Korean War Legacy Project

Tag: Letters

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 KoreaPropagandaRest and Relaxation (R&R)South KoreansWeaponsWomen

Albino Robert “Al” D’Agostino

Letter From A Friend

Al D'Agostino talks about an interpreter friend of his near Gumi. He sent Al D'Agostino a letter expressing his gratitude for the Americans and how they helped the Koreans during the war. Al D'Agostino received the letter when returned to America.

Alford Rodriguez Rivera

Letters with Money Sent Home

Alford Rodriguez Rivera explains that he sent letters home to family during the war. He shares that he cannot quite recall the amount of money he made each month, but the figure ranged between $100-$200. He describes sending some of his earnings to his uncle during the war. He confirms having a girlfriend during the war but cannot recollect sending her letters.

Alice Allen

College, Letters, and Love

Alice Allen was going to college when her husband, Jack Allen, joined the military in 1948. During his time away, she earned a degree in education, and began teaching which helped pass the time while he was away. On leave in 1950, Alice Allen was married to Jack Allen and the two stayed in contact through letters while he participated in the Korean War from 1950 through 1951.

Alvin Jurrens

Withholding the Difficulties of War

Alvin Jurrens details an experience out on the front lines as a forward observer on the 38th Parallel. He recalls feeling safe in the bunker, but shortly after his departure, it was blown up. He shares a second close encounter he endured in a jeep incident as well. He acknowledges that someone was watching over him in both accounts. He also explains that he wrote letters home to his mother but withheld information regarding the difficulties there as he did not want her to worry.

Amitava Banerjee

Photos and Awards

Amitava Banerjee shows a picture of him and his father, Asoke, while they served in the Indian Army together. They served together for three years. He speaks of his father's awards and shares a citation. He discusses the status of his father's pictures.

Andrew Lanza

Armistice Day

Andrew Lanza was upset when the armistice took place in 1953 because he was fighting for every last hill against the enemy. The United States Marines were so sad to see his fellow troops die on the last few days of war. After going home, he was overjoyed to see his girlfriend, family, and friends again.

Arden Rowley

Life as a Prisoner of War

Arden Rowley describes his experiences as a Prisoner of War . He explains how they marched 24 nights before arriving at the camp which became known as “Death Valley” or the “mining camp.” He shares their living conditions, losing many of his fellow soldiers, burial detail and the indoctrination they received daily.

Arden Rowley

Resistance and Letters from Home

Arden Rowley describes the indoctrination sessions conducted by the Chinese. He emphasizes how the communists were focused on converting them to the communist ideology. He outlines the organization of the lectures and discussions. As part of the process, he recalls on being assigned as a monitor for his room and how it was his role to report discussion questions back to the Chinese officials. He remembers the process took a toll on him and he chose to provide the real answers to their questions and not what the officials wanted to hear. He feels that this act of rebellion influenced other monitors to copy his actions. He explains the entire company was eventually relocated, and the lectures reached a point of diminishing returns. He shares that once they received letters from home, their courage grew.

Aristofanis Androulakis

Photos from the War

Aristofanis Androulakis shares a photo of him and captain. He then shares a photo of a church they created to have services during the war. He shows a photo of a Greek cemetery in Korea. He also shares an image of the grave of a man he knew who asked him to deliver a message to his sister when he returned to Greece.

Avery Creef

Living Conditions, Daily Routine

Avery Creef recalls never being able take a shower. He recounts never being dressed properly for the freezing winter weather. He slept in a bunker and ate C-rations. He shares how he enjoyed eating the pork and beans and adds that everything else tasted terrible. He remembers receiving packages from home periodically which would include better food options. He also remembers writing letters home.

Belisario Flores

"Until You Are There, You Don't Understand"

Belisario Flores discusses his brother's letters and the great loss of friends in Korea. He notes that his brother came back a changed man. He shares he was emotional about one particular death and avoided talking about Korea for many years; It would stay with him forever.

Ben Schrader Jr.

10 Days and a Much Needed Shower

Everything was provided for the soldiers, so pay was always sent back to the US. Combat fatigues were provided and showers were only provided every 10-12 days. Charcoal was provided for heat and since you had to carry your water for drinking, water was scarce. Ben recalled the trucks carrying large containers of hot water pulled up and they had installed pipes that sprayed hot water to produce a "shower" effect for the men as they stood under in 20-degree weather.

Benigno Ramos Perez

Letter to Future Wife / Carta Para Su Futura Esposa

Benigno Ramos Pérez has his wife read a letter he wrote to her from the front lines. Within the letter, he provides a firsthand account of the dangers he encountered and comments on his inability to sleep. He details how two sergeants were injured during combat and praises American troops. He emphasizes the importance of their love in the letter.

Benigno Ramos Pérez hace leer a su esposa una carta que le escribió cuando él estaba en Corea. Dentro de la carta, provee un relato de los peligros que encontró y comenta como no podía dormir. Detalla cómo dos sargentos resultaron heridos durante el combate y comenta que las tropas estadounidenses eran buenas. Incluye la importancia de su amor en la carta.

An Emotional Letter / Una Carta de Amor

Benigno Ramos Pérez reads a letter he wrote to his girlfriend who became his wife of sixty-one years. He explains the toll the separation had on his psyche and the belief that God would reunite them. His reading brings tears to his wife who accompanies him on this portion of the interview.

Benigno Ramos Pérez lee una carta que le escribió a su novia, quien se convirtió en su esposa de sesenta y un años. Explica lo duro que fue la separación y su creencia de que Dios los reuniría. Su lectura hace llorar a su esposa que lo acompaña en esta parte de la entrevista.

Benito B. Arabe

Life on the Front Line

Benito B. Arabe describes his experience on the front lines near Hill 010. He shares the only thing on his mind was his mission to fight. He recounts living conditions while on the front which include sleeping and eating in the bunkers near the front line.

Benjamin Arriola (brother of Fernando Arriola)

Dental Records for MIA

Benjamin Arriola describes his brother Fernando Arriola's history as a boxer in the Army. He shares the story of how his brother's tooth was knocked out. He details how the DNA extraction from the tooth is now being used to help identify his brother's remains as an MIA soldier if they should ever appear.

Bernhard Paus

Letter to His Grandchildren

Lucie Paus Falck reads a letter that her father wrote years after his service to his grandchildren. In the letter, Bernhard Paus describes his reasons for going to Korea. He did not know much about Korea, but sympathized as he lived through Nazi occupation of Norway much like Koreans did during Japanese occupation. He describes the NORMASH hospital and the early use of the helicopter to transport the wounded.

Bob Couch

Letters Home and Witnessing Death

Bob Couch speaks about the letters he sent home, arriving anywhere from 2 weeks to a month after he sent them, and shares a few words about witnessing death. He mentions one particular day where many suffered severe wounds and recounts ditches filled with American blood. He describes the scene as unimaginable and unlike any movie he had viewed.

Bruce W. Diggle

Departure and Revisit

Bruce Diggle left Korea in 1954 by ship and went to London. In London, he met up with his soon-to-be wife who left for London when he left for Korea. They were married upon his arrival in London. He returned to Korea with a revisit program offered to New Zealand veterans. He is very appreciative of South Korea's efforts to bring veterans back and is impressed by the development of South Korea since the war.

