Korean War Legacy Project

Ed O’Toole


Ed O’Toole was born in Boston, Massachusetts, on March 11, 1933. He dropped out of school at sixteen and joined the United States Marine Corps on November 19, 1951. He remembers being impressed by a neighbor who was dressed in a Marine Corps uniform. Soon after, he attended boot camp in Parris Island, South Carolina. After boot camp, he was assigned to work a supply unit in Cherry Point, South Carolina, and then Quantico, Virginia. Later, in May 1953, he went to Korea and worked in the HMR161 supply unit in Seoul. He left Korea in September 1954.

Video Clips

Becoming a Marine

Ed O'Toole shares his journey to fight in Korea. He joined the United States Marine Corps in November of 1951. He does not remember learning anything about Korea before he went to the war. After seeing a neighbor in the Marine Corps uniform, he recalls wanting to join. He attended boot camp in Parris Island, South Carolina. He remembers getting in trouble for accidentally kicking a bucket of water down some stairs.

Tags: Basic training,Pride,Prior knowledge of Korea

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Making it to Japan and Korea

Ed O'Toole recalls arriving in Kobe, Japan, before heading to Korea. From there, he remembers flying into Seoul, Korea, in May of 1953. He shares how, after arriving, he hopped on a truck and was taken to Yeongdeungpo. He includes he was part to the helicopter unit, HMR 161, and worked with supplies.

Tags: Seoul,Yeongdeungpo,Weapons

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Bedcheck Charlie

Ed O'Toole explains what "Bedcheck Charlie" was. It was originally a North Korean aircraft, but it morphed into meaning something else. He remembers trying to watch a movie that was in Italian about three times but was unable to do so because "Bedcheck Charlie" would come around to check attendance.

Tags: Living conditions

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