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 Affolter describes an event leading up to the ceasefire in 1953. He shares that Bed Check Charlie dropped leaflets the night before the ceasefire at Panmunjom stating that the North Koreans always knew where the US positions were and that they could have annihilated them at any time. He recalls that he and other soldiers were instructed to turn in all of the leaflets. He recounts that the leaflets had little impact and that he and others were glad when the ceasefire was announced.
Korean Culture and Ceasefire
Allen Clark worked with and became friends with some South Korean civilians during his second tour in Korea. He observed Korean burials and was invited to eat octopus for the first time with the locals. During the ceasefire, Allen Clark used the help of civilians at the DMZ to find the enemy on the final days of the Korean War in July 1953.
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.
Experience in Korea
Angad Singh speaks about his living arrangements in Panmunjom, along the DMZ. He describes their living quarters, U.S. tents, being well-built and remembers having kerosine heaters in the tents because the temperatures in Korea were very cold. He recalls some of his duties while in Korea and adds that he left Korea and arrived home in India in August of 1954.
Relief at the Gateway to Freedom
Arden Rowley reflects on the indescribable feeling of hearing the war is over and he will go home. After the signing of the armistice, he recalls being told they would be released and 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.
Ben Schrader Jr.
Learning Japanese Headed to Korea and the Army Point System
While on the troop ship going over to Korea, the loud speaker system on the ship was only playing conversational language in Japanese, not in Korean. This showed the soldiers that no one had the opportunity to learn Korean before landing in this combat zone. While stationed in a war zone, the Army gave out 4 points for soldiers at the front lines, 3 for troops farther back, 2 for soldiers in Japan providing supplies, and 1 point for troops on the home front. Ben Schrader was earning 4 points a month, so he was able to rotate off the front lines after a year.
10 Days and a Much Needed Shower
Everything was provided for the soldiers, so pay was always sent back to the US. Combat fatigues were provided and showers were only provided every 10-12 days. Charcoal was provided for heat and since you had to carry your water for drinking, water was scarce. Ben recalled the trucks carrying large containers of hot water pulled up and they had installed pipes that sprayed hot water to produce a "shower" effect for the men as they stood under in 20-degree weather.
We Suffered Together
Ben Schrader remembered before going up on the hill, they would stop over at the kitchen and pick up whole raw onions and potatoes. He remembered while cooking the C-Ration that contained some form of meat, they would eat the whole onion raw and potato uncooked to add flavor. Koreans would have double rations so that they could share with the American military and the meals consisted of rice with fish.
Emotions on the Battlefield
Bernard Hoganson discusses the emotions he felt after helping point out targets to be attacked. He describes the targets being dropped with napalm and bombs. He recalls feeling sorry for the destruction caused by the napalm and bombs because they landed on enemy trenches.
Carl W. House
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.
Cecil Phipps was released from Chinese captivity on August 28, 1953 at Panmunjeom after 33 months as a POW. He describes the trip from Pak Tong camp (#3), taking several days by truck and train and spending a week in another POW camp, before finally reaching freedom at Panmunjeom.
Panmunjeom Peace Talks
Cecilio Asuncion discusses his belief that the war should not have happened. He highlights the original division of Korea and then the division at the Panmunjeom Peace Talks. While describing the peace talks, he provides an overview of the delegates who were in attendance. Since South Korea did not take part in the peace talks, he clarifies that North and South Korea are still at war.
Charles Crow Flies High
Charles Crow Flies High was section chief on a cannon crew. There were ten crew members in each crew, and they included a driver, chief, section chief, gunner, assistant gunner, loader, ammo track crew, and ammo team chief. He recalls one of the cannons having the ability to reach up to thirty miles away.
Knowledge of Korea
Charles Crow Flies High did not know much about Korea before his deployment, except for the details about the Korean War. Since many of his relatives were in the military, he knew about the Korean War, and it made him really proud to protect the peninsula just like they did. For both deployments, Charles Crow Flies High stayed for fifteen months protecting a variety of areas along the DMZ.
Leaflets After Korean War
Charles Gaush talks about his job in psychological warfare after the armistice was signed. He describes making leaflets which were dropped in South Korea to give civilians suggestions to improve health and water quality.
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.
Charles T. Gregg
Protection of the DMZ in the 1960's
Charles Gregg talks about his time in Korea as an Assistant Executive Officer for I Corps Artillery. He describes his job which was to help plot where the rounds would go. A typical day protecting the DMZ included training, cleaning, and patrolling day and night.
Poverty in Korea
Charles Gregg talks about some of his experiences with Korean civilians in the mid-1960's. He describes seeing dead people beside the road, a Korean man killing and eating a dog, and how Koreans fertilized their fields.
Interactions with KATUSA
Charles Gregg talks about KATUSAs. He describes how KATUSA soldiers were organized and used within his unit. He tells the story of dealing with a KATUSA soldier that had killed another soldier in an argument.
