LOCAL NEWS

Utah veterans of the so-called “Forgotten War” remember and hope for peace

Apr 27, 2018, 5:52 PM | Updated: Feb 7, 2023, 4:02 pm

SALT LAKE CITY – As leaders of North and South Korea work toward a formal end to the Korean War, Utah combat veterans are hopeful for long-term peace and reunification.

The events this week bring back a lot of memories for a Utah Marine from Roy who fought in what became known as “The Forgotten War.”  He has worked tirelessly in recent years to make sure none of his comrades are ever forgotten.

“If it will do away with communism, and that mindset, it would be a huge thing,” said John Cole, who served with the 1st Marine Division.

“That’s why I say, I hope.  I hope it’s true. I hope it happens.”

For six decades, Cole wondered whether the battles they waged and the comrades they lost made a difference.

“I hope that something can be done to turn the corner for this thing,” said Cole, who came home with three Purple Hearts.

“I was wounded three times, and I don’t remember any pain from any of those wounds because the cold was the most important thing.”

Cole and the 1st Marine Division fought in the month-long Battle of Chosin Reservoir, one of the most savage in American warfare.

“They had one of the coldest winters in 100 years,” he said.  “Everything was frozen: your food, your water, your weapons.”

One night, as Chinese soldiers swarmed their foxhole he fought for his life, face to face with the enemy.  Cole was on his hands and knees looking for an ammunition clip, when the first soldier attacked him.

“A guy come over that rock with a knife in his hand,” Cole said.  “I grabbed his knife arm and pulled him off balance, and he kind of fell off the rock.  I took that clip, of eight rounds and I buried it in his throat,” killing the enemy solider, he said.

He pulled the dead enemy off of himself and set the body aside because he knew more would be coming.

“Here came another guy with a knife.”

Cole disarmed that Chinese soldier and killed him with his own knife.

“I looked up, and there is a bayonet coming over top,” he said.

As he grabbed the bayonet, “He pulled the trigger on his rifle, and blew a hole in my arm,” he said pointing to the scar on his right arm.  He was able to disarm the soldier and slit his throat with his combat knife. Then Cole went into shock.

“I thought, ‘I’m gonna die,'” he said.  “My tongue was swelling up. I couldn’t talk I couldn’t do anything I couldn’t move.”

He survived, and became one of “The Chosen Few,” the name adopted by the surviving veterans of that brutal battle.

“I’ve buried all of that,” Cole said.  He told me, he kept those memories scabbed over so that they don’t bother him.

“I used to have bad dreams about it,” he said.

More than 3,000 allies died in that battle, thousands more were injured, many with severe frostbite.

“It would be so great if what we did would wind up with the whole peninsula of Korea being Korea again,” he said.

In 2013, Cole discovered South Korea wanted to honor America’s combat veterans with the Ambassador of Peace Medal.  He led the effort in Utah, with hundreds of Utah veterans receiving that medal.  The names of all 141 Utahns killed in the Korean War are etched in the Korean War Memorial in Memory Grove.

 

“I’m hoping now there will be enough level heads to recognize the need for unification. It may not happen in my lifetime,” he said.  “But, if it happens, maybe it’s all worthwhile.”

He says that would bring him peace.

KSL 5 TV Live

Local News

A photo of a tree blown over in a park in a Nephi from high winds on March 2, 2024, (Craig Oswald)...

Brianna Chavez

Strong winds leave behind damage across Utah

From uprooted trees to flying trampolines, most of the state experienced strong wind gusts that left behind damage for many.

38 minutes ago

yellow tape crossing blue and red lights...

Mark Jones

18-year-old arrested for alleged involvement in a shooting death of another person

A 18-year-old man has been taken into custody by police in connection to a shooting late Friday night in South Salt Lake that left one person dead.

4 hours ago

Some residents in Salt Lake County woke up   and in one case, a vehicle.(Mark Less, KSL TV)...

Alex Cabrero

South Jordan residents react to waking up and seeing thousands of tumbleweeds in front of their homes

Homeowners in Daybreak react to waking up Saturday morning and seeing tumbleweeds surrounding their homes.

5 hours ago

Salt Lake City International Airport is also being impacted by the winterstorm moving through Utah....

Mark Jones

Delays, cancelations reported at Salt Lake City International Airport

Salt Lake City International Airport is also being impacted by the winterstorm moving through Utah.

6 hours ago

power outage map...

Cary Schwanitz

Rocky Mountain Power scrambles to repair outages affecting thousands

Rocky Mountain Power crews planned to work around the clock this weekend repairing power lines as winds up to 65 mph pummeled Utah.

6 hours ago

Several people in Salt Lake County woke up to tumbleweeds outside their homes, and not just a dozen...

Alex Cabrero

Tumbleweeds pile up in front of homes in Daybreak

Many people in Salt Lake County woke up to tumbleweeds outside their homes, and not just a dozen or so.

8 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Users display warnings about the use of artificial intelligence (AI), access to malicious software ...

Les Olson

How to Stay Safe from Cybersecurity Threats

Read our tips for reading for how to respond to rising cybersecurity threats in 2023 and beyond to keep yourself and your company safe.

Utah veterans of the so-called “Forgotten War” remember and hope for peace