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
Allen Clark's First Prisoner of War
Allen Clark was establishing observation posts and was maneuvering around Gimpo Airport when he came across a family who had captured a North Korean soldier. He felt the process of handing him to the property authorities went well, but he was concerned that there were many more POWs with the possibility of being outnumbered. He wasn't sure how the Korean people felt about American's arrival during the conflict, but at that time, he felt they were happy and pleased the US soldiers were there.
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.
Ángel David Jiménez Jusino
Worst Experience / La Peor Experiencia
Angel David Jimenez Jusino shares the story of the Battle of Kelly Hill. He explains that as a scout, he was tasked with engaging the enemy to draw them out from their hiding spots. During a scouting mission to Kelly Hill, his team encountered so many troops, that the sergeant screamed at them to retreat and defend themselves however they saw fit. The memory of this mission saddens him, as two within the scout group were taken as prisoners of war, and two others were killed.
Angel David Jimenez Jusino comparte la historia de la Batalla de Kelly Hill. Explica que, como explorador, tenía que enfrentarse al enemigo para sacarlo de sus escondites. Durante una misión de exploración en Kelly Hill, su equipo se encontró con tantas tropas que el sargento les gritó que se retiraran y que se defendieran como pudieran. Esta misión lo entristece, ya que dos dentro del grupo dos fueron tomados como prisioneros de guerra y otros dos murieron durante el ataque.
Moment of Hesitation Led to Capture
Arden Rowley describes the night of November 30, 1950, and his capture by the Chinese Communist Forces. He describes how his unit was surrounded which led them to destroy their equipment and leave the convoy. He recalls how he and another soldier became separated from the group and seeing a group of soldiers approaching. He remembers that by the time they could properly identify the approaching soldiers, it was too late. He shares how being captured was a traumatic experience as one minute you are firing at them and then you are at their mercy. He elaborates on his fears while being captured and the twenty-four day march he endured to the first POW camp.
Faith and Survival Along the March
Arden Rowley offers an overview of the issues the POWs faced as they marched to the first camp. He explains how they marched during the night and hid in houses during the day. He recalls only thinking about how he would survive after the first few days. He explains how fortunate he was to have multiple layers of protection. He recalls the condition of one Turkish soldier’s feet which were so damaged that he gave his overshoes to that soldier. He remembers being forced to give up his new combat boots to a Chinese guard a few nights later. He believes he is still here because of his faith.
Arrival at Death Valley
Arden Rowley elaborates on the conditions at the POW camp known as Death Valley. He recalls how on Christmas Day they entered the camp and expected the conditions to be better than their experience on the march. He provides an explanation for why the camp received the nickname Death Valley. He shares that between two hundred fifty to three hundred men perished during the first two-and-a-half-week period. He notes that ninety-nine percent of the men suffered from dysentery, but he fortunately never personally dealt with the issue.
Assisting Others and Incentives
Arden Rowley elaborates on the conditions at Death Valley and the use of tobacco to convince the soldiers to attend indoctrination lectures. A large number of soldiers were suffering and dying from dysentery, yet he shares he was able to stay healthy. He feels that because he was healthy, he was able to help his comrade acquire clean trousers. In another one of these instances, he recalls attending lectures about communism so that he could bring back tobacco for that same soldier.
Resistance and Letters from Home
Arden Rowley describes the indoctrination sessions conducted by the Chinese. He emphasizes that the communists were focused on converting them to the communist ideology. He outlines the organization of the lectures and discussions. He shares how as part of the process, he was assigned as a monitor for his room and how it was his role to report discussion questions back to the Chinese officials. He remembers how the process took a toll on him and how 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.
Relief at the Gateway to Freedom
Arden Rowley reflects on the indescribable feeling of hearing the war was over and that he would go home. He recalls being told they would be released after the signing of the armistice and remembers a drastic improvement in how the prisoners were fed. He elaborates on the emotional experience of seeing American soldiers at the exchange point and walking through the gateway to freedom.
Arthur Leroy Brown
Family Hears News of Their Son's Death
Arthur L. Brown was captured and initially identified as Missing in Action on July 7, 1950. Later it was learned he was being held as a Prisoner of War at Camp 5 in Pyoktong, North Korea. He died on January 31, 1951, on what would have been his twenty-first birthday. His family later learned he died from complications due to Beriberi.
How His Brother Was Buried at the POW Camp
Arthur L. Brown died during freezing cold weather in North Korea. As a result, he was buried in a grave dug as deep as could be dug near Camp 5. This was devastating news to his family.
Asefa Mengesha describes capturing two Chinese prisoners by himself. He says Ethiopians captured many Chinese but the Chinese never captured any Ethiopians. He and his unit would lie in wait at night for the enemy to pass in front and then they would attack from behind.
Asefa Werku Kassa
Engaging the Chinese
Asefa Werku Kassa describes an engagement with the Chinese that left a deep scar on his forearm. He was stationed along the frontlines and frequent encounters with Chinese infantry. On one occasion a Chinese soldier gave him a deep gash before another Ethiopian soldier came to his aid. Asefa Werku Kassa eventually shot and killed the Chinese soldier. Also, Ethiopian soldiers never surrendered due to instructions. This was for fear of what the Ethiopian military would do to their families.
Wounded - Sent to a MASH
Benjamin Allen speaks about being wounded and how he narrowly escaped becoming a Prisoner of War. He also talks about the cold weather and the frostbite he suffered
We are taking Prisoners of War
Bill Lynn describes his company taking two prisoners of war. Once they had the North Koreans imprisoned, the Koreans told plans the Chinese had to ambush Americans. It was a cold, snowy day and the Chinese were all dressed in white to camouflage themselves. The Americans would have never known they were coming had it not been for the prisoners of war they captured.
Prisoner of War
Brian Hamblett describes life at Camp I after the Chinese took him as a prisoner of war. He explains that it was like a Korean village with mud huts and paper windows. He describes how the soldiers would find warmth sleeping on the floor which had flues running underneath it. He goes on to describe the indoctrination the Chinese forced on the men.
Carl M. Jacobsen
Carl Jacobsen recounts jump training in Daegu, Korea, and recalls making multiple training jumps in order to receive his wings. He offers an account of his first combat jump and details the related mission. He comments on the destruction he saw during his service.
Carl W. House
Surrounded at Jangjin: Last Line of Defense
Carl House arrived at Jangjin with his unit and was told no enemy forces were within a fifteen-mile radius. He recalls many soldiers began building fires, drinking coffee, and preparing sleeping bags. He shares that Chinese forces surrounded the U.S. soldiers in a horseshoe-shaped position around three in the morning, making it nearly impossible for them to escape. He remembers fighting for three days and running low on artillery after a failed airdrop landed in enemy territory. He recounts his captain ordering his unit to stand rear guard while fellow soldiers pulled out and recalls doing what he could to hold off the Chinese.
Carl House's Capture
Carl House and his Squad Leader, Raymond Howard, were the only 2 remaining soldiers holding the line as the Chinese were throwing concussion grenades at both men. As he was covering for Raymond Howard, a gunshot broke his arm and caused massive blood-loss. The only thing that he had to hold his arm together was a slang he used to keep his arm straight during the healing process. When he made the attempt to cross the valley himself, he fell unconscious from his injury and when he woke up, Chinese had surrounded the area. He made an attempt to play dead, but the thirty-degree-below-zero temperature gave away the heat from his breath, so they stuck a bayonet in his back and took him away.
Life in Camp 3 and 5 as a POW
Carl House marched to Camp 5 from February to May of 1952, but he was moved to Camp 3 where he was later released. Each room the prisoners occupied held ten people (tip to toe) which would be beneficial to them to keep warm. Since many of the US soldiers were well-fed and strong when they arrived, they were able to survive the rest of the winter while slowing losing weight. He said the one thing that mattered the most was food, but many soldiers hated the idea of eating rice that had once been on the floor. Most of the food contained glass, rocks, rat droppings, and many men died.
Emotions of a POW
Carl House and the other POWs lived on hope and they were planning to make an escape by rationing their own food (rice), storing it in a worn shirt to store it safely in the ceiling. Just as Bert, Andy, and he were about to make their attempt to escape, the POWs were moved to another building and the guards found the rations. He shares that he left Camp 3 in August 1953 and crossed the DMZ in September. He remembers eating many bowls of ice cream after his rescue.
Carlos Guillermo Latorre Franco
Wounded in the Line of Duty /Herido en La Linea de Combate
Carlos Guillermo Latorre Franco recalls the fear he experienced during the Battle of Old Baldy in which he was injured, and his friend died. He details the way in which he and three others were surrounded in a bunker when Chinese troops infiltrated their camp. He describes the hours that passed in which they had to decide whether to continue fighting and die or risk being caught as prisoners of war. Eventually, he explains, they were rescued by American and Puerto Rican troops, but sadly one of his friend’s injuries were so grave that it was impossible for him to be saved.
Carlos Guillermo Latorre Franco recuerda el miedo que vivió durante la Batalla de Old Baldy en la que resultó herido y su amigo murió. Él y otros tres soldados fueron rodeados en un búnker cuando las tropas chinas se infiltraron en su campamento. Describe las horas que pasaron en las tuvieron que decidir si iban a seguir luchando y morir o arriesgarse a ser capturados como prisioneros de guerra. Finalmente, él explica, fueron rescatados por tropas estadounidenses y puertorriqueñas. Desafortunadamente, las heridas de su amigo eran tan grave que fue imposible salvarlo.
Signing of the Armistice / Firma del Armisticio
Carlos Guillermo Latorre Franco provides an account of the jubilation felt by allied and enemy troops on the day the Armistice was signed. He describes the way in which they cheered and held their helmets high on one hill and could see enemy troops do the same on the other side. He explains that they were elated at the the news of the prisoner of war exchange as there were over twenty Colombians that were being held captive.
Carlos Guillermo Latorre Franco da cuenta de la alegría que sintieron las tropas aliadas y enemigas el día de la firma del Armisticio. Describe la forma en que botaban los cascos tanto ellos como las tropas enemigas. Recuerda que lo más eufórico fue la noticia del intercambio de prisioneros de guerra que se produciría porque habían más de veinte colombianos cautivos.
Cecil Phipps talks about his capture by Chinese soldiers, becoming a prisoner of war. He describes his initial three-day evasion and a fateful decision that led to his capture. He shares how he and seven fellow soldier were made to march north at night until they reached the Chinese border.
Cecil Phipps talks about the Chinese buildings he was housed in as a POW. He describes how these dwellings were built and what materials were used in their construction. He details the heating system that was important for cold Asian winters.
Life as a POW
Cecil Phipps talks about life as a POW. He describes Poyktong POW Camp (#5) and the harsh living conditions he lived through as prisoner, offering remarks about cold weather, starvation, lice infestation, and other diseases. He mentions he went from one hundred ninety pounds to seventy-five pounds during the first six months of his imprisonment.
