Robert Harbula joined the Marines in 1950 and volunteered for combat duty after watching John Wayne starring in The Sands of Iwo Jima. He wanted a war of his own. After basic training, he became a member of G Company from the Third Marine Battalion, First Regiment from the First Marine Division. He fought in several campaigns during the Korean War that include the battles as Inchon, Seoul, ambush at Majon-ni, Operation Killer, Hill 902, Operation Ripper, and the legendary Battle of the Chosin Reservoir. “My machine gun squad had so many casualties that I can’t remember most of their names or faces. I hate war.”
Robert is featured in Patrick K. O’Donnell’s book, Give Me Tomorrow: The Korean War’s Greatest Untold Story–The Epic Stand of the Marines of George Company. In May 2014, his story was also featured on the Military Channel’s special, “Against the Odds.”
In April 2014, Vietnam veteran Robert Harbula joined fellow veterans Henry Hoffstot (WWII), Manuel Carvahlo (Vietnam), Don Johnson (Vietnam), Howard Pfeifer (WWII), Joe Cirelli (Vietnam), Pete Longstreth (WWII), and Dan Bonner (Vietnam) for our second veterans oral history educational project at Winchester-Thurston School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
These veterans were part of our effort to work with teachers and students to provide an interesting workshop covering the oral history process, appropriate interview questions, special considerations when interviewing veterans, active listening skills, and oral history ethics.