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Experiencing War: The Korean War, Not Forgotten (Stories from the Veterans History Project, Library of Congress)

Battle lines in Korea ranged all over the peninsula in the first year, then settled around the 38th Parallel for the final two years. The soldiers and Marines who shipped out to Korea to fight the implacable North Koreans and Chinese contended with other enemies as well: bitterly cold winters (sometimes without proper clothing and equipment), steamy summers, and an unforgiving landscape. Even after the major battles had been fought, the danger of catching an enemy bullet never faded.

Featured Story: Raymond Primm
Raymond Primm - link to story
"You never were in one place very long." (Video Interview, 11:31)

Raymond Primm finished his Army basic training just prior to the outbreak of the Korean War. He was eager to fight, having enlisted at 16 with his head full of heroic imagery from World War II movies and newsreels. On the voyage to Korea in the fall of 1950, he was disappointed to hear predictions that the fighting would be over by Christmas. He became a rifleman whose unit seemed always to be on the move. During one operation, they would take a hill, retreat from it at night to allow artillery shells to fall harmlessly on it, and take it back the next day. He survived two instances of friendly fire from U.S. planes, and was wounded in an explosion that led to his being wrongly listed back home as killed in action. Primm's tour in Korea ended prematurely when it was discovered he had lied about his age to enlist.

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Raymond Primm's story
Experience more stories of the The Korean War: On the Line more stories
“The first year it was like World War II. Then the second two years of Korea was like World War I. It was trench warfare.” -- Raymond Primm
William Joseph Didycz - link to story
“We got our first smell of cordite; the perfume of the military...”

William Joseph Didycz's story

Walter Dowdy, Jr. - link to story
“'...we’re going to give you a choice of carrying a machine gun or a radio.'”

Walter Dowdy, Jr.'s story

Eugene Hill, Jr. - link to story
“...Everything you do, somebody else got a hand in it of some other nationality.”

Eugene Hill, Jr.'s story

James Day Merle Holmes - link to story
“...and here was an old friend of mine from Hastings, Minnesota.”

James Day Merle Holmes' story

Donald R. McDaniel - link to story
“I have some answers now that I didn't have in times past.”

Donald R. McDaniel's story

James Noboru Miho - link to story
“I told my group if you could see their [the enemy's] face, you're too close.”

James Noboru Miho's story

William F. Mitchel - link to story
“The experiences I had as a Marine were beneficial to my whole life.”

William F. Mitchel's story

Ira T. Neal - link to story
“I credit the military with whatever it is I've been able to achieve...”

Ira T. Neal's story

Ralph B. Steele - link to story
“I joined the Marine Corps so I could do what the guys did in Life Magazine.”

Ralph B. Steele's story

Harvey B. Steinberg - link to story
“I guess getting shot was the best thing that ever happened to me.”

Harvey B. Steinberg's story

Gene J. Takahashi - link to story
“He figured that my platoon was probably the closest to the Chinese entry into the war ...”

Gene J. Takahashi's story

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  May 20, 2010
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