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"I did not dream that my field trips would expose me to considerable danger, yet in each of the following six months I was to earn a special service bonus from my frequency for coming under close enemy fire. It was a poor way to make a living; I wouldn't recommend it." (Audio Interview, 5:44)

   George Zimmer
Image of George Zimmer
Contemporary photo of George Zimmer
War: Korean War, 1950-1953
Branch: Army
Unit: 955th Field Artillery Battalion
Service Location: Kumya, North Korea
Rank: First Lieutenant
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Though he was drafted into the Army in January 1951, George Zimmer would not reach Korea for another two years, and by that time, he was a commissioned officer. Assigned to work with radio communications—a field for which he was not trained—Zimmer was to supervise 120 soldiers in the laying and maintaining of land lines for radio contact. Even after he received upgraded equipment in April 1953, Zimmer had problems with radios malfunctioning in the rough terrain and under fire. He notes that his unit took more casualties in the last six weeks of the conflict than any other time, as both sides jockeyed for positions they hoped to hold when a truce was signed.

Interview (Audio)
»Interview Highlights  (9 clips)
»Complete Interview 
Download: audio(1) | 
Download: audio(2) (57 min.)
»Transcript
  Photos
»Photo Album (17 photos)
 Memoirs
»View List (4 items)
 Other Materials
»Typographical map of Kumwha, North Korea, and adjacent area
More like this
»Korean War
 Audio (Interview Excerpts) (9 items)
Arriving in Korea to be assigned to communications work for which he was not trained; his duties; coming under fire more often than he anticipated. (02:29) Poor condition of radios, left over from World War II; having one repairman available. (01:42) Receiving brand-new equipment in April 1953 but still experiencing difficulties; confrontation with a South Korean general accusing him of holding one of his men hostage; learning later that the general was nicknamed "the Butcher" and had publicly executed three of his men for failing to do their duty. (08:25)
A close encounter, possibly of the third kind, on a nighttime Korean road. (04:54) June 8, 1953: coming under attack from artillery shells while laying communication lines; their work undone and trying to redo it; his unit losing more men in the last weeks of the war than in all previous months. (06:39) Thousands of North Koreans POWs released from a camp in the South on June 18, 1953, blending in with population; Zimmer and his driver making their way through a crowd of suspicious-looking men who may have been enemy soldiers in disguise as monks. (06:55)
Last-ditch Chinese attack on July 13. (09:42) Last-ditch Chinese attack on July 13. (03:23) Events on the day of the armistice; some random firing from enemy; eerie feeling with absence of sights and sounds of war. (03:43)
  
 Memoirs (4 items)
Korean Education Kumsong North Court Martial
Friendly Fire  
  
 

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  The Library of Congress  >> American Folklife Center
  October 26, 2011
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