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
A. Irving Osser
Setting up an Orphanage
As a highlight of his time in Korea, A. Irving Osser describes how he and other men organized the opening of an orphanage for tent boys, teenage Korean orphans who had assisted them while they were fighting there. He explains how the wife of Syngman Rhee, Franziska, was vital in setting up this orphanage and making it possible for the boys to go to college. While he does not know what happened after he left, A. Irving Osser fondly remembers helping set up the electricity and carpentry to give back to these boys.
Memories of Children in the Hospital
Achille Ragazzoni recounts stories Gianluigi Ragazzoni, his father, shared of the young children brought to the hospital. Many of these children were orphaned and, as a Catholic hospital, the facility made sure they were baptized and placed with new Korean families. He recounts how after the war, his father received many letters from those families.
English translations begin at 46:30 and 47:27.
Destruction and Poverty
Ahmet Tan describes the conditions of the Koreans during the Korean War. He describes the people as "good," but impoverished. He also described how the Turkish troops looked after some orphaned children, feeding them and providing them shelter in the military tents.
For the Love of Learning a Language
Albert Grocott recalls his time spent on Rest and Relaxation (R&R) in Seoul during the war. He shares that he encountered several orphaned children who needed food and clothing while there and details bringing them food from the mess hall and stealing clothing for them. He states that he did it for the love of learning a language, and the only payment he required was that they teach him Korean words and songs.
Ali Muzaffer Kocabalkan
Recounts From Post-Armistice Korea
Ali Muzaffer Kocabalkan describes post-Armistice South, Korea. He describes women with small feet from forced stunting. He also describes the suffering of the people from a war-torn land. People were starving. Ali Muzaffer Kocabalkan gave food to the people. However, this was against military rules. He had to spend fifteen days in military prison for giving food. He also discusses the taboos of the suffering of the people.
Impressions of Korea
Ayhan Karabulut describes the despair of Korea when he landed in 1951. He describes a train from Incheon to Seoul where it was faster to walk. He also describes women and children begging soldiers for food. There were many orphaned children during this time that were also begging for food.
Return to Korea
Lucie Paus Falck gives her unique perspective of Korea having worked a year as an intern of sorts with her father in Seoul in 1958 and then returning on three occasions in 2001, 2008, and 2010. In 1958, she describes the country as war-torn and remembers shacks assembled from all kinds of building materials. She marvels upon her return in 2001 about the evolution of Seoul and comments on the growth of traffic! She is particularly proud of Norwegians for their work with Korea including the adoption of over 6000 Korean orphans.
When Bill Scott arrived in Seoul, they were given 4-5 days worth of rations. After seeing the starving children with or without parents, the soldiers fed the babies with their own food rather than watch them starve. Soldiers knew they had to take care of the kids and they were proud to have done it for them.
Cecil Franklin Snyder
Food for Korean Orphanages
Cecil Snyder, a clerk stationed at Osan Air Base, talks about delivering food to nearby orphanages. He describes collecting and delivering unused food, oftentimes used to feed the orphanages' livestock such as pigs.
Cecil K. Walker
Conditions In and Around Seoul
Cecil Walker describes conditions in and around Seoul. He helped bring supplies from Incheon to Seoul and transport Australian forces from the Second Line of Defense. Cecil Walker also describes how Seoul was deserted, with the exception of "Street Kids." He describes how when people did return to Seoul, they used any scrap to build shelter.
Thoughts of an Airman: Get the Hell Out Of There!
Charles Buckley's initial thoughts when he reflects on his experience during the war was to "get the hell out of there." He remembers his contribution to the country by helping various people, specifically the orphaned children. Charles Buckley would order from the Sears and Roebuck catalog and he would look forward to seeing the smiles on the children's faces. He also recalled the living conditions of all of the children and the civilians were able to obtain supplies they needed to rebuild their own country.
Charles Eugene Warriner
Charles Eugene Warriner speaks about seeing impoverished Korean children while on his way to his unit. He describes the emotional impact the experience had on him. He recalls how many of those children were starving and had lost their families and homes.
