Korean War Legacy Project

Bill Scott


Bill Scott was one out of sixty-two students at his local high school in Oklahoma that were called to serve in the National Guards when the Korean war broke out.  Deciding to reopen Camp Polk in Louisiana, Bill Scott would complete his basic training there before he was assigned as a Squadron Leader to the 179th Infantry Regiment, 45th Infantry Division.  Having landed near Seoul in 1952, it was only 2 days before he and his regiment were sent to the front lines where he saw action at Old Baldy, Pork Chop Hill, T-Bone, and Hasacal.  Bill Scott described the conditions on the hills he defended and the lives that were lost.  He was proud to have served a country that is so thankful for US efforts.

Video Clips

We Called Them Hoochies

Bill Scott described what it was like on many of the hills he fought and the sand bags filled with dirt and rock used to protect them from the enemy. He described digging into trenches on the hill, and his mortar squad was placed just on the other side of the hill to fire at the enemy. Bill Scott pointed to a shadow box as he's describing the shrapnel that was collected from the battlefield that was fired at them by the Chinese.

Tags: 1952 Battle of Old Baldy, 6/26-8/4,1952 Battle of Triangle Hill, 10/14-11/25,1953 Battle of Pork Chop Hill, 3/23-7/16,Chinese,Fear,Front lines,Living conditions,Personal Loss,Physical destruction

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Almost hit by the Chinese

Bill Scott described the fighting and living situations on the top of Pork Chop Hill. He recalled the area they were quartered in during their time on the hill.
Bill Scott was resting in his bed in this living quarters when it was hit and mortar barely escaped his head by inches. He said when he woke, the sound was deafening, and the area was heavily damaged. Bill Scott picked up pieces of the shell and stuck it in his pocket.

Tags: 1953 Battle of Pork Chop Hill, 3/23-7/16,Chinese,Fear,Front lines,Living conditions,Personal Loss,Physical destruction

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Babies Starving

When Bill Scott arrived in Seoul, they were given 4-5 days worth of rations. After seeing the starving children with or without parents, the soldiers fed the babies with their own food rather than watch them starve. Soldiers knew they had to take care of the kids and they were proud to have done it for them.

Tags: Seoul,Civilians,Food,Impressions of Korea,Living conditions,Orphanage,Personal Loss,Physical destruction,Poverty,South Koreans

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Video Transcript

[Beginning of Transcribed Material]


B:        My name is Bill Scott, SCOTT.  My family is here with me.  And I was in the Army in the 45th Infantry Division. I was fixing to go to my last year in high school before I went to college.



But the War broke out.  And when it did, I was in the National Guard at that time.  And there were seven of us that were in the same class.  And when the War broke out, the Oklahoma, they called in the Oklahoma National Guard which we were.



And I could have got out because I was still in high school.  And I talked to my folks about it.  And I told them that if they called me up, if the Governor called me up instead of going with my National Guard.



I did that.

I:          Um hm.

B:        Was a local National Guard, the guys I grew up with and knew, all that rather than going out somewhere with all these other people which I wasn’t, didn’t know who they were.  But we made it.



There were 62 of us. I believe, it was from my hometown in the National Guard Infantry.  So, it was between my junior and senior year in high school when they called us up.  So, we went down to, they sent us down to Louisiana, Camp Polk, Louisiana.



I:          Um hm.

B:        It had been closed in World War II.  And so, we opened it.  Then we put ourselves through more training.  And we got all this done.  And when we did, the government filled us up,



Companies and division and everything with guys that had not been in service.  But they were being called.  The government called them in.

I:          Um hm.

B:        And they signed us, well they made me a squad leader for an Infantry squad.



And I had four men under me, excuse me, five men under me.  And these other guys were all draftees.  They came to our Division.  And they  had not been anywhere except their homes.  And so, we, with the small knowledge that we had of what we had been through getting ourselves trained.



And so, they made us, the National Guard guys, the guys that would bring these guys along.  And when they did, when we finally got them all trained, lo and behold the 45th Infantry Division got the orders going to go to Japan.



Well, we did.

I:          When was it?

B:        This was 1951.

I:          Um hm.
B:        We were called up in 1950.  But they put all these other new guys that we had to break in the next year.

I:          So, what  month was it?  1951
B:        Nineteen, well when we, I’d say, it would have been November.



I:          Okay.  So, you got to Japan in November 1951.

B:        Yes, um hm.

