Korean War Legacy Project

George Warfield


George Warfield was born in Bethlehem, PA. He was discharged from the regular United States Army before resuming active duty after beginning his college education. His military service lasted from September 1948 to November 1951. During his service period, he went to Inchon, Korea, and was stationed throughout Korea from December 1950 to October 1951. He served in the 25th Reconnaissance Company, 25th Division as a Private First Class before his discharge from the military. While in Korea, he worked as a Radio Operator. He received awards for his service including a Korean Service Medal with three Bronze Campaign Stars and a Presidential Unit Citation.

Video Clips

Military Reconnaissance

George Warfield was in the reserves when he was called into active duty. He was sent to Fort Campbell for two to three weeks to retrain for war. After training, he was shipped to Japan to set up for the Korean War with the 25th Reconnaissance Company, 25th Division. As a radio operator in a reconnaissance company, he had to find the enemy, go to fill-in the front line if the enemy broke the line, and he was the last unit to retreat.

Tags: Incheon,Basic training,Civilians,Front lines,Living conditions,North Koreans,Physical destruction,Weapons

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A Troop Ship Hits a Cyclone

George Warfield did not know anything about Korea before he went over. When traveling on a troop ship with 1,500 soldiers, they hit a cyclone that tossed the ship all over the ocean which made men throw up all over. Luckily, George Warfield did not get sick during any of his travels in the military.

Tags: Incheon,Fear,Living conditions,Physical destruction,Weapons

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Destruction on Christmas Eve

George Warfield landed in Korea on December 24, 1950 and had Christmas Eve dinner on the ship before he was dropped off at Inchon harbor. He counted 17 tanks that went out to battle from Inchon, but only 1 came back the next morning after fighting. George Warfield passed through Euijeongbu one night and saw the terrible conditions for civilians, but he did not stay in any location longer than a day.

Tags: Euijeongbu,Incheon,Civilians,Fear,Front lines,Living conditions,Physical destruction,Poverty,Weapons

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Experiences Working With the Turkish Troops

George Warfield worked with the Turkish Army and they were tough. The Turkish Army even practiced hand-to-hand combat with their own troops to stay battle-ready. George Warfield said that he would fight with them against an enemy at any time.

Tags: Fear,Front lines,Living conditions,Pride

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Video Transcript

[Beginning of Recorded Material]


George Warfield:  My name’s George Warfield. I live in Fairmount that’s Syracuse, New York. Well. . . 


Interviewer: Do you have family George?


G: It’s only my wife and I are the only ones in New York State.  The rest of my family, I have a daughter in Colorado, a daughter in Connecticut. They’re both married. The rest of our family is down in Pennsylvania. My brother is there too 




as we were in Korea together in different outfits. He was in the field artillery and in a reconnaissance company.


I: So did you get drafted or did you enlist?


G: Neither, I was called up to active duty. At the time I was in college and I completed the first month of my second year and I tried to get out of it, 




but they wouldn’t allow it and they got me into the service. They called me on to active duty. I went down to Tennessee, Kentucky, Fort Campbell. From there, that was for training, then from there I went out to California, got on a boat, went over to Japan from Japan to Korea.


I: How long was your training?


G: Oh, maybe two or three weeks.




I: That’s it?


G: Sure.  


I: And they showed you how to do different things.


G: Oh, yeah.  Oh, yes.


I: And you say you were in a reconnaissance. 


G: I was in the 25th Reconnaissance Company. 


I: Can you tell us a little bit about what you did there?


G: 25th Division.


I: What was your specialty?


G: I was a radio operator and every morning we left for somewhere and we went to a different location at night. We never came back 




to the place we started except for seven days when they relieved us and we went to the rear.


I: So you went some place to go look at things, but did you go back to home base or you went somewhere else?


G: No, we went back to. We were a reconnaissance company and we had three things that we had to do. First of all, we had to locate the enemy, wherever he was we had to find him where he was 




and the second thing if they broke through any of the lines no matter where it was, we had to go there and fill in.


I: Fill in, meaning what?


G: Fill in the line.  


I: Oh, I see.


G: Keep the enemy from coming through it and the third things is protect the rear on the strategic withdrawals.


I: What was that?


G: That means we were the last outfit out to retreat.


I: So you stayed there during all the battles. 




G: We were there for. . . 