Charles Falugo, Jr.
Charles Falugo shares that some units would find bombed out schools and remodel them into orphanages for orphaned South Korean children. He recalls finding supplies for the units who rebuilt the buildings. He remembers working and living with a Christian missionary named Horace Grant Underwood, who was the founder of Underwood International College in Seoul.
Fundraisers for Korean Children
Charles Kutchka details fundraisers his brigade did in Germany to help raise money for youth in Korea. They had watched films that described the poverty suffered by Korean children and that many were orphaned after the war. Although he wasn't stationed in Korea, all US troops in the world, contributed to the effort there.
Orphanage in Seoul
Chuck Walther tells a story about when he and several of his fellow soldiers went in search of an orphanage and what happened when they found it. He shares they often contributed donations to the orphanage; however, he and fellow soldiers wanted to see the local orphanage they were donating to. He details how they bought gum and candies and delivered them to the orphanage.
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.
Impressions of the Korean People
David Nevarez describes his interactions and impressions of Korea. He expounds upon his appreciation of the food as well as the people. He draws comparisons between the Hispanic community and the South Korean people.
Donald J. Zoeller
Helping a Korean boy
Donald Zoeller says that he did not get to know many Korean people as he was always outside of the cities. However, he remembers a little Korean boy who was orphaned and slept with prostitutes. He invited the boy to stay with the soldiers and later brought him to an orphanage.
The Impact of the Orphans
Everett Kelley shares how his service spent in Korea impacted his life in many ways. He describes his involvement in sponsoring orphaned children through various donations. He recalls the number of orphans in Korea at the time being extremely high.
Setting up Orphanages in South Korea
Like many outfits, George Dixon and his unit had orphans (many under the age of ten) that had found them. He explains soldiers would cut down GI uniforms for them to wear and help find them food. He remembers an orphanage that was started where he helped place children.
The War's Innocent Victims
Dr. George Drake discusses his research on Korean War information found in various archival locations. He explains the repercussions of war on society. He describes the problem with poverty left in Korea because of war, and his passion for getting more information out about his humanitarian concerns.
The Poverty of War
Dr. George Drake explains how children were rescued from poverty during the Korean War. He recounts his journey to find photos that were taken during the war of orphans in Korea. He shares his concern over the children who became abandoned victims of the Korean War.
George Enice Lawhon Jr.
Radio Transmitters, Ghost Towns, and Orphanages in Seoul
George Enice Lawhon Jr.'s job in the US military was to fix a BC 610 (a Collins radio Transmitter). When he arrived in Seoul, there was not anyone there and it was a ghost town. Sadly, some old and young people found in a rice field shot and bayonetted. He had a Chaplin in his group that started an orphanage for Korean children because there were so many that were left alone.
Impressions of Korea
George Sullivan talks about his experiences in Korea during the 1950s. He remembers how cold the weather was and how destitute the South Koreans were. He recalls many of them living in tents or broken down cars and shares that Seoul was totally destroyed. He is amazed at the transformation South Korea has made over the last half century and adds that he really enjoys kimchi.
Germaye Beyene Tesfaye
Helping Starving Civilians and Funding Orphanages
Germaye Tesfaye witnessed terrible destruction in Korea. Arriving in 1952, he encountered Koreans in dire circumstances. Many civilians lacked basic food. Rather than throwing away uneaten food as directed by fellow American soldiers, Ethiopian solders gave their leftovers to hungry Korean people. Further, many Ethiopian solders donated their salaries to fund the creation of orphanages for Korean children who had lost their parents in the conflict.
Children of War
Gordon Evans describes how he felt children of war suffered the most. He tells of a young boy he came across who was alone in the cold with no coat and how he took that boy in as his own houseboy. He points out that this was not uncommon due to the orphanages being overrun.
