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
Korean Culture and Ceasefire
Allen Clark worked with and became friends with some South Korean civilians during his second tour in Korea. He observed Korean burials and was invited to eat octopus for the first time with the locals. During the ceasefire, Allen Clark used the help of civilians at the DMZ to find the enemy on the final days of the Korean War in July 1953.
Allen E. Torgerson
Knowing What You Are Fighting For
Allen Torgerson describes fighting alongside KATUSA (Korean Augmentation to the United States Army) soldiers and ROK (Republic of Korea) soldiers. He explains that while there was a language barrier, the KATUSA and ROK soldiers knew enough English among themselves to communicate with Americans. He emphasizes that both groups showed pride in their country and knew what they were fighting for during the war. He adds that South Koreans show appreciation for what America did for them.
Billy J. Scott
The Friendship of Two Strangers
Billy Scott describes his friendship with a KATUSA (Korean Augmentation to the United States Army) named Pyon during his time in Korea. He recounts the opportunity Pyon was given to pay a visit to his family he had not seen in roughly a year's time. He shares that American soldiers gathered food, clothing, blankets, and money and gifted them to Pyon to secure his family's safety. He adds that he will never forget him.
Service Role in Korea
Carl Hissman describes his experience in Korea. His shares how his job was to find new positions where the company could set up its guns. He recalls once bailing out of his jeep with his rifle because he saw some Chinese soldiers. He remembers shots being fired from both sides, but neither side was hit. He remembers seeing the Chinese soldiers use cocaine. At the closest, he remembers being about 100 yards away from the Chinese soldiers. He recalls having two KATUSA (Korean Augmentation to the United States Army) soldiers with him.
Carroll F. Reusch
Serving with KATUSAs
Carroll F. Reusch reminisces about the KATUSA (Korean Augmentation to the U.S. Army) soldiers that served with his unit. He remembers three in particular and notes that he had a good time with them especially after the armistice was signed.
Charles Carl Smith
The Greatest Respect
Charles Smith talks about his experience with ROK Army and KATUSA soldiers. The only Koreans he encountered during his deployment, he describes his feelings about their service and fortitude.
Charles T. Gregg
Interactions with KATUSA
Charles Gregg talks about KATUSAs. He describes how KATUSA soldiers were organized and used within his unit. He tells the story of dealing with a KATUSA soldier that had killed another soldier in an argument.
"They Liked Us, We Liked Them"
Chuck Walther speaks about working with and being around native Koreans during his time serving in Korea after the Armistice. He describes that they had a good relationship with each other. He shares the only thing that was hard for him to adjust to was Korean food, particularly kimchi.
Chong Rae Sok
Chong Rae Sok describes becoming a KATUSA soldier at the beginning of the Korean War. He describes what a KATUSA soldier was and what he was doing when he was recruited into the Army. He tells about being sent to train at Camp Fuji, Japan where he was assigned to Easy Company, 31st Regiment, 7th Division.
Inchon Landing and Osan
Chong Rae Sok talks about his participation in the Battle of Inchon Landing. His unit landed at Inchon on September 18, 1950 and fought their way to Suwon. One day later, he describes moving by foot to Osan and losing soldiers along the way, including a fellow KATUSA.
The Battle of the Chosin Reservoir
Chong Rae Sok talks about his participation in the Battle of Chosin Reservoir. He describes the conditions that his unit faced including cold weather, loss of communication, and little food. He talks about the fighting that took place, taking one hill at a time.
Help from South Korean Soldiers and Civilians
Clarence Jerke recalls his experiences with KATUSA soldiers and South Korean civilians. He describes one particular South Korean soldier who was especially adept at laying communication lines. He talks about civilian boys who washed military uniforms for food or money.
Orphans, Mama-sans, and Katusa!
Curtis Pilgrim talks about the Korean people and how he came to care for them. From the shoe shine boys to the mama-sans, he remembers how he and fellow soldiers would sometimes give their last dime to help buy them necessities, especially the orphans. He recalls having great respect for the KATUSA that served alongside him.
David H. Epstein
Meeting a Friend from Home
David H. Epstein shares an endearing story about being reconnected with a childhood friend who was his military superior. He recalls that both of their mothers arranged the meeting between he and the other soldier prior to both of them being shipped overseas to Korea. He explains that after the Korean War was over, they both continued to reconnect as friends while they were both still serving in South Korea.
Working and Living Among ROK Soldiers
David White talks about working and living among ROK soldiers during his time serving as a Liaison officer to the 6th ROK Division. He describes the ROK soldiers as very disciplined. While he was there, he began to enjoy Korean food.
Life as a Platoon Leader
David White talks about his duties as Platoon Leader. His responsibilities included setting up ambushes and relieving his men and the conditions under which they operated. Most of these operations were against the North Koreans and took place at night.
