Korean War Legacy Project

Melvin D. Hill


Melvin D. Hill of Cranston, Rhode Island enlisted in the military when he was seventeen-years-old.  He joined the Army and arrived at Busan in July 1950.  As a truck driver, he traveled from Busan, Seoul, and up to the Yalu River.  He fought hand-to-hand at the Yalu River against 300,000 Chinese.  After being pushed back to the 38th parallel and spending thirteen months at the front line, Melvin Hill was sent home.

Video Clips

Life on the Front Lines: Busan to the Yalu River

Melvin Hill describes living on the front lines for thirteen months. He describes his journey through Seoul on his way to the Yalu River. He explains that a bullet struck his front tire, leaving him unable to steer the truck. He and another young man had to change the tire, surrounded by a multitude of people, completely unaware if they were North Korean or South Korean. He attributes their ability to change the tire in roughly fifteen seconds and throw a five-hundred pound tire onto the truck to fear and adrenaline.

Tags: Aprokgang (Yalu River),Busan,Seoul,Chinese,Fear,Front lines,Living conditions,North Koreans,South Koreans

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A Brutal Attack

Melvin Hill explains a brutal attack at a roadblock on the way back from the Yalu river. He recalls his experience with hand-to-hand combat, saying he never thought he would ever put a knife into someone, stab someone with a bayonet or shoot someone right in front of him. He describes running over people in the middle of the road. He believes that his survival of the attack by the Chinese is only due to luck.

Tags: Aprokgang (Yalu River),Chinese,Fear,Front lines,Weapons

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Korean War PTSD

Melvin Hill explains having to deal with PTSD from the day he came home in 1951 up through the early 2000s. He describes driving his truck with his then girlfriend and shaking so badly he would have to pull over to calm down. He explains that he had to attend a Veteran's hospital on and off for several weeks at a time to treat his disorder.

Tags: Home front

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