The Battle That Got Me
Chester Coker speaks about the battle which impacted him the most. He recalls how he and his unit were just north of Panmunjeom, close to the 38th parallel. He remembers a stalemate had been reached, and negotiations were stalled, and the Army was ordered to push north. He shares how the battle that followed was the most fierce he experienced, pushing the North Korean and Chinese soldiers back north. He recalls how they were able to push forward because many of the enemy troops were asleep. He describes how a grenade landed and blew up on top of him.
Clarence J. Sperbeck
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.
Colin C. Carley
Radio Operators in the Korean War
Colin Carley shares that he worked alongside an Australian brigade when he patrolled near Panmunjeom in late 1950 through early 1951. As a radio operator for his New Zealand Battery Brigade, he recalls being scared of all the tracer bullets that would whiz by him. He remembers how he would feel sick when battles began because he never knew if he would be able to return home again.
I'm Leaving For War without Any Ties to Home
Colin Carley shares how he lied about his age to sneak into the role of a New Zealand soldier during the Korean War. He recounts being so sneaky that not even his parents knew where he was. He recalls that the most difficult part of the war for him was the cold. He describes how living and working with both the Australian and New Zealand troops was difficult but adds that they all were good soldiers.
David H. Epstein
Drafted, Training, and Starting a Family
David H. Epstein recalls being drafted, going through basic training, and starting a family around the same time. He explains how he came to be in the United States Marine Corps, rather than the United States Army, although he was drafted. He describes his arrival in Korea, and the duties involved in being assigned to Command Post Security for Headquarters Company of the 1st Marine Division.
Dangers at the DMZ
David Heine faced many dangers while stationed near the DMZ, including one night when he worked to restore communication lines that had been cut every 20-30 feet. He describes the anxiety he faced not knowing what he might encounter.
The Korean War Draft, Training, and Landing
David Lewis was a longshoreman just like his father, but he was drafted in 1951. He took infantry training and left for Korea from California, but it took 18 days to get to Korea while sailing on the USS Black. There was a storm during his travel and many of the men threw up due to the pitching of the ship, but David Lewis didn't let that stop him from winning $1,800 from playing cards. At the end of June 1951, he arrived in Pusan and he thought the peace talks would end the war, but there was still more fighting to take place.
Prior Knowledge About Korea and David Lopez's First Battle in the Korean War
David Lopez did not know anything about Korea before he was drafted. When he arrived at Pusan, he was living in tents and was given food rations to eat while waiting to be sent to the Kansas Line which was a few miles from the 38th parallel. After the Chinese pulled out of peace talks, he took trucks from Pusan to the Kansas Line while worrying about incoming artillery. He loved receiving help from young Korean boys who would help him carry supplies, wash clothes, and help when he was short on soldiers. David Lopez was injured in his right arm when he fought with the 2nd Platoon against the Chinese and North Korean troops.
The Nevada Campaign: Bloody Nevada
Don McCarty fought North Korean and Chinese soldiers during the Nevada Campaign. He experienced battle fatigue and fear while fighting at the front lines. Don McCarty still thinks about the death of his assistant gunner and ammo carrier.
Fear on the Front Lines That Led to PTSD
Don McCarty was afraid every minute that he was in Korea. Even after the Korean War ended, North Koreans continued to surrender to the Marines by crossing the 38th parallel. Don McCarty feels that he has a better understanding of life once he fought in the Korean War because there were so many Marines that lost their lives. Every night at 2 am, he wakes up with nightmares from his time at war. PTSD is a disease that Don McCarty is still living with 60 years after the Korean War ended.
Earl A. House
Stopping Communism and the Most Difficult Moment in the War
Earl House describes why he felt the U.S. intervened in Korea and believes it was to stop the spread of Communism. He recalls one of the most difficult times was when there was an accidental discharge of an allied weapon in the trenches. He remembers being physically and mentally distraught and being moved to a jeep patrol to drive officials up to the front lines.
Living Conditions on a Troop Ship and at the Front Lines
Earl House recalls how he was excited to join the Korean War and shares he was even more excited to leave Korea. He remembers enjoying ice cream, milkshakes, pie, and sweets on the ship home after the war. He comments on how these conditions were much better than the living conditions in Korea which included sleeping in a tent.
Eddie Reyes Piña
Witnessing the Horrors of Pork Chop Hill and Then the Armistice
Eddie Reyes Piña served his country as part of the Battle of Pork Chop Hill. He reflects on how the unit fought back against the Chinese and North Koreans. He notes how he left his position in the rear guard to assist a medic in bringing the dead and wounded back. He further explains that the medic received a Bronze Star for Valor, but he did not in part because he did not know how to advocate for himself to ensure he received the medal. He concludes by sharing his recollections of witnessing the Armistice.