Becoming a War-Time Father
In this clip, Harry McNeilly recounts his brief time in Seoul during the war. In a truly unique war story McNeilly talks about building a strong relationship with a young, dutiful Korean orphan while staying in Seoul for a few months. The boy, who was "smart as a button", was left without a family during the Korean War and latched onto Harry McNeilly who tried to look after him.
Refugees During War
Herbert Werner became very emotional as he described being an 18 year old seeing war first hand. He said witnessing the wounded, being under fire, civilians fleeing, and children affected by war made him overcome with emotion. He never saw as much fear as he did while there and it still gets to him even today. Herbert Werner made an instant personal connection with the refugees during the Hamheung Evacuation since he was an orphaned child himself.
What Serving in Korea Meant to Herbert Werner
When Herbert Werner was still in an orphanage during WWII, the boys that left to fight during that war had such a lasting impression on him, so he joined the Marine Corps. Originally, he wanted to go to China as a Marine, but after the war broke out in Korea, he was so caught up in the moment and excited that he wanted to go to be a part of this war. Much of what Herbert Werner saw was terrible including the treatment of refugees during the Korean War.
Howard W. Bradshaw
Howard Bradshaw's Love for Orphaned Koreans
Howard Bradshaw encountered many orphans during his time in Korea. He offered them candy and expressed his love for these kids.
Howard Bradshaw took pictures of these children while he was there during the Korean War.
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.
Hussen Mohammed Omar
Money for an Orphanage
Hussen Mohammed Omar describes the condition of the people in Korea. People were in bad shape. He describes how the Ethiopian soldiers donated money to help build an orphanage. Once the orphanage was built, soldiers continued to donate money to keep it running.
The Orphans' Christmas
Ian Crawford tells how they mistakenly found an orphanage when they went ashore looking for greenery to help them celebrate Christmas. He describes finding a woman trying to care for twenty orphans in the extreme cold with no water, food, or adequate clothing. He remembers the crew coming onshore to fix her water supply and provide food but also surrendering their own Christmas presents so that the children could enjoy a moment of joy in such a dark time.
Desperation of the South Koreans
Ibrahim Gulek describes the people of South Korea. South Korea was war-torn. The people were desperate. He describes South Koreans as having no clothes and constantly begging for food. The conditions were heartbreaking. Ibrahim Gulek and his fellow soldiers would give food and supplies to the people in need.
Inga-Britt Jagland describes being very happy to be in Korea. The people of Korea were so friendly and thankful for the help. The country was so beautiful with a sunrise over the mountains. With all the beauty, the people were suffering. Some children had no legs or arms. Inga-Britt Haglund also describes providing food to Korean children.
Israel Irizarry-Rodriguez recalls his interaction with South Korean orphans during the war. He shares how he felt seeing the orphans and remembers wanting to help them. He speaks of how he and other soldiers would take the orphans to get food.
Impressions of Korea
James Bradshaw gives an emotional account of how bombed out Seoul was when he saw it. He became tearful remembering the children that he felt sorry for, and recalls saving his rations for them.
A Christmas Eve Miracle for Joe
John Farritor recounts the beautiful story of how he befriended an orphan on a cold Christmas Eve. He shares he took him in to clothe and feed him and hired him as his houseboy, naming him Joe. He explains how war had left Joe alone in the world, so he did everything within his power to keep Joe with him for as long as he could, handing him off some months later when his assignment there was complete. He recalls teaching Joe everything he could to make him a valuable asset so that the Army would want to keep him and provide for him.
Not a Substantial Building Standing
John Fry gives a tremendous comparison of what Korea was like in 1953 and when he returned in 2014. He remembers the war-torn state of the country that had no substantial buildings standing, people living in cardboard boxes, and too many orphans. He shares that compared to the “unbelievable” progress that Korea has made, it seems like Australia has gone backwards.
Worth Fighting For
John Koontz believes that Korea was worth fighting for even though he did not think that at the time. He remembers in detail seeing the starving children who were without their parents. He would like to return to Korea now if he could.
