Korean War Legacy Project

James P. Argires


James P. Argires was born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania in February of 1931. He enlisted in the Marines in June of 1950 when his other friends also joined.  In early September of 1950 he arrived in Korea at Pusan (Busan), and shortly after participated in the Inchon Landing and the recapture of Seoul. He recalls the poverty that he saw and vividly remembers a young boy that followed him for an extended period of time.  He served in Korea during the war until January of 1952 when he returned to the United States. He shares why he thinks that the Korean War was not taught, but how it became a model for how all other wars would be fought.  After finishing his enlistment in the U.S.M.C.  Mr. Argires returned to college at the University of Alabama eventually becoming Dr. Argires in 1962, and became a Neurosurgeon in 1966.

Video Clips

"Fearless" at the Inchon Landing

James Argires describes his experience in the Inchon Landing, explaining that there was some controversy around whether it would be successful. He describes the terrain and the struggles he faced. When asked if he was afraid, he explains how being young made him “fearless.”

Tags: 1950 Inchon Landing, 9/15-9/19,Incheon,Fear,Front lines,Impressions of Korea

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Poverty and a Friendship

James Argires how they went from Incheon to Seoul and then North. He explains the poverty he saw in detail. He remembers a little boy that would follow him for about a month.

Tags: 1950 Seoul Recapture, 9/22-9/25,Seoul,Food,Living conditions,Poverty

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Korea Became the Model for War

James Argires shares why he thinks that we do not talk about Korea in schools. He then gives a bigger perspective about how Korea was placed in the context of the Cold War and the climate political at the time. He shares a quote by General Walker about how Korea became the model for how all wars are fought today.

Tags: Impressions of Korea,Prior knowledge of Korea

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Video Transcript

[Beginning of Recorded Material]

J:         Dr. James P. Argires.  A R G I R E S.

I:          Could you pronounce one more time of your last name?

J:         Argires.

I:          Argires.

J:         Argires.

I:          And that’s the Greek origin?

J:         Correct.

I:          So when your descendants came to the United States?

J:         My fath, my uncle came in 18, uh, 96, and my father came in 1911.

I:          Wow.  1911.

J:         11.

I:          Okay.


And tell me your birthday?

J:         2/22/32.

I:          And where were you born?

J:         Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

I:          Right here?

J:         Um hm.

I:          Alrighty.  And tell me about your father, parents when you were growing up with your siblings.

J:         Uh, my father married my mother in 1930 on the Island of Chios in the Aegean Sea.  He traveled back and forth,


and my, my mother was, uh, uh, they got married, and then, um, when she came

I:          You mean in Greece, right?

J:         Right.

I:          Yeah.

J:         They were married in Greece, and then, and came in 1932 she came to America and delivered me.  And, uh, shortly after that delivery, she was found to have active tuberculosis


I:          Oh.

J:         which was a, a rampant disease in the Baltic States back then.  And so she died, she delivered me, but they never had any other children.  So there are no other siblings.  And my father never remarried.  She was placed in a sanatorium here in Lancaster where she lived for a couple of years till she died.

I:          Oh.  Sorry to hear that.

J:         So in those days, they isolated people with a disease because there was no treatment.

I:          I see.  And your father?


J:         And my father had a store downtown, a smoke shop, sold, uh, tobacco and cigars, cigarettes, magazines, cleaned hats and shined shoes. [LAUGHS]

I:          Very good.

J:         So that was, uh, that was his, uh, and he was there 52 years.

I:          And you are the only child.

J:         I’m the only child.

I:          Right.  Tell me about schools that you went through here in Lancaster.

J:         Well, I graduated, I, I


attended, uh, Robert Fulton Elementary

I:          Um hm.

J:         And then I went to, uh, John Reynolds Junior High School, and then to

McCaskey, and I was, uh, designated a Distinguished Alumnus of the School.

I:          McCaskey High School.

J:         Um hm.

I:          What, when, when did you graduate?

J:         I graduated in 1949.

I:          1949.  And let me ask this question.  You are the Neurosurgeon, one of the most well-educated Korean War veteran.


Did you know anything about Korea at the time that you graduated?

J:         I did not.

I:          Why?

J:         Uh,

I:          [LAUGHS] It’s a

J:         You mean when I graduated from college?

I:          High school.

