Korean War Legacy Project

Wendell Murphy


Wendell Murphy grew up in Baltimore, Maryland in a poor family headed by his grandmother. He enlisted in the National Guard in January 1949. When the Korean War broke out, he tried to enlist but was too young, so he had to get his mother’s permission to go.  He remembers participating in several famous battles as a Forward Observer, a very dangerous position. He describes his time in the trenches, remember being as close to 300 yards from enemy. Wendell Murphy also explains what they ate, how they slept, and how scared he was at night. He states that he left for the war as a kid, but came back as a man.

Video Clips

Iron Triangle, Pork Chop Hill, Heartbreak Ridge

Wendell Murphy tells of his participation in several famous battles. On Sept 19, 1951 at Heartbreak Ridge he was hit by a land mine. It killed the Sergeant and Corporal in front of him; he was hit in the legs, ribs and head. He was only 18 years old, injured and unable to move. He hid to avoid being captured by Chinese.

Tags: 1951 Battle of Heartbreak Ridge, 9/13-10/15/,Chinese,Front lines

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Fighting the Chinese

He describes being in trenches, explaining that he was as close as 300 yards from the enemy. He describes how beautiful the mountains were, but all the trees were full of gunshot. He describes how the Chinese would come by the thousands, and describes a night at Heartbreak Ridge when about 60 men were killed, mainly by rifle fire, in September 1951.

Tags: 1951 Battle of Heartbreak Ridge, 9/13-10/15/,Front lines

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Living Conditions in Korea

Wendell Murphy describes what they ate in Korea, including listing some of the C-ration options. He recalls not being able to sleep much because the Forward Observer team was understaffed. Additionally, he said that he couldn't sleep at night because he was too scared.

Tags: Fear,Food,Living conditions

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