Jim Morrissey

The following information from the Veteran's Memorial Hall veteran history form and an Oral History of Jim Morrissey follows:

Mr. Morrissey served in the Korean War. He first served in the U.S. Army at the age of 16 beginning on December 19, 1946. He spent over a year in Japan with Company B, where his unit was assigned to the Palace Guard. When he came back home, the U.S. Army found out that he was too young and he was honorably discharged on January 14, 1948.

He then joined the U.S. Marines on August 21,1950. Mr. Morrissey went to Camp Pendleton, California and he was assigned to Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 7th Regiment, 1st Marine Division. He then was sent to serve in Korea. He was honorably discharged on May 5, 1952.

Mr. Morrissey held the rank of Corporal, and he was awarded the Purple Heart. Mr. Morrissey was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in April 1930. He is the son of Tom and Eleanor Morrissey. He graduated from Cathedral High School in 1949.

Source: Veterans’ Memorial Hall veteran history form; veteran’s account fellows:

“I was with Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 7th Regiment, 1st Marine Division from Inchon through Chosin Reservoir. I went though three major battles and was wounded at Wonju during Operation Killer.”

Mr. Morrissey served during the Korean War.
He served in the U.S. Marine Corps.
Source: Oral interview (below)

DECEMBER 27, 2007


INTERVIEWED BY: Kyle Hilson, intern for Veterans Memorial Hall,
Student at UWS Superior, Wisconsin &
Daniel Hartman, Program Director, Veterans Memorial Hall

TRANSCRIBED BY: Karin Swor, Program Assistant for Veterans Memorial Hall, senior aide

KH. For the record what is your full name?

JM. Jim Morrissey

KH. Date of birth

JM. 4/22/30

KH. Place of birth

JM. Milwaukee

KH. For the record could you please spell your last name?


KH. Thank you. What was your childhood like in Milwaukee?

JM. Well, I grew up in an Irish family. I had three older brothers, so I was the youngest one on the stick. I had a good Irish dad; he was very, very strict. We grew up in a Catholic family, so our young childhood was really well organized and very good. My Dad died when I was 10. That was a big loss for us. My older brothers had all served in World War II, so that left just my mom and I, after without a dad, I became a little bit of an imp, but when I went to high school my high school football coach straightened me out.

KH.. You went to high school in Milwaukee too?

JM. No, I went to high school in Duluth, I went to Cathedral.

KH. What year did you move to Duluth?

JM. 1940, no let me think, 1939 oh that is close enough.

KH. You said you had three brothers, what did you do as a kid for fun with all your brothers?

JM. Well, we were all involved in sports, we all played, my brothers all played basketball, football, I was involved in ski jumping, I played hockey, football, baseball, softball. All three of my brothers, they did it all, they all played softball, baseball, football, basketball and my dad went to al the games. We all had to go, if one of us was playing the family was there.

D.H. That is great…of all those games, what one do you think was the most popular?

JM. In those days?

KH. Yes, in those days.

JM. Oh, I would say football.

KH. And that was when you were back in Milwaukee. When you came to up to Duluth, I imagine you still played sports.

JM. Oh yeah

KH. Was football still the number one sport or was ski jumping pretty popular?

JM. Well for me it depended on the season. In the fall it was football, in the summer it was baseball and in the winter it was either hockey or ski jumping. I did a little bit of both.

KH. Cool…In school, what subjects really interested you; you know caught your attention?

JM. I enjoyed Science; you know I actually enjoyed English, too.

KH. Why Science and English?

JM. Well in English I enjoyed writing, and I love to read, I still do. So I enjoyed that part of language arts. Then Science of coarse, I became a Science teacher for 31 years, so I really enjoyed the science, and then I could kick in my own. But I learned a lot, and that is where I got my first interest in Science.

KH. Where did you teach?

JM. I taught at Birchwood Elementary, right up in Duluth Heights. I was there for 22 years and I spent the last 12 years subbing.

