Korean War Legacy Project

Cecil Phipps


Cecil Phipps was born in Fort Dodge, Iowa on May 20,1930. After high school, he worked at several jobs before enlisting in the US Army in 1950. He attended basic training at Fort Riley, Kansas before being sent to Okinawa, Japan shortly thereafter. On August 1, 1950 he was deployed to Korea, arriving on a Japanese fishing boat in Pusan where he was assigned to K Company, 35th Infantry Regiment. After being separated from friendly forces, he was captured as a POW by Chinese soldiers in November 1951. He was sent to Pak Tong camp (#3) near the Chinese border where he spent the next 33 months in captivity. On August 28, 1953, he was released at Panmunjeom and sent back to the US and was celebrated as he returned home to Iowa.

Video Clips


Cecil Phipps talks about his capture by Chinese soldiers, becoming a prisoner of war. He describes his initial three-day evasion and a fateful decision that led to his capture. He and seven fellow soldier were made to march north at night until they reached the Chinese border.

Tags: Aprokgang (Yalu River),Chinese,Cold winters,Fear,Food,Front lines,Living conditions,POW

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Chinese Houses

Cecil Phipps talks about the Chinese buildings he was housed in as a POW. He describes how these dwellings were built and what materials were used in their construction. He also describes in detail the heating system that was important for cold Asian winters.

Tags: Aprokgang (Yalu River),Chinese,Food,Impressions of Korea,Living conditions,POW

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Life as a POW

Cecil Phipps talks about life as a POW. He describes Pak Tong POW camp (#3) and the harsh living conditions that he lived under as prisoner including remarks about cold weather, starvation, lice infestation, and other diseases. He mentions that he went from 190 pounds to 75 pounds during the first six months of his imprisonment.

Tags: Aprokgang (Yalu River),Chinese,Communists,Depression,Fear,Front lines,Living conditions,POW

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"Always Trying to Escape"

Cecil Phipps talks about a fellow soldier that attempted and failed several times to escape Pak Tong POW camp (#3). He describes how he tried to aid his friend and what happened when he was captured and returned.

Tags: Aprokgang (Yalu River),Chinese,Cold winters,Communists,Depression,Fear,Food,Front lines,Physical destruction,POW

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POW Release

Cecil Phipps was released from Chinese captivity on August 28, 1953 at Panmunjeom after 33 months as a POW. He describes the trip from Pak Tong camp (#3), taking several days by truck and train and spending a week in another POW camp, before finally reaching freedom at Panmunjeom.

Tags: 1953 Armistice 7/27,Aprokgang (Yalu River),Panmunjeom,Chinese,Communists,Food,Front lines,Living conditions,POW

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First Days of Freedom

Cecil Phipps talks about his first hours and days after his release as a POW. He describes being deloused, talking to military intelligence and reporters, and eating his first meal. He goes on to talk about his journey back to the United States by ship.

Tags: Food,Home front,Living conditions,POW

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