"Always Trying to Escape"
Cecil Phipps talks about a fellow soldier that attempted and failed several times to escape Camp #3. He describes how he tried to aid his friend and what happened when he was captured and returned.
Cecil Phipps recalls his released from Chinese captivity on August 28, 1953, at Panmunjeom after thirty-three months as a POW. He describes the trip from Camp #3, taking several days by truck and train and spending a week in another POW camp, before finally reaching freedom at Panmunjeom.
First Days of Freedom
Cecil Phipps talks about his first hours and days after his release as a POW. He describes being deloused, talking to military intelligence and reporters, and eating his first meal. He shares memories about his journey back to the United States by ship.
Encountering the Chinese
Charles Eggenberger describes going up a mountain in trucks through Hagalwoori to the Chosin Reservoir area. He recalls how his unit learned that the Chinese had crossed the border near the Chosin Reservoir. He recalls that the surrounding units of soldiers had taken off out of the area during the initial attack by the Chinese.
Taking Care of Myself
Charles Elder talks about the cycle of taking care of himself during his time as a wounded prisoner during the Korean War. He had moments of extreme highs or lows. He had to remind himself to have hope of survival.
Charles Francis Jacks
Returning Home with POWs
Charles Jacks recalls his return home on the USS General Walker with the first group of released POWs. He shares how after the Armistice was signed in 1953 both sides exchanged Prisoners of War (POWs). He details the voyage back to the United States and arriving in California to fanfare and TV cameras ready to greet and capture footage of the POWs returning.
Captured by the Chinese
Charles Ross details the lead-up to his capture by the Chinese following the Battle of Unsan. He recalls searching for food and lodging in an abandoned house until meeting a Korean civilian. He recounts the generosity showed by the civilian prior to his capture. He provides an account of his experience as a POW.
Singing in the POW Camp
Charles Ross describes how the Chinese forced them to learn a particular song. He shares that once he and other fellow POWs found out what the words meant they refused to sing it as it called for the death of Americans. He details going on strike and singing "God Bless America" during his time as a POW.
Clara K. Cleland
Caring for Patients Upon Arrival
Clara Cleland discusses her arrival in Korea, approximately ten days after the Incheon landing. She shares her first assignment was to what she remembers as an old schoolhouse which was being used as a hospital to treat civilians. She especially remembers the children she treated there who suffered from burns and other injuries. She recounts how she and other nurses came under fire while attempting to help injured servicemen.
Clarence J. Sperbeck
Clarence Sperbeck remembered April 25, 1951 because that was the day he was captured by the Chinese. Having been warned not to walk on the ridge line since it made it easy for the Chinese to detect your movement, the US troops walked the ridge line anyway. Clarence Sperbeck made an attempt to shoot in the direction of a sound behind him when a concussion grenade landed near him knocking him to the ground damaging his back. When he came out from under a rock, a Chinese soldier screamed at him to put down his weapon; he jumped behind a pine tree to try to shoot at the enemy, but the Chinese soldier's buddy was pointing his weapon at Clarence and he wouldn't have been able to shoot both. He put his rifle down and spend the rest of his time with the Chinese after walking for 3 months to get to the POW camp.
Treatment By the Enemy
Clarence Sperbeck said when the Chinese capture you, they don't feed you. He started on the march at 165 pounds and ended at 110 pounds. It was said that if you were captured by the NKPA (North Korean People's Army), these marches were the worst in recorded history. If you were sick or injured they put a pistol to your head and blew your brains out, rolled you in a ditch, and kept going. Chinese didn't do that; they wanted information from the prisoners.
Do You Have Any Final Words?
While hiding out in a Japanese school house (near Pyongyang), sick with amoebic dysentery, the Chinese ordered the POWs to move at night to avoid being detected by American Airplanes. The night before, the POWs were supposed to leave from the school, but an American soldier who had made an attempt to escape the prison earlier was brought back to the camp and was put on the platform where the Chinese would usually conduct their daily exercise. They sentenced him to death and asked him if he had any final words and asked if he wished to be blindfolded before being shot by a firing squad. The US POW said, "Yes, go screw yourself you slant-eyed SOB." Clarence thought this soldier had a lot of guts.
Hope This Never Happens to You Too
Clarence Sperbeck commented on how fast the Chinese moved compared to the US troops. It was said that the average number of steps per minute the Chinese took were 140 to Americans' 120. While unable to hear, see, or walk due to his illness (amoebic dysentery), most of the American prisoners bypassed Clarence Sperbeck when he needed help, but a few soldiers helped him up. He was often the last in line (so weak/sick) during the march which would put him at a greater risk of being shot.
White Rice Riot
When the prisoners were marching north, they would give POWs white rice which had no nutritional value.
Fortunately, they got a can of Russian shredded beef and rice that they considered the beef to be the "Nectar of the Gods". With no refrigeration, prisoners were allowed to have seconds which started a riot since they were grabbing handfuls to eat. The Chinese stood back laughing at the prisoners because some of the POWs were wealthy businessmen back in the states acting like pigs trying to get as much as they could.
Camp 1: Sustenance
When Clarence Sperbeck arrived at his first POW Camp (Camp 1-Ch'ang Song), Chinese soldiers gave each man a wash cloth and a bar of soap, but then they were instructed to go to the polluted river at the camp to take a bath. Korean civilians (women and children) stood on the bridge overlooking the river and watched the G.I.'s take a bath. Men were given little food and Clarence Sperbeck describes the pork they ate and how the Chinese would slaughter and drink the blood of the pig.
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.
You Dream Just Before You Die
Clarence Sperbeck tells the story of another camp that lost over 1600 men in a period of 2 weeks, and the Chinese brought the survivors of that "massacre" to Camp 1 to merge those survivors with his prison camp. Clarence Sperbeck was already suffering with amoebic dysentery at that time, so when he came upon his old squad leader who had survived the "massacre" (death from other camp), the squad leader demanded the Chinese to provide medical care for Clarence Sperbeck. He said he would have dreams of cooking a full meal, then going back to cook some more. Many men declared that these were the symptoms dying men.
Performing Medical Experiments on the Prisoners
In the 3 month stay in this hospital at Camp 1, the Chinese performed medical experiments on the prisoners by implanting a gland from an animal into POW's bodies. POWs were told that if the gland stayed in their body, they would potentially run a high fever and die from an infection. Clarence Sperbeck said the soldiers wouldn't let the incision heal over and they would attempt to squeeze the gland out to keep it from infecting their body.
Hey! Wait A Minute! That's Us!
On the date of Clarence Sperbeck's release, August 19, 1953, the first thing the US did was give him a physical examination. He said while he was there, he picked up the "Stars and Stripes" Newspaper, and saw the headlines read, "Chinese attempt to keep 400 POW's." Clarence Sperbeck said, "Hey they were talking about us!" He mentioned the Chinese kept over 800 prisoners, took them back to China, and used them for atomic experiments. There were others who refused repatriation and were not well liked by the men when they returned.
Memories of the Armistice and Returning POWs
Clarence Jerke shares his memories of the Armistice. He describes how he felt and what he did as he encountered returning POWs in August 1953.
Clifford L. Wilcox
Why Do Veterans Not Talk About Their Experiences?
Clifford Wilcox discusses the reasons he think veterans do not talk about their experiences in war. He mentions the killings, prisoner of war experiences, as well as wounds inflicted. Although he understands this, he feels differently wanting to share his experiences in the Korean War.
Injuries at the Inchon Landing and Chosin Reservoir
Clifford Petrey describes landing at Inchon. He recounts injuries he received as a soldier both at Inchon Landing and Chosin Reservoir. He details his subsequent capture by the Chinese and camp movements while a POW.
Living Conditions as a POW
Clifford Petrey comments on the food rations provided by the Chinese. He recalls suffering through cold winters in North Korea as a prisoner of war even after being given Chinese uniforms by his captors. He describes the healing of his wounds he sustained at the Chosin Reservoir despite being a POW with little medical attention.
Clifford Petrey further details his POW experience. He recalls there being little firewood and comments on the close sleeping arrangements. He shares that lice was an issue and how he and other soldiers picked lice off of each other. He details food portions and content and speaks of rampant dysentery.
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.
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.
Dan McKinney describes how he was captured by enemy forces. His entire company was nearly wiped out. He talks about how all the members of the squad he commanded were killed and enduring friendly artillery shelling before he was captured.
The Trek to POW Camp #1
Dan McKinney describes the roughly sixty-day march to POW Camp #1 after he was captured by North Korean forces. He talks about carrying a wounded fellow POW on his back for much of the journey. He mentions being forced to give the wounded soldier to Chinese forces so that they could attend to the soldier's wounds.
Food and Living Quarters in POW Camp #1
Dan McKinney describes what he was given to eat during his journey to POW Camp #1. He describes the POW Camp and how it was in a former Korean village. He also details what the prisoners' small living quarters were like.
Day-to-Day Work at POW Camp #1
Dan McKinney talks about the day-to-day work of POW's at Camp #1. He describes going to nearby mountains to harvest firewood during the warm months for the upcoming winter. They would hike about four miles to and from, carrying the large logs.
Activities and Religion in Pow Camp #1
Dan McKinney talks about the activities that he and fellow POW's were allowed to do in POW Camp #1. He mentions that they were allowed to play several sports including basketball and track. He mentions that he was allowed to pray and that he kept his New Testament Bible the entire time he was imprisoned.
Food, Clothing, and Propaganda in POW Camp #1
Dan McKinney describes the food he was given as a POW in Camp #1. He talks about the clothing that he wore during his captivity. He also tells the story of a captured photographer whose photographs the North Koreans used to create propaganda materials.
Infractions and Consequences for POW's
Dan McKinney talks about infractions and consequences for prisoners in his POW camp. He describes the cages that they were sometimes held in. He also discusses his perceptions of North Korean POW camps versus Chinese POW camps.
Life After the Armistice Was Signed
Dan McKinney talks about life in the POW camp during months prior to and days after the Armistice were signed. He mentions that their treatment became better or worse based on the state of the negotiations. He talks about the prisoners' reactions to the news of the Armistice as well as how he and his comrades were transported to be exchanged nearly a month after the ceasefire went in place.
Fifty Years of Silence
Dan McKinney talks about his reluctance to talk about his POW experience for the first fifty years after the Armistice was signed. He describes how he decided to start talking about the war to graduates of a leadership class at Cannon Air Force Base in 2005. He mentions that he has talked to every graduating class since (over 70 groups).
Dan McKinney talks about the two-week journey back to the US by ship after he was released as a POW. He describes being interrogated about his captivity. He also describes finally eating well, gaining 25 pounds during the crossing.
Deployment to Camp Bucca
Danny Dorzok shares he received a different set of orders for his third deployment. He recalls being stationed at Camp Bucca in southern Iraq as a prison guard. He recounts how after having received new extensive training, he was assigned with the NPDB 5 to guard prisoners of war. He describes some of the interactions he had with Iraqi correctional officers as well as the prisoners, two very different impressions of Iraq.
