Political/Military Tags1950 Pusan Perimeter, 8/4-9/181950 Inchon Landing, 9/15-9/191950 Seoul Recapture, 9/22-9/251950 Battle of Pyongyang, 10/15-171950 Wonsan Landing, 10/251950 Battle of Chosin Reservoir, 11/27-12/131950 Hamheung Evacuation, 12/10-12/241951 January 4 Withdrawal, 12/31-1/71951 Battle of Bloody Ridge, 8/18-9/15/1951 Battle of Heartbreak Ridge, 9/13-10/15/1951 Battle of Jipyeongri, 2/13-151952 Battle of Old Baldy, 6/26-8/41952 Battle of White Horse, 10/6-151952 Battle of Triangle Hill, 10/14-11/251952 Battle of Hill Eerie, 3/21-6/211953 Battle of the Hook, 5/28-291953 Battle of Pork Chop Hill, 3/23-7/161953 Sieges of Outpost Harry, 6/10-181953 Armistice 7/271968 Pueblo Abduction1968 Blue House attack1969 EC-1211976 Poplar Tree Ax Incident1983 Langgoon blowup1996 Gangneung attack1999 Yeonpyeong naval battle2000 South-North Summit2002 2nd Yeonpyeong naval battle2008 Geumgang Mountain killing2006 1st nuclear test, 10/92009 2nd nuclear test, 5/252010 Cheonan sinking2010 Yeonpyeong Island bombing2013 3rd nuclear test, 2/122016 4th and 5th nuclear tests, 1/6 and 9/9
Geographic TagsAnyangAprokgang (Yalu River)BusanByeokdongCheonanCheongcheongang (River)ChuncheonDaeguDaejeonDongducheonEast SeaEuijeongbuGaesongGangneungGeojedoGeumgangGeumgang (River)GotoriHagalwooriHamheungHangang (River)HeungnamHwacheonHwangchoryeongImjingang (River)IncheonJangjinJipyeongriKunsanKunwooriLanggoonMasanNakdonggang (River)OsanPanmunjeomPohangPyungyangSeokdongSeoulSudongSuwonWolmidoWonjuWonsanYellow SeaYeongdeungpoYeonpyeongYudamri
Social TagsBasic trainingChineseCiviliansCold wintersCommunistsDepressionFearFoodFront linesG.I. BillHome frontImpressions of KoreaKATUSALettersLiving conditionsMessage to StudentsModern KoreaMonsoonNorth KoreansOrphanagePersonal LossPhysical destructionPovertyPOWPridePrior knowledge of KoreaPropagandaRest and Relaxation (R&R)South KoreansWeaponsWomen
A Picture of Before and After
Adam McKenzie offers a reflection on the Korea of 1950, compared to what he saw when he revisited in 2011. He describes a former Korea of ruins, and a modern society full of high rises and bullet trains. He shares his perception that South Korea has made advancements much more rapidly since the Korean War than the United Kingdom did during the Industrial Revolution.
Duties Following Cease-fire
Alan Guy recounts returning to Busan to assist with health aspects following the cease-fire and details several duties. Despite the cease-fire, he recalls an incident that involved a rope strung across the road as an attempted means of decapitating drivers. He shares an account of a situation he found himself in within the black market.
Proud at Every Bend of the Road
Albert Cooper compares and contrasts the Korea that he left in 1953 with the Korea he revisited in 2009. Amazed at Korea's progress, he describes being "proud at every bend of the road." He says he is most proud that Koreans are happy and prosperous.
Life in Korea
Albert Frisina recalls life in Uijeongbu. He remembers they would work six-hour shifts. He recalls eating and drinking very well and, sadly, remembers seeing Korean civilians digging through his company's garbage. He shares how he invited the Koreans to eat their leftovers, rather than having to dig through garbage. Despite the nice treatment he received, he remembers returning to the United States and kissing the ground.
Korea Then and Now
Albert Grocott shares that he visited Korea three times since the war and offers a view of Korea then and now. He recalls small villages with outside toilets while serving and compares them to the metropolis that Seoul has become through the years with beautiful homes and high-rises. He states that the landscape has even changed but the people have not.
For the Love of Learning a Language
Albert Grocott recalls his time spent on Rest and Relaxation (R&R) in Seoul during the war. He shares that he encountered several orphaned children who needed food and clothing while there and details bringing them food from the mess hall and stealing clothing for them. He states that he did it for the love of learning a language, and the only payment he required was that they teach him Korean words and songs.
Arriving in Korea
Albert Kleine arrived in Pusan, Korea in 1953. After landing, he went to Seoul and saw fighting along with mass destruction. Many buildings were completely destroyed and he asked himself why he came all this way, but later he realized that it was to liberate South Korea.
The Kindness of the Korean People
Albert Kleine was brought to tears when talking about his Korean revisit. When he revisited Korea, he was wearing his uniform and the adults along with the children were so kind to him since he was a soldier. In 2016 he went back for a funeral there and he wants to go there to live for the rest of his life because he has seen the evolution of the city.
Headed to Korea and First Impression
Alfred Curtis describes how he felt when he learned he would be serving in Korea. He shares that hardly anyone knew anything about Korea and that he had honestly never even heard of Korea. He adds that he and other young soldiers thought they would go over and take care of business within a few months and be home. He recalls his journey to Korea, landing in Pusan, and the suffering of the South Korean people.
Destruction and Living Conditions
Ali Dagbagli describes the poor conditions of the Korean people. Kids would beg for food and cigarettes. People lived in houses made of rice stalks. Ali Dagbagli traveled from Incheon to Daegu, before moving north to Kunu-ri, North Korea.
Ali Muzaffer Kocabalkan
Recounts From Post-Armistice Korea
Ali Muzaffer Kocabalkan describes post-Armistice South, Korea. He describes women with small feet from forced stunting. He also describes the suffering of the people from a war-torn land. People were starving. Ali Muzaffer Kocabalkan gave food to the people. However, this was against military rules. He had to spend fifteen days in military prison for giving food. He also discusses the taboos of the suffering of the people.
Evacuation of Civilians after the Battle of the Chosin Reservoir
South Korean civilians wanted to escape so bad that they were willing to leave behind everything and jump aboard overcrowded ships to leave the war-stricken area. It was estimated that 99,000 civilians were crammed on two boats with the survivors from the Battle of the Chosin Reservoir with aid from a Chaplin who convinced the boat skipper to bring all the civilians to safety.
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.
Children of War
Andrew Lanza's initial encounter as he landed in Pusan was filled with shock because he never heard of Korea. One image that he will never forget is hungry children carrying other children on their backs. Some of the children were, as he described, "disfigured."
Angad Singh reflects on his impressions of Korea immediately following the war. He remembers arriving in Incheon in 1953 when Syngman Rhee was Korea's President. He noticed devastation everywhere. He arrived at the DMZ and recalls seeing no buildings left. He remembers seeing huts made from mud and next to no industry in the area.
Devastation and Destruction of Seoul
Aristides Simoes reflects on his memories of the capital of South Korea, Seoul, after the war. Despite seeing civilians and soldiers on the streets, the city itself was filled with dust, destruction, and debris. He also details the extreme poverty many South Koreans were experiencing at the time.
Helping the Children
Aristofaris Androulakis discusses the tragedies of war. He shares how he tried to help children as much as he could. He explains how many struggled for food and would beg. He explains that helping the children is what makes him most proud.
War Torn: 1950 Heungnam Evacuation
Arthur Gentry had an emotional experience when he and his fellow Marines were evacuated from Hamheung along with 100,000 North Korean refugees. As the reality of war set in, seeing the ships in the harbor the troops and the countless refugees were relieved to be rescued. Arthur Gentry remembered all the ships, his company straightening their lines, and the Marine Corps singing hymns as they marched forward.
Legacy of the Korean War
Arthur Gentry believes that if it were not for the Marines, there would not have been victory at the Chosin Reservoir. Casualties were hight with 3600 U.S. soldiers killed in action, and another 6000 suffered from frostbite. Arthur Gentry believes that the Korean War, otherwise known as the "Forgotten War," was the last war the U.S. "won" and accomplished anything. He believes the victory lies within the Marines holding the line and the U.S. nurturing South Korea to flourish economically and democratically.
Arthur W. Sorgatz
Impact from a Tour in Korea and Japan
Arthur Sorgatz was able to learn about how other people live when he was stationed in Busan starting in 1954. Poverty was very high in Korea after the war and America's poverty level is nothing compared to Korea's at that time. In Japan, Arthur shipped damaged trucks to the port while creating his own fun by scaring Japanese civilians by backfiring trucks right within busy towns.
Two Different Koreas
Asefa Desta describes the two different Koreas, war-torn and present. He never thought there would be such a significant change. Korea was so broken during the war. However, hard work by the people was able to transform Korea into what it is today. Asefa Desta also compares the change between Ethiopia and Korea over the same time period.
Impressions of Korea
Avery Creef shares the image of Korea he has in his mind. He recalls seeing many mountains. He recounts landing in Incheon at dark but remembers the city being destroyed. He also recalls seeing Seoul on his way out of Korea and remembers it being destroyed.
Impressions of Korea
Ayhan Karabulut describes the despair of Korea when he landed in 1951. He describes a train from Incheon to Seoul where it was faster to walk. He also describes women and children begging soldiers for food. There were many orphaned children during this time that were also begging for food.
The Dangers of Providing Supplies for Troops
Basilio MaCalino landed at Incheon in March 1953. From there, he went to Sasebo on his way to his station in Ascom City. When arriving there, human waste was everywhere and the smell was something that he'll never forget. When leaving his station in a truck to bring supplies to troops, he was shot at multiple times.
Life in Ascom City
Basilio MaCalino was stationed at Ascom City and he hated that there wasn't any fresh milk, eggs and hot water for his shower. When it was cold, he only showered once a week. Basilio MaCalino was able to sleep in an old building and was signed house boys to help around the base.
What Adjective Would You Chose to Describe Korea during the war?
Bernard Smith described Korea as if the conditions and people during the war went "back in time." He said he could equate what he saw to living the harsh life in rural America where people had next to nothing, but were still happy. He described children would pull empty Hershey boxes with a string as if it was a toy truck and were so content.
Bernard Smith's encounter with Seoul when they arrived was a devastated and torn apart city. An example is a governmental business that had its windows blown out and walls collapsed, but what parts were still standing and areas safe enough to work, the government continued to work there. The area where Bernard Smith was stationed appeared to be untouched.
The Plight of the Korean People
Bill Lynn describes the destitute conditions the Korean people lived in during the war. He has revisited Korea and compares what he saw during the war with what he witnessed when he returned. Now he describes South Korea as a paradise and is completely astonished with the way the South Koreans have developed their country.
When Bill Scott arrived in Seoul, they were given 4-5 days worth of rations. After seeing the starving children with or without parents, the soldiers fed the babies with their own food rather than watch them starve. Soldiers knew they had to take care of the kids and they were proud to have done it for them.
Billy J. Scott
The Friendship of Two Strangers
Billy Scott describes his friendship with a KATUSA (Korean Augmentation to the United States Army) named Pyon during his time in Korea. He recounts the opportunity Pyon was given to pay a visit to his family he had not seen in roughly a year's time. He shares that American soldiers gathered food, clothing, blankets, and money and gifted them to Pyon to secure his family's safety. He adds that he will never forget him.
Korea Then and Now
Bjarne Christensen explains how he was struck during the war at the amount of poverty he saw in Busan, South Korea. He shares how it has changed during his recent visit. He explains how he was impressed and overwhelmed by the differences.
At War at Just Sixteen
Bjarne Christensen explains how he exited the hospital ship in Busan to see poverty. He shares that he had never seen anything like it at sixteen. He shares how he saw children begging and it bothered him.
The Eye-Opening Trip to Pusan
Bob Couch discusses his basic training in California and his deployment to Korea. He recounts the "jolt" he experienced upon his arrival in Pusan after seeing the state of destruction and poverty level among civilians. He recalls trucks making rounds each morning to collect bodies of civilians who had died during the night.
Home for Christmas?
Bruce Ackerman feared being surrounded by the Chinese in the Chosin Reservoir and had to endure the cold Korean winters, frost bite, and a near explosion close to his bunker. He thought that the soldiers would be home for Christmas in 1950, but sadly, he was wrong. Bruce Ackerman remembered the evacuation of 100,000 refugees during the winter of 1950 and that included North Korean civilians who were left homeless due to the invasion of the Chinese to support North Korean troops.
Bruce W. Diggle
Bruce Diggle shares photos he took while in Korea. He shows photos of his travels from Pusan to Seoul through the countryside. His photos show the low level of development of Pusan and the destruction of bridges along with the city of Seoul itself.
Departure and Revisit
Bruce Diggle left Korea in 1954 by ship and went to London. In London, he met up with his soon-to-be wife who left for London when he left for Korea. They were married upon his arrival in London. He returned to Korea with a revisit program offered to New Zealand veterans. He is very appreciative of South Korea's efforts to bring veterans back and is impressed by the development of South Korea since the war.
Bryan J. Johnson
Rescuing Refugees from North Korea
Bryan J. Johnson describes his service in the West Sea off the Island of Cho-do. He was defending this territory from North Korean invasion. At one point his ship was responsible for the rescuing a Christian family from North Korean territory.
Bryan Johnson describes life aboard the HMNZS and working 90 hours a week. He describes one incident of detaining a father and son from South Korea who were "smuggling" rice to North Korea. The ship and crew were to hold the father and son until the South Koreans could come and "take them out to sea," assuring death.
Evacuating Heungnam, Off to Busan
Carl Hissman describes his experience at the evacuation of Heungnam. He remembers being the last one off of the beach. He recalls seeing many North Korean refugees and remembers the roads were so full of people. He shares they were able to save some but not all. He remembers seeing a blown-up village and two civilians frozen dead. After Heungnam, his unit went down to Busan and began pushing back up north towards Seoul.
Carl W. House
Destruction of Civilian Homes
After Carl House's unit left the Incheon landing site, they headed to Seoul. He said the first time he witnessed the capital, it was gone due to total destruction. When American tanks arrived, they would level the buildings to keep the North Koreans from using them. Carl House said they warned civilians to leave their homes before the soldiers destroyed them. However, recently, Carl House was was surprised at a doctor's office when he came across a magazine in the waiting room describing South Korea's accomplishments since the war.
Cecil K. Walker
Desperate Living Conditions
Cecil Walker describes the living conditions in South Korea during the time of war. People were in desperate conditions during the time of winter. He describes poor housing and lack of general items. Cecil Walker describes how the people of South Korea needed help and he would go to war again to help people in need.
