Memorial Names

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WILLIAM EUGENE ANDERSON

CPL

US ARMY/COAST GUARD

HOME : ROSEBURG, OR

Plaque : Wall 7, Row D, Col 5

Bill Anderson joined the Army at 17. After training in the States I was shipped to Korea where I served with the 24th Infantry Division. I spent 15 months in Combat witnessing many deaths at the hands of oue enemy as well as friendly fire. Some of these actions haunt me to this day, however I would do it all over again. I was wounded by mortar shrapnel and I am alive today because some of the shrapnel that hit me was stopped by a small Bible I had in my fatigue jacket. The Bible was given to me from my Mother. I received the Purple Heart Medal for this action and was recommended for the Silver Star Medal for other actions but was turned down by the brass because I was too young for the Medal. Go figure. Out of the 30 of us that joined I was the only one left. When Bill Anderson of Wilderville was invited by the South Korean government to visit their country, he didnt hesitate for a moment. It was a surprise Id been dreaming of ever since I left there in 1951 he said. Anderson, 63, fought in the Korean War and was one of 168 veterans who received the Peace Medal during South Koreas recent Memorial Day ceremonies. He was also chosen to represent Taskforce Smith, a group of the first 540 men to go into battle against North Korea, at a ceremony in Osan. Officially Im an ambassador for peace, It means a whole lol to me, Anderson said. Anderson served as an automatic rifleman and spent most of his 15 month tour on the front lines. This trip, he spent 17 days touring battlefield sites, visiting old friends and attending receptions. Im really proud of what the Koreans have done since the war. For example Seoul was practically all rubble when I left in December of 51 and now its all skyscrapers and busy, Anderson said. Since the end of the war, South Korea has established itself as a world leader in textile, clothing and electronic exports. In 1992, inflation rate was a low 2.4 percent and 96 percent of people over the age of 15 living in the 38,230 square mile country could read and write. South Korea has a population of more than 44.6 million. Seoul, the largest city, has a population of more than 10 million. Anderson also managed to locate the family of a Korean soldier who he said saved his life during a battle on the Naktonggang River. Going over a hill, Anderson said he remembers a soldier stepping in front of him, only to be struck in the shoulder by a bullet. If the soldier had not been there, Andersen said he was sure he would have caught the bullet in the head. When he got hit, it spun him around so I could see his face, recalled Anderson. His face just stayed in my mind all these years. With a photograph and the help of his Korean friends, Anderson was able to find the soldiers family. Unfortunately, the man who saved his life had died only months earlier. Anderson said he visited the mans grave. There was a lot of shooting and a lot of death, said Anderson. Thiers not very many survivors of my original company, C company, 21st infantry regiment, 24th infantry division. We were the first in there. Approximately four million people died in the Korean War from June 25, 1950, to July 27, 1953. Two million of those were civilians, 33,629 were Americans. Although Anderson was injured four times, he considers himself blessed to have escaped the war with his life. I carried a Bible from my mother that had a steel jacket, he said. That bible caught the bulk of a mortar shot once instead of me. I think the good Lord was looking over me. Anderson is originally from Illinois. He and his wife moved to Josephine County from San Jose, Calif, in 1967 after he retired from the San Jose police department.

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POW

KIA

MIA

Medals

PURPLE HEART MEDAL GOOD CONDUCT MEDAL NATIONAL DEFENSE SERVICE MEDAL BRONZE STAR MEDAL KOREAN DEFENSE MEDAL KOREAN SERVICE MEDAL UNITED NATIONS MEDAL KOREAN PRESIDENTIAL MEDAL COLD WAR MEDAL REPUBLIC OF KOREA WAR SERVICE MEDAL KOREAN 60TH ANNIVERSARY MEDAL ARMY COMMEMORATIVE MEDAL COMBAT INFANTRY BADGE SHARPSHOOTER BADGE

Theatre of Operation

KOREA