Korean War Legacy Project

John Y. Lee

Bio

John Y. Lee was a student at Korea University at the outbreak of the Korean War. He fled south by foot and volunteered to the ROK Army to be an interpreter/translator in the summer of 1950. He was assigned to the US 1st Marine Division and participated in many battles including the Pusan Perimeter, Inchon Landing, Seoul Recapture, Wonsan Landing, and Chosin Reservoir. In 1954, he left the ROK Army and traveled to the US to attend Yale University, earning a juris doctor degree. He practiced law in the US before returning to Korea in 1964 to serve as an advisor to US military forces. Later, he helped found and served as a director of The Chosin Few and wrote a book about the Korean War entitled, Old Chosin. Today, he lives in Korea and is active in many Korean War associations.

Video Clips

The War Breaks Out

John Y. Lee, a resident of Seoul in 1950, talks about the day that the Korean War began. He describes what he saw and his subsequent flight from the city, eventually swimming across the Han River to safety.

Tags: Hangang (River),Communists,Fear,Front lines,Impressions of Korea,North Koreans

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WM7LMiqBQBk&start=184&end=320

Becoming an Interpreter

John Y. Lee talks about how he become a military interpreter in the Korean Army. As he was fleeing south by foot, he tells about seeing a recruiting sign in Daegu and deciding to apply. He took an an exam, was selected and immediately given the rank of Lieutenant.

Tags: Daegu,Communists

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WM7LMiqBQBk&start=562&end=695

Headquarters Description

John Y. Lee, an interpreter assigned to UN Headquarters unit, talks about the organization of the unit during the Battle of Chosin Reservoir. He describes the difference between his headquarters unit and a normal infantry regiment as well as the way Headquarters was set up at Hagalwoori, defended by only two Marine companies.

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

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WM7LMiqBQBk&start=2528&end=2685

Video Transcript

[Beginning of recorded material]

I:          Would you please go on?

J:         Uh, the, all of them died except my sister who lived in Inchon.  She’s older than me and, uh, well, I do not expect her to much longer to live.

I:          Um.

J:         And my, of course, my, my own family, my wife, uh, my  two children and four grandchildren.  They are my family.

0:00:30

I:          Where do you live now?

J:         Now, Seoul.

I:          Seoul?

J:         Yes, um hm.

I:          Oh.  So took the flight from Seoul

J:         Yeah.

I:          to attend this?

J:         Well, I have other business to attend.  But, uh, also this is a important message to attend.

I:          Oh.  I thought that you live in the States.

J:         Well, I, uh, the wintertime I, I go to Florida.  But, uh, I just stay about three months for winter.

0:01:00

But, uh, most of the time I live in Seoul, Korea.
I:          Um hm.  And what do you do now?

J:         I’m a lawyer.  I must say.  But, uh, you know, with my age I’m gradually, uh, retiring, in fact, uh, I retired almost completely.

I:          And would you please tell me about the school you went in [INAUDIBLE]

J:         Yeah.  [INAUDIBLE] high school called [INAUDIBLE] High School.

0:01:30

That I attended.

I:          When did you graduate?

J:         Uh, 1947 I believe.

I:          And what did you do after that?

J:         Went to, uh, college in Seoul, uh.  That was in 1949 I believe, uh.  It’s, uh, Korea University.

I:          Um hm.

J:         I attending.  Then war broke out.

0:02:00

I:          But before we go into that, uh, how was the situation in North Korea under Kim ll Sung   around 1947 and so on?

J:         No, we are not under Communism.

I:          Not yet.

J:         We below 38th Parallel.

I:          Right.
J:         So I’m not experiencing that sort of life under Kim ll Sung’s communism.

I:          Um hm.  But Kim ll Sung was in actually in,

0:02:30

in North Korea, right, at that time?
J:         I, I was not in North Korea.  So I have, uh, except hearsay, you know, they, I have no direct  experience

I:          Um hm

J:         living under them.

I:          Who was in charge at the time in North Korea, from the time that you graduated?

J:         Was still Kim ll Sung.  Kim ll Sung is, a

I:          Um.

J:         name you heard, uh, um hm.

I:          I see.  So do you remember the day

0:03:00

that the Korean War broke out, and how you came to know of it?

J:         I know it was June 25, uh, 19, uh, 50, uh, uh.  I was, uh, living in, uh, east side of Seoul where Korea University is located, and I heard on the, the, sound of the artillery.

I:          Um.

J:         And then, uh, following day I soldier

0:03:30

I saw many, uh, refugees coming from north.

I:          Right away?

J:         Uh, following day.

I:          Following day.

J:         Um hm.

I:          So June 26

J:         Six, yeah.  And they, they, uh, they telling us that, uh, North Korea, in fact, uh, invaded.

I:          Hm.

J:         That’s how I found out.

I:          Um.  And so, how, what did you do?

J:         I waited, uh, a day or so.

0:04:00

Then on the 28th,  uh,, June, uh, they are in the city.

I:          Already.

J:         Already, yes.  North Koreans are in the east, uh, [script] of the city and, uh, I can observe, uh, their small fires, uh, and, uh.  So I, uh, I took off, uh, Seoul.  They came  through, uh, Hahn River, River.

0:04:30

And, uh, that’s where they, uh, that, that’s right.  It’s the 28th, uh, uh.  And then the, uh, the found one boat, uh, and, uh, bought it, paid money and then trying to, was [INAUDIBLE] together there was about, uh,  20 other refugees.

I:          Hm.
J:         to go across Hahn River.  Then all of a sudden I see a Korean soldier coming with a gun

0:05:00

and, uh, let us leave the boat.  Then what can we do?  We left the boat.  And then I took off my clothing and swam across the river.

I:          Oh.

J:         That’s how I escaped.

I:          Why did the South Korean soldier

J:         Well, they are mostly, uh, running away and, uh, they

0:05:30

could see their priority and for the reason of, uh, strategy or, u h, that, that’s [INAUDIBLE] and we have no way of defusing

I:          Um hm.  So from there, how, where did you go and what happened?

J:         I stayed a couple of days in that, uh, back of a woman’s house on the, uh, uh, temple, uh.

I:          Um hm.

0:06:00

J:         And, uh, hoping [INAUDIBLE] in fact not hoping, expecting that, uh, the South Korean Army will counterattack and, uh, recover, recapture Seoul.  But, uh, it did not occur. After waiting three days, I  took off again to Seoul, just walked, walked, walked all the way to the city of [Qwonju]

0:06:30

I:          Um.

J:         Uh, there I had a friend in Korea.  It was see who’s home you can come to and, uh, I met him and, uh, stayed , uh, in his house, uh, for almost, uh, almost a month.  It was almost a month.  Then the, uh,, North Koreans are coming down to east side,

0:07:00

And I, uh, left [INAUDIBLE] to city of, uh, Taegu.

I:          Wow.  So from [Quonju] to Taegu, you crossed the whole

J:         Well, well, I walked from Seoul to, uh,

I:          [Qwonju]

J:         [Qwonju] and, uh,

I:          So you have to walk again.

J:         That’s right.

I:          To, to [Daewoo]

J:         Yeah.

I:          Yeah.   How was the situation?  I mean, could you

0:07:30

give me some idea how many people were in the street, how did they eat, all those things?

J:         Well, uh, they coming from Seoul to the south, uh, as you know, uh, not too  many  people left because uh, you know, the government is saying that, uh, you are, in fact, in fact, uh, capturing, uh, Pyongyang and, uh, advancing to north.

I:          Hm.

J:         And, uh,

0:08:00

And it was about Syngman Ri himself.

I:          Wow.

J:         So not too many  people left in Seoul, you know.

I:          They believed in it.

J:         Yeah, believed in it and, uh, I guess they, uh, he head prerecorded announcement and, uh, they just played, and most of the people just believed in it.  But, uh, I could not believe it.  I see them coming, being in the east side of Seoul.   I see the

0:08:30

North Koreans coming, invading Seoul.  So, uh, I can’t, could not believe, uh, the [words and then friend].  But, uh, those voice came like me and very, not too many, particularly young people remain in Seoul

I:          Um.

J:         And uh, uh, they’re [ INAUDIBLE] three,  bad, bad meaning that, uh, you know, it’s older people are fleeing and walking. It’s a very hardship,

0:09:00

really hardship.