J:         Oh, from high school.  No, I didn’t know anything about Korea.  It wasn’t internationally, uh, occupied with, you know, that geography, that various countries.  When I graduated, I went into the Physical Education program at Westchester State Teacher’s College.


That’s where I attended school.

I:          Um hm.

J:         And, uh, and I stayed there for one year. That summer of, of, uh, 1950 when the Korean War broke out, uh, we saw a movie

I:          Um.

J:         and the movie was called “From The Halls of Montezuma”

I:          Hm.

J:         with Richard Widmark and Dana Andrews.

I:          Um hm.

J:         And so there were five Greek boys.  We were kind of, you know, uh, a gang so to speak.  We were really dear


friends, and they came down to pick me up to go to Philadelphia.  I worked as a waiter at the college as my scholarship, I had an ath, student athletic scholarship, and so we went downtown to see, uh, the Philadelphia A’s play the Baltimore Or, well, anyway, the St. Louis, I’m sorry, St. Louis, and they had a center fielder with one arm, and everybody wanted to go to see him play in the Major Leagues.


I:          Um.

J:         His name was Pete Gray. Well, when we came out of that movie, it was like 2:00 in the morning, and the vans were out front, Army, Navy, Marine Corp., Coast Guard, Air Force, and  they were, uh, recruiting for the war, the conflict that had begun, and so the five of us decided we would enlist.  So we all enlisted together.

I:          Just like that?

J:         Just like that.  I enlisted in the Marine Corp. because it was only three years.


I:          When was it?

J:         In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

I:          When was it?  When?

J:         Oh.  The summer of 19, well, the summer of ’50.

I:          So it was in June.

J:         In June, yeah.

I:          And you enlisted to Marine.

J:         Right.  The others went to the Air For, it was me, I went to the Marine Corp. because the recruitment was only three years.

I:          So you didn’t know anything about Korea.

J:         Nothing.

I:          And school didn’t teach?

J:         Nothing.

I:          Text doesn’t cover


J:         Just, just, uh, wanted to serve my country.

I:          Um.  And have you been back to Korea?

J:         No.

I:          When did you, when were you in Korea?  When did you arrive in Korea?

J:         ’50 to ’50, through the whole year of ’51, and then I returned to the States.

I:          When did you arrive in Korea?

J:         Yeah, the fall of ’50.

I:          ’50, fall.  September or October?

J:         October.

I:          October.  And when did you leave?

J:         And I left in ’52.  It was, uh,


about the January of 1952.

I:          And you know about contemporary Korea, right? Korean economy, what’s going on in Korea, right?

J:         Today?

I:          Yeah.

J:         Yes.

I:          What do you know?  Tell me, how do you know, and what do you know?

J:         Well, I think that, uh, South Korea seemed to have a rich culture, uh, very intelligent, hard- working people, industrial, you know, uh, and I have very, very many, not very many, but


I have many, uh, Koran friends, um, throughout the country.  Some are neurosurgeons, and some, you know, that I know from my college days and so on, and, uh, especially when I returned because, uh, I dropped out of college, you know, I enlisted.

I:          Yeah, you enlisted.

J:         I enlisted, and then I went on to, uh, go to Korea, and then I came back, and I had a year and a half of my three-year enlistment, uh.  And then from that, um,


I worked as a physical therapist in grad, did some graduate work, and I became a physical therapist, and I worked for a year and a half in Birmingham, Alabama at the University Hospital.

I:          But I wanna go back to the question here.

J:         Alright.

I:          You were there in Korea from 1950 to ’52,

J:         Um hm.

I:          And you know now the current Korea.

J:         Yeah.

I:          Eleventh largest economy in the world.

J:         Well, I was get, I was gonna get to that.

I:          Oh.

J:         Okay.  Because I,


Because of South Korean culture and their intelligence, the ability to industrialize and so on, they’ve grown into what, the third largest economy in the world.

I:          Eleventh largest.

J:         Eleventh.

I:          Yeah.

J:         And, uh, I just think that they’re just great people, and I was proud to have been a part of that conflict and, and I freed them up as well as serve my own country.  So it was a part of my life which I’m very proud of.


I:          That’s your legacy.

J:         That’s my legacy.

I:          Yes.  And the Korean War legacy.

J:         Yep.

I:          But we don’t teach about this thing.

J:         No.

I:          That’s why we are doing this.

