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
Back to the 38th Parallel
Adam McKenzie discusses having to turn around and go back to the 38th Parallel after reaching Pyongyang. He explains that the command to retreat came before Chinese soldiers entered the Korean War, and it was given at the direction of United States military leadership. He expresses frustration at having to retreat, and feels that Korea would be unified today if soldiers could have kept moving northward.
Service in Korea
Asoke Banerjee was a medical officer in Korea from 1950-1953. He used to look after the ADS, the advanced dressing station attached to many of the battalions on the front lines. Amitava shares some correspondence his father wrote. His father recalls Korea being very cold, especially as they moved towards Pyongyang. Once the Chinese began their advance, his father's unit moved south towards Seoul. His father was working in a large hospital associated with the United States MASH hospitals.
Coping with Loss and Memories of Korea
Bernard Clark is still saddened by the loss of his friends while serving. He dealt with those losses as a young man in a few different ways. He also attended several concerts during his time in Korea, and he remembers a road march while on reserve which entailed a fiery mishap. Napalm drops took place during the Korean War, and he describes the aftermath of this weapon.
Running a Petroleum Pipeline
In this clip Brian Kanof explains his role in leading a specialist group in the running of the oil pipeline that was built, maintained, and manned by the US Army. The South-to-North pipeline helped supply petroleum to Seoul. Not only does he describe his role in operations, but also his battalion's interactions with the local South Korean people through cooking a meal to rival the spiciness of local cuisine.
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.
Carl M. Jacobsen
Carl Jacobsen recounts jump training in Daegu, Korea, and recalls making multiple training jumps in order to receive his wings. He offers an account of his first combat jump and details the related mission. He comments on the destruction he saw during his service.
Carl W. House
Life in Camp 3 and 5 as a POW
Carl House marched to Camp 5 from February to May of 1952, but he was moved to Camp 3 where he was later released. Each room the prisoners occupied held ten people (tip to toe) which would be beneficial to them to keep warm. Since many of the US soldiers were well-fed and strong when they arrived, they were able to survive the rest of the winter while slowing losing weight. He said the one thing that mattered the most was food, but many soldiers hated the idea of eating rice that had once been on the floor. Most of the food contained glass, rocks, rat droppings, and many men died.
Emotions of a POW
Carl House and the other POWs lived on hope and they were planning to make an escape by rationing their own food (rice), storing it in a worn shirt to store it safely in the ceiling. Just as Bert, Andy, and he were about to make their attempt to escape, the POWs were moved to another building and the guards found the rations. He shares that he left Camp 3 in August 1953 and crossed the DMZ in September. He remembers eating many bowls of ice cream after his rescue.
Cecil Franklin Snyder
Food for Korean Orphanages
Cecil Snyder, a clerk stationed at Osan Air Base, talks about delivering food to nearby orphanages. He describes collecting and delivering unused food, oftentimes used to feed the orphanages' livestock such as pigs.
Inchon Landing and Movement Northward
Charles Ross describes his experience during the Inchon Landing. He recounts an order given to his unit to hold its ground at all costs and shares that it was one of the scariest moments he experienced while in South Korea. He describes traveling north, receiving little resistance along the way, and recalls North Korean soldiers surrendering as his unit crossed the 38th Parallel and made its way to Pyongyang.
Captured by the Chinese
Charles Ross details the lead-up to his capture by the Chinese following the Battle of Unsan. He recalls searching for food and lodging in an abandoned house until meeting a Korean civilian. He recounts the generosity showed by the civilian prior to his capture. He provides an account of his experience as a POW.
Chauncey E. Van Hatten
Masan, Seoul, and Pyongyang
Chauncey Van Hatten talks about the fighting at Masan, Seoul, and Pyongyang. He describes the enemy forces that his unit faced and being outflanked many times by North Koreans.