I:          Were you able to eat regularly?

J:         Well, mostly beds on the roadside, uh.  And some people were kind enough to, uh, give me some food and, uh, that’s how I went through [Qwonju]

I:          So after, in Taegu, what happened to you?

J:         Well, I was, uh, walking on the street and saw a sign saying

0:09:30

that, uh, they are, the government is, uh, recruiting interpreters.

I:          Hm.

J:         So I applied for it.

I:          Hm.

J:         To go to [INAUDIBLE] following there I guess it’s, uh, two hours,  25 or 6, 7 uh, that day  to [INAUDIBLE]

I:          Where?  Where, in Taegu?

J:         Yeah, Taegu.  Yeah, Taegu.

I:          Ah.

0:10:00

J:         And then there were a Korean officer  and there was military, U.S. Army advisor and, uh, selected, uh, about five of us who were students and, uh, and, uh, recruited us to, uh, Korean Army.  And the Korean Army, I was assigned about three of them.  See, originally

0:10:30

the U.S. Marine, the President, Korean Army, uh, soldiers, officers, uh, who speak English to be assigned to, uh, uh, Marine.

I:          Um hm.

J:         I guess the reason why they called the military interpreters because, uh, I guess by law, Hague, the convention does not permit a civilian

0:11:00

to engage in combat.  So they requested a military officer.  So they were, the Korean Army give us, the five of us, uh, a Lieutenant rank

I:          Right away.

J:         Right away on the spot.  And, uh, following day, I guess it was July 31, uh.  We left, uh, city of Taegu

0:11:30

when they went through

I:          July 1?

J:         No, no, July 31.

I:          Thirty-one.

J:         Yeah.

I:          Um hm.  Really?

J:         And he called,  you know, the, the airplane.  The Marines had airwings, uh, called their airplane.  Airplane came within 10 minutes.

I:          Huh.

J:         And, uh, destroyed the eastern by a rocket just for, like a, it ended up being destroyed.

0:12:00

Each one of the, uh, tank destroyed immediately.

I:          So it was around Sonsung area?

J:         The Sonsung area

I:          Yeah.

J:         Yeah.  Yeah.  That’s why the North Koreans had to retreat again, swim back to, uh.  That’s what happened.  These guys are really professional, you know.

I:          And, so you observed all this Nakdong perimeter battles.  How severe was it?

0:12:30

How close was the North Koreans, and how severe was it?

J:         Well, I think

I:          Can you describe it?

J:         The, uh, just the other side of the river they came all the way.

I:          Uh.  So you were able to see them.

J:         Well I, I was in the, uh, Sonsung area.  I didn’t go there.

I:          Right.

J:         But, uh, you know, they  all reported the other side of the river. But, uh, the U.S. had all the, uh, bombardments and already bombardments was really heavy. I think, uh.

0:13:00

U.S bombarded, uh, more than, more of the bombs than 2nd World War.

I:          Um.
J:         I’m not sure that’s the, how the, they describe.  Really bombardments is very high. So [INAUDIBLE] had difficulty.

I:          Um.

J:         But uh, you know, Kim ll Song had objective to, uh, close by, uh, November the 15th as a, as a part of a celebration, not November, August 15th,

I:          Um hm.

0:13:30

J:         He really commanded a troop to cross the, uh, Nakdong and capture entire South Korea by, uh, May, uh, you know, August 15th.  But, uh, he had difficulty there.  He supplied [INAUDIBLE] over extended and, uh, and the U.S. Forces were able to, uh, practically stop them, uh

0:14:00

at the mouth of the river, shore.  But, uh, the, then the North Koreans decided we’re as close at the [Sonson].  [Sonson] is, uh, uh, the, uh, just south of Taegu where Naktong, very narrow there. And also at the [INAUDIBLE] margin, they want to come across.

I:          Um hm.  And then, from there, did you,

0:14:30

Did you go to Inchon or

J:         Then we had to go backwards more to, uh, [Monson]

I:          Uh huh.

J:         Then after [Monson], we have to go back again to [Sonson].  North Korean tried once  more.  After fighting, uh we had pulled away from front almost a week before landing.  So this could be, uh, somewhere around the  10th or 9thof, uh, September

0:15:00

was the pull away from front and, uh, we got to go to Pusan.  And, uh, we had, you know, saying that we are going to land.

I:          So you knew it.

J:         We were, there were only a few guys  who were exposed to, uh, all the but, uh, the, uh, not too many men

0:15:30

because I, I’m not the sad foreigner.  I was not exposed to, uh, the plan.  But, uh, world’s go around, you know.  Why they pull us out, uh, front line is the only way is going to, uh, only reason was to land, uh,

I:          In Inchon.

J:         In Inchon, yes.

I:          So you were there in Inchon

J:         Yeah.  We, uh, then I was, uh,

0:16:00

I boarded McKenzie ship, SS McHenly

I:          Yeah, McHenly

J:         McKenly

I:          Uh huh.

J:         Uh, I pulled in there.  That’s a flag ship that MacArthur and, uh, the Task Force Commander.  There was [INAUDIBLE] lye

I:          Um hm.

J:         uh, experience he’d, uh, and [INAUDIBLE] he had all the experience

0:16:30

of, uh, carrying troops , uh, into, during 2nd War for landing.

I:          So you were able to see MacArthur?

J:         We have been together, you know, time to time the Commander, I know it fits there so, uh, maybe has a very, very clear distinction between officer and, uh, the non-officers.

I:          Um hm.

J:         And MacArthur comes time and see, uh, you know, dining hall and eat.

0:17:00

But, uh, MacArthur was a, you know, you recognized MacArthur and, uh, salute and, uh, so on.  But, uh, he’s more  a [INAUDIBLE] that kind of the pride he had, very, uh, should I, uh, dignified by at same time very low self-confidence  or that kind of attitude.

I:          Were there any other, uh,  Korean interpreter or officer there in the

0:17:30

J:         As I said, we had, uh, five of us was former students.

I:          Um hm.

J:         We had three, ,uh, ROC Army officers, regular officers, eight of us.

I:          Were in, the all, in the same ship?
J:         No, no, no.  They are all,, some of them assigned to Tank Company

I:          Right,  right.

J:         And the [Show Party] and, uh, one officer, uh,

0:18:00

his name was Kim Dung Yung

I:          Um hm.

J:         He’s regular Army.  He was assigned to, uh, 5th Marine First Regiment, and one officer, soon after he graduated from [INAUDIBLE] uh, much mature than I am, uh.  He was assigned to, uh, 5th Marine Regimental Headquarters.  So all scheduled to, uh,

I:          You were the only Korean interpreter officer in the flagship?

0:18:30

J:         The reason I as, uh, given to Mackenlye is because I was transferred to G2 Section

I:          Um.

J:         G2 is Headquarters and Interrogate section.  So I was on the Board of Mackenlye.  The rest of them, the other, you know, a [Trustee and a Landing Board].

I:          So you were the only one.

J:         Yeah, in the, that’s right, that’s right.

I:          Wow.

J:         Yeah.  And then I was, uh,  you know, wearing, uh, Marine Corps rank bar because

0:19:00

General Craig was a, the Frigate Commander, thought we’d, uh, U.S. rank bar and not Korean because it’s the, uh, Marines, uh, may not, uh, you know, may not, uh, understand the, uh, our role of us and my shoot at us.  That’s why changing the rank bar.

I:          But you were still Lieutenant.

J:         That’s right, Lieutenant, yeah, Lieutenant.

I:          Anything you remember

0:19:30

inside of that flagship before you landed in Inchon, any, any episode or; what were you thinking in that flagship?

J:         Well, in, in, in that area I was glad to see we are going back to, uh, Seoul

I:          Um hm

J:         But, uh, you know, I was not trained for, uh, landing exercise.  But, uh, you know, when we land, uh,

0:20:00

the, uh, there’s a ladder made of ropes

I:          Um hm.

J:         You have to step down and then small landing boat, uh, because when they tow with us waving, uh.  But I’ve never experience of, uh, that kind of a landing.  Uh, I was a bit concerned.  But, uh, the, scary actually.  But, uh, it was land to, into a small boat.

I:          Um.

0:20:30

J:         And landed there.

