Korean War Legacy Project

Bill Lynn

Bio

Bill Lynn was born in Vernon, Texas, on April 24, 1930.  His father served in World War II, so he was always eager to be in the service.  He was the oldest of four children and actually quit school at the age of sixteen to join the Marines.  The Marines accepted him, but later advised him to finish school, so he returned home to finish school.  Upon his acceptance back into the Marines, his division was one of the very first troops to enter the Korean War and he fought valiantly all over Korea.  He returned to South Korea in 2009 to see a “paradise” that was nothing like the Korea he left in 1953.

Video Clips

We are taking Prisoners of War

Bill Lynn describes his company taking two prisoners of war. Once they had the North Koreans imprisoned, the Koreans told plans the Chinese had to ambush Americans. It was a cold, snowy day and the Chinese were all dressed in white to camouflage themselves. The Americans would have never known they were coming had it not been for the prisoners of war they captured.

Tags: 1950 Wonsan Landing, 10/25,1950 Battle of Chosin Reservoir, 11/27-12/13,Incheon,Wonsan,Chinese,Cold winters,Fear,Front lines,Living conditions,North Koreans,POW,Pride

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I1jcCp4jrSI&start=1098&end=1410

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.

Tags: 1950 Battle of Chosin Reservoir, 11/27-12/13,Seoul,Wonsan,Civilians,Food,Front lines,Impressions of Korea,Living conditions,Physical destruction,Poverty,South Koreans,Women

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I1jcCp4jrSI&start=1710&end=1938

Battle of Naktong Bulge

Bill Lynn tells about the Battle at Naktong River. He survived the battle because the Korean he was fighting was unable to reload his gun. Both of the men accompanying him were killed primarily because they were using malfunctioned equipment left over from World War II.

Tags: Busan,Nakdonggang (River),Fear,Front lines,Personal Loss,Weapons

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I1jcCp4jrSI&start=340&end=550

Video Transcript

 

00:00:00          [Beginning of Recorded Material]

 

Bill Lynn:       Bill R. Lynn. B-i-l-l, L-y-n-n.

 

Interviewer:     Mm-hmm. What is your birthday?

 

Bill Lynn:        April the 24th, 1930.

 

Interviewer:    Where were you born?

 

Bill Lynn:        Vernon, Texas.

 

Interviewer:     Where?

 

Bill Lynn:        Hmm?

 

Interviewer:     Texas, where?

 

Bill Lynn:        Vernon, V-e-r-o-n.

 

Interviewer:     V-e-r-o-n.

 

Bill Lynn:        Uh-huh.

 

Interviewer:     Oh.

 

Bill Lynn:        Up by Wichita Falls.

 

00:00:30

Interviewer:     I see. Tell me about your family when you were growing up, parents and your siblings.

 

Bill Lynn:       Well, my dad, he worked in the oil fields for several years, worked in the oil fields. When World War II broke out, he uh, he working in the shipyards in Houston down there for a little while, and he come back up here in Tyler and went to work for Cotton Belt Railroad.

00:01:00

Bill Lynn:       While was working for Cotton Belt Railroad, they drafted him into World War II. And he went to El Paso, and he was an instructor in El Paso. My mother was a stay at home, and I had two more brothers and a sister there, and they’s all younger than I was.

 

Interviewer:    You’re the eldest?

 

Bill Lynn:        Yes, I was the oldest.

 

00:01:30

Interviewer:     What year did you graduate high school?

 

Bill Lynn:        I quit school in junior high and went in Marine Corps in 1946 at the age of two weeks after turning sixteen, and then I stayed there a little while, my commanding officer advised me to come back to go to school, finish school, so I come back in two years, finish junior high and high school in 1947 it was.

00:02:01

Bill Lynn:        And then all that time I was in Marine Reserve, all that time I went through high school on the GI Bill of Right. And then when I finished high school, went back on active duty in 1949 there, back on duty. And I winded up at shipyards in Frisco, California.

