All My Love, Ken

This is a bunker that my dad lived in from Dec. 1951-Jan. 1952




As time goes on and the war gets more scary, you will read where that facade has dropped and you see his fear.   He was injured on his 22 birthday in a bloody battle to retake a hill, once again.  He recieved a purple heart for his injury.  I had never seen my dad afraid of anything.

I never took the time to talk to him about the war.  He never brought it up.  I was too self absorbed to even think about it. He not once mentioned, while we were celebrating his birthday that, oh by the way, I was hit by a gernade on this day.  He died when I was 32.  I am now 62, I have so many questions I would love to ask him.  But I can't.  It's too late. I do have his letters and in that way he speaks to me now.  This is a blessing for me.

If you have a veteran in your family, don't let another day go by.  Talk to them about their service.  Show your interest in the sacrifice they made.  It's a big deal.  You will be so glad that you did.  Let them know you won't ever forget what they did.  

Introduction to Korean War Letters

After both my parents died, while cleaning out their house in 2011, I found the letters that my father, Kenneth John Zill, had written to my mom, Rosalie Nash, and to his parents, Otto and Ida Zill,  during his time in the army from 1951-1952.  

Please note:  The use or reproduction of any part of this collection is prohibited without written permission by the owner.   Copyright © 2013 Mary Elizabeth Zill VandenBerghe 



You can find these on the left hand side of the page, after the list of letters by month. Please let me know if you see an error and I will fix it.  Once again, thank you for checking out my site.


If you are looking for more information about the 45th Division please click here.   One of my readers led me to this site.  It has great information and stories about several of the battles that my dad mentions including the battle where he was injured.




If you want to jump right in to the letters, they are posted by month on the left hand side of this page.  

Ann Arbor, Michigan                                                   Pre Basic Training

Ft. Polk, Lousiana                                                      Jan. 1951- May 1951

Camp Stoneman, San Francisco, CA                            Early June 1951

At Sea                                                                       Mid June 1951

Camp Crawford, Hokkaido, Japan                               Late June 1951

Camp Strong, Chitose, Japan                                      Late June 1951- Early December 1951

At Sea                                                                       Early December 1951

Korea                                                                        December 6, 1951 - Mid August 1952

Japan                                                                        Mid August 1952

Ann Arbor, Michigan                                                   Late August 1952


If you are interested in seeing pictures there are several pages of just pictures but there are also pictures posted in most months so please don't miss those!

I wanted a place to share these letters with family and friends.  You will read a love story between two young people evolve.  You will mostly only see one side, my dad's, as he was not able to keep most of my mother's letters.                            

I found 15 letters that my mom had written to her own parents from an undated letter in Dec. 1951 through May 1952.  While they aren't to Ken, they tell you want is going on in her life.  It's an interesting contrast of Ken's life on the lines to Rosalie's life in college.  She does mention letters from Ken.  I have added them where they fit by date in with his letters. I find it very interesting and I hope you do too! 

Ken is from Ann Arbor, Michigan. He leaves his home in early 1951 as a naive young man, who thinks of girls, beer and sports and ends up a world away fighting on the front lines in the Korean War.  Being drafted meant he had to leave his beloved school, Michigan State College. He was injured on his 22nd birthday in June of 1952 for which he recieved a purple heart. Rosalie, who is from Howell, Michigan, is a coed at Michigan State College. He is obviously smitten with her as you will read.

I have added hyperlinks to locations, movies, and details that I wanted to learn more about.  It should appear as a hyperlink by being underlined.  If you hover your curser over it, click on it, it will take you to a new page so that you can learn more on the topic or perhaps see the poster from the movie or hear the song that he mentions. 

I  have tried to type them as they are written so any errors in grammar that you see are what was in the letter. This is a work in progress so please check back again! 

I have had many hits on this page and it is gratifying to me that people are checking it out.  I would love to know who is reading and how you learned of my site so if you could please sign my guest book I would really appreciate it!  If you would like to contact me there is also a page to send a message to me.


CPL. Kenneth J. Zill

45th Infantry Division

180th Regiment

E Company

2nd BN

Combat - Korea




This website, Korean War Letters: All My Love, Ken is dedicated to my parents, Ken and Rosalie Zill.  Now both gone from this world but together once again in heaven are much missed and loved by all those whose lives they touched. 

He died on April 14,1991 of congestive heart failure.  Rosalie followed him in death on April 14, 2011.  Twenty years to the day (possibly the hour).  I was told she died with her hands folded and a smile on her face.  I like to think that she smiled the moment she was reunited with her sweetheart Kenny once again.  I bet he was smiling as well!