Darrell D. McArdle
Running the POW Camps
Darrell McArdle explains that his company was downsized and his new role as a coordinator of POW camps. He notes that camps moved, and his role was coordinating movement of POWS and resources. He shares that the majority of the prisoners were equally distributed between Chinese and North Koreans and that many of the Chinese soldiers did not know where they were.
David Carpenter lost four Marines who were taken as POW's off the coast of Wonsan. He stayed on Korea's islands until peace talks began in 1953. He recalls going on leave to Japan to get some rest and relaxation (R & R) before he returned to England.
Koje-do Prison Camp Riots-1951
David Espinoza speaks about his participation in the combat operations within Koje-do Prison Camp. He recalls having to use flame throwers to help stop the riots incited by North Korean and Chinese prisoners. He remembers that he and the men he served with had to use hand grenades and bayonets to restore order in the camp.
Peace and Trust Among Former Enemies
David Lopez has mixed feelings about the possibility of meeting up with the North Koreans that he fought against during the Korean War. Soldiers on both sides were just doing their jobs and following through on orders, so David Lopez would meet with his former enemy. He remembers taking prisoners during the war and one of them was really tall and David Lopez believes that it was a Chinese soldier, not a North Korean.
Denis John Earp
The Moment of Capture
Denis John Earp explains the moment when he was captured. He shares that up to that point, he had never been hit. He recalls how his plane was hit three times. He describes the emergency procedures he took as his plane lost altitude.
Denis John Earp remembers that, upon capture, he was interrogated by Chinese soldiers. Knowing his rights under the Geneva Convention, He shares he knew his rights under the Geneva Convention and explains how he refused to answer some questions. He recalls how he was quickly informed by the Chinese about their “lenient policy” and soon was placed in a scary situation that was meant to force him to change his mind.
Always Being Watched
Denis John Earp explains what it was like being transferred to a Chinese Camp from the North Korean Camp known as “Park’s Palace." He recalls how the prisoners, himself included, were constantly watched and how there were daily propaganda lectures. He details the unfortunate circumstances that occurred in the winter months for those who were injured.
Denis John Earp describes the conditions at Park’s Palace, a Prisoner of War (POW) camp in North Korea. He describes a cruel game they would play for the guards’ entertainment. He explains the interrogation tactics, including waterboarding, that were used to gather information.
Donald D. Johnson
Almost Prisoner of War
Donald D. Johnson elaborates on his job responsibilities as the Lieutenant's Jeep driver. Three times a week he had to drive to the Division Headquarters to pick up new maps. New maps were made using aerial views of Korea to assist in artillery attacks. He describes the commute he had to take when driving through the roads of the Chosin Reservoir and how cold he found it. He recalls an incident where, by chance, he missed becoming a Prisoner of War.
Remembering a Hometown Hero
Donald Dahlin remembers a hometown hero, Noble Nelson. He shares his experience of knowing him most of his life but never knowing he was a prisoner of war. He describes him as being a hero but that he struggled with the recognition he received from his hometown. He proudly recalls his story that was put into a book by Mr. Nelson's loving wife. (This interview ends abruptly.)
General MacArthur Gives Korea to Syngman Rhee
Duane Trowbridge discusses the handoff of the key to the city. He discusses the devastation he saw as he went back to Icheon. He explains his trek back to Wonsan and then to a town between Wonson and Seoul where his regiment captured North Koreans. He discusses how he captured one thousand six hundred North Korean (NPKA) soldiers in October and November of 1950.
The Making of Foot Booties in Camp
Edmund Reel shares how he made thirty-two pairs of foot booties for fellow prisoners while a POW. He details the materials used to make the booties and offers an account of how he assembled them. He provides an example of the booties he made.
Captured by Chinese
Edmund Reel explains the circumstances that led to his capture and imprisonment for thirty-four months. He recalls there being roughly five thousand enemy soldiers advancing towards him. He shares that he had no choice but to surrender.
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 C. Sheffield
Surrounded by the North Koreans
Edward Sheffield describes the events leading to his capture by the North Koreans. He recalls receiving incoming fire and being surrounded roughly fifty miles outside of Seoul. He comments on the poor treatment he endured as a POW.
Bayonets and Belts
Edward Sheffield describes the physical treatment he endured from his North Korean captors. He shares that he was stabbed with a bayonet as well as kicked when he was first taken prisoner. He recalls thinking they might kill him due to possessing a belt he had taken as a souvenir.
Introduction to the Tiger
Edward Sheffield identifies one of the camps where he was held prisoner for the first year and a half as Camp Seven. He describes meeting the "Tiger", the enemy police force commanding officer who later began the forced death march he would survive. He recalls the "Tiger" ordering the murder of all men in the sick bay prior to the march.
The Death March
Edward Sheffield shares memories of the death march he and fellow POWs experienced. He describes the machine guns set up to potentially kill him and the turn of events following the pleas made by missionaries within the group. He recalls the punishment for being the last man in line during the death march.
Edward T. Smith
Life in Camps
Edward T. Smith describes life in the camp. He shares that most of the day focused on whatever work detail there was, often either wood or burial detail. He recalls how the Chinese tried to indoctrinate the prisoners and some believed it enough to move to China. He remembers the cramped sleeping quarters and limited uniforms.
Life as a POW
Edward T. Smith describes what it was like being captured, including his treatment by the Chinese. He recalls they were relatively decent but there was the looming unknown of what was going to happen. He remembers the living conditions, including how they were often just fed kernels of corn.
Death in the Camps
Edward T. Smith recalls how many peopled died in the camp, stating there were eight to ten burial details per day. He explains some died of malnutrition, illness, or wounds. However, he believes that some of the men "just gave up."
Ellis Ezra Allen
Living Conditions in the Prison Camps
Ellis Ezra Allen describes the long march from the mining camp to Camp 5. He explains that many died of exposure due to the lack of sufficient winter clothing and recalls that within a six weeks period over one thousand men died. He discusses the treatment of POW's by the North Koreans and the Chinese as well as the propaganda campaigns.
Propaganda and POW Release
Ellis Ezra Allen describes the continued propaganda lectures with the Chinese and the living conditions in Camp 4. He remembers them as not being too terrible as they had wood floors and coal-heated stoves. He recounts his release and shares that he was picked up by a helicopter, taken to Inchon, put on a U-boat, and transported back to the States.
Shot Down in a RB-29 Over North Korea
Eugene "Gene" Evers describes being shot down. He explains flying over North Korea during his reconnaissance mission. He describes the Russian MiG that ultimately took him out of the sky.
Living Conditions as a POW
Eugene "Gene" Evers describes the living conditions as a Prisoner of War. He explains the circumstances of his first seven months in North Korea. He elaborates on how he was treated by the Chinese and North Koreans.
Isolation in Chinese POW Camp
Eugene "Gene" Evers talks about being isolated in a Chinese POW camp. He describes his knowledge of Marine Colonel Frank Schwable. Schwable was a fellow POW in the Chinese prisoner camp.
You Are Going to Die
Eugene "Gene" Evers describes being questioned by Chinese soldiers during his time a POW. He explains how a fellow soldier saved his life by telling them that he was an "ABC agent". He describes the feeling associated with being told you are going to die.
Details of Living Conditions as a POW
Eugene "Gene" Evers describes the difficult daily living conditions of being a prisoner of war. He explains what it was like during a seven month period (July 1952-January 1953) as a prisoner in a Chinese POW camp in North Korea.
A Christmas Feast in POW Camp
Eugene "Gene" Evers talks about Christmas in a POW camp. He explains that this was the only time he had eaten meat during his 14 month captivity. This occurred during his captivity as a prisoner in a Chinese POW camp in North Korea.
Franklin O. Gillreath
Surrender and Difference Between Chinese and North Korean Treatment
Franklin Gillreath describes the events leading up to surrendering and the difference between Chinese and North Korean treatment. He explains that the North Koreans were harsh and would hit any soldier who could not understand their directions in Korean. He compares this example to the Chinese approach which involved finding a translator rather than hitting a soldier who could not understand directions.
Barbed Wire Fence along the Yalu River
Franklin Gillreath describes the march north as a prisoner of war (POW) deep into North Korea. He explains that villages would be emptied so that the prisoners could be stowed in the huts of North Korean civilians where there was only enough room to sit up. He describes the camp along the Yalu River where barbed wire used to keep in cattle was the only border between him and escape.
Daily Life in Camp Five
Franklin Gillreath explains what daily life was like inside of POW Camp Five. He describes the food mostly consisting of millet. He explains the wood and burial detail he was forced to conduct when fellow POWs died.
Traitors in the POW Camp
Franklin Gillreath shares memories of traitors among fellow soldiers in the POW camp. He explains that not being able to confide in some of his own countrymen weighed heavily on him mentally. He recounts fellow soldiers snitching on other soldiers in hopes of receiving more food and better treatment. He recalls one soldier in particular snitching to receive a lapel pin and adds that he suffered for his actions on the way home from Korea.
The capture of Fred Liddell: POW
Fred Liddell was captured by the Chinese in May 1951 at Hill 151 (Jirisan Mountain). His regiment was supposed to hold this hill until the US artillery saturated the hill. As Fred Liddell went down a slope around rocks, he met up with the Marines that were milling around near multiple vehicles on fire. The Chinese surrounded the US soldiers even as Fred Liddell was killing some of them in the bushes. Injured US soldiers were burned to death in a hut while over 300 POWs were forced to march to a cave and then onto Camp Suan.
Comparing POW Camps
Fred Liddell had to survive in multiple POW camps from 1951 through 1953 when he was released. At Camp Suan (the mining camp), there was a "hospital," but it was really a death house. Fred Liddell tried to feed a friend of his that was in the death house, but he didn't survive the next day. The surviving POWs were allowed to bury their follow soldiers, but only in a 2 foot grave. Fred Liddell is surprised that some of the bodies of POWs have been identified and sent back to the US.
Korean War POW PTSD
Fred Liddell suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) due to the experiences that he had to endure as a POW during the Korean War. Nightmares would come every night where Fred Liddell was running from the North Koreans because they performed terrible torturous acts on POWs such as stabbing and shooting soldiers for no reason. Many people would think that the Chinese would be worse, but Fred Liddell saw first-hand the terror created by the North Koreans.
Korea Revisit Program in 1986: The Evolution of Korea
Fred Liddell could not believe that evolution of South Korea in 1986 when he revisited through the Korea Revisit Program. He remembered Seoul train station completely in ruins along with all the buildings, but when he saw it rebuilt, it was a miracle. When he visited the Suan cultural center, Fred Liddell was able to share all of the changes that he saw from 1951 to 1986 including straw huts to homes and women plowing fields to mechanization. Fred Liddell was invited to visit the hut where the peace treaty was signed, but he felt extremely nervous because it was so close to North Korea.