Charles Earnest Berry

Experiences with Chinese Soldiers and Rethinking War

Charles Earnest Berry discusses fighting the Chinese and how quick and mobile they were since they carried less equipment than the American soldiers. He explains how the Chinese would put human waste on their bayonets to increase the chances of wounds becoming infectious. He recounts finding an entire National Guard unit dead and hauling dead bodies from the front. All of this made him rethink war. He shares that when his mom asked what he would like her to package and mail, he requested liquor instead of cookies.

Charles Falugo, Jr.

Communicating During and After the War

Charles Falugo does not recall what he was paid, but he does remember sending his paychecks home to his wife, Rosemary. He recalls writing and receiving many letters back and forth with her during his time in the Korean War. He also talks about a Korean man that he befriended and somewhat adopted. He seeks to reconnect with him.

Charles Gaush

Psychological Warfare with Propaganda

Charles Gaush talks about his time in the US Army's physchological warfare unit. He describes creating, designing, photographing, and printing propaganda leaflets during the Korean War. The leaflets were printed in Russian, Korean, and Chinese to promote democratic values.

Clarence J. Sperbeck

East Is Red With The Blood of Our Dead

Daily life in prison camp began with a lecture on Chinese politics and required POWs to recite the Chinese National Anthem," The east is red with the blood of our dead.." and Clarence Sperbeck continued to recite the anthem after being released. Clarence Sperbeck would later discover that while the POWs were writing daily reports in the prison camp, Chinese officers had difficulty interpreting slang terms GI (a nickname for US soldiers) would write. When the soldiers discovered this, they taunted the Chinese with slang in their letters all the time just to mess with them. The GIs were allowed to send/receive letters from family with the Chinese overseeing what was written in the letters, but POWs would have to lie to get their letters sent home.

Claude Charland

Share the Wealth

Claude Charland describes how the troops would share with everyone any goods/letters that were sent as part of a care package. He describes it as a party. He speaks about the camaraderie this experience created. He says this helped everyone feel less lonely.

Letters from Home

Claude Charland details the different people with whom he would correspond during his time in Korea. He describes how there were certain things that he could only write about with certain companions. He explains how with one penpal he could discuss the war, but would not do that with his letters to his mom or girlfriend back home.

Clayton Burkholder

Letter Writing to Family and Fighting Men of Michigan

Clayton Burkholder wrote letters home to his wife twice a week. In the letters, he wrote about the different propaganda posters that he made. He also made releases for US newspapers using sketches of pilots that he drew. These releases were used to publicize the war in the pilots' hometown.

Clifford Petrey

Letters to and from Home

Clifford Petrey recalls being allowed to write letters home occasionally. He recounts his mother keeping three or four of his letters through the years as a means of assurance that he was alive after having previously been listed as Missing in Action. He shares that he received a few letters from his family during his time as a POW as well.

Colin J. Hallett

Engaged During the War

Colin Hallett describes his engaged to Ina Everitt. Both Collin Hallett and Ina Everitt sent letters to stay in contact. Colin Hallett sent letters that spoke of daily and weekly events. Ina Everitt had a busy life at home that kept her busy and not just thinking of her fiancé.

Dan McKinney

An Amazing Coincidence

Dan McKinney describes his capture by enemy forces and the way he was able to let his family know that he was still alive. He talks about telling another POW who was scheduled to be released, to tell his girlfriend and family that he was still alive when he returned stateside. In an amazing coincidence, the Marine told him that he had actually double dated Mckinney's girlfriend back in Texas before the war.

Daryl J. Cole

Living Conditions

Daryl J. Cole describes the living conditions he experienced while in Korea. He describes living in a basic canvas tent with a cot and sleeping bag and a small stove in the middle of the tent. He recalls always having a good, hot meal, being able to take a shower about once a week and the foot fungus he brought home after the war. He goes on to recount his correspondence back home with his father.

David Clark

Ship Life

David Clark discusses the living conditions aboard the U.S.S. McCord while serving in the Navy. He explains the sleeping area. He explains the food and the cooks. He describes showering, entertainment, and letters on the ship.

Delbert Tallman

Letters Home and Christmas in Korea

Delbert Tallman describes staying in contact with home, leaving around the age of 20. He talks about being in Korea for Christmas away from his family. He shared that it was very hard being separated.

Demetrios Arvanitis

He Would Have Surrendered in 1950

Demetrios Arvanitis provides an account of an altercation he had while the Chinese soldiers were surrendering. He describes a wounded Chinese soldier turning an automatic rifle on him and his quick actions that led to disarming the soldier. Because of his interaction with the prisoner of war, he shares how the prisoner of war tried to give him a service medal and sent a letter to President Eisenhower praising Demetrios Arvanitis.

Dennis Grogan

Recollections of Korea

Dennis Grogan talks about the sacrifice he made to serve in Korea. He explains how he received correspondence from his wife, saying his daughter had been born while he was in Korea. He discusses why he is proud to have been a part of the Korean War legacy and the issue of little acknowledgement of the sacrifices made by Korean War veterans.

Doddy Green (Widow of Ray Green)

Letters from Korea and Digging the DMZ

Doddy Green, widow of veteran Ray Green, recalls a particular letter from her husband at the developing DMZ. She shares that her husband spoke of the quietened guns after the ceasefire. She explains that her husband described the digging of lines at the present-day DMZ and living on C-Rations.

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.

Wounds and Ailments

Doddy Green, widow of the veteran Ray Green, describes a few of the physical abuses her husband either suffered during the war or shortly after returning home. She shares that he suffered a sabotage wound and developed a little frostbite in his ear while in Korea. She recounts a bout he experienced with malaria as well upon his return home.

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.

Don Leaser

Life on the USS Herbert J. Thomas

Don Leaser describes life aboard the USS Herbert J. Thomas. He recounts how they slept on bunks and that his favorite foods were eggs and cheese. He shares that his ship was the head of the fleet which had three ships. He notes he was able to write letters home but adds he did not write enough, only writing one letter to his girlfriend, Geneva.

Don R. Childers

Arriving in Korea

Don R. Childers recalls his journey to Japan and Korea by ship, where some of the men suffered from severe seasickness. After landing in Korea, his company was loaded onto trucks and taken to a small, remote town called Wonju. There, they set up camp in a dry river bed and were immediately told to "dig in." It was only later, when someone yelled "incoming mail" - referring to enemy artillery shells - that he realized the importance of this command. He was then assigned to the Weapons Company and the Eighty-one Mortar Patrol, starting as an ammunition carrier and eventually volunteering to be a forward observer, responsible for identifying target locations.

Donald Lassere

Battle Wounds

Donald Lassere describes the moment he was shot and the events that followed. He tells of how he was transported to receive medical services. Just as he was being put to sleep, he recounts hearing a gunny sergeant with a severe leg wound begging to keep his leg only waking up to find out that he passed.

Donald Schneider (Part 1/2)

The Challenges of Letter Writing

Donald Schneider colorfully describes not only the challenges of writing letters from the front lines, but also the dangers faced by the soldiers whose job it was to deliver the incoming mail. He remembers having to use his helmet to write on while having to use pencils because the pens were frozen. He said that while it was difficult to write, everyone looked forward to the mail that they received.

