What Is the Origin of “All Gave Some; Some Gave All”?

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The phrase “all gave some; some gave all” is widely attributed to the Korean War veteran and purple heart recipient Howard William Osterkamp from Dent, Ohio. Osterkamp served in the Army from 1951 to 1953, during which he experienced heavy combat in Korea with his unit, the C Company, 5th Regimental Combat Team.

Osterkamp was wounded in the leg by shrapnel while fighting near the 38th parallel, the boundary between North Korea and South Korea during the war. Upon being injured, Sergeant Osterkamp was taken to Army doctors who misdiagnosed his injury. Osterkamp was sent back to the front lines with his leg broken in two places and stayed there for approximately four months. He spent a total of nine months on the front line near the 38th parallel during the Korean war.

The Korean War pitted Soviet Union- and China-backed North Korea against United States-supported South Korea, and the war lasted from June 25, 1950 to July 27, 1953. It was responsible for enormous loss of life on both sides of the battle lines, with the United States suffering nearly 37,000 casualties and South Korea reporting nearly 512,000. The total amount of deaths during the war were near 1.2 million.