Korean War Legacy Project

Santos Rodriguez Santiago


Santos Rodriguez Santiago was born in Puerto Rico on April 6, 1931. He graduated from high school and joined the National Guard in 1947. Having no prior knowledge of the county, he went to Korea in 1950 with three others from Puerto Rico. He served in the 5th Regiment H-company where he dealt with heavy weapons on the front-line. He shares what life was like in the Punchbowl area during the war.  He was a Platoon Sergeant, returned to Korea in 1957, and also did 2 tours of duty in Vietnam. Santos Rodriguez Santiago fondly recalls his time in Korea as an education, and an opportunity to learn the customs and traditions of the Korean people.

Video Clips

Life in the Punchbowl

Santos Rodriguez Santiago remembers not knowing much about the area as they traveled to the Punchbowl. A lot of his time was spent observing the enemy among the hills. He remembers some of his officers being hit by snipers as the two sides often exchanged gun fire. He says that after 2-3 months they began to get used to this lifestyle.

Tags: Chinese,Fear,Front lines,Living conditions

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A Great Opportunity to Learn

Like many others, Santos Rodriguez Santiago did not learn anything about Korea before being sent there for the war. He argues that this is a good experience though because the military sends you places, and you learn a lot. He explains that he learned to work with others and the customs of others, but that many young people only learn

Tags: Pride,Prior knowledge of Korea

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The Hardest Thing

Santos Rodriguez Santiago shares that one of the most difficult things was watching people get killed. He wonders why people are unable to live in harmony. He remembers that he was unsure about whether or not he would come home alive.

Tags: Fear,Front lines

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