Edward L. Kafka
Life as a Soldier in Korea War
Edward Kafka worked near a mess hall and the headquarter's battery since he ran radios. Therefore, he had access to a shower once a week and he was able to get clean clothes too.
DMZ and Seoul during 1969
Edward Langevin describes his time in Korea in 1969. He remembers that it was “kinda scary” at the DMZ where they were repairing missiles because everyone was always on alert. However, he also got to enjoy good times that included sightseeing around Seoul. His two cousins also served in Korea and he found one of their names in a recreation book during his time there.
The Ever Continuous Battle
Edward Langevin is a Korean Defense Veteran since he was in South Korea to protect it from North Korea. He said that these veterans contributed to the "ever continuous battle" He believes that the tense feeling between these two regions will continue until we stop China from helping North Korea.
Edward T. Smith
A Letter of Lies
Edward T. Smith recounts only receiving one letter which was from his aunt. He believes that the only reason he even received that letter was because it lied about how terrible Thanksgiving was, making it seem like life back in the US was terrible. This supported the ideas of Chinese propaganda.
Korean Axe Murder Incident
Edwin Vargas describes the tragic incident that occurred while he was at the DMZ. He shares that during his service, two of his officers were killed while trimming back trees from their outpost view. He describes this event as unfair as they were unarmed and could not retaliate.
Entering the Korean War
Eleftherios Tsikandilakis entered the Korean War in December 1950 and he entered through Pusan. After spending time there, he was sent through Seoul and then went onto the 38th parallel. During this whole time, he didn't have to fight any enemy.
Scars From the Korean War
Eleftherios Tsikandilakis suffered many injures during the Korean War. A grenade went off right by his face and he experienced pain and scaring to his right cheek. A military artillery shell blew up right by him and he almost lost his right leg and arm.
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.
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.
George J. Bruzgis
Befriending The KATUSA
Short on men within his own division, the KATUSA pictured with George Bruzgis is Corporal Yu daek yoo. He described him as a great man and he was considered a part of the division. George Bruzgis mentioned how little the KATUSA was paid, so the men in his division pitched in 5 dollars each, so that they could paying him over 20 dollars a month. This was a lot of money in 1953.
Signed To Cease Fire; Look What We Hit!
George Bruzgis vividly recalled on July 26, 1953, a Major approached them with a document they (both US and ROK) had to sign agreeing that at 10 p.m. on July 27, 1953, they had to stop firing their weapons. Shortly afterwards, a two-ton truck arrived taking most of their ammunition away, so they wouldn't shoot. However, at 6 a.m on July 27, 1953, they got a phone call that they were given coordinates to fire 5 rounds on what they thought maybe a cave or a bunker. He later learned in 2000 when he received a battalion pamphlet, his story of that morning was located within it saying his division destroyed a Chinese Observation Post.
Being hit; In-Going Mail, and Out-Going Mail
George Bruzgis shared some of the most difficult and horrible experiences during the war. He recalled knowing the sound of artillery shells coming and going (nicknamed it In-going mail and Out-going mail). Before he closed the tank, he could see the enemy close. After firing, they found the men in bloody pieces, and he still can't get that scene out of his head.
R&R, Hitchhiking, and Trench Injuries, Oh My!
After reenlisting in the military in March 7, 1954, George Bruzgis was given a 30 day leave and 7 day R&R in Japan, but he had difficulty getting back to Korea since the French were fighting in Indochina.
After finally being shipped to Pusan, he had to hitchhike for 3 days to get back to his unit. George Bruzgis would rest/sleep along his hike by signing paper work that would allow him to eat and sleep before moving to the next Army unit and so forth. After he met up with his division, he fell into a trench and injured his knees for 2 weeks.
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.
Message to the Korean People
Haralambos Theodorakis never experienced PTSD since the Korean War. He thanked the Korean people for allowing him to fight for them and he would do it again if needed. If he was able to speak to both North and South Korea, he would say that there were a lot of loss of life and these two countries should not reunite.
Harold H. Hoelzer
All hands on deck!
Upon getting to Korea Harold Hoelzer took his first shower since leaving the US. He recalls how his ordinary shower experience took an unexpected and hectic turn when an air-raid siren sent soldiers scrambling from the shower depot. He merrily recalls the mass of laughter that ensued after the shower had been evacuated and the half-naked troops looked up to see a single, dinky surveillance airplane putter by.
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.
Fighting at the Yalu River and Surviving a Land Mine Explosion
Howard Ballard discusses soldiers sustaining injuries while fighting in the Battle of Pyongyang on Thanksgiving Eve 1950. He recounts how U.S. troops headed for the Yalu River down very narrow roads and fought the Chinese until the U.S. troops were pushed back to the 38th parallel. He recalls how a land mine exploded near him and how he experienced temporary paralysis. He shares that he was sent to a MASH unit following the explosion but was soon returned to his unit.