POW Release and Chinese Propaganda
Fred Liddell was released from Panmunjom on September 5, 1953 and then sent to Incheon by helicopter with other inured POWs. He remembered that one horse patrol North Korean soldier led the POWs toward their release at Tent City near Panmunjom. The first meal he received from the US when he was released was roast beaf, baked potatoes, and peas, but it tore up his stomach. Listening to the Chinese lectures was the worst part of being a POW because they spoke about a variety of topics, but Fred Liddell believed that anyone who attended school knew that it was all lies.
Delousing the POWs
Gene Peeples describes being sent to Freedom Village as the war was coming to an end. His job as a medic included handling the POWs who were coming in from the Chinese camps. He explains the clothing of the POWs, their vomiting from being fed ice cream, and the thickness of lice on the shower floors.
Family Hears News Of Their Son's Death
George Brown recounts learning of his brother Arthur L. Brown initially being classified as Missing in Action on July 7, 1950. He shares that Arthur was serving in Korea as part of the 21st Regiment, 24th Division, Company K where when he was not actively carrying out his duty as an infantryman he was a pitcher for their baseball team. He recalls how the family later learned he was being held as a Prisoner of War at Camp 5 in Pyoktong, North Korea. He recounts how Arthur died on his twenty-first birthday in January 1951 and that some of the returning soldiers told his family Arthur had suffered from complications due to Beriberi.
Regrets of Hearing About Their Son's Death
George Brown recalls his parents were hit very hard by the news of their son Arthur Leroy Brown's death. He recalls his mom was pregnant with their first daughter and all were excited with the news. He remembers how Arthur eagerly shared the news with his fellow soldiers. He recounts how before Arthur left for boot camp, he and his father got into a scuffle because his father did not want him to quit school to join the Army.
The Burial of a POW
George Brown shares he was only six years old at the time his family was notified of his brother Arthur's death in POW Camp 5 in North Korea. He states that Arthur was temporarily buried in North Korea in a shallow grave due to the ground being frozen solid. He explains that the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency lists Arthur as unaccounted for and shares that Arthur is memorialized on the Courts of the Missing at the National Cemetery of the Pacific.
George Covel shares his memories of the day the Armistice was signed. He recalls making bets with fellow soldiers who did not believe it would occur when he predicted, and he recounts their surprise when it actually took place. He also describes the "big switch, little switch" and the release of prisoners following the Armistice.
Death Soon After Arrival
George Dixon was sent two miles into North Korea after landing in Incheon in February 1952. His squad leader kept a close watch on him since he did not have infantry training; George Dixon was shot in the helmet during this time, but his protective squad leader was killed right next time. Shortly after this, George Dixon explains how he captured the first POW for his regiment
Captured near Pyongyang
Gerald Cavagnaro describes how his unit was cut off during an attack by the Chinese. He describes running out of ammunition. He shares how he along with 100-150 other men were captured in November in 1950. He describes a march he took to what the soldiers named "Death Valley".
Release for POWs
Gerald Cavagnaro describes moving to the last POW camp. He describes being transferred by train and ambulance to the border. He explains the welcoming home by American officers but didn't see the American flag. He explains the delousing process and receiving his first real shower in thirty-three months. He shares his fingerprints, picture, and information given on a laminated card to him once he returned to the US Army.
Gerald Cavagnaro describes his days in a POW camp. He shares how everything was covered in lice and how they would try to kill them. He explains how other countries later had POWs added to the camp. He explains the Communist indoctrination sessions he was subjected to when there.
Released POWs Had a Blank Stare In Their Eyes
Panmunjom was the site of disembarkation at the time when Gerald Land left in September of 1953. He came across American soldiers who had been held as Prisoners of War. Gerald Land was overcome by sadness when he saw how sick the POWs looked. They just stared into space and this made Gerald Land reflect how lucky he was to come out alive. He couldn't imagine the type of torture those men had been put through.
The Battle of the Imjin River and Being Taken as a POW
Harry Hawksworth's B Company, Gloucestershire Regiment, fought the Chinese from Hill 144 until he was told to retreat to Hill 235 (Gloster Hill) in order to join with A Company and Captain Anthony Farrar-Hockley's troops. He shares how most of the troops had to leave their extra ammunition in the valleys below due to the quick retreat. He describes how he used six crates of two-inch mortars to fend off Chinese troops. Once all ammunition was used, he recalls that Captain Farrar-Hockley gave the order "every man to fight for themselves," but everyone became prisoners of war (POWs).
Life as a POW in Camp Changsong From April 1951 to July 1953
Harry Hawksworth shares how he walked at night for six weeks until he reached the prisoner of war (POW), Camp Changsong, in May 1951. He remembers how many of the British POWs escaped but notes that all were caught and punished by being placed in solitary confinement depending on the distance they escaped. He recalls becoming very sick after getting down to seven stones (ninety-eight pounds) due to eating only one bowl of rice with one cup of water a day. He recalls brainwashing sessions held by the Chinese and remembers how the US and British POWs had to fight to survive every single day.
The Release of British POWs After Armistice
Harry Hawksworth recalls knowing that peace talks must have been starting while he was trying to survive in a Chinese POW camp called Camp Changsong because the Chinese began to feed the POWs larger rations of food each day. He shares how this helped him fatten up after being held captive since May 1951 and weighing only ninety-five pounds. He explains that once the Armistice was signed in July 1953, he and other POWs were brought to Panmunjom at the 38th parallel. He recalls that it was there where they crossed over the famous Freedom Bridge back into Allied hands.
Life in a POW Camp
Hartwell Champagne describes time spent in a Chinese POW camp during the war. He shares how he would pick up injured men and what he had to do with the dead. He describes the harsh realities he faced while in Camps 3.
This Was My Life
Hartwell Champagne describes his experience living in Chinese POW Camp 5. He shares his responsibility for gathering firewood for the camp. He also shares how he would gather water, which provided him much needed strength. He explains how this gave him a sense of purpose when many of the other prisoners of war experienced hopelessness and despair.
Henry River, Jr.
Henry River, Jr., describes a couple moments during his service where his life was in danger, including a training session with RCATs. He recalls an additional time when he was involved in the capture and torture of some North Korean soldiers.
Herman F. Naville
Captured by the North Koreans
Herman Naville remembers that only 16 of the 180 men in his company made it out alive. He explains how he and others found a place on a hillside to hide. There was an explosion that hit Herman Naville in the head causing him to bleed heavily, develop blindness in his one eyes, and shattering his collarbone- he thought he was going to die. While continuing to hide, he was found by North Koreans who took him as a prisoner.
Prisoner Death March
Herman Naville remembers that the North Koreans took their shoes and their dog tags and told the men to lie down in a trench. He explains that they were told they were going to be killed, but, instead, they were marched to a camp. He recalls the terrible conditions they faced in the camps.
Conditions in the Prison Camp
Herman Naville remembers that they lived in filth and ate very poorly as prisoners. He describes not praying for his life, but accepting whatever came to him because he had chosen to enlist. He describes how when someone would die, they would carry the bodies onto the hill, they would bury them under snow or a foxhole.
The Tiger Death March
Herman Naville describes when "The Tiger" took over. "The Tiger" was a notoriously evil major, known for his sadistic and murderous tendencies. He describes how they had machine guns ready to kill them all. Instead, the next morning they started the death march, which was full of violence.
Captured Submarine & Firing at the UN Troops
Homer Garrett described encounters with North Korean agents during his service in Korea. His unit captured a 2-man operating submarine that was trapped on a sand bar which carried 4 North Korean agents. That same submarine is now located in the 2nd Infantry Division Museum. The other close call incident involved their Military Police Jeep and a lady who was standing in the road. She ran from the intersection when suddenly shots were fired piercing the radio in their jeep.
Hong Berm Hur
Korean War POW and the Simple Ways to Show Appreciation
Hong Berm Hur met Mr. English Model who was a POW (prisoner of war) during the Korean War. English Model was captured by the Chinese and was put into a camp for over a year. Thankfully, he escaped and made his way to Hawaii. This is where he shared his story with Hong Berm Hur. Hong Berm Hur not only likes to hear the stories of Korean War veterans, he also takes care of these veterans when he's not working so that he can properly show the veterans gratitude that they deserve for their service during the Korean War.
First Engagement: Task Force Smith
Jack Goodwin recounts his experience in Task Force Smith, the first group to engage with North Korean soldiers during the Korean War. He shares that they were severely outnumbered and ill-equipped with only four hundred or so men against roughly twenty thousand North Korean soldiers, having severely limited ammunition. He recalls remaining U.S. soldiers being forced to leave their position and walk during the night to a village where they were captured the following morning.
People Who Fall in a Death March
Jack Goodwin describes the Death March as a POW which took place November 1st-9th, 1950. He shares that 86 men died along the way from either wounds sustained prior to the start of the march or from being shot by the North Koreans who were forcing them to march. He recounts civilians being forced to march with them as well, including nuns, priests, engineers, and politicians.
The Aftermath of the Death March
Jack Goodwin recalls his experience after surviving the Death March. He describes being housed in a school building as a POW until February 1951. He recounts frigid conditions as temperatures dipped to forty and fifty below zero and shares that roughly two hundred men either froze to death or died of malnutrition during that time frame. He describes there not being much to do during the day other than kill the lice that infested their bodies.
Crossing the Bridge of No Return
Jack Goodwin shares memories of crossing the Bridge of No Return in 1953 after having lived as a POW since 1950. He recalls men tossing their clothes off along the road and feeling emotional upon seeing the American flag. He briefly speaks of losing his faith during his time as a POW.
Life at Koje-do POW Camp
Jack Whelan provides insight into the POW camp at Koje-do. He describes the layout and organization of the camp while he was stationed on the island. He emphasizes there was an ugliness within the North Korean compound that justified the ugliness of the frontlines. he explains how he, while in Koje-do, transitioned from being a correspondent to mapmaker.
Life in POW Camp 5
James Berry describes some of his experiences at POW Camp 5. He explains where they slept and how many people were in the room, many of them who died. He describes his interactions with a Chinese interpreter who had been a college student in Texas before the War.
James C. Delong
Captured by the Chinese at Hill 1221
James C. Delong describes his capture by the Chinese and the march to Chang-ni, a interrogation camp for Prisoners of War. He explains that he was driving a truck of wounded men away from the battlefield. When he stopped to check on the men in the bed of the truck the Chinese surrounded them and ordered them surrender or die. He describes breaking his rifle and throwing his bullets into the snow so that it could not be used by the enemy. After lining up the wounded that were able to walk, the Chinese shot the rest of the wounded men in the truck.
Life as a POW - Marching
James C. Delong describes the march to the POW camp. He explains that the men were given one frozen potato a day. He recalls trying to find the biggest one, knowing that would be all he would receive for the entire day. He describes climbing mountain after mountain for eighteen days to reach their destination that was sixty miles away. He explains that he never sat down along the way because if you sit down then you would freeze and die.
Life as a POW - At Camp
James C. Delong describes life at the POW camp in North Korea. He explains that he was forced into a barn where the Chinese attempted to brainwash him along with nearly three-hundred other men. He recounts how the interrogation and brainwashing would last for more than eight hours; the first four hours in Chinese and the second in English. He goes on to describe the day they were marched to another camp and eighteen Marines were released in order to take the prescribed propaganda back with them.
