Korean War Legacy Project

Asefa Mengesha


Asefa Mengesha was born in 1929. He joined the Ethiopian Imperial Guard at age 16 in 1945. He was a member of the 2nd Kagnew Battalion that fought in Korea from July 1952 through April of 1953. Asefa Mengesha fought from the moment he arrived in Korea in the mountains. He was wounded in the legs from mortar rounds, saw friends die, and took Chinese prisoners. He considers himself and his fellow soldiers to be heros and spent a year in prison back home when communists took over in 1974 because of his heroism. Asefa Mengesha has revisited Korea and cried when he saw what the nation had become.

Video Clips

Action in Korea

Asefa Mengesha recounts seeing his friends die and is proud that his unit never surrendered nor left a man or body behind. He shows the camera his wounds suffered from 16 mm mortar rounds. One shell failed to fire from his mortar and exploded in front of him.

Tags: Chuncheon,Fear,Front lines,Weapons

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Chinese Prisoners

Asefa Mengesha describes capturing two Chinese prisoners by himself. He says Ethiopians captured many Chinese but the Chinese never captured any Ethiopians. He and his unit would lie in wait at night for the enemy to pass in front and then they would attack from behind.

Tags: Chuncheon,Chinese,Front lines,POW

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Communist Ethiopia in 1974

Asefa Mengesha describes how his life changed when communists took over Ethiopia in 1974. He was transferred from the Imperial Guard and eventually imprisoned for a year along with other Korean veterans. He believes the new government was afraid of these veterans.

Tags: Communists,Home front

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