00:02:33

Bill Lynn:        I stayed there, and they put me on, at the Golden Gate cemetery seven days a week, from sunup to sundown, and I was helping with burying bodies they was bringing back from overseas. And I got tired of that after about three or four months of that and put in to go to overseas.

00:03:02

Bill Lynn:        And so I put in to go and they going to send me to Kwajalein Island, it’s sorta like Wake Island, small Marine guard detachment, but I ain’t never got to Kwajalein yet. Two weeks out from Frisco, Korean War broke out. I was aboard a merchant ship, and so we got to Honolulu, and I spent about three or four weeks in Honolulu, and then they took about five hundred of us and put us on Pan-American clippers and flew us from Hawaii to Tokyo and there in Tokyo they issued us some rifles and our gear and there they put us on Marine air wing plane and sent us to Pusan. So I got to Pusan about the last of June, first of July, I don’t remember correctly.

00:04:02

Interviewer:    First of July?

 

Bill Lynn:        July, 1950. And I got there, and as soon as I got there, some of the other Marines, a battalion of us, and we started pushing on up towards Daegu and from Daegu we walked, went all the way to Nakdong River, and everything, fought all the way up there. I was a scout for our platoon there, which goes out ‘round about–

00:04:35

Interviewer:    What was your unit, First Division?

 

Bill Lynn:        First Marine Division, Fifth Marines, First Battalion—

 

Interviewer:     Fifth Regiment?

 

Bill Lynn:        Yeah.

 

Interviewer:     And?

 

Bill Lynn:        First Battalion, Abel Company, First Fire Team, and First Squad. I was first of everything.

00:05:00

Interviewer:     First Company and First Platoon.

 

Bill Lynn:        And every time they had a dirty detail come up, first thing they would think about was A Company, said in the alphabet, A is number one, so they would always call on us to do all of the dirty work.

 

Interviewer:     What was your specialty? Scout? Infantry?

 

Bill Lynn:        It was scout, yeah, line companies they call it in the Marine Corps.

 

Interviewer:     So, at Nakdong Perimeter, how was the battle there?

 

00:05:32

Bill Lynn:        Where?

 

Interviewer:     Battle, in Nakdong River.

 

Bill Lynn:        Oh, it was bad, it was real bad.

 

Interviewer:     Tell me the details.

 

Bill Lynn:        Well, they told us on the way up there, on the way up to Nakdong, see, we hadn’t had our shoes off or hardly anything to eat, we just had to eat, a lot of stuff to eat what we could find along the countryside there. Army was supposed to furnish our rations and everything.

00:06:02

Bill Lynn:       But we would maybe twice a week or something we would get c-rations. So we had to get what we could everywhere else, and my outfit most of the time we gave a lot of our food to the little orphans. We would find little Korean orphans, little kids and elderly people just on the side of the road and everything, and whatever we could find to eat, that’s what we ate.

 

00:06:32

Bill Lynn:        But anyway, we got up to the Nakdong River and they told us, they said when the battle was over at Nakdong, said we would get a hot meal and everybody gets to take a bath in the river up there, ‘cause when we let Pusan down there, oh, it’s there in last July we left going all the way up Nakdong.

 

00:07:00          Bill Lynn:        We never got to take our shoes off or anything ‘cause we wore leggings, Army wore combat boot, and we would start out early in the morning just as day break, had so many mountains to fight and go over the hills, and sometimes we didn’t finish fighting sometime nine, ten, eleven o’clock at night, when we secured the mountains we got to.

 

00:07:28          Bill Lynn:        But anyway, the battle, we got up there, we found a lot of, the Army had ran off and left a lot of their wounded and dead up there, and we found ‘em, and they had run off and left all of their equipment, artillery and machine guns and rifles and the North Koreans used that on us, what the Army, American Army left, and we got it right back in lead and everything.

 

00:08:00          Bill Lynn:        But the battle was a lot of hand to hand, and on one mountain there was going up there, and me, two guys, one on each side of me, we started up this here one mountain, and it was a North Korean dug in on the side. And I was leading, and each one of them, why, I don’t know to this day why, but this here Korean dug in on the side of the mountain.