I:          What were you thinking?  I mean, you were, you withdraw from Seoul to Taegu and then finally in Inchon landing

J:         That’s right.  That’s right.  But, uh,

I:          Were you excited?

J:         But excitement except, uh, some reservedness because I don’t know whether I get  killed or not.  It’s a very, uh, you know, uh, the, uh

0:21:00

more by no experience of, uh.  So I, the, uh, I was glad to land and go back to Seoul.  But at the same time, uh, I was worried.

I:          So you went up to Seoul.

J:         Landed.  There’s two places, uh, in the Marine landing.  One is, uh, the, uh, Red Beach which is north of, uh, Inchon

I:          Um hm

J:         First Marine landed, First Marine Regiment landed

0:21:30

it is now, uh, [INAUDIBLE]

I:          Um hm.

J:         The,  uh, we, advanced Headquarters from First Marine people landed with a, Japanese Colonel Puller First Regiment.

I:          Chesty Puller?
J:         Yeah, um hm.

I:          Yeah.

J:         He was Regiment Commander

I:          Yeah.    And,, uh, we landed there, [INAUDIBLE] area and I just crawl.  I mean once I landed,

0:22:00

just crawl 100 yards.  And, of course, the Marines were, uh, advancing toward, uh, uh, I guess that mountain is called, uh, Kaesong I believe.  That’s where, about 300 yard height.  We, Chesty Puller Regimental, the First Regiment captured that, uh, hill, uh, within that day.

0:22:30

And while the 5th Marine also captured, uh, Chinatown and the hill back there, captured, uh, the same day.

I:          So you went to Seoul?

J:         Then we went, advanced to Seoul.

I:          So how was it when you see the Seoul again?

J:         Again, uh, I was really glad.  But when I go around the [INAUDIBLE] line and, uh, you are not thinking of anything, uh, you know,

0:23:00

[INAUDIBLE]

I:          Was it mostly destroyed, I mean compared to

J:         It was destroyed.  It was destroyed, really just [Yungungpoi] especially is destroyed.  Seoul, Marine [were in action]  But MacArthur wanted to capture Seoul by, within three months.

I:          Um hm.

J:         MacArthur, he was demanding Marine to advance as quickly,

0:23:30

by all means, and capture Seoul by 28th.  And, uh, Marine had to obey it.

I:          Um hm.  So did you go to Wonsan from there or what happened?

J:         Then we, uh, came to Inchon again and, uh, that was sometime in October.

I:          Um hm.

J:         Inchon again and then the, uh, led the

I:          Wonsan.

J:         Wonsan.

0:24:00

I:          Hm.  And that was only November.

J:         No, no, late October of November, also a very cruel time.

I:          So that’s how you become the Chosen Few member.

J:         Yeah.  Then, you know, went to the so called Chosen area and, uh, I’m, you know, member of, uh, Chosen Few, yeah.

0:24:30

That’s right.

I:          So you went up to [Chinee] and [Koteree]  Where, where have you

J:         Then I, we went, Advance [CP] went to, uh, the [INAUDIBLE]  That’s the, later on and not to advance but regular Headquarters all were First Marines region.

I:          Um hm.

J:         There I stayed, uh, almost, almost, a couple weeks there, you know, um hm.

I:          So on the way up to [Hagaluree], did you see any Chinese soldiers?

0:25:00

J:         Not too many, no, no, no.  We were, the seven who are spearheading the other [INAUDIBLE] no, no.  Even at the [Sudong]

I:          [Sudong]

J:         Yeah.  There, uh, the 7th had an engagement

I:          Um hm.

J:         with, uh, the Chinese.

I:          Um.

J:         Then almost  a better type of,  uh, uh, the, u h , warfare the 7th had,

0:25:30

uh, [Hagaroo] and then went to, all the way to, uh, uh, Yudam-ni.

I:          But I have done a lot of interviews, and even in the west side of it when , uh, the Korean Army went into the  Pyongyang

J:         Um hm

I:          and up to Umson, they began to capture the Chinese

J:         That’s right, yeah.

I:          And already by end of October, almost like  300,000 Chinese soldiers

0:26:00

were in the [Camabon] area.

J:         That’s right.
I:          And we got this intelligence, and I think it reported back to the Headquarters of Tokyo to the MacArthur Headquarters, General Willowby just reported that there are a couple, 10,000 of, you know, the Chinese.

J:         He came, he came all the way from Tokyo to, uh, uh, not [Tongyin] the [Haman] area and uh,

0:26:30

the 3rd division of the Korean Army were, had engagement with North and the Chinese.

I:          Um hm.
J:         and captured 16 prisoners, Chinese prisoners

I:          Hm.

J:         And, uh, we had flew through, uh, [Shimpo]  that’s uh, the [Shimpo] is a, in the, interrogated

I:          Uh huh

J:         sixteen Chinese prisoners.  They were more or less a supply unit people, not really fighting the Chinese, uh. I do not remember their unit.  But,

0:27:00

uh, [INAUDIBLE]  they say that there was a fairly large number of the Chinese clothes the, uh, Yalu and the Sumong River

I:          Um hm.

J:         But uh, we had, uh, did not believe it.

I:          Hm.

J:         And they went back, uh, told General MacArthur that, uh, although I’m sure that what the prisoners say, he actually said what prisoner had said,

0:27:30

that, uh, there are a large number of Chinese, uh,uh, already across the rivers.  But, uh, he and MacArthur did not believe

I:          Did not want to believe

J:         That’s right, both way did not want to believe and, uh, uh, and also they thought, uh, they could, uh, bomb Manchuria and, they had different ideas.

I:          Um hm.

0:28:00

Yeah.  That’s pretty much the most important, uh, moments in the war of, uh, Korean War and the history of the Korean War, that President Truman didn’t want to expand the War and engage in, uh,, with China

J:         Um hm.

I:          But MacArthur and his, his followers just wanted to go up to the Yalu and even deal with the Chinese if the Chinese intervene, right?
J:         He recommended two things?  One is bombing Manchuria.

I:          Manchuria.  With the nuclear

0:28:30

J:         Well, nuclear later.  The regular bombing.  Then another thing is he recommended use of Chinese Nationalists.

I:          Yep.

J:         Fifty thousand of them.

I:          Um hm.

J:         And he thought he could, you know, in fact, uh, take over China again.  That’s his plan thinking and his strategy.

0:29:00

But, uh, Truman and the action, uh, the, is not, uh, are not, uh, same way.  In fact, they, they want to have limited warfare.

I:          Exactly.

J:         And, uh, disapproved MacArthur’s recommendation.

I:          I learned this by reading the books

J:         Okay.

I:          But did you, were you able to discern or kind of

0:29:30

were you able to know that there is tension between this, uh, U.S. government and MacArthur and, and so that there has been some errors, trial and errors about the report of how big the Chinese soldier were, I mean, Army, military by the time?  Do you, what, were you able to in the field?

J:         No.  I was not able to, uh, sense any kind of friction, although Marine were definitely against the, uh

0:30:00

General Almond and MacArthur’s plan to go to, uh, you know, Chuncheon area.  In fact, General O.P. Smith,

I:          Um hm.

J:         wrote a letter to, uh, Commandant of, uh, Marines, General Tate, saying that MacArthur and Almond are making mistake.

I:          Um hm.

J:         Two reasons they were making mistake meaning that, uh, uh, advancing too

0:30:30

rapidly.  It was also protecting supply lines.

I:          Um hm.

J:         And, uh, the, uh, they wanted to have more recon

I:          Um hm

J:         and, uh, the, more engagement to the Chinese rather than just going up to, advancing to north.  And more importantly,

I:          Um hm

J:         Separating the

0:31:00

Marines into a different small unit, then Marines cannot function as fighting forces.  That’s what on the General O.P. Smith’s role to the, General [Kate].  And, uh, at that time, you know, uh, MacArthur and uh, the, uh, Technical Commander had operation of control over, uh, Marines.  And O.P. Smith had to obey.

0:31:30

It’s almost like disobeying.

I:          Um hm.

J:         And particularly writing to the Commander of the Marines.  But, uh, you know, a Marine is different from Army.  Even if O.P. was wrong, the, uh, the General MacArthur or Almond make all kinds of reprimands.  But, uh, the, uh, Marines, they understand, uh, O.P. Smith and, uh,

0:32:00

and this is sort of a, you know, a different channel of command.  So that’s why O.P. Smith was able to write it, yeah.

