Donald Lynch was born September 14, 1931, in Washington, D.C. He graduated from Hyattsville High School in Maryland in 1950. He remembers not knowing much at all about Korea before serving in the war. In 1949, during his junior year of high school, he joined the Naval Air Corps Reserve and, three years later, gained a discharge. He was then immediately drafted into the US Army in February of 1952. He attended boot camp in Fort Lee, Virginia, and shortly after that, he was sent to Yokohama, Japan, in July of 1952 and on to Incheon, South Korea. He served as a unit supply sergeant and was a part of the K Company, 197th Infantry Regiment, 45th Infantry Division. He was wounded and later served in a medical unit. He left Korea in November of 1953.
Legacy of the Korean War
Donald Lynch recalls not learning much about Korea in school. He thinks the Korean War was one of the greatest efforts put forth by the United States as it was an effort to stem the growth of world Communism. He believes the war's effects continue to resonate today. He speaks about many of the atrocities that the Koreans have had to face, including the invasions by Japan. He shares how impressed he is by the successes of Korea today.
Korea Then and Now
Donald Lynch recalls thinking Korea would not thrive after what he witnessed. He remembers the terrible smells coming from all major cities due to the open and combined sewer systems. He notes Korea now has skyscrapers and is one of the tenth largest economies in the world.
Serving in Korea
Donald Lynch recalls how he landed in Incheon, South Korea, and recalls taking trains through Seoul and seeing many starving children. He shares how he and his unit gave their c-rations to the children. He describes being sent from Seoul to Chuncheon and then on to the frontlines where he served as a unit supply sergeant and was a part of the K Company, 197th Infantry Regiment, 45th Infantry Division. He comments on how he was wounded, bayonetted in the abdomen by a Chinese soldier and shares how he later served in a medical unit.
Injuries and Difficult Experiences
Donald Lynch talks about being injured twice. He recalls going on a patrol one day on Hill 812 and the lead man stepping on a "Bouncing Betty" release-type booby trap. He recounts how all eight to ten men were hit by pellets. He shares how a pellet hit his thigh and came out about 50 years later when he was messing with it. He notes another injury which entailed a bayonet. He recalls of his war experience occurring in the Punchbowl region, close to the 38th parallel. He references witnessing all of the wounded men leaving the frontlines when he first arrived as his most difficult experience in Korea. He also recalls assisting the sewing of wounds.
Duties and Living Conditions
Donald Lynch recalls the patrols he went on along the Kansas Line, a line back from the frontlines. He details how he would help refill supplies and bring back any North Korean defectors they came across. He recalls there being a kitchen at the medical outfit and eating hot meals every day. He remembers showering opportunities varying based on his location and shares how, at one point, shampoo saved his life.