Arthur Gentry was born on August 11, 1930 in Los Angeles, California. He enlisted in the United States Marines in 1948 before graduating from high school because he wanted to see the world. While in Korea, he participated in many of the famous events, including the Battle of the Chosin Reservoir, the Heungnam Evacuation, the Battle at the Pusan Perimeter, and the Inchon Landing. Throughout his time in the military, he worked his way up to Corporal in the Second Battalion, 5th Marines, Easy Company Regiment, 1st Marine Division. Not only did he serve as an anti-tank and rocket bazooka man, he also kept the company books, keeping track of the men in his regiment. He returned to Korea in 1968 as a Pastor, and he was amazed at the advancement in South Korea in such a short amount of time. He was later chosen to be an Honor Flight participant and embarked to D.C.
"Little" Battle at Pusan Perimeter
Arthur Gentry fought in Pusan at the perimeter where the North Koreans had taken control. United States troops were ordered to dig in and begin to dig fox holes as heavy mortars were falling as his commander was injured. They were there for two days to help straighten out the line for the army and provide support for the army. This is an example of how quickly some troops were embroiled in battles as they landed in Korea.
Inchon Landing: 15 Foot Ladders
Arthur Gentry and his comrades created 15-foot ladders to use to "land" in Inchon by scaling a 15-foot sea wall. The tide went out for 6 miles, so this was how the troops had to get ashore.
The marines climbed over the side of the ship and went into the boats. Rockets and bombardments awaited the Marines as they approached Inchon.
Arthur Gentry lived through the "bonsai" attack near Kimpo Airfield. Japan occupied Korea for 35 years, and the North Koreans learned this "bonsai" tactic from the Japanese. Arthur Gentry remembered how Roosevelt made a decision to divide Korea while working with the Soviet Union. The U.S. Air Force was bringing in supplies to the airfield, so protection of the airfield was of great significance.
War Torn: 1950 Hamheung 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 his 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.