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
Koje-do Prison Camp Riots-1951
David Espinoza speaks about his participation in the combat operations within Koje-do Prison Camp. He recalls having to use flame throwers to help stop the riots incited by North Korean and Chinese prisoners. He remembers that he and the men he served with had to use hand grenades and bayonets to restore order in the camp.
Doddy Green (Widow of Ray Green)
An American in Paris in Monsoon Season
Doddy Green, widow of veteran Ray Green, describes her husband taking part in a familiar American pastime while in Korea. She recalls, from one of his letters, him seeing the movie An American in Paris on Geojedo Island. She remembers him writing that he was drenched after the excursion due to it being Korea's monsoon season.
Never Heard of Korea
Interviewer Dr. Han asked Edward Brooks if he had ever heard of Korea. Edward Brooks said he'd never heard of Korea before he was sent there during the war. Dr. Han asked if he had heard of China or Japan and he replied, "yes but never Korea."
Night Patrol to Apprehend Migun Wianbu
Edward Brooks patrolled at night to catch American soldiers looking for US military comfort women & their pimps. They apprehended them on many occasions.
The comfort women and their pimps were turned into the Korean authorities and then the soldiers were disciplined for their illegal actions.
The Poverty of War
Dr. George Drake explains how children were rescued from poverty during the Korean War. He recounts his journey to find photos that were taken during the war of orphans in Korea. He shares his concern over the children who became abandoned victims of the Korean War.
J. Robert Lunney
No Room at the Inn
J. Robert Lunney remembers the SS Meredith Victory being denied the ability to off-load the fourteen thousand refugees at Busan on Christmas Eve 1950. He explains how Busan was already overcrowded with UN troops and refugees. After being denied entry, he recalls their redirection to Koje-do and the tricky offloading of the refugees on December 26th.
Life at Koje-do POW Camp
Jack Whelan provides insight into the POW camp at Koje-do. He describes the layout and organization of the camp while he was stationed on the island. He emphasizes there was an ugliness within the North Korean compound that justified the ugliness of the frontlines. He explains how he, while in Koje-do, transitioned from being a correspondent to mapmaker.
John Jefferies recounts a successful and massive North Korean POW escape that occurred early one morning. He details how the North Koreans used towels to destroy part of the fencing around the camp and remembers watching thousands of them flee. He recalls having to defend himself to survive the situation.
First Job in Korea
John Pritchard was dropped off in Pusan and was shocked to see civilians living in cardboard boxes without any sanitation. After one day, he was sent to Geoje Island to work in an American workshop to fix a water tanker. He was impressed with the tools available to the American Army.
Jose E Hernandez Rivera
Guarding the Prisoners at Koje-do
Jose E. Hernandez Rivera describes what it was like to guard the Prisoner of War camp at Koje-do Island, Korea. He explains that they used to take the prisoners to the LSTs (ships) to load oil and equipment in the morning. He shares a memory of a time when a prisoner would not do what he was told and then moves on to tell of the deaths that took place in the camps.
North Korean Prisoners of War
Myron Toback served as a guard for several Prisoner of War Camps throughout the war. He explains how the North Koreans were “brainwashed” and what they believed about the life they had under Communism. He states that there were about 4,000 North Korean soldiers in this camp.
POW Trials on Geoje Island
Narce Caliva describes common occurrences at the Geoje Island POW camp. He explains that he was assigned several missing persons cases among the North Korean POWs. These cases had been reported to the Geneva Convention as mistreatments on behalf of the UN soldiers. He explains that through testimony it was understood that the missing persons had been perceived to be collaborators or were not friendly to the North Korean cause and were murdered and cut up into small pieces by other North Korean POWs and disposed of in the outgoing "honey buckets."
Guarding Prisoners at Geojedo
Ralph Hodge shares he soon found himself among the soldiers whose duty it was to guard the one hundred sixty thousand North Korean and Chinese prisoners on Geojedo Island. He offers details of the prison camp. He recalls the inside of the camp being a "beehive of discontent," so much so that the United Nations and the Red Cross encouraged the soldiers not to go into the compounds.
