Korean War Legacy Project

Edwin Vargas


Edwin Vargas is from Lajas, Puerto Rico and  is a Korean War Defense Veteran who served at  the DMZ during the Cold War. He enlisted in the military to follow after his  father who was in WWII, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War, never expecting to also go to Korea. Edwin Vargas describes his first impressions of Korea when he arrived in the 1970s. Unfortunately, his time of service also included a tragic event   when two officers were killed trimming the outpost of trees at the DMZ.  While serving as commanding officer, Edwin Vargas also had to advocate for one of his KATUSAs who was in an accident. He is extremely proud of his service.

Video Clips

First Impression of Korea

Edwin Vargas gives his first impressions of Korea. He explains that while the hot summers did not bother him, he really struggled with the Cold Winter. While he didn't have the chance to interact with many people, he recalls that those he met were very friendly.

Tags: 1976 Poplar Tree Ax Incident,Cold winters,Front lines,North Koreans

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Fighting for a KATUSA

While he was company commander, Edwin Vargas had to advocate for his KATUSA when the KATUSA accidentally hit a South Korean soldier with a vehicle. The soldier was not hurt, but the KATUSA was about to get arrested until Edwin Vargas spoke to the commanding officer for the South Korean Regiment. After that, he became very good friends with this commanding officer.

Tags: Fear,Front lines

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Korean Axe Murder Incident

Edwin Vargas describes the tragic incident that occurred while he was at the DMZ. During his service, two of his officers were killed while trimming back trees from their outpost view. He describes this event as unfair as they were unarmed and could not retaliate.

Tags: 1976 Poplar Tree Ax Incident,Panmunjeom,North Koreans,South Koreans,Weapons

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