Donald Stemper

FBI Scoured His Home Town Asking Questions

Since Don Stemper and his family had printing skills, he had a huge interest in infrared, aerial, or map-making photography. While at Lackland Air Force Base, they put him into a Casual Squadron which is where the armed forces put you when they don't know what to do with you. He heard from family members that the FBI had scoured the town of Mankato, Minnesota asking questions about Don Stemper in order to receive clearance to do undercover work for the Armed Forces. He learned later that these strategies was standard protocol before giving someone who was working with classified material and map-making technology. While he was in this holding pattern, he pulled duty over trash cans.

Doris B. Porpiglia

Letters to Where?

No soldier could have imagined that their letters would be analyzed to determine their IQ. Doris Porpiglia was called aside while at Camp Cook and she was told to go through stacks of mail to determine which G.I.s had high IQs. If they had high IQs, they would be assigned certain jobs, but she didn't know what they were being assigned to.

Ladies Don't Do Such A Thing

Doris Porpiglia was asked how her family felt about her being in the military. Although her parents and immediate family were proud of her, her rich aunt told her that "Ladies don't do such a thing." Doris Porpiglia replied, "I am more of a lady than you'll ever be, and what I wear isn't going to determine the person I am going to be."

Women's Wartime Jobs

During the Korean War, women worked as switchboard operators and they drove jeeps for officers. Doris Porgiglia was given an aptitude test and she was qualified for over 150 types of jobs. She decided to go to Indianapolis to obtain the training for the Post Office.

Big Surprise

Doris Porpiglia tells a story that the most surprising thing about her job was some of the men that didn't know how to read or write, so they would quietly ask her to read the letters they received. The male GIs since didn't want others to know that they were uneducated. Doris Porpiglia felt sorry for them and she said that most of the men who had difficulty reading were from the south, but race didn't matter. She believes that it inspired her to become a teaching assistant when the war was over.

Dorothy Stanosek

Letter from the President of South Korea

Dorothy Stanosek shares a framed letter from the President of South Korea in September of 2011. She comments on how very proud she was to receive the letter and is to be a Korean War Era veteran. She mentions her brother, Donald Sharp, served in the Korean War as a bombardier.

Doyle W. Dykes

Ruined Gloves

Doyle W. Dykes reminisces on a time he wrote his family asking for a new pair of gloves to endure the extreme cold. Upon receiving them that day, he had to bury over two hundred and seventy Chinese soldiers who died after a napalm attack. He shares that his gloves were immediately ruined and that he buried them with the soldiers.

Dwight Owen

Letters Home

Dwight Owen discusses writing letters home to his girlfriend whom he married when he arrived home in August of 1951. He adds that his wife will not share the letters with anyone. He also speaks of his mother and how she must have been worried as not one but three of her sons were in the war at the same time.

Edgar Green

Shipped to Korea

Edgar Green describes the feeling of nervousness he and fellow soldiers experienced boarding the HMS Unicorn in Hong Kong destined for Korea. He shares that having World War II veterans among the crew was helpful as they offered advice. He recounts having to line up with other fellow soldiers along the flight deck and endure a round of injections prior to arriving in Korea.

Edith Pavlischek

Letter to my Parents

Edith Pavlischek reads a letter that she wrote to her parents in July 1953 while she was serving as a nurse in the army. She describes the daily events of her interactions with the soldiers and doctors. She describes to her parents a recent trip that she took to Seoul while she was serving in the Korean War.

Edmund Ruos

Service Duties

Edmund Ruos describes his experience and his duties as part of the communications crew during his time in the Air Force. He explains that the U.S. had radar sites along the West Coast during the war and that he was sent to Alaska to assist with the changing and cleanup of a new site. He shares that he asked to become part of the permanent party there, finishing out his service. He adds that his parents did not know where he was and had to contact Washington D.C. to find out.

Edward A. Gallant

Military Service, a Family Affair

Edward Gallant followed the military tradition in his family. Some of his brothers fought in World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. One of his brothers was a POW that was killed in action during the Korean War and is buried in Hawaii.

Edward A. Walker

Rolls of Film and a Girlfriend

Edward Walker took photos of the Korean boy he hired to cut his hair and of Korean women carrying their babies on their backs. He sent rolls of film home to his girlfriend, Shirley. Shirley joined the interview and said she missed her boyfriend so much and she cried while he was away. Shirley also noticed that textbooks in New Zealand did not feature much content on Asia, so many people did not know where the men were fighting.

Edward B. Heimann

Life in Korea

Edward Heimann describes life in Korea after his winter arrival at Incheon. He recalls his living conditions, being fed well, and being able to take warm showers most of the time. He explains that he was also able to enjoy leave (rest and relaxation) in Japan and received care packages from home.

Edward F. Foley, Sr.

Living Conditions

Edward Foley describes the living conditions while in Korea. He recalls the winters as "colder than blazes" but admits that he was lucky as he had warm clothes and a lot of downtime. He shares that it was hard for him to be away from home and that letters were sporadic.

Edward Greer

Moving Ranks and Combat in Korea

Edward shares the trajectory of his military service by describing moving up in rank and describes some of the officer training he received. After finishing a basic course, in January of 1950, he was sent to Japan with a field artillery unit and was there when the war in Korea began in June of 1950. In December of 1950, he was promoted to an officer position, and he wrapped up that portion of his tour in December of 1951. Edward also describes the supply system during the Korean War and compares it to that of World War II.

Edward John Jankowski

Personal Connection with the People

Edward Jankowski shared details with his family about a "house boy" who was with his unit in Korea. Noreen recalls her husband sharing how he stayed mostly with them, worked for them, and would take what money he made home to his family. She mentions how she would send the boy toy guns through the mail. Noreen reads a letter from 1954 that the "house boy" sent to Edward after he left Korea.

Rededication of the Bridge

Noreen Jankowski recounts how her husband, Edward, would write her letters every day, and she would receive them in bulk. Along with these letters, she reviews some of the husband's photographs of construction projects. Among these photographs, she shares images of the reconstruction and rededication of the bridge over the Han River. In a few of the photographs, she identifies General Taylor and the President of the Korean National Assembly.

Reminders from M.A.S.H

Noreen Jankowski recalls her husband, Edward Jankowski, was not the type of veteran who would complain about his military service. According to his wife, the sitcom MASH reminded him of his outfit. Noreen shares one story from Edward involving the commander encouraging the soldiers to improve their attire and they did not have the resources to dress up.

Edward T. Smith

A Letter of Lies

Edward T. Smith recounts only receiving one letter which was from his aunt. He believes that the only reason he even received that letter was because it lied about how terrible Thanksgiving was, making it seem like life back in the US was terrible. This supported the ideas of Chinese propaganda.

Edwin R. Hanson

I Jumped In Front of a Torpedo Bomber to Mail My Postcard

Edwin Hanson reminisces about one occasion at Kor-'o-ri when a torpedo bomber (plane) came through to pick up wounded soldiers. He had a postcard that he wanted to deliver to his mother. He remembers the bomber sitting at the end of the runway, preparing to take off, and running down the middle of the runway blocking his takeoff and waving his letter. This postcard was among the many sent home to his mother, but he notes that most dealt almost exclusively with the weather.

Elbert H. Collins

What Happened to Injured Civilians and Soldiers?

Elbert Collins recalls what sticks out most in his mind- tons of civilians, including women and children- walking down the sides of the road. He describes a time that these civilians almost killed a man. As a medic, he often questioned what happened to the people that he treated, but Elbert Collins did get a letter from one Marine he treated.