Conditions In and Around Seoul
Cecil Walker describes conditions in and around Seoul. He helped bring supplies from Incheon to Seoul and transport Australian forces from the Second Line of Defense. Cecil Walker also describes how Seoul was deserted, with the exception of "Street Kids." He describes how when people did return to Seoul, they used any scrap to build shelter.
We Wanted Them to Grow Up Well
Cecilio Asuncion remembers children begging for food near the front lines and the soldiers giving them their food rations. He emphasizes that they loved the children. He shares how they all just wanted them to grow up and be well.
Thoughts of an Airman: Get the Hell Out Of There!
Charles Buckley's initial thoughts when he reflects on his experience during the war was to "get the hell out of there." He remembers his contribution to the country by helping various people, specifically the orphaned children. Charles Buckley would order from the Sears and Roebuck catalog and he would look forward to seeing the smiles on the children's faces. He also recalled the living conditions of all of the children and the civilians were able to obtain supplies they needed to rebuild their own country.
Charles Comer describes the Korean civilians that he saw upon his arrival at Seoul. He explains that the city itself was destroyed. He describes the sad state of the people who had been frequently moved around due to war evacuations. He goes on to describe the children, many of whom had been orphaned by the war and would crowd around the passing trains as the troops would give them their c-rations to eat.
Charles E. Gebhardt
Destruction in Seoul
Charles Gebhardt describes the destruction of Seoul he witnessed when passing through on his way to Kimpo Airfield. He says he "may have became a pacifist at that time," referring to the conditions that he saw Koreans living under.
Bearing the Extreme Cold
Charles Eggenberger talks about being able to withstand the extreme cold he encountered in Korea. He describes a childhood of not having enough warmth because of poverty and neglect. He recalls seeing the injuries some soldiers suffered from not knowing how to take care of their extremities in the cold.
Charles Eugene Warriner
Charles Eugene Warriner speaks about seeing impoverished Korean children while on his way to his unit. He describes the emotional impact the experience had on him. He recalls how many of those children were starving and had lost their families and homes.
Charles Falugo, Jr.
What were living conditions like in South Korea?
After a twenty-two day trip from Seattle, Washington, Charles Falugo recalls being relieved that they finally landed in Pusan, South Korea. He recalls the poor living conditions he witnessed--all Korean houses were made of clay, the people used oxen to help them transport water, and they picked roots for food. He also recalls South Korean children taking his unit's leftovers home to feed their families. He felt very lucky relative to the South Koreans he encountered and feels immense pride for the advancements South Korea has made today.
What did you experience driving through Korea?
Charles Falugo recalls the roads being so bad that their truck chassis would constantly break. Every time his division would stop to fix its trucks, they would encounter starving children begging for food. He would give his rations to the children. He recalls moving into Seoul and only seeing the blue capitol building and the railroad station. All embassies were blown up. There was one Shell Oil Company building that was guarded, located right next to his company's housing.
Communicating During and After the War
Charles Falugo does not recall what he was paid, but he does remember sending his paychecks home to his wife, Rosemary. He recalls writing and receiving many letters back and forth with her during his time in the Korean War. He also talks about a Korean man that he befriended and somewhat adopted. He seeks to reconnect with him.
Charles Falugo shares that some units would find bombed out schools and remodel them into orphanages for orphaned South Korean children. He recalls finding supplies for the units who rebuilt the buildings. He remembers working and living with a Christian missionary named Horace Grant Underwood, who was the founder of Underwood International College in Seoul.
Charles Francis Jacks
The Korean I Saw
Charles Jacks describes the Korea he saw in the 1950s. He remembers small villages and rice paddies. He describes civilian housing and recalls the unique heating system they used to keep their houses warm in the winter.
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.
Charles Rangel identified the determination of the Korean people in the aftermath of the Korean war. The resilience and kindness of the Korean people is something that he will never forget. He even has pictures of his time in Korea inside of his office as a United States Representative.
Charles Ross shares his thoughts on the progress Korea made since his time spent there in the 1950s. He recalls the poverty he saw and compares it to Korea now. He comments on the speed at which Korea transformed itself.
Charles T. Gregg
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.
Heading to Korea
Chuck Lusardi recalls the process of learning he and his brother were both headed to Korea while he was at Camp Stoneman, California. He recalls how, from Camp Stoneman, they were consigned to a troop ship which took about three thousand five hundred men on a fourteen-day voyage to Yokohama, Japan. He remembers that upon arrival at Camp Drake, there were no ships left because they had been dispersed from the Heungnam Evacuation. He vividly recounts the masses of humanity upon arrival in Busan on January 11, 1951, estimating the throng of refugees to be about two and a half million.
Never Saw a Korean Cry
Chuck Lusardi recalls finding it difficult to see what humanity had to do just to survive during the Korean War. He shares he was impressed with the resilience of the Korean people. He notes that everything in his memory from his time stationed in Korea is in black and white.
Clarence J. Sperbeck
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.
Clarence Jerke speaks about driving a supply truck while he was stationed in Seoul in 1952. He describes the city, civilians, and the difficulties that he faced when transporting supplies.
The Forgotten War and Korea Today
Clayton Burkholder felt that people call the Korean War the "Forgotten War" because people didn't know what to do with a communist country. He thought that great things came out of the Korean War because of the fortitude of its civilians. United States veterans are proud for their service in the war which led to South Korea's freedom today. Clayton Burkholder is surprised to see the change from dirt and huts to paved roads when he looks at Google Maps.
Clifford L. Wilcox
One of The Greatest Experiences
Clifford Wilcox talks about the remarkable contrast between the Korea he saw during the war and the Korea he saw and experienced while revisiting in 2010. When he first arrived, he saw extreme poverty and destruction. In 2010, his experience was first class, seeing South Korea's progress.
Conrad R. Grimshaw
The Houses of the Korean People
Conrad Grimshaw describes arriving in Korea and seeing the devastation of the Korean households. He recounts their homes being burnt and crudely replaced by stones, straw, and dirt. He shares that American soldiers were empathic and took care of the Korean people any way they could.
Orphans, Mama-sans, and Katusa!
Curtis Pilgrim talks about the Korean people and how he came to care for them. From the shoe shine boys to the mama-sans, he remembers how he and fellow soldiers would sometimes give their last dime to help buy them necessities, especially the orphans. He recalls having great respect for the KATUSA that served alongside him.
Daniel J. Rickert
"It Was a Miracle"
Daniel Rickert revisited South Korea in 1998. He compares and contrasts his Korean experiences that were 50 years apart. He describes the rebuilding and modernization as "a miracle."
David H. Epstein
A Destroyed City
David H. Epstein discusses seeing Seoul during the Korean War. He recalls that the city was a destroyed, flattened area in 1953, and describes the South Korean people as being very friendly. He describes seeing women and children walking on the roads, and remembers not being able to communicate with them.
Prior Knowledge and 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. He was injured in his right arm when he fought with the 2nd Platoon against the Chinese and North Korean troops.
Dennis E. Hultgren
Sandwiches in a War Torn City
Dennis E. Hultgren explains that a stop to transfer trains allowed him an hour or so to wander through a war-torn city. He describes a young boy who was watching him intently as he took a bite of his sandwich. He recounts that he offered the boy the rest of his sandwich, and with a deep bow, the boy accepted it and ran behind a building.
Desmond M. W. Vinten
War Zone and Road Conditions
Desmond Vinten describes the fighting in and around Seoul and how the line shifted three times causing great destruction. Buildings were uninhabitable and citizens evacuated. As the center of the country, Seoul suffered war zone traffic. Road conditions on the routes to Seoul, Incheon, Daegu, and Yeongdeungpo were horrible with a speed limit of fifteen miles per hour. The First British Commonwealth lay four or five miles behind the front lines.
Domingo Morales Calderon
First Impressions / Primeras Impresiones
Domingo Morales Calderon shares his first impressions of Korea. He describes a nation that was cold, mountainous, and devoid of adults. He recalls an incident in which he helped a small child and was hailed as a hero as he brought her to a doctor.
Domingo Morales Calderón comparte sus primeras impresiones de Corea. Describe una nación fría, montañosa y desprovista de adultos. Recuerda un incidente en el que ayudó a una niña pequeña y fue aclamado como un héroe cuando la llevó al médico.
Don C. Jones
Korea Reborn from the Ashes
Don C. Jones has seen the Korean peninsula transition from before the onset of the Korean War through the present day. He witnessed it through his service in the Army and his work as a Christian missionary. He describes how when he first arrived in Korea majority of the people were illiterate and in poverty, while detailing this is not the case today.
Big Muscles were Needed for Machine Gunners
Don McCarty's specialty during the Korean War was a heavy machine gun operator. The tripod was 54 pounds and the gun with water was 40 pounds. He left for Korea in March 1953 and landed in Inchoeon. Once he arrived in Seoul, it was devastated and there were children begging for candy and cigarettes.
Donald Arthur Summers
Donald Arthur Summers remembers a time when he had to use the last of his money to buy a bus fare to go back home to Oklahoma after finishing his basic training. He could not afford food at one of the bus stops, but the bus driver offered him a meal at the diner. While he was stationed in Japan, he witnessed hunger and poverty that left a deep impression on him.
Donald D. Lanternier
First Impressions of Pusan
Donald Lanternier describes what it was like arriving in Pusan in 1952. He explains that it was a very busy place, with lots of troop ships and supplies on the docks. However, he also notes how impoverished the people were. He remembers that the children were still happy regardless of their circumstances.
Donald H. Jones
Potatoes in the Sea
Donald Jones tells a story about his arrival by ship to Pusan and how Koreans dove into the sea to collect potatoes that the Army discarded.
Donald J. Zoeller
Helping a Korean boy
Donald Zoeller says that he did not get to know many Korean people as he was always outside of the cities. However, he remembers a little Korean boy who was orphaned and slept with prostitutes. He invited the boy to stay with the soldiers and later brought him to an orphanage.
Donald L. Mason
Donald Mason discusses his experience during the Incheon Landing. He knew it was high tide and shares that he was in a LST landing craft. His unit, the artillery unit, went in after the infantry landed, and they pushed beyond Incheon to Seoul. He was surprised at all of the destruction he witnessed.
Korea Then and Now
Donald Lynch recalls thinking Korea would not thrive after what he witnessed. He remembers the terrible smells coming from all major cities due to the open and combined sewer systems. He notes Korea now has skyscrapers and is one of the tenth largest economies in the world.
Donald H. Schwoch talks about the poverty and destruction of Seoul that he saw in 1955. Throughout Seoul, desperate children begged for food among the destroyed buildings. Even in Uijeongbu, the civilian population lived in huts with dirt floors.
Donald Urich recalls Seoul being desolate in 1954. He remembers houses were in shambles and businesses were in bad shape. He recounts seeing kids without shoes and lacking clothes in middle of a severely cold winter. He describes interactions with the children through sharing candy with them. Despite the challenging circumstances, he remembers the Korean people as cordial.
It Was About the Civilians...
Witnessing the conditions of the civilians firsthand, Edward Mastronardi was sympathetically moved by the Korean people. As the Americans advanced with tanks, guns, etc. through the Porchon Valley, they shot up everything. Knowing the Chinese did too, Edward Mastronardi witnessed so much destruction left behind. He told of a story about the Korean people dressed in white due to a funeral, and he noticed a woman lay, dying, and trying to still breast feed a dead baby. Edward Mastronardi was angry about the reckless killing of all people. It showed truly first hand what effect the war had on the Korean people.
It's Fantastic to See What Has Happened to Korea Now!
The Interviewer asked Edward Mastronardi how he feels about Korea today in the 21st century, knowing he has a clear picture of Korea during the Korean War. He said, "Fantastic! It shows the true strength, diversity, flexibility of what can be done. There is always a way to do it if you are willing to work for it." Edward Mastronardi is very proud to have been apart of saving South Korea.
Retreat from the Yalu River
Edward Redmond was surrounded by evacuating Korean refugees. They were leaving behind burned houses and their land. After fighting the North Koreans back to the Yalu River, Edward Redmond held their spot until the Americans started to retreat which surprised the British Army.
Standing Up for a Good Cause with Help From Journalists
Edward Redmond lost some close friends while fighting in the Korean War. He was disappointed about the way the bodies of the fallen British soldiers were just quickly buried behind a building in Taegu. A reporter wrote down Edward Redmond's thoughts and published the information in a newspaper, but a top general didn't like information being leaked to the media, so he almost received a court martial.
Eilif Jorgen Ness
Seoul - Then and Now
Eilif Jorgen Ness describes the Seoul he knew in 1952 compared to the Seoul upon his return in 1995 and 2013. In 1952, Seoul was not a city, it was ruined a landscape. Upon his return, years later, he describes that there was no resemblance between the two. He was impressed with the efficiency and ability to deal with large numbers of people.
No Papa or Mama
Eingred Fredh comments on the living conditions of the people in Busan. She believes the people she cared for at the hospital were better off than the people in the city. In particular, she recalls seeing many orphans begging for money.
Helping the Korean People
Eingred Fredh describes the Busan she experienced in 1952. She reflects on seeing many refugees and people in need. She describes the various wards she worked in throughout her time at the hospital and treating a variety of patients. Yet, she recalls many of her patients were Korean people who sustained injuries from being in the streets.
We Knew Why We Were There
Elburn Duffy remembers leaving Ft. Lewis Washington in early April 1951 and arriving in Busan by the end of the month. He notes they did not stop in Japan as most other servicemen headed to Korea did because troops were desperately needed at the time of his arrival. He recalls the shock of the total desolation of the country and in particular the state of the children.
Eleftherios Tsikandilakis left Korea in July/August 1951. After returning twice to Korea, in 2008 and 2013, he was able to see the great advancements that were made in Korea. Korea's advancements were 100 years more advanced than Greece.
Destruction in Seoul
Eleftherios Tsikandilakis saw extreme hunger and destruction when he entered Seoul. It was so bad that he considered Korea to be 100 years before Greece in 1950. Korean children begged for food from UN troops as they exited restaurants and food tents.
Seoul During the War
Elliott Landall describes how Seoul was in a terrible state. He explains that the people were living in a shell of a city and he felt sorry for them. He was amazed at the spirit of the people, including how the people would listen and were good learners.
Elliott Landall is satisfied with his service in the Korean War. He really liked helping the people of South Korea and feels he had a lasting impact. He explains that the Korean War is a Forgotten War because it was after the "Big Wars," World War I and World War II.
Emmanuel Pitsoulaki describes his life as a child while his country was occupied by Germans.
Impressions of Korea
Emmanuel Pitsoulaki describes what he saw in Korea as well as his impressions of the people. Additionally, what he saw reminded him of his youth in Crete under German occupation.
Ernest J. Berry
"Pronounced Dead, the Continuing Tick of his Watch"
Ernest J. Berry wrote a book called "The Forgotten War" in 2000 to commemorate his experiences. The message of the book is that war was devastating and should be avoided. Invasion is unjustified. Ernest J. Berry describes Korea as a second home and laments the many lives lost in the conflict. He then reads poems from his book, Forgotten War, providing poignant vignettes of the Korean War.