Ibrahim Gulek describes the conditions at Sandbag Castle. War had stopped briefly due to a ceasefire, while negotiations were occurring. However, the Chinese attacked without warning. There was about two months of constant warfare in close combat. Ibrahim Gulek was a sniper and told to fire at a certain location where the enemy was located. At one point soldiers were told to consume alcohol in order to not feel death.
Ibrahim Gulek describes what soldiers did when the Armistice was signed. Many Turkish soldiers could not read or write. Ibrahim Gulek was one of the few who could and taught other soldiers how to also. He also describes a tug-or-war with the American soldiers. The Turkish soldiers won.
Ibrahim Yalςinkaya describes the horrific conditions of fighting along the Vegas Front. The Turkish fighters were under fire for two days and nights. Most of the men that fought did not survive the fighting. Roughly sixty three out of the one hundred and ninety seven men survived. Many of the men who perished are unaccounted for.
Sorrow of War
Ibrahim Yalςinkaya describes a sorrow for fighting in war. The Nevada Front was very fierce. He describes a sadness for fighting. Killing someone is very hard on a person's soul. Ibrahim Yalςinkaya lost many friends in Korea.
James A. Newman
Return to Korea
James Newman has participated in five trips back to Korea since 2002. He is very impressed with the modern nation. He feels pride in the accomplishments of the Korean people and his part in freeing South Korea from North Korean rule.
James Kenneth Hall
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.
Jeff Brodeur (with Al Jenner)
We were there during the Cold War
Jeff Brodeur and Al Jenner received word that the North Koreans wanted to participate in the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, so they were heavily guarding the 38th parallel. They were doing this to ensure that the Olympics would remain safe. The 38th parallel is the dividing line between North and South Korea that we created during the signing of the armistice on July 29, 1953.
"Battle of the Hook" at Panmunjeom
An outcrop of land between two main lines resembled a hook.
Joe Larkin's Marine Division was sent to Panmunjom to hold the line of resistance against the Chinese. His unit helped with reinforcements by bringing in timber that they would move at night so the enemy could not detect their movement. The outpost was attacked and both sides suffered casualties, but with the help of his division, the UN troops took over the area.
The Korean War Armistice
Although the armistice was signed, communication from coast to coast was still limited, and Joe Larkin said the farther east he went, the less people knew about the armistice. He explained that if you wanted to call back to the east coast and you were in San Francisco, you had to pick up a rotary phone, dial 0, the operator took your number, then called you back at some point. Therefore, communication was lacking, which bothered Joe Larkin since he had been in some horrible circumstances and so few knew about the war coming to an end.
Korea 1953 - The Last Few Months of the War
John Boyd spent the last few months of the war looking for the Barrows Balloon which signified talks were taking place at Panmunjom between the Chinese, North Koreans, and the United Nations. He describes what he calls the “silliness” that started at Panmunjom. As the weather began to heat up while they were waiting, valley fires increased, and things became dangerous.
3rd Battle of the Hook and the End of the Korean War
John Boyd fought in the 3rd Battle of the Hook against the Chinese during the last push against communism. After the ceasefire was called, an American tank went up north toward the Chinese troops. He recalls Chinese anti-aircraft going after the tank right as two American fighter planes came down onto Chinese positions.
John C. Delagrange
North Korean Defector - Kenneth Rowe
John Delagrange remembers the day No Kum Sok landed his MiG 15 fighter at Kimpo Air Base defecting to South Korea in 1953. No Kum Sok (Kenneth Rowe) wrote a book, and he heard about the incident first-hand during their phone conversations later in life. No Kum Sok was a North Korean pilot during the Korean War, but he stole a MiG-15 and flew over the DMZ to Kimpo Air Base to earn his freedom.
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.
John L. Johnsrud
Reconnoissance Work, Weather, and Relying on other Warriors
John L. Johnsrud was part of a reconnaissance platoon that would maintain communication for battalions, work with the South Korean Army, and spy on the enemy. Hawaiian soldiers who had been in the war since the beginning were a major asset for John Johnsrud since they taught the new men how to protect their foxhole.
John L. Johnsrud shifted from the Intelligence and Reconnaissance group to Special Services with the help of a friend from boot camp. He was supposed to take care of movie stars, but none came, so he was in charge of transporting food and beer rations for the US soldiers.
When the Nation Calls, You Answer
John Munro shares how he was called to service for the Australian National Army in 1952 and was going to be stationed on the home front. Since he wanted to fight in the Korean War, he describes joining the Regular Army in 1953. He recalls being sent to Korean as a nineteen year old in 1954 after the ceasefire to patrol the demilitarized zone (DMZ).
Guarding the 38th Parallel
John Munro recalls that his mission was to patrol the DMZ at Panmunjeom to make sure the border was safe. He recounts serving in a variety of battalions depending on where he was stationed in Korea. He shares that while serving on the DMZ, he also added mines along the line to keep away North Koreans who might have snuck over the 38th parallel.
