Korean War Legacy Project

Bezuneh Mengestu


Bezuneh Mengestu was born outside Addis Ababa and joined the military in 1947. He left for Korea in 1952 and served in the 3rd Kagnew Battalion from 1953 to 1954 primarily around Chuncheon. Bezuneh Mengestu was in an infantry unit and fought in the mountains against the Chinese. He remembers the deaths of many, including almost all the Turkish soldiers on one battlefield, but knew he had no choice but to fight on out of respect for his commanders and the Emperor Haile Selassie. Bezuneh Mengestu is very thankful for the support provided to Korean War Veterans by the South Korean government which included building his current home.

Video Clips

Most Dangerous Moment

Bezuneh Mengestu recounts his most dangerous moment caught behind the lines by the Chinese. His unit was sent to spy on Chinese movements and did not realize they had travelled past their boundaries. The Chinese opened fire on their truck but they refused to surrender.

Tags: Chuncheon,Chinese,Fear,Front lines

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What Makes Ethiopian Soldiers Different?

Bezuneh Mengestu describes what he believes make an Ethiopian soldier unlike others who fought in Korea. He discusses the respect and reverence they had for their emperor who sent them with the command to "kill or be killed". They were taught to never surrender and never leave any man behind.

Tags: Chuncheon,Front lines,Pride,South Koreans

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