Korean War: On the Line

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

"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.