Korean War Legacy Project

Dan McKinney

Bio

Dan McKinney was born in Belen, New Mexico on July 22, 1926. After graduating high school in Clovis, New Mexico, he was drafted into the US Army in 1944 at the age of 18 and served for three years at the close of WWII. He returned home and worked various jobs until he was recalled into the Army and sent to Korea in October 1950. Assigned to “K” Company, 19th Infantry Regiment, 24th Infantry Division, he was captured in the “Iron Triangle” on April 22, 1951, the day he had planned to be married before being recalled to Korea. He spent the next 28 months in captivity in a Chinese POW camp before being released on August 20, 1953, 3 weeks after the Armistice was signed. He returned home, was married, raised two children, owned an auto parts store and retired in 1987. Today, he lives in Clovis, New Mexico, plays golf, and frequently talks to groups about his POW experience.

Video Clips

An Amazing Coincidence

Dan McKinney describes his capture by enemy forces and the way he was able to let his family know that he was still alive. He talks about telling another POW who was scheduled to be released, to tell his girlfriend and family that he was still alive when he returned stateside. In an amazing coincidence, the Marine told him that he had actually double dated Mckinney's girlfriend back in Texas before the war.

Tags: Chuncheon,Communists,Front lines,Letters,Living conditions,North Koreans,POW

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fk5fLoVblNo&start=193&end=334

Captured!

Dan McKinney describes how he was captured by enemy forces. His entire company was nearly wiped out. He talks about how all the members of the squad he commanded were killed and enduring friendly artillery shelling before he was captured.

Tags: Cheonan,Chinese,Communists,Front lines,Impressions of Korea,POW

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fk5fLoVblNo&start=445&end=640

The Trek to POW Camp #1

Dan McKinney describes the roughly 60-day march to POW Camp #1 after he was captured by North Korean forces. He talks about carrying a wounded fellow POW on his back for much of the journey. He mentions being forced to give the wounded soldier to Chinese forces so that they could attend to the soldier's wounds.

Tags: Chinese,Cold winters,Communists,Fear,Front lines,Living conditions,North Koreans,POW

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fk5fLoVblNo&start=856&end=922

Food and Living Quarters in POW Camp #1

Dan McKinney describes what he was given to eat during his journey to POW Camp #1. He describes the POW Camp and how it was in a former Korean village. He also details what the prisoners' small living quarters were like.

Tags: Communists,Front lines,Impressions of Korea,Living conditions,North Koreans,POW

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fk5fLoVblNo&start=931&end=1038

Day-to-Day Work at POW Camp #1

Dan McKinney talks about the day-to-day work of POW's at Camp #1. He describes going to nearby mountains to harvest firewood during the warm months for the upcoming winter. They would hike about four miles to and from, carrying the large logs.

Tags: Cold winters,Communists,Front lines,Impressions of Korea,Living conditions,North Koreans,POW

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fk5fLoVblNo&start=1046&end=1100

Activities and Religion in Pow Camp #1

Dan McKinney talks about the activities that he and fellow POW's were allowed to do in POW Camp #1. He mentions that they were allowed to play several sports including basketball and track. He mentions that he was allowed to pray and that he kept his New Testament Bible the entire time he was imprisoned.

Tags: Chinese,Communists,Front lines,Impressions of Korea,Living conditions,North Koreans,POW

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fk5fLoVblNo&start=1101&end=1255

Food, Clothing, and Propaganda in POW Camp #1

Dan McKinney describes the food he was given as a POW in Camp #1. He talks about the clothing that he wore during his captivity. He also tells the story of a captured photographer whose photographs the North Koreans used to create propaganda materials.

Tags: Cold winters,Communists,Food,Front lines,Impressions of Korea,Living conditions,North Koreans,POW

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fk5fLoVblNo&start=1263&end=1380

Infractions and Consequences for POW's

Dan McKinney talks about infractions and consequences for prisoners in his POW camp. He describes the cages that they were sometimes held in. He also discusses his perceptions of North Korean POW camps versus Chinese POW camps.

Tags: Chinese,Communists,Fear,Food,Impressions of Korea,Living conditions,North Koreans,POW

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fk5fLoVblNo&start=1440&end=1520

Life After the Armistice Was Signed

Dan McKinney talks about life in the POW camp during months prior to and days after the Armistice were signed. He mentions that their treatment became better or worse based on the state of the negotiations. He talks about the prisoners' reactions to the news of the Armistice as well as how he and his comrades were transported to be exchanged nearly a month after the ceasefire went in place.

