Korean War Legacy Project

James C. Delong


James C. Delong was born in Reading, Pennsylvania on August 10th, 1931.  He dropped out of High School so that could he enlisted with the Army in 1948 at the age of seventeen.  After basic training he was sent overseas to Japan. He arrived in Korea in August of 1950.  He was serving with the 31st Infantry Regiment, 3rd Battalion, K Company in Korea when he was captured by the Chinese just outside of the Chosin Reservoir.  He was held prisoner for thirty-three months.

Video Clips

Contact with the enemy

James C. Delong describes the activities of the 31st Infantry Regiment from Inchon to Suwon including contact with the enemy. He explains that he landed in Inchon the day after the Inchon Landing. He goes on to explain there was little resistance on the way to Suwon because the North Koreans were trying to evade them, abandoning their tanks and everything along the way.

Tags: 1950 Inchon Landing, 9/15-9/19,Daegu,Incheon,Suwon,Front lines,North Koreans

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Captured by the Chinese at Hill 1221

James C. Delong describes his capture by the Chinese and the march to Chang-ni, a interrogation camp for Prisoners of War. He explains that he was driving a truck of wounded men away from the battlefield. When he stopped to check on the men in the bed of the truck the Chinese surrounded them and ordered them surrender or die. He describes breaking his rifle and throwing his bullets into the snow so that it couldn't be used by the enemy. After lining up the wounded that were able to walk, the Chinese shot the rest of the wounded men in the truck.

Tags: 1950 Battle of Chosin Reservoir, 11/27-12/13,Chinese,POW

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Combat near the Chosin Reservoir

James C. Delong describes a four day period in combat near the Chosin Reservoir before being captured days later by the Chinese. He explains that he manned a machine gun and guarded a ditch that the Chinese used for cover. He describes the nights of guarding the the ditch and easily shooting the Chinese who gathered at a bunker along the side of the hill. He goes on to describe the final night when his friend, who had been in WWII and warned him about the tenacity of the Chinese, was shot and killed.

Tags: Chinese,Front lines,Weapons

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Life as a POW - Marching

James C. Delong describes the march to the POW camp. He explains that the men were given one frozen potato a day. He recalls trying to find the biggest one, knowing that would be all he would receive for the entire day. He describes climbing mountain after mountain for eighteen days to reach their destination that was sixty miles away. He explains that he never sat down along the way because if you sit down then you would free and die.

Tags: Chinese,Cold winters,Food,POW

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Life as a POW - At Camp

James C. Delong describes life at the POW camp in North Korea. He explains that he was forced into a barn where the Chinese attempted to brainwash him along with nearly three-hundred other men. He recounts how the interrogation and brainwashing would last for more than eight hours; the first four hours in Chinese and the second in English. He goes on to describe the day they were marched to another camp and eighteen Marines were released in order to take the prescribed propaganda back with them.

Tags: Chinese,Living conditions,POW

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