Korean War Legacy Project

Jearl Ballow


Jearl Ballow, from Candletown, Indiana, enlisted in the Army in 1948. His first assignment was as a clerk in General MacArthurs’ headquarters (GHQ) in Tokyo, before the war started.
He says that his clerking job changed completely when the war in Korea started, and he volunteered for service in Korea, following a a unique outfit called the “GHQ Raider Company”.
He speaks very highly of Gen. MacArthur, calling him “godlike” and arguing that his detractors either didn’t understand him, or were envious of him.
He states that the “one blessing” of the war was the lasting friendship between the Korean people and the Americans.
Near the end of the interview, Ballow introduces a book that he wrote called the Soft Cap Chronicles. It is an oral history of the GHQ Raiders. He met with veterans of this group after 60 years, and compiled their war recollections. The book is highly reviewed on Amazon and other sites.
Ballow spent a total of 15 years in the military, 11 of them as Special Agent of the U.S. Armys Criminal Investigation Command (CID) in Korea and Okinawa.

Video Clips

Inchon landing headed by Douglas Macarthur

Describes MacArthur and his staff in glowing terms ("Unbelievable", "Jubilation")of how impressive they were in planning and executing the successful landing, and the later concerns that the war would not be as easy as originally thought.

Tags: 1950 Inchon Landing, 9/15-9/19,Incheon

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Legacy of friendship

He talks about the friendship that was cemented between the American and Korean people. He describes returning to Korea years later, and being welcomed and treated kindly. He describes visiting an orphanage the Americans ran, and includes a cute anecdote about introducing cheeseburgers to orphan children.

Tags: Impressions of Korea,Orphanage

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"I'd do away with the DMZ"

He argues that the war should be declared over, that the demilitarized zone should be eradicated, and that the North Korean people should be allowed to see for themselves how South Korea has progress.

Tags: Communists,Impressions of Korea,Living conditions,North Koreans

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"Intelligence Disaster"

Describes the period of time when the Chinese were amassing across the Yalu river, and MacArthur apparently did not notice. He argues that the South Korean intelligence actually knew they were there, had already had skirmish with an outfit in late October that were originally thought to be North Korean troops but were actually Chinese. He states that even though they knew, there was not much they could do about it, they were overwhelmed and outnumbered.

Tags: Aprokgang (Yalu River),Chinese,North Koreans

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