I:          Right.  Almond, at the time, was Major General, right?
J:         That’s right.

I:          Major General, and he was directly under the leadership of MacArthur.

J:         That’s right.  And also he was Chief of Staff of, uh,

I:          Chief of Staff.

J:         of, uh, MacArthur’s staff.

I:          Uh huh.

J:         That’s kind of a little crazy thing because

0:32:30

if you are Chief of Staff, on the recommendation, the only thing have to go through Almond, then go through MacArthur.

I:          Um hm.

J:         Why in Korea, you know, uh, the, by the way, the, uh, the, MacArthur divided the U.S. forces in Korea into two parts, [one in later, one in INAUDIBLE]

I:          Um hm.

J:         It’s independent separate units.

0:33:00

Uh, kind of big mistake they made, yeah.

I:          Um.

J:         But then MacArthur, you know, he’s vision is different.  He, uh, he has a different ideas.

I:          Yeah.  What do you think that, do you think his, his strategy mobilizing, um, Chinese [INAUDIBLE]

J:         Um hm.

I:          and so that they engage in China to distract the Chinese soldiers from the Korean Peninsula and then have a very aggressive policy on Manchuria bombing.

0:33:30

Do you think it would have been working?  What do you think?

J:         Well, a strategy, I don’t think Chinese, uh, could withstand that kind of assault.

I:          Right.

J:         Uh, but, uh, that’s at the same time, uh, we create a, we start the World War [INAUDIBLE]  And that’s where MacArthur and, uh, Truman had different, uh, views.

I:          Too aggressive.  Um.

J:         But at the same time, you know,

0:34:00

legally Macarthur should be court martialed.  You cannot disobey President’s order,  you know.

I:          Right, exactly.  That’s the point.  The Chuncheon Battle could have been really, really different.  And that’s why I think it is very important for the Marines did there to deter the Chinese 9th Army

0:34:30

and so that the 8th Army of the United States in the west were able to withdraw, and I think that is the important contribution made by the 1st Marines.  Do you agree?

J:         Well, it’s not the withdrawal but, uh, a counter attack area.  Many Chinese were not able to go way down more than say after capturing Seoul they fail to go south.

0:35:00

and also east, eastern scepter, 9th Army was, uh, capturized, and was not able to participate in the fighting and they have to, uh, stop at, uh, you know, the so called, uh, the current at the DMZ area.  By the way, there’s a book came out, uh, just recent book, uh, called the Korean War

0:35:30

written by Chinese, uh, Wang, Wangi.  Forgotchi is the first name.

I:          Um hm.

J:         Popular writer and, uh, really subscribed, uh, what’s happening in Korea now and particularly so, uh, uh, story about Chinese armies in Korea.  In, In that, uh, book, uh, he says that the, uh, Chinese government,

0:36:00

even today he did not believe number of case by 9th Army.

I:          Um hm.

J:         Cause they suffered so much.

I:          Yeah.

J:         Secondly, the Commander of the  Chinese Army was Penn, [Pen ta hi]

I:          Um hm.

J:         He objected to [INAUDIBLE] soldier to advance south of current DMZ line.

0:36:30

The reason he decided is because that’s really exposed, through lengthy supply line.  And, uh, he was not sure he was able to, uh, withstand the U.N. counter offensive.  And, uh, you can see, you know, Mao and his people really got, mostly really mad at this, uh

0:37:00

[Pyung]

I:          Um hm.

J:         By the way, when the counter revolution occurred, he was killed.  And he was one of the most trusted Maos man in a long [INAUDIBLE]  But he has seen the suffering of the Chinese soldiers

I:          Um.

J:         by, uh, U.S. troops, particularly in attack.  You know, Napalm,

0:37:30

just kill everybody within, uh, 50 yards.  That’s, you know, he has seen it as a military man.  It’s kind of a, not wise thing to fight anymore.  But that’s, that’s how, in fact, that’s how Armistice is, the Chinese refused to fight anymore.  That’s, uh, a  new Armistice was started and, uh, signed off.

0:38:00

I:          Yeah.  Did you know anything about General Almond?
J:         I know who he is and I see him coming through the base time to time.  Never spoken to him.

I:          Um.  Why his assessment of the, uh, the Chuncheon Reservoir area was such, um, missing fund or

J:         He was just [INAUDIBLE] the MacArthur’s order and MacArthur when he [INAUDIBLE]  and so on.

0:38:30

I’m not sure he  had his own independent thinking.  That I do not know.  But if you are a professional and observe what’s going on at Chuncheon and know

I:          He should have known that, right?

J:         Yeah, what, uh, should be done and uh, he looked at it differently.  But, uh, he just, uh, at the, um, under the, uh, General MacArthur’s order,

0:39:00

he would have recommended differently.

I:          Right .

J:         But, uh, he did not do it.

I:          You stayed in [Hagaruri] most of the time during the battle.

J:         Um hm.

I:          How was the situation?  I mean tell me about the coldness first of all.

J:         Oh, cold.

I:          From your personal perspective.  Don’t say to me the degrees, okay?  Fahrenheit or what?

J:         You take a, say, pee.  It’s all,  you see nothing about the

0:39:30

ice, uh, long ice, uh,

I:          When you pee?

J:         Yeah.  It will freeze right away.

I:          Really?

J:         Yeah.

I:          Right away.

J:         Yeah, right away.  So cold.

I:          Unbelievable.

J:         Oh, it’s really cold.

I:          That’s what veterans tell me and

J:         Really cold.  You just, when it’s cold you cannot think of anything.

I:          Um.

J:         Just, you just follow whatever  you know,

I:          Exactly.

J:         You wouldn’t walk, just can’t think of anything, yeah.

0:40:00

I:          That

J:         But I wasn’t lock the door. It was locked because there were about 1,000 Korean civilians living

I:          Where?

J:         In Hagaru.

I:          Ah.

J:         Hagaru is, uh, the Chncheon County  Headquarters.

I:          Yeah.

J:         And, uh, it’s a, it used to be, uh, headquarters of, uh, Tungjin and the People’s Assembly or so on.

I:          Um.

0:40:30

And, uh  there were very number of, uh, houses.  But I have to go there many in the night  time cause there were, a couple of the, uh, North Koreans who had seen vey  [INAUDIBLE] uh, when the 7th Marines came.  So I have to observe them because there is no way to observe them except to go.  And then they, when I go, they treated me nicely.

I:          Um.

J:         And, uh, they gave me food

0:41:00

and, uh, its own doors are very warm.  So two weeks’ period, my exposure to cold at least during that stay was not as sever as the two weeks in the foxhole, yeah.  It’s cold, real cold.

I:          Um.  Did you have proper equipment like clothes, uniforms

0:41:30

and jackets and so on?

J:         Yeah.  I had very but it was, there are two kinds about winter clothing and even shoes.

I:          Um hm.

J:         The initial clothing was not too well, uh, maybe.  But I had that leisure period.  I did and, uh, hm.

I:          I don’t have any idea how safe or how insulate from other region where that has a lot of intensive battle

0:42:00

around, at the end of November from the Headquarters.  How insulated is it?

J:         Marine, the Infantry Regiment

I:          Uh huh

J:         they can be very independent.  They can defend themselves cause they are Infantry, fighting people.

I:          Um hm

J:         Well, to be as good as, they’re not the Infantry.

I:          Right.

J:         They’re technicians, staff, G1, G2, G3, G4, Headquarters Commandant.

0:42:30

So those are banned.  They are really not Infantry people.  Then we had two companies of, uh, First Marine Regiment

I:          Um  hm

J:         coming from Koterie.  First Marine Regiment is commanded by Puller.  Two companies cannot guard the perimeter of Hagaru which is a, I guess the size of it, uh,

0:43:00

about five, uh, five, uh, the mile, five kilometers both from north, south and the east and west.  We, uh, had, the Korean civilians are coming to our area because Chinese occupied practically all the area outside of our, you know, perimeters.

0:43:30

So they get south all the Korean civilians cause they’re cold so they need a warmer house.  So they, it did not matter, really they can get out, and they’re safe.  They came to our, the, uh, the area.  And they all telling us that, uh, there’s just an unknown number of Chinese attacking from south.