Watching Over the Enemy
John Munro recounts how he tried to go home and work at his parents' cafe and service station. He shares that he decided to go back into the military as an Australian Army Reservist. He recalls being stationed with the 38th Battalion, F Unit, and being sent to the DMZ to patrol right across from the North Koreans. He shares that it was rough protecting South Korea through the freezing winters and steamy summers.
Growing Up in a Korean Orphanage
John Munro shares that he did not experience any dangerous moments while patrolling the DMZ in early 1954. He recounts how, as part of 1 Battalion, he went to Seoul to spend the day at an orphanage. He recalls his time spent at the orphanage and how he was given six children to eat with and play with throughout the afternoon.
What was Korea like when you were there?
John Turner discusses what Korea looked like on his journey north towards the 38th parallel. He recalls the destruction he witnessed in Incheon, Seoul, and Panmunjeom. He recalls starving people begging for food. He would give them some of his rations, as would other soldiers. His unit went on patrol near the 38th parallel, walking along deep trenches, and spying on North Koreans at Outpost Kate, about five hundred feet beyond the front lines .
Were you afraid? Did you ever think you would die?
John Turner talks about his experiences on the front lines of the war. Once his leg was grazed by a bullet, which ended up sending him to a M.A.S.H. (mobile army surgical hospital) in Seoul for a ten-day recovery. After feeling better, he returned to the front lines and was injured again shortly after, this time with a concussion from North Korean fire and explosions in a cave. He recalls trouble sleeping at night due to constant loud and bright explosions.
Everyday Life in Korea
John Turner talks about what it was like to sleep and eat in Korea. They slept in sleeping bags inside two-man tents and would receive one hot meal a week; other than that, they ate rations. He recalls the weather not being as cold as it was up north. They were occasionally allowed to shower. He recalls writing letters to his wife when he could.
Stationed at Panmunjeom
Johnney Lee recalls leaving technical school to join the United States 8th Army. He shares that he was stationed at Panmunjeom and offers an account of his duties while there. He describes his role as quartermaster and recounts sorting supplies.
Working for the United States 8th Army
Johnney Lee recalls being paid for his work with the United States 8th Army. He describes the living conditions at the time and states that he was assigned to at tent with US soldiers. He remembers traveling back and forth each day between camps for negotiations, leaving in the morning for Panmunjeom and returning in the evening to base camp.
Reflecting on Experiences
Johnney Lee reflects on his experiences while working with the United States 8th Army at Panmunjeom. He recalls that in his younger years when asked about his time serving, he would simply say that he was working and trying to survive. He shares that he now speaks of how good the experience was for him as he understands the difference between Communism and Democracy.
Johnney Lee shares that the negotiations at Panmunjeom lasted nearly two years. He recalls feeling frustrated that the negotiations seemed to be going nowhere while soldiers died. He adds that he wanted peace quickly, but the same story seemed to be playing out after each meeting.
Military Duty and Patrols on the DMZ
Ken Thamert was stationed on the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) along with the Chorwon and Kumwha areas. During his patrols, he could easily see the North Korean soldiers guarding the border too. The North Koreans were even patrolling in the areas were also patrolled by American troops.
Prior Knowledge of Korea Before Entering the Korean War
Ken Thamert was given a book about Korea from the United States military once he enlisted since they assumed that's where most of the soldiers would be headed after bootcamp. The book included Korean culture and the games that Korean children played. Ken Thamert still has the book about Korea along with many pictures that he took while stationed in Korea.
Kenneth F. Dawson
War is War
Kenneth F. Dawson trained in Waiouru in New Zealand before sailing to Japan and then Korea. Assigned as a driver in Korea, he carried ammunition to the front lines. The work was dangerous and several men had been blown up before he was assigned to the job. He drove ammunition to Panmunjeom, but he dismisses the danger of being blown up by asserting that "war is war."
The Children Prayed for Him
Kenneth F. Dawson describes an incident in which he heard cries for help on the front lines. A soldier had been hit and needed a stretcher. As he reached the soldiers who had called, a mortar hit them. Upon return to his truck, he discovered bullet holes in the door. Kenneth Dawson attributes his survival to the children of Niue Island.
Kenneth F. Dawson describes his experiences delivering supplies to the front lines. No one wanted to accompany him due to the danger. One cold night in the middle of a battle, he drove with his lights off to the front lines to deliver food and cigarettes to the soldiers. Flares lit his way to the top of the hill.
Larry Kinard explains how he was able to return twice to see Korea after the war. He shares how he brought his son in 1997 and his whole family in 2009. He shares how he saw the 38th parallel. He shares how he was able to show his family where he was approximately located from the DMZ observation deck. He shares how he was proud to see all the progress that was helped by US soldiers who defended South Korea from Communism. He shares he was one of the finding members of his local Korean War Veterans Charter.