I: You reported with a wired radio or a wireless radio. What was it?


G: It was just a radio. We were in contact with other outfits and our equipment we. . . 


I: Did you drive a vehicle there or just walk all over?


G: I didn’t drive, but other people did. We had something ten tanks and five jeeps with 50 caliber machine guns on them.  




I: What did your family think about you going, leaving college? How old were you when you went?


G: I was about 22-23.


I: What’d your family think about you at 22 or 23 going to a foreign country to war?


G: At the time I was married and I don’t know[laughs]. Was just my wife and me.


I: What your neighbors think, I mean did you have friends that 




was just. . .


G: No, was just me and the wife.


I: What did your wife think about you going to war?


G: I don’t know. [Laughs]. It’s been so long, I don’t know.  


I: She didn’t like wish you well make sure you come back.


G: We just, ah just left.  


I: Was it a customary thing to see husbands go constantly to war?


G: It’s been so long, I don’t remember anything. 




I: What was your impression of the Korean War before you got there? Did you know anything about it?


G: I knew nothing at all about Korea. All I remember is my trip over on the ship. That’s one of the things in my mind that will never cease.


I: How many men were on this ship with you?


G: I don’t know, but it was quite a few.  


I: Like hundreds?


G: It was a private ship. The name of the ship was a private.  I don’t know




it was. . . 


I: Like a cruise line? Oceanliner?


G: No, no. It was a troop ship.  


I: Oh, a troop ship.  


G: Yeah.


I: and hundreds? Thousands?


G: Oh, I would say maybe about 1500, maybe more, maybe less.  I don’t know.  


I: When you on your way to Korea did the men say anything? Did they talk about this?  How long did it take to get there and what did you talk about?


G: [Laughs].  




The only thing I remember about it is hit the tail end of a cyclone and the front of the ship would go up and they’d roll over one side, roll over the other side and then it would slam down on the ocean.  The water would go on both sides twice the length of the ship because I went up and then opened up a door up there and looked out and saw 




it and when the front came the back went up and it shook the entire ship. And there was people were so sick they were throwing up even from both ends of the body in the head and it stunk like crazy.  


I: Pretty seasick.


G: They were seasick.  It didn’t bother me at all.  I never got seasick on any of my voyages.


I: Can you describe your reactions when you got to the war? 




When you enlisted and doing all these reconnaissance missions, what were your reactions before you got there and why you were there?


G: Well, one of the thing that I remembers, we landed. The ship got to the area on December the 24th of 1950.


I: Christmas Eve?


G: We had Christmas dinner on the ship and Christmas Day we disembarked




at Incheon.


I: Did they take you ashore with little boats or did you walk through water?


G: I don’t recall, but I do remember in the camp that I was in in Incheon when I saw I counted 17 medium-sized tanks leaving and that night only one came back and the following day




 a tank retriever went out.


I: So 17 tanks went out to war and only one or two returned?


G: That’s it. That’s it.


I: Were they disabled or . . .?


G: I have no idea because the following day they took me to my group, to my outfit.  


I: Alright. Well. When you saw Korea for the first time, what was your vision of what you saw?  What did you see when you first landed, the landscape, or the town.


G: I don’t recall anything [laughs].




I: Oh, you kind of forgot about it?


G: Yeah.


I: Do you have any idea what the living conditions were for the people that lived there?


G: We actually,  I only remember one city or whatever you want to call it that we saw and that was Uijeongbu.


I: Say it again.


G: Uijeongbu.


I: It’s a town or village.


G: Yeah, that’s the only one I remember and the conditions there weren’t good.




I: Did they have houses, huts? Did they live in caves?


G: No, they were houses.


I: Houses?


G: Yeah.


I: Were they sanitary conditions or unsanitary conditions or. . . 


G: I don’t know. We just passed through.


I: Just passed through.


G: We didn’t. . . At night we just were together and the morning we left.


I: So you were. . .


G: It was just constant. We were constantly on the move.


I: So you really didn’t stay didn’t stay in the village much.


G: No.


I: You were checking the field all the time.  




G: We did not stay anywhere long.


I: It’s okay. Did you rotate from one division to another or did you stay pretty much with the same army? What do they call it a division or. . .


G: It’s the 25th Division and I was in 25th Reconnaissance Company for the entire time I was there.


I: and how many men were in that division? I don’t know what you. . .


