Community Life

Veterans of Montville: Chas Palminteri

Chas Palminteri tells his story of his military experience in Korea. Credits: Courtesy of Chas Palminteri
Chas Palminteri in Korea in the 1950s. Credits: Courtesy of Chas Palminteri

MONTVILLE, NJ - Korean War veteran Chas Palminteri became a member of Montville VFW Post 5481 in 2013 when he met a combat buddy Gerry Gemian. After sharing war stories, Palminteri knew he had to join the post.

Palminteri was drafted right out of high school and was sent to Fort Sill, Oklahoma for basic training as a private in the army. He said, “Unfortunately for me, I was good at math and could work logarithms with a slide rule, so I was sent for special training in the art of forward observing.”

He goes on to explain that forward observing means being put on the front line known as the main line of resistance or MLR. Soldiers were trained to observe where the enemy was positioned, where they were firing from, and where they were moving. They reported the positions or fire missions back to their troops in the rear, and they could counter the enemy fire, rockets, tanks, and air strikes. In short, these forward observers were prime targets of the enemy. Palminteri said, “If they knocked us out, they knocked out communications to our troops.”

Sign Up for E-News

After 16 weeks of sound and flash training, these soldiers became an elite team called “Flash Men.” He said, “We were offered a month’s leave and offered a cruise in the Pacific, not on the Royal Caribbean, Carnival, or the Love Boat, but on a troop ship destined for Sasabo, Japan.

“The journey across the Pacific took 22 days during which I experienced my first typhoon in the Mariana Islands. I traded my M1 rifle and soft cap for a carbine, steel helmet, and flak jacket and was sent to Kukura Port, where barges were being prepared for landing in Inchon, Korea.”

Palminteri added, “It is a little known historical fact that Kukura was the original destination of the second atomic bomb, but the weather wasn’t favorable, so Nagasaki was chosen as the alternate target.”

He said that the landing on the beach in Inchon wasn’t quite as devastating as in the film “Saving Private Ryan,” but he said, “I was in the fourth or fifth wave and the body bags were already being loaded on the barges we just got off. After slogging across the wet sand, drenched and carrying 50 pounds of gear on my back, I was hustled onto a truck and driven to Chorwon, my first observation post (OP). Welcome to Korea.”

In Chorwon, he said that they called fire missions on Old Baldy Hill, Pork Chop Hill and Jane Russell Hill. He said, “You may know these terms from the movies, but they were very real!” 

His OP was located between the 39th and 40th parallel on the MLR between Chorwon and Kumwah in the Iron Triangle, serving Old Baldy, Pork Chop Hill, and Jane Russell Hill. He said, “This placed my bunker in ‘No Man’s Land.’” It was an area impregnated with many types of anti-personnel land mines concealed by tons of communication lines and miles of barbed wire. In No Man’s Land, one rarely peers above the fox hole or trench.

He later learned that the life expectancy of a forward observer in combat was three days. He said, “So in essence, we were expendable.” He also stated that if one survived a week or so under intense fire, the chances of increasing one’s longevity were expeditiously extended due to fear of dying and survival instincts, and lots of prayers and good wishes.”

Palminteri explained that forward observers were supposed to spend only two months in combat at a time, and then were sent to a rear position for two months. They then went back to the front line for another two months. Somehow none of the men in his unit were ever rotated to the rear position. After two months in combat, they were transferred to another OP along the MLR. 

He said, “So from Chorwon, I was transferred to Kumwah, and finally to Panmunjom, where I joined the First Marine Division, 11th Marine Regiment, calling fire missions in the western quadrant. I finally accumulated 36 points, and I left my marine bunker. The next day it was overrun by the Chinese. Our marine lieutenant was killed, and my bunker mate Corporal Conrad Blevins was wounded by a mortar round.”

After being rotated from the front line, Palminteri spent a week in Kukura. He said, “It was a beautiful vacation spot if there ever was one, and I was happy it was spared the bomb.”

He returned to Sasabo and was shipped back to the United States, where he was promoted to the rank of corporal and put in charge of a radar installation in Youngstown, New York near Niagara Falls. 