Eugene Dixon

Home, Food, and Weather

Eugene Dixon describes how he communicated with his family through letter writing during the Korean War. He details experiences in eating combat rations, and recalls the difficulty in accessing food in extreme cold weather conditions. He recounts the impact of low temperatures on the functioning of weapons and communications devices. He describes the precautions he took to prevent having frost-bite during the war.

Everett Kelley

Living Conditions in Post War Korea

Everett Kelley provides his impressions of Korea when he arrived in 1976. He recounts the living conditions of American soldiers during that time as well as the status of relationships between American and South Korean soldiers. He expresses that American contributions post-1953 were focused on maintaining peace between North and South Korea while maintaining a high readiness level.

Felipe Aponte-Colon

Combat Pay / Pago de Combate

Felipe Aponte-Colon discusses that while he was not paid much for his service, it was very difficult to get his paycheck to his family. He recounts talking with his father on how to best use the money he sent them.

Felipe Aponte-Colon cuenta que Aunque no le pagaron mucho por su servicio en el ejercito, era muy difícil mandarle su dinero a la familia. Él cuenta la historia que tuvo que hablar con su padre sobre mejor cómo usar el dinero que les envió.

Forrest D. Claussen

Winter Clothing from Home

Forrest Claussen recounts cold winter nights in Korea and shares a story about receiving winter clothing from home. He recalls writing home to his mother, asking for additional winter clothing as the military had not issued winter clothing yet. He recounts receiving the clothing, only to be ordered to discard it as other men in his group did not have access to the same. He describes digging a hole and placing the clothing inside in hopes that South Korean civilians would find and utilize his discarded items.

Frank Churchward

Newlywed Abroad

Frank Churchward discusses leaving for Korea less than two months after his wedding day. He discusses how he felt down during the rainy season. He shares about writing and receiving letters from his new bride.

Fred J. Ito

Life in the Army

Fred Ito describes his life while in the Army in Korea. He describes the meals he ate, his salary, and communication home with his parents. He particularly explained how his father received a Missing In Action report and his knee-wound.

Fred Liberman

"A Shocking Experience"

Fred Liberman describes a "shocking experience" that he had while in Korea. He recalls having to raid a village and forcefully remove civilians, including the elderly and children. He explains how he wrote a letter home to his brother about it. This is an experience that still bothers him today.

Fred Liddell

Letters From Home as a POW

Fred Liddell received letters from his wife who delivered their baby right after he was released from the hospital, but before he became a POW. He received a picture from his wife and the baby and it was supposed to contain a religious medal, but the medal was taken. Fred Liddell was so upset that he screamed at the leaders of the POW camp and was punished by standing overnight with his arms outreached. He was thankful that another man, who had been thrown through the door, was there to lean on during those long hours.

Fredrick Still

Letters Home

Fredrick Still remembers writing to his friends, family, and future wife regularly. His wife has kept many of the letter that he wrote. He recalls getting a lot of mail while he was over in Korea.

Gene Bill Davidson

Delivery From the Commander

Gene Bill Davidson gives an account of how he eventually received his winter gear. Since he arrived during the spring, he shares he was equipped with summer gear. As it grew colder, he recalls the other soldiers receiving their winter clothing but he still lacked equipment. He describes making multiple requests for winter boots. After being caught in a blizzard and arriving back to the bunker with severe frostbite, he shares how he decided to take further action. In order to get the name of his Senator, he recalls how he decided to write to his mother. Eleven days later, he remembers pulling a message off of the teletype demanding resources for Gene Davidson. The next day, he remembers a helicopter landed with his size fourteen boots. He reveals that his mother wrote President Eisenhower a letter, and that is why he received his winter boots.

George W. Liebenstein

The Most Difficult Part

George "Bill" Liebenstein recollects the most difficult parts of his time in Korea. At the top of his list was being away from his wife and his business. He shares that he wrote her about every two days but was not always able to share what he was experiencing. He still possesses many of the letters he wrote her but, sadly, does not know what happened to those she wrote. He remarked that he also missed good home-cooking, playing ball with friends, and simply being free to do what he wanted.

Giuseppe Ercoletti

Letters to His Wife

Giuseppe Ercoletti discusses his parents’ letter writing during the war. While his father was away, he notes his parents would write to each other daily. He remembers his father’s letters were mainly focused on easing his mother’s fears. Even after death, he shares how his mother was connected to the letters from his father because she requested to be buried with them.

Henry MacGillicuddy

Staying On The American Base

Henry MacGillicuddy speaks about what it was like staying on the American base. He shares his favorite food was turkey, and he remembers ice cream being served at every lunch and dinner. He remembers many Korean children worked on the base, cleaning and doing other jobs. He recalls writing home frequently.

Homer M. Garza

Food and Letters Home

Homer M. Garza describes the food he and his unit survived on during their first two weeks in Korea. He also talks about writing letters home.

Howard Lee

Bridge Construction Assignments

Howard Lee shares that once their equipment and materials arrived in Incheon, they were given construction assignments. He recalls being assigned to construct bridges at various points and on certain dates. He states that platoons were required to camp out in the area once the bridge was complete until they received another assignment and mission. He comments on food availability and his platoon's mail schedule while in Korea.

Howard W. Bradshaw

Writing Home

Howard Bradshaw wrote to his wife every day. In the letters, he described the impact he'd made on the Korean people through his faith. Howard Bradshaw felt that these letters saved his life by giving him comfort and joy.

a Soldier's Wife Remembers Life Without Her Loved One

Laverne Bradshaw, just like Howard Bradshaw, spent every night writing letters to each other. She described how she grew a vegetable garden to save money while her neighbors would shoot a deer to help feed Laverne Bradshaw's family. Howard Bradshaw wrote about how he would help to feed orphans while he was away in Korea.

Hugo Monroy Moscoso

Letters from the Home Front / Cartas de la Familia

Hugo Monroy Moscoso shares the story of a mass card which was given to him by his mother. After more than sixty years, the writing is faded, but he shares that it said, “May God protect you and bring you back.” He explains that it was that card and his faith which allowed him to survive the war.

Hugo Monroy Moscoso comparte la historia de una imagen de Cristo que le mando su madre. Después de más de sesenta años, lo que estaba escrito se borró, pero el recuerda que decía “Que Dios lo proteja y te traiga.” Explica que da las gracias a esa carta y su fe en Dios que sobrevivió a la guerra.

Ian J. Nathan

Letters to Mom

Ian Nathan did not have a girlfriend at the time of his service in Korea, but he wrote to his mother and brother. His brother helped him identify Venus from his observations of the dark night sky from his tent. He visited Seoul once during his time in the Army, but the city was in shambles due to the fighting that occurred there. Markets were set up, but most of the goods had been created from scavenged items. He contrasts his experience with pictures of modern Seoul.

Isabelino Vasquez-Rodriguez

Life in Korea During the War

Isabelino Vasquez-Rodriguez was constantly traveling during the war and had to sleep wherever he could find a spot to rest his head. Eating canned food rations was the norm. He recalls the extreme cold in Korea.

Jack Allen

Frozen Bodies and Paralyzed Limbs

Jack Allen was sent to an Army hospital in Japan and he stayed there for 7-10 days until he was shipped to a Naval hospital where Marines were supposed to be sent. When he walked in there, there were over 100 frozen bodies that lost arms, legs, and/or toes. Thankfully, a neurosurgeon performed surgery to help get feeling back in his arm while at the Naval base. Jack Allen was sent back to the US in February 1951.