J:         Yeah.  You certainly don’t.  But that’s okay, you know.  It was, it was a conflict that came at the end of World War II when everybody was tired of the wars, and they didn’t want another conflict.  But it was obvious that Communism was growing.


And in order to stop the Russian intervention and perhaps even the Chinese at that time, when Stalin was brought Premiere, uh, I guess you’d call him Prime Minister, I don’t know.  Anyway, he was, he was the head person, Stalin, and, uh, Mal, Mallow became very popular.  And so there was this overwhelming feeling that Communism was growing rapidly,


and, uh, they didn’t really expect North Korea to invade, but they did.  And there was a, uh, a General Walker who once said that the model of the Korean War is probably the way we will be fighting wars today. And you know what?  That’s true.

I:          That’s a very good point,

J:         Yeah.

I:          And as you know,

J:         Very, very good point.

I:          As you know, the Korean War never finished.

J:         Never finished.

I:          And now


it’s coming out of it, everything.

J:         And, uh, the North Koreans invaded, they, they shot at a house where there was a  Captain, uh, Captain Deerado or something like, I can’t remember his name, but it started with a D.  It’s not important.  But they were expecting North Korea to invade and, uh, of course they did, and then we went through that conflict.

I:          So


J:         When I went over as a Marine, I was a Private.

I:          Private.  But you enlisted, and where did you get the basic military training?

J:         [INAUDIBLE] In, uh, Paris Island and

I:          Paris.

J:         Combat training in Camp Pendleton.

I:          How was it?  Was it too hard for you?

J:         No, I, no it was, well, it was, well I was 18 years old, so I was [LAUGHS] I was riding high back then, you know. Physically I was, I was a pretty strong guy.

I:          Um hm.

J:         Uh, I’m a little bit short, but I was,


I was pretty strong.

I:          So when you left for Korea, what was your MOS?

J:         When I left Korea

I:          Yeah.

J:         to come home?

I:          Yeah.

J:         I came

I:          No, no, no, no.   When you left for Korea?

J:         Oh, I left from Camp Pendleton.

I:          Camp Pendleton, yes.

J:         And, uh,

I:          And what was your MOS?

J:         We took the, uh, northern route.  They came

I:          Your, your specialty Army.

J:         Oh.  Back then?

I:          Yeah.

J:         I was just an Infantry man.

I:          Infantry.  Okay.

J:         I was not an officer.


I:          Alright.  And you went to Japan, right?

J:         Correct.

I:          And then you arrived in Korea, where?

J:         Pusan.

I:          Pusan.  And tell me about the Pusan and the Korea that you first time saw, and what did you think of it?  Be honest. Just, just describe because, not for me, but for young students who will listen your interviews.

J:         Yeah.  Well, when we got there, it was certainly rural and, and in a rural category and,


and there were dirt roads and oxen carts and, you know, people hanging their fish on the lines and so on.  But when we got to Pusan, we got off the trucks and, uh, they immediately put us into different companies, in a Regiment and in a, and a Battalion, a Division, the First Marine Division, and then they put us on trucks and took us up to the line where the trouble was happening,


and it’s just, uh, before MacArthur decided to go to Inchon, make, because we were in trouble back then.  That was a strategic voluntary move that reserve, reversed the, the potential for this war.  But, uh, MacArthur, he pulled quite a, quite a trip there.  Anyway, we all, um, the, they alphabetically put us together.  So I have a picture, just a small picture

I:          Um hm.

J:         I can give it to you later, of,


with Doug Barton, Doug Barton.  B A R T O N, and I was Argires, A R, so we kind of fell together alphabetically on the truck.  So he was wounded, and I never saw him again.  But every Christmas I would get a card from him and, uh, about eight or nine years ago it stopped.  So I figured something was wrong.  Came from Kerrville, Texas.  Kerrville, Texas.


I:          So what was your Unit at the time?

J:         My unit?

I:          Yeah.

J:         I was, uh, with the First Marine Division

I:          Uh huh.

J:         Seventh Battalion

I:          Yeah.

J:         And, uh, Able Company.

I:          A?

J:         Able Company.

I:          Able Company.

J:         Um hm.

I:          And you were just Infantry, Rifleman.

J:         Right.

I:          Yeah.  So from Pusan, where did you go?

