Korean War Legacy Project

Wallace Stewart


Wallace Stewart was born on February 27, 1933 in Utah. He joined the United States Marine Corps Reserve as a high school student in January of 1950. When the Korean War broke out, Wallace Stewart was honorably discharged from the reserves so that he could reenlist with the U.S. Marines. Serving in Baker Company 1st Battalion Marine Corps as a Light Machine Gun Ammunition Carrier, he earned a Purple Heart for shrapnel wounds sustained in 1953. Wallace Stewart returned to Korea in 2010. He attributes the success of South Korea to cultural values about education, as well as to the nation’s homogeneity. As the Director of Education for the Korean War Memorial Foundation, he uses his expertise as a former teacher to create lessons to teach high school students about the Korean War.

Video Clips

I Think They Could Hear My Heartbeat.

Wallace Stewart explains a typical day on the main line of resistance as consisting of long periods of boredom punctuated by moments of sheer terror. Soldiers often stayed awake and on alert all night. They cleaned and maintained their weapons, updating their fire direction cards. Wallace Stewart preferred patrolling at night due to his excellent night vision, but sometimes the soldiers hid in rice paddies to hide from Chinese patrols.

Tags: Chinese,Cold winters,Communists,Fear

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Out of the Reserves and into the Marines!

Wallace Stewart joined the U. S. Marines Reserves in high school. When the Korean War broke out, he reenlisted in the U. S. Marines. He knew nothing of Korea. Despite pursuing basic training at Camp Pendleton, he was too young to go to Korea and served stateside until he was old enough to see combat.

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

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"I Thought We Had Landed in the Wrong Place."

Wallace Stewart returned to Incheon in 2010 and could not believe the phenomenal growth that had occurred since 1950. Korea had been an agrarian economy, with farmers plowing fields with mules and fertilizing with night soil. No paved roads left Seoul, and only one bridge crossed the Han River. The infrastructure and tall buildings of 2010 demonstrated phenomenal growth.

Tags: Incheon,Seoul,Impressions of Korea,Modern Korea,South Koreans

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