James Volpone served in the U.S. Army Band from Feb. 12, 1948 to Feb. 12, 1950. He was then discharged and later drafted back into the Army in November after the Korean War started. He was sent to Korea and served with the 38th Inf. 2nd Division as a rifleman.
James was captured by the Chinese on Feb. 12, 1951 exactly one year from his discharge from the Army. He spent 30 months as a POW in Korea, (10 months as an M.I.A.). He was captured in the vicinity of Saemal, South Korea with another G.I. from the Tank Corp. and a South Korean soldier. He was sent to the "Bean Camp" and then on to a forced march, where he escaped with two other Americans, a Sgt. Kenneth Heitkemp, and another American, "Red" Morgan.
They were later recaptured and turned over to the North Koreans and sent to the "Mining Camp." The conditions in both camps were deplorable; there was very little food and water. Many Americans died at both camps from dysentery, Beriberi, Starvation, cold injuries, worms, and maggots ,and lung problems, with no medical attention .
James was later sent North, on what turned out to be a Death March, He finally reached the Yalu River with two good buddies whom he knew only as "Woody" and "Speedie," who carried him most of the way as he had contracted frozen feet, Beriberi, and acute dysentery. They were later separated: he was sent to Camp 1, and they were sent to Camp 5 as the Chinese separated blacks from Caucasians.
James was finally released on Aug. 21, 1953 at Pamunjon (Freedom City) and later discharged at Valley Forge Army Hospital, Pa. They learned there that he came home with tuberculosis .
After returning home, he was later married to his wife, Dolores, of 45 years .They had four sons: Michael, James Jr. Gregory and Franco, and in time five grandchildren.
James went to work as a Illustrator at Hughes Missile & Radar Systems in CA and moved to Las Vegas. He also worked as a musician, playing the night-club circuit around the Orange Co. area in California .
In retirement he spends his time working in his yard, searching the internet , creating creating graphics and drawing and writing about his POW experiences in Korea . He is a member of Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled American Veterans , The American Legion , American Prisoner of War , 2nd. Division Association, Inc. Korean War Veterans Alliance Inc., Korean War Veterans Association Inc. , AXPOW, the Korean War branch and "K" Co of the 38th Infantry.