J:         Well, we went up to the line, uh, and then MacArthur pulled us out, and I landed at Inchon.


I:          So then you arrived before October.

J:         October, right.

I:          When did you arrive?

J:         Well, early October.

I:          No, no, no, no.

J:         No. no. no.

I:          Inchon Landing was done in the

J:         Landing in last of July.

I:          September 15th.

J:         Wasn’t it?

I:          No, no.  Landing was done September 15th.

J:         Yeah, that’s what it was.

I:          So when did you arrive in Korea?

J:         On

I:          Was it before that, right?

J:         That, that September, early September.

I:          Early September.  That makes sense.

J:         Yeah.

I:          You know?

J:         [INAUDIBLE] I’m sorry. I made a mistake.  But, but you know.  I’m 6,


It’s 60 some years I’m, I

I:          That’s why we are doing this.

J:         Yeah, right.

I:          To preserve your memory.  So you part, you participated in Inchon Landing?

J:         Um hm.

I:          Good.

J:         And when we landed, you know, there was controversy as to whether or not that was going to be successful.  I don’t know if, whether you’re aware of that.

I:          Absolutely.  I am aware.

J:         Oh, yeah.  I’m sure you are.  Well, the channels narrowed, to 12’ of the tide wave, and so that if we landed,


then at low tide we’d have to wait 12 hours to go back up again.

I:          Right.

J:         And it was a, I think, a 35’ elevation or water. So, but, you know, we didn’t, we didn’t, uh, have much resistance in the first couple of miles when we landed.  We kind of moved rapidly into the area.

I:          You remember that you coming down from LST, was it LST or

J:         LST.

I:          Describe.

J:         And I was short

I:          Describe those

J:         And I was short.


I had to have some help with the guys were, they had the rifles up and I hung onto the other rifle.

I:          I tried that, and it was so hard.

J:         Oh, they are.

I:          It’s moving constantly, right?

J:         Right.  Correct.

I:          Yeah.

J:         So anyway, so

I:          Were you afraid?

J:         Well, when you’re 18 years old, you don’t think like that, you know.  You, you, you’re sort of fearless, you know?  You don’t, because you, you haven’t lived long enough to appreciate life


you know, and you don’t know what it’s all about and, uh, so that you’re, I always called it fearless, you know.  We all had our little thing, uh.  The, so, I was, I was captivated by the poverty that Korea had back then and, uh, where I saw people, you know, living with animals in, near their house or in their house,


you know, and, and hanging their food out on the line to let that fish dry well enough to take it, you know, eat it at a later time.

I:          Yeah.

J:         And, uh, and then I didn’t realize until I was North almost close to the Yalu River, how catastrophic the weather is in the northern part of, of the, you know, peninsula of Korea.  It’s brutal.  [LAUGHS]


I:          James, but that Inchon, the city of Inchon.  Now it’s the world best airport, International Airport.

J:         Oh, I believe that.

I:          Best.

J:         I believe that.

I:          Ranked number one so many times.

J:         Well, their airlines are, their airlines also rated very high.  I’m, I, I’m 87, so I don’t know that, I don’t know.  My wife and I have been talking about going on one of these, uh, you know, trips back

I:          Revisit Program, yes.

J:         Yeah.  And, uh,


till I know that things are gonna settle down over there, I think I’ll hold off.

I:          Yeah.  So from Inchon, where did you go?  Did you go to Seoul?

J:         And we, we moved north.

I:          Did you go to Seoul or just north?

J:         No, no.  Went to Seoul.

I:          Right.

J:         Cap,and, you know, captured that, uh, city back, and then we moved on, uh, up the East Coast, and then, uh, MacArthur made another landing, Wonsan, Wonsan I believe.

I:          Right.

J:         Yeah.  But I,


I wasn’t involved in that.

I:          Right.  So you went up to north, right?

]:          To the north.

I:          Tell me about Seoul that you saw when you capture in, that’s, uh, September 27th.

J:         Yeah.

I:          Describe in detail, just don’t say just poor. Describe in

J:         Yeah.

I:          detail because students wants to hear from you.

J:         Yeah.  Well the buildings were poor and, uh, the roads were like I mentioned earlier, they’re and, uh, the people seem to just travel by foot to wherever they were going.


There were no automobiles and things like that, and most of the people looked like they carried their packages on their backs, and I remember

I:          A frame.