G: I really don’t know.




I: Thousands?


G: Oh, no, no, no. Probably around 50.


I: 50 in a division?


G: No, in a company.


I: Oh, in a company. 


G: I don’t know how many’s in a division.


I: Okay, so your company was 50 men.


G: Yeah.


I: and how many of you went out to reconnaissance? 10? 20? 50?


G: Well the whole company did?


I: The whole company.


G: Sure.  


I: Would go out and


G: Sure


I: and check things out.


G: Yep.


I: Let’s see. What was your experience 




with the South Korean Army? Did you work hand-in-hand with them?


G: No, no. The only time that we had contact with them is one time when they pushed them back and we went in and relieved the area that they were in.


I: So you took over for the the South Korean Army.


G: Yep. Yep, just for a very short period of time.


I: Did you learn anything from the South Korean Army soldiers?


G: No, nothing.


I: Do you have any like 




happy moments or rewarding moments or any challenging things that you could remember the days going out? Or what’s your favorite or worse enemy case or worse memory of the war. Any good things? Bad things?


G: Well, I don’t remember anything. It’s been a long time ago.


I: Yeah.  Okay.  So, did you encounter any foreign troops?


G: Yes, 


I: When you were out.


G: The Turkish.




I: Turkish?


G: Yes


I: So the Turkish were fighting for the North Koreans?


G: No, they were fighting with us.


I: Fighting with you.


G: Yeah.


I: So you were working side by side with the Turkish Army.


G: Yes, yes with this Turkish outfit.  


I: Were they helpful or. . . 


G: Oh, yeah. They [laughs] I wound’t want to be one of their enemies.  


I: They were pretty good fighters?


G: They were practicing hand-to-hand combat. They were good.  


I: They were good fighters?


G: Oh, yeah.


I: So you want them 




right by your side.


G: Oh, yes. Anytime. Anytime.  


I: Turkish army.


G: Yeah


I: Any others that you saw, any other countries?


G: No.


I: Canada, England?


G: Nope.


I: Just Americans and Turks.


G: Yep.


I: Okay. So, no battles that you can remember anything in particular about. Any battles or . . .


G: No


I: Anything you did to help in your reconnaissance? Did you remember anything from that?


G: Nope, but the only thing I do remember is the planes with napalm.  


I: Say again. 


G: The airplanes 




or your Air Force with the napalm,  because if we didn’t have the Air Force over there with us they would have pushed us right into the ocean.  


I: So they helped you out.


G: Our Air Force did one great job.


I: So what did they do? Just drop bombs, napalm?


G: Napalm, mostly, yeah.


I: Did you call them in? Did you call?


G: Oh, yeah. We talked to them. 


I: You told them on the radio to drop.


G: Where they are. We told them where they were. They dropped them. Yeah.


I: It was to affect the enemy somehow, push them back.




G: Yep.


I: Were any of your friends killed?


G: Actually, no because the entire time I was there, we only lost two people that I know.


I: In your division?


G: In our company.


I: Okay. Did it happen right away or did it happen later one? Did you get friendly with this person and 


G: Yeah, one was a medic. The other one I don’t remember.  




I: Were you discharged from the military service from Korea or did you stay in the Army and discharge later on? Did you make a career of it or?


G: As soon as I got home, I got discharged [laughs].


I: Okay, so you. . .


G: Well, I had to wait till my term ran out then I was discharged.


I: How long did you stay in Korea?


G: I was in Korea from December to October I think it was.


I: What year was that?


G: ‘50 to ’51




I: So was the war over by then or did you leave?


G: No, no, no, no, no. It was not over 


I: So you were there a little over a year?


G: Under a year.


I: And you did your time but were discharged. Did you ask to be discharged?


G: No, they came and we were on some hill and somebody came to us and said ‘Hey George! You’re going home’ and that’s it.


I: What’d you think of that?


G: Well, that was great. Best news I ever had.  


I: Now, did you have to go back to the ship




to go home or go on an airplane?


G: No, we went on some kind of a boat. Went back to Japan and over in Japan I don’t know what happened, but I got a temperature the day before my ship was gonna bring us home and I was alone. I was told go on a ship and report to sick bay when you get on the ship.


I: Did they diagnose what it was?


G: I still don’t know what it 



was, but I got on the ship, went directly to sick bay. They put me in right on a bed and I was there for the entire trip home. I still don’t know what I had.