First Impressions of Korea in 1997 and Korean Culture
Lawrence Dumpit was not a lot to go off base when he went to Camp Casey until he was given a one-week training about the Korean culture including the food, language, and civilians. The living conditions in Camp Casey were old WWII barracks because they were the oldest on the base and it was a lot better than the Koreans living in one room. He was paid 3,000 dollars a month.
Leon “Andy” Anderson
Leon "Andy" Anderson explains that he entered the Korean War in 1953. He explains his job to patrol the lines for line-crossers and guerrillas. He shares how he was also sent to French Indochina to assist the French. He shares how he was not part of the front lines.
Twenty Degrees Below
Leon "Andy" Anderson describes his time in Korea. He describes forming into boat units in freezing temperatures and landing in Korea to live in just a thin tent. He describes giving the order for his men to gather what they could in order to make life better inside the tent. He explains what resources they found. He shares how even when the went to the range to practice the weapons would be frozen.
Leon "Andy" Anderson shares his experience being there for the Armistice in July 1953. He explains how he was near the front lines in the recon rear area. He shares how the Chinese and North Koreans were shooting at the US troops all the way up to the last minute before the Armistice. He shares how he celebrated the end of the war.
Armistice Signed, But Fighting Continued
Leonard Laconia mentioned how bad the fighting was from 1950 through 1951, but when talk of armistice was being discussed in 1951, no one wanted to take a chance of dying. Therefore, none of the soldiers showed interest in the armistice. After the Armistice was signed in 1953, territory along the DMZ had many battles that continued to secure and occupy any land.
Leslie John Pye
Covering Little Gibraltar
Leslie Pye provides a description of his experience as a signaler covering Hill 355,known as Little Gibraltar, in the Battle of the Hook from March to the end of April 1953. He offers an overview of the amount of artillery activity during this time period. He shares that during his time, he never received incoming fire but did experience a projectile exploding just outside of one of their gun barrels.
Reassignment to the British Royal Tank Unit
Leslie Pye elaborates on his transfer to the 1st British Royal Tank Regiment and the training process for the British Centurion British Tank. He recounts his experience as a gunner sent to Hill 355 as a replacement tank supporting night patrols. He shares that most of the firing was done at night and explains some of the limitations they experienced.
Dangerous Moments Gathering the Wounded
Leslie Pye describes his mission on the 24th of July 1953 to retrieve wounded soldiers on Hill 111. While moving up the hill, he admits to not warning his driver before test firing the gun on the top rail of the tank. He provides sound advice that one should not go into battle without knowing your machine gun will work. With the battle raging around them, he describes the successful retrieval of Australian and American wounded soldiers.
Leslie Pye remembers what it was like going back up HIll 111 to gather reusable material for the new line of resistance. He reflects on the experience of arriving on the 28th of July and seeing the carnage of the previous battle. He shares memories of what he saw that haunt him.
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.
Mehmet Arif Boran
Tape and a Coke
Mehmet Arif Boran describes being injured from artillery shrapnel. The artillery shell hit a tree and exploded overhead instead of on his position. The doctors were able to pull out his shrapnel in about five minutes. They put some numbing tape on his wound and gave him a Coke. He reported back with his unit. However, two fellow soldiers were not so lucky. They had pretty serious injuries and Mehmet Arif Boran could not even go see them.
A State of Misery
Mehmet Arif Boran describes the fighting in the Vegas Complex and the state of the Korean people. He describes how when the Turks surrendered Vegas Hill, injured troops were in the valley. Dead bodies started to stink. The Chinese would not let the Turkish soldiers recover their injured and dead.
Meeting Marilyn Monroe and Transporting POWs
Merlin Mestad describes meeting Marilyn Monroe in Korea when she performed for the USO. He recalls being surprised when she sang "Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend" in below zero weather. He goes on to describe transporting North Korean POWs from Panmunjom to Seoul after the war ended. He explains that many South Korean people were incredibly angry with the North Koreans after the war and threw rocks at the POWs when they arrived in Seoul.
Importance of US Soldiers in Korea today
The US government, after the armistice was signed in 1953, extended this period to give soldiers benefits and there have been over 2 million soldiers still there in South Korea. Michael Daly explained that Korea has benefited greatly (uses the saying "trip wire" as an advantage) from US presence as a deterrent for North Korea, China, and possibly Japan since the end of WWII. With American soldiers, armor, and training, few countries would even attempt to attack American troops.
What is Korea to United States?
As many Koreans have migrated to the US, Michael Daly feels it has inspired a community of entrepreneurs and are hungry to succeed. He has seen the impact the Korean children have had on his own children with the edge of competitiveness they have. He has learned that the younger generations don't feel the same way as their elders do with US military support in Korea, yet without US there as a safety net, South Korea is vulnerable (nuclear development).