 

00:08:30          Bill Lynn:        He shot and killed the guy, my buddy on my left hand side, then he turned and he shot, they had bolt-action rifles, he shot the buddy on my right. And when he shot him, and I started him, I just right up there on him, and he was trying to bolt, his rifle jammed on him, and when his rifle jammed he quit shooting, but I had a bayonet so I used my bayonet.

 

Interviewer:    Oh.

 

00:08:57          Bill Lynn:        And when I did, and when I did it, and I twisted it, and when I did, I broke off my bayonet in him. But it was pretty rough. And my rifle. I lost the rifle, near all our ammunition and all our equipment and everything was left over from World War II, was stored in the caves in Iwo Jima and Okinawa. And when they brought that stuff and the ammo in to us in Korea there, a lot of it didn’t work.

00:09:37          Bill Lynn:        And so I had lost two rifles that malfunctioned, quit working and everything. So my buddy that got killed there beside me, I picked up his BAR, he had that so that’s what I carried for the rest of my days in Korea, I was a BAR man.

 

00:10:00          Bill Lynn:        But when we got through the battle at Nakdong, we went down to the river to start taking a, taking our clothes off, bathing, ‘cause that’s been, like I say, eight weeks since we had our clothes off and everything, and so we started taking our clothes off and we heard somebody hollering “You can’t come in! You can’t come in here!” and we looked down there it was a lady down there in the river bathing.

 

00:10:30          Bill Lynn:        And come to find out we told her, said we’re coming in, said we ain’t had no bath in eight weeks, and hadn’t shaved or anything, and we’re coming in there. Come to find out there’s a war correspondent, Margie Higgins, Margaret, Margie Higgins, I think it was, American war correspondent. Some way, she could get, the Army had brought her up around where we was walking on our way over, they brought her up on the opposite side from where we was, and there she was.

 

00:11:02          Bill Lynn:        But she didn’t mind, we got in and got to talking and enjoyed it. But our meal, they offered our meal they promised us our meal we got there for when we got out, they brought up sauerkraut and Viennese sausage and crackers, that was our wonderful meal that we got. But that’s the way it went, and then from there, after we got through there, they brought us back down, we didn’t know what we’s doing.

 

00:11:31          Bill Lynn:       We walked all the way back down to Pusan, and when we got back down to Pusan, they put us on the piers there and had ships tied up, and took our leggings and took our shoes off, we called boondockers there in the Marine Corps, and we had to go aboard ship. My feet had swollen up wading them rice paddies, had to wade rice paddies sometime up to your hip, see in there, with all that honeydew on there and everything.

 

00:12:07          Bill Lynn:        But we didn’t know we come back what we was getting, going to be getting ready, prepared for the Inchon landing. And so, typhoon blowed in.  And this typhoon blowed in, delayed the Inchon landing for two weeks. And in the meantime we had to go aboard ship two times a day for about forty minutes to soak our feet in some kind of purple solution because wading them rice paddies and all that time not taking our shoes and socks off, our feet had swollen up.

00:12:44          Bill Lynn:        But anyway, when the typhoon left and everything, on September the 15that five o’clock, we landed at Inchon. And before we got to Inchon while we was on piers, they brought in material we had to make ladders, and with hooks on the top of ‘em, and they told us we was going to be landing, and where we landed them ladders going to be in front of the landing craft, going to hang ‘em up over the sea wall about fifteen feet up. So we had to go up over the sea wall on them ladders and everything. So went from Inchon to Seoul, secured it, then I went-

00:13:28

Interviewer:    You participated in September 15th?

 

Bill Lynn:        Huh?

 

Interviewer:     September 15th. First day of Inchon landing?

 

Bill Lynn:        Uh-huh.

 

Interviewer:     Yeah. So, was it dangerous? I mean, was there much resistance from North Korea?