I: What was your impressions of going there? Did you I mean you were more or less drafted, right?


G: No.  I was enlisted and they put me on active duty.  


I: I see.  Okay.


G: And when I went home I went back to college and finished 




my degree.


I: When you returned was there a big homecoming ceremony or like hey we’re happy you’re back or were they angry that you went to war? What was the impressions in the community?


G: No, no, no.  The only thing I recall is landing in San Francisco I put a call in, a collect call to my wife, and I talked to her for I don’t know how long. She never got a bill for that phone call.  


I: Oh, okay.




When you returned, do you ever have any dreams or reflect on the war that you were in?


G: I forgot everything.


I: You put it out of your mind.


G: Absolutely!  


I: You were glad to be home and you. . . 


G: Yes, I was.


I: Put it behind you.


G: Yep.


I: Okay. Do you have any animosity against the North Koreans? Any negative thoughts about the North Koreans that you were fighting?


G: Nope.


I: No?


G: Nope.


I: Okay. So no bad memories, no bad dreams.




G: Nope. Nope. I forgot everything.


I: And how old are you now?


G: 83


I: and you don’t have any issues with the war.


G: None whatsoever.


I: Did you talk to any buddies that you in that war?


G: I don’t know anybody from that war.


I: So you just never communicated with them?


G: Nope. Never did.


I: Okay. What if you were young right now and another war started 




in the same region of Korea. What would your impressions or thoughts be today?


G: It’s difficult to say. I don’t know.


I: If there was a headline today that said North Koreans and South Koreans go to war right now and there’s always that possibility, what would you think?


G: I would just keep an eye on it. That’s all and see how things were going. It’s all I could do.


I: Being a soldier over there 




do you have any advice to people if there was a war to occur? Do you have any advice for the people over there or people here or soldiers going over there?


G: Just do the best you can.


I: Okay. Just be a soldier and do the best you can.  


G: Yeah. Yep.


I: Um. Have you ever been back to Korea?


G: No.


I: Okay. Would you like to go?


G: Not really. I’m in no physical condition to do it.  


I: Right now the country’s divided as you know– 




G: Yeah.


I: North. . .  


G: North  and South.  


I: What are your feelings towards that division of the country from North to South?


G: Well, the way I see it, it should be one, not two.


I: So, you think there should be some combining or unification. 


G: Yeah.


I: Okay. What do you think of the Korean government and the American government about this like, what is not occurring right now but you’ve go this North 




and the South and you have a lot of Americans on the South side protecting the South Koreans.


G: mm-hmm.


I: And you have the North Koreans. What do you think about that attitude?


G: It’s difficult to say again. I don’t know.


I: Do you have any ideas about the U.S. policy? About how America is there protecting the South? Do you think that we should be there?




G: Yes, I do. I think we should be there because it’s one way to keep the peace


I: So, the American presence is very important.


G: Yes, it is. Yes.


I: So you think we should be there.


G: Yes. Definitely.


I: Okay.


G: I think each one is individual and it’s up to the individual to do whatever they want to do.


I: What would you say about the legacy of the Korean War 




veterans? What would you say to some Korean War veterans– good, bad, or indifferent? What do you think that you would like to say to a Korean War veteran right now if you were talking to a Korean War veteran in this interview? What would you like to talk about or say?


G: I have no idea.  [Laughs]


I: You wouldn’t say where were you stationed or anything like that?


G: No, we don’t talk about anything like that in our group.


I: Is it. I hear this a lot.  




The veterans don’t want to talk about what they did.  


G: Right.  That’s right.  


I: Why do you think that is?


G: We want to forget.


I: You want to  forget?


G: Yeah.  


I: It was a hellish thing?


G: Yes, it was.


I: Was a hellish thing and you don’t think. You don’t want to remember the bad things.


G: No, I  don’t want to.


I: No?


G: And I have completely put it out of my mind.


I: Yeah? I hear that a lot because I guess the bad memories nobody wants to bring back.


G: Right.


I: Okay.  Do you have any  




momentos or any historical artifacts the war that you’d like to share or submit like maps or any photos or anything like that?


G: Well, I already did. I have a book of the 25th Division from 1950 to ‘51.


I: And what’s in this book?


G: It’s the record of the 25th Division.


I: From the time you were there or. . .