KH. So what High School did you go to?

JM. I went to Duluth Cathedral, but I coached at Central.

D.H. You were recently honored by Cathedral High School too, correct?

JM. Yes the inducted me into their Hilltopper Athletic Hall of Fame, which was a huge honor. Just being associated with the guys that are in there. Ya hoo!!!! Something else.

D.H. Congratulations…it is great. What was high school like for a teenager, someone who is really busy? How did you balance your schedule in school with sports?

JM. Well, my mother did a good job of that, seeing that we were home alone, cause my brothers had scattered all over. No, my teachers were great, I had Nuns, and they kind of held the stick on me. I made sure my grades were up because I didn’t want to disappoint anybody. Not only that, if your grades went down you couldn’t play. If you fell below a C average the hammer came down. So I tried to maintain as high a GPA as I could. Don’t get me wrong; high school was fun, oh yeah, you bet.

KH. What kind of things did you do for fun?

JM. Well you know, you always have a bunch of guys that you play football with, guys that I grew up with, we all lived in the same neighborhood. We all chummed around; in fact we are still chumming around, you know how that goes. We made our own fun, we played sandlot football and pick up baseball games, and go out on the town once and a while, look for girls.

KH. Where were the pick up spots, back then, looking for girls?

JM. Downtown Superior Street, cruising with the windows open, and the radio going, nothing has changed.

KH. I guess you dated in high school, I presume. What kind of things did you do on a typical date, in high school?

JM. A lot of movies, that was the big thing, go to movies, nothing else to do. You know you were too young to do anything else, when you are still in high school you are still 16 or 17, 18. So you are limited as to what you can do. Mostly movies and picnics and stuff like that.

KH. Like sit down movies or drive in movies?

JM. Well we went to both, and then sometimes, if you had a girlfriend or if you pick up a girl and go for a walk.. Go visit somebody.

KH. Was there a curfew that you had by your mother, a certain time you had to be home?

JM. When I was younger I did. When my dad died, of course when he was alive it was stricter, when it got dark you were in the house, at my age. Around 8:30 P.M. at night she would start calling, where are you so I was never out much later than 9 o’clock.

KH. What did you do immediately after high school?

JM. Went in the Marines.

KH. What inspired you to join the Marines?

JM. Well, I quit school in my junior year and joined the Army, because I wanted to follow my brothers. They were my inspiration, and my dad served in World War I, so we had a Military background in our family. I didn’t not want to be left out of anything, so I told my mom I was going to do it, she said no your not. Well, I was 16, and I joined the Army, spent a little over a year there in Japan in the Army. Then I came back, they found out I was too young, so they said you are going home, they gave me an honorable discharge and sent me home, so I went back to school. Then the Marine recruiter came, being I was in the infantry in the Army, it was right up my alley, so I joined.

KH. Did you get married between, when you were in the Marines?

JM. No, I got married after I got out of the Marine Corps, 1955.

KH. Do you remember what year you joined the Marines?

JM. 1948, wait a minute, no, lets see, I was in the Army in 46 to 48 so I joined the Marines right after my junior year in high school, so yes it was around 48.

KM. What was basic training like? Was it like you see in the movies with drill instructors yelling in your face?

JM. Boot Camp? I never had to go through Marine Boot camp because I had boot camp in the Army, so having had that, experience, you know, when you are in the Airborne you get a pretty rough training, so they waived my boot camp for me. The boot camp I had in the Army, yeah, it was a lot of hollering and screaming, oh yeah. I had an Irish drill instructor, I still never will forget his name, his name was Conlin, but he was good, he was a good DI, he was on your case all the time, he wanted you to be the best you could be.

KM. Were you infantry or were you airborne?

JM. Airborne is infantry.

D.H. Do you know, was there a unit you were assigned to in the Army when you were in?

JM. B Company, that I remember, what platoon I cannot remember. When you are only 16, you don’t remember stuff like that.

