Korean War Legacy Project

James Parker


James Parker was born in Indiana in 1928 and was working for the local bus company when he was drafted into the United States Army in November 1950. He served in the 2nd Infantry Division as a rifleman and machine gunner, eventually serving as a platoon sergeant, and his unit was involved in active combat at Heartbreak Ridge. He recalls a particular experience with “friendly fire” and recounts the campaign for Heartbreak Ridge. He remembers the realities of war as he shares that many soldiers were wounded advancing hills. He chronicles the changing of tactics during the fighting and offers a visual of the area through a copy of a magazine his sister sent him while he was stationed in Korea. He is proud of his service and feels it prepared him for hardships later in life.

Video Clips

Friendly Fire Experience

James Parker recalls some of his typical duties while serving. He describes participating in exercises and his experience with "friendly fire". He shares that napalm and artillery were mistakenly dropped and fired on their own troops.

Tags: Fear,Front lines,Physical destruction,Weapons

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Heartbreak Ridge

James Parker recalls the campaign for Heartbreak Ridge. He remembers many calls for medics as soldiers were continuously wounded advancing up the hill. He chronicles the change in tactics from using manpower to advance to using tanks instead as a means of taking out the enemy bunkers.

Tags: 1951 Battle of Heartbreak Ridge, 9/13-10/15/,Front lines,North Koreans,Weapons

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Letters Home

James Parker recalls writing letters home to his sister. He produces a folder containing a letter he had written and offers the viewing of a magazine he was sent from the States pertaining to Heartbreak Ridge. He utilizes the map to show the routes he and other soldiers took during the campaign.

Tags: 1951 Battle of Heartbreak Ridge, 9/13-10/15/,Front lines,Home front,Impressions of Korea,Letters,Pride,Women

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