that corresponded to the Battle of Heartbreak Ridge to the east. The North Koreans were positioned on three smaller hills that the Kiwis nicknamed the Apostles - Matthew, Luke, and John. He took pictures of the North Korean positions during a truce.
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.
Prior Knowledge and First Battle in the Korean War
David Lopez did not know anything about Korea before he was drafted. When he arrived at Pusan, he was living in tents and was given food rations to eat while waiting to be sent to the Kansas Line which was a few miles from the 38th parallel. After the Chinese pulled out of peace talks, he took trucks from Pusan to the Kansas Line while worrying about incoming artillery. He loved receiving help from young Korean boys who would help him carry supplies, wash clothes, and help when he was short on soldiers. He was injured in his right arm when he fought with the 2nd Platoon against the Chinese and North Korean troops.
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.
Civilians' Lives in Poverty-Stricken Villages
Martin Rothenberg was stationed at the base of a mountain during the winter of 1954 near a village that was poverty-stricken. This village had a wood-burning flute that ran under the houses to keep the floors warm and the villagers slept on the floor. He also saw a round stone based where the villagers had planted colored flowers. Martin Rothenberg thought that it was nice the way South Koreans took the time to make their homes special.
Mission Impossible: Speaking a Foreign Language
Martin Rothenbert was proud that the US Army had provided soldiers with a book containing Korean instructions and he used it to ask simple questions to the Korean people he met. He recalled a time while in the village at the base of the hill, an older Korean man wasn't friendly to anyone and never spoke. Therefore, Martin Rothenberg took the time to learn some basic questions to get to know the older Korean man and his attitude totally changed. This made all the difference to build a bond between soldiers and civilians.
Losing Buddies Was The Hardest Experience
Marvin Denton described times when he lost members of his unit. One solider was walking between two companies and he was killed by a mine. Gun shots fired in the middle of the night when soldiers had discovered someone was killed. Another soldier survived a shell that hit his helmet, missing death by inches, and a different soldier, who had lied to his parents, telling them everything was okay, was bombed after an ambush. Marvin Denton were extremely thankful he lived through the experience and he feels we live in the greatest country in the world despite all of our problems.
C-Rations, Rats, and Radios, Oh, My!
Mayo Kjellsen ate lots of C-Rations while stationed in Korea. His job was to carry a 45 pound battery pack and communicate over the radio for his regiment. One night, on radio watch in his bunker, he started shooting at large rats running throughout the rafters and he scared his commander.
Wounded in Korean War
Mayo Kjellsen was wounded twice during the Korean War. He was hit by shrapnel in his knee and the other shot blew him out of his bunker. After his second injury, he was sent to a hospital ship in the harbor and was taken to Japan for rehab. After 6 months of healing, Mayo Kjellsen was sent back to the US to finish his time in the military.
Jincheng Campaign- Battle at Kumsong "All Hell Broke Loose"
Merle Degler always carried in his pocket rolls of film he had taken during his time in Korea. One day, he found an empty ammo box and decided to put the film in the ammo box, and the next thing you knew, "All Hell Broke Loose." He recalls the ROK and his unit were overrun by the Chinese, so they were told to retreat. Merle Degler learned just a few months ago, that the the US artillery regiment left their equipment when they retreated, so the Chinese used the equipment against our own people. They reorganized before the next morning to create a new front line, but with a lot less equipment since they had lost it while retreating.
Enlisting, Training, and Preparing for the Korean War
Merle Degler enlisted in the National Guard as an 18 year old in 1951. After attending Fort Polk for basic training, he was shipped to Yokohama and Tokyo, Japan to get equipment for the war. Soon after that, Merle Degler took a ship to Pusan in Jan. 1953 and he was sent right to Yeongdeungpo, Korea. After being picked up by his regiment, he was brought to his duty station in the Iron Triangle (Kumwa Valley).
The Troubles with Traveling by a Truck
Merle Degler's job was to work on military trucks at the front lines in North Korea in early 1953. After being told that he had to move out, Merle Degler drove a truck up into the mountains with his regiment until the engine blew. Because he was not able to fix the truck on the side of the mountain, he was towed down the hill and back to a ROK camp where he had to stay until meeting up with additional soldiers willing to lead him back to his regiment.
Destruction of Korea
Ollie Thompson recalls arriving in Korea at Incheon and traveling onward to Seoul by train, which was riddled with bullet holes. He remembers scenes of destruction all along the route. He describes settling in the Chorwon Valley and the sound of his first experience in combat, though it was their own artillery.
Richard A. Houser
Leaving for Korean War in 1953
Richard Houser took a ship and landed in Inchon in April 1953 after a lonely 20 day ship ride to Korea. While traveling to his base in the Chorwon Valley known as the Iron Triangle, Richard Houser was able to see Seoul leveled, small thatched homes, and dirt roads all around him.
The Korean War Ceasefire
Richard Houser fought until the last second to hold Porkchop Hill in the Chorwon Valley right before the ceasefire. It felt great for him when the war ended because he was able to build new trenches farther off the 38th parallel.
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.
Warren Housten Thomas
The Punch Bowl
Warren Thomas describes being stationed near the infamous "Punchbowl" area in Korea. He remembers the Punchbowl being an area surrounded with mountains and the difficulties it created in trying to climb those mountains in the winter. He recalls one event in which he was ordered to take his tractor and clear a road for the troops, having to crawl at times and work around twenty-foot-high snow drifts.
Warren Housten Thomas reflects on his hearing loss associated with an incident during the war. He recalls driving his tractor underneath the big guns just as they received an order to fire, with the noise being so loud he thought his head would come off. He explains how, years later, the doctor attributed his hearing loss to a sudden loud sound he must have experienced.
Arrival in Korea in 1952
William O'Kane arrived in Korean in 1952 at Sokcho-Ri. He was assigned his job as a wireman with Head Quarters Company 2nd Battalion 11th Marines. He remembers a lot about the conditions in Korea when he arrived and the conditions of the villages.
Interaction with Korean Marine Corps and Anzacs
William O'Kane worked with a seventeen year old Korean interpreter for his battery group. The Korean Marine Corps were tough and they worked on the left side of William O'Kane's regiment. He also fought along side with the Commonwealth Division of New Zealand (Anzacs/Australians) and had fun sharing stories about politics.