D.H. It was still a pretty tough experience for you?

JM. Yeah, but it was good, it was a good experience.

KM. When you were over in Japan what were you doing?

JM. Just training, training, training. Everyone now and then your unit would get selected to stand Palace Guard. That was pretty elite to be able to stand Palace Guard, because you were standing with the Brits, and the Gerkas and it was a combined United Nations Honor Guard there, so you got a chance to stand shoulder to shoulder with somebody from another country. It was really neat, especially when you ask to see a Gerka’s coukery, his Knife. There tradition is that they cannot draw their knife unless they draw blood. I am standing guard with this guy, real late at night no one was around, he wanted to see my riffle, my M1, because he was using an old bolt action thing, about 9 feet long. He wanted to see my M1; of course, you know I can’t release my weapon to anybody. I said to him, I would like to see your knife, he said, no sir: I cannot do that, I have to draw blood. I said, I will let you see my rifle if I can ser your knife, so we agreed, I let him take my rifle and he drew his knife, and cut me, they have a blood groove on the knife, so he let the blood run down into the groove, and that satisfied his culture. So I could look at his knife and he looked at my M1.

KM. Approximately how big is the knife?

JM. I have one at home. It is curved; they used to carry it back here. The Japanese were deathly afraid of these, because these, Gerka’s, would take their heads off, they had a curved blade and were as sharp as a razor. When he cut me I could hardly feel it…. It is quite a weapon.

D.H. Where did you get one, my I ask?

JM. I bought one at a war surplus store, they had them, in fact I got lucky because I got an Officer’s Coukery, and they are a little bit smaller than the enlisted man and a little fancier. They have a buffalo hide handle on them where as the enlisted man’s had a wooded handle. Mine is pretty neat. Then you get two little knives with it, supplementary knives in case you need them.

KM. Like in the handle?

JM. They are right in the scabbard, and the scabbard is made out of bone.

KM. Oh, Ok and you found it in a surplus store?

JM. That was not to long after WWII so things like that were available, now you couldn’t. You could get them in catalogs and stuff like that, certain catalog’s, military catalogs.

KM. How long were you a Marine before you were shipped to Korea?

JM. 5 years

KM. Did you have like a heads up, like you were going to be shipped out in so many weeks or so many months?

JM. I was working on the railroad up in Montana with two of my buddies, up in the mountains, and I got a letter, saying come on home. We had heard that the Korean War had started. I was out there in April, May, June and July, and it started in June and the first of August I got the letter to come home because we were being activated, so I had to jump on a Greyhound bus and come home.

KM. This was what year?

JM. 1950, August 1950

KM. What were you thinking when you got that letter?

JM. I was excited, yeah. I was getting a little tired of pounding spikes on the railroad, so I was ready to go.

KM. Why were you pounding spikes out there?

JM. Well, we were maintaining the main line of the Pacific Railroad, NP, Northern Pacific, and we were on the main line going through the mountains and every year certain ties that had been in there for maybe 30,40 or 50 years, they mark them, and then we have to pull them out and replace them and put new ties in. We had 35 miles of track to take care of, it kept you busy. You were swinging a 16# sledge or a 9# spike mall.

KM. So it kept you in good shape.

JM. Oh boy, talk about….

KM. When you got over to Korea what was, did they have to tell you what to do?

JM. Well, they told us we were going in at Henchong, behind the North Korean lines to cut them off, and take the pressure off the Perschon perimeter, those guys were getting chewed up. Our 5th Marine Brigade went in there, and kind of stabilized things. We went in at Henchong, and we were told we were going to go up a sea wall, because they had super high tides there, if you went in when the tide was down you had a huge wall to climb. We knew what we were going into. When the 220 guys you see in that picture left here, from this depot, we went on a troop train out to California, got to Camp Pendleton, they divided us up by experience. If you had so many summer camps, they considered that enough training to go, if you didn’t you had to go for four weeks boot camp training before you went overseas. If you had no experience at all you had to go for eight weeks boot camp training. So that is how they divided us up, of course I had previous Military service so I went in the Number one group. All the guys that were in the number one group, guys that had been in the Marines before or whatever, they just lined you up in a long line, and the Officers were up at the table like this and they said: Able, Baker, Charlie Weapons, Able, Baker, Charlie, Weapons, that means companies,
Able Company and you just came through, your Able your Baker as you came through.

