Korean War Legacy Project

Chaplain Ralph Lindon Smith Jr.


Chaplain Ralph Smith Jr. was born on December 24, 1928 in Bellflower, Illinois. After graduation from Bellflower Township High School in 1946, he attended several universities and had recently started a Master’s program at the University of Illinois when he made the decision to enlist in the US Navy as a aviation cadet. After some difficulty in aviation school, he made the decision to enlist in the US Army in July of 1951 and attended basic training and combat engineer training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. He was deployed to Korea in April 1953 and was assigned as an infantry platoon leader in C Company, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 1st Battalion, 2nd Division. For his commitments he received a Bronze Star and rotated back the US in late 1953. After the war, he remained in the Army Reserve for 33 years and retired as a Colonel in May 1988. As a civilian, he completed his master’s degree and worked as a teacher before attending school to become a Chaplain. He has revisited Korea four times. His hobbies include swimming, reading, and visiting the YMCA and the Irving Senior Center. He currently belongs to the KWVA Sam Johnson Chapter 270 in Richardson, Texas.

Video Clips

Outpost Harry (April-July 1953)

Ralph Smith talks about his time at Outpost Harry in 1953. He describes the terrain, logistics, and layout of the encampment. Manned only by one company, he talks about how they dealt with being grossly outnumbered by two Chinese battalions.

Tags: 1953 Sieges of Outpost Harry, 6/10-18,Chinese,Front lines,Living conditions,Weapons

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The Last Days of the War at Outpost Harry

Ralph Smith talks about the last days of the war at Outpost Harry. He describes the heavy shelling that took place up until the armistice was signed and recalls his memories of Operation Rollback. He tells the story of meeting a Chinese officer out on the battlefield the morning after the armistice.

Tags: 1953 Armistice 7/27,Chinese,Front lines,Weapons

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