I:          From south?

J:         Yeah, south.  South of perimeter.

I:          Uh huh.

0:44:00

Two divisions came actually.  They attacked two nights.  And we, two companies were prepared at the southern line.  The rest of them all exposed.  And we are able to, uh, you know, uh, prevent them, uh, occupying our area.  And they just waited.  They all got chances at the machine guns

0:44:30

cause when they come into, uh, uh, Hagaru, they just shoot, uh, and, uh, kill them all.

I:          Did you see so many bad Chinese and Americans?
J:         Oh yeah.  Just coming in, just coming in, yeah.

I:          So many dead.

J:         How they come, it’s about, a couple, first they come about a couple hundred.  As soon as we’re advancing it

I:          Um hm

0:45:00

When they were ahead, practically totally destroyed, about 15 to 20 minutes later about, uh, twice number come.  They’re ready right [INAUDIBLE] just, just fired at them with machine guns.  Then they, then afterward wave and wave just coming in.

I:          Do you see that nightmare still?

J:         Well now, uh, I do not have that nightmare.

0:45:30

But I had uh, you know, let’s say, up to 10 years, uh, after the War.  But uh now, uh, they are gone [INAUDIBLE]

I:          Um.  How do you see the Americans fighting there? How do you evaluate them?  What is your perspective about the Marines that

J:         They, they are first class professionals.  They are good fighters.  They are,

0:46:00

and also, the other leaders were the veterans of Second World War.  Therefore, from [INAUDIBLE] Iwojima and the Japanese are, they are good fighters.  They’re also prepared.  They dug in.  Each island they fought , and they survived.  They  know how to fight.

0:46:30

They really know how to fight.
I:          Um.

J:         And they’re good fighters.  They, they, uh, they never [OOZOO] or, uh, the, uh, they’re lot to learn under the, there was young troops, uh.  They  have to go through training and, uh, they, they are ordered to fire, then they just fire. They are first class fighters.  They are real first class, yeah.

I:          When did you evacuate Hungnam?  Were you in the ship?

J:         No, then we were, you know, coming from Hagaru.

I:          Um hm.

0:47:00

J:         That’s the, uh, 7th, uh, Regiment’s supposed to, you know, clear any Chinese from Hagaru to Koterie.  They clear.  Then Headquarter people like us was in the middle, about three or four of us in advanced.  Fifth was the last guy.  As soon as they have cleared them and try to just come in again, occupy road, uh, hills, everything.

0:47:30

And that, I guess the 6th of December we are coming through road

I:          Um hm.

J:         a flat road, Chinese are waiting.  It’s night time, [coring] us, you know, if we were Chinese.  So we had about 300 Chinese prisoners all guarding in the front.

I:          Ah.,

J:         So telling us, you know, the Chinese, you know, run or,

0:48:00

come and, uh, uh, yelling in Chinese.  They thought we were Chinese.

I:          Um.

J:         And some Chinese run away.  But most of them stayed with us.  And after the Chinese finding out, we are,  you know, not the, not Chinese, they concentrated t heir firing into our area, our road.

I:          Um.

J:         Many were killed

0:48:30

and, uh, they are, I think, in the middle of fight, uh, they just simply called me, uh, to identify as 10 soldiers Katusas that’s what happened, you know.

I:          Um.  Please tell me about the Hungnam evacuation.

J:         Okay.  We came to, uh, Hungnam, uh, I guess December 1, and we were the first ones evacuated.

I:          Um hm.

0:49:00

J:         And, uh, our city, of course,  civilians being assembled, uh, in the [dark] of, uh, Hungnam,  And, uh, the, uh, 10th Headquarters, 10th Company, General Almond, uh, units, the Headquarters who were also evacuated I believe, uh, I believe, uh,

0:49:30

December 16, uh, the civilians were evacuated from 21to 23rd,

I:          Uh.

J:         I really do not know who really ordered the civilian evacuation

I:          Um hm.

J:         The, up to 16 when General Almond left, he had, he has order from 10th, the, uh, MacArthur said

0:50:00

evacuate only Christians and, uh, military leader, Korean, uh, the civil leaders, no more than about 3,000 unless they increase number.  He had order, that order.  Before the civilian, [INAUDIBLE]

I:          Um hm.

J:         He also left, uh,

0:50:30

the, on December 16, he, he was interpreter for several years.

I:          Um hm.

J:         he left the word to, uh, Colonel [Funny].  In fact, he wrote a letter to [Colonel Funny] saying that we didn’t a great job.  We didn’t, uh, he thanked Colonel Funny, evacuating Korean Christians.   He, he, he

0:51:00

His role was evacuating Christians.
I:          Yep.

J:         Later on, he already left Hangnam.  The, later, there was almost 100,000, more than 100,000 civilians are on the dock.  Who ordered them?

I:          Hm.

J:         Is, uh, to me, I don’t think it’s General Almond.

I:          Um hm.

J:         I think I, I, uh, I’m thinking of General, Admiral Doyle, D-O-Y-L-E.

0:51:30

I:          Um hm.

J:         He’s, uh, the [South] Commander.  He’s Navy, head of the Navy evacuating entire, you know, uh, the U.S. Forces and, uh, uh, the, he had no order to, um, civilians at that time.  But, uh, it comes the 21 of, uh, the, uh, December, there are so many civilians crying for evacuation.

0:52:00

I:          Um.

J:         Someone had to order.  I talked to, uh, the, uh, not Navy, Captain Lunny.  Uh, he’s a, he was in, uh, he’s not even Navy.  He was Emeritus.

I:          Emeritus.

J:         Yeah.  He was a ship man, a civilian.  He’s not the military.  He’s Merchant Marine.

I:          Yeah.

J:         I talked to him and he said that one of the, uh, Colonel, uh, from 10th Corps came to, uh, his boat, [INAUDIBLE] them, and told them to

0:52:30

evacuate civilians the 22nd or the 24th.

I:          Um hm.

J:         Yeah, but 10th Corps is gone already.  No [INAUDIBLE] there.

I:          Hm.

J:         It’s a, I don’t think, even if it’s 10th Corps because at that time, 10th Corps do not control Navy or the, uh, civilian ships.  It’s, uh, the, uh, Navy, Admiral Doyle control.

I:          Hm.

0:53:00

J:         My, my thinking is it’s Admiral Doyle.  He’s a, he’s a reserve, uh, admiral from 2nd World War, uh, very high, uh, should I say, uh,

I:          Decorated?

J:         Ex-patriot and, uh, uh, he, um, the, uh, he had, uh, he never spoke anything about  the, uh, you know, uh, his experience on this thing how he evacuated and so on

 

0:53:30

because none of the, most of the people didn’t want to talk about their experiences.  There are some people who want to exaggerate so called, uh.  But, uh, the [door is not] in the

I:          Is there any way that we can do research about it?  Do you want to, do you think National Archive in Washington will research something?

J:         They should have, the nation, the ship, ship

I:          Uh huh.

0:54:00

J:         maintain so called deck roll.

I:          Right.

J:         They have to keep it.

I:          Right.

J:         They keep until ship is destroyed.

I:          Um hm.

J:         And, uh, they, uh, that’s, that’s, uh, under the area.  The, that’s where, but, uh, MacArthur Library does not have it cause I, I was very interested, who radioed it cause I really want to know because in, in the, uh, you know, after the War, everybody wants to get the credit.

I:          Right.

0:54:30

And, uh, and uh, sometimes facts, uh, just do not match with the, uh, what they’re saying.  But the one fact is who ordered the, uh, uh, civilians to be evacuated.

I:          So they evacuation started from, I mean, from the very beginning.

J:         No, no, no, no evacuation of civilians

I:          Until

J:         Until either 21st or, I think 21st when I, or 20th.

0:55:00

I:          So the actual evacuation of Marines started from December 14.

J:         Fourteen was the date, um hm.

I:          Right  But for the civilian, it wasn’t till, it was not until December 21st.

J:         No, no, no, no.  Maybe there were some civilians of the 3,000 individuals,

I:          Um  hm.  Um hm.

J:         There were 3,000 individuals, uh.  But okay, not, uh, after the Marine, but it’s even before the Marines were evacuated.

I:          This is very interesting research topic.

