Korean War Legacy Project

John Cole


John Cole fought in the Battle of the Chosin Reservoir after he followed in his brother and uncle’s military footsteps. During the Korean War, he was injured three times while fighting with the 3rd Battalion 5th Marines. His work in the fire team and exemplary shooting skills helped protect his men on Hill 1520. He relied on his K Bar, grenades, and great hearing to protect him from the Chinese.

Video Clips

Attack in the Fox Hole

John Cole used his great hearing as one of his fighting tools. He shares when he was about to fall asleep in his fox hole, he could hear the enemy gathering across the rice field. He recalls the Chinese soon began their attack and notes that when one thought the enemy combatants were dead, they usually were not. He recalls finding out the hard way as the enemy crept into his fox hole through the rice field.

Tags: 1950 Battle of Chosin Reservoir, 11/27-12/13,Chinese,Cold winters,Front lines

Share this Clip +


The Legacy of the Handmade South Korean Flag

John Cole recounts how a South Korean soldier wanted to trade his handmade South Korean Flag for his U.S. flag in order to protect himself so that people did not think he was Chinese. He shares how he agreed to trade the flag. He describes how he held that flag until he presented it to a Korean War Veterans Organization.

Tags: 1950 Battle of Chosin Reservoir, 11/27-12/13,Impressions of Korea,Pride

Share this Clip +


Battling for Hill 1520

John Cole fought for Hill 1520 during the Battle of the Chosin Reservoir. He recounts how many men were lost defending that hill. He remembers three Chinese soldiers climbing into his fox hole and how he had to fight using hand-to-hand combat. He notes this was when he was shot through his right arm.

Tags: 1950 Battle of Chosin Reservoir, 11/27-12/13,Chinese,Cold winters,Fear,Front lines

Share this Clip +