Korean War Legacy Project

Tag: Hamheung



Political/Military Tags

1950 Pusan Perimeter, 8/4-9/181950 Inchon Landing, 9/15-9/191950 Seoul Recapture, 9/22-9/251950 Battle of Pyongyang, 10/15-171950 Wonsan Landing, 10/251950 Battle of Chosin Reservoir, 11/27-12/131950 Hamheung Evacuation, 12/10-12/241951 January 4 Withdrawal, 12/31-1/71951 Battle of Bloody Ridge, 8/18-9/15/1951 Battle of Heartbreak Ridge, 9/13-10/15/1951 Battle of Jipyeongri, 2/13-151952 Battle of Old Baldy, 6/26-8/41952 Battle of White Horse, 10/6-151952 Battle of Triangle Hill, 10/14-11/251952 Battle of Hill Eerie, 3/21-6/211953 Battle of the Hook, 5/28-291953 Battle of Pork Chop Hill, 3/23-7/161953 Sieges of Outpost Harry, 6/10-181953 Armistice 7/271968 Pueblo Abduction1968 Blue House attack1969 EC-1211976 Poplar Tree Ax Incident1983 Langgoon blowup1996 Gangneung attack1999 Yeonpyeong naval battle2000 South-North Summit2002 2nd Yeonpyeong naval battle2008 Geumgang Mountain killing2006 1st nuclear test, 10/92009 2nd nuclear test, 5/252010 Cheonan sinking2010 Yeonpyeong Island bombing2013 3rd nuclear test, 2/122016 4th and 5th nuclear tests, 1/6 and 9/9

Geographic Tags

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

Social Tags

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

Arthur Gentry

War Torn: 1950 Hamheung 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 his ships, his company straightening their lines, and the Marine Corps singing hymns as they marched forward.



Legacy of the Korean War

Arthur Gentry believes that if it were not for the Marines, there would not have been victory at the Chosin Reservoir. Casualties were hight with 3600 U.S. soldiers killed in action, and another 6000 suffered from frostbite. Arthur Gentry believes that the Korean War, otherwise known as the "Forgotten War," was the last war the U.S. "won" and accomplished anything. He believes the victory lies within the Marines holding the line and the U.S. nurturing South Korea to flourish economically and democratically.



Bruce Ackerman

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.



Clifford Petrey

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.



Duane Trowbridge

Grenade Game

Duane Trowbridge discusses how when he was stationed in Hamheung, he would play a trick on his fellow soldiers. He describes how he would remove the powder from grenades and then pretend to ignite them by pulling the pin. His explains how fellow soldiers would run but it wouldn't detonate. He describes how he found it humorous but others didn't.



Edward Rowny

Evacuation from North Korea

Edward Rowny was put in charge of the evacuation of the 600,000 tons of supplies, 100,000 troops, and 100,000 refugees at the port at Hamhung, North Korea. His job also included blowing up the port so that the Chinese could not use it. He was scheduled to be on the last ship to leave, but that ship was blown up. The commander thought he had gone down with the boat, but instead he was stranded on the beach with his radio operator and jeep driver. They were finally rescued by American plane. Despite being shot at, he made it home by Christmas.



Edwin R. Hanson

"Home by Christmas" Was Just a Rumor

After the Hamheung Evacuation, the US soldiers came down from the Chosin Reservoir and traveled to Masan to celebrate Christmas with the famous 'Home by Christmas' Dinner. This was when MacArthur gave a speech promising the men to be home before Christmas. Edwin Hanson said that this rumor was killed shortly after they got to Masan. "Chestee" was what Edwin Hason called MacArthur and he said that it was only a rumor because they wouldn't be going home. Edwin Hason didn't mind though; he was just excited to be aboard a ship and not in the Chosin Reservoir again.



Felix Byrd

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.



Herbert Werner

Refugees During War

Herbert Werner became very emotional as he described being an 18 year old seeing war first hand. He said witnessing the wounded, being under fire, civilians fleeing, and children affected by war made him overcome with emotion. He never saw as much fear as he did while there and it still gets to him even today. Herbert Werner made an instant personal connection with the refugees during the Hamheung Evacuation since he was an orphaned child himself.



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.



Jack Allen

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.



Jake O’Rourke

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

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.



John McBroom

Several Incidents on Board

John McBroom recalls several incidents on board the U.S.S. Symbol while in the Heungnam area. He remembers North Koreans firing at the ship from the beach and recalls gunfire from both the North Koreans and another U.S. ship that was posted nearby for protection. He describes a minesweeping mission.



John Parker

Life of a Pilot

John Parker explains what it was like as a pilot in the Royal Australian Air Force. He remembers that they were briefed and told where to fly, including areas like Hamheung and Pyungyang, where they often covered for the Sabre planes. He remembers a time when the RAAF shot down three Russian MiGs.



Joseph Lewis Grappo

Inchon Landing and Seoul Recapture

Joseph Lewis Grappo explains how he participated in the Inchon Landing as a sixteen-year-old. He shares how he had little fear since he didn't know what to expect. He explains that since he was a part of the heavy mortar company, he created a defensive line behind the US Marines in order to recapture Seoul from the east side. He explains that he then went to Busan awaiting orders for the next invasion but there was a delay. He describes how he then traveled to Hamheung. He shares a memory from Hamheung where he witnessed money coming from a looted North Korean bank so he took some and bought apples from the locals.



Louis F. Santangelo

Recovery from the USS Sarsi

Louis Santangelo describes the time after the USS Sarsi sank off the coast of Korea. The area where the USS Sarsi sank was controlled by North Korea. He describes that four sailors perished and how he was recovered in the hours after the sinking by other US ships. Louis Santangelo earned accommodation for keeping his men at sea, instead of allowing them to go ashore into enemy hands.



Merl Smith

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.



Mike Scarano

Hungnam Evacuation

Mike Scarano was in Hungnam when, as he describes it, "the Chinese chased us out". He describes how his company emptied out as many supplies as they could, and burned the rest to prevent the Chinese from acquiring them. Then they got on the "Victory Ships" to evacuate to Pusan.



Paul Hummel

Always Have a Backup Plan

Paul Hummel remembered when the enemy forces figured out the weaknesses of United States' planes. Due to this, there needed to be a back up plan created to outwit the Chinese. Mosquito pilots used a variety of maneuvers while in the Hamhung area.



Robert Battdorff

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.



Travel, Food, and UN Attacks on Chinese as a POW

Robert Battdorff and one other US POW were forced to walk south to the 38th parallel in May 1951 as the US soldiers were pushing the Chinese back in battle. He was told that he was brought down south just in case if the Chinese came across additional prisoners. He would walk at night 6 days a week and then take Sunday off. Since the Chinese were traveling with supplies during the night, UN pilots looked for the headlights of the trucks to know where to hit.



33 Months as a POW

Robert Battdorff was watched by only 1 guard for all 25 POWs until the Chinese realized that it would be safer for them to separate the POWs. After moving all the Koreans out of the next city, the homes were called Camp 3 where they stayed during October 1951. He had to deal with Communist Indoctrination for over 2 years. Robert Battdorff was finally released in August 1953 after the Korean War came to a stalemate.



Robert Talmadge

Hamheung Evacuation aka Hungnam Evacuation (code name Christmas Cargo)

Robert Talmadge talks about the Miracle Evacuation of Korean civilians from Hungnam including the loading of the civilians onto the USS Victory. He remembers 99,000 civilians on the pier that loaded onto the ship. He explains how the civilians had to leave all of their belongings before boarding.



Rollo Minchaca

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.



William Herold

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.