0:55:30

J:         Oh, it’s a, really I, the, uh, I will see if I have money to, uh, go around and, uh, because to go, uh, through, uh, the deck role is, uh, really, uh, you know, you have to stay almost a couple weeks, uh, with the, uh, National Archive and so on.  And, uh, and also, uh, strange  thing with some officers, uh, particularly [those staff], I’m sure there are many [those staff] left.

0:56:00

And also with the 10th Corp, uh, 10th Corp, the, uh, staff.  And the, according to Lunny,   10th Corp, four or five Colonels came.  But the, I don’t think that happened there.

I:          Um.

J:         One thing also clear.  No Navy, no Merchant Marine would evacuate civilian unless t hey  ordered.

I:          Right.

J:         So they would be court martialed.

0:56:30

But someone had to order this.  Someone had to permit it.

I:          But by that time, 10th Corp was completely non-existent there.

J:         They evacuated, evacuated, um hm.

I:          Yeah.

J:         They were evacuated completely.

I:          But General, did General Almond claim that, that, that, that was his order?

J:         No, no, no, no.

I:          No.

J:         Except General Almond had, uh, a son.  His name is Colonel Ferguson.

I:          Yeah.  I know him.

0:57:00

J:         Oh really?  He, uh, he’s a bit mad at, uh, you know, uh, the so called, uh, uh, some movie came out of, uh, uh, the so called Hungnam evacuation.

I:          Yeah.
J:         According to him, it was General Almond from the beginning.  And, uh, General Almond never listened to, uh, [INAUDIBLE] or the, uh, Colonel Lunny and so on, according to, uh, Colonel Ferguson, uh.

0:57:30

But I, I just see, Ferguson may not know really, uh.  According to Ferguson, the, the, the General Almond before he died, he mentioned all these things

I:          Um hm.

J:         good, I don’t know really.  But, uh,

I:          Yeah, yeah.

J:         But who gonna [INAUDIBLE]

I:          Yeah.

J:         Really go through what really  occurred.  But [INAUDIBLE] story is, uh, totally differ rent from what, uh, you know, uh, the, uh, the, claiming to be

0:58:00

I:          Uh

J:         But, uh, they also, uh, General Kim has, uh, lots of things to do because, you know he’s from

I:          General who?

J:         Kim.  Kim [Bag ll]

I:          Uh huh.

J:         He’s a First Corp Commander.

I:          I see.

J:         He’s from, he was born in, uh, you know, uh, Hungnam.  [So when they said Hungnam Command].  When, see I, ROC Army was the 1st, ROC Army 1st Corp.  Occupied, uh, Wonsan, Hungwoo, Humeron.  Chungcheon,

0:58:30

before we came.

I:          Um hm.

J:         And, uh, [Humeron] people gave a citizens parade for General [Pakenvaga] cause he, his family’s from there.

I:          Um.

J:         And he’s very, uh, you know, uh.  So he had, he wanted really the, uh, take the civilian, uh, out of, uh, [Hungwoo ], and, uh, he, he used all kind of uh, uh, tricks to, uh ,

0:59:00

to evacuate civilians such as giving clothes, military Army clothes

I:          Uh huh.

J:         To civilians.  That kind of a trick.  And also, I’m very sure that he tried to tell the, uh, General Almond that the civilian should be evacuated.  But General Almond never listened to him, though.  He, uh, 10th Corps is above him.  And, uh, General Almond only listened to, uh, the, uh, General MacArthur, uh.

0:59:30

But, uh, Almond, [INAUDIBLE] had, uh, had three, the mental, psychologically, he wanted to

I:          Attach to the North Korean refugee.

J:         Yeah.  Attach to North Korean refugees.  And, uh, he, in fact, uh, many civilians, uh, in his own way, uh.

I:          Yeah.

J:         Uh, he, also he, so the fishing boat he had, he was in Chuncheon.  He used a fishing boat, a Korean [INAUDIBLE] to evacuate civilians from there.

I:          Hm.

1:00:00

J:         And they, they are different people from refugees from Hungnam.

I:          Did you know [Hannet Bon]?

J:         No, no.  I never met  him.

I:          Um.

J:         Never with him, no.

I:          When did you finish your duty  as a soldier during the Korean War?

J:         When Armistice was signed at the, the, uh ,

I:          Wow

J:         Nineteen

I:          Fifty-three?

J:         Fifty-three.  But 54 I left.

I:          To where?

1:00:30

J:         To U.S., to, to go to, to go to school in U.S..

I:          What, what school did you go?

J:         I went to Yale, yeah.

I:          Oh.  What did you study there?

J:         I was undergraduate.  Uh, you know, the Liberal Arts and so on.

I:          How, how did you get into  Yale?

J:         One of the, uh, Captains in, in last, when we were in Panmunjom area.

I:          Um hm.

J:         was a Yale graduate.

I:          Ah.

J:         And he knows the, the,

1:01:00

they found out that I was a student, you know.  They thought I was really a, you know, professional soldier.  They were very, uh, you know, sympathetic to me and, uh, and, uh, I recited, uh, T.S. Elliott in front of them, and they did, you know, they, uh, they were really surprised, you know, very  eager to, uh, continue my study and, uh, be able to, uh, to use,  uh, pursue study in U.S. university.
I:          Um hm.

1:01:30

J:         There are a couple other people also tried to do.  But I chose to go to Yale.
I:          When did you get into Yale?

J:         Uh, 1954.

I:          Right away.

J:         Yeah, right away, yeah, yeah.  A little later was a

I:          And then what, what did you do?

J:         Studied here for

I:          Yale

J:         Yale.

I:          And?

J:         And I went to Law School, Yale Law School, yeah.  It’s hard.  College is okay, but the Law school is, uh, really intensive, uh, you know, really.

1:02:00

Everybody knows students are there either top, uh, in their class or, uh, at least within the top, uh, the 1% of, uh, their respective colleges.

I:          And very big family.

J:         Well, it’s a really is

I:          Yeah.

J:         that they, um, they really  study hard, intensive, really intensive.

I:          And after that, what did you do?

J:         I went, I became a lawyer in

1:02:30

I:          In the United States?
J:         Yeah, in, in New York

I:          Uh huh.

J:         With a, with a law firm.

I:          So you

J:         became a lawyer

I:          In New York City.

J:         Yeah, New York City.  [Milton, Pay Kinsey]

I:          Uh huh.

J:         is the name of firm.  Small firm but, uh, [INAUDIBLE] education n.  And I was glad that I joined them cause I really learned how to practice law, how to, particularly litigation area.  They, they are good lawyers and, uh,

1:03:00

uh, I was glad to see I learned a trade that way cause school never teach you how to practice law.

I:          Right.
J:         They just teach you principle and so on.

I:          And then, when did you come back to Korea?

J:         Then they were hiring, the U.S. Forces in Korea were hiring a lawyer

I:          Ah.

J:         I, I was vacationing in 1964 I believe, in Seoul,

1:03:30

and then I, then I found out the, uh, U.S. Forces General [INAUDIBLE] already hired, uh, someone who was a prosecutor, uh, from California

I:          Um,

J:         Already hired.  He was a Korean-American, you know.  So they, the only one they don’t hire.

I:          Um hm.

J:         So on my way to New York, I stopped in, uh, Honolulu.

1:04:00

And, uh, the Pacific, uh, Marine Commander was, uh, uh, General, uh, uh, General, what’s his name, uh, uh, very smart General, uh, I’ll let you know whether he’s gonna be

I:          Um hm, um hm.

J:         Very short guy, though, really.  I met him.  I, I knew him in Korea when he was [INAUDIBLE] as a Colonel.  He called, uh, Colonel, I mean General [Posted] right on there.  When I told him what happened, and told him, and tell him

1:04:30

that he was high command [INAUDIBLE] So I, the, uh, Then the following year, I went to, uh, the, uh, U.S. Forces Command and stayed there almost, uh, 19 years.

I:          Um, so you have a very unique perspective

1:05:00

to see the outcome of the Korean War which is South Korea’s rapid economic development

J:         That’s right.

I:          And democratization at the same time.
J:         And also, uh, [Park City Gym]

I:          Right.  And [Pok’s Regime]

J:         Yes, General Pok.

I:          Yeah.