J:         I remember distinctly children following us

I:          Why?

J:         Yeah, because they captured the food that we didn’t eat, you know.

I:          They were looking for anything to eat.

J:         And we always shared it.  I, I, I often wonder where that little boy was that, we became friends,


and he would follow me.  I always made him stay back 100 yards, 200 yards, but he, he would always find me.

I:          [LAUGHS]

J:         Yeah.

I:          You mean in Seoul?

J:         And I, in, in Seoul and all the way north.

I:          But you mean

J:         He followed me for a month I bet.

I:          You kidding me.

J:         No I’m not.

I:          He went up to

J:         All the way up to Seoul, I mean from Seoul up, up to

I:          Yalu.

J:         To, uh, Han, the Han River I think and, uh,


there was a bridge up there if I remember correctly, that was destroyed.

I:          Right.

J:         Uh, and then I think I, that, that area is all I remember.

I:          Oh, you talking about within Seoul?

J:         Yeah.

I:          So he was always following you.

J:         Always following me.

I:          Ah.

J:         Because I shared my, whatever food we had.

I:          C-rations?

J:         And the sad part about all that was that much or our equipment was brought upfrom Midway and Wake Island from World War II


where a lot of the equipment was left on these islands following the, you know, the war ending.

I:          Um hm.

J:         And then that was the quick shipment to, to us, but it, they were still, we were ill-equipped, you know, poorly trained [LAUGHS], and just a bunch of young guys trying to save somebody’s country.

I:          Right.

J:         That’s [LAUGHS] about what it amounted to back then because we didn’t have, we didn’t have the gear.


Example:  eh, we got hard rubber boots from Midway, and, with a felt lining so your feet would sweat in that hot boot, and then

I:          Frozen.

J:         And frozen and we lost, uh, we lost 4400 men, I think, an overall process, um.  But we lost most of our guys early in the war to weather.

I:          Right.  And so one of the



J:         Cold

I:          winter

J:         Minus 20.

I:          Right.  And that kids that follow you for a month in a, in a Seoul City, that’s a story.  Oh my goodness.

J:         Yeah.  He was a beautiful little boy. I don’t

I:          That’s so sad, isn’t it?

J:         Oh, I wouldn’t let him go, you know.  I mean, but I protected him, I always made him stay way back.  Then when things quieted down I would, you know, I would look for him just like a little dog,


Up he’d come, you know? [LAUGHS] I loved that little boy.  I don’t know where he is today.

I:          You don’t, you don’t know his name?

J:         No.

I:          No, uh.

J:         No, I don’t remember his name.  I wish I did.

I:          So from Seoul,

J:         But you know, back in those days it just, you know, you didn’t think about things that would be meaningful when you grow old, you know, and you were thinking it for the moment what was happening.


I:          But you did good thing for him.

J:         I hope so.

I:          He, he must have real confidence in you and trusted you, and he knew that he can have some food from you, too, you know?

J:         Ah, what, they were canned goods, but that’s all we had, but that was it, you know.

I:          When you do something like that to the little of your brothers and sisters, that was done for Jesus.  That’s in the Bible.

J:         Um hm.

I:          You know?

J:         That’s true.

I:          Yeah.


So from Seoul, where did you go?

J:         From Seoul, we went north, uh, I think I wrote it down somewhere.

I:          Yes.

J:         Let me just see.  I was trying to remember, uh.  We went, when the Chinese came in, we had a hard time up there.  But, uh, I don’t recall Taegu?


I:          Taegu?

J:         Taegu, up at Taegu.

I:          That is not north.  That was south.

J:         That’s not north.  That was south, yeah.  North, we went to, uh, dog gone it, I wish I could remember.

I:          So you certainly went up to north, right?

J:         Um hm.

I:          From Seoul.  That’s, yeah.  That’s what, uh, Seventh Battalion did.  Did you go to capital city of North Korea?  Did you encounter Chinese?


J:         We, we went close to, uh, Pyongyang,

I:          Pyongyang, yes.

J:         Yeah.

I:          So you went up to North Korea?

J:         Up to North Korea.

I:          How was Pyongyang?

J:         On the eastern side.

I:          No, it’s the western side.

J:         No, we weren’t up to east, up the east coast and then moved west.

I:          I see, I see.

J:         Then we moved west.

I:          So did you encounter Chinese in North Korea?