Eugene Buckley was trying to make it back to the front line after escaping from the ravine when he and O'Donnell got on the back of a family ox cart and spent most of the day traveling. Not having eaten in 4 or 5 days, Eugene Buckley broke into a large container of applesauce and ate the whole thing. He said it wasn't long after that when they were back in the same situation of extreme hungry again.
Returning to the Front Line: Casualties and Hunger
The interviewer asked what happened to the rest of the platoon that was left behind, and Eugene Buckley replied that everyone had been massacred except for himself, O'Donnell, and another soldier. Eugene Buckley had dysentery at the time and he got back so the infirmary gave him a lollipop shaped pill that he consumed to help with the problem. He said when he went into the war, he was 165 pounds, but when he was taken for his wounds, he was only 95 pounds, practically a skeleton.
Eusebio Santiago recalls how the sight of Korean villagers catching and cleaning fish reminded him of daily life in Puerto Rico. He describes the rice fields and how villagers continued their life with war around them. Eusebio Santiago recalls his childhood while war was going on.
Medley of Korean War Topics
Fekede Belachew describes various topics about his Korean War experience. He discusses talking to wounded returning soldiers about their experience. He describes Korean people in sad shape. He also describes that the Americans supplied United Nations troops with food and clothing.
Felipe Cruz recounts his experience of supplying the infantry at the front lines during the Korean War. He proudly lists the medals he received for his service, one of which was the Ambassador for Peace Medal that he was presented with during his return to South Korea in 1998 through the Republic of Korea's "Revisit Program." He shares the highlights of his and his wife's trip to South Korea, which included a visit to the location of the armistice agreement. He expresses he was initially reluctant to return to South Korea due to the devastation he witnessed during the war, but he acknowledges the positive impact it had on him.
Francisco Caicedo Montua
The Front and the Tyranny of the North - El Frente Militar y la Tiranía del Norte
Francisco Caicedo Montua discusses his first impressions of the front and the enemy. He spent seven months on the front lines of combat and over a year in the country. While most of his countrymen knew nothing of Korea prior to arriving, they were awestruck at the devastation in the nation and the lack of basic needs for the people. While he was aware that the Colombians would be fighting a communist and tyrannical regime, backed by China, they could not believe what the North was doing to the South. In seeing the hunger and tragedy in the nation, he further understood his role in the war.
Francisco Caicedo Montua comenta sobre las primeras impresiones del frente de la guerra y el enemigo. El pasó siete meses en el frente de combate y más de un año en el país. Aunque la mayoría de sus compatriotas no sabían nada sobre Corea antes de llegar, estaban asombrados por la devastación en la nación y la falta de necesidades básicas para la gente. Él sabía que los colombianos estarían luchando contra un régimen comunista y tiránico, respaldado por China, pero no podían creer lo que el Norte le estaba haciendo al Sur. Al ver el hambre y la tragedia en la nación, comprendió aún más porque Colombia se involucró en la guerra.
The Hell of Living in Trenches
Frank Zielinski was stationed at Old Baldy when the Armistice went into effect. He remembers the danger of living in cold trenches filled with water. The enemy would attack at night, so soldiers stayed awake to guard their positions. With no hot food available, C-rations included pork and beans, cookies, cigarettes, and instant coffee. Soldiers would leave part of their rations for the children living in nearby villages.
Father of the Day
Frank Zielinski has taught his grandchildren and great grandchildren about his service in the Korean War. He is proud of his service in Korea, particularly his interaction with Korean youth during R and R (Rest and Recuperation). Soldiers would play Father of the Day, adopting up to ten boys at a time to ensure they received something to eat, if only for that day.
Witnessing Poverty in Korea in 1965
Ira “Fred” Haymaker describes empathetically how poor the Korean were in 1965. He shares a story of when he and a few other soldiers climbed on the top of the mountain and watched older men collecting twigs. Another one of the stories includes how the Koreans would risk their lives to collect scrap metal at night to resell.
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.
Arriving at Incheon
Frederick Schram describes first impressions of Korea. He arrived by ship to a city annihilated from shelling. He remembers his first encounters with Koreans and describes distributing bars of soap to desperate people.
A Frames and Agriculture
Fredrick Still describes the way of life experienced by Koreans, specifically agricultural practices. He remembers the many huts lined up along the roads in areas he refers to as "slums." He explains that the Koreans would carry baskets of human waste to their rice paddies which were often irrigated by water from the mountains. Frederick Still also describes the A-frames that were used.
Galip Fethi Okay
In Korea, Now
Galip Fethi Okay describes his arrival into a war zone. His brigade was relieving the previous brigade. He describes the reaction of the previous brigade's men. The previous brigade was so happy to be leaving Korea. He also describes the conditions of the Korean people.
Gene C. Richards
Poverty Stricken Villages
Gene C. Richards discusses how Seoul was when he left Korea in 1953. He describes Seoul as not the major city seen today. He describes how majority of Korea was agricultural villages rather than urban. He also describes how so many people at the time lived in immense poverty.
George A. Edwards
The Most Gratifying Mission
George Edwards remembers his most gratifying moments which included giving candy and other items to the Korean children. When his crew would take a plane to Japan for repair, they would spend all of their money on things that they could give out when they returned. George Edwards states that the Korean people were living in such destitute conditions, with only the clothes on their back and no standing buildings.
Like a Thousand Years of Progress
George Edwards says that when he returned to Korea it was like they made over a “thousand years of progress.” He feels that this progress is gratifying. He said whenever he would walk around, the Korean people would thank him for his service.
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.
Setting up Orphanages in South Korea
Like many outfits, George Dixon and his unit had orphans (many under the age of ten) that had found them. He explains soldiers would cut down GI uniforms for them to wear and help find them food. He remembers an orphanage that was started where he helped place children.
The War's Innocent Victims
Dr. George Drake discusses his research on Korean War information found in various archival locations. He explains the repercussions of war on society. He describes the problem with poverty left in Korea because of war, and his passion for getting more information out about his humanitarian concerns.
A Life Abroad Before Korea
Dr. George Drake explains how growing up in poverty affected his life decisions. He describes his travels to South America and Europe before enlisting into the United States Army. He recounts wanting to be a part of the Army Corps of Engineers to study topography, but he was placed with Intelligence instead.
The Poverty of War
Dr. George Drake explains how children were rescued from poverty during the Korean War. He recounts his journey to find photos that were taken during the war of orphans in Korea. He shares his concern over the children who became abandoned victims of the Korean War.
George Enice Lawhon Jr.
Radio Transmitters, Ghost Towns, and Orphanages in Seoul
George Enice Lawhon Jr.'s job in the US military was to fix a BC 610 (a Collins radio Transmitter). When he arrived in Seoul, there was not anyone there and it was a ghost town. Sadly, some old and young people found in a rice field shot and bayonetted. He had a Chaplin in his group that started an orphanage for Korean children because there were so many that were left alone.
Working Hard to Stay Afloat During the Great Depression
It would be unfathomable for student in high school today to know how hard kids during the Depression had to work to earn money. George Geno said that most farmers couldn't pay you, but they wanted to give you food. He helped farmers, trapped musk rats, and raised calves. In 8-10 months, he sold the bull and that's the money he lived on and saved to buy his first car. George Geno was also given a nanny goat and a kid which he used to start his own goat farm while attending high school.
Stringing Popcorn on Christmas During the Depression
Because George Geno lived in the country, he avoided seeing a lot of the soup lines and problems in the cities, but the farms had a share of their own poverty. People would work in the field or paint your barn just to get food. They didn't have anything, but they didn't know any better. They would string popcorn to decorate the Christmas tree. To keep watermelon and their soda pop cool, families would put them in the draining ditch to act as a refrigerator. You couldn't buy tire outright, but you could buy the boots to use inside the tire. Toys weren't available, so they handmade everything including their bow and arrows for hunting pheasants, squirrel, and duck.
We Fished In the Basement Of Our House During the Depression
The house George Geno had growing up had a dirt basement and it would fill with water in the spring. His dad would take them to Reese's to buy nets and they would catch fish. Not many people can say that they went fishing in their own basement during the Great Depression!
Impressions of Korea
George Sullivan talks about his experiences in Korea during the 1950s. He remembers how cold the weather was and how destitute the South Koreans were. He recalls many of them living in tents or broken down cars and shares that Seoul was totally destroyed. He is amazed at the transformation South Korea has made over the last half century and adds that he really enjoys kimchi.
George W. Liebenstein
Daily Life in Battery Supply
George "Bill" Liebenstein details the living conditions during his time serving in Korea from April 1953 through July 1954. He recalls activities during his spare time including playing and coaching softball. He notes that the men in his unit were not provided showers at their location until a few months after their arrival. He explains that there were few Korean people in the area where they were stationed except for a few civilian workers. He tells of the challenges some of them presented when they took supplies, but he further notes that he could not blame them as they had nothing. He offers a story of a young North Korean man, who worked in supply with whom he became quite close.
Destruction on Christmas Eve
George Warfield landed in Korea on December 24, 1950 and had Christmas Eve dinner on the ship before he was dropped off at Inchon harbor. He counted 17 tanks that went out to battle from Inchon, but only 1 came back the next morning after fighting. George Warfield passed through Euijeongbu one night and saw the terrible conditions for civilians, but he did not stay in any location longer than a day.
Life Under Occupation
Georgios Margaritis recalls the challenges of growing up during the German occupation of Greece in World War II. He draws parallels between his own life under occupation and that of the Korean people.
Note: English translations to answers to questions begin at 2:49 and 4:21
George Margaritis reflects on his first days in Korea as he traveled from Busan to Cheorwon. He recalls seeing fires on the outskirts of Seoul and absolute disaster in most places they traveled through. He shares is concern for the Korean people and their futures.
Note: English translations of answers begin at 12:12, 13:34, and 15:04
Germaye Beyene Tesfaye
Helping Starving Civilians and Funding Orphanages
Germaye Tesfaye witnessed terrible destruction in Korea. Arriving in 1952, he encountered Koreans in dire circumstances. Many civilians lacked basic food. Rather than throwing away uneaten food as directed by fellow American soldiers, Ethiopian solders gave their leftovers to hungry Korean people. Further, many Ethiopian solders donated their salaries to fund the creation of orphanages for Korean children who had lost their parents in the conflict.
Returning to Korea and Supporting the US Veterans
Grace Ackerman was told by her husband, Bruce Ackerman, about the poor conditions in Korea during the war with mud paths, dirt roads, and huts. While visiting Korea during a church trip, she was able to see their new beautiful churches and the teenagers who were so courteous. As part of the Auxiliary, Grace Ackerman helps the veteran community by adopting a floor at the local veterans' hospital to make food, send gifts, and play bingo.
H. Douglas Barclay
H. Douglas Barclay argues that Korea places a major role in the history of the United States. He explains that if you saw Korea today, it is a "miracle." He remembers taking a bus through Korea and seeing how built up it was compared to North Korea, recalling that North Korea then looked like South Korea in 1955.
Korea at the Beginning of the War
Haralambos Theodorakis left for Korea in 1950 and came back in 1951. Everything was destroyed when he arrived and the people were very sweet people. Korean civilians didn't have a lot of clothes to wear or food to eat. If Haralambos Theodorakis had extra food, he gave it to the civilians and he saw a lot of Korean children running the streets during his 8 months there.
Haralambos Theodorakis knew that he was fighting communists during the war. Now, Korea is the 10th strongest nation in the world and he feels that it was a destroyed country in 1950. Now, he's excited to see the progress that has been made in Korea.
Haralambos Theodorakis has a weakness for the Korean people because he loves all the Korean people. As he recalled the war, there were many times that he almost died. He went and fought a war without knowing what he would face, but luckily, he was never wounded.
Harold A. Hoelzer
Experiencing a Whole New World
Harold Hoelzer speaks about his initial experiences with Korea during the war. He offers stark details contrasting what he saw in Korea with the world he was familiar with back in the United States. Coming from a world of cities, roads, and factories, he remembers how "crude" Korea seemed to him at the time.
Redeployed as Machine Gun Squad Leader
Harold Don discusses being redeployed to Korea during the Chinese major offensive. He shares he was unaware, at the time, that Chinese forces had retaken Seoul and that he became a machine gun squad leader. He remembers partaking in Rest and Relaxation, which meant moving back several miles from the front for a hot shower and food. He notes he remembers the country itself when asked what he remembers most from this eleven-month tour in Korea. He describes Korea as being like a third-world country at the time with primitive farming, sanitation, and construction methods.
Changes in Korea
Harold Huff discusses the differences seen in Korea before and after the war and compares the two Koreas today. He remembers hearing about the turmoil experienced in Korea prior to the war and recognizes the benefits Korea has amassed due to democracy. He talks about the hunger and sadness many North Koreans face in comparison to the fortunes of the South Koreans.
Pusan Landing and Retreating to the Imjin River
Harry Hawksworth recalls arriving in Korea and docking in Pusan. He describes how African American United States troops were playing instruments as they arrived and creating a grand entrance. He shares how he, along with the Gloucestershire Regiment, traveled by foot up to the Yalu River in December of 1950 without spotting a Chinese soldier. He remembers being told he would be back home by Christmas and shares how he knew that would not happen after the US and British troops were forced to withdraw to the Imjin River.
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.
Poverty and Survival
Henry Kosters describes his interaction with some South Korean children who took some of his possessions. He explains that upon landing at Inchon, the city was mostly occupied by US Marines. He recalls how he and another man went off together and came upon a group of teenagers who stole his watch band and camera film from his pockets. He shares that though he was not pleased with his loss, he understood that the children were desperate and needed to take whatever they could.
First Impressions of Korea
Henry MacGillicuddy talks about arriving in Korea and describing Seoul as flat because it was devastated. He recalls that it looked like the farmers did just enough to stay alive.
Henry N. Rabot
Dangers On the Road
Henry N. Rabot discusses the dangers associated with driving the trucks on the roads at night, even after the Armistice. He describes the desperation of the Korean people and their need for food and supplies following the war and their determination to get it. He empathized with their needs and wanted them to have it.
Henry River, Jr.
Korea in the 1950s
Henry River, Jr., recalls the living conditions of Koreans in the 1950s. He remembers life being tough for the Koreans and speaks about a nine-year-old Korean boy who did his clothes in exchange for bags of rice. Additionally, he recalls the human waste fertilizer smell in Incheon.
Landing in Korea and First Impressions
Herbert Schreiner describes landing in Korea for the first time as a soldier and his impressions of the smell and scenery. He recalls being greeted with a stench from what he believed to be the honey buckets used to fertilize fields with human waste. He adds that the area was ravaged and war-torn. He also recounts the houseboy who cleaned soldiers' clothing and offers his impressions of the Korean people during wartime.
