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
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