Fighting the Chinese at Pyongyang
Chauncey Van Hatten talks about fighting Chinese forces at Pyongyang. He describes eating Thanksgiving dinner before the difficult withdrawal south from Pyongyang. During the withdrawal, he says they often went for days without food and their vehicles ran out of gas.
Clarence J. Sperbeck
Do You Have Any Final Words?
While hiding out in a Japanese school house (near Pyongyang), sick with amoebic dysentery, the Chinese ordered the POWs to move at night to avoid being detected by American Airplanes. The night before, the POWs were supposed to leave from the school, but an American soldier who had made an attempt to escape the prison earlier was brought back to the camp and was put on the platform where the Chinese would usually conduct their daily exercise. They sentenced him to death and asked him if he had any final words and asked if he wished to be blindfolded before being shot by a firing squad. The US POW said, "Yes, go screw yourself you slant-eyed SOB." Clarence thought this soldier had a lot of guts.
Hope This Never Happens to You Too
Clarence Sperbeck commented on how fast the Chinese moved compared to the US troops. It was said that the average number of steps per minute the Chinese took were 140 to Americans' 120. While unable to hear, see, or walk due to his illness (amoebic dysentery), most of the American prisoners bypassed Clarence Sperbeck when he needed help, but a few soldiers helped him up. He was often the last in line (so weak/sick) during the march which would put him at a greater risk of being shot.
White Rice Riot
When the prisoners were marching north, they would give POWs white rice which had no nutritional value.
Fortunately, they got a can of Russian shredded beef and rice that they considered the beef to be the "Nectar of the Gods". With no refrigeration, prisoners were allowed to have seconds which started a riot since they were grabbing handfuls to eat. The Chinese stood back laughing at the prisoners because some of the POWs were wealthy businessmen back in the states acting like pigs trying to get as much as they could.
Camp 1: Sustenance
When Clarence Sperbeck arrived at his first POW Camp (Camp 1-Ch'ang Song), Chinese soldiers gave each man a wash cloth and a bar of soap, but then they were instructed to go to the polluted river at the camp to take a bath. Korean civilians (women and children) stood on the bridge overlooking the river and watched the G.I.'s take a bath. Men were given little food and Clarence Sperbeck describes the pork they ate and how the Chinese would slaughter and drink the blood of the pig.
East Is Red With The Blood of Our Dead
Daily life in prison camp began with a lecture on Chinese politics and required POWs to recite the Chinese National Anthem," The east is red with the blood of our dead.." and Clarence Sperbeck continued to recite the anthem after being released. Clarence Sperbeck would later discover that while the POWs were writing daily reports in the prison camp, Chinese officers had difficulty interpreting slang terms GI (a nickname for US soldiers) would write. When the soldiers discovered this, they taunted the Chinese with slang in their letters all the time just to mess with them. The GIs were allowed to send/receive letters from family with the Chinese overseeing what was written in the letters, but POWs would have to lie to get their letters sent home.
You Dream Just Before You Die
Clarence Sperbeck tells the story of another camp that lost over 1600 men in a period of 2 weeks, and the Chinese brought the survivors of that "massacre" to Camp 1 to merge those survivors with his prison camp. Clarence Sperbeck was already suffering with amoebic dysentery at that time, so when he came upon his old squad leader who had survived the "massacre" (death from other camp), the squad leader demanded the Chinese to provide medical care for Clarence Sperbeck. He said he would have dreams of cooking a full meal, then going back to cook some more. Many men declared that these were the symptoms dying men.
Performing Medical Experiments on the Prisoners
In the 3 month stay in this hospital at Camp 1, the Chinese performed medical experiments on the prisoners by implanting a gland from an animal into POW's bodies. POWs were told that if the gland stayed in their body, they would potentially run a high fever and die from an infection. Clarence Sperbeck said the soldiers wouldn't let the incision heal over and they would attempt to squeeze the gland out to keep it from infecting their body.
Help from South Korean Soldiers and Civilians
Clarence Jerke recalls his experiences with KATUSA soldiers and South Korean civilians. He describes one particular South Korean soldier who was especially adept at laying communication lines. He talks about civilian boys who washed military uniforms for food or money.