James E. Fant
James E Fant discusses being drafted and going to Korea
James E Fant describes being drafted. He reflects on basic training and his route to Korea and eventually to Hill 355. He explains, that in Korea, that they were constantly fighting for high ground.
James Kenneth Hall
Life as a Prisoner of War
James Hall describes being captured in North Korea by the Chinese and being temporarily placed in a mine. He describes being forced to march all night because the Chinese did not have a place to put prisoners. He shares his testimony of being starved and sleep deprived while in the prisoner of war encampment. He recounts being placed in Compound 39 where prisoners were placed and left to die.
Dreaming of Bologna, Peanut Butter, and Peaches
James Hall describes how he was able to survive nearly starving to death in Camp 5, a Chinese prisoner of war camp. He discusses what he was fed while in the encampment. He recalls that when peace talks to bring about a ceasefire started, he noticed the prisoners were fed rice as a means for them to regain their strength.
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 Hall tells the story of being released from POW Camp 5 on August 10, 1953. He recalls being placed on a barge and then a train on his journey south to cross the 38th Parallel. He shares his experience of acclimating back into the possession of the United States government authorities. He recalls having his first meal at Incheon after he was released as a POW.
James L. Stone
A Survival Miracle
James L. Stone says that it was a miracle he survived his wounds. He attributes his survival partially to being an officer, reasoning that the Chinese were eager for information. He shares that another soldier helped him stay alive and recalls being captured by the Chinese where he was carried up to Yalu River to a prison camp. He remembers receiving little medical treatment for his wounds but states that he was given some food and was treated a little better than others due to being an officer.
James L. Stone shares a few memories regarding his time in the POW camp with other soldiers from various countries. He recounts stealing corn in a North Korean field with a Turkish officer and being reprimanded. He recalls British officers being overly concerned with their handlebar mustaches and comments on their laziness. He admits that it was fairly easy to escape the POW camps; however, one realized the farther he was away from camp, the farther away he was from food.
Chinese Treatment of Canadian POWs
Jesse Chenevert describes being prepared at one point for receiving Canadian soldiers who had been a prisoner by the Chinese. She shares how the personnel at the hospital were surprised by the good condition of the soldiers. She explains how she learned that their excellent care was most likely due to them being used as propaganda by their captors. She explains that the POWs who were very sick were not treated by the Canadian hospital
Jimmie A. Montoya
Farmers vs City Boys in a POW Camp
The soldiers who had once been farmers and ranchers back at home knew which vegetation to eat on that ground while many of the city boys lacked any of this knowledge. Georgia and Linda Montoya said that before the war, Jimmie Montoya would ride out to the ranch, shine shoes, work on the farm, or do whatever it takes to help make ends meet. Whatever amount he was paid during the war, he sent home to his mother and the kids.
A Picture of the Battle of Chosin Reservoir
John Beasley describes his own experience at the Battle of Chosin Reservoir. His descriptions include seeing the U.S. Army suffer heavy casualties, as well as hearing a testimony from a wounded soldier about the atrocities done to the wounded by the Chinese. He recalls serving under his highly decorated commander, Colonel "Chesty" Puller. He also describes suffering a shrapnel wound during the Seoul Recapture.
First Landing in Busan, Korea and Many Evacuation Flights that Followed
John Cumming landed on Busan's runway which was pitted with bombing holes. In order to load the casualties, POWs were used to assist the flight crew and once in flight, flight nurses held the injured to keep them from dying due to the temperature.
John G. Sinnicki
Impressions of the Chinese
John Sinnicki describes his experiences with the Chinese. He recalls feeling sorry for many of them, as they were very hungry and cold and would take clothing and shoes from dead Marines in the field for their own use. He explains that the Chinese POWs were sometimes executed rather than being allowed to leave and possibly rejoin the Chinese military.
John Hilgert describes the events that led to his capture by the Chinese Army. He explains that after the Spring Offensive, he and two other men were cut off and alone. He recalls how they were found by the Chinese and taken prisoner. He shares that of the seven thousand men taken prisoner, only a little over three thousand survived to be released, partially due to the poor quality of food the Chinese provided.
March to the Camp
John Hilgert details some of the humiliation and perils experienced by him and other prisoners as they were being marched to the prison camp. He explains that in addition to walking, they also were transported by train. He describes the thick, noxious smoke from the train's engine that would waft into the first cars, killing the men on board. He remembers how the Chinese walked the men through towns as a show of force, often times marching the same men over and over.
John Hilgert describes what conditions were like in the camp where he spent two years as a prisoner of the Chinese Army. He explains that the Chinese were not as brutal as the North Koreans who would dismember the enemies. He recalls sleeping in dirt floored huts, eight to twelve men to a hut. He describes the terrible lice infestation they experienced that was out of control until they were able to boil their clothes. He describes how he gathered wood to heat their hut during the winters.
Arriving in Korea
John Jefferies recalls landing in Pusan, South Korea, in 1953 and the reality of war sinking in as he disembarked. He recalls being assigned to a Medical Clearing Company and describes his role while there. He shares that he worked in a POW camp where North Korean soldiers were detained.
John Jefferies recounts a successful and massive North Korean POW escape that occurred early one morning. He details how the North Koreans used towels to destroy part of the fencing around the camp and remembers watching thousands of them flee. He recalls having to defend himself to survive the situation.
John Jefferies recalls a POW exchange in Panmunjeom. He describes how the North Korean POWs reacted to being part of the exchange. He shares that new uniforms and other items were distributed to the POWs as well as haircuts given prior to the exchange. He recounts that the POWs threw their clothes out of the trucks and scratched themselves on the way to the exchange as a means of falsely displaying how poorly they had been treated.
First Job in Korea
John Pritchard was dropped off in Pusan and was shocked to see civilians living in cardboard boxes without any sanitation. After one day, he was sent to Geoje Island to work in an American workshop to fix a water tanker. He was impressed with the tools available to the American Army.
Jorge Eliecer Cortez Medina
The Battle of Old Baldy / La Batalla de Old Baldy
Jorge Eliecer Cortez Medina provides an account of the Battle of Old Baldy. He explains that their unit had incurred heavy losses after two weeks of bombing and was attacked by the enemy who seized on their weakness. This battle was particularly brutal because Chinese troops outnumbered them ten-to-one. The following day, he and a handful of others volunteered to climb back up Old Baldy to recover the dead and wounded.
Jorge Eliecer Cortez Medina brinda un relato de la Batalla de Old Baldy. Explica que su unidad sufrió grandes pérdidas porque los chinos los bombardearon por dos semanas antes de la batalla y aprovecharon de su debilidad cuando los atacaron. Esta batalla fue brutal porque las tropas chinas los superaban en número diez a uno. Al día siguiente, él y una docena de soldados más se ofrecieron como voluntarios para volver a subir a Old Baldy para recuperar a los muertos y heridos que quedaron en la colina.
Jose E Hernandez Rivera
Guarding the Prisoners at Koje-do
Jose E. Hernandez Rivera describes what it was like to guard the Prisoner of War camp at Koje-do Island, Korea. He explains that they used to take the prisoners to the LSTs (ships) to load oil and equipment in the morning. He shares a memory of a time when a prisoner would not do what he was told and then moves on to tell of the deaths that took place in the camps.
Big Switch of Prisoners
Jose E. Hernandez Rivera describes the “Big Switch”, which was the exchange of prisoners after the Armistice was signed on July 27, 1953. He recalls that they took the prisoners to the ships and then received American prisoners. He explains why the prisoners they were releasing did not want to go back to their home country.
Jose Jaime Rodríguez Rodríguez
Most Dangerous Conflicts / Conflictos Más Peligrosos
José Jaime Rodríguez Rodríguez shares his memories of the most dangerous battles that Colombian troops faced. He discusses the perils during Operation Barbula and the bloody nature of the Battle of Old Baldy. Because of the heavy fighting Colombian troops encountered in March of 1953, they nicknamed it the “gory month of March.”
José Jaime Rodríguez Rodríguez comparte sus recuerdos de las batallas más peligrosas que enfrentaron las tropas colombianas. Habla de los peligros durante la Operación Barbula y lo sangriento que fue la Batalla de Old Baldy. Debido a los intensos combates que enfrentaron las tropas colombianas en marzo de 1953, lo apodaron "el cruento mes de Marzo".
Joseph Lewis Grappo
"It Was the Fourth of July"
Joseph Lewis Grappo describes that they were stuck at the top of the hill because of a roadblock created by the Chinese. He shares how this maneuver blocked the US soldiers in with their trucks, supplies, and ammunition. He shares how he along with other men charged the Chinese blockade but were outnumbered. He shares how he was shot an injured. He describes how once the trucks were filled with injured, Chinese continued to attack the soldiers from all sides. He explains how he was shot again but this time in his soldier. He describes shots by the Chinese that sounded like the 4th of July.
Joseph T Monscvitz
Surrounded at Taejon
When they woke up in the middle of the night in Taejon, Joseph Monscvitz and his unit saw a large tank that quickly started shooting at them. They jumped in a sewer to seek cover, but soon learned that they would need to escape further. Joseph Monscvitz explains how he made the wrong choice, ended up being surrounded again in a little village, and found himself as a Prisoner of War.
Prisoner of War
Joseph Monscvitz describes his experience as a Prisoner of War marching from Taejon to Seoul to Pyongyang. He remembers being interrogated by a Russian soldier and eventually loaded onto a train that he thought was headed to Manchuria. The train stopped in the Sunchon Tunnel where many of the men were killed, but Joseph Monscvitz was fortunate to respond.
Juan Andres Arebalos
The Battle of Taejon
Juan Andres Arebalos provides an overview of the North Korean's advancements in Taejon. He recounts retreating from the city to reinforce his troops. He remembers observing the city burning after the North Koreans seized it. He provides information about General William Dean, the United States general who was captured during the retreat from Taejon.
Jutta I. Andersson
Duty of a Nurse
Jutta Andersson explains her duties as a nurse in the barracks. She mainly treated soldiers with non-life threatening injuries or soldiers who were in stable condition. In her barracks she also treated POW's from North Korea and China. POW's were generally scared of uncertainty, but thankful for the treatment and did not want to go back to the POW camp.
Treatment of POW's
Jutta Andersson explains her treatment of North Korean soldiers. The United States military did not want to treat these soldiers. However, the Swedish doctors and nurses had to treat injured North Koreans because of the Geneva Convention. The United States had to accept the Swedish treatment of North Korean soldiers.
Kaku Akagi describes the significance of his duties in the 500th Military Intelligence Service Group. He recalls how the unit gathered accurate and helpful information from North Koreans in a POW camp in Koje-do. He explains why most of the detainees spoke Japanese in addition to Korean. He notes he, therefore, questioned the prisoners in Japanese.
