Korean War Legacy Project

Herman H. Holtkamp


Herman Holtkamp proudly grew up on a farm in South Dakota before being drafted into the Army in 1951. He describes the hardships of war, including losing a friend who he tried to carry on his shoulders. He also explains how he was honored with a citation for capturing a Chinese enemy. However, Herman Holtkamp attributes his rough upbringing on the farm to what made him able to persevere both physically and mentally while in Korea. He is thankful for his service but believes that is something that he can just put behind him.

Video Clips

Losing a Friend on Your Shoulder

Herman Holtkamp explains how difficult life on the front lines could be as you could be shot at very quickly by the Chinese who were “much quicker than the Koreans.” He says that they lost a lot of lives, including two medics. He recalls how he carried on of his comrades on his shoulders, but he didn’t survive and passed away as Herman Holtkamp was carrying him.

Tags: Chinese,Front lines,Personal Loss

Share this Clip +


Capturing a Chinese Soldier

Herman Holtkamp tells how he captured a Chinese soldier. He had to throw a hand grenade into the trench and then carry the prisoner out to officers that were waiting. He received an award for capturing this prisoner.

Tags: Chinese,Communists,Front lines,Pride

Share this Clip +


Tough as Nails

Herman Holtkamp explains how being a tough farm boy helped him do well in Korea. He tells a story of when they were on the front lines and tried to capture a Russian tank. According to Herman Holtkamp, experiences like this weren’t things that you thought about- they were just things that you did. He states that his crew was “tough as nails.”

Tags: Front lines,Pride

Share this Clip +