Colin J. Hallett
Conditions of the Ship
Colin Hallett describes the living conditions on the ship. Crewman could not leave things around and would have to pay to retrieve possessions left out. He explains that crewmen were limited, worked during the day during one of the four watches and slept in hammocks.
The Critical Role of the B-26 Missions
David Lehtonen recalls flying in B-26s as a radio operator. He shares a map of some mission routes and explains how the information gathered was critical for the planning of F-86 jet fighter strikes. He describes the mission that earned him the Distinguished Flying Cross.
Camping in Korea
David Lopez felt that being in Korea was like camping because of the daily living conditions, meals, and terrain. There were still many dangers while being stationed in Korea, but David Lopez tried to not let them get to him. Some soldiers hated the conditions so bad that they injured themselves to be taken off duty because the atrocities they experienced became too severe to handle.
Pusan Perimeter, Invasion of Inchon, and Pyongyang Battles
David Valley talks about his participation the Pusan Perimeter, Invasion of Inchon, and Pyongyang Battles. He describes what happened to enemy soldiers that were captured and tells a story of opening a vault in Pyongyang.
Retreating from Pyongyang
David Valley talks about what happened as his unit retreated from the north into Seoul. He describes burning villages as they moved south and talks about the condition of Seoul upon their return.
Donald Peppard recalls North Koreans boarding the USS Pueblo, navigating it to shore, and docking at a pier in Wonsan. He details how he and fellow crew members were taken as prisoners, tied, blind folded, and separated from each other. He shares that half of the crew was loaded onto a train while the other half, including himself, was taken by bus to a building where he experienced multiple beatings by a crowd of people. He describes being reunited with fellow crew members on the train previously specified and comments on the ride to Pyongyang.
Captured by Chinese
Edmund Reel explains the circumstances that led to his capture and imprisonment for thirty-four months. He recalls there being roughly five thousand enemy soldiers advancing towards him. He shares that he had no choice but to surrender.
Edward C. Sheffield
Introduction to the Tiger
Edward Sheffield identifies one of the camps where he was held prisoner for the first year and a half as Camp Seven. He describes meeting the "Tiger", the enemy police force commanding officer who later began the forced death march he would survive. He recalls the "Tiger" ordering the murder of all men in the sick bay prior to the march.
The Death March
Edward Sheffield shares memories of the death march he and fellow POWs experienced. He describes the machine guns set up to potentially kill him and the turn of events following the pleas made by missionaries within the group. He recalls the punishment for being the last man in line during the death march.
Edward L. Kafka
Inchon Landing and Radioman Training
Edward Kafka landed at Inchon in April 1952 and the military switched his MOS (military operational specialty) from surveyor to radioman while being stationed two miles from the front lines. While dealing with severe battles every day, he deciphered messages that were send through Morris Code from the outposts.
Korean Terraign and Fighting in Major Battles in Korean War
Edward Kafka described the mountains and farm land that reached all over that land. He fought at Heartbreak Ridge, the Iron Triangle, and Porkchop Hill.
The Battle at Pyongyang
During the Battle at Pyongyang, Edward Redmond, his battalion had their first casualties. Everyone became very determined to fight. He believed that the Republic of Korea Army (ROK) and the Americans were not well-trained.
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.
Edwin Durán González
First Impressions / Primeras impresiones
Edwin Durán González details his first impressions of Korea upon his arrival in the winter of 1951. He was most shocked by the cold he encountered. Furthermore, he explains that he could not understand how a country could divide itself in the way Korea did. He still remembers the fear he felt upon arriving and the relief that followed periods of rest and relaxation.
Edwin Durán González relata detalles sobre sus primeras impresiones de Corea a su llegada en el invierno de 1951. Lo que más le impactó fue el frío que encontró. Además, explica que no podía entender cómo un país podía dividirse en dos como lo hizo Corea. Todavía recuerda el miedo que sintió al llegar y el alivio durante los períodos de descanso y relajación.
