West Des Moines veteran remembers last battle of Korean War

Veteran's Voices

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa — For Don Nelson of West Des Moines, the ending of the Korean War was not only welcome but fraught with extreme tension in the midst of a battle at a place called Boulder City. The battle location was around 40 miles north of what is now Seoul, South Korea.

Nelson left for the United States Marines, right after graduating from Kamrar High School. His role in the battle at Boulder City involved getting the ammunition to where it was needed.

“Became my duty to go down and get that ammo, and bring it to the top of the hill,” said Nelson. “Went up the hill again, dead bodies, everywhere. One-hundred and 10 degrees it felt like, over 100 degrees.”

He said enemy soldiers were left dead on the battlefield for two to three days in the heat. His son-in-law, Leon Fischer said he didn’t hear Nelson talk about this battle, until about two years ago.

“Talks about it, it reaches into his soul. It fills him with anxiety,” said Fischer. “The reason they call it the forgotten war, is because they were just coming off a great world war, World War II, five years later, Korea, who was in support of another war?

Nelson said that if they had not fought for that area, things would be much different today in Korea.

“It occupies your mind … every day, I think about it every single day,” said Nelson. He said he is never able to stop thinking about it. “Freedom ain’t free.”

Nelson was on the battlefield when the signal was given to stop firing. The armistice agreement was signed on July 27, 1953.

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