Reflection on Korean War Experience
Herbert Schreiner describes his role with Tell America and states that the number one question he receives from students centers on whether or not he was afraid while serving in Korea. He shares that he was and that fear was present amid the troops in combat areas. He also reflects on his experience and his gratefulness for the opportunity to serve in Korea as he feels it made him a better person.
Refugees During War
Herbert Werner became very emotional as he described being an 18 year old seeing war first hand. He said witnessing the wounded, being under fire, civilians fleeing, and children affected by war made him overcome with emotion. He never saw as much fear as he did while there and it still gets to him even today. Herbert Werner made an instant personal connection with the refugees during the Hamheung Evacuation since he was an orphaned child himself.
Korea Is My Second Home
After returning home from his service in Korea, it wasn't long before Herbert Werner was back in Korea as a professional boxing referee. He described after spending 3 full years of his life there, he was amazed at the resilience of the people despite the terror of war, how much the country of South Korea has improved, their patriotism, and the respect the civilians had for the soldiers who fought for South Korea. He felt like he was treated with so much respect and built an unconditional friendship.
What Serving in Korea Meant to Herbert Werner
When Herbert Werner was still in an orphanage during WWII, the boys that left to fight during that war had such a lasting impression on him, so he joined the Marine Corps. Originally, he wanted to go to China as a Marine, but after the war broke out in Korea, he was so caught up in the moment and excited that he wanted to go to be a part of this war. Much of what Herbert Werner saw was terrible including the treatment of refugees during the Korean War.
Herman F. Naville
Prison Camp after Peace Talks
Herman Naville describes when the prisoners were turned over to the Chinese, moving from Apex Camp to Camp 5. He remembers that he had dropped from 225lbs to about 98lbs, becoming so weak that he could barely stand up. This change occurred because the Chinese wanted to make the conditions look better for negotiations.
First Glimpse of the Korean People
Homer Garrett described the Korean people when he first arrived in Korea as hungry and begging for food/supplies. It was the worst the worst catastrophic area that he had ever seen and Korea really needed a lot of help to rebuild. Korea was still in ruins 12 years after the Korean War ended.
Earnings for his Service
Homer Garrett briefly described, what few kids understand, which is how little soldiers were paid for their service. When he first entered as a Private First Class soldier, he started making $43.00 per month even while having a wife and two children back at home. When Homer Garrett came home, his highest earning was $130.00 per month which was much better than when he first entered the service in 1965.
Dedicated to Improving Civilian Lives
Homer Garrett never witnessed people in such despair not want help from their government, yet the Korean civilians continued to prosper with what they had. Korean civilians had a willingness to improve their lives. Homer Garrett felt the values of the South Korean people are lessons all Americans could learn from. He appreciated what he witnessed and respected Koreans' desire to succeed.
When Homer Garrett first arrived in Korea, the only means of transportation were ox-drawn carts for the wealthy, buses, and small taxis ("red birds"). The roads were only dirt roads that the Military Police shared with the civilians to transport goods and supplies. When Homer Garrett revisited Korea in 2007, (his wife visits often since she is from Korea- met and married her there and brought her back to Texas) he recalled the highway system in Seoul rivals that of our highway system in the United States, and that there are more cars on the road there, than there are in Dallas or Houston, Texas!
Training ROK Officers and Korean Culture in the Late 1940s
Howard Ballard recalls training officers for the Republic of Korea (ROK) before the start of the Korean War. He remembers how the ROK hated the Japanese because they had taken everything of value back to Japan during the Japanese occupation of Korea. He recalls training the South Koreans to become officers, shoot Howitzers, and become leaders before the Korean War began (1948). He describes aspects of Korean culture, noting the attention to respect and the practice of purchasing wives through the use of pigs.
Fighting at the Battle of Pyongyang in October and November 1950
Howard Ballard recalls leaving Pusan after fighting there in August of 1950 to fight the North Koreans all the way through Pyongyang, North Korea, and up to the Yalu River along the Chinese border. He describes fighting the North Koreans at the Battle of Pyongyang in October of 1950, noting there was little resistance. He remembers seeing Chinese captured in November 1950 at the Yalu River despite General MacArthur telling President Truman that the Chinese were not fighting in the war.
Howard W. Bradshaw
Howard Bradshaw's Love for Orphaned Koreans
Howard Bradshaw encountered many orphans during his time in Korea. He offered them candy and expressed his love for these kids.
Howard Bradshaw took pictures of these children while he was there during the Korean War.
a Soldier's Wife Remembers Life Without Her Loved One
Laverne Bradshaw, just like Howard Bradshaw, spent every night writing letters to each other. She described how she grew a vegetable garden to save money while her neighbors would shoot a deer to help feed Laverne Bradshaw's family. Howard Bradshaw wrote about how he would help to feed orphans while he was away in Korea.
Hugo Monroy Moscoso
First Impressions / Primeras Impresiones
Hugo Monroy Moscoso remembers his first impressions of Korea. He details the destruction he encountered in every town as they arrived after the Chinese and North Korean invasion. He recalls that it gave them pleasure to share food with civilians because they understood how much they were suffering.
Hugo Monroy Moscoso recuerda sus primeras impresiones de Corea. Detalla la destrucción que encontró en cada pueblo porque llegaron después de la invasión china y norcoreana. Recuerda que les daba placer compartir comida con los civiles porque reconocían la miseria y el hambre que sufrían.
Hussen Mohammed Omar
Money for an Orphanage
Hussen Mohammed Omar describes the condition of the people in Korea. People were in bad shape. He describes how the Ethiopian soldiers donated money to help build an orphanage. Once the orphanage was built, soldiers continued to donate money to keep it running.
Ian J. Nathan
Letters to Mom
Ian Nathan did not have a girlfriend at the time of his service in Korea, but he wrote to his mother and brother. His brother helped him identify Venus from his observations of the dark night sky from his tent. He visited Seoul once during his time in the Army, but the city was in shambles due to the fighting that occurred there. Markets were set up, but most of the goods had been created from scavenged items. He contrasts his experience with pictures of modern Seoul.
Desperation of the South Koreans
Ibrahim Gulek describes the people of South Korea. South Korea was war-torn. The people were desperate. He describes South Koreans as having no clothes and constantly begging for food. The conditions were heartbreaking. Ibrahim Gulek and his fellow soldiers would give food and supplies to the people in need.
Inga-Britt Jagland describes her work as a nurse. Originally, she worked in the tuberculosis ward. However, the Red Cross started to take UN soldiers fighting in the North. These men were only there for two or three days before evacuated to Japan. A nurse would work from 6am to 10pm, caring for men that had serious injuries. Some men would panic and need restraint from other marines.
Inga-Britt Jagland describes being very happy to be in Korea. The people of Korea were so friendly and thankful for the help. The country was so beautiful with a sunrise over the mountains. With all the beauty, the people were suffering. Some children had no legs or arms. Inga-Britt Haglund also describes providing food to Korean children.
Big Love in Busan
Inga-Britt Jagland describes meeting her future husband in war-torn Busan. She met him at a Swedish spring festival. He slipped her vodka and orange juice. He was a driver taking people back to their villages for the Red Cross.
Israel Irizarry-Rodriguez recalls his interaction with South Korean orphans during the war. He shares how he felt seeing the orphans and remembers wanting to help them. He speaks of how he and other soldiers would take the orphans to get food.
Importance of Military Service
Jack Kronenberger describes the poverty he saw in Seoul. He describes people living in shacks, making him realize how fortunate he was. He explains how this is a completely different way of life than he had experienced. He says the experiences were so important for a young man, and believes re-instating mandatory military service would be very helpful for the youth of our country, although he doubts it will happen.
First Impressions of Devastated Refugees
Jack Spahr expresses that he knew nothing about Korea until he entered the service. He shares that his first impressions of Korea were depressing as he saw many refugees searching for food and assistance. He recounts servicemen trying to help them as much as they could. He recalls several South Koreans working on the base with them and states that they were paid well compared to what they would get elsewhere at the time.
James A. Newman
Nobody Argues with Padres
James Newman was sent ashore in 1951. Rare for a Navy man, he was able to see a devastated Seoul and fight on the frontlines. He had rare access due to accompanying an Anglican clergyman.
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.
Impressions of Korea
James Bradshaw gives an emotional account of how bombed out Seoul was when he saw it. He became tearful remembering the children that he felt sorry for, and recalls saving his rations for them.
Entering Korea in 1952
James Butcher was sent Korea with the 17 Infantry Regiment 7th Division in 1952. After arriving in Inchon, he took a train to Army headquarters and then worked his way to the front lines. As James Butcher traveled through the country, he saw whole towns brought to the ground.
Conditions in Pusan
James Creswell describes his first impressions of Korea. He recounts the horrible living conditions civilians faced in Pusan. He shares that people were living in river beds, freezing to death due to lack of clothing, and had no food or money.
Keeping the Memory of the Korean War Veterans Alive
James Ferris shares about his daily work to keep the memory of the Korean War alive, honor the fallen soldiers, and celebrate all the accomplishments of South Korea. He explains as State and then National Korean War Veteran Association President, he strives to reach out to all the Korean War defense veterans (soldiers after 1954) who have served at the DMZ. He expresses that the longevity of the Korean War legacy is with the next generation.
The Difficult Job as a US Marine
James Ferris shares that his assignment did not allow him to stay in Korea for a long time. He explains that his job had him flying in and out of the entire country. He shares he earned good money for the 1950s as a corporal and recalls how he sent most of it home to his family. He adds that once he arrived back home, he went on his first date with a girl he wrote to for over a year while serving in the war.
"A Most Rewarding Christmas"
James Friedel tells the story of when he volunteered to host a Japanese orphan for Christmas festivities on the USS Hector in Sasebo, Japan, in 1950. He recalls how it was his first Christmas away from home and how homesick he was at the time. He shares he and other volunteers spent the day with the orphans, watching movies, opening presents, and enjoying a Christmas meal together. He adds that it was a rewarding experience and shares that it was emotional to see the orphans leave.
Korea Today and the Honor Flight
James Houp recalls reading about Korea today and recognizes its great economic achievements. He remembers participating in an honor flight to the Korean War Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. He shares how three South Koreans stopped him to take a picture and were very grateful for his service in Korea. He emphasizes how he cannot believe the transformation Korea has made from a very poor country to one of the richest in the world today. He expresses his pride in being a Korean War Veteran.
James M. Cross
Impressions of Korea
James Cross discusses his first impressions of Korea. He remembers everything as small and ruined and recounts children being hungry as there was not enough food. He shares that he would give candy bars or whatever else he had to the children.
James P. Argires
Poverty and a Friendship
James Argires how they went from Incheon to Seoul and then North. He explains the poverty he saw in detail. He remembers a little boy that would follow him for about a month.
James Ronald Twentey
Cigarettes as Money
Ron Twentey describes the need that still existed among the Korean people during his time there.
He explains that though the war was over, the people were still terribly impoverished and begged for food. He describes the children begging for food and for cigarettes which they sold to make money. He explains that he has never smoked but he would pay for the cigarette rations so that he could use them as currency and for trade. He recalls paying for his clothes to be laundered with cigarettes.
James T. Markley
Message to the Younger Generation
James Markley gives students a message on the achievements of the Korean people. After the devastation of World War II and the Korean war, the Korean people have set a great example for the entire world. They have become a resilient nation of people.
Jean Paul St. Aubin
First Impressions of Korea
Jean Paul St. Aubin describes his first impressions after landing in Korea. He recounts the destruction, seeing few trees and buildings. He shares that it was hard to believe how poor the living conditions were for the Koreans as he witnessed malnourishment, naked children begging in the streets, and women working in the rice fields with their babies.
Jeff Brodeur (with Al Jenner)
Korean War Veterans Response to KDVA Accomplishments
Al Jenner responds that if the veterans could see the impact that was made by their efforts to deter against communism, they would see a country that is now the 11th largest economy in the world. They would also see that it's the first nation to go from a debtor nation to a creditor nation while enjoying the freedoms they have there. Jeff Brodeur and Al Jenner are very proud of the progress and success in South Korea.
Message For Future Generations
Jesus Perez shares an important message for future generations about why it is necessary to learn our history. He explains the significance of understanding sacrifice and the suffering of war, so that we can be better prepared should we face it again. He describes the impact of seeing orphans fighting for garbage because they were hungry.
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.
Girl In The Picture
As his battalion moved from the south to northern Korea, Joe Larkin's battalion passed through several villages coming in contact with the Korean people. The civilians were very thankful for what the US troops were doing. One little girl saw a picture of Joe Larkin's niece in his pocket, and kept pointing at the picture, but Joe Larkin didn't understand. He called over an interpreter and he said the girl couldn't believe that his niece had a flower in her hair.
Ox Steps on a Field Mine-We have meat!
Joe Rosato did have C-Rations that he took advantage of for meals. As he was passing through villages, he was aware that the food was grown in human waste, but that didn't stop him from eating the cucumbers, watermelons, peppers, and beans. Joe Rasato saw an ox step on a field mine and blew itself apart, so the soldiers built a fire and made sauce with the chili peppers to go along with this fresh meat.
John A. Fiermonte
Impressions of Korea
John A. Fiermonte describes how he felt upon arriving in Korea as a young man. He also describes seeing how the Korean people lived.
Sleeping and Eating Conditions for US Troops
John Cantrall described how fortunate we was to experience the living conditions that he was assigned, but the food was never something that he could report that he enjoyed. He also reported that the housing arrangements for the American and Korean soldiers were quite different. He expressed concern that it was an unfair situation.
Prior Knowledge About Korea
John Candrall was very sad when he went to Korea at the end of the Korean War in 1953 because he saw what true poverty looked like even compared to the US during the Great Depression. The advancement that took place from 1955 until he went back for his revisit was huge and John Candrall included the advancements in transportation in addition to housing. He was very proud of his service in the military and the help that he was able to provide for Korea between 1953 and 1955.
Bed Check Charlie
John Denning describes the enemy's use of "Bed Check Charlie" and its effects upon the troops at Suwon Air Base. He explains that the enemy would fly low enough to drop had grenades onto the base and make the men have to get up and check on the situation. He goes on to describe the horrible living conditions of the local population outside of the Air Base. He recalls that in the aftermath of the war, people would often take packing crates and use them as shelters to live in for their families.
Not a Substantial Building Standing
John Fry gives a tremendous comparison of what Korea was like in 1953 and when he returned in 2014. He remembers the war-torn state of the country that had no substantial buildings standing, people living in cardboard boxes, and too many orphans. He shares that compared to the “unbelievable” progress that Korea has made, it seems like Australia has gone backwards.