KM. So you switched up into four groups?

JM. Yes, four groups and then the weapons with your bazookas and heavy machine guns and mortars. That is your weapon Company. Then each battalion has a weapons company and then if you are assigned to any company that is up on the line, certain sections go in. I started out in weapons company, and then we got hit pretty hard by the Chinese, I was a bazooka man and I took a couple of rounds through the bazooka, which made it useless so they put me in rifle company, Charlie Company.

D.H. What was it like to fight alongside UN soldiers? During the Korean War did you ever encounter other UN, United Nations?

JM. No, not really, we were pretty much alone, the only ones that we really got in contact with were the Royal Marine Commandos from Britain and that wasn’t until we got to Hagru, coming out of the track, coming out of the chosen reservoir, that is where we tied up with them. They were really badly chewed up because they were assigned to an Army unit, which got ambushed. There were some tough soldiers, that 41 commando, they were some good men, and they were tough. They were happy to be with us.

KM. Did you get along pretty well?

JM. Oh yeah, we tied in with some of the Korean Marines, the Rock Army, as far as we were concerned, they weren’t much good, they were no help at all, sometimes they did more fighting amongst themselves then they did against the Chinese. The Korean Marines, the South Korean Marines, we call them the Rock Marines, they were pretty good, we had trained them. They didn’t turn and run they would stay there and fight.

KM. Were you part of the retaking of Soul?

JM. Yeah!!

KM. How long did that take, approximately?

JM. We got there, the 5th Marines were the first Marines in there, I was in the 7th, 7th regiment, then the 5th went in before us so by the time we got there we were just cleaning up, so we weren’t there too long. I would say the 5th was there about a week.

D.H. Is there any way we can start here from you leaving the Depot and slowly go through your progression through the Korean War, through the different battles and the different landings and so forth?

