Korean War Legacy Project

David Carpenter


David Carpenter joined the Marines in 1949 in England. He was a Marine for seven years. During WWII, his father was stationed in Scotland helping to run a military hospital. His brother was in the Royal Artillery and the Fleet Air Arm to support the Allied war effort. He volunteered for the Marines in 1949 because he did not want to go into the Army or Royal Air Force. He recalls that training was difficult because if you were not strong enough to be in the Marines, you would be back-squaded, and this really motivated him to stay in 561 squad. During his training, he had to cross rivers on ropes, do nine mile speed marches, rock climbing, and thirteen mile training with only a compass. Once he entered the commando operations in Korea, his job was maintaining weapons to help defeat the Chinese.

Video Clips

The Green Berets

David Carpenter participated in extreme exercises while in commando training. He recalls how if a trainee did not pass the test, he would be thrown out of the Marines. Training included cliff climbing, nine mile speed marches, a thirty mile trek with a seventy pound backpack, and crossing rivers on ropes. After surviving this training, they were awarded the Green Berets which signified that they had passed the All Arms Commando Course.

Tags: Basic training,Living conditions,Pride,Weapons

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Korean War Reinforcements

David Carpenter was a reinforcement for different Marines groups that had fought in Korea for over two years. His regiment replaced the wounded or killed. At least twenty-five percent of the casualties in Korea were from frostbite.

Tags: Wonsan,Chinese,Cold winters,Fear,Front lines,Impressions of Korea,Living conditions,Personal Loss,Physical destruction

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Modo Island

David Carpenter lost four Marines who were taken as POW's off the coast of Wonsan. He stayed on Korea's islands until peace talks began in 1953. He recalls going on leave to Japan to get some rest and relaxation (R & R) before he returned to England.

Tags: Wonsan,Civilians,Fear,Front lines,Living conditions,Personal Loss,POW,Rest and Relaxation (R&R)

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