He was discharged in 1953 and took advantage of the GI Bill. He completed four years of television art direction at the School of Visual Arts in New York. 

He married his wife Diane in 1955. He said, “We had our pride and joy Little Dianne Mary in 1959 and migrated to Parsippany in 1964. Our daughter married Frank Pogoda, and they now have two children Frank Jr. and Tommy who are both attending college in Maryland.

Palminteri reflected on his experience in the service and said, “Looking back on my time in the service, I often wonder why we were there since we were not attacked by North Korea. During my time in combat, I suffered only a minor shrapnel wound, but I was far luckier than many of my brothers in arms. Many of whom sustained devastating injuries or were killed. I can’t help but think what a waste it was to lose more than 50,000 soldiers during that three year period and hope that diplomacy will eventually eliminate our need for war.”

Palminteri also had a reflection on the quote “You never hear the sound of the round that kills you.” He said, “It is untrue,” and goes on to explain.

“In No Man’s Land in the early hours of Oct. 10, 1952, on a crystal clear morning, an artillery flash caught my eye as I was going to the latrine. Experience taught me that a low whistle of an in-coming round meant the place of impact would be to the right or left, but a high whine growing into a deafening crescendo suggested that it was  coming directly at you. An Olympic diving coach would have been proud of me that morning as I performed a one and half gainer with a forward somersault, and a double twist into a shallow ravine 20 feet below my point of origin. The round hit the makeshift latrine with a thunderous splintering roar. The expression that you never hear the sound of the round that kills you is untrue. You do hear it very clearly, but you just never get to tell anyone about it.” 

Palminteri was born in Brooklyn in 1931 and worked as a television art director for the J. Walter Thompson Co. in New York for 25 years.

Palminteri attended the Arts Students League and the Chinese School of Brushwork in New York City. He is also a well-known commercial artist and graphic designer whose clients include many Fortune 500 companies. One can visit his website at

For VFW Post 5481, Palminteri works on some of the graphics for the awards given by the post. He also produced the 40” x 60” poster which hangs at the Senior House in the seniors’ meeting room. It is a poster of the past members of the military who are from Montville.



TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News


Upcoming Events


Sat, June 23, 10:00 AM

Montville Township Public Library, Montville

Library - Summer Reading Kickoff (Kids)



Sat, June 23, 10:00 AM

CASA of Morris and Sussex Counties, Morristown

CASA Information Session

Education Health & Wellness Law & Justice


Sat, June 23, 10:00 AM

Pyramid Mountain, Montville Township

Gardening with Wildflowers

Home & Garden


Sat, June 23, 1:00 PM

Montville Township Public Library, Montville

Summer Reading Kickoff - Teens



Mon, June 25, 7:00 PM

Senior House, Montville

Montville Republican Club Meeting


Summer Concert Series Announced by Montville Twp Recreation

June 16, 2018

MONTVILLE, NJ – The Montville Township Recreation Department announced its summer concerts in the park lineup. The free concerts will be held on Tuesdays beginning on July 10, at the amphitheater beyond the Montville Township Public Library. Parking is available at the library (90 Horseneck Road) or in the high school parking lot (100 Horseneck Road). Assistance is available, for those who ...

Four Montville Residents Participate in American Legion Jersey Boys State Leadership Program

June 21, 2018

MONTVILLE, NJ - Four young men from Montville Township are among 883 other rising-seniors from New Jersey attending the 73rd session of the annual American Legion Jersey Boys State (ALJBS.)

At the event, taking place at Rider University this week, the students get to "govern and interact with their peers from across New Jersey as they run their own mythical 51st ...

May the Fourth Results in Donations to Lung Cancer Foundation from Cedar Hill Character Education Group

June 16, 2018

MONTVILLE, NJ – The Cedar Hill Fifth Grade Character Education Council sponsored May The 4th Be With You on Friday May 4 from in the Cedar Hill multi-purpose room. The event was to benefit the Lung Cancer Foundation of America. To raise money, each participant paid $5 for a Star Wars-themed scorecard. Upon completion of all events, scorecards were put in a raffle for a Star Wars video ...