Most Difficult Thing
Kenneth Gordon shares the not knowing if you were going to leave was the most difficult part of his time in Korea. He recalls how he always carried his violin in one hand and his M1 Rifle in the other. He recounts a story of being injured while cleaning his gun one last time. He comments on another challenge he faced which was maintaining his violin throughout the time he was there, and he shares how a POW provided needed advice for doing just that.
No Ethiopian Soldiers Were Prisoners of War
Lakew Asfaw explains that Ethiopian soldiers refuse to give themselves over to the enemy. Unlike other nations, none of the Ethiopian soldiers were taken as prisoners of war. One experience he recalls involved a soldier being captured and how he started shouting for his comrades to take his life. During this incident, he remembers another Ethiopian soldier firing into the dark and killing the North Korean who was taking the soldier. He clarifies that soldiers would take their own lives before becoming a prisoner of war.
Captured by the Chinese
Lawrence Shadler describes the night he and 68 other men were captured by the Chinese when his troop ran out of ammunition. The Dutch had pulled out an left a two and half mile gap in the lines. He was on guard when about 50,000 Chinese attacked just after midnight.
In Line Waiting to Die
Lawrence Shadler describes the Chinese lining up the captured American troops and waiting to be shot while third in line. Lining them up was just for show at times. Approximately 300 were marched north to a P.O.W. camp.
A Prisoner's Winter
Lawrence Shadler describes spending the winter in a Chinese P.O.W. camp. He was given a "long-John," a piece of steamed bread. The flue from the stove tunneled under the building and created heat under the floor. The men had to move around or "you would burn your butt." The cold was so overbearing that birds wings froze in mid air.
What do you think of the War?
Lawrence Shadler describes being taken to the headquarters of the Chinese prison camps after 15-18 months and being asked about his impressions of the war. The enemy propaganda papers reported they had been advancing 30-40 miles a day. He asked how they liked Hawaii, since they must have made their way to San Francisco after 15-18 months of advancing so significantly.
Release of the P.O.W.
Lawrence Shadler describes his release just north of the 38th Parallel. For every 100 American solidiers released, 500 enemy POWs were also repatriated. They were taken on trucks to a white stone path and were not officially released until stepping onto those stones.
Leandro Diaz Miranda
Discrimination / Discriminación
Leandro Díaz Miranda recounts his experiences with American troops. He states that while he did not experience discrimination, he witnessed it the night Lieutenant White, who was known to be racist, sent the darkest skinned individual as a forward observer and that young man was never seen again. He felt that that most of his American superiors were good, even though they were strict.
Leandro Díaz Miranda relata sus experiencias con las tropas estadounidenses. Afirma que, aunque a él no lo discriminaron, el fue testigo a la discriminación la noche en que el teniente White, conocido por ser racista, envió al individuo de piel más oscura como observador avanzado y ese joven nunca lo volvieron a ver. Sintió que la mayoría de sus superiores estadounidenses eran buenos, aunque fueran estrictos.
Keeping the Guns Warm
Lester Griebenow recalls an incident that he was not involved with, how an officer told a gun crew to light fires underneath the heavy artillery to keep the guns from freezing. Unfortunately, the fires notified the North Koreans of their location. The soldiers were taken prisoner and the guns were destroyed.
North Koreans leaving the war
Lloyd Pitman describes how his platoon walked right into a North Korean position after landing at Iwon, North Korea. Many soldiers ran away to avoid being captured. Some North Korean soldiers began waving the white peace flag and over a period of two days, the American soldiers took in 85 North Korean soldiers who wanted out of the war.
Marian Jean Setter
Nursing on Medical Evacuation Trains
Marian talks about her second nursing assignment, which was helping to transport World War II prisoners of war from the ports, where they arrived by ship, to hospitals closer to their homes. On these medical trains, she and other nurses would ride with the patients the entire length of the trip, and care for them, and assist them with any needs that they had. She remembers the men being severely malnourished as a result of their time in captivity.
Treating the Rescued Hostages from the USS Pueblo
Marian recalls a notable experience while serving her second tour of duty in Korea. Upon their release by the North Koreans, she was one of the nurses that cared for the hostages of the USS Pueblo on Christmas Eve 1968. She and her fellow nurses gave each of them physical examinations, treatment if needed, and fed them a Christmas dinner.
Mario Nel Bernal Avella
Worst Battle / La Batalla Más Dura
Mario Nel Bernal Avella recounts his experience at the Battle of Hill 400. He explains the ground operation which resulted in his platoon piercing into enemy lines and capturing a number of prisoners of war, documents, and bloody cash. He details the way in which American airpower covered the platoon with the use of machine guns and napalm. He led his platoon on this mission without ever firing his gun as he was forced to fight with his bayonet in hand-to-hand combat. He described the battle as hell on earth and went in with the mindset that he had to win or die.
Mario Nel Bernal Avella relata su experiencia en la Batalla de la Colina 400. Explica la misión que resulto en su pelotón atravesara las líneas enemigas y capturar a varios prisioneros de guerra, documentos y dinero. Relata la forma en que el aviones estadounidense cubrieron el pelotón con el uso de ametralladoras y napalm. El dirigió su pelotón en esta misión sin disparar su arma, pero estuvo obligado a luchar con su bayoneta en un combate cuerpo a cuerpo. Describió la batalla como el infierno en la tierra y entró con la mentalidad de que tenía que vencer o morir.
The Forgotten War and Causes of PTSD
Marion Burdette feels the Korean War is known as the "Forgotten War" because there was not a lot of publicity back on the home front. He recalls how many of the veterans did not speak about the war when they returned back home. He shares how he shot thousands of rounds of artillery while serving in Korea, leading to hearing loss. He recounts how he was stationed in Northern Korea and mentions he was almost caught as a POW. Due to his experiences on the front line, he shares that he has nightmares and PTSD.
Marvin “Sam” Bass
Captured by the Chinese
Sam Bass was captured in September 1951 around the Punchbowl or Old Baldy area. He describes how he was arrested by the Chinese who had cut them off through the line. He explains the living conditions during that time, including the marching and sleep conditions.
Prisoner of War Exchange
Marvin Ummel recalls witnessing the exchange of prisoners of war (POWs). He remembers the released prisoners changing clothes once released and many Korean locals picking up and taking the clothes back to their homes. Doctors would inspect the released POWs before sending them back home. Often the POWs were in poor condition, some even being sprayed with DDT insecticide to kill off vermin. He recalls that while the soldiers were thrilled to be back, the condition the POWs arrived in was poor and very depressing.
Mission in Korea
Mathew Thomas recalls his job description. He and his battalion were in charge of taking care of prisoners of war (POWs). He remembers the role being dangerous because some POWs were not checked for weapons when they were brought into the camp facility. He shares how there were times when POWs tried to escape.
Prisoners of War
Mathew Thomas speaks about his experiences with prisoners of war (POWs). He recalls how some POWs did not want to return to their home countries and explains that some were left behind or even taken back to India. He shares that other POWs wanted to go to North Korea as they felt they might have a chance of reuniting with their families.
Committee Mission Complexities
Mathew Thomas talks about the committee's mission. He recalls how the Korean officials wanted the small number of remaining POWs released so they could return home; however, the United Nations orders were to not release the POWs. Instead, the orders were to hand them over to the United States command. He recognizes the complexities of the situation that are hard to decipher even today. He remembers leaving Korea in 1954 after nine months of service.
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.
Milton E. Vega
Difficult Choices / Decisiones Dificiles
Milton Vega Rivera explains how unprepared he was for the war. He remembers the tough choice that soldiers were required to make as they had to kill or be killed. He describes the maltreatment of a prisoner of war and attributes his speaking out about it to being denied a promotion.
Milton Vega Rivera explica que no estaba preparado para la guerra. Recuerda la difícil decisión que los soldados debían tomar, ya que tenían que matar o morir. Además, describe el maltrato de un prisionero de guerra y atribuye su denuncia al hecho de que se le negó un ascenso.
Nam Young Park
Captured by Communists
Nam Young Park describes how he was captured and imprisoned by Communists in Korea as a result of his anti-Communist activities as a student. He shares his memory of hiding in a ceiling when they came to find him and how his mother screamed. He recounts his surrender and succeeding twenty-seven-day-long imprisonment.
POW Trials on Geoje Island
Narce Caliva describes common occurrences at the Geoje Island POW camp. He explains that he was assigned several missing persons cases among the North Korean POWs. These cases had been reported to the Geneva Convention as mistreatments on behalf of the UN soldiers. He explains that through testimony it was understood that the missing persons had been perceived to be collaborators or were not friendly to the North Korean cause and were murdered and cut up into small pieces by other North Korean POWs and disposed of in the outgoing "honey buckets."
Nelson S. Ladd
Less than a month after the dedication of the Libby Bridge, Nelson Ladd was a witness to a prisoner exchange between the North and South Koreans. He estimated on the day of the exchange, some 80,000 prisoners were returned to North Korea despite the South had detained about 400,000 North Korean soldiers. He observed that many of the prisoners had thrown the clothes that had been given to them at the camps along the roadside except their shorts and boots. The trucks headed back picked up the articles of clothing left by the prisoners.
Nick Nishimoto describes how the Chinese attempted to indoctrinate the Americans in the prison camp where he was stationed. He recalls twenty-one Americans adopting Communist ideology. He shares that they were called "turncoats" and that they chose to stay in North Korea with additional travel to China.
North Korean Guard Allows Burial
Nick Nishimoto details a relationship he had with a North Korean guard while in a prisoner of war camp. He recalls speaking with him in Japanese and the guard allowing him to properly bury his dear friend. He details this moment, his tears, the cold, and taking his friend's possessions for survival.
Chinese-American in a Chinese POW Camp
Nick Nishimoto discusses how in his prisoner of war camp Chinese-Americans were imprisoned as well. He remembers when his dear Chinese-American friend suffered from a cyst that became infected. He recalls there being American doctors in the prisoner of war camp who tried to provide treatment, but equipment was lacking to do so.
First Captured Night
Nick Nishimoto describes the living conditions of the school room where he was captive when he first became a prisoner of war. He recalls the room being so crowded that he had to sit crunched down for hours. He remembers how hard it was to keep balance when he got up later to stand and relieve himself. He describes how another American prisoner had to help him as the Chinese soldiers laughed.
Nicolás Cancel Figueroa
Contact Patrol at Kelly Hill / Patrulla de Contacto en Kelly Hill
Nicolás Cancel Figueroa presents an overview of the Chinese and North Korean troop positions on the eve of the battle of Kelly Hill which resulted in heavy losses from the 65th Infantry. He explains that he was a member of the contact patrol which was surveying the hill and when they reported on the great number of enemy troops and heavy equipment, his lieutenant did not believe the report. He remembers their lieutenant insisted on the contact patrol capturing a prisoner of war to interrogate him, but they were unable to do so because they were greatly outnumbered.