J:         We did, we did.  Yeah.  The Chinese came in and, uh


They were equally as poorly dressed and poorly armed and, uh, ill, you know, poorly trained, and we had the fire power.  That was what made the difference.  We had the fire power.  We had air support.  We had, you know, it was important.

I:          Um hm.

J:         Then, because MacArthur did not think the Chinese were gonna enter into the war.

I:          Exactly.

J:         Uh, and then he offended my Colonel, Oliver Smith, who was


Commander of the First Marine Division.

I:          Your, Oliver Smith was your Colonel?

J:         My Commander.

I:          Yeah.

J:         Yeah.  And so, uh,

I:          Tell me about

J:         I rose, I rose to the rank of Staff Sergeant. By the year, middle of that year, I was 19 years old and I was a Staff Sergeant, probably the youngest Staff Sergeant in the Marine Corp.,

I:          Um.

J:         Nineteen years, you know?  That, that doesn’t happen in the Corp.  But it was by attrition that, you know.  Those of us that were left got,


got a, uh, Chest y Puller came up with a helicopter.  He was the only one that had a helicopter in Korea.

I:          Yeah.

J:         And it was the old, you know, swung from side to side. He came up and often would give, give us all a stripe with his adjutant standing next to him taking our serial number and so on because those of us that were left, that’s, that’s how it worked. So you went from a Private, to a Corporal, to a Buck Sergeant.  Next thing you know,

I:          He’s a legend,

J:         Boy, he’s a

I:          Yeah.


J:         No question about it.  Yeah.  So that’s that.  And then, uh, I was never wounded. I had, I was blessed.  So I got through that bad year as I did, but I was really worried about my hands.  They still tingle

I:          Why?

J:         From the frostbite.

I:          Oh.

J:         Uh, they had never gone away, but it didn’t interfere with my being a surgeon, so, a neurosurgeon.


I:          Yeah.

J:         I was, I was really worried about that when I decided not, there were doctors at, at the University of Alabama that sponsored me, and that’s how I went to school, uh, to become a physician, and them from then I became a Neurosurgeon, and I spent 16 years in that period of time.

I:          When did you start your medical study?

J:         At the Medical College at the University of Alabama.

I:          When?

J:         Uh, in 1958.


I:          ’58?

J:         Um hm.

I:          And when you become a surgeon?

J:         That’s when I, no, yeah, ’58, and then I graduated in ’62.

I:          ’62. And when you become the surgeon?

J:         Uh, 1966.  The latter part of ’66.

I:          And you need a lot of, uh, operations, right?

J:         I performed perhaps over the 49 years more than 19,000 spine operations.


I:          Spine?

J:         And 2,500 heads.

I:          Spine.

J:         Spine.

I:          And the tingling didn’t bother you.

J:         Doesn’t bother me. I don’t think about it.

I:          Wow.

J:         But every once in a while when we have a cold snap here in Lancaster and I don’t have my gloves with me, then I can sense the sensitivity.  But it has, it really has improved over the decades, you know?

I:          Um hm.

J:         It’s not, I was blessed in it, I didn’t have permanent damage, you know.?


And we used to sleep with our feet under each other’s armpits

I:          Yeah.

J:         to keep our feet warm.  Well, I told you about the rubber boots.  But they were, they were just worthless.  So, bad times.

I:          Um hm.  And so James, looking back all those years, the country that you never knew before, you fought for them, and now they are one of the most prosperous country, and you became a


surgeon, Neurosurgeon, and you have a wonderful life.  what do you think about this things looking back all those years, and how are you put, linked the dots that you, you fought for country that you didn’t know, and now Korean War veteran?

J:        Well, I, I think our country is probably the world’s greatest country. It’s young, but America’s service, you know, services the whole world.  The ministries all over the place.

I:          Um hm.


There’s funding. Look at, look at what we do to the United Nations.  We pay for everything.  We sent food, we share our wealth in many ways to the rest of the world, and it was a, it was a privilege for me to have had the opportunity to fight for my country, to keep it’s freedom and as        well as to stop the Communistic growth that was developing at that time.

I:          Um hm.

J:         That’s the bottom line.

I:          Um hm.    And during


your stay in Korea for two, almost two years, no, actually one and a half years,

J:         One and a half.

I:          Yeah, were there any dangerous moments that you still remember, kind of episode?

