James “Jim” Ferris was born in Auburn, NY, in 1932 to second generation Irish immigrants. The day he graduated high school, June 25, 1950, the Korean War broke out. Since he knew he was going to be drafted and he wanted to join the US Marine Corps, James Ferris enlisted in 1952. After attending boot camp at Parris Island and Camp Lejeune, he went on a troopship to Japan to prepare for the Korean War. Once he arrived in Korea, he never stayed long, and he flew in and out using helicopters. His role as a member of G3 (General Staff Infantry Operations) was to plan for the movement of the 3rd Division. After his service in the Korean War, he was elected the state and then national President for the Korean War Veterans Association. His goal was to keep the legacy of the Korean War veterans alive through the next generation of the Korean War defense veterans.
Troopships and Preparation for Deployment into the Korean War
James Ferris describes being put on an American troopship with five thousand Marines. He recalls traveling twenty-nine days to reach Japan. He shares that once in Japan, his division was so large the soldiers were split and sent to multiple locations around the country to wait for deployment to Korea.
Keeping the Memory of the Korean War Veterans Alive
James Ferris shares about his daily work to keep the memory of the Korean War alive, honor the fallen soldiers, and celebrate all the accomplishments of South Korea. He explains as the state and then national Korean War Veteran Association President, he strives to reach out to all the Korean War defense veterans (soldiers after 1954) who have served at the DMZ. He expresses that the longevity of the Korean War legacy is with the next generation.
The Difficult Job as a US Marine
James Ferris shares that his assignment did not allow him to stay in Korea for a long time. He explains that his job had him flying in and out of the entire country. He shares he earned good money for the 1950s as a corporal and recalls how he sent most of it home to his family. He adds that once he arrived back home, he went on his first date with a girl he wrote to for over a year while serving in the war.