Nicolás Cancel Figueroa describe sus memorias de las posiciones de las tropas chinas y norcoreanas en vísperas de la batalla de Kelly Hill, que resultó en grandes pérdidas del 65º de Infantería. Explica que él era miembro de la patrulla de contacto que estaba observando el cerro y cuando le informaron a su teniente sobre la gran cantidad de tropas enemigas y equipo pesado, el no creyó el informe. Recuerda que su teniente insistía en que la patrulla de contacto capturara a un prisionero de guerra para interrogarlo, pero no pudieron hacerlo porque el enemigo los superaba en número.
Nolasco de Jesus Espinal Mejia
Foreign Troops / Tropas Extranjeras
Nolasco de Jesús Espinal Mejía discusses his relationship with Allied foreign troops. He recounts that he had a kinship with all troops but was most careful with Koreans because he was afraid that North Koreans could infiltrate their lines. He further explains this fear by sharing a story in which he helped capture prisoners of war who were in possession of the same cigarettes they had, signifying they were spies.
Nolasco de Jesús Espinal Mejía habla de sus relaciones con las tropas extranjeras. Cuenta que tenía amistad y compañerismo con las tropas de todos los países, pero tenía más cuidado con los coreanos porque temía que los norcoreanos pudieran infiltrarse en sus líneas. Explica que tenía este miedo porque en una ocasión capturaron prisioneros de guerra que estaban en posesión de los mismos cigarrillos que ellos tenían, y se dio cuenta que eran espías.
Prisoner of War
In this clip, Norman Renouf describes the circumstances that led to him becoming a Prisoner of War in April of 1951. He spent several days in a cave without food before surrendering.
School in the Prisoner Camp
Norman Renouf describes the classes that he was forced to take in the prisoner camp. The Chinese used the classes to encourage the soldiers to reject capitalism in favor of communist ideologies. Some of the Chinese interpreters spoke good English because they had lived in New York City.
Norman Spencer Hale
Camp 5 Poem
Norman Hale recounts marching as a POW from December 1950 to February 1951. He recalls the loss of life. He shares a poem written by a POW about the one thousand six hundred servicemen who died that winter.
Reconnaissance and Intelligence / Reconocimiento e Inteligencia
Pascual Rosa Feliciano speaks of his time as a patrolman on reconnaissance and intelligence missions. He admits that these missions, which were meant to locate the enemy, were costly in lives. He explains that they were tasked with conducting investigations and capturing prisoners of war.
Pascual Rosa Feliciano habla de sus misiones de reconocimiento e inteligencia. Admite que estas misiones, que estaban destinadas a localizar al enemigo, costaron muchas vidas. Explica que tenían la tarea de realizar investigaciones y capturar prisioneros de guerra.
Pell E. Johnson
Guarding Prisoner of War Camps
Pell E. Johnson guarded Chinese and North Korean Prisoner of War camps. It was a rough placement due to the prisoners trying to mutiny. He feared Bay Day, a communist holiday and a possible uprising of prisoners.
Guarding Prisoners at Geojedo
Ralph Hodge shares he soon found himself among the soldiers whose duty it was to guard the one hundred sixty thousand North Korean and Chinese prisoners on Geojedo Island. He offers details of the prison camp. He recalls the inside of the camp being a "beehive of discontent," so much so that the United Nations and the Red Cross encouraged the soldiers not to go into the compounds.
They were Ready for War
Ralph Hodge shares the errors the United States military made in dealing with those held in Geojedo and the dangers which resulted. He recalls a Brigadier General being held for two days. He estimates there were only ten thousand troops guarding the one hundred sixty thousand prisoners. He offers details of how the discontent within the prison led to danger for the guards.
We Sensed Something was Wrong
Ralph Hodge remembers sensing something was wrong on May Day. He recalls how the morning started with a parade. He notes how things changed when Brigadier General Haydon L. Boatner took command of Geojedo. He remembers that among the changes were constructing new, smaller compounds and relocating the prisoners to these smaller compounds.
Paratrooper Battles During Korean War
Ralph Howard recalls traveling all over Korea. He recounts how he performed airdrops into assorted battles including the Battle of Sukchon-Sunchon, the Battle of Triangle Hill, and the assault of Kot'o-ri. He described a mission where he was supposed to stop an enemy train carrying Allied POWs; however, the enemy had killed all but twenty-six POWs right outside the train.
Raymond L. Ayon
Caring for Wounded Enemy POWs
During his time in Daegu, Raymond L. Ayon was responsible for the care of wounded enemy POWs for a period of two years. He recalls the conditions of one particular POW who required an inoculation but was afraid of the syringe. As a corpsman, his duty was to provide the necessary treatment and release them once they were fit to go. He remembers a moment when General McArthur passed by in a motorcade while they were waiting to cross the Hans River on a pontoon, which was an exciting experience for most of the men. Towards the end of the video, he briefly discusses the numerous medals he was awarded due to his military service.
Captured by North Koreans
Raymond Unger tells the story of how he was captured by five North Korean soldiers.
I Thought My Life Was Over
Raymond Unger describes being interrogated during his first week as a POW.
Life in POW Camp #3
Raymond Unger describes the living conditions in Camp #3 during his time as a prisoner of war.
I Knew I Was Going to Survive
Raymond Unger talks about his will to survive as a prisoner of war.
Raymond Unger talks about coming home after spending most of the war as a POW and his treatment from family and friends.
Richard A. Mende
POW's after the Armistice
Richard Mende describes seeing POW's in Pusan after the armistice was signed. He talks about the prisoners being moved on trains and the poor condition of their clothing.
Remember the Death March North
Richard Donatelli remembers that in spite of the heavy artillery being used, it was no match for the Chinese near Kotori who would over run their unit, forcibly moving them with bayonets north.
He explains that they lost a lot of men on this "death march" due to the rough, cold conditions and lack of water and food. During a few times, Richard Donatelli wanted to give up, but he kept going.
POW Camp-Teaching of Capitalism
Richard Donatelli explains that they tried to teach them about the downfalls of capitalism in the POW Camp. They placed them in a circle sharing stories of the businessmen ruining the country on a daily basis, an argument for socialism and communism. In addition to this, they would have to sing a patriotic song daily while living in the horrible conditions of the camp.
POW Camp 5 Morning Ritual
Richard Dontelli says that they hard a hard time sleeping and medical care was not the best. The Chinese doctors would only give them pills. He remembers that if you didn't eat what they gave you, you died. Richard Dontelli tells the story of one time he was caught stealing wooden shingles off of one of the cabinets and he was punished.
POW camp life
Robert Arend explains how they housed 70,000 prisoners among different compounds, including one for females. For safety reasons, they tried to separate prisoner based on their political beliefs, i.e. noncommunist or communists. He adds that for the most part, the prisoners were well behaved, but recalls several uprisings and incidences of violence that occurred.
Robert Arend remembers the conditions in which the prisoners lived. He describes the prisoners as being well fed and cared for. The Red Cross would periodically conduct inspections to ensure decent conditions, including sports equipment to play with.
Account of Prison Uprising
While Robert Arend arrived in the camp shortly after the uprising, he tells the story as it was told to him from others who were at the camp at that time. He says it was the General's blunder by walking into the camp, and the prisoners overpowered him. After several days, they sent in some troops and a tank to get him out. The General was not killed, but there were several prisoners and possibly a few American soldiers were killed.
Prisoners Were Happy to Be There
Robert Arend remembers that many prisoners were happy to be there, especially the non-communist ones, happy not to have to return to the Communist North. Those that were "hard core" would do anything to go back. It was Robert Arend's job to keep records of every prisoner including their political affiliation and where they were sent. He states that this was a very "intense time" with a lot of threats.
The Chinese Take Robert Battdorff
Marine engineers were building an airstrip near the Chosin Reservoir when Robert Battdorff moved onto Toktong Pass to set up positions. That's where the Chinese took over the hill and he was taken prisoner while on watch. It was November 28, 1950 and he was on watch in a sleeping bag because the weather was 40 below zero.
A Near Death Experience with the Chinese
The Chinese put Robert Battdorff in a cow shed and then put him in their own foxholes because the sun was coming up, so they assumed the US would be bombing soon from the air. Two other men were captured with him, but no US soldiers came to resume them right away. On the first assault, there were 28 casualties during that attack. The guard that captured the 3 US soldiers had the men kneel near a frozen stream so that he could kill them, but another Chinese soldier stopped the killing.
Marching and Traveling all over the Chosin Reservoir as a POW
After a further search and surviving a shooting, Robert Battdorff had to hide in a foxhole because the Australians were shooting up multiple buildings where the Chinese were hiding. One guard walked the POWs all day to Yudam ni, near Hamgyong, North Korea. He was moved many places to hide throughout December 1950 while the Chinese were picking up additional British POWs.
Travel, Food, and UN Attacks on Chinese as a POW
Robert Battdorff and one other US POW were forced to walk south to the 38th parallel in May 1951 as the US soldiers were pushing the Chinese back in battle. He was told that he was brought down south just in case if the Chinese came across additional prisoners. He would walk at night 6 days a week and then take Sunday off. Since the Chinese were traveling with supplies during the night, UN pilots looked for the headlights of the trucks to know where to hit.
33 Months as a POW
Robert Battdorff was watched by only 1 guard for all 25 POWs until the Chinese realized that it would be safer for them to separate the POWs. After moving all the Koreans out of the next city, the homes were called Camp 3 where they stayed during October 1951. He had to deal with Communist Indoctrination for over 2 years. Robert Battdorff was finally released in August 1953 after the Korean War came to a stalemate.
Robert Kam Chong Young
Robert Kam Chong Young speaks about his experiences after participating in the Inchon Landing. He comments on his return to Korea after recovering from hepatitis in a Japanese hospital. He remembers being scared when he captured three Chinese Prisoners of War.
With the "Worst of the Worst"
Robert Kohler remembers leaving on the troop ship. Because his rank orders had not come through yet, he had to do guard duty on the ship. He was in a cell block with the prisoners who were the "worst of the worst."
Robert O. Gray
From Hospitals to Prisons
Robert Gray discusses how he got hit and went to the hospital. He explains his motivation for lying to avoid staying in the hospital. He also describes how that decision caused him to be captured by the Chinese as a prisoner of war (POW).
Say No to Indoctrination
Robert Gray describes his capture by the Chinese. He explains how he and others spoke out against the indoctrination. He also explains why he thinks some POWs won't talk about their imprisonment.
A Day in a Chinese Prisoner Camp
Robert Gray describes an average day as a POW in the Chinese prison camps. He describes how days from day to dark. He explains they had study periods but how he had to work. He explains how they survived by stealing food.
The Cake is a Lie
Robert Gray describes how people who are starving won't eat anything. He explains how some POWs who were starving to death would fixate on food items in their head. He discusses how he saw some people experience this in the POW camp.
Arriving in and Returning to Korea
Robert Tamura shares he served as part of the Army Security Agency during the Korean War. He recalls how much of his time was spent in Korea at Koje-do Prison Camp and later at Geoje-do POW Camp on Geoje Island. He begins with his recollections of revisiting Korea where he saw firsthand the development of Seoul. He continues to share his memories of basic training and being assigned to assist in escorting prisoners of war as part of the 8th Army's Army Security Agency.