Jack Sherts

Engagement and Letters Home

Jack Sherts became engaged to his wife, Jane, just before he left for Korea. However, they kept it secret until after her birthday while he was in Korea. He would write letters to her about once a week and send her pictures that he had drawn. He also would send her money he earned. He is proud of his service and what South Korea has become after his tour was over. After he returned home, Jack and Jane got married and raised three children.

Jack Wolverton

Communication with Home

Jack Wolverton remembers writing letters home. He was not married and recalls relationships were tough to keep going while he was at war. He would correspond via letters with his mother, updating her on his day-to-day activities. She would return letters with stories from home. He recalls asking his mother, at times, to send back some of the money he forwarded home.

James Cochran

Softer Side of War

James Cochran offers a glimpse of the softer side of war. He recounts his living conditions in bunkers and recalls sleeping without heat from the bunker furnace at night despite the cold temperatures. He remembers being well fed and shares that he often wrote letters home during his service, detailing the weather and requesting items such as socks and camera film.

James Creswell

Supply Train Ambush

James Creswell recounts a supply train ambush where guerrillas had dynamited the track, forcing the train to stop roughly twenty miles from its destination. He shares that the civilians on the train got off, and the guerrillas then gunned down around four hundred of them. He recalls the event being so horrific that it made headlines in the U.S. and believes it to be the largest civilian massacre in 1952.

James Ferris

The Difficult Job as a US Marine

James Ferris shares that his assignment did not allow him to stay in Korea for a long time. He explains that his job had him flying in and out of the entire country. He shares he earned good money for the 1950s as a corporal and recalls how he sent most of it home to his family. He adds that once he arrived back home, he went on his first date with a girl he wrote to for over a year while serving in the war.

James Kenneth Hall

Sending a Letter Home

James Hall recounts how the Chinese wanted the prisoners of war to write letters home after the peace talks began in 1951. He explains how the prisoners were told to write about accolades of the Communist way of thinking and to put down the United States government. He recalls how he refused to write the letters and remembers a Chinese nurse helping him write a letter to his mother to let her know he was alive.

James M. Cross

Impressions of Korea

James Cross discusses his first impressions of Korea. He remembers everything as small and ruined and recounts children being hungry as there was not enough food. He shares that he would give candy bars or whatever else he had to the children.

James Parker

Letters Home

James Parker recalls writing letters home to his sister. He produces a folder containing a letter he had written and offers the viewing of a magazine he was sent from the States pertaining to Heartbreak Ridge. He utilizes the map to show the routes he and other soldiers took during the campaign.

Jean Paul St. Aubin

Letters During War

Jean Paul St. Aubin recalls writing letters home and receiving letters often. He remembers that he, collectively, received 3-4 letters from his family members and girlfriend each week despite being on the front lines and mentions that the mail service was good. He describes the topics of conversation on which most of the letters centered.

Jean Paul White

Paying a Speeding Ticket from 6,000 Miles Away

Jean Paul White discusses sending money (Korean Won) home. He explains how he captured North Koreans and liberated the Won he gathered from them. He explains how he used the money to pay an outstanding speeding ticket he had received just prior to leaving for Korea. He explains how he sent money to the Chief of Police and was told he was cleared.

Joan Taylor

The Importance of Care Packages

Joan Taylor describes what it was like to be a young bride of a Korean War soldier. She recalls living with her parents while her first husband was away at war. She describes the care packages she made for her husband that included warm clothes because winter military clothes had yet been provided.

Joe O. Apodaca

Baking at Sea and Corresponding with Spouse

Joe O. Apodaca recalls experiencing bouts of seasickness while aboard the USS Henrico. He shares how severe weather and rough waters made baking cakes and other goods difficult. He remembers how the ship's crew graciously enjoyed the food despite any mishaps. He explains he had married a woman in the last year of his enlistment, and during that time, his wife lived in an apartment in San Diego, working for various government agencies. He recalls how hey kept in touch regularly through letters.

John Halliday

Calculus by Candlelight

John Halliday describes completing mathematics courses through the University of California at Berkeley while in Korea. While other soldiers were sleeping or participating in other activities during their downtime, he explains being driven to solve calculus by candlelight. He shares how he used benefits from the GI Bill and California to pursue his passion. He emphasizes he was interested in the knowledge and not necessarily the degree.

John Juby

Losing a Friend on the Front Line

John Juby shares his experience of losing a close friend who died on the front line after being hit by an incoming mortar. He explains having to wrap up the body and take it the American Graves Registration Service. He describes the scene of the location of where the deceased bodies of soldiers were dropped off.

John P. Downing

Life as a Soldier on Hill 355

John P. Downing explained that life as a soldier was cold, wet, and hungry. He had limited rations and many of his friends died during his time participating in the Korean War for 13 months. Hill 355 was a hill that overlooked the 38th parallel and it was constantly under attack by the enemy. Artillery and mortars were incoming while John was protecting the hill.

John Turner

Everyday Life in Korea

John Turner talks about what it was like to sleep and eat in Korea. They slept in sleeping bags inside two-man tents and would receive one hot meal a week; other than that, they ate rations. He recalls the weather not being as cold as it was up north. They were occasionally allowed to shower. He recalls writing letters to his wife when he could.

John Wallar

"You Needed Letter from Home"

John Wallar talks about writing and receiving letters from home. He describes the things that he wrote about to his thirteen "pen friends."

Jorge Hernando Uricoechea Castro

Letters / Cartas

Jorge Hernando Uricoechea Castro remembers the letters he exchanged with his family. He shares the fact that it was his mother that was most worried about his safety in Korea and therefore sent him numerous holy cards with saints and Jesus Christ to protect him. Furthermore, he mentions the details of what his letters to his family included.

Jorge Hernando Uricoechea Castro recuerda las cartas que intercambió con su familia. Él comparte el hecho de que era su madre la que estaba más preocupada por él y fue por eso por lo que le envió estampas con santos y Jesucristo para protegerlo. También menciona los detalles de lo que les escribía en sus cartas a su familia.

Jorge Luis Rodríguez Rivera

Living Conditions / Condiciones de Vida

Jorge Luis Rodríguez Rivera recalls the living conditions he faced while he was in Korea. He remembers the cold temperature and how bundled up they were to cope with the freezing temperatures. He adds that he never saw snow, but instead he recollects ice pellets falling from the sky.

Jorge Luis Rodríguez Rivera describe las condiciones de vida que enfrentó mientras estuvo en Corea. Él recuerda la fría temperatura y lo abrigados que tenían que estar porque no estaban acostumbrados al frio. Añade que nunca vio nieve, sino hielo que caía del cielo.

Jose A. Vargas-Franceschi

Thousands of Letters

Jose A. Vargas-Franceschi recounts interesting aspects of his job as a mail clerk in Pusan (Busan). He recalls seeing thousands of letters, sometimes three months after they were written. He shares that, many times, the letters never made it to the intended soldiers due to their movements.

Jose E. Colon

The 65th Regiment’s Efforts and Consequences

Jose E. Colon provides an account of the 65th Infantry Regiment's movement to the 38th Parallel during the Korean War. He praises the regiment's tenacity in pushing back the Chinese, allowing United States Marines to evacuate the area. He notes, however, the poor living conditions endured by the 65th Regiment and the court-martials that followed their refusal to push forward.

