Monthly Archives: September 2013

Korean War (17)

K Co., 35th RCT, 25th Div. fire at CCF w/ a M1919A4, 30 caliber air-cooler light machine gun during Operation Ripper.

K Co., 35th RCT, 25th Div. fire at CCF w/ a M1919A4, 30 caliber air-cooler light machine gun during Operation Ripper.

The battered men of the 38th Regiment of the 2nd Division, the Dutch battalion and the 187th RCT were ordered to “make the strongest possible stand to blunt the CCF.” This amounted to approximately 8,000 men. As expected on 13 February 1951, the enemy attacked along with their usual whistles, horns and bugles blaring. Hills numbered 339,340,341 and 342 were the east to west ridge-lines needed to be taken. Here, the fighting became so intense and continuous that it remains difficult to follow the progress over the rugged terrain and individual unit combat. Casualties mounted on both sides, but their position was held. Hill after hill and ridge after ridge, they grabbed whoever was still able to fight and went through Hills 240, 255 and 738. (Hills were numbered according to their height.)

CCF XIII Army attack on Hoengsong - ROK 8th Div. destroyed

CCF XIII Army attack on Hoengsong – ROK 8th Div. destroyed

18 February, the Chinese realized they were fighting a lost cause and pulled back. Ridgeway was notified and set up Operation Killer to launch a counterattack. Two days later, with a visit from MacArthur, they went over this plan that included recrossing the Han River. Later on, MacArthur would claim (with Almond’s confirmation) that this operation was his own by stating, “I ordered Ridgeway to start north again.” No such order had been given as far as the records show. Since censorship had been in force since December 1950, Ridgeway tried diplomatically to stymie MacArthur’s theatrics and grandstanding with the press. He complained that MacArthur’s long-standing habit of visiting when a major offensive was about to be enforced was most assuredly going to be picked up by the enemy.

By 28 February, all enemy resistance south of the Han River was eliminated. The 187th RCT Rakkasans were once again sent back to Taegu to reorganize.

1-12 March, the U.N. line was about halfway between the 37th and 38th parallels and this did not sit well with Ridgeway. The 1st Marine Division captured Hoengsong. 5 March, COMNAVFE (the commander of the Navy, Far East), stated his intelligence reports were showing a build-up of CCF and small boats in port opposite Formosa. The junk might be used for an amphibious attempt on Formosa. Operation Ripper, devised 2 weeks before with MacArthur’s approval, was to trap and eliminate the enemy. It was intended to split the Chinese and the North Koreans. This was put into action on the 7th with about 150,000 men on the offensive. By the 11th, the US IX Corps had reached their Line for Phase One.

14-19 March, Seoul was once again in Allied hands; being that it was deserted and laid in rubble, no great victory was declared. For these 5 days, the USS Missouri fired on Kyojo Wan, Songjin, Chaho and Wonsan. The ship was credited with 8 railroad bridges and 7 highway bridges.

Even Peng told Mao that no one would win the war. He reported back that with 227,000 American troops backing the 250,000 ROK troops and 21,000 from Britain, Australia, Turkey, the Philippines, Thailand, Canada, New Zealand, Greece, France, Belgium and the Netherlands, would be too many to eliminate.

enemy POWs

enemy POWs

IX and X Corps neared Chunchon; this was the 3rd Phase line and the Marines were met with heavy fighting. On 20 March, the JCS (Joint Chiefs of Staff) informed MacArthur that the UN was ready to begin negotiations with Red China. The front had reached north far enough where the talks might produce a cease-fire line. MacArthur blamed Washington for not going in for a total victory; such Cold War rules alluded the general. Even the 150,000 POWs captured since Inchon were more of a hindrance than a bargaining chip. The logistics problems were enormous, but not the only ones. The militants, ordered by Mao to surrender, disrupted the camps with uprisings, drug trafficking, murder, prostitution and communication with the enemy forces out in the field. On the 23rd, MacArthur gave Ridgeway authorization to cross the 38th. This was done without JCS approval.

General Sams

A large spreading of a “plague-like disease” in the enemy bases would start accusations by the pro-Communist reporters that the Americans were waging germ warfare. BGeneral Crawford F. Sams, later to be named Surgeon General of the Army, took on a dangerous mission in the Wonsan sector. In this area, Sams examined strickened Chinese soldiers and found the disease to be hemorrhagic smallpox. The origin of which is known to be Manchuria.