J:         The entire time when I was there, I was in, I was in Korea as an advisor, uh, for U.S. Forces.  So I had to

1:05:30

deal with, uh, you know, Pok’s Regime.

I:          So you, you were, you were all over the Spring Offensive from early Spring of 1951

J:         From Punchbowl and we fought in the Punchbowl.  And then, uh, we were transferred to a western front.  We had, uh, entire area of western front under Marines, uh, should I say

1:06:00

to reception.

I:          What was your role at the time?

J:         Well by then, the, I was, uh, transferred from G2 to promote martial’s office because we had, uh, the, uh, many, uh, so many civilians in our area, uh, [Monson, Chuncheon] and, uh, we had to, uh,

1:06:30

of course also at the same time, the, uh, North Korean more as infiltrators were closing the, uh, lower part of the Imjin River and, uh, we have to really, uh, control them.  So that’s a function  of, uh, M.P. and the [post] martial.

I:          Uh huh.

J:         So I was transferred to [Promote] Martial’s office.

1:07:00

I:          And, so then you were not directly engaged in anything
J:         Not in the combat.

I:          Combat.

J:         No.

I:          Um hm.

J:         Although we are uh, you know, engaged in hunting for, uh, the, uh, North Korean, uh, infiltrators.  We have to fight towards them and, uh,

I:          So then officially theoretically, you still belong to Korean Army.

1:07:30

J:         That’s right, that’s right.  By then, I guess I was promoted to Captain.

I:          But where did you get the salary?

J:         Supposed, I supposed to get the salary from Korean Army.

I:          Um hm.

J:         But I have never gotten [INAUDIBLE]

I:          Then nobody pays you?

J:         Nobody paid me.

I:          Not a, not Marine?

J:         Not the Marines.

I:          That, that’s terrible, my God.  I have a good question actually aye?  Then how did you leave?

1:08:00

J:         Well, eating free, you know.  It’s a military camp where I, you know, uh, live in the tent.  So uh, military camp, I get free meal, free, uh, clothing, free supplies of whatever I need.

I:          So have you appealed to Korean Army  or U.S. Marine?

J:         U.S., uh, government, someone I know, uh, in Washington, uh, uh, they, uh, appealed,

1:08:30

filed a claim, uh, against the U.S.  Navy and, uh, U.S. Navy found out that I was, uh, a regular officer of the Korean Army, and they have no, uh,

I:          Jurisdiction

J:         to, to, just didn’t want a obligation to, uh, pay me cause, uh, Korean Army, they cannot pay any foreign officer.  That kind of a thing occurs in the

I:          Have you complained to Korean Army?

J:         No, no, no.

1:09:00

I:          You haven’t.

J:         No, no.  It’s too late  I guess.  It’s been, uh, you know, uh, 50 years, uh, since the War and, uh, but they have a record of my service.

I:          Ah.

J:         And, uh, so, uh, what’s, uh, they did, uh, it was, uh, given me, uh, certificate saying that I as in Korean Army and also in the Korean War, uh.  So they, to every Korean War veterans, they pay

1:09:30

about couple hundred dollars monthly .

I:          Two hundred, less than 200 dollars

J:         Yeah, that, $180,000 one so less than $200.  They pay me every month .

I:          That’s all?

J:         Yeah, that’s all, yeah.  But they, it, uh, everybody can get it, whether you get paid salary or not.

I:          That’s insane.

J:         Well, that’s life.  [INAUDIBLE[ still, I was able to go to school and, uh, get educated

1:10:00

and uh, uh, pursue my, oh, own life there.

I:          It’s not fair at all.

J:         No.

I:          Um, and then you retired,  went to the United States, went through Yale undergraduate and law school, and you’ve been working.  But at, um, one of the positions that you had was, the job that you had was working for the U.S. Forces in Korea.

J:         In Korea, yeah.

I:          as  Legal Advisor.

1:10:30

J:         That’s right, um hm.

I:          Tell me about it.  What, what kind of work did you do with them?

J:         Well, lots of thing, uh, the, I,, I was very close friend of, uh, a, General Steelwell.  He’s a Commanding General, very, finest General that I have, uh, met, uh.  So giving him, I think, really become a liaison in Korean government and the U.S. Forces.

I:          Um hm.

J:         And when there was some trouble, I always there and, uh, I had a good thing happened is, uh,

1:11:00

I have the trust of, uh, the Korean government and their Korean Ministers and so on.

I:          Ah.

J:         So, uh, and the U.S. Forces also know that, uh, Korean government trusts me  so, uh, they, uh, made me more less go betweener and, uh, recently I just noticed that, uh, the, uh, the, in the World Olympics, uh, you know, uh, the,

1:11:30

swimmers, uh, uh, are being arrested for

I:          Yes.

J:         Same thing occurred in Korea.

I:          Oh.  Same thing?

J:         Yeah, exactly.

I:          In 1988?

J:         Yeah, 1988.

I:          Uh huh.

J:         Same thing.

I:          Tell me, please.

J:         Okay.  After, they’re also swimmers for the racing teams.  You know, five of them I said before because one of them is a reserve.

I:          Uh huh.

J:         Five of them had a talk after they won gold medal

1:12:00

at the, the, uh , not the Hilton, the, what’s the, name

I:          Hyatt?

J:         Hyatt Hotel.

I:          Yeah

J:         After talk, they saw a marker, an iron marker hanging on the wall.  They, then they left there to each one. In time, employee of, uh, Hyatt Hotel, were after, two arrested, other two for certain, you know.

1:12:30

At that time, there was a very high anti-American feeling

I:          Right

J:         among the people.

I:          Uh huh.

J:         Yelling and finally they arrested them.  Now they, they are going to try them

I:          Um hm.

J:         Uh, the, and once they’re tried and, you know, they get  the, the, the sentence, uh, have to stay Korean prison and also, uh,

1:13:00

they are, you know, what, gonna be investigate d, tried.  It’s a very comp, lengthy procedure, uh.  And also they were not actually intended to steal it, uh.  It’s about $10.  It was a marker.  And they just out the money, you know, fun or

I:          Mischievous.

J:         Yeah, mischievous.  And, uh, uh.  So, uh, but the Korean government at the time want to, uh, question him, try him.

1:13:30

They are very fond.  Then U.S. government, there are, now it’s become a State Department , uh.  The, uh, uh, function to protect them.  Ambassador [Lily] was a good friend of min.  He was the Ambassador.  I told him, you know, the, uh, I will be an advisor for t hem.  So I became a [Delaware].  Korean government want them, uh, to be questioned by police.

1:14:00

And uh, U.S. government is very reluctant to release them.  And,, uh, and there are reports by Korean policeman I know telling me don’t let this guy come to police station, [Yungson] Police station because there’s arrived a civilian parade going on and, uh, they will be in danger.  I, I felt  differently.  If I disobey Korean government, uh, order,

1:14:30

order subpoena to appear, it’s gonna [prove oxymoron].

I:          Um hm, um hm.

J:         And may provoke the, uh, the riot about the Korean official.  I took a different position.  Let’s go.  Let’s appear before police and also say they’re sorry, and they did it because they’re drunk.

I:          Um hm. Um hm.

J:         I talked to uh, the uh, swimmers.  All of them agree, are going to follow my advice except one.  He’s a Mormon.  He said he cannot drink you know.

1:15:00

Then I told him just be silent.  That’s arrangement I had.

I:          Ah ha.

J:         It was the objective cause, you know, under U.S. law, uh, you should be silent when you’re being questioned.  That’s the, uh, the right to silence, and that, the, uh, practice of, uh, U.S. criminal practice.  But not in Korea do it.  It’s Korea, Korean people when they say sorry, they take a different attitude.

1:15:30

So I took them, and I told them, I said look it.  Trust me.  I can handle it.  And then I really took them to police station. While they all there, I had to pull aside the, uh, you know, asking for trial and prosecute and so it went.  And then told them they, uh, did seem to be generally say they’re really sorry.  They drunk.  They were celebrating, uh,

1:16:00

their winning gold medal and, uh, one of them was gonna be silent and four of them say, uh, Then everything just calmed down.

I:          That was wise counsel.

J:         That’s uh, I was able to, uh, uh, but then Korean government I went to Chief Prosecutor.  Hey, this is it.  They were asking, asking not to [INAUDIBLE] but it showed intent, and if they kept in Korea, it’s gonna have a diplomatic, uh, consequences, you know.