I:          Then when did you arrive in Korea?
B:        Nine months later.

I:          Nine months later?
B:        Yes, uh huh.  Cause we trained these guys to be Infantrymen, take over our jobs if they had to.



They all took to it real quick.

I:          Um hm.

B:        They learned.  And then we had given them the basics really what it was.  And they sent us the whole Division to Japan.

I:          Uh huh.

B:        To Japan, the northernmost island.


I:          So, when did you arrive in Korea?

B:        We arrived in Korea, by golly, I’ve forgotten.  But we were in Japan for nine months.  Then they sent us to Korea.

I:          So, it was 19.

B:        And we relieved the, one of the divisions that had been there all along.  The regular Army division.



And we relieved them.  They were pretty well shot up.

I:          So, you arrived in Korea around August 1952?

B:        Yes.
I:          Was it summer?
B:        Well, it was getting cool.

I:          So, it’s like September?
B:        In the fall time, September.

I:          Where did you arrive?

B:        Pardon?
I:          Where did you arrive in Korea?

B:        In Korea?

I:          Inchon or Pusan?



Well, we, let’s see.  I forget exactly where it was we arrived.  But we relieved one of the Divisions that had been there all along.

I:          What was your Division?  Forty-fifth?
B:        Forty-fifth Infantry Division.  Oklahoma National Guard.

I:          And Regiment and Battalion.

B:        Alright.  I was in the 179th Infantry Regiment.

I:          Hundred seventy-nine.



Regiment of the 45th Infantry Division.

I:          Um hm.

B:        And in the 179th, I was a squad leader, Infantry squad leader.  And we got these people that we had to train first.  They were assigned to us, to our squad leaders.  And we actually trained each other so to speak.



And fortunately, most of the Division had a lot of the people that had been in World War II still with them.

I:          What was your rank?
B:        Well, I was a Private First Class when we went down to Camp Polk.

I:          Um hm.

B:        And I did a lot of studying.  I had an uncle that was in World War II.



I:          Were you in World War II, too?
B:        No. He was in World War II.  And he was also in the Korean War.

I:          Um hm.

B:        But he advised me to learn all I can. And he gave me some good words to follow.  And I’m not gonna say got ahead of people.  But I had a lot more learning due to my uncle.



Cause he was a World War II.  But he was making a career of the Army. And he talked with me the one night before we went to active duty.  And he gave me some good words of which I followed



And I went on up in my positions.  The company I was in, G Company 179th Infantry Regiment, 45th Infantry Division, we were one of the top companies in our group.

I:          What was your MOS?  Rifleman?

B:        I forget now.  It was rifleman.  Then it was a squad leader, infantry squad leader.



I:          Um hm.

B:        In this (INAUDIBLE)

I:          Yeah.
B:        And I felt very fortunate.  My uncle was one that got me trained before when I was trained.  And unfortunately, he was sent to Korea, and he got wounded badly.

I:          Your own uncle?

B:        Yes, uh huh.

I:          Oh.



B:        He would have made it in World War II, he invaded France,  He was there.

I:          Um hm.

B:        And he earned a big medal for what he did there.  He saved eight men one by one.

I:          Um.

B:        Going out and getting them out of his boat that was almost sinking.



But he saved all of these men.  They didn’t know how to swim.

I:          Okay.

B:        But once they hit the beach,

I:          Um hm.

B:        They were under fire just like my uncle was.  He said later when I talked to him after the War, he thought that he would be killed that day.



He said.  But he’s gonna help his men the best he can.

I:          Yeah.  So, you don’t remember where you arrived in Korea, Inchon or?

B:        Well, we went, let’s see.  Below Inchon, at the coast, there was a big naval base there.

I:          Um hm.



B:        And we came to shore there.

I:          Um.

B:        And then they had trucks and all this kind of stuff, and they took us over to the fighting.  But they didn’t take us where there was actually fighting at the time.

I:          Uh huh.

B:        But we stayed, I guess, about one week learning what is happening over there.

I:          Uh huh.



And a lot of these old timers, they put us through it.  Course we were the young guys coming in.  And there were a couple of them that they didn’t have good feelings about.  So, they put them in as riflemen.  And the rest of us, they

I:          Where did you go?



B:        Go,

I:          From the port, where did you go?

B:        Oh.  Well, we went through the capital.  There wasn’t much left of it.  Well, our ship landed not too far from the capital.  And they got enough buses, not buses, trucks to get us up forward towards the fighting.



