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Somethin' to Write Home About: Korean War

An exhibit featuring letters from the Regional History Center Collections

Gordon John Read

Photograph of Read and U.S. Marines sticker.

Gordon John Read Collection, RC 258, Box 4, Folder 1

Gordon John Read's scrapbook pages, and pens

Gordon John Read Collection, RC 258, Box 5, Folder 3

Flag used to drape Gordon John Read's casket

Gordon John Read Collection, RC 258, Box 6

Korean War

October 10, 1951

Letters from home can tell us a story of a person’s life. Gordon John Read was an NIU student who left school to join the Marines during the Korean Conflict. He was an only child and Gordon’s family saved all his correspondence, even a Father’s Day card. A list of what to take for debarkation and his military scrapbook also were saved.

Letter written on September 17, 1951 by Read to his Mom and Dad while stationed in Korea.

Unfortunately Read died nine months to the day after he had enlisted. His death came during the battle of Heartbreak Ridge.


Dave Richardson, a friend of Read in Korea was with him when he died and wrote back to his family:

I was with Gordon when he got hit and although he passed on instantly I spent the night with him praying for him and for you who loved him so. I would not lie to you about the details and I can tell you he suffered nothing at all. It happened about 6:30 at night between hill 872 and 854 as we were charging into the N. Korean positions. During the 2 hours of fighting our company had well over 100 casualties out of our 150 men. You can see that it was not an easy situation at all and I had been very proud of Gordon because he was such a brave man.

Gordon John Read Papers, RC 258, Boxes 3 & 4