Mosquito hunt

Mosquito hunt

When asked about UN troops crossing the 38th, Truman blundered, “That is a tactical matter for the field commander. A commander-in-chief 7,000 miles away does not interfere with field operations. We are working to free the Republic of Korea…” Upon hearing this in Tokyo, MacArthur grumbled about a “one-sided gag.” He said that officials in Washington can say what they want, but he needed approval for anything more significant than a morning report.

Click images to enlarge.

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Current News –

Picture released by Chinese of Allied POWs

Picture released by Chinese of Allied POWs

A “Korea Remembered 1950-1953” ceremony was given for Darrell Krenz and hundreds of other Korean War veterans in Milwaukee, Wisconsin this past Tuesday. Krenz, was a bazooka operator, sniper and POW; a member of the 24th Infantry Division.

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Farewell Salutes –korean67

Fred Alfele – Atlantis, FL; US Navy, oral surgeon

Bartley Fugler – Arlington, VA & Naples, FL; US Navy, pilot, WWII

George Kuhter – Chicago area; US Navy, WWII

Judge Clarence Lipnick – Chicago, IL; US Army WWII, D-Day

Raymond Vernier – Detroit, MI & Lake Worth, FL; US Army, medic, Korea

G.T. “Tom” Simpson – Greenville, SC; civilian employee, contractor WWII,; built bases in VA, SC & GA

Leonard Witt, Jr. – Marysville, WA; US Army, WWII

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Resources: Korean War on line; “Rakkasans” & “The Angels” by Gen. EM Flanagan; history.navy.mil;”MacArthur’s War” by Stanley Weintraub; “The Korean War” by Maurice Isserman; “Korean War” by Stephen Badsy; “Warfare of the 20th Century” by Christopher Chant

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Korean War (16)

US 2nd Div. M-4 Sherman tanks cover the 187th RCT; assault of Pambol-ni, 7 Feb. 1951

US 2nd Div. M-4 Sherman tanks cover the 187th RCT; assault of Pambol-ni, 7 Feb. 1951

Operation Wolfhound, (In honor of Mike Michaelis’ 27th Infantry Wolfhounds.), was the opening reconnaissance that sent troop from Osan toward Suwon. The chiefs that were observing, Collins and Vandenberg, reported to Truman that Ridgeway would hold more than a beachhead. In support, Washington sent nearly 2,000 Marines to add to the rosters.

Operation Thunderbolt

Operation Thunderbolt

In the west, 25 January 1951 started Operation Thunderbolt. The 25th Division and 2 ROK regiments (all from I Corps) met little resistance, but the Turkish Brigade, east of Osan, dealt with heavy combat. As a group, they took an important hill near Suwon, killed 4,000 of the enemy and pushed them out of Inchon and Kimpo. They all advanced slowly, but kept going. X Corps and the ROK III Corps were ordered to do the same, calling it Operation Roundup. By 3-4 February, thousands of the enemy would have hit the 1st Battalion/187th RCT, but they held their positions. The 2 ROK divisions were met heavily by the North Koreans and by 8 February, large groups were hitting the right flank of X Corps.

CCF XIII Army attack on Hoengsong - ROK 8th Div. destroyed

CCF XIII Army attack on Hoengsong – ROK 8th Div. destroyed

In central Korea, the situation was different, with the Chinese ambushing after dark. The South Korean 8th Division broke up and this exposed the American artillery battery, losing Hoengsong, causing hundreds of casualties and jeopardizing Wonju. On 28 January, Mao told General Peng that he would hold off the United Nations’ requests for negotiations until the general completed a 4th Offensive. With the Soviets now supplying arms, their success would give them more of an advantage at the talks.

Lt. Col. Ralph Monclar, Korea

Lt. Col. Ralph Monclar, Korea

5 February, Operation Roundup was almost halted as quickly as it had begun when the CCF penetrated ROK lines. Ridgeway was forced to redeploy reserve units. American troops with a Greek and French Battalion, plus air support from the Corsairs held Chipyong-ni and Wonju. Colonel Freeman had to order the French colonel, Ralph Monclar to extinguish the bonfires his men had started at night; they were giving away the Allied positions. After a heated argument-by-radio, the fires went out.

Hoengsong Map

Hoengsong Map

The Fourth Phase from the Chinese had started in the midst of the Allied attacks. The Canadian correspondent, Bill Ross, reported seeing 68 American bodies when the enemy left Kudun. Many were naked, killed while exiting their sleeping bags. A finding, after this story, run by Graves Registration was 212 killed or missing, mainly from L Company, 3rd Battalion, 9th Infantry (3rd Division). The “Globe and Mail” dispatch was so embarrassing to MacArthur that he ordered Ridgeway to launch a full investigation.

