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
War Torn: 1950 Heungnam Evacuation
Arthur Gentry had an emotional experience when he and his fellow Marines were evacuated from Hamheung along with 100,000 North Korean refugees. As the reality of war set in, seeing the ships in the harbor the troops and the countless refugees were relieved to be rescued. Arthur Gentry remembered all the ships, his company straightening their lines, and the Marine Corps singing hymns as they marched forward.
Legacy of the Korean War
Arthur Gentry believes that if it were not for the Marines, there would not have been victory at the Chosin Reservoir. Casualties were hight with 3600 U.S. soldiers killed in action, and another 6000 suffered from frostbite. Arthur Gentry believes that the Korean War, otherwise known as the "Forgotten War," was the last war the U.S. "won" and accomplished anything. He believes the victory lies within the Marines holding the line and the U.S. nurturing South Korea to flourish economically and democratically.
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.
Clara K. Cleland
Nursing Wounded Soldiers After Various Campaigns
Clara Cleland describes her nursing duties as various battles were occurring, including taking care of patients from the Jangin (Chosin) Reservoir. She recalls how she and her unit set up various Mobile Army Surgical Hospitals (MASH) and remembers witnessing the U.S.S. Missouri firing its guns and heavy fire from other ships as well. She explains how her unit was then moved to assist another unit on a hospital ship and how, from there, they began treating non-emergent patients with illnesses.
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.
Donald R. Bennett
Moving to the 38th Parallel and Back to Incheon
Donald R. Bennett recalls his unit moved from Seoul to the Han River shortly after his arrival and fought its way to the 38th Parallel. He details their movements toward the 38th Parallel and their return to Incheon and eventually Wonsan Harbor. He notes Bob Hope actually beat his unit into Wonsan because of the delay they faced in landing due to someone, possibly the Russians, mining much of the harbor. He discusses the challenges of being a young tank commander in charge of four other men who had relatively little knowledge or training related to tanks.
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.
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. He explains how fellow soldiers would run, but the grenade would not detonate. He describes how he found it humorous but others did not.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 that 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.
Several Incidents on Board
John McBroom recalls several incidents on board the U.S.S. Symbol while in the Hamhueng area. He remembers North Koreans firing at the ship from the beach and recalls gunfire from both the North Koreans and another the USS Wiltsie (DD-716) that was posted nearby for protection.
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.
A Bright Spot in the War: Humanitarian Evacuation of North Korean Refugees
Lawrence Elwell, despite all the horrors he witnessed while serving in Korea, describes witnessing the evacuation of ninety-seven thousand North Korean refugees from Korea to the United States. He muses they almost depopulated North Korea in doing so. He recalls meeting some of those refuges who were successfully settled in the Dallas, Texas, area.
Leo C. Jackey
Making Their Way Down the Mountain
Leo C. Jackey recounts the challenges his unit and others faced in making their way down the narrow roads from the Jangjin (Chosin) Reservoir region. He recalls one truck getting too close to the edge and going over the side of the mountain. He shares his unit was one of the last to leave Heungnam.
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.
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 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.
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.
Ralph A. Milton
Ralph Milton recalls a time of frustration and anger when General MacArthur kept secret that they were actually fighting the Chinese. He describes the chaos and peril so many faced when they encountered this foe. He recounts the in-fighting between the Army and the Marines at the Chosin Reservoir.
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 L. Jewitt
A Chaotic Withdrawal
Robert Jewitt describes his experience after the Battle of Pyongyang and General MacArthur’s push further into North Korea. He explains the attachment of his battalion to the United States Army’s 7th cavalry and receiving orders from General MacArthur to move south of Pyongyang. He continues by providing details about the overwhelming experience of the Chinese making a stand. Consequently, he elaborates on the chaos of the withdrawing troops and their role in providing some level of protection for the retreating soldiers and refugees.
Hamheung Evacuation aka Hungnam Evacuation (code name Christmas Cargo)
Robert Talmadge talks about the Miracle Evacuation of Korean civilians from Hungnam including the loading of the civilians onto the USS Victory. He remembers 99,000 civilians on the pier that loaded onto the ship. He explains how the civilians had to leave all of their belongings before boarding.
One of the Greatest Things We Ever Did
Robert Whited recalls movement of his unit from Seoul to Inchon and later Wonsan. The 5th Marines did not immediately go up to the Chosin Reservoir, but instead ran patrols out of Heungnam where he remembers encountering their first Chinese. He describes how when they were establishing a roadblock they were hit by the Chinese and pushed back to Hagaru-ri and Koto-ri and ultimately to the seashore. During the retreat, they were protecting thousands of Korean refugees who were ultimately loaded on a cargo ship and taken to Busan.
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.
Sterling N. McKusick
Little Knowledge About What He was Heading Into
Sterling N. McKusick details the amphibious landing his unit took part in near Wonsan which was delayed to allow minesweepers a chance to clear the heavily mined waters in the area. He remembers when they finally arrived in Wonsan, the city had already been liberated, and Bob Hope was even there entertaining the troops. He recounts how from Wonsan, they were sent to the Hamhueng area for about four weeks before being sent up the mountains toward the Chosin Reservoir. He recalls really having no idea where they were heading and that they were typically told were they were when they arrived. He does remember knowing their mission--to stop Communists from occupying all of Korea.
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.
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.