Joseph F. Hanlon

Special Assignment

Joseph F. Hanlon talks about his special assignment as a rifleman in an intelligence/reconnaissance platoon. He describes being assigned by his commander to comb through the dead bodies of enemy soldiers in order to gather information.

Joseph Quinn

First Thoughts in Korea

Joseph Quinn describes that he was thinking when they first arrived in Korea. He remembers that they arrived at the staging camp and were given their mail, a meal, and some blankets. He then explains his first wakeup call.

Keith H. Fannon

Returning Home from the Forgotten War

Keith H. Fannon describes how the mail worked during the war and how his family received information about the Korean war. He also talks about coming home to friends that were unaware of the war and the impact the war has had on his life since.

Kenneth E. Moorhead


Kenneth E. Moorhead describes his living conditions while serving in Korea. He discusses some of his most difficult experiences with the freezing weather as well as food rations and mailing letters home. He recalls the weather at night would often be twenty degrees below freezing and though he was from New England, he still found the winter to be difficult. He goes on to describe eating c-rations mostly but upon occasion receiving b-rations which were more substantial.

Kim H. McMillan

Engaged, Alone, and Cold

Kim McMillan left his fiancée, Elizabeth, to enlist in the New Zealand Army, but he wrote letters home twice weekly. Memories of Korea include going to bed fully dressed in the cold winters and the state of Seoul as he left in 1956. Seoul remained damaged by the war. Very little construction was underway, although Syngman Rhee diverted funds provided by the United States for a hospital into the building of a hotel.

Larry Kinard

Letters Home

Larry Kinard explains how he wrote letters every day to his wife and once a week to his mom while he was away. He explains how he was unable to write while he was stationed in the mountains at the 38th parallel. He explains how he sometimes sent for a time of rest. He explains how he was able to receive pictures and letters once he returned to a more protected location farther down the mountain. He shares how he kept the conversation light and still has the letters.

Leona Stern

Seeing the Troops Off

Leona Stern recalls hearing about Charles deploying from someone in her office. She shares how they were not supposed to know about the men shipping out, but her father drove her to the railroad station to say goodbye. At the station, she remembers soldiers asking them to deliver things to their loved ones because they did not know what to do with their belongings. She discusses how it took them about a week to organize and send all of the personal items to the families.

Access to the War Room

Leona Stern recounts her experience while Charles was in the Jangjin (Chosin) Reservoir. After the Chinese attacks on Thanksgiving, she reveals sharing her fears with an admiral who authorized her to have access to the maps in the war room. She describes seeing the day-by-day movements of the units and the Chinese surrounding them. Since she did not receive a notification informing her he was gone, she assumed Charles was okay but shares it was two weeks before she knew for sure he was alive. She emphasizes how she did not stop crying until she received letters from Charles informing her he was alright.

Leroy Johnson

Ship Life

LeRoy Johnson describes living conditions abroad a ship for several months at a time. He recalls feeling extreme seasickness for the first two months before adapting sufficiently. He goes on to describe how much he disliked the food; that much of it, eggs, potatoes, and milk, were powdered and that he frequently included money with his letters home requesting a care package with food that he enjoyed and shared with his buddies.

Lewis Ebert

F80 Ammunition Supplying and Documenting History Through Letter Writing

Lewis Ebert came over with 3 squadrons of F80 Jets. He was assigned the ammunition supply section of the base and worked on the ammunition reports each night including replenishing the 50 caliber machine guns bullets. His letters home helped remind him how much ammo that the military went through each day because his mom and sister kept all the letters that he wrote twice a month.

Loannis Farazakis

One Sentence Letter

Loannis Farazakis describes his mother waiting to hear from him. He explains how he wrote her a letter with one sentence. He shares how he sent it home.

Luis M. Juarbe

The Struggle for Sanitation and Sleep

Luis Juarbe remembers the living conditions he endured while serving in Korea. He describes how the winter was brutal, and he shares how he had on "four pairs of pants and five shirts" in order to keep himself warm in the negative fourteen-degree weather. He recalls that the sanitary conditions were not ideal and that he had to wait three months to bathe at one point in the war. He recalls receiving letters from home and that he wrote letters to family.

Mathew Thomas

Life in the POW Camp

Mathew Thomas discusses the living situation in the POW camp. He describes how they lived in wooden structures and canvas tents and remembers having heaters because it was very cold. He recalls eating goats, having good morale in the camp, and the bathrooms being outdoors. He shares he was able to mail letters home if he wanted.

Mayo Kjellsen

Wounded in Korean War

Mayo Kjellsen recalls being injured twice during the Korean War. He was struck by shrapnel in his knee during one incident and was blown out of his bunker by another shot. Following his second injury, he explains he was transferred to a hospital ship in the harbor and then sent to Japan for rehabilitation. After six months of recovery, Kjellsen returned to the US to complete his remaining time in the military.

Melesse Tesemma

Testament to the Bravery of Korean Soldiers

Melesse Tesemma attests to the bravery of South Korean soldiers, vividly recalling their hand-to-hand combat during the Battle of Triangle Hill. Although his memory remains sharp, he has not kept his letters. He wrote many, mostly to his mother and a few to his girlfriend, knowing that as an only child, his mother missed him terribly. His happiest moment during his service was returning to Ethiopia in June 1952. Since then, he has hoped that Ethiopia could learn from South Korea's economic successes.

Melvin J. Behnen

We Lost a Lot of Good Men

Melvin Behnen reflects on the time he found his buddy from his hometown stationed near him. He elaborates on the time he met with Elmer Sand. Sadly, he shares how his mother informed him through a letter that Elmer was killed a few days after their meeting.

Merlyn Jeche

Dogs, Cats, and Letters at the DMZ

Merlyn Jeche describes a particular inspection when his Captain asked him if everything on his bunk was military issue. He explains that he replied in the affirmative before turning around and seeing a cat with her kittens asleep on his bunk. He goes on to describe his correspondence with friends who were fighting elsewhere and the tribulations they were experiencing. He recalls feeling grateful that he was there at such a fortuitous time, just after the armistice.

Monte Curry

Kitty Movie Experience

Kitty Curry, Monte Curry's wife, was not told a lot about what her husband was experiencing during the Korean War. Before a movie began, instead of previews of other movies, a black and white news reel would review what was life like for the US soldiers in Korea. This included fighting and bombs dropping on the enemy. Kitty Curry's reaction about the news worried her, but her friends and faith kept her going.

Myron Toback

A Coincidental Family Reunion

When asked if he wrote letters home, Myron Toback said that he only wrote once per month, but he was able to make a phone call home. It was while waiting for his phone call that he met his cousin for the first time. That was certainly a coincidence, but he never saw his cousin again after that.

Nelson S. Ladd

Dear John Letter

Nelson Ladd was very in love with a young lady and he planned to get engaged before deployment. However, after 6 months of being overseas, he received a letter from his fiance stating that she had met someone else. There was nothing he could do being 7,000 miles away from home, and by the time he had returned, she was already married to someone else.

Nom Supaphol

Life on the Front Lines

Nom Supaphol shares he found military training to be the most challenging aspect of his time in the Thai Army. Homesickness crept in, especially during moments of complete exhaustion. He remembers sleeping outdoors and receiving canned food rations and cigarettes daily while on duty. During their downtime away from the front lines, he fondly remembers how the Korean people would sell them food and even take him on trips around the area.