Robert W. Hammelsmith
Prisoner of War
Robert Hammelsmith describes being taken prisoner by the Chinese. He recalls being taken to a mud hut and given rice that had not been cleaned of worms and gravel. He goes on to describe being relocated to Camp 5 and sleeping head to toe in a hut of eight men.
Journey to Freedom
Robert Hammelsmith recounts his release from Camp 5 in August of 1953 and his journey to Freedom City. He describes being transported by train to Panmunjeom and then on to Freedom City where he was fed what was supposed to be a nice meal but included mashed potatoes with sugar. He recalls several officers being present to receive the POW soldiers upon their release.
We Broke Their Will
Roy Aldridge describes how he crossed the 38th parallel into North Korea. He shares how the North Koreans shed their uniforms, put on civilian clothing, and fled. He shares how there wasn't much resistance. He explains how the North Koreans had killed all of the prisoners of war and where they put them.
Prisoner of War
Roy Aldridge describes his first interrogation with the North Koreans and the Chinese. He explains his experience as a prisoner of war starting April 13, 1953. He explains that many soldiers died in the North Korean prisoner of war camp. He identifies his camp as Pak's Palace.
Conditions in the POW camp
Russel Kingston describes the conditions he faced, including the limited food and freezing conditions. He remembers their captors would tell them lies about the status of the war, trying to get them to convert to Communism. In the spring, the captors would take their shoes to prevent them from escaping.
The Chinese Military Was Impressive
Russell A. King was impressed the most by the civilian population. He was also amazed by the discipline and the organization of the Chinese military. He remembers taking Chinese prisoners from one prison camp to the other. With ingenuity, and they made their own communist style uniforms out of the clothes they were given.
Ruth Powell (Wife of John Powell)
Electric Shock Therapy
Ruth Powell shares how her husband, John Powell, received electric shock therapy as a means of aiding his PTSD. She provides details regarding electric shock therapy, the process, and its intended purpose. She recalls the effects it had upon John Powell.
Ruth Powell, wife of Korean War POW, John Powell, talks about the things that he remembers from the war. She explains that he has forgotten many experiences from his time spent in Korea. She shares that her husband's memory has been compromised as a result of his electric shock therapy.
Salvatore R. Conte
Capture and Traveling to the POW Camp
Salvatore Conte remembers traveling toward Hagalwoori when his vehicle was hit and the men went into a ditch. All three of the soldiers were injured in his group and then they were taken by the Chinese. He recalls being taken to Geojedo POW camp in January 1951. He gives a thorough account of what it was like in the camps.
Salvatore Conte explains that he was placed in an isolation box for eight months since he was considered a leader among the POWs. He remembers being in the box from May through December 1952 and was only let out twice a day to use the bathroom. One time he was marched over to a hillside to be killed by the Chinese, but they allowed him to live and he was placed back into the box.
Salvatore Conte recalls his transfer to another camp where he was placed with 21 other soldiers who were considered the most dangerous POWs. On May 1, 1953, he was transferred out of this section with the rest of the soldiers and he was given better food. On Aug. 27, 1953, he remembers he was released at Panmunjom where he told his story to newspaper reporters who published his story across America.
Experiences at a POW Camp in Korea
Shorty Neff recalls his experiences at a Prisoner of War (POW) camp during his time in Korea. He details how he and his unit were sent to the camp to recover a commander who had been captured and shares a picture of the camp. He later returned to the front lines. He recalls traveling to Japan for Rest and Relaxation and explains that shortly after, he headed back home to the United States in April of 1953.
The Dreaded Capture
Stuart Gunn had a confrontation with the Chinese military at the Battle of Hill 187. The Chinese were very organized. He remembers the moment him and his partners were capture and the pain they all endured. These moments lead to his capture as a Prisoner of War.
Red China: Brainwashing
Stuart Gunn had a very difficult time living in a Chinese POW camp. While at the camp, the Chinese Communist government had educational materials promoting their government for the prisoners that were printed in English. Other POWs at the camp responded to these materials and the mandatory classes in a variety of ways.
A Typical Day in a POW Camp
T.J. Martin shares memories from his experiences as a POW for over two years. He details a typical day in a POW camp and discusses the indoctrination program the Chinese implemented in their camps. He recalls how he tried to outsmart the Chinese which eventually led to him being separated from other prisoners.
Taddese Weldmedhen Metaferiya
Bazooka and Never Leave a Man Behind
Taddese Weldmedhen Metaferiya describes his experience in Korea. He was a bazooka shooter. For example, one occurrence almost left him dead when a shell did not fire. Importantly, he describes never leaving a lost soldier behind. The Ethiopians never lost a soldier to Prisoner of War.
Thomas F. Miller
Living and Working Conditions in Korea During the 1960s
Thomas Miller was a supply specialist who helped provide clothes, oil, and food rations to the troops. He stayed in quonset huts, had cold showers, and ate a hot meal most of his time in Korea.
Prior Knowledge about Korea During WWII
Thomas Parkinson shares how was raised by his mom most of the time because his father fought in WWII. He recalls that when he turned eighteen years old, he volunteered for the Australian Army. He remembers only knowing about Korea's location before he left to join the Korean War because his uncle was a prisoner of war (POW) in Japan during WWII. He shares how he wanted to see on a map where his uncle was being held.
Value of Life
Tommy Clough chronicles the lead-up to his capture. He details catching up to his assigned officer and advancing towards a hill only to find Chinese soldiers looking down at them with a machine gun. He recalls that he lifted his rifle on instinct and shot one of the Chinese soldiers. He shares that after he and fellow soldiers reached the other side of the hill, they were surrounded by the Chinese. He recounts being taken to the spot where the soldier he had shot earlier lay and of how little the Chinese seemed to value life.
Tommy Clough recalls his escape attempt from a Chinese POW camp. He shares that he and his friend, Dave, gathered their kit and waited for the roll call one August night. He recounts making it to the bushes near the river, and right as they were about to cross, he remembers hearing the cock of a gun. He details lights coming on and whistles sounding as they were recaptured. He describes how he was handcuffed and locked in an outhouse for roughly six weeks following the attempt.
News of the Ceasefire
Tommy Clough describes the day he and fellow POWs were told that the peace treaty had been signed. He recalls gathering in the center of the compound and the Chinese surrounding them with fixed bayonets. He relates that he was confused about what was happening as he listening to a Chinese commander. He shares that they had been told the war was over for them and that he and others were hesitant to believe them. He recounts how they heard cheering from the American compound shortly after, and he states their cheering was confirmation.
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.
Battle of Kunu-ri
Veli Atasoy describes the fighting conditions at the Battle of Kunu-ri. There were many casualties of the Turkish troops and to evacuate, therefore approximately twenty five men were needed per Jeep. The person in command took a wrong turn into harm's way. The Chinese had surrounded the entire area and eventually killed many Americans, but spared Veli Atasoy and many of his fellow Turkish troops. After that the men walked under armed escort to Pyoktong, near the Chinese-North Korean border.
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.
Fearlessness of Youth
Warren Nishida elaborates on life as a soldier during reconnaissance and ambush control missions. During this discussion, he shares details about one dangerous encounter when he and his comrades capture two Chinese soldiers. When asked if he was afraid during these experiences, he reflects on the innocence and fearlessness you have during your youth. He expands on this reflection with details about the time he unintentionally became a target of the enemy.
On-the-run from 100,000 North Koreans
Wayne Mitchell explains that his artillery unit served in over four major battles toward the end of the Korean War, one of them was at the Chorwon Valley. He describes the night 100,000 North Koreans pushed through the valley and his unit was forced to leave behind their artillery and retreat. Wayne Mitchell remembers that not all of his comrades in his unit were lucky enough to make it back - some were taken as POW's or killed.
Modern Day Korea
Werner Lamprecht discusses reading the book "Korea Reborn" in one night, and he describes his amazement of the progress South Korea has made since the end of the Korean War. He blames Stalin for extending the war by two years because Stalin wanted North Korean prisoners of war (POWs) to be returned even though the POWs did not want to return to North Korea to live under communism. He supports reunification as long as North Korea agrees to our terms.
Big Prison Break
Wilfred Lack describes the big prisoner break in 1953, that resulted in the escape of over 600 Korean prisoners. Wilfred Lack suspects that there was cooperation between the prisoners and Korean guards that resulted in the loss of 80% of the prison population.
Prisioner Exchange Mode
Wilfred Lack describes his role during the cease-fire. Working with other soldiers, he rode in helicopters to exchange many Korean prisoners for American prisoners. During this time, he was able to see the true beauty of Korea and was fascinated by the land and tides of the sea.
William D. Freeman
William Freeman describes a little known event during the Korean War, the Hoengsong Massacre. He recalls his capture as a Prisoner of War (POW). He describes the details of the event as well as his project archiving the experiences of the American soldiers captured there.
Recaptured as a POW
William Freeman details his experiences being recaptured as a POW after his release in Panmunjeom. He recalls the rough march to the camp and being buried alive after US forces blew up the camp. He discusses the differences in treatment by Chinese soldiers versus North Korean soldiers, describing the North Koreans as being the most brutal.
Life at Camp One
William Freeman elaborates on his experience as a prisoner of war at Camp One. He shares that Camp One was managed by Chinese soldiers. He explains how he purposely acted "crazy" at the camp because the Chinese would treat him better due to their superstitions of people with mental illnesses. He recalls acquiring roughly forty-two dozen eggs over a period of one and a half years which helped keep him and his comrades alive.
William F. Borer
"Made me reappraise my opinion of the American Army Officer"
William Borer describes his capture by the North Koreans and their executing about two-dozen men simply because they were American. After marching north, they arrived at a large village and were placed in a compound dividing officers and enlisted men. He recalls one particular night when two enlisted POWs were placed in the not-so-crowded officers quarters but the officers quickly sent them to the very crowded enlisted side. Sergeant Estrada, who was in the same room as William blocked the door and wouldn't let the men in, saying the room was too crowded. Both men froze to death that night, and though Bill reported Estrada, the Army's criminal investigation said there was nothing they could do.
Maggots Covered My Face I Was Pronounced Dead
William Borer describes being moved to Camp 5 where he spent over a month and became ill with pneumonia. He describes the school house that cared for the sick as an an "ant-hotel" where you check in but don't check out. He recalls after being pronounced dead, he awoke among stacks of bodies and maggots encrusted on his eyes and nostrils. He explains that the Chinese were superstitious and when they saw him as he left the morgue, they ran the other direction thinking he had been resurrected.
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.
Passing the Time
Willis Remus describes the different activities that he and other captured soldiers did to pass the time when they were not working in the camp. They played cribbage, chess, basketball, volleyball, and soccer. The chess board was made by one of the Prisoners of War.
Willis Remus describes how he and his whole platoon were captured by the North Koreans and marched to Chongsong. He said they were captured without a fight because they were sleeping and surrounded when they woke up.