Korean War Legacy Project

John Beasley


John E. Beasley was born in Virginia Beach, Virginia on March 1, 1932.  After a failed crop on his father’s farm in 1949, he decided to enlist in the U.S. Marine Corps at seventeen years of age.  He was assigned to basic training, followed by radio and wire school at Camp Del Mar, California. In July 1950, he and his unit learned they were being deployed to Korea. He spent 10 days on the U.S.S. Jackson en route to Japan before taking part in the Inchon Landing assigned to the 1st Marine Division, 2nd Battalion, “E” Company. He took part in many battles during 1950, including the Seoul Recapture, Wonsan Landing, and the Battle of the Chosin Reservoir. After serving thirteen months in combat, he returned to the United States and was honorably discharged from service.

Video Clips

Post-WWII Recruits

John Beasley tells of his experience trying to join the military after WWII, and his father's reaction upon hearing the news of his decision to join the U.S. Marine Corps. He describes how he learned he was being sent to Korea. His recollection also includes information concerning strategical plans on the landing at Inchon by U.S. forces.

Tags: 1950 Inchon Landing, 9/15-9/19,Incheon,Basic training,Home front,Prior knowledge of Korea

Share this Clip +


Typhoon, Napalm, and a Big Breakfast

John Beasley describes the arduous trip to Inchon from Japan on a Japanese Navy Landing Ship Tank (LST). The voyage took place after a ten-day hold-up in Japan due to a typhoon. He recalls that the continuous large waves caused napalm containers aboard the ship to break loose on the deck. He describes the mood and morale of his fellow Marines as they ate a big breakfast of steak and eggs, and the concern about who would make it back alive from their mission.

Tags: 1950 Inchon Landing, 9/15-9/19,Incheon,Fear,Food,Front lines,Living conditions,Physical destruction,Weapons

Share this Clip +


Sights and Sounds of the Incheon Landing

John Beasley recalls the sights and sounds of 5:00 in the evening on September 15, 1950, the first day of the Inchon Landing. He describes only having rifles and mortars to use against Russian tanks that were coming in the next day after the landing. He recalls that other soldiers who had come off a carrier came in to assist with use of napalm. He gives a first-hand account of the heroic efforts of fellow Marine, Walter C. Monegan Jr., during the Inchon Landing. Monegan posthumously received the Medal of Honor for his valor.

Tags: 1950 Inchon Landing, 9/15-9/19,Incheon,Wolmido,Fear,Front lines,North Koreans,Physical destruction,Weapons

Share this Clip +


Taking Back Seoul and the Wonsan Landing

John Beasley describes being in combat and his near death experience in the recapturing of Seoul. He describes his unit's voyage from Incheon to Wonsan after leaving Seoul. His description highlights the contributions of the U.S. Coast Guard and naval support in the Korean War.

Tags: 1950 Seoul Recapture, 9/22-9/25,1950 Wonsan Landing, 10/25,Seoul,Wonsan,Fear,Front lines,Living conditions,North Koreans,Physical destruction,Weapons

Share this Clip +


A Picture of the Battle of Chosin Reservoir

John Beasley describes his own experience at the Battle of Chosin Reservoir. His descriptions include seeing the U.S. Army suffer heavy casualties, as well as hearing a testimony from a wounded soldier about the atrocities done to the wounded by the Chinese. He recalls serving under his highly decorated commander, Colonel "Chesty" Puller. He also describes suffering a shrapnel wound during the Seoul Recapture.

Tags: 1950 Seoul Recapture, 9/22-9/25,1950 Battle of Chosin Reservoir, 11/27-12/13,Seoul,Chinese,Fear,Front lines,North Koreans,Physical destruction,POW,Weapons

Share this Clip +