They were Ready for War
Ralph Hodge shares the errors the United States military made in dealing with those held in Geojedo and the dangers which resulted. He recalls a Brigadier General being held for two days. He estimates there were only ten thousand troops guarding the one hundred sixty thousand prisoners. He offers details of how the discontent within the prison led to danger for the guards.
We Sensed Something was Wrong
Ralph Hodge remembers sensing something was wrong on May Day. He recalls how the morning started with a parade. He notes how things changed when Brigadier General Haydon L. Boatner took command of Geojedo. He remembers that among the changes were constructing new, smaller compounds and relocating the prisoners to these smaller compounds.
POW camp life
Robert Arend explains how they housed 70,000 prisoners among different compounds, including one for females. For safety reasons, they tried to separate prisoner based on their political beliefs, i.e. noncommunist or communists. He adds that for the most part, the prisoners were well behaved, but recalls several uprisings and incidences of violence that occurred.
Robert Arend remembers the conditions in which the prisoners lived. He describes the prisoners as being well fed and cared for. The Red Cross would periodically conduct inspections to ensure decent conditions, including sports equipment to play with.
Account of Prison Uprising
While Robert Arend arrived in the camp shortly after the uprising, he tells the story as it was told to him from others who were at the camp at that time. He says it was the General's blunder by walking into the camp, and the prisoners overpowered him. After several days, they sent in some troops and a tank to get him out. The General was not killed, but there were several prisoners and possibly a few American soldiers were killed.
Prisoners Were Happy to Be There
Robert Arend remembers that many prisoners were happy to be there, especially the non-communist ones, happy not to have to return to the Communist North. Those that were "hard core" would do anything to go back. It was Robert Arend's job to keep records of every prisoner including their political affiliation and where they were sent. He states that this was a very "intense time" with a lot of threats.
Return to Korea
Robert Arend returned to Korea in 2010. He was surprised and totally amazed at the progress. He visited the prison, which has been partially restored. He says that although he believes war is senseless, this war gave the South Korean people some hope and allowed them to find the ambition to build up their country.
Ronald L. Swift
Ko-Jedo Prison Camp: "Prison Island"
This interesting clip delves into Mr. Swift's time as a combat engineer in Ko-Jedo. He discusses how he furnished the equipment for the POW's to do the work in the camp. He also discusses the riot that took place involving a Brigadier general. Mr. Swift also recalls an American Jet fully loaded for combat, including napalm, that exploded over the POW camp killing 500 POWs.
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.
Salvatore R. Conte
Capture and Traveling to the POW Camp
Salvatore Conte remembers traveling toward Hagalwoori when his vehicle was hit and the men went into a ditch. All three of the soldiers were injured in his group and then they were taken by the Chinese. He recalls being taken to Geojedo POW camp in January 1951. He gives a thorough account of what it was like in the camps.
Propaganda Lectures from the Chinese
Salvatore Conte explains his struggles with his faith and beliefs. He and the other POWs had to listen to Chinese propaganda lectures stating that they were fools for believing in Wall Street and America. He explains that they were also told that they should sign a petition to be released, but they all refused. He shares he became a political activist for the soldiers which led to him being isolated from the rest of the POWs.
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.
Salvatore Conte recalls his transfer to another camp where he was placed with 21 other soldiers who were considered the most dangerous POWs. On May 1, 1953, he was transferred out of this section with the rest of the soldiers and he was given better food. On Aug. 27, 1953, he remembers he was released at Panmunjom where he told his story to newspaper reporters who published his story across America.
Virgil W. Mikkelsen
A Island for a Prison
Virgil Mikkelsen recalls his time on a POW Island after the Armistice. He describes the island as desolate and made only of sand only to find out that the island is a top tourist destination today in Korea. He remembered a fence for prisoner camp.