Korean War Legacy Project

James “Jim” Wetmore


James Wetmore was born in Harvey, Illinois. He enlisted with the US Army in 1951, attended Basic Training at Camp Breckenridge, Kentucky and afterwards advanced to Non-commissioned Officer School and volunteered to go to Korea.  He arrived at Incheon in January 1952 and was stationed with the 25th Division/35th Regiment/Company A/1st Platoon/1st Squadron near the Punch Bowl.  He participated in the winter and spring campaigns of 1952 and was on the front lines as a BAR Rifleman.  He was seriously wounded by a mortar and spent ten months in the hospital undergoing operations and rehabilitation; ultimately being awarded a Purple Heart.

Video Clips

B-29 Crash

Jim Wetmore describes an evening when he witnessed a fiery B-29 crash just past where his unit was camped. He recalls a bright light in the sky and realized as the plane passed overhead that the magnesium aboard the plane had caught fire. He remembers he heard two explosions: the first when the plane crashed and the second when the bombs on the plane exploded.

Tags: Front lines,Weapons

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Dead Marine in the Snow

Jim Wetmore recalls an incident when he and some fellow soldiers discovered a frozen Marine in the snow. He explains that he and some men in his unit were throwing Russian hand grenades down a hill for fun to see who could make the biggest explosion. He saw a hand sticking up out of the snow and called for a patrol to come inspect the situation. They found the body of a marine wearing only fatigues and a tee shirt. He assumes the man had escaped imprisonment and was caught in the snow and froze to death.

Tags: Cold winters

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You Never hear the One That Hit You

Jim Wetmore describes being seriously wounded by a mortar and his evacuation from the battlefield in the Punch Bowl area on April 11, 1952. He explains that the saying is true: you never hear the one that hit you. He describes awaking face down in a fighting hole, helmet full of blood, broken jaw and a deep face wound so badly gaping he could stick his fingers inside the wound. He goes on to describe being evacuated down a mountain on a ski cablecar and being too afraid to look down.

Tags: Fear,Front lines

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