Korean War Legacy Project

Edward Rowny


Edward Rowny, the highest-ranking Koran War officer still alive at the time of his interview, has a wealth of information to share about his military experiences, including his time during the Korean War. He had a very commendable career. He was one of the original planners with General MacArthur in the planning of the Inchon Landing. During his service, he had the opportunity to travel back to Korea to oversee the the first combined U.S. -Korean corps at the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). He explains how he views the progress in Korea as an economic miracle. He has published books about his experience so that others can learn about the war. Among his great accomplishments was the designing of the project that dropped the bridge during the Jangjin (Chosin Reservoir) Battle. He also remembers a time when he tried to explain how he tried to be proactive in planning for the Chinese invasion. As a final success, he and his team were able to evacuate from Heungnam and be reunited with their families.

Video Clips

Inchon Landing

Edward Rowny describes the planning of the Inchon landing in detail. He remembers how his team had to convince the Joint Chiefs of Staff to move forward with the plan, and this ultimately saved the Marine Corps. He remembers explaining some of the logistics of the landing and General MacArther's reaction when the landing was successful. He describes how moving the troops forward across the Han River was a controversial decision.

Tags: 1950 Inchon Landing, 9/15-9/19,Incheon,Front lines,Pride

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Revisiting Korea to Oversee the DMZ

Edward Rowny shares he has revisited Korea about six or seven times. He explains how he went back a generation later and commanded the first combined U.S.-Korean corps at the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). He states that over the years, the Koreans went from not being very organized to creating a very effective and efficient military.

Tags: Impressions of Korea,Pride

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Two- Sided Legacy of the Korean War

Edward Rowny explains that he had no idea how industrious and successful the Koreans would become after the War. He mentions the Korean world leadership in technology and calls it an "economic miracle". He shares his own fears that the present-day generation does not realize the grave danger of North Korea today. He advises them to keep their military trained and equipped at all times, even with the US nuclear capacity.

Tags: Impressions of Korea,Living conditions,Message to Students,North Koreans,South Koreans

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Rowny's Book About the War

Edward Rowny shares he has written books and provides information about his experiences with the Teachers and Veteran's Youth Corps Convention in 2015. He comments on how his book, An American Soldier's Saga in the Korean War, received a lot of coverage and was translated into Korean. He encourages students to pay attention to what they learn in class to prevent events like the Korean War from happening again. He summarizes his book as it retells his experiences and accomplishments in the War.

Tags: 1950 Battle of Chosin Reservoir, 11/27-12/13,1951 Battle of Heartbreak Ridge, 9/13-10/15/,Impressions of Korea,Message to Students,Pride,South Koreans

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Dropping the Bridge in Chosin Reservoir

Edward Rowny reveals that he is the Corps Engineer who designed and later famously dropped the bridge from the air into the Jangjin (Chosin) Reservoir. This was one of the most important parts of the Jangjin (Chosin) Reservoir Battle. He shares how the Chinese were firing at them while they were building it. He recounts how this project was successful in stopping the Chinese long enough to evacuate the troops, without which there would have been tremendous casualties.

Tags: 1950 Battle of Chosin Reservoir, 11/27-12/13,Jangjin,Front lines,Physical destruction,Pride,Weapons

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Why Didn't MacArthur do More About the Chinese?

The interviewer provides some background about the Chinese involvement in early October. As a response, Edward Rowny explains that the numbers began increasing slowly, and his staff reported this as a concern to a skeptical General Willoughby in Japan. He recalls inviting General Willoughby to meet two of the Chinese they had captured. He shares he had studied anthropology and knew from the folds of their eyes that they were Chinese, but he was not believed. He remarks that General Willoughby was mistaken, and, unfortunately, General MacArthur believed General Willoughby instead of him and his corps.

Tags: Chinese,Front lines

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Evacuation from North Korea

Edward Rowny shares was put in charge of the evacuation of the 600,000 tons of supplies, 100,000 troops, and 100,000 refugees at the port at Heungnam, North Korea. He recounts his job also included blowing up the port so that the Chinese could not use it. He recalls he was scheduled to be on the last ship to leave, but that ship was blown up. He recounts how the commander thought he had gone down with the boat, but, instead, he was stranded on the beach with his radio operator and jeep driver. He describes how they were finally rescued by an American plane and made it home by Christmas, despite being shot at.

Tags: Heungnam,Chinese,Front lines,North Koreans,Physical destruction,Pride,South Koreans

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