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Fred T. Klemm Memoirs, 1950-1951: Finding Aid

Published in July 2013

Summary Information

  • Publisher: United States Naval Academy. Special Collections & Archives.
  • Publisher Address:
    589 McNair Road
    Annapolis, Maryland 21402-5029, USA
    Phone: 410-293-6917
  • Call number: MS 355
  • Location: Special Collections & Archives Department - Manuscripts
  • Title: Fred T. Klemm Memoirs
  • Dates: 1950-1951
  • Size: 0.04 linear feet
  • Container Summary: 1 folder
  • Creator: Klemm, Fred T., 1916-
  • Language(s) of material: English
  • Abstract: Fred T. Klemm was a member of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve who served in World War II and the Korean War. Klemm's memoirs, entitled "My Great Adventure," offer a detailed account of the life of an enlisted United States Marine Corps machinist serving during the Korean War.

Biography of Fred T. Klemm

Fred. T. Klemm, a veteran of World War II, was born 8 December 1916. As a member of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, he was called to active duty in August of 1950, serving in Korea from 18 September 1950 to 8 June 1951. In Korea, he served as a machinist with the Auto-maintenance Company, 1st Motor Transport Battalion, 1st Marine Division, Fleet Marine Force. He served in the Korean campaigns of Inchon/Seoul, Chosin and the Spring Offensive of 1951. Klemm traveled to, and from, Korea via Japan. Fred T. Klemm was discharged from military service in December 1952. Prior to his service in Korean, Klemm was employed with the Denver Public Schools.

For his World War II and Korean War service, Klemm earned three Presidential Unit Citations, two Navy Unit Commendations, the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with one engagement star, the World War II Victory Medal, the China Service Medal, the Korean Service Medal with three engagement stars, and the expert rifleman badge.

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Description of Contents

Fred T. Klemm, composed his memoirs, entitled "My Great Adventure," after his service in the Korean War, drawing largely from extracts of his letters to his wife at home in Denver, Colorado. The memoir also includes comments in brackets by Klemm's daughter.

The memoir begins with Klemm's call to active duty on 1 August 1950 and ends with his arrival home on 4 July 1951. There is a concluding entry noting that Klemm received his military discharge in December 1952.

Klemm’s journal offers a detailed account of the life of an enlisted United States Marine Corps machinist serving during the Korean War. The journal deals with matters ranging from the Marines' practical jokes to the confusion and uncertainty of the military fighting a new kind of war. His experiences include such rigors as insufficiently trained enlisted men, a muddled promotion and rating system, lack of machining equipment, overwork, the bitterly cold Korean weather and the use of his unit outside Hamhung (November 1950) as a decoy (a ruse which successfully lured the enemy into attack).

Duty stations covered by Klemm's memoir include arrival in Kobe, Japan (September 2, 1950, page 2), Inchon (September 18, 1950, page 3), Wonsan (October 28, 1950, page 10), SuDong (November 26, 1950, page 19), Hamhung/Hungnam (December 6, 1950, page 23), Masan (December 20, 1950, page 28), Yanchon (January 15, 1951, page 38), Andong (January 23, 1951, page 41), Chungju (February 16, 1951, page 52), Wanju (February 28, 1951, page 55), Hoengsong (March 31, 1951, page 58), Hongchon (March 20, 1951, page 62), Chunchon (April 16, 1951, page 71), Hangchon (April 27, 1951, page 77), Wanju/Wonju (May 1, 1951, page 80), and Chun-hi (June 2, 1951, page 95).

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The contents of the Fred T. Klemm Memoirs are arranged chronologically.

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Access and Use


Access is unrestricted.

Copyright and Permission

The Fred T. Klemm Memoirs are the physical property of Nimitz Library. Copyright belongs to the authors or creators of the works, or their legal representatives. For further information, consult the Head, Special Collections & Archives.

It is the responsibility of the researcher to secure written permission to publish, reprint, or reproduce material from Special Collections & Archives. The researcher assumes responsibility for infringement of copyright or literary or publication rights. Please contact the Head, Special Collections & Archives for permission to publish and for further information.

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Acquisition and Appraisal

Provenance and Acquisition

Gift of Florence Klemm in February 1989. Accession No. 89-03.

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Related Materials

Related Archival Material

Fred T. Klemm's military personnel file should be available at the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis.

Materials Cataloged Separately

No materials have been removed from this collection.

Publications Citing These Papers

Fred T. Klemm's letters home during World War II and the Korean War were adapted into A Marine's Letters: World War II and the Korean War, available in the Nimitz Library general collection.

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Processing and Other Information

Preferred Citation

Fred T. Klemm Memoirs, MS 355

Special Collections & Archives Department

Nimitz Library

United States Naval Academy

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Mary R. Catalfamo in 2003. Finding aid written by Mary R. Catalfamo in 2003 and edited by David D'Onofrio in July 2013.

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Subject Headings

Name and Subject Terms

  • Klemm, Fred T., 1916-
  • Korean War, 1950-1953 -- Personal narratives, American
  • United States. Marine Corps -- History -- Korean War, 1950-1953

Genre Terms

  • Manuscripts
  • Memoirs
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Contents List

Box 1 Folder 1

Fred T. Klemm Memoirs, 1950-1951

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