Aerial recon photos showed no viable Communist forces, giving MacArthur a false sense of victory. Ridgeway knew it would take ground action to expose the enemy. Shocking Washington, as well as Tokyo, Ridgeway began to relieve commanders. McClure was already dropped from the 2nd Division and now, those of the 7th, 24th, 25th, and 1st Cavalry Divisions were gone. Press accounts from Korea were stating that MacArthur was no longer the high authority and that Ridgeway had profited from MacArthur’s mistakes to turn a defeat into a victory.

resting after Nightmare Alley

resting after Nightmare Alley

11-12 February, elements of the U.S. 2nd Division were surrounded. A small task force moved about 15 miles north of Wonju and found a French company and a Dutch Battalion; wounded and dead of the 2nd Div. lined the road. The 187th Rakkasans of G Company were firing at close targets until they met up with the 38th Infantry. They all continued to push on and freed the trapped regiment and ROK forces. Then, acting as rear guards, they held the escape route open to Wonju until all the UN forces cleared the valley. As G Company and the Dutch protected the rear, without tanks, they took on an added barrage. G Co. still covered for a 12 mile stretch. The men called this the “Nightmare Alley Operation” and the newspapers referred to it as “Hell’s Canyon” and “Massacre Valley.”

According to Bevin Alexander, author of Korea, The First War We Lost, “The key to the defense of the central front was the decision by Ridgeway to hold Wonju…because it was the junction of 15 main roads as well as a railway from Seoul to Pusan.

13-15 February, the US Army’s 23rd Regiment and a French battalion fought a bloody battle against the CCF for control of an area near Chipyong-ni, known as the “twin tunnels”; 2 railroad tunnels through a nearby mountain; 18,000 of the enemy besieged the U.N. troops with many of the men in hand-to-hand combat. Going into the night, flares lit the battle scene. The 5th Cavalry broke through the lines to assist and 5,000 Chinese were killed.

While on patrol below the Han River, 5th Cavalry, PVT James Cardinal, passed hundreds of enemy soldiers on 16 February. The Chinese troops were barely armed with grenades. Their supply routes had been greatly hindered by UN air strikes and the freezing weather.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Flight Lt. J. Omer Levesque

Flight Lt. J. Omer Levesque

A note of interest that was unintentionally missed for December 1950 concerned Flight Lt. J. Omer Levesque. As the first Canadian pilot in the war, he was also the first Canadian to take down a MiG-15 in Korea and became the first Canadian airman decorated by the United States. He was given the US Air Medal for flying 4 missions a day between 17-21 December. Levesque belonged to the 334th Fighter Interceptor Squadron.

An interesting account of this career can be located at – http://www.constable.ca/caah/levesque.htm

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes –

Masato Kobayashi – Amache, CO & Arizona; born in a Japanese Relocation Center, US Air Force, Vietnam

Fred Gordon – Chicago, IL; WWII war correspondent

Joseph Janusek – Chicagi, IL; USMC, Korea

Edward Kane – Chicago area; US Army, WWII PTO, Staff Sgt. 7th Cavalry

John Hayes – Alexandria, VA; US Navy, WWII

WWII and Korean War US flag

WWII and Korean War US flag

John Duncan Urquhart – Spokane, WA; US Navy SeaBee, WWII PTO

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Resources: “Rakkasans” and “The Angels” by Gen. EM Flanagan; Korean War on line.com; “Korean War” by Stephen Badsy; “The Korean War” by Maurice Isserman; “The Warfare of the 20th Century” by Christopher Chant

Korean War (15)

Ridgeway in Korea

Ridgeway in Korea

Lt. General Mathew Bunker Ridgeway was chosen to replace the late Gen. Walton Walker. He arrived in Tokyo in the early evening of 26 December 1950, where he was given his orders to maintain a line of defense as far north in Korea as he could while keeping a hold on Seoul. MacArthur informed him that morale in the 8th Army was poor and he must supply the discipline they needed because of the methods of the CCF attacking at night and in mass. (American intelligence still had not identified General Peng Dehuai as the enemy’s major military influence.) MacArthur knew his wish to unite Korea under Syngman Rhee was not going to happen, but he still expected to hold the south.

Ridgeway had arrived in Tokyo anticipating to discount MacArthur, but by the end of the meeting, he gave his full support. When the 2 generals discussed the possibility of attack, MacArthur answered, “The 8th Army is yours, Matt. Do what you think is best.”