Cruelty of the Turks
Monte Curry felt sorry for the Chinese (Chinks) who were being picked off so easily by the Turks and other UN soldiers that were shooting them. With three waves of Chinese soldiers, the first round, only 1 out of 10 carried a gun, so the second wave picked up the weapons on the ground. The 3rd wave had more weapons and fought using guerrilla tactics hiding behind bushes. Monte Curry described how the Turks carried leather satchels to bring back the ears they had cut off of the enemy.
Awarded for his Idea & Peeing in Whiskey Bottles
Monte Curry had developed a way to protect the communication cable and wiring that was internally damaged from the mortars on the front line, so when the word got back to a general, he decided to reward Monte Curry for his efforts. They brought a white truck (said it looked like a Red Cross truck) and unloaded reels of movies, a projector, and a generator to the front lines so the soldiers could watch John Wayne westerns. Monte Curry was considered a hero since it was such a special treat for the men and some soldiers would walk miles just to get the opportunity to watch the movies. They were told not to drink the whiskey on the front line since they found out people were peeing in the bottles and selling it making people sick. He said they thought it was people who may have gone down to the DMZ and picked up these bottles from the local stores.
Kitty Movie Experience
Kitty Curry, Monte Curry's wife, was not told a lot about what her husband was experiencing during the Korean War. Before a movie began, instead of previews of other movies, a black and white news reel would review what was life like for the US soldiers in Korea. This included fighting and bombs dropping on the enemy. Kitty Curry's reaction about the news worried her, but her friends and faith kept her going.
Neal C. Taylor
Return To Korea
Neal Taylor felt pride when he revisited Korea. There was also a feeling of "closure" when he returned because of all the progress created by the people of Korea. He noticed all the trees and tall buildings that were built around the country.
Necdet Yazıcıoğlu describes the conditions of the war at the Vegas Complex. There were a series of battles that took place in May of 1953 in this area. Subsequently, the fighting was fierce. Moreover, negotiations for peace were occurring. Importantly, the battles ended in arguably a stalemate after a Chinese offensive. Further, this helped with negotiations for the United Nations
Fear Cannot Be Explained
Necdet Yazıcıoğlu describes in detail what a soldier goes through in battle. Firstly, he describes that everything gets quiet. Further, you start to see your wife or parents. Meanwhile, you hear the machine gun. Subsequently, people who have grave wounds "give up the ghost."
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.
The Forgotten Armistice and the Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission
Nick Mararac describes the Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission (NNSC), and its role in the armistice/DMZ area. It was created during the armistice with North Korea. The NNSC is used during talks between North and South Korea ever since 1953.
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.
Paulino Lucino Jr.
The Korean War Armistice and Ceasefire
Paulino Lucino Jr. remembers in detail what it was like to be in Korea when the ceasefire was announced. He continued fighting until the last moments of the war. Since Paulino Lucino Jr. was stationed in Korea until 1954, he saw and felt the change in Korea during the year after the war.
A Sniper Almost Took Me Out!
Phillip Olson was almost shot in the spine while traveling on a train with other South Korean soldiers. Actually, this wasn't the first time that he was shot at by a sniper because as he moved large loads of dirt into the rice patties, snipers would shoot the hood of his Caterpillar vehicle.
Letters, Cookies and War
Phillip Olson tried his best to consume his time while he was not on the front lines working with large equipment. He wrote letters to his family about Korea. They in turn sent cookies and letters back to him while he was stationed there from 1952-1953.
Transitioning From Basic Training to Running Heavy Equipment
Phillip Olson enlisted in 1951 and attended a variety of training while in the United States as part of the United States Army. His specialty was heavy equipment such as bull dozers, cranes, caterpillars, and earth movers. One of the roles that he remembered fondly was building an air strip between the 36th and 38th parallel so that the US Air Force could drop bombs on North Korea.
Rahim Günay describes the Vegas Battle. At the Nevada Complex, the Americans were on the left and the British on the right. The Chinese attacked the Turkish soldiers in the middle. Further, for thirty-six hours the Turkish forces held off the Chinese Offensive. Also, this principle battle took place as cease-fire negotiations were taking place.
Brothers and Relatives
Rahim Günay describes revisiting South Korea in 2008. The buildings of steel and thirty to forty stories amazed him. He enjoyed how Korean textbooks discuss Turkish involvement. Koreans showed their appreciation during his revisit. Rahim Günay identifies with Koreans and thinks of them as relatives and brothers.
Fighing in Korea
Ralph Burcham was busy as a forward observer in the Army. He valued the insight that seasoned soldiers imparted to new soldiers. As a soldier, Ralph Burcham was taught important skills that helped him survive.
Weather in Korea
Ralph Burhcam and other soldiers were negatively affected by the weather. The cold winters weren't the worst part, it was also the summer heat and mosquitoes. Soldiers tried to be creative to survive the elements, but their creativity was not always encouraged by military regulations.