JM. I will do the best I can on that one. Like I said, we left here and went to Pendleton where they divided us up into companies and we had three days training. They took us up into the hills and they wanted to know who could fire a bazooka. I said I had fired one in the Army, so the Gunnery Sergeant took me up there, gave me, not the new ones, they gave me the old 237’s that were used in the Army, which were out dated, but they were using them for target practice, they wanted to see what we could do. There was a bunker down there, you know with portholes in it, so I had fired the darn things before so I was pretty good with them, and I put my first round right through the porthole, and he said, give this man a bazooka. Well then we got the new ones, what they call a 3.5 which is much bigger, because the 237’s, the Russian Tanks that gooks were using, they would just bounce off of them, but the 3.5 would take care of them. Put them out of action. We trained there for a few days and then we boarded ship and took off in the convoy, I was on the Oakanogon attack transport, with my battalion. We did a lot of target from the fantail of the ship because a lot of the guys had never fired machine guns. They had to get familiar with their weapons, because a week ago they were civilians. So we didn’t get much time to get out on the range. They would throw boxes and stuff out in the ocean and the guys would use them for target practice. They learned how to fire their weapon, so that was the prep we had going into Hinjong that was it. Then we got to Hinjong, proceeded up towards the 38th parallel and we were strictly fighting the North Korean’s, they were on the run, so we got to the 38th pretty quick. The Army came up and relieved us and we went back down to Pohang and regrouped and got on LST’s to go up north to Hamhung. Anyway we got there and we went on Amtracks, these little amphibious tanks, you know on the beach there, and we had about a 20 mile hike up the road, to where we were going to meet the so called enemy, the Korean’s had taken off. We saw our first North Korean action up there, just north of Hamhung. We were digging in and a artillery mortar shell landed, you know as a young kid, you say what was that? The gunnery Sergeant, a World War II Vet, said, “you idiot” that was an incoming round, get your butt down. If it weren’t for our World War II, noncomps, I don’t think any of us would be here. They knew what to expect. Like the first time you hear a bullet snap over your head, they sound like firecrackers, you say what the hell is that snapping noise? They tell you immediately, that is a bullet, son, and it is close, so get down. If you hear snapping that means it is close, so they saved a lot of lives. They were good. All of our officers were WWII guys. Thank God for that. Then we proceeded up north, we got, November 2, is when the Chinese first hit us at a place called Macnorelli. They hit my company with probably a battalion, so we were pretty well out numbered, but our whole battalion up their and our whole 7th regiment, they had sent a whole division down, the Chinese. They sent, what we found out was the Black Diamond Division, and World War II, by the Americans, had trained all their guys. Their job was to annihilate the Marines, that was their jobs, annihilate the Marines. They used to call us yellow legs because we wore leggings in those days, so you learned pretty doggone soon to put the leggings under your pants not over them. That is where the Chinese first hit us. We chewed them up real bad and they chewed a little bit of us up too. Then we proceeded up north, we would encounter roadblocks, you would have to take this hill and that, finally we got up to Udandy, which is in the Cheslan Reservoir and that is where they sprung the trap on us. I will never forget going around that corner to take my first look at Udandy and you thought a hail storm hit you, with the bullets, they were waiting for us. We had to disperse around that area, and of course there was about 20 Chinese Divisions all around us. We were in the middle and they were all around us. We dug in there and we got supplied by air, because we couldn’t get anything from the road, so they air drops. Then we had to go get Fox Company; our battalion was chosen to go get Fox Company that had been surrounded for about six days by a whole battalion, one company, they had 150 guys in that whole battalion, with Chinese around them. Fox Company pretty well depleted that battalion of Chinese by the time we got there. We had to go over the hills at night, nobody knew we were coming; we went right through the Chinese lines in a snowstorm. We could hear them talking, we could smell them. We got the Fox Company and got them out.

Then we ended up in Hagarue, about a fifteen-mile jaunt, to get down to Hagarue where the rest of the division was. There they had carved out an airfield for these old Gooney Birds, these old C-47’s to land, and boy I will tell you, those pilots are something else to land on that, I’ll tell you, how they did it I will never know, but they did; they took out thousands of wounded Marines, you know, so we weren’t becoming a burden to the guys that could still fight. I know they flew me out; I was the last plane out of Hagarue, in fact the Chinese were on a hill and we had to get up over this hill. They had set up a machine gun on this hill and we took about seven or eight rounds right through our plane. I am standing because I could stand up, but one of the guys lying on the stretcher got hit again in the leg when bullets came through the plane. They flew me to Japan and I stayed about three weeks in Japan, then they sent be back to Korea, back to my outfit.

In the spring the Chinese hit us with the spring offensive. In April that is when I got hit again, and that was the end of me, I had to go home. I was there a little over nine months.

KM. It is an amazing story.

JM. I am one of the lucky ones. Have you ever gone down to the Veterans hospital in Minneapolis? You feel awfully lucky when you come out of there, when you see some of the guys. The poor guys coming back from Iraq. I AM ONE OF THE LUCKY ONES.

KH. Where did you get hit the first time?

JM. I froze my feet, and a little bit of shrapnel in my face. Yeah, I froze my feet, my feet were all black, it was really bad, I couldn’t walk. I was done.

KH. Do you remember what the temperature was at night? I remember reading it got pretty cold.

JM. Oh yeah, the temperature was about 40 below with a twenty-five, thirty mile an hour wind. Our battalion commander told us that the wind chill was pretty close to 100 below. It was really cold.