But we didn’t get into the fighting.  We were back of the fighting.

I:          Um hm.

B:        And we were training about a week on that.  We went up, observed and all this kind of stuff.

I:          Um hm.

B:        When we were sent up, we were fighting two nights after we got up there.



Fortunately, we did not lose any men.

I:          Um.

B:        That time.  But then as the War went on, we lose a few.  I had a man in my squad that was wounded.  And he lost his arm.  That hurt me, too.



But I won’t go there.  But our company, we had some great officers.

I:          Um.

B:        Remember, this was only five years following World War II.

I:          Um hm.

B:        And most of our officers and some of the Sergeants and whatever, they were from World War II.

I:          Um hm.

B:        And these guys had been there fighting.



And they knew everything.  And they taught us the right way.  So, when we did go up on the front line, we were ready.  We lost

I:          Where were you?

B:        I’m trying to think now.  Old Baldy.

I:          Old Baldy?

B:        Old Baldy, Pork chop.

I:          Um hm.

B:        T-Bone Hill.




I:          Um hm.  You were there everywhere?
B:        Yeah.  They, at various times.  But we stayed at that point, the United Nations line was here, and there’s a big open space in front of us.  And there are mountains and,  you know, it was like that.



I:          Um hm.

B:        We watched them all the time.  They, of course, watched us.  And most of our fighting went in the, between the both of us.  But we lost some men.  They lost more.

I:          Um hm.

B:        We had some good men and great guys.



But they were fighters.

I:          Um hm.

B:        Don’t get me wrong.  But they just didn’t have the want to or something.  And we killed a lot of them, and they killed a few of us.

I:          Um hm.

B:        I was from Oklahoma like I said.  Oklahoma 45th Infantry is the one I was in.



Was very well known from World War II the job they did there.

I:          Um hm.

B:        And we were not about to let these guards down there, either. There were a lot of guys that were in World War II that joined back up for the Guard to go with us.

I:          Um hm.

B:        And fortunately, we learned pretty fast.



I:          You and I did an interview before, right?
B:        Yes.

I:          Yes. So, we don’t wanna add just new things.  But you brought this beautiful frame.  Could

B:        Yes.  I didn’t know if you wanted it

I:          No.  Please explain that.

B:        Alright.

I:          What is this?
B:        I don’t choke myself.  Alright.  This

I:          Hold on.



I:          Yes.

B:        Alright.  This is my Division.

I:          Yes.
B:        Infantry Division.

I:          Yeah.

B:        Alright. The 45th Infantry Division

I:          Um hm.

B:        Very, very well known since, in World War II.  And we were not about to be the guys that let them down easy.



We did our jobs.  And this is just identification.  This was my rank back then.

I:          Yeah.  What is it?

B:        That’s Sergeant.

I:          Sergeant.  Could you change the angle a little bit?  Yes, good.

B:        Alright.

I:          You were released as a Sergeant, right?

B:        Yes, um hm.



I:          And explain about the medals.

B:        Alright.  Now these

I:          No.  Come this way.

B:        Oh, like this?
I:          No.  The frame, yes.

B:        Oh, okay.

I:          Hard to see.

B:        But these, all these medals here we earned those.

I:          Explain it.  What is it?  What is the name of it, and how did you get it?

B:        Some of them I’ve forgotten about.

I:          Uh huh.

B:        Because the ones that we all loved was this rifle.



Now these, I’ve forgotten exactly what they are.  But they go for being a Sergeant, being in charge of people and all this.

I:          What are those?
B:        Alright.  Now these right here, three and three,



One day the Chinese, they must have picked our Company out for some reason.  They got their artillery, and they were giving us artillery heavy stuff for about 20 or 30 minutes.  We lost some men.




I:          So, what is it?  What are those?
B:        This, I forget what they are.  The one

I:          No.  The, yeah.

B:        Alright.  That, our, we called them hoochies, were bags filled with dirt, rocks, stuff like that.



And that’s what we made little, we called them our houses.  But that’s where we stayed.

I:          Straps?
B:        What?

I:          What is that black one?  Yeah, those three.

B:        These three here?
I:          Yeah.  What is it?
B:        Alright. That came, I was in my

I:          What do you call that?


B:        Well, I forgot the very word.  But this is shells.

I:          Shells.

B:        Yes.  Shells, the artillery shells.
I:          Yeah.