Impressions of Pusan
John Fry describes his impressions of landing in Pusan and then the rest of Korea in 1953. He remembers being welcomed by an American military band when they arrived at the wharf before taking a train north. He recalls what the villages and homes were like during this time.
First Impressions of Korea
John Funk shares how he saw sadness the first time he laid eyes on Korea and the Korean people. He recalls people being hungry, sad, and poor, and he offers an account of their impoverished living conditions at the time. His adds that his time in Korea made him and other soldiers realize that they needed to help the Korean people.
John Funk offers an account of the 8076 Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (MASH). He describes the facility and the nearby area. He recalls soldiers being admitted with their uniforms still on as well as sometimes still in their sleeping bags and details the triage system utilized to determine who was tended to first. He additionally speaks of the role women played as nurses.
John H. Jackson
Returning to the Korean War after being Evacuated from Chosin Reservoir
John H. Jackson explains he was put back into battle after he was evacuated from the Chosin Reservoir. He shares he fought at the Imjin River and Han River. He recounts how he continued fighting during the Seoul Recapture, Chorwon Valley, and Ontrang.
John Hartup, Jr.
Comparing Korea: Before, During, and After the War
John Hartup, Jr., compares the Korea he witnessed in 1946-1947 to the Korea he experienced in 1951. He recalls seeing many refugees going south in 1951. He remembers the city of Incheon as a bustling metropolis in 1947, and in 1951, it was completely leveled and destroyed. He remembers the same about Seoul. He recounts how there was no farming or agriculture taking place in 1951. He shares that he revisited Korea three times after the war and emphasizes that he was very impressed by modern Korea. He notes that it is difficult to compare modern Korea to the devastation he witnessed during the war.
Worth Fighting For
John Koontz believes that Korea was worth fighting for even though he did not think that at the time. He remembers in detail seeing the starving children who were without their parents. He would like to return to Korea now if he could.
Growing Up in a Korean Orphanage
John Munro shares that he did not experience any dangerous moments while patrolling the DMZ in early 1954. He recounts how, as part of 1 Battalion, he went to Seoul to spend the day at an orphanage. He recalls his time spent at the orphanage and how he was given six children to eat with and play with throughout the afternoon.
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.
John T. “Sonny” Edwards
Combat Engineering and South Korea in 1957
John T. "Sonny" Edwards describes the duties of an Army Combat Engineer. He explains that although they are trained to handle explosives, the primary mission is bridge construction and demolition. He recalls his first impressions of South Korea upon his arrival in 1957, near Musan-ni, just below the DMZ. He describes observing the farming methods used by the people of South Korea, and having to carry out the duties of extending a run-way and building a wooden bridge across a river.
What was war like? What did Korea look like?
John Tobia talks about being dropped off by a truck to meet his company line. He recalls seeing two helicopters swooping down, apparently transporting the dead and the wounded. Seeing that was his introduction to his company and to the war. He shares how it was a real eye-opener. He contrasts the Seoul he witnessed during and after the war. He also describes a Korean "honeypot".
Memories of Korean Friends from the War
John Tobia gets very emotional regarding a memory he had of a young boy his company encountered while clearing buildings. He shares that the boy lived with his company for about a month. He also recalls a young Korean interpreter that worked with his company who became as close to him as a brother would be. He recalls giving cigarettes to the interpreter so he could trade them for food for his family.
Prepping for War
John Turner discusses the process he went through from enlistment to arriving in Incheon, South Korea. He enlisted in the Marines and attended Parris Island for bootcamp. After he graduated from basic training, he attended advanced training at Camp Pendleton in California. After advanced training, he departed from San Diego for Inchoen.
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 .
Jorge Hernando Uricoechea Castro
First Days in Korea / Primeros Días en Corea
Jorge Hernando Uricoechea Castro provides an account of the devastation and poverty he encountered upon arriving in Korea. He explains that he will never forget the way in which civilians begged for food and clothing at every train station. Additionally, he describes the living conditions the Colombian army faced in Korea.
Jorge Hernando Uricoechea Castro describe la devastación y pobreza que vio cuando llego a Corea. Explica que nunca olvidará la forma en que los civiles pedían comida y ropa en cada estación de tren. Además, relata las condiciones de vida que enfrentó el ejército colombiano en Corea.
Jose A. Vargas-Franceschi
"I Didn't Know What Poverty Was"
Jose A. Vargas-Franceschi describes the difficult living conditions for refugees in Pusan (Busan). He describes the crowded nature as well as the difficulty in acquiring foods due to the lack of good roads and transportation.
Jose E. Colon
Poor and Dangerous Living Conditions
Jose E. Colon presents an overview of their living conditions in Korea. He describes the South Koreans’ primitive farming and sanitation methods, which led to an infestation of snakes and rats in the unit's living quarters. He explains how the rats carried insects that caused some soldiers to develop a fever by penetrating their veins. He discusses the low quality and limited supply of food and shares his unit had only C-rations to eat while on the front lines.
Jose Maria Gomez Parra
First Impressions / Primeras Impresiones
José María Gómez Parra shares his first impressions of Korea upon his arrival. He recalls how he was immediately struck by the weather. Arriving in winter, he shares he was astonished at the barren landscape in which everything was frozen. He comments on the terrible state that civilians were in at the time.
José María Gómez Parra comparte sus primeras impresiones de Corea al llegar al país. Inmediatamente fue impresionado por el clima. Al llegar en invierno, se asombró que no había nada en el paisaje porque todo estaba congelado. Además, comenta el pésimo estado en que se encontraban los civiles en ese momento.
Jose Ramon Chisica Torres
Impressions of Korea and Its People / Impresiones de Corea y su gente
José Ramón Chisica Torres describes the extreme poverty the Korean people faced in the last year of the war. He explains that the soldiers were well taken care of even though the weather was bitterly cold. He goes on to describe the extreme measures taken by some Koreans in order to find food and other necessities.
José Ramón Chisica Torres discute la suma pobreza del pueblo Coreano en el último año de la guerra en Corea. Él comenta que hacía mucho frio cuando llegaron, pero los soldados tenían todo lo que necesitaban. Después, el discute las medidas extremas tomadas por algunos Coreanos para encontrar comida y otras necesidades.
Army Pay During Korean War
Josephine Krowinski did not recall how much she was paid while working during the Korean War as an Army nurse. She sent all the checks directly to Boston to her mother. Josephine Krowinski could tell that her mother needed the money more than she did, so that's why all her pay was sent back home.
Juan Andres Arebalos
Stationed in Japan
Juan Andres Arebalos recounts his experience sailing on the USS Hope to Japan for advanced training on weaponry and fitness after completing basic training. He notes that every soldier had duties aboard the ship, and he worked in the ship's galley. He shares he visited the location in Hiroshima where the atomic bomb landed during WWII, vividly remembering the indention in the land and people searching for belongings.
Tales of Survival
Juan Andres Arebalos admits he did not feel he would survive the situation in Taejon. He comments on how enemy troops would snatch the food and supplies dropped by United Nations airplanes. He recalls being so hungry that he ate fly-infested rice in a South Korean village. He recalls an enemy sniper shooting at them as they filled their canteens with water at a creek. He admits to being unable to sleep at night because of his fear.
Juan de Jesus Cortes Jurado
Devastation in a Tranquil Place / Devastación en un Lugar Tranquilo
Juan de Jesus Cortes Jurado describes Korea as quiet upon his first arrival as troops were no longer engaged in combat. While there was no fighting, there was destruction and human misery everywhere. He shares that it was difficult witnessing the poverty and hunger in Korea, especially seeing children rummage for food in the debris.
Juan de Jesus Cortes Jurado describe a Corea como un lugar tranquilo al llegar por primera vez porque ya se había terminado el combate. Si bien no hubo lucha, hubo destrucción y miseria humana en todas partes. Él comparte que fue difícil ver la pobreza y el hambre en Corea, especialmente ver a los niños rebuscar comida en los escombros de sus pueblo.
Julio Cesar Mercado Martinez
The Poverty of Korea and Puerto Rico
Julio Cesar Mercado Martinez recounts sad memories of Pusan when he arrived. He remembers seeing hunger in the war torn areas of Korea. He compares the poverty to that he had witnessed in Puerto Rico and emphasizes that war is a terrible thing. He adds that Korea has changed immensely since then, becoming a major world power.
Julio Cesar Mercado Martinez shares that seeing the children in Korea experiencing poverty made him more family oriented. He recounts a touching story about a boy he befriended in South Korea. He shares that he offered food to the boy, receiving hugs in return.
Jutta I. Andersson
Busan: September 1950
Jutta Andersson describes Busan when she arrived in September of 1950. She describes the despair of the people living around Busan. She also describes life as a nurse and how nurses could not freely move about. However, she did visit the hills surrounding Busan and go to a Buddhist Temple with an escort.
Kebede Teferi Desta
Arriving in Korea
Kebede Teferi Desta describes his arrival in Korea. He had no previous knowledge or experience with Korea. He was part of the First Kagnew Battalion arriving in 1951. Kebede Teferi Desta describes the situation as bleak for the people. Buildings were destroyed, with lots of destruction overall.
Keith G. Hall
"Smashed to Bits"
Keith G. Hall describes the differences between Korea in 1950 and Korea in 2010 when he returned. He describes poor conditions in the villages, with villagers farming rice paddies with primitive wooden plows. Seoul and Daegu had been "smashed to bits."
A War That is Worthy
Keith Gunn recounts his first impressions of Korea upon landing, expanding upon his opinion regarding the worth of the war. He details Korea's poor state at the time, comparing it to England. He speaks highly of the progress Korea has made since the war, ultimately agreeing that the war was worth the effort.
Keith H. Fannon
Difficult and Happy Memories
Keith H. Fannon talks about his experiences trying to help orphaned children. He talks about seeing dead orphans. Keith H. Fannon shares how helping an orphan family brought joy to him.
Kenneth J. Winters
Reflections about the Korean People
Kenneth Winters describes the Korean people he encountered during his deployment to Camp Casey in 1967-1968. He remarks about the friendliness and industriousness of the people in nearby Tongduchan Village. He also mentions his interactions with Korean children and how they reacted to American soldiers.
Kenneth S. Shankland
Retrofitted Ships and Bombed-Out Cities
Kenneth Shankland recalls how his ship, The HMNZS Royalist, had been modified for atomic, biological, and chemical warfare. He shares how the ship sailed all over the Pacific Ocean, eventually landing in Incheon and Pusan in 1957 to enforce the peace. He recounts how Korean civilians were living in terrible conditions among piles of rubble. He remembers naked and hungry children begging for food.
Lakew Kidane Goshene
Korea in 1954
Lakew Kidane Goshene describes the conditions of the country upon his arrival. He describes how Korean women would scavenge for wood. He also explains how his unit would share their rations with civilians. He is amazed at how different the Korean people's lives are now from then.
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.
You Can't Blame Them for Having Nothing
Leo Calderon describes his job maintaining security of the planes while being stationed in Suwon in South Korea. They had to guard the planes 24 hours a day. He worked 8 hour shifts. He describes how a papa-san tried to steal a tip tank and he had to chase him to retrieve it.
Selling Their Mothers and Sisters
Leo Calderon describes the atmosphere of South Korea after the war. He notes that some of the people did not like the American presence. He also describes the crime and poverty after the war. The people sold anything, including their mothers, sisters, haircuts and boot shining for cigarettes. Bars eventually popped up though American soldiers were not allowed to go beyond the MSR (Main Supply Rode).
They Have Everything Now
Leo Calderon describes the difference between first seeing Korea during the war and the country it has become today. He explains the physical characteristics of Seoul at the time: buildings no taller than half a story, potholed roads, homes made of hay and mud. He says at that time the people had nothing compared to today, that they have everything.
Missionary Work in Korea
Leo Ruffing shares how he became a minister after retiring from the military. He changed his mind about his future plans after helping friends and even himself with alcoholism. He would later return to Korea for ministry, including helping young children.
Payment for Service
Leslie Peate discusses the amount soldiers in the British Army were paid while serving in Korea. He shares that they were one of the lowest paid with only the Korean soldiers earning less than them. He recalls actually losing money due to being transferred from Hong Kong to Korea where it was deemed he no longer needed a living allowance. He comments on what script was used and the trading of products among soldiers.
A Bird's-Eye View of Destruction
Lewis Ewing speaks about seeing vast areas of destruction across the Korean landscape. He describes seeing devastation of mountain areas, which he viewed from helicopter flyovers. He recalls his impressions upon seeing the war-torn areas of Seoul and Busan from a bird's-eye view.
Civilians Digging In The Trash to Survive
As a naive young man who had never witnessed much beyond a small Midwestern town, Lloyd Thompson saw Korean civilians digging in the US soldiers' trash for scraps. The realization was knowing what the UN were fighting for. Lloyd Thompson recognized the hope to give Korean civilians a normal life again.
Finding Body Bags
As Lloyd Thompson was shoveling sand on a 2 1/2 ton 6X6 truck near a flood plain at Kimpo Air Force Base, he unearthed a wooden box and unveiled an abandoned burial ground filled with body bags. He reported the incident, but nothing ever came of it. The bodies were left right there in the flood plain.
Louis F. Santangelo
Louis Santangelo describes the conditions of the people in and around Busan Harbor. He describes people coming up to the ships in boats begging for cigarettes and being "poor." Louis Santangelo compares the conditions of Busan Harbor during the Korean War to the pictures he saw during the 2018 Winter Olympics and was amazed at the changes.
Lynwood Ingham appreciates all the soldiers today who are trying to end communism on the Korean peninsula. Like many other countries around the world, the US wants to help the people by getting rid of communism. The US and South Korea have a strong friendship and trade-relationship because of the Korean War.
Manuel A. Bustamente
Manuel Bustamante said that a little white baby was found in a Korean Orphanage. The baby was kept in the sickbay on the ship and it kept the moral high for months. Sailors all took turns caring for the baby. The doctor and his wife adopted the baby once he arrived in America. They named him Daniel Keenan and he went to many of the Korean War reunions in order to see his rescuers.
Marian Jean Setter
Second Tour in Korea
Marian Setter remembers her second tour to Korea in the 1960's, where she served as Assistant Chief Nurse at the 121st Evacuation Hospital for five months and as the Chief Nurse at a hospital in Busan for seven months. She reflects on the difference in Korea from her first assignment, pre-Korean War to her second assignment, post-Korean War. She notes that during this assignment, she had much more contact with Korean civilians.
First Impressions of Korea
The train ride from Pusan to Seoul was incredible. Martin Rothenberg saw so much beauty on the trip, particularly with the rice crops. While the rice crops were in their stages of growing, the vistas of patterns within the fields was beautiful. Poverty was all around, especially at Seoraksan Peak where people were living in cardboard straw-thatched-roofed homes. The villages always smelled because the sewage laid in a trench that ran through the middle of the street.
