Korean War Legacy Project

Joe Rosato


Living in Loseto, Italy, Joe Rosato was a rambunctious young boy.  His father who was originally from Italy, had already become a citizen of the US and his mother was living in the US at the time, brought their two children to settle in Chicago, IL.  When the Korean War broke out, Joe Rosato had already enlisted and had been training in Okinawa since 1949 before he was shipped to the Pusan Perimeter.  While he was stationed in Korea, he was assigned to the 35th military unit as a corporal and would be classified as a  sergeant upon discharge. He participated in five major battles as a 57- recoilless gunner, and he earned 5 stars and a bronze stars for his commitment to the Korean War cause.

Video Clips

Bad Ankle Injury

Joe Rosato recalled that while fighting near the Yalu River, he, his sergeant, and a lieutenant were ordered to take out a machine gun nest using the 57-recoilless rifle. Not soon after their assigned task to take out the gunnery, they were ordered to quickly get down the road and regroup in no particular order. They were to just move as quickly as they could. Joe Rosato was carrying the rifle when his foot was wedged between rocks and he fell in a hole while twisting his ankle so bad he couldn't walk on it. He had to abandoned his rifle and limp as fast as he could to meet up with this regiment, but they lost a lot of men that day.

Tags: Aprokgang (Yalu River),Chinese,Fear,Front lines,Living conditions,Personal Loss,Weapons

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The Most Difficult Conditions Were Being Constantly Cold and Wet

Joe Rosato described that in most places around Korea, it wasn't safe to walk around. During the winter months, the scariest times were when they lived in the fox holes and it rained so much that it would fill the fox holes with water. Sleeping in a foot of water made Joe Rasato fear that he would freeze to death or drowned, so they had to make the choice to stay where they were or sleep outside the fox hole and risk getting shot.

Tags: Aprokgang (Yalu River),Cold winters,Fear,Front lines,Impressions of Korea,Living conditions,Personal Loss

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Ox Steps on a Field Mine-We have meat!

Joe Rosato did have C-Rations that he took advantage of for meals. As he was passing through villages, he was aware that the food was grown in human waste, but that didn't stop him from eating the cucumbers, watermelons, peppers, and beans. Joe Rasato saw an ox step on a field mine and blew itself apart, so the soldiers built a fire and made sauce with the chili peppers to go along with this fresh meat.

Tags: Aprokgang (Yalu River),Civilians,Food,Front lines,Impressions of Korea,Living conditions,Physical destruction,Poverty

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