1:16:30

So the Chief Prosecutor I knew very well and, uh, he understood.  Okay and he’s good.  He’s older to be released and sent to the U.S..

I:          But what if the exactly reverse happened in the United States?  Let’s say that the Korean swimmers came to the United States for the Olympics and they did steal something.  And then, that would not happen like that, right?

1:17:00

J:         Well,

I:          Korean Embassy cannot do, have any

J:         No, no, no.  They, they, the, you know, uh,

I:          Influence over U.S.

J:         No, no.

I:          police, right?

J:         No, no, no, no because

I:          Right.

J:         The law is, uh, anyway it says, uh, territory and jurisdiction cause  they unless offense occur in U.S., U.S.  has no restriction.

I:          Then what about, what about Korean people, Korea?

J:         Well, Korea has a different, uh, system.  Korea is a nationality to restriction.

1:17:30

On their Korean National whether they commit a crime in U.S. or not, they’re just subject  to, uh, Korean

I:          Korean people, yeah.  Korean, Korean authority.

J:         Um hm.

I:          Were there any, you, you were legal advisor to the U.S. Forces in Korea in, uh, time that when there was a, lots of political turmoil about the U.S. President and so on.  Is there any particular episode that you

J:         Well, I, I have to tell you that, uh, you know, [INAUDIBLE]

1:18:00

was very not happy with, uh, Korean government when, treaty with this, the human rights area. I took a different view, uh.  I said to them that, uh, look. Uh, Pok, President Pok, uh, there’s no other way but to, to build up country.  This is the only way.

I:          Um hm.

J:         Then, at the time, uh, the Ambassador and [INAUDIBLE]

1:18:30

he always said to me you’re, you’re, look, you are really uh, uh, the, uh, practically agent of Korean government and, uh, saying that, uh, have you ever educated in U.S., uh, and know the, uh, principle of democracy.  I told him no.  I’m, I just out of my own conscience and releasing the benefit for the U.S. as well as for Korea.  He has to sometime

1:19:00

show power. The U.S. type of a democracy simply don’t work there.  They went [INAUDIBLE]  and, uh, uh, Pok regime survives until he  was assassinated.

I:          Um hm.

J:         But the Pok really, uh, you know, rebuilt Korea later.  But for him, I don’t think Korea well, we could have been [INAUDIBLE] as it is now.

I:          How do you see the,

 

1:19:30

the historical location of the Korean War in, in Korean history?  What, what do you see there?

J:         I can, uh, look at too much, uh, in that, uh, geographical to particularly the, uh, uh, the, the reason.  But I see that, uh, North Korean, uh, setting a DMZ,

I:          Um hm.

J:         and, uh, they are really acting [INAUDIBLE], uh, in Panmunjom.  And somebody has to stop them.

1:20:00

Otherwise, uh, they will attack us once more.  And, uh, uh, to do that, uh, you really have to build a, a stable government, Korean government and the U.S. Forces has to also, uh, uh, uh, support Korean government.  At that time, you know, uh, there was a, sort of a [INAUDIBLE] between U.S. State Department and the U.S. Military.
I:          Uh huh, uh huh.

J:         Because the U.S. militaries are

1:20:30

all the Generals I talked to, they are for stability, determined, uh, some dictatorship

I:          Um hm.

J:         Well, the State Department, uh, feel that, uh, democracy is not, uh, observed, and they are very reluctant sometimes, uh.  Uh, that’s so.  But, uh,  you, at that time, you know, U.S. military had more powerful, uh, nothing in Korea but also in the U.S. uh, government system.

1:21:00

So are the, 20 or the Pok Regime has a [INAUDIBLE] lucky, uh, supporters.

I:          Um hm.  What about the Korean War?  You were in between the Korean, uh, military and the U.S. military closely working with the Marines.  What is the contribution  made by the U.S. Forces?

J:         Well, the, as I said

I:          How do you assess it?

1:21:30
J:         As I said to you that, uh, after being in the War, the Korean military is so weak, uh.  First of all, they’re not prepared, uh.  So it’s, but the  U.S. Military Forces, particularly 1st Marine Division, uh, I don’t think, uh, Korea could ever survive.  But later on, uh, you know, Korea become a very, uh, viable, uh, uh, military forces.

1:22:00

 

And, uh, able to stand up on their own and, uh, U.S. able to reduce their military and, uh, now it’s, uh, a different situation and now Chinese is, uh,  politically backing North Korea and, uh, are posing on a attempt by U.S., uh, to uh, uh, deter the, uh, expansion, uh.

1:22:30

So the region of Korea to remain stable and stronger and become a strong ally of, uh, U.S. is more pertinent, more important this way than, uh, as you are, then maybe no, no less than what’s happened in Korean War.

I:          Um.

J:         Particularly when you have a North Korean, uh, nuclear with, uh, nuclear, uh, bombs, uh.

1:23:00

I:          Is this not the first time that you attending the reunion of Chosen Few veterans?

J:         Second time.
I:          Second time.

J:         Yeah.  I attended first meeting in 1984 I believe.

I:          The very first one.

J:         Yeah, very first one.

I:          Um hm.

J:         And I was, uh, one of the directors for a few years.

I:          Uh huh.

J:         of Chosen Few.  And, uh, uh, the, uh,

1:23:30

after a few years, I just, uh, left and, uh, was not attending, was not paying too much attention to, uh, the Chosen battle.  But, uh, in, in half these, after 60 years anniversary, uh, I more was drawn into, uh, the, uh, Korean War and, uh, coming back to, uh, the memory of the Korean War and, uh  And now, uh,

1:24:00

the, uh, I can, uh, as I said that I, in fact, wrote the, a book about the Korean War and, uh,

I:          What’s the name of it?

J:         Oh, All Chosen.

I:          All Chosen.

J:         Um hm, all, in Korean [INAUDIBLE]

I:          Um hm.

J:         Um hm.

I:          Is it in Korean or both

J:         In, in, Korean.

I:          In Korean.  Do you wanna translate it?

J:         Well, I hope, uh, before I die, uh, I revise it and, uh, uh, publish, uh, a book in English.

1:24:30

But, uh, with my  age, I, you know, book writing not easy, uh.  I hope I can do it, uh.  But, uh, I have, I cannot promise 100% that I can learn.

I:          How personal is this, the reunion, to you now?  What do you feel to see your former colleagues?

J:         Well, first meeting I have a number of my comrades, uh, who fought together in Chosen who were attending.

1:25:00

But I’m sad that they all died.

I:          Oh.

J:         I’m really sad.  They all died.  And, uh, the, the, uh, now what I’ll do when I talk about the, the old comrades, all of them recognized.  But, uh, all comrades.  There were, I was, their life is my life.

I:          Um hm.

J:         And they’re all of them went and died.  They certainly got to me through their lives,  I called when they died.  Very, very close.  But, uh, I am still, uh, interested and, uh, most people know me

1:25:30

and, uh, they also know what I did in, in, in the War.  So, uh, I’m very close to them.

I:          I think your, uh, hope the War career.  I, I, I, I’m not sure whether that’s the right way to do it.  But your whole experience from the very beginning to the end of the Korean War, need to be re-illuminated by some others, and also

1:26:00

I think Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs [INAUDIBLE] need to know about that, too.

J:         Well, thank you for saying it.  But, uh, no.  You know, uh, people like to brag about the particularly the, the, uh, uh, their experience in the War.  But uh, the, uh, I did my part and, uh, uh, I feel I’m, I’m very satisfied with what I did in the War.

1:26:30

I:          So, um, with your permission, I’ll introduce you to the MPVA and, uh, I will update things that my Foundation is doing to educate our own educators in the United States because they not really known to this historical importance of the Korean War.

J:         Well, as I said to you that, uh, you know, this kind of a human approach is more important.

1:27:00

And most of our Korean War veterans, they’re independent people.  They are leaders of community where they live. They’re feeling, they’re sad.  They are opinion will determine the U.S. policy.  On thing, and I tell you one really their support is when they need it is when, when some hostility take place in Korea and the Korean need the support of, uh, U.S..

1:27:30

These peoples voice will be very, very strong.

I:          Absolutely.

J:         Yeah.

 

 

[End of Recorded Material]