Civilians' Lives in Poverty-Stricken Villages
Martin Rothenberg was stationed at the base of a mountain during the winter of 1954 near a village that was poverty-stricken. This village had a wood-burning flute that ran under the houses to keep the floors warm and the villagers slept on the floor. He also saw a round stone based where the villagers had planted colored flowers. Martin Rothenberg thought that it was nice the way South Koreans took the time to make their homes special.
Mission Impossible: Speaking a Foreign Language
Martin Rothenbert was proud that the US Army had provided soldiers with a book containing Korean instructions and he used it to ask simple questions to the Korean people he met. He recalled a time while in the village at the base of the hill, an older Korean man wasn't friendly to anyone and never spoke. Therefore, Martin Rothenberg took the time to learn some basic questions to get to know the older Korean man and his attitude totally changed. This made all the difference to build a bond between soldiers and civilians.
Literacy Would Prevail
Martin Rothenberg noted that there was a little girl he befriended who's mother worked in the wash tent and she would talk to him because she wanted to learn English. When Martin Rothenberg left Korea in 1955, he knew there would be a massive economic boom in South Korea because the majority of the people were literate. Plus, South Koreans had a desire to be educated and work toward the reconstruction of their country after the Korean War.
We Didn't Know We Were Poor
Marvin Denton described how much candy, movies, and cigarettes cost, along with getting no time off from school no matter how much snow, how hot, or how much rain fell. He described the manager patting him on the head and telling him "Marvin you've done a good job so we are paying you $1.25 this week," and that's how they paid you. He remembered there was a cashier who earned $15 a week and he thought if he ever made that much, he'd be a millionaire. He was moved to a cashier but never made over $12.50 a week and it all went towards helping the family. Marvin Denton commented, "We didn't know we were poor; there was always food on the table."
Seoul: A Sad Sight
Marvin Denton recalled the hardships many Korean people faced during the Korean War. Men and women yoked with long poles carrying heavy buckets filled with sewage (honey pots).
Groups of children ransacked the soldiers for anything they had (pencils, papers, etc.). Marvin Denton felt so sorry for the civilians in South Korea.
Landing at Incheon, Impressions of Korea
On August 1, 1952, Marvin Ummel's unit made it to Incheon, South Korea. The entry into Incheon was challenging due to bad weather and the fact that the communists had destroyed most of the harbor. The ship captain had to improvise their landing. Shortly after landing, he boarded a railroad car to his first duty station near Seoul. He noticed garbage and destruction all over the landscape of South Korea. He acknowledges not knowing what it looked like prior to the war, but his first impression was a total mess. There was no building that had not been at least damaged by the war. The condition of Seoul was pretty distressing.
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.
Impressions of South Korea, Then and Now
Marvin Ummel revisited South Korea in 2017. He reports that the opportunity to travel back with Revisit Korea was incredible. He recalls the development in Seoul being impressive, as there were no undamaged buildings present when he was there in 1952. Now, the buildings, houses, and roadways are numerous and well-constructed. He rode the bullet train from Seoul to Pusan and was impressed that it went over one hundred and eighty miles an hour! He also remembers just how thankful the South Koreans were to Americans for their help during the war.
Matthew D. Rennie
Witnessing Poverty and Devastation
Matthew Rennie vividly recounts the poverty and devastation he witnessed in Busan upon his arrival. He recalls the refugee camp there with hundreds of thousands of civilians living in cardboard boxes and children begging for food. He comments on their suffering during the cold winters as they possessed inadequate clothing and heating. He describes the countryside as he made his way up to Euijeongbu.
Maurice B. Pears
Korea Revisit: A Time to Remember the War
Maurice Pears shares how he traveled back to Korea in the early 1990's as a guest of the Korean government. He describes remembering how Seoul was in rubble and there was poverty everywhere while traveling around the nation. He shares how impressed by the evolution of the shops, modern businesses, and transportation he was upon his return.
Life as a Korean War Soldier and Operation Minden
Maurice Pear recalls living in foxholes during his year in Korea from 1951-1952. He remembers patrolling through small Korean villages that were filled with only women and children. He recounts that during Operation Minden, his troops fought the Chinese for Hill 355, 317, and 227 while enduring many casualties.
Life of a Korean War Soldier
Maurice Pears shares how he was on the front line for one month without a chance to shower or eat a hot meal and recalls dealing with a water shortage. He remembers how each soldier had his own foxhole where he endured snow and heat. He shares that the soldiers were able to travel up and down the Korean hills with the help of Korean civilians.
C-Rations, Rats, and Radios, Oh, My!
Mayo Kjellsen ate lots of C-Rations while stationed in Korea. His job was to carry a 45 pound battery pack and communicate over the radio for his regiment. One night, on radio watch in his bunker, he started shooting at large rats running throughout the rafters and he scared his commander.
Condition of Seoul
Mehmet Aksoy describes the condition of the people in Seoul. He describes the people as desperate. Moreover, people were constantly begging for food and supplies. For example, the people would constantly be saying "chab chab." The Turkish soldiers were well supplied and would give food to people. Most everything was destroyed. Consequently, the buildings left standing were pock marked by bullets. The situation was desperate.
Devastation of Korea
Mehmet Çöpten describes the condition of Korea when he landed in Busan. The city was destroyed from war. People, specifically children were orphaned and starving. The Turkish troops were being supplied by the American forces and had more than enough food. They would secretly give food to the children and needy.
Caring for Orphans
Mehmet Esen describes how he cared for two orphans he met while in Korea. While he was in a hospital he met Chin Chol. He provided her with money for her schooling. He also provided for another orphan named Kerim. Kerim followed the Turkish troops everywhere they went.
Condition of Busan
Mekonen Derseh describes the condition of Busan. People were starving and Ethiopians gave them leftovers. Ethiopians were supplied by the Americans and needed the supplies also. He tries to make a comparison between Ethiopia and South Korea. The main difference was Ethiopia was not going through war.
Children Crying in the Streets
Melese Tessema arrived in the first detachment on May 6 of 1951. The city was in ruins. Orphaned children cried in the streets. Poverty reigned. He returned five years ago and was surprised at the progress of modern Korea. Haile Selassie donated $400,000 dollars to Korea during the war. Now Melese Tessema notes that Korea’s and Ethiopia’s roles have reversed economically.
One-Room Schoolhouse Education
Melvin Colberg recounts his educational experience in a one-room schoolhouse growing up in Illinois. He shares that learning and even teaching on some days were cooperative efforts between students and the teacher. He expresses that the experience allowed students exposure to an environment conducive to learning how to get along with others and learning how to adapt in preparation for the real-world setting beyond the classroom.
Impressions of Korea in the 1960s
Melvin Colberg recalls his impressions of Korea in the 1960s during his service, a perspective which centers on the years between the war-ravaged Korea of the 1950s and today's modern Korea. He recounts that infrastructure was still in the development stage as there were many dirt roads at the time and few factories present. No large farming equipment as water buffalo were mainly used in the agricultural setting along with a few rototillers here and there. Most people were still poor, living in one-room houses heated through the floor, and many civilians still wore traditional Korean clothing.
First Impressions of Korea
Merl Smith recalls his first image of Korea. One of the first sights he remembers seeing was that of destroyed tanks. He remembers the Korean civilians he met were all very stoic and never crying. He is still amazed at how well they handled the effects of war. He recalls how each time he would cross paths with children, he would give them something and shares a warming story of giving a shivering girl his winter coat. He adds that he witnessed a totally devastated Seoul.
The Hungnam Evacuation
Merl Smith discusses his role in the Heungnam Evacuation. He shares that his ship saved over fourteen thousand people from Heungnam after being called to duty from Pusan. He details how the ship only had supplies for forty-eight men, did not have heat or toilet facilities, and had very little water. He remembers the Chinese blew up the port as the ship was exiting Heungnam and sailing with the Korean refugees for three days while bringing them to safety.
Korea: A Huge Empty Lot
When Mike Corona first arrived in Korea, he said it was just a huge empty lot without big buildings, sidewalks, and streets.
Now, Korea looks like Las Vegas, NV because of the beautiful streets, landscapes, and multi-story buildings. After going back for the third revisit, Mike Corona experienced the Korean government's reenactment of the Inchon Landing.
House Boys and Sleeping Conditions
Everywhere Mike Corona's unit went, no matter how long they stayed, they had to dig a hole to sleep. He still remembers the two house boys the soldiers named "Pat" and "Mike." These boys cleaned and helped the soldiers with basic daily needs. In return for payment, US soldiers provided the boys with food and clothing.
The Realities of Warfare
Michael Fryer recalls broken buildings, poverty, and the state of destitution of the Korean people. He describes the poor conditions in Seoul in late 1951. He recounts the shock he received when he encountered battered and dead American soldiers on the front line.
Impressions of Korea
Michel Ozwald shares his travels from Camp Drake to the front lines in Korea. Much of his travel was via train through Busan and Sasebo. He recalls one incident on the train when his food rations seemed to disappear. He recalls a short stay in Seoul which he remembers as completely destroyed.
Mike Scarano was stationed in Korea in 1948 before the war broke out. He remembers about visiting St. Teresa's Orphanage in Incheon while he was there, including candy for the children and playing with them. He also recalls the poor living conditions of the people he saw on the streets.
Nathaniel Ford Jr.
Picking up Brass
Nathaniel Ford recalls how desperately poor the people were after the war. He describes an incident when his platoon was participating in firing exercises across a valley. His attention was drawn to the front of the machine guns when he noticed an elderly woman who, desperate to make money, put herself in grave danger to pick up spent brass from the gun. After pausing their exercises, a KATSUA asked her to stop and she began to cry and explained that she needed the brass to sell and that youths frequently stole the brass she collected.
Neal C. Taylor
First Impressions of Korea
Neal Taylor never thought about Communism when he was sent to fight in the Korean War. He just went there to do a job. After he flew in, he noticed the lack of cars and technology. Sanitation conditions were deplorable.
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.
Pain of Captivity
Necdet Yazıcıoğlu describes the suffering in Busan. People were out of hope. Moreover, they had lost everything. Many children, four to six, were parentless. Turkish soldiers were well supplied and would give candies, biscuits and chocolates. The Turkish soldiers even had a Korean houseboy. Importantly, they treated him like their own. For example, the houseboy was listed in official Turkish government correspondence. Likewise, the houseboy would complete errands for the Turkish soldiers. His name was Zeki or clever.
Nelson S. Ladd
Advancements in Korea: Then vs Today
After having visited Korea in 2013, Nelson Ladd is still amazed by the advancements Korea has made and how ambitious the people have been throughout the years. He had seen images of what Korea looked like before his revisit, however he had feared that Korea would have become like many East Asian countries, disparaged and unable to recover. Nelson Ladd described the Taft-Katusa Agreement (1905) between the US and Japan that led occupation of Korea and the Philippines that created the oppression upon the peoples of those countries.
After some time in Hong Kong, Neville Williams remembers traveling to Busan. He shares that his first impressions of the city were not good as he remembers the shanty town that surrounded the city and the orphans. They remained there for 4-5 days to transition to their next post on the front lines.
Helping the Children
Niconas Nanez says that he will always remember the kids. He never wants any other child to have to go through what they went through. He used to buy them food to assist them because he remembers suffering when he was a small child.
Nikolaos Filis identifies his wife who recounts a few of his observations while serving in Korea. She shares that he saw disaster and found ruins of houses, people massacred, babies crying on the bodies of their dead parents, and poverty. She adds that he did not think solely of protecting himself and that he had even made preparations to ensure he would not be captured alive by the Chinese.
Noel G. Spence
Conditions for Korean Children
Noel G. Spence describes his duty driving trucks of waste. He recounts how desperate Korean children would come to the dump to find supplies. He remembers how Seoul was captured and re-captured many times and how people were in desperate conditions. He recalls that the "lucky" Koreans had boxes for houses, clothing from soldiers, and scraps for food.
Destruction in Korea
Ollie Thompson arrived in Korea at Inchon. When traveling by train through Seoul, he was able to see the destruction of the city. His first experience in combat took place in the Chorwon Valley in 1951.
Orville Jones speaks about the possibility of visiting Korea today to see the amazing progress the country has made to lift itself out of the devastation of war. He recalls learning about a great deal of poverty and undeveloped land.
Osman Yasar Eken
Osman Eken describes how the condition of the Korean people increased his fighting morale. The Korean people were hungry, wearing shabby clothes, and did not have a home. People were just wandering around begging for food. This condition made Osman Even even more determined as a fighter.
Pasquale G. “Bob” Morga
Bob Morga explained that the company compound was a former Japanese school house. He also explains the food that he ate while in Korea, sharing what he could with the young children around the area. He remembers how he would give them whatever he could from his C-rations because no one else could take care of them.
Patrick Vernon Hickey
Kids Taking Care of Kids
Patrick Hickey remembers all the little boys without parents. He recalls taking in a boy named Kim who was about seven years old to do little jobs around camp. He shares how he would cut off the legs of his trousers to give the orphans something to wear. He recalls how some children carried babies on their backs - kids caring for kids.
Paul E. Bombardier
Paul E. Bombardier talks about his relationship with two Korean "house boys" that lived with his Army unit. He describes showing the boys a Sears magazine and he even purchased some outfits for them. He describes wishing he was able to adopt them.
First Impressions of Korea
Paul E. Bombardier describes his first impressions of Korea after getting off a ship in October 1952. The first thing he remembers was the smell of food cooking outside. He remembers the smoke in the air from the food.
Paul H. Cunningham
Radar Sites in Korea and a Last Look in February 1952
Paul Cunningham set up a large radar station near the Kimpo Air Base, and that ended his seventeen-month deployment in Korea after spending two long winters there. He recalls leaving Korea with the image of poverty, huts, and dirt roads in February 1952. He also remembers the rail transportation office in Seoul as being all broken down and adds that he never thought Korea would rebuild itself like it has today.
Paul H. Nordstrom
Generations Behind in Korea
Paul H. Nordstrom shares his memories of Seoul and of the country he saw while serving in Korea. He recollects the living conditions and way of life as being generations behind the United States at the time. He shares that the United States was more mechanized in comparison to Korea then.
A Flourishing of Rats
Paul H. Norman shares a particular memory from his time on the mail route in Korea. He recounts driving at night and seeing numerous large rats. He adds that the Korean people were eating cats and dogs as a means of survival, leaving the rats to multiply due to fewer predators.
Korean Medical Experience
Paul Ohlsen describes the ailments of the civilians treated by the Swedish Red Cross Hospital. Tuberculosis and worms often accompany poor and/or crowded living conditions. Paul Ohlsen was the only doctor in the camp with experience reading and understanding X-Rays.
