Korean War Legacy Project

Thomas B. Smith


Thomas B. Smith enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in 1951, serving overseas during the Korean War. He details a harrowing incident where fellow soldiers were killed and others wounded as they were hit by Chinese fire near the front lines. He recounts the freezing cold winters  of Korea, escaping the cold with his transfer from the front lines to a typing position. He is proud to have served in the military and speaks highly of the Marine Corps. He encourages future generations to join the Marines for all that they have to offer.

Video Clips

Freezing Air Force Enlistment

Thomas B. Smith describes the events leading to his enlistment in the Marine Corps in 1951. He recounts his willingness to join the Air Force first; however, too many youths had the same idea. The Air Force froze enlistment to stop everyone enlisting in that specific branch of the military. He shares that he joined the Marines instead as he did not want to wait for the Air Force to unfreeze.

Tags: Basic training,Home front,Prior knowledge of Korea

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Bunker Destruction

Thomas B. Smith shares the details of an incident which cost the lives of two American soldiers and wounded others. He recounts Chinese soldiers overshooting their target and hitting a bunker being dug to serve as a warming place during the winter months. He adds that two soldiers were killed; two were wounded; and the other three involved were deeply shaken by the event.

Tags: Chinese,Cold winters,Fear,Front lines,Living conditions,Physical destruction,Weapons

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Transfer to Safety in the Back

Thomas B. Smith describes his transfer off the front lines to a safer location in the back. He shares that his section leader who had become his friend helped him secure a typing job. He explains that he merely typed a sheet of paper and was offered the position.

Tags: Front lines,Impressions of Korea,Living conditions

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