On July 14, 1931, James Houp was born in Oley, Pennsylvania. He and his family moved to Boyertown and he later graduated from Boyertown High School in 1949. Shortly after graduating, he enlisted in the army. He attended basic training at Fort Knox, Kentucky, and then went to Fort Monmouth, New Jersey to train as a teletype operator. He graduated from his training just before the Korean War broke out and was soon sent to Toyko, Japan. He served in the signal corps of the 7th infantry division on the base of Mount Fuji. After that, he boarded a ship in Yokohama, Japan which was set to join the invasion of Incheon, Korea on September 18, 1950. He served in Korea until July of 1951.
Enlisting in the Army
James Houp recalls his experience enlisting in the army. He graduated in 1949 and that same year he enlisted in the army. He doesn't remember learning anything about Korea in school. He attended boot camp at Fort Knox and advanced training at Fort Monmouth. He graduated at the top of his class and was sent to Tokyo, Japan before ultimately heading to Korea for the Invasion of Incheon.
The Incheon Landing
James Houp reflects on his experience at the Incheon Landing. He and his unit went in on the third day of the invasion, on September 18th of 1950. His job was to lay telephone wire. He remembers that Seoul had not been recaptured yet when he arrived. He remembers seeing the enemy sticking their heads outside of the foxholes as he was re-laying wire that had been run over by tanks. At that point, he recalls recognizing we were actually at war.
While in Korea
James Houp talks about his time in Pusan and Heungnam, up towards the Yalu River, and was met with Chinese forces. His unit was pushed back to Heungnam where he worked to set up communication lines with the ships. His unit stayed in a warehouse and remembers seeing the army retreating away from the Chosin Reservoir. He remembers the temperature being 32 degrees below zero! He later boarded a U.S. ship that was headed back to Pusan, and then to other locations south of Seoul.
Korea Today and the Honor Flight
James Houp recalls reading about Korea today and recognizes its great economic achievements. He also remembers going on the honor flight to the Korean War Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Three South Koreans stopped him to take a picture and were very grateful for his service in Korea. He cannot believe the transformation Korea has made from a very poor country to one of the richest in the world today. He is very proud to be a Korean War Veteran.