Doddy Green (Widow of Ray Green)
The Relationship between American and KATUSA Soldiers
Doddy Green, widow of veteran Ray Green, recalls her husband's feelings towards KATUSA (Korean Augmentation to the United States Army) soldiers and the Korean people. She expresses that her husband was truly impressed with the gentleness of the Korean people. She describes the Korean people as being grateful for the sacrifices Americans made.
Doyle W. Dykes
Working with the KATUSA
Doyle W. Dykes describes having to work with the KATUSA (South Korean soldiers) because there were not enough American soldiers to prepare and fire the ammunition. He led training with them due to his knowledge of the Korean language. He describes his relationship with them, enduring the experience of the Nakdong River Battle, as well as preparing and carrying ammunition along the Manchurian border.
Ernest J. Berry
Service in Korea
Ernest J. Berry describes helping in delivering a baby during war. He also describes becaming ill during an attack and was rescued from a foxhole by an American M.A.S.H. unit. He was treated in the M.A.S.H. hospital and flown to Japan, where he watched many soldiers die from what he later learned was a hantavirus known as Korean hemorrhagic fever. Overall, he felt he had to go to help the people of Korea.
Frank Zielinski describes the use of Korean "house boys" by various officers, though he himself did not take on a house boy. KATUSAS brought food up the paths to the front lines to feed soldiers. At Thanksgiving, the KSCs delivered much-appreciated turkey. Korea taught Frank Zielinski to respect and protect others.
American G.I.s and the KATUSA
Gary Routh describes his interaction with the KATUSA stationed with the American G.I.s. He describes how the American forces would view Korean culture as strange, such as bathing each other or eating ramen while seated on the floor. He then describes how Koreans would view the Americans as strange, including the harsh language and loud nature of the U.S. soldiers.
George J. Bruzgis
Befriending The KATUSA
Short on men within his own division, the KATUSA pictured with George Bruzgis is Corporal Yu daek yoo. He described him as a great man and he was considered a part of the division. George Bruzgis mentioned how little the KATUSA was paid, so the men in his division pitched in 5 dollars each, so that they could paying him over 20 dollars a month. This was a lot of money in 1953.
Signed To Cease Fire; Look What We Hit!
George Bruzgis vividly recalled on July 26, 1953, a Major approached them with a document they (both US and ROK) had to sign agreeing that at 10 p.m. on July 27, 1953, they had to stop firing their weapons. Shortly afterwards, a two-ton truck arrived taking most of their ammunition away, so they wouldn't shoot. However, at 6 a.m on July 27, 1953, they got a phone call that they were given coordinates to fire 5 rounds on what they thought maybe a cave or a bunker. He later learned in 2000 when he received a battalion pamphlet, his story of that morning was located within it saying his division destroyed a Chinese Observation Post.
Being hit; In-Going Mail, and Out-Going Mail
George Bruzgis shared some of the most difficult and horrible experiences during the war. He recalled knowing the sound of artillery shells coming and going (nicknamed it In-going mail and Out-going mail). Before he closed the tank, he could see the enemy close. After firing, they found the men in bloody pieces, and he still can't get that scene out of his head.
Working as a welder for transportation company
George Zimmerman worked at the Transportation Headquarters at Camp Casey. Because of his experience welding in FFA in high school, he volunteered to serve as the company's welder. Occasionally he would 'go to the field,' using his welding skills to repair damaged vehicles. During these forays, KATUSA soldiers accompanied him for training. They traveled to areas near the DMZ and to Seoul, wherever troops needed their services.
Working With KATUSA and Turkish Armed Forces
Homer Garrett protected South Korea along with the Turkish armed forces and local KATUSA. KATUSA soldiers are the South Korean soldiers that worked directly with the US forces. Homer Garrett was assigned the task of guarding the crossroads between North Korean agents and the ROK (the Republic of Korea) Military Police with his M14 and bullet proof vest in the middle of the night.
Captured Submarine & Firing at the UN Troops
Homer Garrett described encounters with North Korean agents during his service in Korea. His unit captured a 2-man operating submarine that was trapped on a sand bar which carried 4 North Korean agents. That same submarine is now located in the 2nd Infantry Division Museum. The other close call incident involved their Military Police Jeep and a lady who was standing in the road. She ran from the intersection when suddenly shots were fired piercing the radio in their jeep.
Reflection of Service
Israel Irizarry-Rodriguez shares his thoughts on his service during the Korean War and why the United States went to help South Korea. He expresses his fondness for the Korean people and culture. He shares his pride regarding the progress South Korea has made economically since the war.
James “Jim” Cawyer
I'd Rather Be in Seoul
James "Jim" Cawyer reminisces about some of the activities he enjoyed while stationed in Seoul. He recalls seeing movies on occasion, playing pool, and playing dime poker. He describes why he felt there were better living quarters for soldiers stationed in Seoul, than for those stationed in Daegu.
Joe C. Tarver
Life at Sea
Joe C. Tarver explains that most of the men he was stationed with aboard the USS Boxer were part of a reserve squadron. The ship was almost nine hundred feet long, and had places to do laundry and take regular showers; it also had a post office and gas tanks. He explains that enemy fire never came while he was aboard the aircraft carrier because other ships were in the same area for protection.