Hot Rod Show in Roxbury Raises Money for Boy With Brain Disease

June 21, 2018

ROXBURY, NJ - They came from all over North Jersey to show off their chromed-out, big V8s. By day's end, they'd raised big bucks for a sick boy.

The annual North Jersey Street Rod Association (NJSRA) Father's Day Rod Run took place under sunny skies at Horseshoe Lake Park in Roxbury on Sunday. The charity event drew about 1,300 spectators and raised "a little ...

Former Jefferson School Staffer Facing Criminal Charges For Alleged Lewd Photos of Students

June 22, 2018

MAPLEWOOD, NJ - A former Jefferson Elementary School paraprofessional has been charged with criminal behavior believed to be related to lewd photos of students at the school that were found on his cell phone after he was arrested in Morris County on an unrelated sexual charge.

It also appears that South Orange Maplewood School District officials knew about the arrests as early as ...

Morris County Chamber Issues Statement About State Budget Negotiations and Proposed Tax Increases

June 21, 2018

MORRIS COUNTY, NJ - Paul Boudreau, president of the Morris County Chamber of Commerce, yesterday issued the following statement on the budget negotiations in Trenton:

“Individuals and businesses are shouldering a significant tax burden already in our state. Raising taxes sends a signal to our employers and future investors that New Jersey will remain uncompetitive for decades ...


OPEN HOUSES This Weekend 6/16 - 6/17, 2018

The following homes have OPEN HOUSES presented by RE/MAX NEIGHBORHOOD PROPERTIES this weekend.

SATURDAY, JUNE 16, 2018:

  From 12 - 2 p.m.

  201 English Place, Bernards Township

  Click HERE to see full listing.



SUNDAY, JUNE 17, 2018:

  From 1 - 3 p.m.

  170 Morris Avenue, Mountain Lakes

  Click HERE to see full ...

Open Houses this Weekend by Century 21

MONTVILLE, NJ - Following are the Century 21 Open Houses for this weekend:

Saturday, June 23 from 1 - 4 p.m.

Brownstones at Fairfield, Stonybrook Circle (Using GPS - Enter 66 Two Bridges Road)
3 Louis Drive, Montville

Sunday, June 24 from 12 - 3 p.m.

6 Woodside Drive, Montville Township

Sunday, June 24 from 1 - 4 p.m.

Brownstones at ...

Century 21 Open Houses this Weekend

MONTVILLE, NJ - Following are the Century 21 Open Houses for this weekend:

Saturday, June 9 from 1 - 4 p.m.

Brownstones at Fairfield, Stonybrook Circle (Using GPS - Enter 66 Two Bridges Road)
7 Diann Drive, Montville

Sunday, June 10 from 1 - 4 p.m.

Brownstones at Fairfield, Stonybrook Circle (Using GPS - Enter 66 Two Bridges Road)
3 Louis ...


AtlantiCast Episode 17

On this week’s AtlantiCast, it’s National Men’s Health Month, so check out important health tips for you or the men in your life, learn about groundbreaking research into breast cancer treatment that could mean an end to chemotherapy for some patients, meet a local sports hero who’s living his baseball dreams thanks to Goryeb Children’s Hospital and much ...

'Half Time' delivers with sterling cast

MILLBURN, NJ – The Paper Mill Playhouse is putting on a smashing new production of “Half Time” to round out its current season.

With actress Georgia Engel in an engaging performance, the cast also features Donna McKehnie, Andre De Shieilds and Lilias White, among a host of other talents.

The musical centers on an effort to have seniors perform a dance number during ...

'Half Time' lights up Paper Mill stage

‘Half Time’ turns the tables on aging in gleeful production

By Liz Keill

MILLBURN, NJ – The Paper Mill Playhouse is putting on a smashing new production of “Half Time” to round out its current season.

With actress Georgia Engel in an engaging performance, the cast also features Donna McKehnie, Andre De Shieilds and Lilias White, among a host of other ...

Pet Corner