Tags: 1953 Armistice 7/27,Chinese,Communists,Fear,Impressions of Korea,Living conditions,North Koreans,POW

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fk5fLoVblNo&start=1554&end=1648

50 Years of Silence

Dan McKinney talks about his reluctance to talk about his POW experience for the first 50 years after the Armistice was signed. He describes how he decided to start talking about the war to graduates of a leadership class at Cannon Air Force Base in 2005. He mentions that he has talked to every graduating class since (over 70 groups).

Tags: Chinese,Front lines,Impressions of Korea,POW

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fk5fLoVblNo&start=1693&end=1844

Coming Home

Dan McKinney talks about the 2-week journey back to the US by ship after he was released as a POW. He describes being interrogated about his captivity. He also describes finally eating well, gaining 25 pounds during the crossing.

Tags: Communists,Food,Living conditions,POW

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fk5fLoVblNo&start=1985&end=2099

Photos

POW Cage

Dan McKinney shows the size of the cage he was confined in as a Prisoner of War in North Korea.

POW Cage

POW Cage

Dan McKinney shows the size of the cage he was confined in as a Prisoner of War in North Korea.

POW Cage

Returning Home as a POW

Dan McKinney is released as a Prisoner of War and comes home after the 1953 Armistice.

Returning Home as a POW

Fellow Soldiers

Dan McKinney's photograph of him and a fellow soldier.

Fellow Soldiers

Returning home

Dan McKinney is released as a Prisoner of War and comes home after the 1953 Armistice. In this photography, he is reunited with his family.

Returning home

DMZ Bridge

Here is a photograph of the bridge Dan McKinney crossed as he returned, leaving his status as a Prisoner of War, after the signing of the Armistice.

DMZ Bridge

Reunited with family and friends

Dan McKinney is released as a Prisoner of War and comes home after the 1953 Armistice.

Reunited with family and friends

Wooden spoon

Dan McKinney held on to a wooden spoon from his days as a Prisoner of War in Korea.

Wooden spoon

Reunited

Dan McKinney is released as a Prisoner of War and comes home after the 1953 Armistice.

Reunited

Hanging on a photograph

Dan McKinney held onto this photograph of his fiance while he was imprisoned as a POW in Korea. He and his fiance original wedding date was planned for the day he was coincidentally captured.

Hanging on a photograph

Returning home

Dan McKinney is released as a Prisoner of War and comes home after the 1953 Armistice.

Returning home

POW Recreation

Dan McKinney has a photograph of from his time at POW Camp in Korea. He and fellow POWS were allowed to play recreational activities sometimes during their stay.

POW Recreation

From Now to Then

Dan McKinney holds a photograph from his return back to the United States after being released as a POW after the armistice.

From Now to Then

Bridge of No Return

Dan McKinney captured a photograph of the bridge he crossed when he was released as a POW after the signing of the Armistice.

Bridge of No Return

Wooden Spoon

Dan McKinney held on to a wooden spoon from his days as a Prisoner of War in Korea.

Wooden Spoon

POW: Chess Set

Dan McKinney showcases the chess set he played with to pass the time he was a POW in Korea.

POW: Chess Set

POW Items

Dan McKinney kept this bag that held his belongings as he was a POW in Korea.

POW Items

Point of No Return in Color

Dan McKinney has this color photograph of the DMZ as he crossed it, leaving North Korea into South Korea as a POW.

Point of No Return in Color

Making Headlines

Dan McKinney has collected newspaper articles that have described his service in the Korean War and his sacrifice as a POW.

Making Headlines

Making Headlines

Dan McKinney has collected newspaper articles that have described his service in the Korean War and his sacrifice as a POW.

Making Headlines

Making Headlines

Dan McKinney has collected newspaper articles that have described his service in the Korean War and his sacrifice as a POW.

Making Headlines

POW: Chess Set

Dan McKinney showcases the chess set he played with to pass the time he was a POW in Korea.

POW: Chess Set

POW: Chess Set

Dan McKinney showcases the chess set he played with to pass the time he was a POW in Korea.

POW: Chess Set

POW Recreation

Dan McKinney has a photograph of his time at POW Camp in Korea. He and fellow POWS were allowed to play recreational activities sometimes during their stay.

POW Recreation

Hanging on a Photograph

Dan McKinney held onto this photograph of his fiance while he was imprisoned as a POW in Korea. He and his fiance original wedding date was planned for the day he was coincidentally captured.

Hanging on a Photograph

Wooden Spoon

Dan McKinney held on to a wooden spoon from his days as a Prisoner of War in Korea.

Wooden Spoon

POW: Chess Set

Dan McKinney showcases the chess set he played with to pass the time he was a POW in Korea.

POW: Chess Set

POW: Chess Set

Dan McKinney showcases the chess set he played with to pass the time he was a POW in Korea.

POW: Chess Set