Attacked by 135,000 Soldiers
Ernesto Sanchez describes the night 135,000 Chinese soldiers attacked in an effort to push back UN Forces . The Chinese pushed the United Nations forces back, but with the help of the American Soldiers they were able to hold off the Chinese and no land was ultimately lost. This location was a strategic position because it was a gateway to Seoul.
Franklin O. Gillreath
Surrender and Difference Between Chinese and North Korean Treatment
Franklin Gillreath describes the events leading up to surrendering and the difference between Chinese and North Korean treatment. He explains that the North Koreans were harsh and would hit any soldier who could not understand their directions in Korean. He compares this example to the Chinese approach which involved finding a translator rather than hitting a soldier who could not understand directions.
Barbed Wire Fence along the Yalu River
Franklin Gillreath describes the march north as a prisoner of war (POW) deep into North Korea. He explains that villages would be emptied so that the prisoners could be stowed in the huts of North Korean civilians where there was only enough room to sit up. He describes the camp along the Yalu River where barbed wire used to keep in cattle was the only border between him and escape.
The capture of Fred Liddell: POW
Fred Liddell was captured by the Chinese in May 1951 at Hill 151 (Jirisan Mountain). His regiment was supposed to hold this hill until the US artillery saturated the hill. As Fred Liddell went down a slope around rocks, he met up with the Marines that were milling around near multiple vehicles on fire. The Chinese surrounded the US soldiers even as Fred Liddell was killing some of them in the bushes. Injured US soldiers were burned to death in a hut while over 300 POWs were forced to march to a cave and then onto Camp Suan.
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.
Captured near Pyongyang
Gerald Cavagnaro describes how his unit was cut off during an attack by the Chinese. He describes running out of ammunition. He shares how he along with 100-150 other men were captured in November in 1950. He describes a march he took to what the soldiers named "Death Valley".
Gerald Land's First Encounter with North Koreans
Gerald Land described how his Company Commander and his Sergeant were at an Outpost at Kumwha Valley for 3 days for 3 nights with no sleep. They barricaded themselves with barbed wire and hung C-ration containers so if anything hit the wire, it would make a sound, and the men knew where to shoot. Gerald Land spoke often of rats crawling around touching the C-rations, but it did alert him when the North Koreans were near.
War Is Hell: My First Kill
Gerald Land recalled when he was shot by North Koreans for the first time, and how terrible he felt knowing that he was tearing the enemy to pieces with his gun. As a Methodist, he carried a prayer book around and prayed for guidance/forgiveness for his time in the war. He also hoped and prayed that he would make it home safe to his family.
Jumping into Combat
Gregoy Garcia spent time in Pyongyang trying to stop the infiltration of Chinese and North Koreans in the fall/winter of 1950. He remembers his most dangerous moment was jumping into combat and landing while shooting. He explains that his griswold bag with his knives fell off due to their weight.
Living Conditions in Korea
Gregory Garcia describes the living conditions while in Korea. He remembers that they lived in sleeping bags, foxholes, and slept in tents in Taegu. He recalls that he was paid a little over 100 dollars per month to be a soldier and then was paid 45 extra per month for being a paratrooper.
Memories of Women and Children Hiding
Harry Olson reflects on one experience during the retreat from the Battle of Unson. He details his discovery of a cave during the retreat and finding eight to twelve Korean women hiding with their children. He recounts how the image of those women holding on to their children has haunted him. After this encounter, he remembers witnessing the destruction of supplies at the airport and being upset that they were burning food because he could not remember the last time he had eaten.
Dangers of Protecting the Retreat
Harry Olson recounts how his extremely depleted battalion protected the line during the retreat from Unsan. He describes his experience returning from protecting the line and experiences in the rice paddies. He shares details about his first near-death experience and the enemy fire just down the hill from his position.
