Korean War Interviews
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Korean War Interviews
Robert A. Abboud was an infantry lieutenant serving in Korea with the 1st Marine Division from 1952 to 1953, during the closing days of the war. Lieutenant Abboud saw action in the western sector of the frontline, specifically at the Hook, the Nevada Complex, the Three Fingers and Bunker Hill, and served with Lieutenant Allen Dulles, son of Eisenhower's CIA director.
Walter Ade, a German native who grew up in the Sudetenland, emmigrating to Illinois after the war. He served with the United States Army in Korea from January through December 1953. Ade was assigned to Company K, 3rd Battalion, 5th Regimental Combat Team, seeing action in the Punchbowl area and near Chorwon.
Leslie Axelrod enlisted in the U.S. Navy in September 1950, and following Electronics Technician School, he was accepted into the Navy's Officer Candidate School at Newport, Rhode Island, receiving his commission in March, 1952. He began his active service on the USS Lewis, a destroyer escort that was stationed off the coast of North Korea supporting ROK Navy mine sweeping operations. In December 1952 the Lewis was hit by North Korean artillery, sustaining serious damage and loss of life. Axelrod finished his service on the USS Wilkinson, helping install electronic equipment on one of the navy's newest vessels.
In 1965, Ballow attended training to become an Army Criminal Investigator, and was subsequently commissioned as a Warrant Officer. In 1969, during the height of the Vietnam War, Ballow was transferred to Okinawa, Japan. While there, the Island commander put him in charge of fighting the growing drug problem then plaguing military forces on the island. Because of his effectiveness, the commander blocked several attempts to transfer Warrant Officer Ballow to Vietnam.
Bob Bastas served with the U.S. Air Force as a personnel clerk in Korea from late 1952 through August 1953. Responsible for maintaining sensitive personnel files for the 1993 Airway and Air Communications Squadron at Kimpo Air Base, he shares his observations of U.S. and U.N. operations, American efforts to deliver propaganda over enemy lines, and the life of an enlisted airman during the war.
John Beechler was born too late for World War II, but got his chance and enlisted at the beginning of the Korean War. He received a lieutenant's commission in the Field Artillery, and arrived in Korea in January 1953, where he served with the 39th Field Artillery Battalion, part of the 3rd Infantry Division. He worked as a Forward Observer with a Greek unit, then was assigned to an American infantry unit stationed at Outpost Harry. On the night of April 24th Outpost Harry was overrun by the Chinese and LT Beechler was seriously wounded in hand to hand combat, an action for which he earned a Silver Star for gallantry.
Norbern Bentele grew up on the family farm in Macon County, Missouri, and upon graduation from high school in 1950 worked for the railroad stringing telephone line next to the tracks. He joined the Army in 1952, and was assigned to the Signal Corps. He arrived in South Korea in the spring of 1953, just when the fighting along the front was heating up. Following the armistice in July, 1953, he helped train South Korean troops on signal skills, then returned to Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri for the remainder of his tour.
Robert Berry served in the 187th Airborne Regiment in Korea. He was first deployed to Koje Do Island during the Communist prisoner uprising, then later was assigned to the Iron Triangle sector of the front line. Berry was later transferred to a battalion Intelligence Section, where he participated in reconnaissance patrols late in the war.
Paul Blanchette is a Korean War era veteran who served on occupation duty in Japan. He was assigned as a unit armorer to the 3rd Marine Division stationed at Camp Okubo, Japan from 1953- 1954. Paul talked extensively about occupation duty in Japan, including relations between American military personnel and the Japanese people
Gene Bleuer was an infantry platoon sergeant with the 5th Regimental Combat Team during the Korean War. He was captured by the Chinese in December 1952 and spent the next several months in a Chinese POW camp until a failed escape attempt and injury led to his being exchanged for sick and injured Chinese troops as part of the Operation Little Switch.
Beverly 'Scotty' Bruce, came of age during World War II, then joined the Marines in 1951. By 1952 he was in Korea, assigned to the 1st Marine Division's Reconnaissance Company, a job that required him to make repeated trips into no-man's land to collect intelligence information.
