Korean War Legacy Project

Dave Lehtonen


David Lehtonen was born in Vicksburg, Massachusetts, on November 19, 1933, and graduated from Lunenburg High School in 1951. He does not recall learning anything about Korea until after graduation. He joined the U.S. Army National Guard for one year and later enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in January of 1952. After basic training, he attended radio school. He recalls arriving in Seoul, South Korea, on December 13, 1952, and serving in Gimpo, South Korea. After leaving Korea, he worked as a machine operator in a manufacturing factory and soon took an apprenticeship as a machinist. He then enrolled in Worcester College in Massachusetts and earned an associate’s degree.

Video Clips

Reflections of Korea

Dave Lehtonen reflects on the effects of the Korean War. He cites that the Korean people have expressed their own pride in the pride he shows as a Korean War veteran. He shares his worries that the legacies of the Korean War and other wars are not being taught. He displays his Distinguished Flying Cross Society Award as well as pictures he brought from the war.

Tags: Message to Students,Modern Korea,Pride,South Koreans

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Journey to Korea

Dave Lehtonen discusses his journey to serving in Korea. He explains that he joined the U.S. Army National Guard for one year after graduation high school in 1951 and later enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in January of 1952. He recalls attending radio school after basic training and arriving in Korea in December of 1952.

Tags: Basic training

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Taking Flight in Korea

Dave Lehtonen recalls flying in B-26s as a radio operator, participating in fifty missions. He describes the missions he took part in and the crews he worked with. He shares a map of his flights along the DMZ as well as over Pyungyang and the Yalu River.

Tags: Pyungyang,Front lines,Message to Students,Pride,Weapons

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