Physical and Mental Toll of War
Harry Olson elaborates on the physical toll and terrible conditions of the retreat. He remembers the relief the soldiers felt upon returning from the frontline. After his return from the front, he explains that he was resupplied and reassigned to the United States Army, 61st Field Artillery Unit, 1st Cavalry Division. He reflects on the fact that he did not have any buddies while in Korea and how that was easier for him during the war.
Homer W. Mundy
Homer Mundy talks about what it was like being under enemy attack. He also talks about fighting the enemy during withdrawal and encirclement near Gotori. He also recounts his second major injury.
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.
Fighting at the Yalu River and Surviving a Land Mine Explosion
Howard Ballard discusses soldiers sustaining injuries while fighting in the Battle of Pyongyang on Thanksgiving Eve 1950. He recounts how U.S. troops headed for the Yalu River down very narrow roads and fought the Chinese until the U.S. troops were pushed back to the 38th parallel. He recalls how a land mine exploded near him and how he experienced temporary paralysis. He shares that he was sent to a MASH unit following the explosion but was soon returned to his unit.
Crossing the Bridge of No Return
Jack Goodwin shares memories of crossing the Bridge of No Return in 1953 after having lived as a POW since 1950. He recalls men tossing their clothes off along the road and feeling emotional upon seeing the American flag. He briefly speaks of losing his faith during his time as a POW.
James J. Barden
James J. Barden describes preparation for the thirty bombing missions his crew executed in 1952. It took much of an entire day for his squadron to prepare the planes and bombs for night missions from Yokota Air Force Base in Japan. Each mission was to bomb various locations on the Korean Peninsula.
Making the Drops
James J. Barden details bombing missions as they were executed over various cities on the Korean Peninsula, including the capital city of Pyongyang, during the Korean War. He describes the measures taken by his crew to assure accuracy of the bomb drops in hitting intended targets. He explains that the bombings conducted by his crew were documented by another squadron that followed behind to take photos after each mission.
James R. Kaleohano
James Kaleohano arrives in Korea and his company is replacing the company that was just ambushed. They are transported in cattle cars to the front lines in North Korea. James's company goes straight to the front line and he is given the job of a machine gunner.
John A. Ciburk
Bombing in North Korea
John A. Ciburk describes several bombing missions in which he participated. He recalls bombing an oil refinery as well as roads and bridges in North Korea as a means of stopping enemy forces on the ground. He shares that when the Chinese forces came in, they were ordered to start bombing villages as the Chinese were using them for housing.
Typical Day as a Pilot
John Blankenship remembers spending lots of time sleeping when he wasn't flying missions. He was provided food from Japan that was made my cooks in the Air Force and he was given one hot meal a day. The pilots often ate WWII C-Rations to supplement meals. An important mission that John Blankenship was part of included the bombing of Pyungyang and a town near the Yalu River.
Life of a Pilot
John Parker explains what it was like as a pilot in the Royal Australian Air Force. He remembers that they were briefed and told where to fly, including areas like Hamheung and Pyungyang, where they often covered for the Sabre planes. He remembers a time when the RAAF shot down three Russian MiGs.
Lucky to be Alive
John Parker recalls completing one hundred and seventy sorties as a fighter pilot during his time in Korea. He shares one of his most memorable missions above Pyungyang which involved a lot of aircraft damage. He shares how he is thankful to be alive after he had severe damage to his plane’s fuselage.
Joseph T Monscvitz
Prisoner of War
Joseph Monscvitz describes his experience as a Prisoner of War marching from Taejon to Seoul to Pyongyang. He remembers being interrogated by a Russian soldier and eventually loaded onto a train that he thought was headed to Manchuria. The train stopped in the Sunchon Tunnel where many of the men were killed, but Joseph Monscvitz was fortunate to respond.
The Enemy Talked To Us
Bodies lay dying on the battlefield not too far from where the troops were stationed on the hill they were defending territory. Kenneth Borchers recalled the sounds bodies were making as the men were dying during the night. There was death all around and soldiers moaning from their pain was a constant sound.