J:         When we, when we sort of brought out some of the fellows and the Reservoir, uh, Kotori was the last village.

I:          Were you in Kotori?

J:         Kotori.

J:         You were in Kotori?

J:         We had, yeah, we had some, we had some, uh, a night or two of that. But it was at the end.


It was the last, last battle in the Reservoir.

I:          So you are also Chosin Few.

J:         Yeah.

I:          Are you?

J:         No, not, not really. I wasn’t much in the Reservoir.

I:          Um hm.

J:         We were, we were, the Company that was sent there to help bring out the dead and, and, uh, the wounded, and so, yeah.

I:          In Kotori?

J:         In Kotori, right.

I:          You were there in Kotori?

J:         Kotori.

I:          When?

J:         North Kotori.

I:          Yeah.  In December, right?

J:         No, I remember.  Yeah, close to the holiday

I:          Yeah.

J:         Season, I remember that.

I:          How was it?  Tell me about that?


J:         Oh, it was terrible.  It was ice cold.  We were, the winds out of the Siberian Mountains were, uh, created temperatures, uh, in the minus twenty, thirty.  We lost a lot of casualties to you know, to the weather.  We lost just, almost as much to the weather as we did the war.

I:          So you didn’t go up to the Reservoir, but you were helping,

J:         Well, at the end, tip end of the war,

I:          Right.

J:         The tip end of the Reservoir.

I:          Yeah, I know the Kotori.


So you saw many U.S. Marines coming out of Reservoir, right?

J:         Well, you know, we have it in the Marine Corp, we never leave our dead and our wounded behind.  So we had to go get them.  And we had air support which was fortunate.  We had a lot of fire power enable us to get that done because it, they were traps.

I:          And was terrible, right?  One of the most severe battles that U.S. Marine had before.

J:         Yep, that’s, that’s correct.  When we were in those mountains, you know, at,


at night, Korean, the Korean, North Korean soldier and North Korean in general, felt that the weakest time, uh, an American soldier had was 4:00 in the morning.

I:          Um.

J:         And they always liked to attack in the morning. But during the night, many of them used to try to crawl up, crawl up the mountainside to get to us and, uh, they claim they could smell our odor which I never have been able to understand.


But anyway, uh. So sometimes we would throw little rocks or, or cans out in front of us to make, try to see if they would stumble and something to wake, you know, it, make sure that we knew somebody was trying to get up.  Uh, so anyway, that’s the way that worked.

I:          Um.  So you’re proud of your service.

J:         I am, very proud of it.

J:         Um hm.


J:         I would do it again in a minute.

I:          Now the Kim Jung-un, North Korean leader and Trump, President from this, going to meet according to Trump.

J:         Well, I, I’m living Advisory to the President.

I:          Right.

J:         However, I would say don’t go there until there is concrete evidence that there’s deneuterization.


Now, that just has to happen before they meet.  And then we can’t give them any concessions, you have to be rock solid, can’t, you can’t do because they’re not trusted.  They’re with, look how many presidents they have fooled.  From Clinton, to Bush, you know, to Obama.  That’s three presidents

I:          That’s right.

J:         you know, and eight years each?  That’s a long time.  And we gave them billions of dollars to do things with their economy which they never did.  It went to the regime.


and that’s just the way that goes.

I:          Any other episode or message do you, you want to leave to this interview?

J:         A message?

I:          Yeah.

J:         I think the message is that you serve your country if there’s a need to, to serve it.

I:          Um hm.

J:         And that America needs to remain very strong for, as long as America’s strong, the world will be at peace.  But if we don’t, then


we get rogue nations that get out of control.  And then there’s that, that factor of, to deal with because they, they are hell bent on getting, they’re hell bent on stopping democracy.  And, and South Korea’s been very smart.  They adopted the democratic way of life, the democracy, and look how successful they have been.  That speaks for itself.


I:          And that is your legacy.

J:         That’s my legacy.

I:          And we were going to preserve your memory and make it as available as a teaching tools for the generations to come.

J:         Well thank you.  That’s kind.

I:          Thank you for coming, James,

J:         Thank you.

I:          And on behalf of Korean nation, I want to thank you for your fight.

J:         Thank you.

I:          For Korea.

J:         Thank you.

I:          Thank you.

[End of Recorded Material]