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
Evacuation of Civilians after the Battle of the Chosin Reservoir
South Korean civilians wanted to escape so bad that they were willing to leave behind everything and jump aboard overcrowded ships to leave the war-stricken area. It was estimated that 99,000 civilians were crammed on two boats with the survivors from the Battle of the Chosin Reservoir with aid from a Chaplin who convinced the boat skipper to bring all the civilians to safety.
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.
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. Reflecting on the events of the war, 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.
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.
Leaving Chosin (Jangjin) Reservoir
Bill Chisholm recounts leaving the Chosin (Jangjin) Reservoir following the horrific fighting going on in the region. He shares his unit was able to evacuate to Ko-to-ri following the building of a Bailey Bridge across the river and on to Heungnam. He recalls the massive sea of humanity he saw in Heungnam as the port filled with the Marines, the soldiers, and thousands of refugees.
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.
The Level of Trust was Remarkable
Burley Smith explains issues the SS Meredith Victory faced trying to dock and unload the refugees. He recalls the fear of plague delaying the ability to dock and resources being to be brought to the vessel. Through it all, he remembers the excitement the refugees exhibited and the remarkable level of trust they had in the crew.
It is Remarkable It Happened Without Any Incidents
Burley Smith gives details about the minefields of Hamheung harbor. He recounts how the United States Navy marked the minefield for them to navigate around the mines. He describes the United States Navy minesweepers maneuvering beside them to mark the minefield which allowed them to navigate through the mines. Along with this, he shares that the refugees were never searched and could have overtaken the ship at any time. For these reasons, he shares that it is remarkable that it all happened without any incidents.
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.
Charles L. Chipley
Chinese Attacks Against Civilians
Charles L. Chipley Jr. offers his account of providing evacuation aid to the Marines at Heungnam. He recounts that his ship provided gunfire support so that troops could be loaded onto the evacuation ships. He describes the movement of a speculated 100,000 Chinese troops killing civilian Koreans.
Heading to Korea
Chuck Lusardi recalls the process of learning he and his brother were both headed to Korea while he was at Camp Stoneman, California. He recalls how, from Camp Stoneman, they were consigned to a troop ship which took about three thousand five hundred men on a fourteen-day voyage to Yokohama, Japan. He remembers that upon arrival at Camp Drake, there were no ships left because they had been dispersed from the Heungnam Evacuation. He vividly recounts the masses of humanity upon arrival in Busan on January 11, 1951, estimating the throng of refugees to be about two and a half million.
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.
Darrell D. McArdle
Directing Traffic at the Pass
Darrell McArdle describes the position of MP’s at the Battle of Chosin (Jangjin) Reservoir and their role as traffic control at the Funchillin Pass. Because the reservoir was blown apart, he explains the challenges of escorting units and the engineering of makeshift timber bridges for the trucks to cross areas. He recalls coming under fire during one escort through the pass and heading back down the pass to ensure that a 30-caliber machine gun did not fall in the hands of the enemy.
Donald Lassere describes his first real encounter with the enemy in the Battle of Hill 907. He recounts the struggle to climb the hill and how they were almost wiped out. He remembers the will of the North Koreans as they fought to the death for their country and how he knew they were weakening when he encountered young children behind the weapons.
Thanksgiving in Hungnam
Edward Hoth met Felix DelGiudice and Myron "Jack" Leissler at the mess hall on Thanksgiving. Their regiments joined together and Edward Hoth's rifle platoon supported the regiment by using machine gun support at Heungnam.
Evacuation from North Korea
Edward Rowny shares 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 Heungnam, North Korea. He recounts his job also included blowing up the port so that the Chinese could not use it. He recalls he was scheduled to be on the last ship to leave, but that ship was blown up. He recounts how 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. He describes how they were finally rescued by an American plane and made it home by Christmas, despite being shot at.
J. Robert Lunney
The SS Meredith Victory Volunteers
J. Robert Lunney discusses the decision by Captain LaRue to volunteer his ship for the evacuation efforts in Heungnam. He recalls the urgency to evacuate the military personnel and civilians. He explicitly breaks down the positions and resources involved in the evacuation and the chaotic scene they encountered in the port. Because of the great leadership exhibited by Captain LaRue, he shares the crew never questioned his decision to assist in the evacuation.
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.
The Heros of the Ship of Miracles
J. Robert Lunney shares his opinion of the true heroes of Huengnam evacuation and the Korean War. Furthermore, he acknowledges the sacrifices and contributions of the refugees and their descendants to the development of South Korea. Nevertheless, he expresses his appreciation to the Korean people for the gratitude shown to those who served in Korea.
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.
Joe H. Ager
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.
Escaping Heungnam by any means necessary...
John Levi talks about his emotional encounter with Korean citizens in Heungnam. Fleeing the war zone, many Korean citizens looked for any way out with backs that were loaded with children and anything they could carry. He shares how he saw the plight of his people, the Native American people, in the same struggle that many Koreans had to endure during the war.
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.
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
The Sinking of the USS Sarsi
Louis Santangelo describes the details of the sinking of the USS Sarsi, a fleet tug that was part of the US Navy's 7th Fleet. The USS Sarsi struck a mine during a typhoon and sank in 20 minutes on the night of August 27, 1952. Louis Santangelo describes being one of the last men off the ship and eventually saving 37 men from the sea.
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.
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.
Myron “Jack” Leissler
A “Safe” Foxhole
Myron “Jack” Leissler recalls a “humorous” moment in Korea. While advancing toward a group of Chinese troops in Kotori, he had a chaplain, medical corpsman, and machine gunner join him in the foxhole. They joked that this is the “safest they felt since being in Korea.”
Dealing with Guilt
Paul Welsh describes a time when he had to make a difficult decision. He recalls a woman and a young boy were on a bridge with a wagon that was carrying a hidden weapon. He explains that when the woman opened fire, he ordered his men to fire on them--a decision he still struggles with today.
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.
Raymond V. Miller
The Chinese Were Everywhere
Raymond Miller describes feeling no fear most of the time despite being surrounded by the Chinese. He recalls having to take cover in a foxhole during a grenade attack, and when he stepped out the next morning, he could not take a step without stepping on a Chinese soldier, noting that the stacks of bodies were horrendous. He has a recurring nightmare of pulling the trigger and his gun not firing despite squeezing and squeezing it.
Richard Carey – Part 2
Evacuation after the Chosin Reservoir
Richard Carey describes taking as many Korean evacuees on ships. He shares the sheer number of evacuees that followed them after the Battle of the Chosin Reservoir. He explains how the Korean police were interviewing the evacuees.
Robert Kam Chong Young
Injured After Capturing POWs
Robert Kam Chong Young shares his experiences after participating in the Incheon Landing. He recalls suffering from Hepatitis which caused his hospitalization at the 35th Army Hospital in Japan. He remembers being scared when he captured three Chinese prisoners of war (POWs) prior to being injured by Chinese mortar fire.
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.
Steven G. Olmstead
"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.
Writing Letters Home
Steven Olmstead talks about writing letters home. He mentions that there were not opportunities to write when on the front lines and that while he received letters from family and friends, he did not write back very often. He recalls a fellow marine asking his permission to write to his sister and shares that the marine and his sister were eventually married.
Victor D. Freudenberger
Victor Freudenberger talks about his impressions of the Korean people while he was stationed at Chosin Reservoir. He recalls the suffering of civilians and families being displaced. He describes observing a Korean woman washing clothes in sub-zero temperature at six in the morning and marvels at the resilience and commitment of the Korean people. He comments on the war atrocities committed by the Chinese against civilians he saw along the way.