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Ridgeway had left the U.S. in such a hurry that he only had his WWII uniforms, civilian gloves and a cotton cap to unpack at his new HQ in Taegu, Korea. He said, I nearly froze there in the few days…” Upon flying to Seoul, he appearance was different; he wore his trademark grenade fastened to the right shoulder strap of his airborne trooper gear, a first-aid kit to the left strap and a .45 pistol at his web belt. This would start his nickname, “Old Iron Tits,” but when he said he wanted to go to the front, the men gave him the title, “Wrong Way Ridgeway.”

He began to move his dispirited men around and shoring up his front lines and retraining of the 8th Army began. This was done to prepare for the Chinese New Year offensive he saw building up, but Washington thought differently. Just as MacArthur was forced to deal with the “Europe First” attitude in WWII, resources were once again being diverted to Eisenhower and NATO in the divided but peaceful Europe. Mao’s message to Peng read, “The so-called 38th parallel is an old impression in people’s minds and will no longer exist after this new campaign…”

 

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1951

On New Year’s morning, Gen. Ridgeway saw ROK soldiers streaming south.  They had abandoned, lost or black marketed all their weapons.  He jumped from his jeep, and with the assistance of American MPs, he managed to stop them and take control.  For the first 5 days of January, FEAF (Far East Air Force) fighter-bombers flew about 500 sorties a day, but were proving ineffective.  Peng’s “Third Phase” offensive seemed unhampered and Ridgeway knew he would be unable to maintain control of Seoul.  A witness to this day described it as, “like floodwater down a mountain.”

U.S. military leaders have a meeting - Ridgeway in center, MacArthur on right

U.S. military leaders have a meeting – Ridgeway in center, MacArthur on right

 

On 3 January, at the Battle of Wonju, the 674th Airborne Field Artillery Battalion was scattered over a large area and each gun was firing.  Sgt.First Class Maria said, “…there was heavy traffic of all kinds on the road…headed south… In one 20 minute period, my gun fired 80 rounds of high explosives, burning the paint off the tube in the process.”

4 January, Ridgeway wrote in his diary, “…the ice was 4″ or 5″ thick…men in rubber boats fought ice floes away from the pontoons with scenes reminiscent of George Washington crossing the Delaware…Beyond the Han [River] were nearly 100,000 fighting men.”

Gen. Peng refused to believe that MacArthur would remove all troops from Korea.  His CCF ammunition and food was running low, so he planned to pause at the 37th parallel to reorganize and wait for better weather.  When his intel reports came on 8 January that the American retreat had stopped, he feared it was nothing more than a ruse to trap him in the south.

On the 8th, MacArthur advised the Joint Chiefs of Staff that the Chinese potential would render the Korean peninsula untenable.  Ridgeway received a document that indicated major elements of the 8th Army were to retreat to Pusan by 15 April — Ridgeway wrote “Disapproved” across the page.  Washington was looking for negotiations, but the JCS wanted confirmation of the situation; they sent the Army and Air Force Chiefs to observe first-hand.  The generals found the 8th Army to be in good shape and using the CCF lull in operations to organize offensive plans.

13 January, the 187th RCT (Regimental Combat Team), under X Corps, were sent to defend Punju Pass; they were forced to fight their way to the ridges overlooking it.  The enemy, with their reversible jackets were difficult to pick out, but the bombing was proving to be successful and the napalm cleared pathways for the 187th to move.  At 2100 hours, the Chinese started their massive attack, but none would even come close to the guns.  The following morning, the Rakkasans (187th) found enemy bodies everywhere; some in piles 10 deep.

 

The 56 year old Ridgeway, former commander of the 82nd Airborne Division in WWII, was turning the war around.  One way he restored EUSAK (Eighth U.S. Army, Korea) morale was using the old method of insisting on a continuous front and letting the technology do the work; he called this “The Meatgrinder” of American artillery and air power.  The new matérial coming into Korea was hitting the lightly armed enemy hard, who had been accustomed to infiltration tactics rather than head-on confrontations.  Gen. Peng informed Mao that Korea could no longer be conquered by force.