Morrie Caudill is a Korean War veteran. He deployed to Korea in early 1953 and was assigned to A Company ("Kitty Able") of the 10th Combat Engineers. Morrie's company supported the infantry regiments defending Outpost Harry in June of 1953.
Jim Creviston served with the 7th Infantry Division as a tanker during the last year of the Korean War. Creviston arrived in Korea in November 1952, and served as a platoon sergeant of a tank platoon with the 31st Regimental Tank Company. Wounded during the battle of Pork Chop Hill, he spent a month in the hospital before returning to the fight.
Bob Crowley served as an officer with the U.S. Army Signal Corps in South Korea, arriving in 1953 at a time when the armistice talks were finally coming to a close. He was assigned to the Korean Military Advisory Group (KMAG), and specifically served as the Signal Maintenance and Repair Officer for the 85th Signal Repair Company, a Republic of Korea Army unit.
Larry Curtin grew up on a farm in central Illinois during the Great Depression and WW II, and was drafted into the Army in December, 1950. Following Basic Training at Ft. Leonard Wood, he shipped to South Korea, received additional training as a radio operator, and was then assigned to the 3rd Signal Company of the 3rd Infantry Division. He served in a variety of different capacities during his year-long tour in Korea.
Maija Rhee Devine and her twin brother were born into a Korean refugee family in Manchuria in 1943. Her parents could not afford to keep her, so gave her to a friend, who then took Maija to Seoul and gave her to a childless couple. That couple raised Maija as their own daughter, but when they had no male children to carry on the Confucian traditions, her father took in a mistress shortly before the war. Maija talks at length about the family's complicated relationship with the mistress, about her experiences during the Korean War, and about her marriage in 1970 to Michael Devine, a Peace Corps volunteer working in Korea at the time.
Allen M. Dulles served as an infantry lieutenant with the 1st Marine Division during the later stages of the Korean War. His father was CIA Director under Eisenhower, while his uncle, John Foster Dulles, served as Eisenhower's Secretary of State. Dulles suffered a severe brain injury in November, 1952, never fully recovering from his wound.
Herb Ericksen is an Air Force veteran of the Korean War. He barely missed service in WW II, but was activated in the opening weeks of the Korean War and sent to Japan. He served with the 83rd Squadron, 437th Troop Carrier Wing as the command pilot of a C-46 cargo plane supplying the troops and ferrying out the wounded.
Bob Evans was born in Springfield, Illinois in 1930 but grew up in Wales until his town was bombed by the Nazis in 1940. His parents sent him to live with a couple in Canada until the end of World War II, when he returned to Wales. He moved to Illinois in 1948 and was attending law school when he decided to enlist in the Army rather than be drafted. He was commissioned as an infantry lieutenant in June, 1950, and shipped to Korea, arriving in time to see action in the Pusan Perimeter in August, 1950 as an infantry platoon leader. Over the next several months he was in the thick of some of the most brutal combat ever experienced by the U.S. Army.
Wilbur Fawns of Williamsville, Illinois was drafted into the U.S. Army in October, 1952, and by the spring of 1953 was in South Korea, assigned to a combat engineer battalion. During his tour, he often ventured into no-man's land to conduct surveillance missions. On one occasion, he also traveled to Panmunjom, the location for the armistice talks between the allies and the communists. While there, he was almost taken into custody by communist guards, but the American guards were able to retain his release. Fawns remembers well the last night of the war, and fondly discusses his return to the states.
Robert F. Fitts is a Korean War veteran, serving in Korea as a unit motor sergeant in the 32nd Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division from mid 1952 to the end of the war in July 1953. Following the war, he became an ordained minister with the United Methodist Church.
Daniel Foulke is an Army engineer assigned to the 76th Construction Engineer Battalion during the Korean War. He worked on a multitude of projects, including bridges over the Han River, and later the POW exchange compound at Panmunjom, where communist prisoners were processed after the armistice was signed in July, 1953.
When the Korean War began in June of 1950, Bernie Goulet volunteered for combat duty. He was flown to Japan and was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment, part of the 7th Infantry Division, then being reorganized.
Carl Greenwood served with the 1st Marine Division as a machine gunner during the first tumultuous year of the Korean War. He landed with the Division at Inchon in September, 1950. fought and survived the Chinese offensive at the Chosin Reservoir, and helped blunt the Chinese spring offensive of 1951.