Peter Y. Lee
"God Blessed Korea Through the Americans"
This clip portrays Peter Y. Lee's extraordinary point of view about the Korean War and the soldiers who fought to rid South Korea of communism. As a child, during the Korean War, he recalls "bad war stories" and the gratitude felt by South Koreans for American intervention in the war. Peter Y. Lee conveys the devastation of an impoverished country, in the years after the war, with recollections of hunger, and the constant question of when one's next meal would come. The now thriving contemporary South Korea is worlds away from the Korea he was born into, and he credits the soldiers who sacrificed their lives for the Korean people.
Philip S. Kelly
From Inchon to Wonsan
Philip S. Kelly describes the amphibious landing at Inchon. He recalls seeing the extreme poverty of the Korean people and how his life was changed after he saw children fighting for scraps. He explains why he had limited information about his missions before they were carried out.
Philip Vatcher's his first impressions of Korea were that of a desolate landscape. He there weren't any trees, roads, and barely any shops. Korea during the war was like slave country when the Japanese ran Korea.
Philip Vatcher was most bothered by the murder of a military officer in Korea. He witnessed an officer killed because his life was worth less than the value of a military jeep. Despite the circumstance, he understands that war is war.
Death All Around While Landing in Pusan
Phillip Olson could smell the port by Pusan even before he entered the bay. Dead soldiers were still floating near the shore while dead fish also added to the smell of decay. He was shocked at the beginning because it was not what he would imagine it would look like in Korea.
Rafael Gomez Hernandez
Chosin Reservoir Experience
Rafael Gomez Hernandez describes his experience at the Battle of Chosin Reservoir. He recalls the deep snow, cold temperatures, cold food, and having to fight the Chinese. He shares that he saw many refugees at the time and that his unit was the last to leave the Heungnam port during the Chosin Reservoir evacuation.
Ralph Burcham arrived in Busan in 1952. He felt that the scene was "heart wrenching" to see shoeless children running next to the trains in the hopes that U.S. soldiers would toss out food. Families were so poor and willing to do anything for food scraps.
Suffering All Around
Ralph Hodge notes there was suffering all around in Korea. He recalls soldiers suffered from frost bite and trench foot. He shares how showers were few and far between for soldiers on the front line. He explains suffering was not limited to the soldiers. He adds the Korean people suffered severely as well. He recounts an occasion when a little boy tried to sell his grandma to the soldiers for food or money.
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.
Raul Segarra Alicea
First Impressions / Primeras Impresiones
Raúl Segarra Alicea describes his first impressions of Korea and the war. He remembers that he could not understand how a nation that was so poor could withstand such brutal winters. He laughs at the memories of being yelled at for falling asleep while on night patrol during the cold winter months.
Raúl Segarra Alicea describe sus primeras impresiones de Corea y la guerra. Recuerda que no podía entender cómo una nación tan pobre podía soportar los inviernos tan brutales. Se ríe de los recuerdos de cuando le gritaban su teniente por quedarse dormido mientras patrullaba de noche durante los meses de invierno.
Ray D. Griffin
A Cook for the Army
Ray D. Griffin was trained to be a Cook and Baker after he finished basic training in 1960. He had to monitor the military rations and supervise the functioning of the military mess hall. He recalls having to be prepared to feed troops and other military personnel around the clock. Military trash was required to be guarded from hungry Korean orphans, but he was able to bring surplus milk to the orphanages.
A Cook's Journey
Ray D. Griffin saw a lot of poverty when he was stationed in South Korea. Although the fighting was over, he found that it seemed life expectancy was not very long for the people due to severe poverty. He recalls multiple opportunities he turned down in the process of becoming a Military Cook and Baker. He describes the long journey he had to take to get to Korea.
Reginald V. Rawls
Life Leading into the Army
Reginald Rawls grew up living in a poor section of town and he had limited options to improve his quality of life. These circumstances served as the impetus for his enlistment in the Army. He rose up the military ranks because he was respectful to everyone and he went to a lot of training.
A Strong Love for Korean Civilians
Reginald Rawls believes that the Korean War should be recognized and remembered.
That's why many people call this war, the "Forgotten War." Any extra food, he gave to the Korean civilians because most were starving. During the war, Reginald Rawls had many interactions with Korean civilians, one man was even his driver.
Ricardo Roldan Jiménez
Living Conditions / Condiciones de Vida
Ricardo Roldan Jiménez discusses the living conditions Colombian troops faced while they were stationed in Korea. He admits that they had too much food as the United States Army supplied them with an excess of rations which they were happy to share with civilians. Furthermore, he states that as a citizen of a tropical nation, he was happy to have been able to experience the four seasons in Korea as they do not exist in Colombia.
Ricardo Roldán Jiménez describe las condiciones de vida de las tropas colombianas mientras estuvieron en Corea. Admite que tenían demasiada comida ya que el ejército de los Estados Unidos les proporcionó un exceso de raciones que ellos estaban felices de compartir con los civiles. Además, afirma que, como ciudadano de una nación tropical, estaba feliz de haber podido vivir las cuatro estaciones en Corea, ya que no existen en Colombia.
Richard A. Houser
Leaving for Korean War in 1953
Richard Houser took a ship and landed in Inchon in April 1953 after a lonely 20 day ship ride to Korea. While traveling to his base in the Chorwon Valley known as the Iron Triangle, Richard Houser was able to see Seoul leveled, small thatched homes, and dirt roads all around him.
The Ceasefire, Korean Civilians, and the Death of a Friend
Richard Houser protected the 38th parallel throughout the winter of 1953 from a trench and Camp Casey. After the ceasefire civilians wanted to go back to their land to farm, but it was filled with mines which took the lives of many civilians.
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.
Richard A. Simpson
Richard Simpson recalls the despair of the Korean people. He describes an incident of a woman trying to commit suicide by lying on train tracks and describes giving simple necessities such as a shirt to Korean people. He offers an account of troop actions.
Tragedy of War
Richard Simpson describes the raping of a South Korean woman by an Allied soldier. He express his thoughts on the utter depravity of the actions of the soldier and his lack of respect for the human race. He describes this as the tragedy of war.
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.
Arrival in Pusan in the Midst of 1952
Richard Davey recalls arriving in Pusan to a band playing in the background and small camps set up with Canadian troops waiting to be shipped out. After a train and truck ride, he was stationed with the Headquarters Royal Artillery (HQRA). While stationed there, he was provided food, summer clothes, and guns.
First Impressions of Korea
Richard Davis recounts landing in Pusan and offers his first impressions of Korea. He recalls what older gentlemen were wearing and remembers many children asking for food. He states that his impressions of Korea made him appreciate living in the US.
Poverty in Korea
Richard Ekstrand recalls arriving in Korea in April 1951. He relays his first impressions of Korea. He speaks about poverty in Korea, including the poor infrastructure of the country and how many Korean homes had dirt floors but also had under-floor heating systems.
Poverty Affected All
Mr. Faron recalls how people were starving. He describes the poverty of the South Koreans. He hired children to help so they could have food. He shares an interaction with a young boy who was stealing food to survive.
Richard H. Fastenau
Just Trying to Get Anything They Can
Richard H. Fastenau describes the arrival of Helen Moore Van Fleet, wife of General James Van Fleet, with supplies from the American Red Cross for the Korean people. He recalls the supplies being sorted for distribution near the main gate but that chaos broke out as crowds pushed down the gates and fencing in a rush to get supplies. He speculates that many of the goods taken ended up on the black market.
Korean Refugee Retreat, 1950
Richard Higa describes witnessing streams of Korean Refugees fleeing south in late 1950. He talks about the difficult terrain and conditions that the refugees encountered that led to many of them dying during the journey.
Richard P. Holgin
First Impressions of Korea
Richard P. Holgin describes arriving at Incheon at the beginning of the Korean War. He goes into detail about seeing burnt bodies all over and crossing through cities ravaged by the Chinese. Richard P. Holgin's his job responsibilities changed when he shifted from a rifleman to an infantryman.
Duty off the Coast of Korea
Richard Perkins describes the mission of the Navy destroyer, USS Charles S. Sperry during the Korean War. He talks about all-night firing missions aimed at Chinese beach patrols on the east coast of Korea. He mentions the ship encountering refugees and giving aid in the form of food and supplies.
Richard W. Edwards
You Can Tell They Are Hard Workers
Richard Edwards describes his admiration of the Korean people and their survival during the Korean War. He explains that he grew up during the Great Depression so that he feels a little relation to the plight of the Koreans in such dire circumstances. He describes his legacy as a Korean War veteran being easier for him growing up on a farm so that he further understood what the Korean people had to do to survive.
Poor Children in Orphanages
Robert Arend saw a lot Korean children, mostly orphans, looking destitute. He visited children in an orphanage, and shows pictures of him playing with them. He emotionally recalls spending time with these children as it was full of mixed emotions.
"So much of the war was terrible"
When asked what was the most difficult part of his time in Korea, Robert Arend said that "so much of the war was terrible." He explains that the deaths were difficult and so was seeing the children in such poor conditions. He also remembers the attacks from guerrillas, but his biggest fear was that the prisoners would break out.
Robert C. Jagger
Impressions of Korean People
Robert C Jagger discusses his impression of the Korean people he met, both in 1952 and in visits back since. He is amazed at the progress Koreans have made since the war. He describes the poor living conditions he saw contrasted to Seoul today.
Robert F. Wright
North Koreans Must Be Upset at the Success
Robert describes how proud he is of what Korea has become today producing automobiles taking over their part of their world, and the success South Korea has had must make North Korea Upset at their success.
Heading to Korea
Robert Fischer explains his trip to Korea via Japan. He explains his fear while being on the ship for eighteen days, but then the awe he experienced when they landed in Yokohama. His description includes the natural beauty of the area, but also the poverty they witnessed as they traveled through Japan.
Robert M. Longden
Robert M. Longden arrived in Busan in 1953 to witness terrible poverty. He and his fellow soldiers gave their rations to hungry children. Construction work had already begun in Seoul. When he returned to Korea a few years ago the change was miraculous. Hard work had returned Korea to great prosperity. He is grateful for the hospitality of the Korean people during his visit.
C Rations and Life in Wartime Korea
Bob Mitchell offers a description of the C-Rations soldiers received during the war. He recalls there were few favorite meals among the offerings. He shares the one thing all wanted when they had the opportunity to go on Rest and Relaxation. He remembers the utter poverty and the suffering of the children.
North Korean Refugees
On the road to Seoul, Robert Mount describes the devastated landscape and the streams of refugees that he witnessed heading south. He describes how they were carrying as much as they could on their backs, very disheveled and sick-looking. He shows a picture of a refugee in North Korea; he does not remember who took it.
Robert R. Moreau
Experiences in Korea
Robert R. Moreau provides an account of being presented awards from a visiting general. He notes that there were Turkish troops stationed near them. He speaks about trading supplies with them.
One of the Greatest Things We Ever Did
Robert Whited recalls movement of his unit from Seoul to Incheon and later Wonsan. He explains the 5th Marines did not immediately go up to the Chosin (Jangjin) Reservoir but, instead, ran patrols out of Heungnam where he remembers encountering their first Chinese. He describes how when they were establishing a roadblock they were hit by the Chinese and pushed back to Hagaru-ri and Koto-ri and ultimately to the seashore. He describes how, during the retreat, they were protecting thousands of Korean refugees who were ultimately loaded on a cargo ship and taken to Busan.
From Rubble to Riches!
Rodney Ramsey is the president of his Korean War regiment's organization and ever since 1989, they meet for a yearly reunion. The year of the interview was the 27th reunion and about 50 members attend. During his Korea revisit in 1991, Rodney Ramsey was shocked to see the improvement in living conditions. He took a picture when he was in Seoul, South Korea in 1952 and it only had an ox cart and a military jeep, but in 1991 during his revisit, it was filled with cars.
Life as an American Soldier on the Front Lines: From Bunkers to Bullets
Rodney Ramsey was supported by Korean Augmentation to United States Army (KATUSA) and these troops were seasoned fighters by the time Rodney Ramsey entered the war in 1952. While sleeping in sand-bag bunkers at the front lines in Geumgang, North Korea, he was comfortable with his summer fatigues including a field jacket. Some of the most dangerous times were when Rodney Ramsey was going on patrol or raids where the Chinese were dug in. He was shot through the helmet with a minor wound when an African American soldier standing next to him was shot with the same bullet and died.
Roland Dean Brown
First Impressions and Friendly Fire Encounters
Roland Brown recalls his first impressions upon arrival in Pusan. He describes the scene as horrible, recounting the sewage running in gutters down the streets, children begging for food, and the poor living conditions. He shares that many soldiers were killed from friendly fire due to inadequate training and a lack of communication, adding that he and others even dug holes with their helmets as defense during friendly fire encounters.
Reflections on Korea
Roland Brown expresses that he wanted to be in Korea as it was his goal to fight for his country. He recalls his first vision of Pusan and compares it to modern Korea. He reflects upon how poor the Korean people were during the war and comments on the thriving conditions in Korea today.
Ronald A. Cole
Remembering Post-War Korea
Ronald Cole served in the U.S. Army following the cease-fire in Korea. He offers details on what he remembers about the people and cities in South Korea while he was there. He talks about people being in poor shape and diseases being widespread. He notes that Seoul was still heavily damaged, but was making progress in rebuilding.
Ronald P. Richoux
C-rations For the Starving Children
Ronald Richoux describes sharing C-rations with starving children that would run after them. He shares the turmoil and inner conflict of duty verses humanity when having to guard cargo that he knew the Koreans needed as well. He recalls how Marines had a code to never harm or abuse a civilian, so he was told to just fire a shot in the air and hope they would leave, though it was an incredibly difficult thing to do.
Rudolph “Rudy” J. Green
You are on CQ Tonight
Rudy Green describes one of the most difficult times in his military service in Korea. He explains details about Koreans during the war. Rudy describes his job as CQ- Charge of Quarters and how the unknown of that night still bothers him.
South Korea Then and Now
Rudy Green describes the images that he saw as he was leaving South Korea. He explains the vast poverty and devastation he saw. He compares it to what he knows of South Korea today.
"They were friendly because they were starving"
Russel Kingston describes that during his time as a soldier in North Korea, young boys would help him carry his weapons and ammunition. At the end of the day, he would give the child food and candy and send him back home. The next day, he'd find another North Korean boy to help. He says they were so young they did not understand that he was the enemy.
Russell A. King explains how the Korean civilians suffered. He remembers that people did not have a lot of food, especially in Incheon which had been badly damaged. However, the civilians were extremely grateful for what they received. He states that he thought it seemed senseless that the civilians suffered.
