Korean War Legacy Project

Joe Henmuller


Joe Henmuller was born on June 15th, 1933, to Austrian immigrants in Chicago, Illinois. Knowing he would be drafted after high school, he went to the draft board and volunteered to put his name at the top of the list. Once in Korea, he worked in a transportation helicopter company which distributed goods and transported different military and USO officials. Arriving after the Armistice, he did not see combat but worked at the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) and transported some prisoners of war (POWs) from the North back to South Korea. When he returned from Korea, he taught accordion, became a banker, and raised a family with seven children. He is proud of his service and amazed at how South Korea has modernized since his time there.

Video Clips

Military Jobs

Joe Henmuller describes his different tasks during his time in Korea. He explains that, initially, he was with a Field Artillery Observation Battalion and his job was to ensure the helicopter used for artillery spotting was maintained. He shares that he was later assigned to the 13th Transportation Helicopter Company where he maintained an H19 Chickasaw and was eventually promoted to Crew Chief. He recalls that his duties were not only maintenance but also transporting supplies and people, including Marilyn Monroe and General Matthew B. Ridgway.

Tags: Impressions of Korea,Living conditions,Rest and Relaxation (R&R)

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Korea after the Armistice

Joe Henmuller describes what Korea was like when he arrived after the Armistice was signed and what he knows about South Korea today. He recalls how Korea was devastated by war and that Seoul had been destroyed. He explains that the destruction after the war makes the transformation Korea has gone through all the more amazing.

Tags: Seoul,Civilians,Food,Impressions of Korea,Modern Korea,Physical destruction

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Daily Life in Korea

Joe Henmuller describes what life was like in Korea. He explains that they lived in quonset huts and slept on canvas cots with rubber air mattresses. He recalls his weekly shower routine which entailed driving down a dusty road to the shower stalls and back when they finished. He recalls how the trip left them dirtier then they were before showering.

Tags: Impressions of Korea,Living conditions

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Life Lessons

Joe Henmuller expresses that he learned a lot from the military. He describes the skills he learned which included how to follow orders and teamwork. He shares how he thinks it would be a good idea for every person to serve one or two years in the military.

Tags: Message to Students,Modern Korea,Pride,South Koreans

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