Robert Grimes served in the Naval Reserves prior to being drafted into the US Army in 1952. He served in combat as an infantryman with Charlie Company, 15th Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division in South Korea and was wounded on July 15, 1953, just days before the armistice was signed. He was awarded the Purple Heart and the Korean Service Ribbon with Bronze Star.
Steve Hall, a musician with the Illinois National Guard at the dawn of the Korean War, served as a mortar platoon leader in the 40th Division once deployed to Korea in the last year of the war. Hall was wounded during the war and awarded the Silver Star for heroism.
Kenneth Hanson is a Korean War veteran with the 14th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division. Captured by the North Koreans in late 1951, and POW survivor. He discusses being beaten when initially captured, his interrogation, his time at Prison Camp # 2 near the Yalu River, and repatriation in July, 1952.
Denis Healy was a U.S. Army Military Police veteran who served in South Korea during 1954, in the aftermath of the armistice. Assigned to the 55th Military Police Company, then to the 728th MP Battalion, Healy was a keen observer of the Korean people as they struggled to recover from three years of war and devastation.
Ken Hersemann is a U.S. Army veteran of the Korean War. Ken was assigned to Battery A of the 49th Field Artillery Regiment (105 mm howitzers). He worked as a cannon crewman for several weeks, then moved to the battery's mess section where he cooked for his unit, eventually becoming the mess sergeant.
John Hinde was born and raised in Independence, Missouri. His father's life-long friend was Harry S. Truman, who helped John's father find employment. John was inducted into the Army shortly after his high school graduation. He spent some time in Oklahoma, and then was shipped to Europe toward the end of the war, too late for him to see combat. John returned to active duty in 1950 for the Korean War, and served as a platoon leader in a heavy mortar platoon with the 7th Infantry Division in 1951, where he saw considerable action.
Harold Holesinger was an fighter-bomber pilot during the Korean War, and finished his long career serving as the Adjutant General for the Illinois National Guard in the late 1980s. He arrived in South Korea in 1952 and was assigned to the 8th Fighter-Bomber Squadron, 474th Fighter-Bomber Wing, flying 57 combat missions in an F-84 Thunderjet.
Art Holevoet was a veteran of the Korean War, serving as a supply sergeant for an anti-artillery unit assigned to the 25th Infantry Division in 1953. Art shares his reflections on the officers and men he served with, the North Korean and Chinese enemy, Korean civilians, and the integration of the Army.
Wayne King grew up on a farm near Alsey, Illinois. In 1951, he was drafted and ended up in the Marine Corps. He was shipped to Korea in the spring of 1952. He was assigned as a tank crewman in a tank company. In 1953, King was wounded when an enemy round hit his tank, but recovered quickly and returned to the front.
Robert Kirby was a Military Policeman who served in Korea from 1952 to 1953 with the 8137th Military Police Group. Most of his tour was spent on Koje-do island guarding North Koreans POWs who were committed communists, bent on causing as much trouble for their captors as possible. Kirby remained on Koje-do when the prisoner exchange occurred following the July 1953 armistice.
Keith Larson joined the Navy shortly after graduating from high school in 1948. Due to lack of military funding, he was discharged from the Navy in early 1950, only to be recalled in July following the start of the Korean Conflict. He was assigned to LST (Landing Ship - Tank) 1077 which arrived off the Korean coast in December 1950. His ship participated in numerous operations for the next 18 months.
Gary Leib enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1948, and after a succession of training schools and other postings, was assigned to the USS Boxer, an Essex class aircraft carrier, on the eve of the Korean War. The Boxer arrived in the waters off Korea in September, 1950, returned stateside in November, then sailed back to Korea in March, 1951. Among the many incidents he recalls, Leib describes his critical role in fighting a devastating fire that ravaged the Boxer in August, 1952.
Gaylord (Gay) Lewison enlisted into the U.S. Army in late 1949. He had just arrived at his first duty station in Okinawa when his regiment was alerted and immediately sent to help defend the Pusan Perimeter in South Korea in July, 1950. His unit, the 3rd Battalion, 29th Infantry Regiment, was decimated at the battle of Hadong. The survivors then transferred to the 27th Infantry Regiment, part of the 25th Infantry Division, and Gay served out the rest of his one year tour with that unit, taking part in some of the toughest combat of the war. He made the Army a career, and served during the Vietnam War as well, this time as a Master Sergeant. He retired as a Sergeant Major, serving as a Regular Army advisor to the Illinois Army National Guard.