A Breakfast Surprise
The men in Kenneth Borchers's platoon were enjoying a delicatessen of eating pancakes while on the front line one morning. As they got situated on the ground to eat, they saw the enemy running through their camp. The US soldiers never could fire a shot before the enemy passed their camp and were down the hill.
Attack By the Chinese and the Rats
After spending nights as an observer on the hill they were defending, Kenneth Borchers continued to report to Lt. Stone that there were people coming up the road, but no one believed him. The area they were located had been fairly secured with barbed wire, but around 9pm, the rats began to run.
Therefore, Kenneth Borchers knew that his troops were under attack by the Chinese who mounted the barbed wire fences by using acrobatic moves to scale the fence.
Soldiers Insane with Thirst
Kenneth Borchers was at an outpost on a very hot day in August, when one of the younger soldiers had not filled his canteen up with water like he was instructed. Later, he saw the same soldier come running back down the hill to get on his hands and knees so he could drink water from the rice fields. This act would make him very sick, so his leader put a gun to the soldier's shoulder and told him that if he drank it, he'd shoot him right there.
Just How Close We Were To The Enemy
Leonard Laconia's jeep squadron moved around from Seoul to Pyongyang and up to the North Korean Airports that he noted as K23 and K24 (Pyongyang). He recalled spending most of his time around K23 and he was told originally there were 30,000 Chinese headed their way, but there was actually 380,000 Chinese soldiers. Leonard Laconia's missions, known as a "sorties," would only last about 15 minutes (refuel & amp; rearm) because they would run out of ammunition so quickly due to the number of Chinese they were fighting.
The Chinese Were Smart, But Napalm Was Stronger
When Leonard Laconia's air squadron went on "strafing" missions, the Chinese were smart to just lie down flat on the ground to keep from getting shot which was a great defense tactic. Leonard Laconia's group responded by dropping napalm which wiped out most of the Chinese troops. He described that one canister of napalm would cover the diameter of a football field spreading across consuming the oxygen in the air and heat would rise under the plane. The Chinese wore thick heavy coats during the winter and the napalm would just stick to it aiding in the burning of bodies.
Bed Check Charlie
An enemy plane was nicknamed "Bed Check Charlie" by The Stars and Stripes newspaper which was provided for every US soldier. In the newspaper, it threatened that "Bed Check Charlie" would come at night and killed one of the men from his squadron by dropping grenades and mortar shells. Leonard Laconia remembered that many of the enemy planes maneuvered well through the night sky, so soldiers were afraid of them.
Impressions of Korea and Withdrawal from Seoul
Luther Dappen describes his arrival in Korea and his transfer north from Inchon. He describes his unit's experiences during the withdrawal before Seoul was taken over by the Chinese. He recalls seeing not only the troops retreating but also lines of civilians carrying everything they could carry away from their homes. He goes on to explain that his company was the last to cross the bridge at the Han river, leaving them with the responsibility to blow the bridge up in order to slow the Chinese' progress.
Mehmet Cemil Yasar
Mehmet Cemil Yasar describes the fighting conditions at the Geumyangjangri Front. The Chinese were surrounded and could not escape. Therefore, this battle helped the Allies maintain control of the advancing Chinese Army. Further, he also describes the overall destruction that war brought. Towns were bombed out and looted. However, Pyongyang had people, while the South suffered.
Mehmet Cemil Yasar describes the actions of the Chinese during the Korean War. The Chinese engaged in a strategy of pulling the Allies further north. This created problems for re-supplying Allied forces. Also, this helped the Chinese re-supply, because they were closer to Manchuria. Mehmet Cecil Yasar also describes how the Chinese forces were very well trained.
Fighting in the Iron Triangle in Jan. 1953
Merle Degler was stationed in the Iron Triangle and he fought along with the US Marines who had be run off an important hill by fighting the Chinese. He went to White Horse Hill right after a battle like WWI trenches right at the front line. After he had been in a bunker for a while, a soldier took him out of the trench towards no-man's-land, and he was taken to a field full of dead Chinese soldiers.