Chute-Packing Races, C-Rations, and Poor Civilians
Ralph Howard discusses how he was scared until his parachute opened. He recalls not having to pack his own chute but adds that during training, they would compete to see who could pack his chute first. He remembers how General Westmoreland tried to ensure all men on the front lines received a hot meal once a day. He recalls enjoying beanie weenies, sausage, and hamburger from C-Rations. He notes that during his downtime, he would share some of his rations with Korean civilians as they were very poor.
Legacy of the Korean Defense Veteran
Richard Bartlett believes that the defense veterans serve and fill the void after the Korean War ended. He feels defense veterans over the years have done a very good job keeping the North and South Koreans separated since the war. He wishes he had personally done more to help the Korean people while there.
Release from POW Camp
After the armistice agreement in July of '53, Richard Donatelli was released from Camp 5 (August 17, 1953). He explains how they moved the prisoners and started to treat them better. He recalls that after their arrival at Panmunjom, the former prisoners started taking off and tossing the prison uniforms over the edge of the truck in exchange for winter clothes. He was so thankful to see the bright colors and beautiful women when they arrived back in the states.
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 J. Rose
Robert Rose recounts his return to Korea in 2008. He describes his visits to Seoul and Panmunjeom and remarks about how impressed he was with Korea's progress.
Robert W. Hammelsmith
Robert Hammelsmith describes being wounded by machine gun fire while on a scouting patrol near the Manchurian border in November of 1950. He explains that he was carried out on a stretcher and then transported on the second of two ambulances, the first of which was attacked by the Chinese. He goes on to describe his evacuation to a hospital in Japan where the bullet in his shoulder was removed.
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.
Salvatore R. Conte
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.
Thomas F. Miller
Basic Training and Korea During the 1960s
Thomas Miller went to basic training in Georgia and then he was shipped to Inchon Harbor to start his tour of duty. After landing, he noticed poor living conditions of the civilians which looked like America in the early 1800s.
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.
The Forgotten War
Thomas Nuzzo felt that the Korean War was the forgotten war. Since it was so close to the end of WWII, the civilians in the United States didn't want to fight. Soldiers didn't even have supplies that they needed, so this hurt the moral.
Fighting With and Training the ROK
Thomas Nuzzo went to bootcamp and specialized as an infantryman. Once he was sent to Korea, he was stationed with the 1st Republic of Korea (ROK) to train the South Korean troops. By the end of his time in Korea in 1954, Thomas Nuzzo was able to participate in a changing of the guard for the 10th Headquarters which made him very proud.
Fighting and Living in Korea From 1952-1953
Thomas Parkinson recalls fighting from the Kansas Line and the Jamestown Line while in Korea from 1952-1953. He remembers eating American C-Rations, sleeping in trenches, and writing letters home to his mom along with pen pals from England.
The Korean War Yielded the Most Difficult and Rewarding Moments
Thomas Parkinson shares that his most difficult time was when a Jeep landed on his legs with petrol and napalm spilling around him. He recalls how, even though it was such a scary time, he will never forget the Indian regiment that helped him recover in a field ambulance. He shares that the most rewarding moment was related to helping the Korean children in and out of Seoul and the surrounding cities.
Welcome to Your Duty Station
After arriving in Korea in 1953, Vartkess Tarbassian was stationed in the Iron Triangle. He had to live in a foxhole to protect the area from the North Koreans. After surviving the cold and terrain, Vartkess Tarbassian was sent home in November 1954.
Walter Kreider Jr.
Landing in Korea and Military Entry
Walter Kreider, Jr., recounts landing in Korea. He shares that he was greeted by soldiers waiting to return home and recalls how they shouted words in an effort to frighten the arriving soldiers. He details riding a train up to the front lines near Panmunjeom. He backtracks and describes how he was drafted and his placement in artillery.
School, Letters, and the Excitement of the Armistice
Warren Middlekauf's military base was located near a Korean school that continued through the war. During the armistice of 1953, he was in Korea and was excited to send the US soldiers home. Throughout his time in the war, Warren Middlekauf wrote letters to his wife along with money to save for after the war.
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.
Living Conditions in Korea
William Duffy recalls his life on the frontlines. He remembers living in bunkers, which was basically a hole in the ground. He recalls cutting down a lot of trees to get material to build structures. He also remembers not wanting to be at the bottom of a hill when it rained because the bunker would fill with water.
Gortney's involvement at the beginning of Korean War
William Gortney was on the carrie, the Valley Forge, when the Korean War broke out. His plane was one of the first Navy jets in combat and the second plane to cross the 38th parallel at the beginning of the Korean War. He saw combat very early in the war at Pyungyang.
The Importance of Airpower
Captain William Gortney's mission was to anything moving south in order to protect UN ground forces. He performed low attacks with little air battles with the North Koreans and Chinese. He is able to explain how important the airpower was during the war.