Dean Lynn grew up on a small Illinois farm before being drafted in January, 1952 into the U.S. Army. By July he was serving in Korea with the 245th Tank Battalion, assigned as a loader in an M-4 Sherman tank. Lynn saw extensive combat over the next several months, and after one incident at Hill 854, was awarded a Bronze Star for valor as well as South Korea's Wharang Distinguished Military Service Medal for his heroic action that day. Lynn shipped back to the states in 1953, shortly before the armistice ended the war.
Ivan Maras grew up on the family farm near tiny Bulpitt, Illinois, then attended college at Illinois Teachers College. Upon graduation in 1952 he was drafted, and following his initial training, was shipped to South Korea in early 1953 and assigned to the 65th Infantry Regiment, a Puerto Rican National Guard unit. Maras worked in the Headquarters Company until the end of the war in July, 1953. Then, due to his college degree and teaching credentials, he spent the rest of his tour of enlistment teaching Puerto Rican students math and other courses at a make-shift school the military established in Korea.
Donald Meier joined the Illinois Army National Guard in 1947, serving with an Ambulance Company in the 44th Infantry Division. In 1952 Meier was activated and eventually reassigned to work in a hospital on a small island just of the west coast of North Korea. The hospital served North Korean anti-communists who conducted guerrilla raids inside North Korea.
Isaac Mercer was drafted and inducted into the Army in early 1952. He arrived in Korea in February 1953. His unit served on the front lines near Heartbreak Ridge. In June 1953, Mercer earned the Bronze Star for valor.
Richard Mills was a veteran of the Korean War, working in counter-intelligence while assigned to the 3rd Infantry Division in 1953. His duties included interrogation of 'line-crossers' (civilians fleeing south) and prisoners of war. Judge Mills also shares his reflections on the officers and men he served with, the North Korean and Chinese enemy, and Korean civilians.
Robert Mitchler enlisted in the U.S. Navy in November 1941. In 1944, he asked for combat duty and assigned to the USS Oxford, which supported landings in the Philippines and at Okinawa. In 1945, he was reassigned to the USS Scoter. In 1950, when the Korean War started, he was recalled to active duty and served for a time as a Chief Petty Officer for Admiral Allen Smith before being assigned as a stenographer at the Panmunjom armistice talks.
Louis 'Lou' Myers came of age on a small subsistence style farm in west central Illinois. He joined the Illinois Army National Guard in 1948, and trained as an artilleryman for the 44th Infantry Division. His unit was mobilized in 1952, and upon arriving in South Korea, Myers was assigned to serve as an advisor with the 8th ROK Division. Myers soon became an artillery 'Jack of all trades', working with the Koreans on all aspects of delivering artillery fire.
Norm Neely served as an infantryman with the 32nd Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division during the Korean War. Shipped to Korea in May of 1952, Norm joined the 3rd Platoon of Baker Company, which saw plenty of action on the front line near the heavily contested Iron Triangle region.
Stanley J. Nikulski served as an infantryman with the 35th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division during the brutal defense of the Pusan Perimeter in the fall of 1950, where he sustained a leg injury. Nikulski rejoined his unit in late November north of Pyongyang, just in time for the massive Chinese offensive which pushed the 25th Division back all the way south of Seoul.
George Pempek joined the Regular Army in 1947. He had occupation duty near the 38th parallel in South Korea prior to the war, then intelligence service in the 5th RCT in mid-1950. He saw action with the 5th in the Pusan Perimeter, as the unit fought its way north to the Yalu River, then south again during the Chinese offensive. After stateside duty, he returned to Korea in the early 1960s as a Sergeant Major in the 8th Army.
A child of the depression, James Perry received a commission as a Lieutenant in the Army Infantry, and arrived in France with the 97th Division in late 1944. He was a Captain with the 2nd Infantry Division when war broke out in Korea. He served with the 9th Infantry Regiment from the Pusan Perimeter all the way north toward the Yalu River. After the Chinese launched an offensive, he survived running 'the Guantlet' at Kunu-Ri, where he earned the first of two Silver Stars.