Growing Up in a Korean Orphanage
John Munro shares that he did not experience any dangerous moments while patrolling the DMZ in early 1954. He recounts how, as part of 1 Battalion, he went to Seoul to spend the day at an orphanage. He recalls his time spent at the orphanage and how he was given six children to eat with and play with throughout the afternoon.
Joseph P. Ferris
Orphanage at Yeongdeungpo
In this clip, Joseph P. Ferris shares his thoughts about the performance of the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War and shares a treasured memory he has of the children from an orphanage.
Julio Cesar Mercado Martinez
Julio Cesar Mercado Martinez shares that seeing the children in Korea experiencing poverty made him more family oriented. He recounts a touching story about a boy he befriended in South Korea. He shares that he offered food to the boy, receiving hugs in return.
Keith H. Fannon
Difficult and Happy Memories
Keith H. Fannon talks about his experiences trying to help orphaned children. He talks about seeing dead orphans. Keith H. Fannon shares how helping an orphan family brought joy to him.
Keith H. Fannon shares his most difficult memories of the Korean War. These include friends that were killed at Kimpo Air Base (near Seoul), his reaction at the time as well as later in life. He also briefly shares his nightmares about the children.
Missionary Work in Korea
Leo Ruffing shares how he became a minister after retiring from the military. He changed his mind about his future plans after helping friends and even himself with alcoholism. He would later return to Korea for ministry, including helping young children.
A Happy Moment
Leo Ruffing describes one of his “happiest moments” as it relates to Korea. He shared about his work in orphanages with his mother’s friend. He remembers that this woman then made dolls with matching dresses for the girls.
Manuel A. Bustamente
Manuel Bustamante said that a little white baby was found in a Korean Orphanage. The baby was kept in the sickbay on the ship and it kept the moral high for months. Sailors all took turns caring for the baby. The doctor and his wife adopted the baby once he arrived in America. They named him Daniel Keenan and he went to many of the Korean War reunions in order to see his rescuers.
Enlisting and Basic Training
Manuel Bustamante knew about Korea when the war broke out because his brother was in the United States Navy on an aircraft carrier. Luckily, Manuel Bustamante and his brother were assigned the same ship, the USS Point Cruz. The brothers were surprised that they were allowed to be on the same ship because usually the United States military tries to separate the family members so that they would not get injured at the same time.
Marian Jean Setter
Second Tour in Korea
Marian Setter remembers her second tour to Korea in the 1960's, where she served as Assistant Chief Nurse at the 121st Evacuation Hospital for five months and as the Chief Nurse at a hospital in Busan for seven months. She reflects on the difference in Korea from her first assignment, pre-Korean War to her second assignment, post-Korean War. She notes that during this assignment, she had much more contact with Korean civilians since she was also working with Korean graduates and students from local hospitals. She recalls helping a former soldier who was on a church mission to South Korea set up an operating room in a hospital the church was building.
Devastation of Korea
Mehmet Çöpten describes the condition of Korea when he landed in Busan. The city was destroyed from war. People, specifically children were orphaned and starving. The Turkish troops were being supplied by the American forces and had more than enough food. They would secretly give food to the children and needy.
Caring for Orphans
Mehmet Esen describes how he cared for two orphans he met while in Korea. While he was in a hospital he met Chin Chol. He provided her with money for her schooling. He also provided for another orphan named Kerim. Kerim followed the Turkish troops everywhere they went.
Mike Scarano was stationed in Korea in 1948 before the war broke out. He remembers about visiting St. Teresa's Orphanage in Incheon while he was there, including candy for the children and playing with them. He also recalls the poor living conditions of the people he saw on the streets.
Pain of Captivity
Necdet Yazıcıoğlu describes the suffering in Busan. People were out of hope. Moreover, they had lost everything. Many children, four to six, were parentless. Turkish soldiers were well supplied and would give candies, biscuits and chocolates. The Turkish soldiers even had a Korean houseboy. Importantly, they treated him like their own. For example, the houseboy was listed in official Turkish government correspondence. Likewise, the houseboy would complete errands for the Turkish soldiers. His name was Zeki or clever.
