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Home | Oral History Archive | Reporter's Notebook

All of the veterans we interviewed had amazing stories --about comraderie, warfare, pain, and sacrifice . We've arranged some of their most thought-provoking stories into a series of Editors' Picks--each on a different subject like combat, POW experiences, integration, conditions in Korea and homecoming. These will rotate each week, so stop back for future picks.

This week the focus is on
Combat Stories.

The Korean War was a staggeringly bloody war, killing almost 37,000 Americans and two million or more Koreans and Chinese. Hear Korean War veterans describe fighting hill by hill against a determined enemy.

Curtis Morrow of Chicago, Illinois fought with the Army's 24th Infantry Regiment. He describes the terrifying experience of crossing the Han River in March of 1951 in amphibious boats under heavy enemy fire. Morrow was 5'6", carrying a heavy pack, and couldn't swim.
Listen (1:38) or Read

Ike Gardner of Chicago Illinois, fought with the Army's 24th Infantry Regiment. His discovery that the Chinese had entered the war on the side of North Korean Communist forces came from a surprising clue.
Listen (1:14) or Read

The Korean War was often fought hill by hill in close combat. Laurence Hogan of Boston, Massachusetts fought with the Army's 7th Infantry Division. He describes what can motivate a man in combat.
Listen (1:23) or Read

The Korean War ended with lines not far from where they were originally drawn. George Cureaux of Garyville, Louisiana, fought in the 999 Field Artillery Batallion. He recalls the bloodshed-and soldiers and civilians--as enemy forces traded the same scrap of land back and forth.
Listen (:50) or Read

Murray Havalin of Boynton Beach, Florida was with the 2nd Division combat engineers. He was burned over 80% of his body when he was caught in a napalm attack by American forces on Heartbreak Ridge in 1952.
Listen (1:00) or Read

Previous week's topics:
Homecomming Stories

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image credits: left and center - National Archives and Records Administration; right - Department of Defense