Noreen Jankowski

Sending Supplies from Home

Noreen Jankowski recalls a conversation about the cold winters in Korea. She mentions sending supplies to her husband in Korea to keep him warm. She highlights how he endured some difficulties with his legs later on perhaps due to the cold exposure.

Orville Oster

Letters to Home

When asked if he wrote letters to home, Orville Oster explains that he wrote to his siblings and that his parents could not read English well. He shares that he wrote about his job. However, at one point he could no longer send letters because of an atomic bomb task.

Pasquale G. “Bob” Morga

Better Write to Your Mom

Bob Morga explains that he wrote to his family a few times per week. He states that Korea was a “lonely place” if you didn’t connect with others in Korea. He recalls that his mother would send him packages and got extremely worried when she heard rumors that he was injured.

Pastor Scott Kavanagh


Pastor Scott encourages the inclusion of all sorts of mementos and artifacts from veterans. He tells of one recent veteran interviewed who brought a field map. This map had been entrusted to him by his lieutenant during the war, and he has kept it all this time. Unlike road maps we are used to, he thinks it is important for us to be exposed to this unique information.

Patrick Vernon Hickey

Writing Home and Killing the Tiger

Patrick Hickey and his wife Joy describe their correspondence as being about everyday topics at home. Patrick shares how he did not want to worry Joy. He recalls that the battles were tough, and he describes the last battle of the war, the Third Battle of the Hook. He remembers that on the third night of the battle, thousands of Chinese attacked. He recalls how the United Nations forces killed one million Chinese soldiers in three nights and how the Chinese withdrew to sign the peace treaty.

Paul E. Newman

Post Office Soldiers Sent to Korea

Paul E. Newman shares that upon his return from Europe following World War II, he served as a civil service officer in the US Army Post Office in Yokohama, Japan, during the Korean War. He explains that when the war broke out, his post was directly impacted as roughly half of the military personnel there was sent to Korea. He offers a specific account of an officer from his post sent to Korea to establish a post office there for correspondence purposes during the war.

Main Hub of Communication

Paul E. Newman describes his main job working in the US Army Post Office during the Korean War. He explains his role as a money order clerk. He also details the importance of the particular post office he worked in as it served as the main hub for letters shipped to and from soldiers serving in the war.

Sending Gifts Home To Loved Ones

Paul E. Newman shares his most significant experience regarding his duties during the Korean War. He explains the creation of the Army & Air Force Mail Order System and the process soldiers used to send gifts home to loved ones. He expresses his pride in having played a role in this process while in Japan during the Korean War.

Paul Hockla

Letter from Perry Edgar

Paul Hockla reads a letter from Perry Edgar, whose life he saved in combat while they were in Korea.

Peter Joseph Doyle, Jr.

Mail Call

Peter Doyle explains that his parents regularly sent him packages including film for his camera and food which he shared. One time he received a chocolate cake with what he thought was green frosting but was actually mold. He recalls when they were on the frontline, the company clerk would have to move through artillery and mortar fire to get the mail to the men. Occasionally the mess Sergeant and crew would cook hot meals and send them up in thermos with the Korean laborers who would also have to brave the artillery and mortars and sometimes were killed.

Philip S. Kelly

64th Anniversary of the War

Philip S. Kelly reads letters he wrote for the 64th Anniversary of the Korean War. He describes the Battle of Chosin (Jangjin) Reservoir by reading details of his personal experience. He recalls hearing the bugles of the Chinese blaring and engaging in hand-to-hand combat as a combat infantryman.

Phillip Olson

Letters, Cookies and War

Phillip Olson tried his best to consume his time while he was not on the front lines working with large equipment. He wrote letters to his family about Korea. They in turn sent cookies and letters back to him while he was stationed there from 1952-1953.

Pieter Visser

Precious Packages From Home

Pieter Visser reminisces about the parcel he received from his mother. He shares that letter writing was very important for the soldiers. He recalls opening the parcel to find the dried meat was all moldy. However, he remembers brushing off the mold and having no issues eating the meat. Surprisingly, he recalls no one asked him to share his package from home.

Ramon D. Soto

Life in the Trenches

Ramon D. Soto remembers life on the frontline in the trenches. He discusses the difficulties soldiers faced such as trench foot, frost bite, horrible sleeping conditions, rationing of food, and nightly fear of Chinese soldiers. In this clip, Ramon D. Soto recalls the $75 a month he earned, and sent home each and every month. He also recalls the letters from his wife that he read while on the frontline.

Raul Aguilar

It Just Happened You Know

Raul Aguilar describes getting ready to relieve the Marines when he received a Dear John letter from his girlfriend. He explains that immediately after reading the letter from his girlfriend, he was sent off into the dark with his troop. He describes how cold the weather was and that due to the lack of stops, several soldiers evacuated their bowels onto themselves.

Reed F. Hawke

Living Conditions on the USS Philippines C

Reed F. Hawke recalls the living conditions aboard the USS Philippines C as pretty good. He notes that he spent more time topside than below and shares they had access to daily showers and a laundry. He adds that he always felt safe on board the ship. He fondly remembers the letters that were exchanged between him and his wife, Fern, as well as the home-baked goods she sent him.

Postcards and Other Memorabilia

Reed F. Hawke and his wife, Fern Hawke, share some of the postcards and other memorabilia he sent home from his trip from the Great Lakes Naval Station in Illinois to San Diego where the USS Philippines was based. They share they were married in 1951, and she recalls not knowing much about the events going on in Korea at the time.

Richald Alfred Lethe

Korean War in textbooks/Freedom of Information Act

This clip describes Richard Alfred Lethe's work in high schools. He discusses his work through the Dallas "Tell America" Program where he visits school and speaks to students about the Korean War. He states that American students are interested to learn about the Korean War even though most American textbooks essentially neglect the Korean War.

With the help of the Freedom of Information Act, teachers and students can explore correspondence between Joseph Stalin and Mao Zedong; as well as a plethora of other primary source correspondence during this time period.

Richard Arthur Christopher Hilton

The Futility of Writing Home

Richard Hilton recounts his writing habits to his loved ones at home during the war. He explains that he did not write very much due to the sad state of the world. He goes on to explain that not knowing what life had in store day to day hindered his desire to send letters.

Richard Brandt

Jackpot Charlie (Morale Booster)

Richard Brandt remembered an old airplane and a guy named Jackpot Charlie (thought to have been Bed-Check Charlie) flew over North Korea and American soldiers dropping thousands of small square propaganda leaflets. They were written for the soldiers and the leaflets said, " Don't you want to be home for Christmas GI? Tell your president you want to leave and lay down your arms." The pilot came around 2-3 times and Richard Brandt said that this plane had more bullets holes than any other plane he'd ever seen during the war.

Helping a Father See His Son

The most memorable moment in Korea was when a young soldier from Iowa ran up daily for mail call to get information about his new baby. Every time they got mail, the young soldier received many pictures of his son bathing in the tub (always naked), he was so proud. The young soldier asked Richard Brandt when he was going home and he replied that it was within two weeks, but after speaking to his commander, Richard Brandt allowed the young soldier to go home in his place to see his son.

Richard Edward Watchempino

Life on the Front Lines

Richard Edward Watchempino reflects on his daily life while serving on the front lines. In his reflection, he shares his thoughts and memories about letter writing to his family members, personal hygiene, and food rations. He recalls reciting traditional native prayers for courage and strength and even speaks a few phrases of the prayers during the interview.