 

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Farewell Salutes –

CPL Thomas Edwards, NYC, Co. A, 8th Cav Reg, 1st Cav Div is fed by PFC Cornelius Bosma, Ontario,CA 8063 MASH I Corps

CPL Thomas Edwards, NYC, Co. A, 8th Cav Reg, 1st Cav Div is fed by PFC Cornelius Bosma, Ontario,CA 8063 MASH I Corps

Caroline Mansur – Prince George County, VA & Ft. Lauderdale, FL; US Navy LT. JG, WWII

William Barnes – Washington, DC; US Army, WWII PTO, Purple Heart

Harry Christian – Bowie, MD; US Navy, WWII PTO, gunners mate

Morgan Shinton – Lansford,PA & Boynton Bch., FL; USMC, S/Sgt, Korea, Good Conduct, Korean Service medals & UN Ribbon

John J. Clasby, Sr. – USMC Captain (pilot) Vietnam, Distinguished Flying Cross, (The actual helicopter flown by Clasby is at the Air and Space Museum near Dulles Airport)

Richard M. Dragland – Alberta, Canada & Seattle, WA; US Army, Sgt., Vietnam, passed away while attending the reunion of the 53rd Signal Battalion.

Click on images to enlarge.
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Resources: “Rakkasans” & “The Angels” by Gen. EM Flanagan; Korean War on line.com;”MacArthur’s War” by Stanley Weintraub; Korean War.org; history.army.mil

National POW/MIA Recognition Day

The Missing Man formation

The Missing Man formation

Today observances will be held on military installations, ships at sea, state capitols, schools and veteran’s facilities.  This is one of six days throughout the year that Congress mandates the flying of the National League of Families’ POW/MIA flag.  The flag will be flown at major military installations, national cemeteries, all post offices, VA medical facilities, and the WWII, Korean and Vietnam War Veterans memorials.

photo-pow-mia

 

 

“My Friend”

by Shorty Estabrook

B/19/24

I lost my friend along the way
To this place that I call now.
I didn’t want to lose my friend,
But I did and don’t know how.
 
I remember how he looked at me
As I laid him down to rest,
When he said, “I can’t go on, old pal;
You’ve seen me at my very best.”
 
“So, leave me now and go your way
And when your journey ends,
Remember me beside the road,
Your buddy and your friend.”
 

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Some of our fellow bloggers who have a similar theme:

Diedra at;
http://powdiaries.wordpress.com/about/

Hillary at:
http://greenwritingroom.com/2013/09/18/beyond-the-call-of-duty-pows-15/

Pierre – who has multiple blogs:
http://athabaskang07.wordpress.com/2013/09/16/rcaf-415-squadron-swordfish/

and Don at:
http://donmooreswartales.com/2013/09/16/paul-cearlock/

Tell me about those servicemen you think of – they all need to be remembered!

pow_mia_poster_2001

First Hand Stories (14)

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I’m taking a break from the day-to-day war and will put in some first hand accounts I believe you will all enjoy. They are from Hey Mac, Where Ya Been?, by Henry Berry and published by St. Martin’s Press.

When you have no sewers, the "honeywagons" go to work

When you have no sewers, the “honeywagons” go to work

Pfc Edward McCabe from D Company, 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines, enlisted in 1948 from Floral Park, Long Island. On 1 September he arrived in Kobe, Japan and his sergeant saw a Japanese man working on the dock, gave him a hug and the two men talked for a while. McCabe asked what it was all about and the sergeant answered, “That guy was our favorite guard in the prison camp I was in during WWII. He’d always try to get us a little extra food, some smokes, things like that. There are Americans alive today because of that guy.”

Pfc McCabe was the first in his company to go ashore on Blue Beach at Inchon and the first person he met was a Korean woman with a bleeding child from the naval bombing. He couldn’t understand her, but brought them to their doctor who began working on the child and McCabe continued on with his battalion. They moved fast heading for Seoul and after 3 days, who does he meet up with, but the same woman, now carrying a bouquet of flowers. She wanted to thank the doctor for saving her child and she had walked all day to do so.

Chesty Puller

Chesty Puller

18 September, when MacArthur went ashore at Inchon, he said, “The first person I want to see is Lewie Puller… He’s a real fighter.” A message was sent to Colonel Chesty Puller that told him he was to receive the Silver Star, his reply, “Signal that we’re fighting our way for every foot of ground. I can’t leave here. If he wants to decorate me, he’ll have to come up here.” The general did just that. On a steep ridge, the two men, Puller with his WWII raider cap and pipe had a 2 hour meeting with MacArthur and showed him 6 destroyed enemy tanks. The encounter belongs to history with such meetings as Grant and Sherman at Shiloh; at least that’s how the Marines felt about it.