 

Bill Lynn:        Oh yeah. Yeah. Quite a bit.

 

Interviewer:     Because you were scout, you were first soldiers in the Inchon landing, or what?

 

Bill Lynn:        Well, no, uh, the scout didn’t ride in front of the landing boards there, but scouting was usually after you get in, inland–

00:14:01

Interviewer:     I see.

 

Bill Lynn:        –and going down the roads and everything. But we had a cemetery at Inchon up to our right on a high bank, had some North Koreans up there firing down on us down there, had machine guns all out in front of us right in there. But they told us before we could, before we got in the landing crafts, said the minute you hit the sea wall, get on a ladder, just get up there and fall over.

00:14:30

Bill Lynn:        Said don’t stand there ‘cause you do you gonna get shot. Two or three of the guys, they get up there and hesitate, and when they did, they got shot and everything. But I came up, my time go over the sea wall, I just rolled over and dropped about six or seven feet on the other side there. But we went from there to Seoul, and after we secured Seoul, went to the 38th. My outfit was the first UN forces that crossed the 38thparallel.

00:15:05

Interviewer:     Mm-hmm.

 

Bill Lynn:        But we got up there and they stopped us after we got about 150 yards other side of the 38th, they made us come back and we come on back and got aboard ship at Inchon and that’s when we went back around to Wonsan to make a landing at Wonsan to go Chosin Reservoir.

 

00:15:29          Bill Lynn:        But for about two days before we landed Wonsan, we had to, they had the harbor heavily mined with mines there, so me and my buddy, we sat on the front of the ship every morning, we’d get on the front of the bow of the ship, and we’d go along there and we’d shooting mines, blowing the mines up. And when it started getting dark, well the ship would turn around and go back towards Pusan. And early the next morning, we’d find ourself coming back, and we went there for two days, back and forth, there shooting mines trying to clear the way.

 

00:16:07          Bill Lynn:        They had no way to clear to harbor so the ships could get in. So after two days we landed at Wonsan, and from Wonsan we started walking all the way up to the Reservoir, up there. And just before we got to the Reservoir, Chosin Reservoir, we had ROK Marines, Republic of Korea Marines, and they uh, we had two in our outfit, each platoon had two, and they were used for interpreters if we got prisoners and anything.

 

00:16:43          Bill Lynn:        But they told us, the lake, the reservoir up there, it’s frozen over. They said we could save two days by crossing the reservoir, but if we don’t choose to go that way, going to take two or three days longer to take the road and go across.

 

______________________________________________________________________________

1 What Lynn pronounces Kotoria is Koto-ri. Hagaru is Hagaru-ri on many maps.

 

00:17:00

Bill Lynn:        But see the reservoir that froze, see the ice is about five feet thick over in that reservoir. Said it’ll crack but it won’t give way, said if you want to take a chance with it we go, so we chose to go across it so we started across, got out there about halfway across it, it started cracking, that’s when we started tightening up. And it started to crack but it never gave out. But. So we left and when on out to Hagaru and [Kotoria]1and on up.

 

00:17:32          Bill Lynn:        My platoon, Abel Company, we went the furthest on up the other side of [Kotoria] and there we went within six miles of the Manchurian border and everything. And we was up in there, and it was already cold, getting cold and everything, and all we had was a parka, and they issued us rubber galoshes.

 

00:18:00          Bill Lynn:        And that’s the worse thing you can wear in weather like that ‘cause your feet sweat and you got to keep your toes moving, you don’t, you lose ‘em. But anyway, we got up there and they sent us, my platoon, one morning we got up about 4:30 and left out went out scouting, see what we could find. We hadn’t had no problems or nothing, so we went way out, about five, six miles way out in no man’s land, and we got into a skirmish out there with a North Korean and took two prisoners and brought ‘em back.

 

00:18:35          Bill Lynn:        We didn’t know what day it was or anything, but when we came back in that night, they had they had, we didn’t know it, the Air Force had parachuted, it was Thanksgiving Day, and we didn’t know, you know we didn’t have radio, no calendars, we didn’t know what days it was. So we come back, and the Air Force had parachuted us a Thanksgiving dinner. And that was the first real good meal we had in about two weeks.