KH. How did you guys try to keep warm in that?

JM. Just try to keep moving, because we had wool pants and a wool sweater and a little alpaca vest, then a parka, but even with that when you start going through snow up to your knees and you are going up hill and you are carrying forty pounds of gear, plus all your weapons and ammunition you work up a sweat even when it was 40 below. That was the hard part because then you stop and the minute you stopped everything froze up. You didn’t stop for long and when you did you tried to keep moving. When we were going that night over to Fox Company they made us carry all kinds of gear because we had to carry extra machine gun ammo and everybody carried extra gear and then they made you do jumping jacks in line. Not for exercise but they did not want anything to rattle, no noise. So you did your jumping jacks and if something rattled you had to quiet it down. Once everybody did that it was no talking, no nothing. It was at night and the gooks were up there waiting for us but they didn’t know when we were coming or where we were going. We made it through their lines.

KH. Now the Chinese as fighters compared to the Koreans?

JM. Oh they are good soldiers, Chinese, they are tough. They were going through the same conditions as we were, we had a better unit than they did. Some of them just had rubber canvas shoes on but they had good quilted clothes. They were much superior to ours and what they wore. Their footwear wasn’t much to speak about. If they killed a lot of our guys the first thing they went for was the boots. They would strip the boots off.
We came across an Army Convoy, guys that had gotten killed and none of them had boots on. That was the first thing they took. So, yeah it was cold.

D.H. I heard the summer was just the complete opposite that it was really hot.

JM. Yes it got really hot, especially down in South Korea but North was hot too. Much like Minnesota.

KH. So it had to be kind of weird to be fighting in snow, normal for us, but for some of the other guys, it had to kind of an odd thing. Yeah, we had a kid from Hawaii, Tusecillo, he was in my squad. The first night at Hagaru on the way going up North we dug in at Hagaru, we were on our way up to Uden. That was the first night that we got snow. That was in November. I will never forget, this little Hawaiian kid came out; he had never seen snow in his life. He had never been off the Hawaiian Islands. He was from the reserve unit, he was screaming and yelling, this is really cool, this is great, for about five minutes and then he froze up. We had to saddle up and get out of there. You know you had to roll up your sleeping bag up and pack your gear; he could not do a thing. We had to roll his sleeping bag, he was just shivering. It took him a while.

KH. Approximately how many pounds of gear did you guys have to carry, with your forty-pound pack?

JM. When you took your full field bag it was pretty close to forty pounds. But then when you went on a mission, like if you were going to take a hill, you left your big bag back and just took an attack pack. Maybe a couple of cans of sea ration’s, something to eat, in case you are going to be up there for a while and your ammo. But your big pack and everything, you do not want to haul that up a hill, pretty hard to fight with that on.

KH. So what does your main pack consist off?

JM. Just about everything you own, you had your extra socks in there and sometime you would carry your extra socks next to your skin, to dry them, your feet would sweat in those old shoe packs that we had, they were not worth a dam. Your feet would sweat like crazy and if you had a chance to get those socks off and change them, then you would take those wet socks and put them next to your skin so they would dry. Otherwise they would never dry in your pack. Then you had your extra socks, sea rations, and extra ammo, what ever you could get in there. What ever you could carry, what ever you could carry that you figured you would need. Always extra ammo, as much as you could find.

KH. This is kind of an opinion question but I would kind of like to know this? When China Invaded, came into North Korea, do you believe that maybe the United States should have done something, like maybe attack China, gone into China and invaded them?