G: Yes. Oh, yeah.


I: What’s in it? What’s in it




 photos or. . . ?


G: Everything. 


I: Like what? Tell us.


G: It gives the history of the 25th Division from 1950 to ‘51.


I: Okay, do you have any artifacts that you submitted?


G: I have a picture somewhere, but I gave them five VCRs and I don’t want them back.


I: And what is on the VCRs?


G: It gives the history of the Korean War from the 1940s up until the end of the war.  


I: This a commercially-made video?




G: There’s no commercial in it.


I: Okay.  I mean is it made by a producer or something? It’s like a whole series of the Korean War?


G: It’s a whole series of five VCR tapes.


I: What did you bring back? Did you bring back any momentos? Any maps.


G: I brought myself back [laughs]


I: Good, I’m glad you’re back.


G: So am I?


I: Did you have anything in your pockets when you came? Did you bring any like souvenirs or anything?


G: No.  




Female Voice: Did the Korean War change your life in any ways?


G: Did the Korean. . . Yes it did. I, ok, I’ll tell you this. I got hit in the back of the neck with a bullet.


I: You didn’t tell us that before.  


G: Well. . . 


I: You want to forget that.


G: I can’t forget it.  


I: Okay, so you did get injured.


G: I did get injured, but I never 




reported it because it was minor and it only drew a little blood. I just got it and I didn’t report it at all and about 20 years later I started getting pains and I got physical therapy and I got a neck brace 




and I still remember I was told if I didn’t have an operation I’d be in a wheelchair.  


I: And that was all due to the bullet wound.


G: All due to the bullet wound because the neck is where the nerve center is. Right there in the back of the neck.  


I: Now was this a sniper bullet or was this friendly fire or what?


G: It was.  All I 




can tell you is that I, yeah, I was ran out of ammunition and I reached down to get ammo and that’s when I felt it.  So. . .


I: Happened that fast.


G: It happened that fast.


I: Do you think it was a sniper?


G: It could have been 




because that’s the same place where the medic got hit.


I: Oh, I see in that spot.


G: Yep.


I: Is it the same day that the medic got hit?


G: Same day.


I: So it had to be somebody looking at you.


G: Yep


I: Watching things go on, but it never bothered you while you were there?


G: No


I: Just a wound?


G: Nope. Didn’t bother me at all until about 20 years later and there’s December the 8th




of 2000, I had the operation.


I: And what’d they do?


G: They broke five of the seven vertebrae in my neck in two places and put splints in it. There so, I now have ten pieces of titanium in my neck.


I: So, it was a really bad wound.


G: It wasn’t bad, but it turned out to be bad.


I: uh-hmm And you just kept doing your duty while you were wounded.


G: Yes, I was because it didn’t bother me that,




 but it bothers me now today because I with the operation I see.


I: You have no animosity against the person that. . .


G: No.


I: Tried to shoot you.


G: No, no.


Female: [unintelligible]


G: It effects my hands, my legs, my walking. 


I: You’re a little unstable because of it.


G: Yes, I am. 




 If I wouldn’t have my wife, I wouldn’t be through it, so she took care of me from the day of the operation to today.  


I: So she’s caring for you.


G: Yeah, that was from 2000 all the way up to today she takes care of me.


I: Quite a few years.


G: She did.  Oh, yes.


I: Do you still get therapy?


G: No.


I: No, you’re done with that?


G: I go to a chiropractor though.


I: Did you go to a veterans’ hospital for these?


G: No.


I: Wounds?


G: No.




I: Private practices?


G: Yeah.


I: But this wound never affected your perspective on how the war.


G: No way. Nope. You have to do what you want to do.  


I: I think we’re done, George.  


G: Okay.


I: You did very well. I want to thank you for coming.


G: Alright.


I: This is going to be a great thing for the history for the future for kids.


G: mm-hmm.


I: For posterity when you’re gone you’re gonna still




 be alive through this video.


G: [Laughs]


I: Hopefully you’ll live to another 100 years.


G: No way.

I: Thank you, George! Thank you very much.  


[End of Recorded Material]


Battleground Korea - the story of the 25th infantry division (inside cover)

Battleground Korea - the story of the 25th infantry division

Battleground Korea - the story of the 25th infantry division (inside cover)

Brother united at battlefront

Brother united at battlefront

Brother united at battlefront