00:19:12

Interviewer:     Wasn’t it frozen because it’s too cold?

 

Bill Lynn:        Huh?

 

Interviewer:     Wasn’t it frozen?

 

Bill Lynn:        Yes, I got froze. I got knocked unconscious on the 28thof November of 1950.

 

 

00:19:30

Bill Lynn:        The Chinese, our two prisoners that we had taken, had told us that the Chinese was up there, had us surrounded, was coming in there trying to surround us. And told us. So when we come back in that night, eating that turkey dinner, we told ‘em, and they sent word to Tokyo, the Air Force said there wasn’t no Chinese within two hundred miles.

 

Interviewer:     Right.

 

Bill Lynn:        But, but come to find out, they was right there.

 

00:20:00          Bill Lynn:        And they was dressed in white. And the Air Force’d fly over and all that snow on the ground, they couldn’t see ‘em. But at night, you could see ‘em and hear ‘em. So they come one night and tripped some flares, and everything, and that’s when I seen ‘em, and I had two, done shoot up my weapon and everything, threw it down and then grabbed two grenades and went to, held the barrel with my thumb and pulled the pins, held ‘em up to my stomach on my knees.

 

00:20:36          Bill Lynn:        And I seen ‘em coming up, up the mountain, looked about a thousand or two thousand of ‘em, just looked like a bunch of little ants coming up. And I had them grenades that I just fixin’ to, just fixed to draw back on, and when I did a blast went off right behind me, a concussion blast, I don’t know what it was artillery or a mortar round or what.

 

00:21:00          Bill Lynn:        But what it did, when it did, I fell over face down in the snow. And when I fell over in the snow, it blew my helmet off and everything. And they found me the next day, the sergeant found me face down in there and they’s out collecting dog tags. And so they rolled me over and I didn’t know it, and they, I felt somebody kept slapping my face and hollering to wake up, wake up, and then hollered and I wouldn’t, and directly the sergeant said damn it, he said wake up, wake up.

 

00:21:38          Bill Lynn:        And so finally I come to and everything, and when he looked down and he see my hands, I had two live grenades with the pins pulled, and he hollered for the corpsman come over and said I found a live one over here, this one’s alive. Says he’s got two grenades with the pins pulled, come tape his hands up before his hands thaws out.

00:22:00          Bill Lynn:        So they got me and took me down to the aid station, and got me down there and everything, so got my, found pins up there, went up there, sent somebody up there, found some pins, they come back put it in the grenades. They got that done, taped my hand, and worked my hands open, and finally got my hands open, and when they did, the skin and everything come off there and everything, so they worked with me a little while.

 

00:22:30          Bill Lynn: And a little later the corpsman come back by there and brought me a little bottle and he said here and I said what is it and he said that’s bourbon, said that’s 90-proof bourbon. I said I don’t drink. He said I want you to drink that. I said I don’t drink, I don’t want it. He said your system’s almost shut down, see, if you’re going to make it, you’re going to have to drink this. If you don’t drink it, you ain’t going to make it. You just about dead, if you didn’t know it.

 

00:23:00          Bill Lynn:        He said I’m gonna give you this and then I’ll be back in about fifteen minutes and bring you another one. So he had to hold it ‘cause my hands were froze, and the skin out of ‘em and I couldn’t hold it, so I held my mouth open and he poured it down, it felt like a flamethrower going down. But he came back, I seen what he meant by, uh, by get your body, get your system up, ‘cause man it heats you up real fast like.

 

00:23:32          Bill Lynn:        But I found out later after I got out of there, they took us about, we had no food or nothing for about two and a half weeks, coming off the Reservoir, lived on two a day, little bitty, them Tootsie Rolls, like your little finger, that’s what I had, one, two a day, for two and a half weeks until I got to the Army hospital in southern Japan there. Took us about two, two and a half weeks, to get off of the Reservoir.

