Korean War Vets who Received Purple Hearts Remember Battle of Chosin

November 11, 2017 07:37 AM

Two Minnesota men who enlisted in the Marine Corp Reserves were called to action when the Korean War broke out and ended up fighting in the Battle of Chosin, one of the conflict's bloodiest battles.

Chosin was a brutal series of fights in the fall and winter of 1950 in the hills of what is now North Korea. The Minnesota men fought along others from their home state and faced temperatures below zero degrees.  

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Leigh Countryman of St. Paul and Harry Burke of Minneapolis talked with Bill Lunn at the Fort Snelling History Center to recall their service, and also their friendship, which has lasted almost as long as they can remember.

Countryman was injured.

He recalled, "A mortar shell landed behind me. I'm sure it was a mortar shell and it got both my feet. And I walked down the hill with the help of two people. But then I didn't walk again for quite awhile."

Burke was hit by a grenade.

"Well I had... right here... two pieces up here in my eye.. under here, I had cuts," he said, "and my arm was kind of paralyzed."

The two were both awarded the Purple Heart, which is given to military members who are wounded in combat.

WATCH: Extended Interview: Korean War Veterans Talk about Experiences

Credits

Bill Lunn

Copyright 2017 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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