Korean War Legacy Project

James M. Cross


James Cross was drafted into the Army in 1950 and served in Korea during the war. He shares his first impressions of Korea, recalling the destruction and poverty, as he made his way from Pusan towards Seoul. He details his account of the Battle of Heartbreak Ridge and offers graphic scenes from his memory. He recounts his fear and anger on the battlefield and comments on the PTSD he suffered after returning home. He includes several stories centered on Chinese soldiers during his time at Heartbreak Ridge. He is proud of his service and commends South Korea on its developments since the war.

Video Clips

Impressions of Korea

James Cross discusses his first impressions of Korea. He remembers everything as small and ruined and recounts children being hungry as there was not enough food. He shares that he would give candy bars or whatever else he had to the children.

Tags: Busan,Seoul,Basic training,Civilians,Food,Impressions of Korea,Letters,Living conditions,Physical destruction,Poverty

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Heartbreak Ridge and PTSD (graphic)

James Cross describes the marches he endured and seeing fellow Marines dead in a pile with all clothing removed by the enemy. He shares that he began to resent the Chinese, so much so that if he saw one, he would kill him. His wife, in the interview, adds that he would wake from nightmares during the night, screaming and upset due to having seen his friends killed right beside him.

Tags: 1951 Battle of Heartbreak Ridge, 9/13-10/15/,Chinese,Front lines,Home front

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Scared or Mad (graphic)

James Cross describes how he was either scared or mad at the Chinese, particularly while at Heartbreak Ridge. He recalls having one hot meal a day and recounts an incident which occurred shortly after finishing a meal. He remembers being mad at the Chinese during the majority of his service for what they were doing to American soldiers, and he shares that he tried his best to stop them at whatever cost.

Tags: 1951 Battle of Heartbreak Ridge, 9/13-10/15/,Chinese,Fear,Food,Front lines,Living conditions,Weapons

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If Given a Chance to Meet the Chinese Today

James Cross states that if he met a Chinese soldier from the war today, he would shake his hand. He shares that he was thinking one thing while the Chinese soldiers were thinking another. He comments on the Chinese having little by way of uniforms and shares how proud he was to be an American soldier. He discusses the last night of his tour where he killed nine Chinese soldiers who had advanced all the way into the American trenches.

Tags: Chinese,Front lines,Pride

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Proud to Be a Veteran

James Cross comments on his pride as a veteran. He shares that even though he was drafted, he would not like to see his children or others drafted. He commends South Korea for its developments since the war.

Tags: Communists,Home front,Modern Korea,Pride

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