This stone lays on the grounds at the 45th Infantry Museum in Oklahoma City, OK. Thank you to Laurie Daub for taking it for me!

Michael E. Haskew 04.10.2022 18:39

I'm writing a book on Christmas in Wartime. Would it be ok to use a couple of comments in your dad's letters related to Christmas in the book? Many thanks!

Liz VandenBerghe 04.10.2022 19:01

Of course, thank you for asking! Would love to see what you write if you can share when you are done.

Jack Easterling, Koran Veteran 20.04.2018 16:45

The forgotten war, was called the "police action" by the Truman Adminstration back in 1950. The first war we lost. Gen Doughlas MasArthur warned Truman Admin

Liz 14.04.2018 22:50

This cook took care of his camera when he was wounded on 6/12/1952. He mentions that he wants to invite this man to their wedding. Could this be your dad?

Sam 21.04.2018 21:39

The only person I could find that was a cook from Flint was Clarence Jandreski. I scanned a picture of my Dad with Clarence but not sure how to attach it

Sam 21.04.2018 21:32

Liz, My Dad was rotated out of Korea just about the time your Dad was wounded. The cook your Dad mentions was from Flint mine was from Detroit

Liz 14.04.2018 22:48

Sam, I just looked your dad up on the list and it says he was a cook. My dad talks about a cook that he was friends with. He mentions him in June/July 1952.

Sam Mazzara 20.01.2018 21:51

My Dad was in Korea with your Dad. I have a few pictures he took but no letters. There is a website you can check out

Liz 14.04.2018 22:45

Sam, did your dad know my dad? I would love to see the pictures. Thanks again for letting me know about the website.

Liz VandenBerghe 21.01.2018 02:45

Thank you for sharing that site with me. It is very interesting. I can't wait to dig into it. I would love to see your pictures. Thank you once again.

Rachelle 25.02.2017 05:20

I believe my father was In this war. I don't recall any stories, but have some pictures. I ran into a guy today who told me a few stories about him on the war

Jenny La Sala 10.09.2015 07:10

This is a beautiful website & shared to my Veteran Tribute page
Jenny La Sala

Serphin Maltese 11.08.2015 21:11

What a wonderful Tribute and Memorial to both your Father and Mother. I enjoyed reading and going over the pages. Serphin Maltese ( Cpl 45th Infantry Div 1953.)

Dale McKinnon 12.06.2015 16:03

Liz, thank you so much. Today's generation know little about the "forgotten war" and your website helps correct that great historical mistake.

Lisa 26.05.2015 01:22

This is wonderful!! Thank you for sharing!! God bless your dad and his friends for fighting for this country!!

Kim Schoeler 03.05.2015 23:22

What an amazing legacy your father left to your family. How wonderful that you are sharing it with the world.

john jenson 11.12.2014 14:58

Wow !! FYI, go to and look under 45th Division News tab, lot of actual newspapers from 45th and Korean War.

roy schunk 12.08.2014 04:33

Roy A Schunk: I"m not to good at typing but will send short message.I still live near AnnArbor and was one of the six that that served and came home from Ko

Liz Zill VandenBerghe 12.08.2014 04:52

Mr. Schunk, I am so pleased to see your posting here today! I have several copies of that article with the six of you if you would like a copy. Thank you! Liz

Harold Rogers Smith 19.07.2014 19:42

I to was a Korean veteran August 1952-June 1954. Was up on line the morning it was over. North Korea had banners and loud speakers, saying GI you are number one

Timothy Clark 04.07.2014 18:25


This is very cool. I was feeling nostalgic on a 4th of July so I looked up Grandma & Grandpa and found this. What a treasure! Good Job! Your Cousin Tim

alicia hein buff cook 07.07.2013 20:15

I have that same article, on the young republican's club, and my dad's patch, just love these letters!

| Reply

Latest comments

04.10 | 19:01

Of course, thank you for asking! Would love to see what you write if you can share when you are done.

04.10 | 18:39

I'm writing a book on Christmas in Wartime. Would it be ok to use a couple of comments in your dad's letters related to Christmas in the book? Many thanks!

09.07 | 22:16

If your related to Celia Gearhart Nash 1913-1988. Please contact me. I have a self-published book of poems written by her titled the View From My Window

05.09 | 07:05

I found this article really interesting and gonna share its link with my sister before taking