 

00:24:05          Bill Lynn:        So December 7thor 8th, I was the last one they flew out from [Hungdam].2They made a air field up there, and brought in some planes to fly the real wounded out, the worse, to fly them in to Japan, and the ones that wasn’t the worse they put ‘em on a hospital ship there in Wonsan.

 

00:24:28          Bill Lynn:        But when we came off the Reservoir, first thing we did, nobody in military history had ever done it, we brought out 105 civilians. North Korean men, women, and children. First time that had ever happened. And they took all of them, I found out later, and put ‘em on the ship, all the Navy ships, the sailors aboard the ship gave up all their clothes and blankets and everything.

______________________________________________________________________________

2 What Lynn pronounces as Hungdam is the port of Hungnam on the Sea of Japan.

00:25:00

Bill Lynn:        And they had so many on there plus American military, they had to make ‘em all stand up until they got down to Seoul, back down towards South Korea and Pusan. And aboard them ships at that time I found out later that about 750 babies were born before they got to South Koreans back down, uh, North Koreans back down to South Korea there. So we really brought out about 112-114 North Koreans after the babies.

 

00:25:40          Bill Lynn:        I found out since then, oh about a hundred, about hundred, about a million and a half descendants of those we brought off the Chosin Reservoir lives in the United States to this day.

 

00:26:00

Interviewer:     So, after you came from Hungnam to Pusan, right? Where did you go?

 

Bill Lynn:        Go from where?

 

Interviewer:     From Pusan, where did you go? Oh, from Hungnam you went to Japan, right?

 

Bill Lynn:        They flew me to Army hospital in—

 

Interviewer:     To Japan.

 

Bill Lynn:        –south Japan and I stayed there two or three days. Then they put all the Marines and sailors on the train and sent us up to [Yokuska]3Naval Base in Japan there.

 

 

 

 

 

______________________________________________________________________________

3 What Lynn pronounces as Yokuska is Yokosuka Naval Base in Japan.

00:26:33

Bill Lynn:        So I spent two, after I got out of the hospital, they took the ones that was able to walk, after I was in there two weeks, two and a half, they took the Marine triple-A4outfit there in [Yokuska] and sent them to Korea and took all of us that was able to walk put us in the triple-A over there and the doctors told ‘em, they said they ain’t, they ain’t going to be liable for what they do, said they ain’t had no sleep or anything for two and half or three weeks, he said they go to sleep on guard duty you can’t do nothing to ‘em or anything.

 

00:27:10          Bill Lynn:        But anyway, I made it over there, and I stayed two and half years and made me in this triple-A outfit, it made us, we taught that, none of us had ever been on nothing but 30, 50 caliber, and here they had 40mm, these quad 50s and everything in this triple-A outfit.

 

00:27:34

Interviewer:     Did you know anything about Korea when you left for Korea?

 

Bill Lynn:        Did I what?

 

Interviewer:     Did you know anything about Korea when you left for Korea?

 

Bill Lynn:        Did I know anything?

 

Interviewer:     About Korea.

 

00:27:45

Bill Lynn:        No. I had no idea. Didn’t know where it was or anything. Didn’t know anything, all I know is just a barren land where the Japanese had occupied for fifty years. And there’s no trees, no nothing, just rice paddies and uh, and uh, and oh, just barren land everywhere. And grass, straw grass huts, mud huts and everything.

 

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4 A triple-A, or AAA, unit was an anti-aircraft artillery unit.

00:28:14

Interviewer:     When you left Korea, you were wounded from Chosin Reservoir, and you been to Pusan, Daegu, Nakdong, Inchon, Seoul, and then Wonsan. You have seen all of this, completely destroyed. How about Korean people, how did they look at the time, when you were there?

 

00:28:38

Bill Lynn:        Oh, they were real pitiful, they didn’t have much to eat. And I’d notice some of ‘em, all of ‘em, would carry a little bitty net, a little thing like you see they go buy a goldfish in the store, they dip. I notice all of ‘em, they come down the roads and everything, the rice paddies, they rice paddies to grow minnows.