B:        And they were good.

I:          And it’s Chinese?

B:        Yes, Chinese.

I:          And why do you keep

B:        And I got this.  Well, what it was.  We had our, like this is the hill.  In front, like if you’re the enemy,



I:          Yeah.

B:        Our trench line was up here.

I:          Uh huh.

B:        Okay.  And in the trench line, we did have a lot of places where the guys stayed.  But I had a mortar squad, 6thMortar squad.  And we were just back over the hill, just below the top of everything.  And this way we could fire.



But they got a whole, well we fired at each other all the time.  But this yeah,  here it is.  This is some stuff, in the place we were at this particular time, if I had some protection I would say

I:          Um hm

B:        While we built some sandbags and stuff like this that we made a little for each squad.
I:          Um hm.

B:        Had one of these.



And when they finally got the rains, when I say get the rains, but this is, we were facing them

I:          Um hm.

B:        There.  And here’s the top of the hill.  And then back of the hill is where we had our quarters, where we safety.  But the best we could.



But they were shelling us one time, and they came, fired right, just over the top of the hill.  Well, this is where we had, my squad had our home, we called it that.  And it hit, and this is, these things were made out of sandbags and sand.



And this could get.  And when this thing hit, I was in there.  I just happened to be laying on my sleeping place there.  And I was here.  This round came right in here.

I:          Oh.

B:        Just right at the base of it.  When I finally woke up, I couldn’t hear nothing.



And (INAUDIBLE) but  this  is what was there, and I got up, my God, what happened, you know.  And I saw something that started smoking cause it was still smouldering.  So, I just grabbed it and put it in my pocket.  And this is that.



I brought it home.

I:          I see.

B:        For.

I:          You were not wounded.

B:        No.

I:          No.  Good.
B:        But we did lose some men that night.
I:          Yeah.  Have you been back to Korea?
B:        Yes.

I:          When did you go?
B:        About, my son went with me.

I:          You can put it down.

B:        Oh.  My oldest son, he was in the Army.



He spent some time in the Army.

I:          Um hm.

B:        And he and I talked a lot. I didn’t talk too much when I came back.  But he wasn’t born yet.  I wasn’t married.  I wasn’t out of college yet.  Anyway, it’s several years later now.  I took him to Korea.



I:          Korea.  When was it?

B:        It was back I guess about seven, eight years ago, something like that.

I:          So, around 2010?
B:        Yes.

I:          And
B:        But this old place, the only time I’ve been.



Now I’ve been back to Japan on a business trip a couple times.  I kept wanting to go over to Korea and see.  Well, I finally got my wish.  I went over there.  I didn’t get to go up on the line.  Of course, it’s all flat. And they were having some problems cause the Communists were kicking up, what we call kicking up.



And they did not want to endanger us.  We understood.

I:          Um hm.

B:        It was such a let down cause we wanted to go up and see where we were.  But we did a real good job on our job of fighting. We did real good.



And there’s so many things to talk about.  It’s like, when we first got there, we got off the ship, where it was, and we went through Seoul. The War was on.  It was heavy.  And it was, the capital city wasn’t much, just here and there.



And you’d see these little babies starving and everything.

I:          Yeah.
B:        Well, they issued us I think four or five days of food things.  But when we got through Seoul, none of it was standing.

I:          None of it.

B:        No way were we gonna let these little babies.

I:          So, were you proud?
B:        Yes.  We were proud of us.



But we didn’t think of it.  We just did it cause something had to be done.  These poor little kids dying, mother and daddy were, one of them missing or whatever, you know.  I’m still

I:          Bill?

B:        Yes.

I:          We did all this before, okay?



So, I will show you the one that we did before.

B:        Oh, okay.

I:          Okay?
B:        Alright.

I:          So, I think we need to finish it because we don’t want to repeat that, okay?

B:        Oh, okay.  Alright.
I:          Yeah.  Alright.  So, let’s finish this.  Bill, it was so nice to see you again here.  And you haven’t changed a bit.  You look great.  I will show you the last picture, okay?
B:        Alright.

I:          I’ll show you that.  So, it was so nice to see you.



And good to see that you are healthy.  And we’ll keep talking to each other, okay?

B:        Alright.  When Lou told me that you were gonna be here, I, hot dog.  I’m one of these guys that knows somebody and everything.  As far as I’m concerned, they’re my friends for life.

I:          Great.