Richard V. Gordon

Life on the Ship and in the Navy

Richard V. Gordon describes life aboard the HMS Tutira. He describes making his hammock and putting it up every morning and the food. He also describes the pay in the Navy and sending money home to his new wife. Richard V. Gordon also describes the waves on the ship, even in a frigate.

Richard W. Malsack


Richard W. Malsack recalls writing home nearly every day as a means of keeping up with family and friends. He explains how the letters just scratched the surface of what he was going through and that it was not until his involvement in veteran organizations that he was able to truly talk about his experiences. He remembers getting rid of all of the letters when decluttering.

Robert Chisolm

Letters Home and Life on the Home Front

Robert Chisolm shares he married his childhood sweetheart in 1946 and wrote letters to her throughout the Korean War. He notes that she volunteered with the Red Cross. He recalls a time she had to ask the Red Cross to determine if he was alright after the Battle of Pork Chop Hill since their local newspaper wrote a large article about his regiment in that major battle.

Roger S. Stringham

Unique Letters Home

Roger Stringham recounts his parents' reaction when he was drafted into the war. He shares that it was very difficult for them, but to him, it was an adventure. He recalls writing letters home and details how he would include a sketch as a means of telling the story of his experience.

Shorty Neff

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.

Stanley Fujii

Glorious Mail Call

Stanley Fujii describes the emotional experience of mail call for soldiers, and the camaraderie that came along with getting communication from loved ones on the homefront. His heartwarming testimony reflects on his writing letters for a fellow soldier from Minnesota who was illiterate. His friend from Minnesota later died in a bombardment.

Steven G. Olmstead

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.

Thomas Nuzzo

Prior Knowledge About Korea

Thomas Nuzzo was attending Fordham University when he was drafted for the Korean War. Unlike most draftees, Thomas Nuzzo knew about Korea from stamp collecting and his schooling. Being sent to Korea was not scary he said because he found the Korean culture so interesting.

Thomas O’Dell

Chinese Propaganda Leaflets and Speeches

Thomas O'Dell fought against the Chinese and North Koreans. There was propaganda slogans broadcast over loudspeakers throughout the night to try to brainwash the US troops. Leaflets were shot over the trenches by the Chinese to convince the US troops to surrender or to switch to the Chinese's side.

No Fear and The Invincibility of Thomas O'Dell as a Fifteen Year Old in the Korean War

Thomas O'Dell was not scared during the Korean War because he was only fifteen years old and he felt invincible. During the Battle of Pork Chop Hill, as he was dug in the trenches, Corporal Thomas O'Dell was confronted with his commander with his birth certificate. He was caught being a fifteen year old in the Korean War, but he was able to sneak back into another battle during the mayhem.

Thomas Parkinson

Fighting and Living in Korea From 1952-1953

Thomas Parkinson recalls fighting from the Kansas Line and the Jamestown Line while in Korea from 1952-1953. He remembers eating American C-Rations, sleeping in trenches, and writing letters home to his mom along with pen pals from England.

Thomas Tsuda

Typical Day on the Front Lines

Thomas Tsuda remembers what it was like fighting on the front lines. He comments on the cold temperatures he and other fellow soldiers experienced and shares that most of the fighting took place at night. He recalls resting, sleeping, and writing letters during the day while there was little action taking place. He speaks of the wounds he sustained on the front lines and shares his pride in serving to prevent the spread of Communism.

Tine Martin

Letter from Home

Tine Martin shares that he missed his mother the most and wrote letters to her often. He recounts one painful letter from his girlfriend while in Korea which he refers to as a "Dear John" letter and resulted in a breakup. He recalls having to censor the content in his letters and provides an example of one incident he was not allowed to write about due to its sensitivity.

Titus Santelli

Letters Home and Education

Titus Santelli recounts sending letters home to family. He remembers making himself look heroic and sending pictures and money with the letters. He explains that his duty after a plane had crashed was to remove top secret equipment and explosives from it. He shares that he would send pictures to his mother after performing his duty expressing that he had made it again and was safe. He also details his post-war eduction acquirement.

Tom S. Sutton

Korean Air Lift

This clip describes Tom Sutton's experience doing Korean air lifts on the North Star Aircraft. He discusses the role of the Korean air lifts. He also details the horrific weather conditions, and the tough long flights he experienced. Tom Sutton also describes how the pilots had to navigate by the stars, and the wind caused the plane to drift; at one point they drifted into Russian Communist territory.

Veli Atasoy


Veli Atasoy describes life after being taken as a Prisoner-of-War (POW). He, along with other prisoners were held near the city of Pyoktong, a city in North Korea near the Chinese border. While a prisoner, the Chinese military tried, unsuccessfully, to use propaganda to convince the Turkish troops to switch sides. There were massive infestations of lice in the camp and even a "fake" Sergeant. Veli Atasoy describes how, above all, even in the most dire of situations he turned to Allah above.

Pride and Family during Imprisonment

Veli Atasoy describes his pride in South Korea. He sacrificed so much being imprisoned, subsequently he is more prideful of his service in Korea than his native country of Turkey. While imprisoned, he had no communication with his family. His family had no news and even asked the Turkish government about their son. Therefore a certain hardship of not knowing and suffering occurred between Veli Atasoy and his family occurred.

Virgil Malone

Life in Daegu During the Korean War

Virgil Malone shares photos he took while stationed in Daegu, South Korea. These photos illustrate the living and working conditions of the South Koreans in Daegu area. They touch upon the economic disparity among South Koreans during the war; some lived in farmhouses, while others lived in huts.

Virgil W. Mikkelsen

Delivering your own Dear John Letter

Virgil Mikkelsen describes his time as a mail carrier in 1953 and how letters were a ray of hope for deployed troops. He recalls the worst part of his experience in Korea, receiving a Dear John letter from his wife of five years. He talks about the emotional blow of reading that letter and how it made him a stronger man.

Warren Housten Thomas

Letters From Home

Warren Housten Thomas describes the difficulties in communicating with family back home. He recalls having to communicate the old-fashioned way with letters and that it could often take four to six weeks for mail to reach them. He remembers how sometimes the news was old by the time it reached him.

Warren Middlekauf

School, Letters, and the Excitement of the Armistice

Warren Middlekauf's military base was located near a Korean school that continued through the war. During the armistice of 1953, he was in Korea and was excited to send the US soldiers home. Throughout his time in the war, Warren Middlekauf wrote letters to his wife along with money to save for after the war.

Wilbur Barnes

Receiving Mail and Supplies

Wilbur Barnes remembers how he used to communicate with his family through letters while serving in Korea. He recollects how he and the other soldiers could receive packages from their loved ones and how he did not receive many of them due to their high cost. He shares how purchasing items in Korea was limited and challenging.

William Edwards

Base Life in Korea

William Edwards describes daily life at the 607th Aircraft Warning Squadron.

William F. Borer

Don't Take Your POW Clothes Off

William Borer describes the day of his release as a bright sunny day. He recalls that once in UN territory the US Military Police Officer ordered him not to immediately remove his Chinese prison clothing, as many Chinese POWs had done, and was taken into a medical facility to be deloused with DDT, fed, examined, and given new clothes with rank chevrons sewed onto his sleeves. He recalls being asked what he wanted to eat and he said a big bowl of ice cream. As he was eating his ice cream he was asked if he was anxious about going home to which he said he wanted to go back to his unit.