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:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Upcoming Events


Tue, March 20, 4:00 PM

Montville Township Public Library, Montville

Library Teen Lecture: Jimmy Wong, Actor/Musician

Arts & Entertainment


Tue, March 20, 7:30 PM

Montville Township Municipal Building , Montville

Montville Board of Education meeting



Wed, March 21, 8:30 AM

Montville Township Municipal Building, Montville

Economic Development Committee Meeting


A Letter of Appreciation for the Montville Township Police Department

March 9, 2018

I wanted to give a very special Thank You to all the men and women of the Montville Twp. Police force. Your efforts and determination to assist the public during these back to back storms was and continues to be nothing short of incredible.

Officers have worked countless hours running call to call or providing stationary protective details. You have spent countless hours away from your ...

Town Egg Hunt to be Held

March 19, 2018

MONTVILLE, NJ – The Montville Township Recreation Department announces its annual egg hunt, at the Montville Township Community Park on the artificial turf field, on Sunday, March 25 at 1:00 p.m.

This event is for preschool aged children through the third grade. There will be special eggs that contain a note for prizes. A petting zoo, face painter and balloon sculptor will be also ...

Montville Twp Library to Clear Out Books, Reference as Part of 3-Year Plan

March 16, 2018

MONTVILLE, NJ – The Montville Township Public Library Board of Trustees met with consultants Alan and Leslie Burger of Library Development Solutions March 5 to further develop the library’s three-year strategic plan, which has been in the works for about eight months.

Library administration had conducted a questionnaire and three focus groups with residents, and the board held a ...

Montville's Woodmont School Celebrates "Read Across America"

March 18, 2018

MONTVILLE, NJ – District administrators, dignitaries and moms gathered at Woodmont Elementary School March 1 for the 20th anniversary Read Across America event, during which the adults read books to the students and talked about their love of books, the importance of reading, and their occupations.

The National Education Association initiative centers around the birthday of beloved ...

Floating Classroom Will Help Roxbury Kids Embrace 'Their' Lake Hopatcong

March 17, 2018

ROXBURY, NJ – There are plenty of kids living in Roxbury who’ve never been on Lake Hopatcong, says lake buff Marty Kane. He’s even confident many don’t realize their town borders the big lake.

That’s one of the reasons Kane, chairman of the Lake Hopatcong Foundation Board of Trustees, is bubbling with excitement about the upcoming launch of the ...

New Jersey Athlete Leads 2018 U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team to First Victory

March 13, 2018

PYEYONG CHANG, SOUTH KOREA - Josh Pauls, of Green Brook, is the team captain and defenseman on the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team competing in the 2018  Paralympic Winter Games in Pyeyong Chang. The  United States defeated Japan, 10 - 0 in the preliminary round on Saturday and faces the Czech Republic on Sunday at 11 p.m. ET (NBCSN, live ...

Town Egg Hunt to be Held

March 19, 2018

MONTVILLE, NJ – The Montville Township Recreation Department announces its annual egg hunt, at the Montville Township Community Park on the artificial turf field, on Sunday, March 25 at 1:00 p.m.

This event is for preschool aged children through the third grade. There will be special eggs that contain a note for prizes. A petting zoo, face painter and balloon sculptor will be also ...


Ten Ways to Be Productive on a Snow Day

March 7, 2018

Another Nor’Easter has smacked us in the face today.  After so many of us lost power for what seemed to be an eternity, it’s a good time to make up for lost productivity and work on the famous Stephen Covey Quadrant 2 Activities.  What are they you may ask?  Those are the activities that are Important, yet not urgent (well some of them can be).  In other ...

Century 21 Open Houses this Weekend

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

Saturday, March 17 from 1 - 4 p.m.

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

Sunday, March 18 from 1 - 4 p.m.

Brownstones at Fairfield, Stonybrook Circle (Using GPS - Enter 66 Two Bridges Road)
8 Summit Drive, Bld #10, North ...

Century 21 The Crossing Open Houses this Weekend

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

Saturday, Feb. 24 from 1 - 4 p.m.

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

Sunday, Feb. 25 from 1 - 4 p.m. 

Brownstones at Fairfield, Stonybrook Circle (Using GPS - Enter 66 Two Bridges Road)
8 Summit Drive, Bld #10, North Caldwell



AtlantiCast: Episode 13

On this episode of AtlantiCast, new clinical studies in the fields of cardiology and immunotherapy, national and statewide recognitions for Atlantic Health System medical centers and the inaugural AtlantiCast Collab Challenge!


Overparenting: What Is It and Why Do We Do It?

Overparenting.  It’s the new buzzword for helicopter parenting, enabling and micromanaging.  I did them all. I’m happy to say that I’ve (mostly) grown out of it.  The truth is that there are still moments when I have the urge to step in and take over.  It’s normal to feel that way; however, I know I’ve made progress when I feel the urge and ...

Pet Corner