Korean War Legacy Project

Ed Donahue


Ed Donahue was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on August 7, 1934. He graduated from Saint Charles Boromo Seminary High School in 1950. He does not recall ever learning anything specific about Korea in school but states he was able to identify it on a map before going to war. The Korean War broke out a month after he graduated from high school, so he immediately enlisted in the US Marine Corps. He attended boot camp at Parris Island and advanced training at Camp Pendleton. After training, he was sent to Korea where he served as a rifleman in the 1st Marine Division, 2nd Battalion, 5th Regiment, Fox Company and was one of the Chosin Few. He left Korea in June of 1952.

Video Clips

Basic Training Experience

Ed Donahue recalls his experience at boot camp in Parris Island, South Carolina. He remembers how his life changed as soon as he arrived. He describes being awakened the first night at three in the morning because someone spilled something on the floor. He recounts how he and all of the other new recruits were required to scrub the floor with a toothbrush. He shares how he only spent eight weeks there due to a growing need for troops in Korea. He recalls attending advanced rifle training at Camp Pendleton in California before being sent to Kobe, Japan, and then on to Pusan, Korea, in October of 1950.

Tags: Busan,Basic training,Cold winters,Living conditions,Message to Students,Weapons

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The Chosin Few at Yudamni

Ed Donahue recalls arriving in Yudamni on Thanksgiving, November 23, 1950. He remembers not minding that their holiday meal was ice cold as their sights were set on being home for Christmas. He recalls being assigned to forward observation and recounts the difficulties of digging in as the ground was frozen. He remembers singing "I'll Be Home for Christmas" while at his post until the Chinese attacked.

Tags: 1950 Battle of Chosin Reservoir, 11/27-12/13,Yudamri,Chinese,Cold winters,Front lines,Impressions of Korea,Living conditions,Message to Students,Weapons

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On the Frontlines at Yudamni

Ed Donahue recalls being woken up by the sound of bugles early in the morning on November 28, 1950. He describes how the Chinese soldiers were attempting to take over the area, and he remembers being told by his officers to just keep shooting. He shares how this lasted until dawn for multiple nights. He recalls how once the sun went down, the enemy fire started again. He remembers the troops kept coming and coming, at a ratio of at least ten Chinese to every one American. He remembers losing many of his comrades. He comments on how cold it was and adds that they were forced to urinate on their guns to keep the firing mechanisms from freezing.

Tags: 1950 Battle of Chosin Reservoir, 11/27-12/13,Yudamri,Chinese,Cold winters,Fear,Front lines,Impressions of Korea,Personal Loss,Physical destruction,Pride,Weapons

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