Mike Muller describes his 72nd mission in Korea when he was shot down on Sept. 29, 1951 north of Pyongyang. He was forced to jump from the cockpit of his F-51 Mustang and parachute to safety. He waited four hours in enemy territory before he was rescued.
Bouncing Betty Mine
Nick Cortese describes what happened when the 19th Infantry was moving north and came across a "Bouncing Betty Mine." . As the Chinese were dropping artillery his company commander jumped to get out of the way and set off the mine that detonated, killing the commander. It was later that Nick Cortese found out that this occurred in the Iron Triangle area.
The Forgotten Armistice and the Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission
Nick Mararac describes the Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission (NNSC), and its role in the armistice/DMZ area. It was created during the armistice with North Korea. The NNSC is used during talks between North and South Korea ever since 1953.
Percy D. Mohr
Very First Battle with North Koreans
Percy Mohr describes his very first encounter with the North Koreans. His artillery unit, right behind the infantry division, fought North Korean soldiers from hill to hill. Both divisions experienced casualties in the difficult battle.
We Never Saw a Bed!
Percy Mohr describes the worst parts of war. The cold weather made sleeping outside uncomfortable, and baths were rare. He also disliked the food.
Why Did They Miss Me?
Percy Mohr recounts the battle in which Chinese soldiers overran his division, pushing them back to headquarters. He was standing beside a captain who was shot by the Chinese, and he pauses to wonder why he survived. During the battle, Chinese soldiers overran his artillery division. When the U.S. soldiers returned to camp, they were greeted by a surprise.
Paratrooper Battles During Korean War
Ralph Howard recalls traveling all over Korea. He recounts how he performed airdrops into assorted battles including the Battle of Sukchon-Sunchon, the Battle of Triangle Hill, and the assault of Kot'o-ri. He described a mission where he was supposed to stop an enemy train carrying Allied POWs; however, the enemy had killed all but twenty-six POWs right outside the train.
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.
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 Korean War Ceasefire
Richard Houser fought until the last second to hold Porkchop Hill in the Chorwon Valley right before the ceasefire. It felt great for him when the war ended because he was able to build new trenches farther off the 38th parallel.
Fighting Alongside with UN Nations
Richard Houser fought along with Turks, Aussies, Ethiopians, Greeks, and Columbians while fighting against communism. The Chinese were afraid of the Turks because they would cut off the ear of their enemy as a trophy.
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.
Remember the Death March North
Richard Donatelli remembers that in spite of the heavy artillery being used, it was no match for the Chinese near Kotori who would over run their unit, forcibly moving them with bayonets north.
He explains that they lost a lot of men on this "death march" due to the rough, cold conditions and lack of water and food. During a few times, Richard Donatelli wanted to give up, but he kept going.
POW Camp-Teaching of Capitalism
Richard Donatelli explains that they tried to teach them about the downfalls of capitalism in the POW Camp. They placed them in a circle sharing stories of the businessmen ruining the country on a daily basis, an argument for socialism and communism. In addition to this, they would have to sing a patriotic song daily while living in the horrible conditions of the camp.
POW Camp 5 Morning Ritual
Richard Dontelli says that they hard a hard time sleeping and medical care was not the best. The Chinese doctors would only give them pills. He remembers that if you didn't eat what they gave you, you died. Richard Dontelli tells the story of one time he was caught stealing wooden shingles off of one of the cabinets and he was punished.
My Helmet Heats My Food
Robert Hiroaka describes what it was like to eat on the front lines. He recalls how a good C-ration was the one that had a cookie in it and they were willing to fight over it. He shares they would often heat their food in their helmets unless it was minus forty-one degrees for it was hard to heat anything at those temperatures.
