Interview With Lyle E. Bose

From the interview with Lyle E. Bose of Vancouver, WA conducted by Oran DeBois on May 12, 2002 at the Fort Worden History Center. Mr. Bose served in the U.S. Army 532 Engineer Boat Support Regiment, 2nd ESB in World War II and the Korean War. Here describes the Inchon landing and Hungnam evacuation during the Korean War:

“We didn’t know it at the time. But we were going for the invasion of Inchon, and when we left here, a troopship pulled in (to Fort Worden) with members of the Second Division on it and we loaded on and they dropped us off in Yokohama, Japan. We built the unit up to full strength to give a little training, and we boarded ships and went in on the invasion of Inchon, Korea, September 15, 1950. We were in Inchon about two months, and then we left there, went down around South Korea, all the way out through the Sea of Japan, up to within 40 miles of the Yalu River. We set up a beach operation at a place called Iwon. We landed two divisions there and we set up supply dumps on the beach. At that point, the Chinese pushed into the war.

My company evacuated by narrow gauge railroad. It was only 80 miles but it took us 18 hours to get there. It was down through the mountains and every once in a while you’d get occasional sniper fire and so everybody would get off the train and get back on. It was so cold when we got to Hungnam, some of the men on the train had to be carried off, lifted off, helped. We were very fortunate that no one got frozen feet or other body parts.

In Hungnam, the Chinese kept pressing forward, down through North Korea and they encircled Hungnam, so we started back loading troops out of there, the 3rd Marine Division and the 7th Infantry Division. We backloaded them all out of there. They wired the city and any equipment that the Chinese might be able to use and blew it up. We got out of Hungnam on December 24, Christmas Eve, 1950. It was about 12 degrees below zero, and it was very, very cold. We went from Hungnam, for just two days, down by Pusan to Ulsan, which is now a big city. It was just a little village then, now it’s a place where they make automobiles. (Then) we loaded up, went around and back to Inchon for the second time. It wasn’t a real invasion this time but we walked in and set up operations there. After that we left as one big unit, the Second Engineers Special Brigade, and we went back to Camp McGill, Japan.”

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