After some time in Hong Kong, Neville Williams remembers traveling to Busan. He shares that his first impressions of the city were not good as he remembers the shanty town that surrounded the city and the orphans. They remained there for 4-5 days to transition to their next post on the front lines.
Pasquale G. “Bob” Morga
Bob Morga explained that the company compound was a former Japanese school house. He also explains the food that he ate while in Korea, sharing what he could with the young children around the area. He remembers how he would give them whatever he could from his C-rations because no one else could take care of them.
Ray D. Griffin
A Cook for the Army
Ray D. Griffin was trained to be a Cook and Baker after he finished basic training in 1960. He had to monitor the military rations and supervise the functioning of the military mess hall. He recalls having to be prepared to feed troops and other military personnel around the clock. Military trash was required to be guarded from hungry Korean orphans, but he was able to bring surplus milk to the orphanages.
Raymond L. Ayon
The Risks of Being at War
Raymond L. Ayon vividly recalls the day when he was in the back of one of the last vehicles in a truck convoy. He recounts how, as they were passing a road raider that was clearing the area, their driver had to swerve to avoid a collision. As a result, he shares he was thrown out of the truck bed and was left suspended in midair. He remembers feeling like his life was flashing before his eyes before hitting the ground which he believed would be unsurvivable. He notes he and the other passengers were injured and remembers applying first aid to himself shortly after the crash. He states the accident impaired vision in his right eye, which is now officially blind.
Poor Children in Orphanages
Robert Arend saw a lot Korean children, mostly orphans, looking destitute. He visited children in an orphanage, and shows pictures of him playing with them. He emotionally recalls spending time with these children as it was full of mixed emotions.
"So much of the war was terrible"
When asked what was the most difficult part of his time in Korea, Robert Arend said that "so much of the war was terrible." He explains that the deaths were difficult and so was seeing the children in such poor conditions. He also remembers the attacks from guerrillas, but his biggest fear was that the prisoners would break out.
C Rations and Life in Wartime Korea
Bob Mitchell offers a description of the C-Rations soldiers received during the war. He recalls there were few favorite meals among the offerings. He shares the one thing all wanted when they had the opportunity to go on Rest and Relaxation. He remembers the utter poverty and the suffering of the children.
Ronald Rosser describes how South Korea has changed since his time there during the war. He explains that the roads, high rises, and many other aspects of the country have changed. He shares about his affection for the Korean people, including donating money to start an orphanage.
Sanford Epstein recalls sending half of his monthly wages home to his family and shares that he gave quite a bit of his money away as there were many orphans. He shares how orphaned children would follow them around and offer to do odd jobs. He recounts fellow soldiers adopting Korean orphans and elaborates on how one of the orphans, with monthly support from the men in his unit, graduated from college in Buffalo, New York, and became a CPA.
What Did You Do While Not Working with Radios?
Stephen Frangos recalls spending a great deal of time in the fields. He mentions the poverty that was still common. He shares that he befriended a group of Irish priests, and together, they helped build orphanages. He recalls how the orphans would often go to the Army camp to have meals. He adds that many Americans also sent food and clothing over to help the orphanages.
Taddese Weldmedhen Metaferiya
Ethiopian Donations Create an Orphanage
Taddese Weldmedhen Metaferiya describes donating money that opened an orphanage in Korea. Ethiopian soldiers had endured in battle. In addition, they also donated money to Korean people suffering during the war. The orphanage was able to help many Korean children. Korea has not forgotten about this donation.
Walter Kreider Jr.
Contrasting Korea: 1950s vs 1980s
Walter Kreider, Jr., contrasts the Korea he saw in the the 1950s to the Korea he revisited in the 1980s. He shares his recollections of Seoul and the destruction he saw while serving. He comments on how the war left many children orphaned. He shares that the Korea he saw on his return visit starkly contrasted his memories as there were many cars and buildings, and he comments on its beauty. He attributes the transformation to Korea's quest for education.