Korean War Legacy Project

John Koontz


John Koontz was born May 18, 1932 in Cozy Town, Pennsylvania. He attended a one room schoolhouse with 43 students before finishing his education in 8th grade and pursuing farming. He was drafted into the Army in February 1951 and left for Korea three months later after attending basic training at Camp Breckenridge in Kentucky. He landed at Inchon, later went to Pusan, Seoul, and the 38th Parallel, where he was often engaged in combat.When asked about his experiences in Korea, he emotionally explains about the battles he saw. He also remembers the starving children he saw. John Koontz now believes that Korea was worth fighting for even though he thought the fighting was useless and unnecessary at the time.

Video Clips

The 38th Parallel

John Koontz describes his time in the Infantry at the 38th Parallel, where many North Koreans were trying to get through. He talks about the need to "fight our way out" which at times took hours, other times took days. He says "I'd rather not talk about it", clearly he is very emotional. and reflects on the horrors of war.

Tags: Front lines,North Koreans

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Worth Fighting For

John Koontz believes that Korea was worth fighting for even though he did not think that at the time. He remembers in detail seeing the starving children who were without their parents. He would like to return to Korea now if he could.

Tags: Impressions of Korea,Living conditions,Orphanage,Poverty

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