Korean War Legacy Project

Don McCarty


Don McCarty was born in Chicago, Illinois on April 2. 1935.  He attended high school in Kentucky, and enlisted in the Marine Corp in 1952 when he was 17 years of age.  He was a member of the Paris Island First Guard Company out of Brooklyn, New York.  His military speciality was a Machine Gunner (Heavy Machine Gun).  He is in awe of the evolution of South Korea after the war, its people, and their everlasting gratitude to American soldiers for their service in the Korean War.


Video Clips

The Nevada Campaign: Bloody Nevada

Don McCarty fought North Korean and Chinese soldiers during the Nevada Campaign. He experienced battle fatigue and fear while fighting at the front lines. Don McCarty still thinks about the death of his assistant gunner and ammo carrier.

Tags: Panmunjeom,Seoul,Chinese,Cold winters,Front lines,North Koreans

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Go to Jail or Go to the Marines

Don McCarty joined the US Marine Corps when he was 17 years old because if he didn't, he would have ended up in jail. With is mom's permission, he was sent away to Parris Island, SC for boot camp. After growing up in Chicago, Illinois and Kentucky, he said that he received the positive push in life that he needed once entering boot camp.

Tags: Basic training,Civilians,Home front,Living conditions,Pride,Women

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Big Muscles were Needed for Machine Gunners

Don McCarty's specialty during the Korean War was a heavy machine gun operator. The tripod was 54 pounds and the gun with water was 40 pounds. He left for Korea in March 1953 and landed in Inchoeon. Once he arrived in Seoul, it was devastated and there were children begging for candy and cigarettes.

Tags: Incheon,Seoul,Civilians,Food,Front lines,Living conditions,Modern Korea,Physical destruction,Poverty,Pride,South Koreans,Weapons

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Fear on the Front Lines That Led to PTSD

Don McCarty was afraid every minute that he was in Korea. Even after the Korean War ended, North Koreans continued to surrender to the Marines by crossing the 38th parallel. Don McCarty feels that he has a better understanding of life once he fought in the Korean War because there were so many Marines that lost their lives. Every night at 2 am, he wakes up with nightmares from his time at war. PTSD is a disease that Don McCarty is still living with 60 years after the Korean War ended.

Tags: 1953 Armistice 7/27,Panmunjeom,Depression,Fear,Front lines,Living conditions,North Koreans,Personal Loss,Pride,Prior knowledge of Korea,Women

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