JM. There is a lot debate on that. We had them on the run at the 38th parallel, we stopped and came back and went up north. Our problem was, like Macarthur, they never figured that China would come into the war. They under estimated, China, they never figured they would come in. When they did come in, nobody ever figured they would be that strong, they would come in at night, undercover, nobody knew they were there. Thousands of them, you take four, five, six, seven eight divisions, twenty divisions, and hide that many guys and all of a sudden there they are. You know, like that group that hit us in Nightmare Alley, we knew right away they weren’t North Korean’s, with the amount of firepower they had. They had tanks and boy I will tell you the hill I was on, they kicked us off that hill, and these are not North Korean’s. Then we killed a bunch of them and saw their uniforms, Chinese. There is a huge difference, but there were so many of them, man. They could come at you like ants, one right after the other. They kept coming, hollering and screaming, tooting their horns, bugles and whistles, and everything else.

DH. So do you think we, some people think we should have gone into China?

JM. As it turned out, where we were, we were right there at the Yellow River, we were right there at the Manchurian border, and with all those Chinese Divisions up there, we would not have had a chance. We were lucky to just get out of there. Like our General said we are not retreating, were attacking in a different direction. We had to attack them to punch a whole in their lines to get back to the sea. No, we would not have had a chance up there. But they are talking about, you could have dropped some bombs and they could have bombed it, this and that. I don’t know, myself personally, I don’t think it would have done any good.

DH. So you think Macarthur went a little too far and maybe Truman did the right thing?

JM. Well our General, Omar Smith, did the right thing, because Macarthur wanted, and his Army General, Almand, the 10th corp, which we were part of. They wanted to split the Marines, half of them go with this Army Unit and our General said you are not splitting up my Marines, we are staying together as a unit, or none of us would have got out of there. So like I say it was our officers, and he just kind of thumbed his nose at Macarthur and said “bullshit” no way are you going to split up my Marines?

KH. Now after your nine months, when did you actually find out you were going back to the United States?

JM. Well, they told me right away, I was going back. When they evacuated me, I got on a hospital ship, then to Japan and then they flew me to Great Lakes Naval Hospital. After I healed up they sent me back to Camp Pendleton. I was all set to go back to Korea, in fact my First Sergeant, had written up the orders and said if you are that stupid, go ahead. In the meantime, he called me up to the office one day and said you are not going in that direction you are going in that direction, which was home. I said what do you mean? He said the war was over, the guys are coming home, your outfit is coming home. They had the truce, you know, the fighting stopped. They sent me to a Doctor and the Doctor said you can stay in if you want, but if I were you I would go home. I said ok and went home and went back to College.

DH. Where did you go to school?


DH. That’s what I like to hear.

JM. Good school, I played two years of football there too.

DH. Are sports still a pretty big thing in your life still?

JM. Still, oh yeah, as much as I can make of them now. I can’t do half of the things I used too. I still poke around at it, oh yeah, you never quit that.

KH. What was it like to come home, what were your feelings, emotions, to finally come back into your area, like Minnesota, Wisconsin?

JM. Oh, it was great to be home, but nobody made a big deal out of it. You know there were no real big huge parades or anything else like that, you just came home and continued on where you left off, the best you could.

DH. There weren’t any protesters at all or anything else like that.

JM. No, not like Vietnam, no because Korea was a UN Action. Like we used to call ourselves Truman’s cops, we painted little badges on our dungarees, because he just said it is just a police action, it is not a war, it is a police action, and so we are cops. Some police action. I guess they did finally designate it as a war.

KH. When you got home, was your family pretty happy to see you?

JM. Absolutely, my mom was there, and I had one older brother still in town. Oh, yeah they were real happy.

KH. Did any of your brothers go over to Korea?

JM. Yes, I had one older brother that, he was a Doctor, he was in World War II in China, Burma, India. He was a Doctor over there, he had quite a career. He used to parachute down into the jungle to rescue crashed fliers that had crashed behind the Japanese lines, in the jungle, his job was to jump down into the jungle and arrange for native carriers to get these wounded guys out. So he was on a Mash Unit over in Korea. in fact I missed him by. When they evacuated me the first time, they flew me into one of the airports in Japan, and as I got off the plane there was an Air Force Captain standing there, there was a plane taking off. I said, my brother is on his way over here, do you know of a Captain Morrissey, he said yes he is on that plane taking off. So he came in and he took off, missed him by that much. He was on a Mash Unit.