Robert J. Auletti
Korean Soldiers Became an Army
Robert Auletti describes his experience in the Battle of White Horse Mountain. He also describes fighting alongside the Republic of Korea soldiers (ROK) and how they were treated poorly by other soldiers. However, he describes that the ROK earned respect by how hard they fought against the Chinese.
Robert L. Jewitt
A Chaotic Withdrawal
Robert Jewitt describes his experience after the Battle of Pyongyang and General MacArthur’s push further into North Korea. He explains the attachment of his battalion to the United States Army’s 7th cavalry and receiving orders from General MacArthur to move south of Pyongyang. He continues by providing details about the overwhelming experience of the Chinese making a stand. Consequently, he elaborates on the chaos of the withdrawing troops and their role in providing some level of protection for the retreating soldiers and refugees.
Robert O. Gray
From Hospitals to Prisons
Robert Gray discusses how he got hit and went to the hospital. He explains his motivation for lying to avoid staying in the hospital. He also describes how that decision caused him to be captured by the Chinese as a prisoner of war (POW).
Prisoner of War
Roy Aldridge describes his first interrogation with the North Koreans and the Chinese. He explains his experience as a prisoner of war starting April 13, 1953. He explains that many soldiers died in the North Korean prisoner of war camp. He identifies his camp as Pak's Palace.
Most of the Time They were Running
Royal Vida describes the situation in Taejon after the capture of General Dean’s. He makes note about his assignment to an all black regiment and the drastic shift from being stationed in Japan to their assignment in Korea. During the withdrawal, he discusses one time when the Integrated 159th Field artillery was the only regiment able to hold the position. He briefly reflects on the experience of being assigned to an integrated unit. He recounts the confusion and experience of constantly moving and the sadness he felt while watching the Korean people fleeing from the battle.
No One Knew What Was Happening
Royal Vida provides details about entering a deserted Pyungyang and his perceptions of North Korea. From Pyungyang, he states that his unit moved up to the Yalu River and here they met an intense Chinese intervention. As they were retreating, he describes the loss of life he encountered and that no one can prepare for what you will encounter during a battle. Additionally, he shares his diagnosis of PTSD.
Remembering through Photos
Ted Bacha remembers that many people were killed. He uses photos to explain what they did on the front lines and all of the lives that were lost. While he was there, a little boy gave him some film as a gift for helping him during that time- Ted Bacha's father developed the pictures and said that he couldn't show them for years. Ted Bacha even had a shop where he would display his Korean War memorabilia.
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.
Vincent A. Bentz
KIll or Be Killed
Vincent Bentz talks about the resistance they experienced. He remembers being attacked by young children and having to defend himself. He shares how he honors his buddies who never returned.
Catch Them if You Can!
William Burns never captured any Chinese soldiers while fighting in Korea. There was an incentive program created by the armed forces to capture the enemy to earn additional Rest and Relaxation (R & R) time in Japan. Even though he didn't earn any additional R & R, William Burns did receive one rotation to Japan for time away from the front lines.
Conditions in the Korean War
It was trench warfare in 1952 and it was hit or miss fighting because the Chinese were very savage. The United States fire power is what saved William Burns' troops. The soldiers slept in the ground during the winter and it was just as cold as New York because it was not as bad as the winters of 1950-1951. Hill 1062 was a huge hill that was located near William Burns' trench and the Chinese had hospitals built into the hill along with military weapons.
US Soldiers Fighting Along Side KATUSA
William Burns worked with many KATUSA and Korean civilians during his 11 months in Korea during the war. The Koreans who worked with the US troops worked hard, but had a difficulty with communication. William Burns showed personal pictures of two KATUSA that he worked closely with during the war, but he remembers about 10-15 were stationed with this regiment.
Gortney's involvement at the beginning of Korean War
William Gortney was on the carrie, the Valley Forge, when the Korean War broke out. His plane was one of the first Navy jets in combat and the second plane to cross the 38th parallel at the beginning of the Korean War. He saw combat very early in the war at Pyungyang.