Korean War Legacy Project

William Arnaiz


William Arnaiz was born in Queens, NY. Having completed his associates degree in chemistry, he went to work until he was drafted in 1951 at the age of twenty-one. His unit arrived at Camp Drake in Japan and he was then placed in the Fifth Regimental Combat Team which would land in Pusan. Because of his education, he later became a military code clerk and cryptographer and was stationed in the Punchbowl area. William Arnaiz describes what a typical day was like in the Punchbowl, and recalls a particular attack by the North Koreans. He also explains what it was like to be under siege for 54 hours in the cold winter. William Arnaiz eventually went home on a large ship with troops from various countries, a time that he describes as “memorable.” Overall, he is proud of his service even though he believes “no war is a good war.”


Video Clips

A "Typical" Day

When asked to describe a typical day or battle he remembers, William Arnaiz describes how most people carried weapons even when they were delivering messages and picking up packets. He remembers times when they were under heavy fire and other times when they had to rebuild the bunkers. He describes how the North Koreans did a blanket raid on a barrack that was typically full of men showering-- it was only because the pipes had froze that many lives were saved that day.

Tags: Front lines,Living conditions,North Koreans,Weapons

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The Ship Home

William Arnaiz describes coming home as a great experience. He was on a large ship with troops from several regions. They went through the Panama Canal, dropped off Columbian troops, then dropped off other troops in Puerto Rico.

Tags: Pride

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Under Siege

William Arnaiz remembers a time when they all got alerted there was to be a mass attempt to overrun the "Punchbowl". During this time, he was assigned to a self propelled vehicle with Quad 50 machine guns. All remained on heavy alert for a 54 hour siege, but it ended up being a small skirmish fortunately.

Tags: Fear,Front lines,Living conditions,Weapons

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