Bill Piper was a Korean War veteran serving with the 40th Infantry Division. He saw action in 1953 first as a communications wireman, then in the Battalion Intelligence Section for the 2nd BN, 160th Infantry Regiment. Piper saw action at Heartbreak Ridge, and served for a month at a POW camp on Koje-Do island.
John R. Raschke was drafted into the Army in early 1952, and following Basic Training received extensive training in Morse Code. Arriving in Korea in late 1952, he was assigned to the I Corps message center, and helped relay messages from the front lines to the Corps headquarters. His service in Korea ended shortly after the armistice was signed in July, 1953.
Dan Reese was born and raised in Taylorville, Illinois until 1946 when his father, Leal Reese, moved the family to South Korea. Colonel Reese was working there with the South Korean Provisional Government, to include helping establish the infant nation's military academy. Young Dan got to know Korea well over the next few months, then returned to the United States for college. Upon earning a law degree from the University of Chicago Law School, Reese was drafted into the Army in 1955, and served as a lawyer in the 2nd Armored Division, then based in Germany.
Bernard Resnick served as the Messeage Center chief for the 44th Engineer Battalion during some of the most difficult days of the Korean War. That group participated in the landing at Inchon, the recapture of Seoul, and the fighting and escape from the Chosin Reservoir, aiding the front line units with its numerous engineering projects.
As an African American, Clarence Senor was part of the first wave of blacks to serve in a recently integrated military. He was seriously injured in a jeep accident in Hawaii, and was medically discharged in September of 1952.
Edward L. Smith was a career army infantryman serving with the 38th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division in Korea from 1952 to 1953. He saw action both at Koje-Do Island and the front line. He stayed in the Army, and in 1969 pulled a year long tour in Vietnam with the 25th Division near Cambodia. He retired shortly after this tour.
Having previously lied about his age to obtain a job, Bill Smith was drafted into the Army in 1944. Following basic training, the Army was made aware of the false information and Bill was released from duty. Two years later Bill rejoined the Army and by 1947 he was sent for duty in Pusan, Korea. On June 25, 1950, just when Bill was nearing the end of his tour, the North Koreans invaded the south, forcing Bill's time to be extended immediately. Six months later Bill was captured by the Chinese near Unsan, North Korea. Bill spent the next two and a half years in a Chinese POW camp before he was released in April, 1953.
Bill and Charlotte's interview focuses on their courtship and marriage, and the struggles they shared together because of Bill’s experiences while a POW. Shortly after their marriage, Charlotte learned just how challenging life would be as Bill continued to have medical problems, and lingering behavioral issues that stemmed from his POW experiences. Bill and Charlotte eventually wrote a book about Bill’s wartime experience entitled 'A Moment in Time.'
Fred Stockmeier is a World War II POW, plus a veteran of the Korean War. He was assigned to the 100th Infantry Division during WW II. The division took part in operations in southern France until Mr. Stockmeier was captured on December 4th, 1944. He spent the rest of the war in various prison camps, and eventually was liberated by the Russians southeast of Berlin. He was recalled into the Army in 1950 following the beginning of the Korean War. He was shipped to Korea, arriving in late December, 1950 where he was assigned to the personnel section of the 9th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division
Jim Stone is a Korean War veteran, serving with the 5th Regimental Combat Team, 24th Infantry Division, during the second year of the Korean War. His unit saw extensive combat in the middle of the line near Kumsong, where Stone participated in numerous patrols and other combat engagements.
Joan Talley is the sister of Allen Dulles, a Korean War veteran who suffered a severe brain injury during action in 1952. Joan chronicles the family's reaction to Allen's injuries in Korea in late 1952, his slow and tragically limited recovery from the severe brain injury that he suffered in combat, and Joan's lifelong commitment to his care.
Eldon Yetter, a farmer, was drafted for Korea, joined the Marines in 1951 and was assigned to a Graves Registration unit in the 1st Marine Division. He served near Panmunjom at U.S. and enemy cemeteries. He returned to Illinois, established an insurance business and remains active in VFW parades and military rites.