KH. Did you get out of the Marines right after the war?

JM. After they sent me home from Camp Pendleton, yeah. I didn’t get out they took me out, they gave me a medical discharge. In fact I never did get a discharge, I basically am home on extended leave. I am still part of the Marine Corp as far as the bookwork is concerned. Just a medical discharge.

DH. I forgot to ask this earlier, but were you Active Marine or a Reserve Marine?

JM. Reserve, yes that is our outfit.

DH. Was it kind of sad to see the Duluth Reserve close down some 50 odd years ago?

JM. Yeah, I had a chance, our Captain, Captain Boes or maybe he was a Major. After I got out of the Corp, I was living up in Duluth Heights, and working. He called me up one day and wanted me to come back in, he wanted me to go to OCS. I would like to have you as a platoon leader, come out as an officer, First Lieutenant. But then I was married and had five kids. I talked to my wife and she said, “Are you kidding”? So I told Major Boes, I am sorry Major, but it would be grounds for divorce. He said I understand, but I really wanted to go, I really did. I would have gone in a heartbeat. I would have gone to Iraq if I could but they would not take me.

KH. How long, I guess when did you meet your wife?

JM. I met my wife in 1954.

KH. At school?

JM. I was going to UMD, she wasn’t going to school, I was. She was a blind date.

DH. You didn’t meet her on Superior Street?

JM. No not on Superior Street, it was an arranged thing, one of her friends knew one of my buddies and he said Jim, why don’t you call Janet, and I did. That was it.

KH. So how long have you been married?

JM. 52 years

KH. That is great, and you said you have five kids;

JM. Yes, three boys and two girls.

KH. That is a good number.

JM. Yes, I am still in the majority.

KH. Now, when you graduated from UMD you got a degree in teaching?

JM. Elementary Education

KH. How long did you teach?

JM. I was 22 years at Birchwood and 12 years subbing.

KH. Birchwood, Wisconsin?

JM. No, Birchwood Elementary in Duluth Heights.

KH. I am not really familiar with the area, cool.

JM. This is my first year off. Not being with kids, I miss it.

KH. What else did you do? I know when you were talking n the office about coaching football and stuff like that.

JM. First of all, when I first got out of the Corp, I went back to school and then having all these kids, I had to get to work. My good buddy, that I was in Korea with, his brothers owned a painting company, so him and I both went to work for his brothers, so I became a painter. I enjoyed it, money was ok, and my wife liked it because I was home every night with the kids. I did that for about 12 maybe 14 years, then I decided to go back to school and get my degree, and I did. I am glad I did, and went into education. So I was a painter for a long time.

DH. One last question, I guess, is there anything else that you would like to say about your Korean War experience that you haven’t said already that you would like to go on record?

JM. Just that I wouldn’t have traded that experience for anything…the reason most of us were there at that time, even if we were young kids at the time, what was in our mind was that we are here so someday our kids won’t have to go through this. That was one of our main reasons for being there. We are going to stop them here so our kids don’t have to, they can go on with their lives without worrying about getting shot at. That was one of our main objectives, and I do not regret a day of it, not a day. In the Marines, they are a little bit different, because it is a brotherhood. A Marine could walk in here right now, that I have never seen in my life, and in 2 seconds we are brothers, because you have that going for you, you see a Marine on the street, you have a friend for life. So that is how it is, and being in combat with somebody, really makes the close touch because you know you are watching each others back and things like that. You get real close. I can empathies with anybody else that has been through it. They might not have been through it with you. Just like these young kids in Afgastan and Iraq, you can empathies with them because you have been through the same thing, not quite the same as no suicide bombers and IED’s. We knew who we were fighting, we could see them.

DH. I want to thank you again for doing this interview.

JM. I hope it helps you out; there are a lot of things you forget in 57 years.

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