Korean War Legacy Project

Billy Holbrook


Billy Holbrook was born in September 2, 1931, in East Alton, Illinois. He graduated from East Alton Wood River Community High School in 1949. He recalls not being taught about Korea in school. Due to a lack of other job opportunities in his area, he enlisted in the Navy in July 1949. He attended bootcamp in San Diego, California, and then was assigned to attend radar school at Treasure Island, California.  He worked on his ship in San Diego from March to July of 1950 when the war broke out in Korea. His ship was the U.S.S. Destroyer Lofberg DD 759. His ship took two tours in the Korea War and was in charge of activities such as monitoring the radar, escorting ships, and rescuing ejected pilots. He finished his enlistment in 1952.

Video Clips

Living Conditions & Relaxation

Billy Holbrook speaks about the living conditions on his boat. He shares how he read during his spare time. He recalls having good food, a warm place to sleep, and daily showers. He recounts how they would watch movies inside the ship. He thinks he was making somewhere between $30-$75/month. He adds they were, at times, allowed to go ashore and tour around the cities.

Tags: East Sea,Food,Living conditions,Message to Students,Rest and Relaxation (R&R)

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U.S.S. Destroyer Lofberg

Billy Holbrook talks about the ship he worked on, the U.S.S. Destroyer Lofberg DD 759. He describes the weapons on the ship and the crew that worked on it. He shares there were multiple weapons aboard and that the ship would carry a crew of three hundred thirty-six. He recalls how his ship went straight to the East Sea from San Diego. He recounts the tasks his ship would undertake, including saving pilots who were ejected out of their planes.

Tags: East Sea,Message to Students,Weapons

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Was there ever a time you might've been killed?

Billy Holbrook recalls a dangerous moment he encountered on his ship. He describes an incident in Yokohama, Japan, involving the pickup of new recruits. The incident resulted in the death of two new recruits by a Hedgehog, an anti-submarine weapon. He continues with comments about the US dominance of the sea.

Tags: East Sea,Personal Loss,Weapons

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