Korean War Legacy Project

Philip S. Kelly


Philip S. Kelly was born in December of 1930 in San Diego, California.  In 1946, he enlisted into the United States Marine Corps at the age of fifteen with permission from his mother.  He was one of the youngest ever to enlist in the Marines after World War II.  After attending basic training in San Diego, he reported to training in tower operations. From there, he went to train as a Lineman at Camp Pendleton.  He left San Francisco on a troop ship in 1950 and was part of the amphibious landing at Inchon.  Additionally, he was in the Battle of Chosin Reservoir, where he engaged in hand-to-hand combat as an infantryman.  He served tours in both Korea and Vietnam.

Video Clips

64th Anniversary of the War

Philip S. Kelly reads letters he wrote for the 64th Anniversary of the Korean War. He describes the Battle of Chosin Reservoir by reading details of his personal experience. He recalls hearing the bugles of the Chinese blaring, and engaging in hand-to-hand combat as a combat infantryman.

Tags: 1950 Battle of Chosin Reservoir, 11/27-12/13,1953 Armistice 7/27,Chinese,Cold winters,Communists,Fear,Food,Front lines,Letters,Message to Students,North Koreans,Pride,South Koreans,Weapons

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From Inchon to Wonsan

Philip S. Kelly describes the amphibious landing at Inchon. He recalls seeing the extreme poverty of the Korean people, and how his life was changed after he saw children fighting for scraps. He explains why he had limited information about his missions before they were carried out.

Tags: 1950 Inchon Landing, 9/15-9/19,Incheon,Wonsan,Civilians,Fear,Food,Front lines,Impressions of Korea,Poverty,South Koreans,Weapons

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The Battle of Chosin Reservoir and Roadblocks

Philip S. Kelly describes thinking he would be home by Christmas 1950, but instead he encountered a surprise attack by the Chinese in what became the Battle of Chosin Reservoir. He recalls that the United States Army pulled out and left the U.S. Marines exposed to the Chinese attack. He explains how he fought as an infantryman, and the difficulty experienced by the soldiers in trying to clear out Chinese road blocks.

Tags: 1950 Battle of Chosin Reservoir, 11/27-12/13,Wonsan,Chinese,Cold winters,Front lines,Physical destruction,Pride,Weapons

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