Korean War Legacy Project

James “Jim” Valentine


James Valentine was born in 1932 in San Francisco, California. At age sixteen, he ran away to join the United States Army. After basic training at Fort Ord, California, he was stationed in Japan in 1949. After the war began, he volunteered to leave the United States to fight in Korea so he could help the war effort. He describes being part of the initial amphibious landing at Incheon. He discusses the hardships he experienced during the war and his perspective of warfare while being so young.

Video Clips

Death on the Ice at Chosin Reservoir

Jim Valentine discusses crossing the ice in the Battle of Chosin Reservoir. He explains how he was surrounded. He explains how they had to not attract attention due to Chinese soldiers. He discusses the harsh winters he experienced. He explains that he is still unsure as to how/why he survived.

Tags: 1950 Battle of Chosin Reservoir, 11/27-12/13,Aprokgang (Yalu River),Chinese,Cold winters,Fear,Front lines,Living conditions

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Giving Money to the Children

James "Jim" Valentine discusses how he got disoriented and was in a tank in the 1950's liberation of Seoul. He discusses the destruction. He shares an emotional experience he has with the South Korean children. He explains that due to an accident he lost his few items and that he didn't have/take pictures.

Tags: Seoul,Civilians,Front lines,Physical destruction

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I Was Only 17/18

James Valentine discusses being evacuated. He discusses that he thought he was leaving but was sent back to liberate Seoul the second time from North Korea. He explains how he didn't completely understand since he was just a teen and how it changed him. He shares his struggles post-war. His wife, Beth, adds a story about rations and being able to eat during the cold. She explains how he didn't speak of the war until being involved with the VFW in Washington.

Tags: 1950 Hamheung Evacuation, 12/10-12/24,Hamheung,Seoul,Cold winters,Food,Front lines,North Koreans

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