Central Long Island Chapter, KWVA, December 1999 newsletter


It wasn’t so easy to tell civilians from the enemy in Korea in 1950.  I would like to answer all the reports about (Korean) civilians killed in July and August 1950. 

    I was 17, and on June 29, 1950, I was sent to a country I never heard of – Korea.  I never saw Korean people before.  On July 1, 9150, we were sent to the Kun River.  My job was radio operator for a forward observer for a mortar team.  For days we were happy to see all the people dressed in white coming through our lines, even a very big pregnant woman.  On July 12, 1950, we were shelled for eight hours.  We suffered four killed and 11 wounded.  On a sweep the next morning, a very not-so-pregnant woman was caught with a radio and map of our positions.  So much for [innocent] civilians. 

    On July 15, we were overrun by the 4th North Korean Division.  Falling back, we hit a roadblock.  Civilians dressed in white almost slaughtered our battalion.  We had to walk eight miles over mountains to reach Taejon. 

    Going over the mountains, we watched these civilians slaughter our wounded.  Arriving in Taejon, we were still allowing civilians through our lines.  We were again surrounded by civilians in white.  Only after Taejon was the order given to shoot anyone in your front dressed in white. 

    I would like your readers to put yourself in the position of a 17-year-old on July 29 at Chinju.  You are on a hill by the side of the road, eight civilians coming through your lines.  Do you welcome them or do you call for a fire mission? 

    By the way, these so-called civilians cost us, out of 1,100 men in four weeks, 658 dead, wounded and captured.  After the fall of Taejon to American forces in September, we found our POWs’s hands tied behind their back with barbed wire and slaughtered.  Edward Grygier, Port Richmond