 

00:29:02          Bill Lynn:And they’d grow them minnows in there. I noticed they would stop, they’d carrying big loads of wood on their backs, or stuff on their head, and they would get hungry, they would stop up, go over to the rice paddy, dip that little net down in there and get a thing full of minnows. They’d be wiggling and they’d open their mouth and throw a handful of minnows in their mouth and that’s all the food they could have.

 

00:29:30          Bill Lynn:        And if they could find any bark anywhere they ate the food. They had very little food and everything, the Japanese had take everything from ‘em, and never let ‘em have anything. And they would really, you know they was real thrilled to see us, that we came in and help ‘em. So that’s where I learned to share my food and everything with the little kids and old people and I lots of times I would eat what I would find.

 

00:30:00          Bill Lynn: Come across them, uh, they have a little garden, and they have them big ole’ white radishes, I say about that long, and you bite into them and them things smell like a jalapeño pepper. Hot, real hot. Then once in a great while you might find a little apple tree somewhere had them little bitty small apples, and you’d grab one and start eating, you’d bite into it to eat it, and you’d look down there and there’d be about four half-worms in there.

 

00:30:32

Bill Lynn:        So you ate it, and swallowed it anyway, so you had the apple and you had your proteins at the same time. And that’s the only food we had there.

 

Interviewer:     When did you go back to Korea?

 

Bill Lynn:        About four years ago. Two thousand—

 

Interviewer:    Nine?

 

Bill Lynn:        Nine.

 

Interviewer:     Ten? 2010 or nine?

 

Bill Lynn:        Nine, I believe it was. Yeah, nine.

 

Interviewer:     And, what did you see there?

 

00:30:58

Bill Lynn:        Beautiful country. More beautiful. Everywhere, just trees, cultivated everywhere, flowers everywhere, you didn’t see no rice paddy, I seen one rice paddy. The North—the Korean government and the military carried me, took me all over South Korea, east, west coast and all then, you couldn’t even tell there’s ever been a war there.

 

00:31:26          Bill Lynn:        People everywhere we would stop, the people would come up to us and little kids and old people, hug, hug us and holler our heroes, our hero. And they’d come up and sing for us, and sing for us. And so the people, it’s a beautiful country. In fact, it’s more beautiful than I’ve seen lots of places in the United States here. You don’t see waste, trash along the highway, you don’t see cigarette butts, you don’t see gum wrappers, you don’t see fast food things, and the people over there are just as nice as they could be. Dress well, and like I say, they love Americans, and we love them, too. And I love them. If I had another place to live, that’s where I would go and live.

 

00:32:18

Interviewer:     Did you have any hope about the future of Korea when you left Korea?

Bill Lynn:        (shaking head) Nev—

 

Interviewer:     Did you think that Koreans would develop like this?

 

00:32:30

Bill Lynn:        (emphatic) No. Never thought. Never thought anything. Now they houses, build ‘em sorta like your hand, build ‘em in a cluster about five, about fourteen, fifteen stories high. Just all, just everywhere. Just all over the countryside and everywhere. And at nighttime we’d be traveling on the bus at night, and the countryside’s lit up everywhere, it’s lit up everywhere. And their interstate highway is a lot better than ours, and the traffic flows more smoothly and everything. And people will dress real respected and everything.

 

00:33:11

Interviewer:     So what is Korea now? You didn’t know this country, you went everywhere, you saw everything destroyed, Korean people were miserable. When you left you didn’t, you never thought that it could come out like this. What is Korea to you now? The country you didn’t know, now what is yours?

 

00:33:32

Bill Lynn:        A paradise.

 

Interviewer:     I mean, to you.

 

Bill Lynn:        To me?

 

Interviewer:     Yeah. What is Korea to you?

