Korean War Legacy Project

Douglas Koch


Douglas Koch was born in Sioux City, Iowa in 1930.  After his adoption, he moved to Mitchell with his new parents. Upon high school graduation in 1948, he enlisted with the Marines in order to travel and see the world. Once the Korean War began in 1950, he quickly saw action including the Inchon Landing and the Recapture of Seoul. After leaving Seoul, he was badly wounded and flown to a hospital in San Francisco where he underwent several surgeries. He was medically retired as a Corporal at the age of twenty-two, upon which time he returned to Mitchell. He later married his wife and had eight children. He revisited Korea in 1985 and was extremely impressed with the modernization of the country, despite its having been demolished during the war. He was thoroughly flattered by the gratitude on behalf of the Korean people.

Video Clips

Marine Life Before the War

Douglas Koch describes his duties aboard the USS Saint Paul prior to the war. He recalls traveling to many ports in the pacific before returning to Camp Pendleton while "The Sands of Iwo Jima" was being filmed. He explains that he and other Marines were used as extras in the background during filming and were able to meet John Wayne, who was very kind.

Tags: Home front

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Leading the Charge

Douglas Koch describes the 5th Marines' role in the Inchon Landing. He explains that the Inchon Landing was imperative in the cutting off of the rail lines that led to Seoul and fed the North Koreans the supplies they needed to fight in South Korea. He recalls that upon hearing the Marines were headed to Seoul to recapture the city, the civilians fled for the hills.

Tags: 1950 Inchon Landing, 9/15-9/19,1950 Seoul Recapture, 9/22-9/25,Incheon,Seoul,Civilians,Front lines,North Koreans,Physical destruction,South Koreans

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Rice Paddy Ambush

Douglas Koch describes being shot after the recapture of Seoul. He explains that he was ordered to establish an outpost on the other side of a rice paddy with his squad. As he led his men across the paddy, a North Korean machine gunner shot him multiple times in the leg and hip. He recalls ordering his squad to leave him in the field until help arrived.

Tags: 1950 Seoul Recapture, 9/22-9/25,Seoul,Front lines,North Koreans

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