John G. Sinnicki
Encounters with the Koreans
John Sinnicki reflects on his encounters with the North Koreans in various settings. He describes how on the battlefield, they were dedicated to their Communist cause; however, in a civilian sense, they were very friendly and willing to engage with the Americans. He recalls KATUSA playing an incredibly helpful and important role and regrets they haven't received the credit they deserve.
John I. Reidy
KATUSA Soldiers and First Impressions
John Reidy explains the connection between the U.S. Army and KATUSA soldiers. He comments on his fondness of those attached to his unit and the camaraderie they shared. He recalls ways he and fellow soldiers entertained themselves to pass the time, and he offers his first impressions of Korea, describing it as primitive.
John Sehejong Ha
John Sehejong Ha explains the role of the Korean Augmentation to the United States Army (KATUSA). He shares his duties as a translator. He explains how he was often escorted by military police (MPs) all around Korea to translate as needed. He shares how he went to the field hospitals to translate for US medical staff aiding South Korean soldiers. He shares all the places he visited doing his translator duties. He shares the destruction he saw as well.
Joseph M. Picanzi
The Greatest Gift
Joseph Picanzi describes gifting a new harmonica to a KATUSA soldier attached to his unit. He mentions that the soldier was very grateful for the gift.
Nathaniel Ford Jr.
Picking up Brass
Nathaniel Ford recalls how desperately poor the people were after the war. He describes an incident when his platoon was participating in firing exercises across a valley. His attention was drawn to the front of the machine guns when he noticed an elderly woman who, desperate to make money, put herself in grave danger to pick up spent brass from the gun. After pausing their exercises, a KATSUA asked her to stop and she began to cry and explained that she needed the brass to sell and that youths frequently stole the brass she collected.
Ray D. Griffin
Ray D. Griffin formed important bonds while in the military. He recalls that learning to make pizza while in Korea was a landmark moment for him. He gives credit to the military for causing him to be more mature and to develop more realistic perspectives of the world.
Richard A. Houser
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.
Life as an American Soldier on the Front Lines: From Bunkers to Bullets
Rodney Ramsey was supported by Korean Augmentation to United States Army (KATUSA) and these troops were seasoned fighters by the time Rodney Ramsey entered the war in 1952. While sleeping in sand-bag bunkers at the front lines in Geumgang, North Korea, he was comfortable with his summer fatigues including a field jacket. Some of the most dangerous times were when Rodney Ramsey was going on patrol or raids where the Chinese were dug in. He was shot through the helmet with a minor wound when an African American soldier standing next to him was shot with the same bullet and died.
On the Frontlines, in a Minefield
Shorty Neff recalls an experience he had on the frontline. His unit was in a minefield, and they lost a tank. He recalls how after the battle was over, he and his unit went to recover the tank. He shares how his unit ended up losing a platoon leader in the minefield. He includes a story and photograph of a Korean soldier.
Letter from a Korean Friend
Shorty Neff reads and reflects on a letter he received from a Korean friend who was a Sergeant in the Korean Army and served as an interpreter. "Hello, Neff (July 8, 1953) - I received the package from you, and I was very glad to get it. I and all the boys enjoyed ourselves with the candies. How have you been lately, Neff? I bet you have a nice time in your home life. Do you remember the night you left here? I was on guard that night. As soon as I walked in the tent from the guard, you were going out with two bags. Then I helped you carry your baggage. I was very sorry because I was on guard. I should write you before but I didn't know your address. Now I know your address so I can write you whenever I have time. I'd like to hear from you and let me know how things are going. Is that okay? Well, nothing is new over here, so I think I better close for now. Until I hear from you, take care good care of yourself, Neff. Thanks again for your package. From sincerely friend..." He then reflects on his time with his friend.
Thomas “Tommy” Tahara
Arrival in Korea
Thomas "Tommy" Tahara describes being aboard a ship in the Pusan (Busan) Harbor for over a week waiting to be called into action in Korea. He recounts seeing dead bodies for the first time and experiencing combat. He speaks of the fear he experienced as an eighteen-year-old while in a combat situation.
Victor Burdette Spaulding
Images of South Korea and Working with UN Soldiers
Victor Spaulding describes the Korea he saw in 1953, commenting on the state of the buildings and peasant life. He explains it was not the images of South Korea seen today and likens the images to going back in time two hundred years. He details fighting with other United Nations troops. He elaborates mostly on the courage of the Korean soldiers (KATUSAS) and says most historical accounts depict them inaccurately. He comments on serving with other countries' troops as well.
US Soldiers Fighting Along Side KATUSA
William Burns worked with many KATUSA and Korean civilians during his 11 months in Korea during the war. The Koreans who worked with the US troops worked hard, but had a difficulty with communication. William Burns showed personal pictures of two KATUSA that he worked closely with during the war, but he remembers about 10-15 were stationed with this regiment.