Army Basic Training
Sanford Epstein, from the perspective of growing up in poverty, describes his Army basic training at Fort Dix, New Jersey. He shares how excited he was to receive seconds during meals, an option he was never given at home due to his family's lack of resources. He recounts going to classes, receiving new clothes and shoes, participating in exercises, and he details a drill he thoroughly enjoyed.
Sanford Epstein recalls sending half of his monthly wages home to his family and shares that he gave quite a bit of his money away as there were many orphans. He shares how orphaned children would follow them around and offer to do odd jobs. He recounts fellow soldiers adopting Korean orphans and elaborates on how one of the orphans, with monthly support from the men in his unit, graduated from college in Buffalo, New York, and became a CPA.
Swedish Red Cross
Sangmoon Olsson describes the services the Swedish Red Cross offered. The Swedish Red Cross in 1954 treated mostly civilians, but a few veterans because the war had ended in 1953. The Swedish Red Cross offered Surgery, Operation, and Plastic Surgery. Sangmoon Olsson describes that her training prepared her well to help the civilians of Korea in the various medical services.
Arrival in Busan
Somdee Musikawan arrived in Korea as part of the second rotation in 1951. He shares his fear at the time of not knowing when he would die. He notes the special connection between the Korean people and the Thai soldiers. He offers details of the living conditions in Busan when he arrived.
English translations occur at 3:51, 8:00, and 11:45
Suffering in Korea
Somdee Musikawan shares examples of the strong connections between the Korean people and the Thai soldiers. He recalls the living conditions and suffering that went on across the country as the war dragged on. He recounts sharing his own food with the children who came to him crying because they were hungry. He concludes by sharing his recollections of witnessing deaths among the Korean population.
English translations begin at 23:18 and 24:58
Stanley I. Hashiro
Moving from Place to Place
Stanley I. Hashiro moved around a lot with his unit in Korea. He had to live in desolate conditions, taking baths in the river, and living in bombed out concrete buildings. Within the desolate mountain valleys was another location that Stanley I. Hashiro had to stay in the extreme weather conditions.
Stanley Jones describes the transformation of Korea that he witnessed on his revisit in 2004. He shares the sights he saw. He offers a story about taking a subway and being overwhelmed at the sight of skyscrapers where once stood only rubble. He notes that where there had once been extreme poverty, he then saw incredible economic recovery.
What Did You Do While Not Working with Radios?
Stephen Frangos recalls spending a great deal of time in the fields. He mentions the poverty that was still common. He shares that he befriended a group of Irish priests, and together, they helped build orphanages. He recalls how the orphans would often go to the Army camp to have meals. He adds that many Americans also sent food and clothing over to help the orphanages.
Impressions of Korea and of Koreans
Stephen Frangos reflects on his impressions of Korea and of Koreans. He describes a Seoul that was devastated but adds he did see signs of revival. He remembers having tremendous optimism for Korea because of the hard working and industrious people. He comments that he knew they would be successful but states he did not realize just how successful they would turn out to be.
The Sites and Smells of Pusan
Steven Hawes remembers the devastation he saw in Pusan after the war. He describes the smell of a city full of rubble, hungry children, and lots of refugees. However, he also able to recall how helping the people there is a sense of pride as they were able to help not only the people there, but contributed to the potential progress of a fledgling nation.
Korea Then and Now
Stuart Gunn revisited South Korea in 1995. He noticed all of the changes to the land and advancements in technology during his revisit. A strong work ethic was needed by the Korean people to be able to reap such benefits and success in Korea today.
Taddese Weldmedhen Metaferiya
Ethiopian Donations Create an Orphanage
Taddese Weldmedhen Metaferiya describes donating money that opened an orphanage in Korea. Ethiopian soldiers had endured in battle. In addition, they also donated money to Korean people suffering during the war. The orphanage was able to help many Korean children. Korea has not forgotten about this donation.
Tesfaye Asmamau Kewen
Arriving in Korea
Tesfaye Asmamau Kewen describes his voyage to Korea. Men aboard the ship were mixed between Ethiopians and Greeks. At first, both countries were friendly but soon erupted into constant fighting. Upon arriving in Korea, Tesfaye Asmamau Kewen did not see anything memorable. He describes one farmer having an ox, but that was it.
Humble Beginnings to Big City
Teurangaotera Tuhaka grew up on a farm in New Zealand. His life was simple, and people were considered wealthy if they owned a bicycle. Once he passed the Navy test and traveled to the big city of Aukland, he had to get used to city life with cars and ships. He was also trained on an island outside Auckland.
Basic Training in Geneva, New York
Theodore Garnette expresses his desire to enlist in the United States Air Force so he could receive advanced training to further his education. He discusses his upbringing on an Indian Reservation in South Dakota and how it had prepared him for the physical demands of basic training. He comments that the officers at boot camp were impressed by his marksmanship despite his small stature.
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.
Thomas Norman Thompson
The Forgotten War
Thomas Norman Thompson recalls seeing small children who were bare feet in the snow as he describes devastation in Korea during the war. He says it seemed that civilians only had the choice of going to the rice paddies or mountains to get away from combat areas. He tells that although a cease-fire was ordered, some people did not realize it, causing him to be ambushed a few times as he attempted to make his deliveries. He tells why the Korean War is the forgotten war.
Korea: Unbelievable Differences Between 1952 to 2000
Thomas Parkinson shares how he saw unbelievable differences between the time he was stationed in Korea in 1952 to 2000 during his first revisit. He describes going back four times since 2000 and recalls how the advancements in buildings, technology, and bridges was astounding. He shares how the changes from the Korean cardboard houses to the multi-stored houses was a visible difference.
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.
Tom Muller describes life on the front lines and compares this to the TV show M*A*S*H*. He likes the show, but disagrees with the drama and the antics of the show. He describes having a potbelly stove that was adequate up to 10 feet away. He goes further and describes the South Korean people, scrawny and begging for food near Busan.
Chinese Enter and Refugee Recollections
Tommy Clough remembers advancing with his unit up to Pyongyang and within sight of the Yalu River. He shares that he and fellow soldiers began to wonder what was going on when they say American soldiers and Korean refugees coming back rather than advancing. He recounts how the Chinese had entered the war and crossed the Yalu River, forcing the Americans to retreat and causing the Korean civilians to flee. He comments on the poor conditions of the refugees.
Tsege Cherenet Degn
His Most Important Contribution
Tsege Cherenet Degn was most proud of his work with the poor in South Korea. He recounts his work helping with the poor children and their school. His pride also extended to an orphanage that was sponsored by the Ethiopian army.
First Impressions of Korea near Busan (Pusan Perimeter)
Vartkess Tarbassian was surprised when he saw the devastation in the Pusan Perimeter (Busan). There were shell holes from the mortars all across the land. Korean civilians were staving and missing shelter.
Supporting Infantry behind the Front Lines
Vern Rubey comments on his branch change from infantry to artillery which he was pleased with and recalls landing at Incheon. He describes the role of the service battery that he was assigned to as a First Sergeant in the Army. He shares memories of the scenery he saw while traveling throughout Korea supporting differing artillery units.
Victor Burdette Spaulding
Images of South Korea and Working with UN Soldiers
Victor Spaulding describes the Korea he saw in 1953, commenting on the state of the buildings and peasant life. He explains it was not the images of South Korea seen today and likens the images to going back in time two hundred years. He details fighting with other United Nations troops. He elaborates mostly on the courage of the Korean soldiers (KATUSAS) and says most historical accounts depict them inaccurately. He comments on serving with other countries' troops as well.
Victor D. Freudenberger
Victor Freudenberger talks about his impressions of the Korean people while he was stationed at Chosin Reservoir. He recalls the suffering of civilians and families being displaced. He describes observing a Korean woman washing clothes in sub-zero temperature at six in the morning and marvels at the resilience and commitment of the Korean people. He comments on the war atrocities committed by the Chinese against civilians he saw along the way.
Víctor Luis Torres García
First Impressions / Primeras Impresiones
Víctor Luis Torres García shares his memories of the first days in Korea. He recalls being shocked at the destruction and poverty in the country. He speaks about his first mission to search and destroy in Munsan and shutters as he remembers how his friend was killed in the Chorwon Valley.
Víctor Luis Torres García comparte sus recuerdos de los primeros días en Corea. Recuerda que quedo impresionado por la destrucción y la pobreza que encontró en el país. Habla de su primera misión de buscar y destruir en Munsan y con lastima recuerda cómo mataron a su amigo en el valle de Chorwon.
The Experience of India's Custodian Forces
Lieutenant General Mohan Lal Tuli took many photographs. He witnessed a desolate Korea. He recounts that both the north and the south saw the Indians as partial, which was proof that they were not. Many of the troops whom he served with were experienced fighters who fought with the British Army in World War Two. He also recalled the incredible strength of the Korean people.
Legacy of the War / Legado de la Guerra
Vicente Segarra reflects on the legacy of the war and his participation in it. He believes that people should remember that Puerto Ricans fought bravely and helped defend the United States and allowed democracy to triumph in South Korea. He urges future generations to join the military as wars are necessary to stop evil dictators from destroying the planet.
Vicente Segarra refleja sobre el legado de la guerra y su participación en la misma. Él cree que la gente debería recordar que los puertorriqueños lucharon con valor y ayudaron a defender a Estados Unidos y permitieron que la democracia triunfara en Corea del Sur. Insta a las generaciones futuras a unirse al ejército, ya que las guerras son necesarias para evitar que dictadores destruyan el planeta.
Impressions of Korea / Impresiones de Corea
Vicente Segarra shares his first impressions of Korea and its people. He recalls the poverty and cold he witnessed while there. Moreover, he remembers the joy he felt when he found a friend from his town who helped him by giving him a sleeping bag.
Vicente Segarra comparte sus primeras impresiones sobre Corea y su gente. Recuerda la pobreza y el frío que presenció mientras estuvo allí. Además, recuerda la alegría que sintió cuando encontró a un amigo de su pueblo que lo ayudó el primer día y le dio una bolsa de dormir.
Walter Bradford Chase, Jr.
I Fell in Love with the Korean People
Walter Bradford Chase, Jr., shares how he fell in love with the Korean people during his time in the country. He recalls being in a position where he had daily contact with the Korean people which he notes the average soldier did not experience. He offers details on the living conditions of the Korean people when he was stationed there after the cease-fire.
Walter Kreider Jr.
Growing Up During the Great Depression
Walter Kreider, Jr., shares that he grew up as an only child. He recalls his family experiencing hards times as many others did during the Great Depression, but he fondly remembers the love and support his parents, aunts, and uncles shed on him during his upbringing. He recalls the willingness of neighbors to help one another.
Contrasting Korea: 1950s vs 1980s
Walter Kreider, Jr., contrasts the Korea he saw in the the 1950s to the Korea he revisited in the 1980s. He shares his recollections of Seoul and the destruction he saw while serving. He comments on how the war left many children orphaned. He shares that the Korea he saw on his return visit starkly contrasted his memories as there were many cars and buildings, and he comments on its beauty. He attributes the transformation to Korea's quest for education.
Willard L. Dale
Early Days in Korea
William L. Dale shares he left for Korea on November 12, 1952. He remembers the temperature being negative fourteen degrees when he landed in Pusan. He recounts staying that first night in an enormous tent with about one thousand eight hundgred others and details his movement to his duty station with the 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, Weapon Company into the area near Panmunjeom and the Imjin River. He recalls one engagement with the enemy that lasted about six and a half hours.
Basic Training and Ship Duties
Willard Maktima recounts his experience of attending boot camp, where he was the only American Indian in his company but was able to interact with people from different backgrounds. He shares how basic training involved a lot of marching, learning about Naval history, and firing weapons. He recalls how, upon completing boot camp, he was stationed on the USS Furse destroyer ship, which was docked at the San Diego Harbor. He explains their main responsibility was to protect battle and supply ships that sailed out at sea. He details how the crew would track foreign submarines and prepare to intercept any potential torpedoes.
William Arthur Jones
Airplanes and South Korean Villages
William Arthur Jones explains the type of airplanes used and the types of weapons and bombs that were dropped from them. He then provides photographs taken during the war of Korean villages located forty miles south of Seoul. He describes how the South Koreans grew crops and prepared food and contrasts the area to its current urban development. He shares last photograph is of him using his military-issued hunting license to hunt pheasants in Korea.
William F. Borer
The Korean People Had Nothing
William Borer describes his shock at the terrible sight of the Korean people and how desperate they were. He explains that the starving civilians stole and begged for food and dug through the trash looking for scraps the soldiers had thrown away. He explains that being a child from the Great Depression, he knew what being hungry was like but the Korean civilians literally had nothing. He recalls feeling disdain for President Truman for not helping the Korean people.
Wounded, But Alive
William Hall recognizes how lucky he was to have survived the Korean War without being captured or killed. He vividly remembers the harsh conditions of the Korean landscape and the poverty-stricken state of the local population. After being wounded in Korea, he was sent to a hospital in California where he received medical attention.
William Hall recalls the moment on the front lines when his legs were severely injured. He remembers retaliating by throwing grenades into an enemy bunker. A short time later, he was ejected from a helicopter by enemy fire. He notes having to spend twenty-seven months in the hospital as a result of his battle wounds.
Thievery in Wartime
William Kurth describes stealing as one of the biggest challenges he faced while serving. He recounts both American soldiers and Korean civilians stealing supplies to either eat or sell for a profit. He recounts building relationships with several Koreans throughout his service.
Did you know anything about Korea?
William McLaughlin speaks about his high school experiences and recalls not being taught anything about Korea. He had relatives who were Korean War Veterans, and his father would talk to him about the war. There were some cultural references to the Korean War in the media but not like what was available on World War II. He does recall hearing that Korea was an undeveloped and poor country at the time. He remembers the possibility of being drafted to Korea and the subsequent consequences.
Desolation: No Houses, No Building, No Nothing of Any Kind
William Whitley shares he spent much of his time in Korea as an ammunition truck operator. He recalls how when he first arrived in Korea, the country was dominated by forests, but these forests were soon destroyed by napalm bombers to prevent the North Koreans and Chinese from using them as cover. He recalls the desolation of the area at the time. He notes that he does not remember ever being in a building while in Korea.
We Tried to Help
Zacarias Abregano describes the interactions he had with the Korean people and the lack of resources for the people. While on reserve, he recalls having a Korean bus boy wash their clothes. Around Christmas time, he remembers seeing a little girl in a village that kept looking at them. Because of this, he ended up giving her some of his C-rations. He explains that the Koreans were very poor and the soldiers tried to help the people.
Zenebwrk Balaynea Geamda
No Regret to Kill
Zenebwrk Balaynea Geamda describes the suffering of the Korean people. Children were orphaned, their parents were killed by the war. People were begging for food. Seeing these images made the Ethiopians fight harder. Zenebwrk Balaynea Geamda describes having no regret to face the Chinese and ultimately kill them.