Korean War Legacy Project

Shorty Neff


Elbert “Shorty” Neff was born on September 22, 1930, in Yarmouth, Maine. He moved to Vermont at age two. He graduated from Essex Junction High School in Essex Junction, Vermont, in 1948. He does not recall learning much about Korea in school. He enlisted in the United States Army in April of 1951, headed to Fort Hood, Texas, for boot camp, and then attended more schooling in Fort Knox, Kentucky. He set sail out of Seattle, Washington, in January of 1952 and arrived in Incheon, South Korea, three weeks later. He was part of the United States Army’s 3rd Division and was initially assigned as a radioman. He later became a tank commander, serving on the front lines. He left Korea in April of 1953.

Video Clips

On the Frontlines, in a Minefield

Shorty Neff recalls an experience he had on the frontline. His unit was in a minefield, and they lost a tank. He recalls how after the battle was over, he and his unit went to recover the tank. He shares how his unit ended up losing a platoon leader in the minefield. He includes a story and photograph of a Korean soldier.

Tags: Front lines,KATUSA,Personal Loss,South Koreans,Weapons

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Experiences at a POW Camp in Korea

Shorty Neff recalls his experiences at a Prisoner of War (POW) camp during his time in Korea. He details how he and his unit were sent to the camp to recover a commander who had been captured and shares a picture of the camp. He later returned to the front lines. He recalls traveling to Japan for Rest and Relaxation and explains that shortly after, he headed back home to the United States in April of 1953.

Tags: Front lines,POW,Rest and Relaxation (R&R),Weapons

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Letter from a Korean Friend

Shorty Neff reads and reflects on a letter he received from a Korean friend who was a Sergeant in the Korean Army and served as an interpreter. "Hello, Neff (July 8, 1953) - I received the package from you, and I was very glad to get it. I and all the boys enjoyed ourselves with the candies. How have you been lately, Neff? I bet you have a nice time in your home life. Do you remember the night you left here? I was on guard that night. As soon as I walked in the tent from the guard, you were going out with two bags. Then I helped you carry your baggage. I was very sorry because I was on guard. I should write you before but I didn't know your address. Now I know your address so I can write you whenever I have time. I'd like to hear from you and let me know how things are going. Is that okay? Well, nothing is new over here, so I think I better close for now. Until I hear from you, take care good care of yourself, Neff. Thanks again for your package. From sincerely friend..." He then reflects on his time with his friend.

Tags: KATUSA,Letters,Message to Students,Pride,South Koreans

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