 

Bill Lynn:        Well, to me, I know of now that the people are more educated, we caused them to be educated and be what they are today, good Christians, and now the biggest Baptist church in the world is in Seoul.

 

 

 

00:34:00

Bill Lynn:        The biggest. And they send out missionaries to my country, the United States. And the only place over there I know is all across in there you see the houses, the churches, the clusters of high-rise homes, you would always, one building would be there with a big red cross on it. At night time you would see that big red cross, that was their church. I seen one Catholic church, I’ve seen Pentecostal and Baptist churches, and the people were highly religious and believe in what they do.

 

00:34:40

Bill Lynn:        And I don’t know, it just, it’s just a wonderful feeling to know that I’m a part of it and all. What we did is took a barren land, made a paradise out of a barren land. People would have to see it in ’50 to see what it was.

 

00:35:02

Interviewer:     In the minds of American people, the Korean War regarded as “Forgotten War.”

 

Bill Lynn:        Yes.

 

Interviewer:     Why, and what do you think about that?

 

Bill Lynn:        Well, it disappoints me. The Democrats, while we was on the Reservoir begging for ammunition and food and winter clothes, and Truman sent word back, they sent word to Truman, and the word that he sent back by radio, 17,000 men, said write ‘em off.

 

00:35:34

Bill Lynn:        In other words, don’t send ‘em nothing, they can’t come out or anything. He said just write ‘em off. So that hurt the morale and everything. So the commandant of the Marine Corps back then got hold of MacArthur and the Air Force, well, not, mostly MacArthur, the Air Force, General of the Air Force in Japan and the Admiral of the Navy in Japan, and told them, said, I know my men, I know how they train, how they fight.

 

 

00:36:09

Bill Lynn:        Said they need the ammunition, need food, need winter clothing. Said if you just parachute ‘em some over there, I know they will come out. They’ll bring all their equipment, they’ll bring out all their wounded, they’ll bring all our dead. If you’ll just parachute ‘em, send ‘em some equipment.

 

00:36:28

Bill Lynn:        So they sent us, they okayed it, and so the Air Force got together with the Navy to send ships over there where they come off the Reservoir, pick ‘em up at Wonsan, and the Air Force came over and the first parachute drop, they dropped it to the Chinese up there. So we watched the Chinese get what we was supposed to get. So we radioed back and told ‘em they missed our lines. So they came back and they brought us some more, ammunition and stuff back, and some, lot of the mortar rounds and lot of the ammunitions, artillery rounds, was like I say, left in the caves after World War II for five years, and lot of it didn’t work.

 

00:37:15

Bill Lynn:        But anyway, we know to this day that was important. We stopped communism. That’s where communism worldwide was stopped, at the Chosin Reservoir, and in Korea.

 

00:37:29

Bill Lynn:        And so, the forgotten war, that’s why we say, reason why we won’t forgive the Democrats and Truman, they want to forget how they treated us and what they done for us. And they don’t want the American people to know what they did to us and wrote us off there. So that’s the reason why they call it forgotten war.  American people don’t know to this day a lot of it unless we tell ‘em what happened and when and where and how.

 

00:38:02

Interviewer:     You made an excellent point. Um…how do you think we can, um, make this war not forgotten, and so that our young generations know about this?

 

Bill Lynn:        Teach. Start teaching in the schools. The children think, I noticed, after I went back to Korea in 2009, I noticed that the Korean schools, little kids in kindergarten , they take ‘em around to all the, where the battles were, the military cemeteries, and everywhere, and they teach ‘em, show ‘em how they got their freedom.

00:38:48

Bill Lynn:        That we gave ‘em their freedom. And show how their freedom was won and what we meant to them and everything. And that’s what the American people was like, teach little school. They take history out of the school, they take religion out of the school. Grandmothers and grandfathers and all would head on the education people to stand up to teach the younger generation and learn from our experience and learn to respect how they’re free and why they’re free and hope that they stay free and that to this day they better wake up and realize what’s going on right to this day (cuts off).

 

00:39:36          [End of Recorded Material]