George Godfrey can usually be seen greeting commuters from 4:30 AM until 7:30 AM every weekday morning at the Brewster Train Station on Main Street in the Village of Brewster (photo #1). He also greets commuters on the return trip home. He is very proud of the American flag. He risked his life for it. An excellent article appeared in a local paper written by Eric Gross (photo # 2). It covers his dedication to planting the American flag at the railroad station and the ensuing controversy. Later in the following article you will understand why George feels so strongly about the American flag.
George Godfrey has been a member of the Brewster Fire Department (BFD) for 65 years. During his time in the BFD, he served several years as the Fire Police Captain. In 1977, he served as the Public Information Officer. He recently stepped down as the Financial Secretary after 29 years of service in that position.
On June 25, 1950, North Korea, backed by Russia, invaded North Korea. A couple of days later, President Truman ordered the US Air Force and Navy to support South Korea. This was followed shortly by US troops. George was an artillery man in the US Army. He sailed with his comrade in arms on the SS General A.W. Brewster (AP-155).(photo #3) The ship's crew consisted of 356 officers and enlisted. It had a capacity of 3,823 troops and could speed along at 17 knots.
The surprise attack by the North Koreans had pushed the South Korean's into a small area near Pusan. The United Nation Forces, composed of mostly American and South Korean troops were close to being overrun.(Pink area at bottom of photo #4) General Douglas McArthur launched a bold, amphibious attack behind the front lines at Inchon. George was one of the the American troops who spearheaded the landing at Inchon.(Photo # 5) The North Korean army was surprised, collapsed and then retreated. General McArthur then made a decision to push into North Korea. The Marines went around the one side of the Chosen Reservoir and the Army around the other side (photo #7). As the troops neared China, the Chinese joined the war and sent 120,00 troops into the mountains (photos # 6 & 8). George's 2500 size unit was attacked by 20,000 Chinese soldiers.They surrounded and outnumbered the American forces. The Chinese attacked down both sides of the Chosen Reservoir (photos 8&9). The Army and the Marines had to fight their way back south. It was bitter cold. Many developed frostbite from the 35 below zero temperatures. In this soul-crushing cold, there was misery, deprivation, exhaustion, sacrifice and death. The agony and suffering was indescribable. After the battle only 385 soldiers were deemed combat able of the original 2500 men. About 1400 had been killed, wounded, or captured.
George was on the front lines for 17 months straight. He made the amphibious landing at Inchon and also fought in the Battle of the Chosin Reservoir. He lived to tell about it unlike many of his buddies. He was in an artillery unit and a bazooka specialist. George has received Bronze stars for knocking out several Chinese tanks. George is a Decorated Korean War veteran.
1. See newspaper article on August 11,2021 (pictures #1 & #2) by Eric Gross
a. Interview on 02/02/2022 with George Godfrey who provided his personal account of his Korean service.
b.The Battle of Chosen Reservoir (you Tube)
c. Chosin Reservoir Documentary Film
d. Book entitled: CHOSIN Baptized by Fire
3. Deceased member Jim Lowry served as an advanced scout in Korea and came back from Korea with a metal plate in his head due to a wound,
4. Former Chief Gasparini was also in Korea.
5. General A.W. Brewster, whom the ship was named after, was awarded the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry in the Battle of Tienstin, which occurred during The Boxer Rebellion in China around 1900.