Puller - MacArthur - Smith

Puller – MacArthur – Smith

The Marine Corps (Navy) was the first branch of service to use the helicopter in combat; the first assault was called Summit and the night attack was Black Bird. One chopper story found was from Lt. Col. Ray Murray of the 5th Marines as they attempted to break out of the Pusan perimeter: I was ordered to get aboard a helicopter and get to Army HQ. While I was there, I was told to fly over an area where an artillery unit had been overrun and drop a message telling the survivors where to regroup; this was put in an old 81mm shell with a streamer on it. As we lowered to drop the shell, the North Koreans opened up on us and I yelled “Take evasive action!” We got out in a hurry and the pilot began to laugh, “Jeez, Colonel, if I told the manufacturer of this chopper what I just did with it, they wouldn’t believe me.” I don’t know what the manufacturer would have thought of it, but he scared the crap out of me!

The author mentions the fighting ability of the Turkish troops, fondly called “wild men” for the way they refused to give the enemy an inch and the Princess Pats from Canada, he rated as outstanding. Mick O’Brien of the Independent Commandos, Royal Marines at Chosin Reservoir received the Presidential Unit Citation given to the 1st Marine Division. O’Brien said,”…a young Marine sergeant gave me a Marine emblem. I wore it in my green beret for the rest of my service…”

Captain Theodore Williams, USMC and veteran of WWII was recalled at 34 years of age to go to Korea. He said he felt it was unfair, but he figured they must have been hard up for pilots, so he went without any bellyaching. He said he kept thinking it couldn’t happen, but it did. In the end, he was grateful because he got the chance to fly the jets.

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Corporal Richard Munro, F/2/5, who would go on to become CEO of Time, INC., mentioned the M*A*S*H* unit he was sent to after being up against the CCF, “The doctors’ jobs were not easy. They had to be half medical men and half psychologists. The last thing these guys [wounded] needed was sympathy. The sooner they faced up to their predicaments, the better off they’d be. So the doctors would try to make a joke out of it…Sounds cruel, but it worked.”

One Marine said: They speak of the top name celebrities that went to Korea to entertain the troops, but even the aging singer, Al Jolson went and was a big hit. He literally put all he had into his performances and Korea would be his last. Jolson passed away after returning to the States from exhaustion.

Korean terrain

Korean terrain

“Hills, they called ’em hills. Well, I’m from Rhode Island. They were fuckin’ mountains to me.” __ Dick Burke E/2/7
Burke recalled that his platoon leader had left a pregnant wife back in Arkansas and as they left for Korea aboard the APA Barnfield, he found out the baby had been born. The new father handed out cigars and Burke put his in his seabag. When the seabag finally caught up with him back in the states, the cigar was still there.

So you see, not all memories of war need be of horrific experiences, bravery, medals and death. There are other stories far more humorous than I have sampled for you here and others far more serious. There are tales of being home on leave before combat or friendships made during the tour of duty. No veterans’ story is too small or insignificant and I know some of you have these stories.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Personal note –

I need to send out a special Thank You to Sheri de Grom and her husband, Tom. Despite their own medical concerns, they have brought my web site to the attention of several veterans, the VA hospital and a local restaurant who will be hosting a dinner for the men. For further explanation of this and a chance to read Sheri’s blog (story about the vets is included in the comments), please go to:
http://sheridegrom.wordpress.com/2013/09/13/what-were-they-thinking-the-pentagon-and-same-sex-marriage/
If the veterans are reading this – Thank you All for your service!! Without you, we may not be standing here.

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Farewell Salutes – Aftermath

Joseph Zimmer – Bethesda, MD; WWII Purple Heart

Thomas Tedder – Alaska & W. Palm Bch., FL; USMC, Vietnam

Ronald George McKeown – Walloon, Australia; Royal Australian Air Force, flight sergeant

Timothy Rowe – Hobe Sound, FL; US Navy, Vietnam, translator fluent in Chinese

Warren Scott – NYC, NY & Boynton Bch, FL; US Navy, WWII

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Korean War (13)

View from the USS Mount McKinley

View from the USS Mount McKinley

Without reinforcements from the U.S. or Taiwan and no permission to bomb Manchuria or blockade China, MacArthur continued to issue his complaints, but felt there was nothing left to do but withdraw from Korea. Mao, upon hearing of the Allied retreats, ordered his general, Peng to advance to the 38th parallel and hold it.

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8 December 1950, explosives were used to create mass gravesites in the ground too frozen to dig individual plots. A Graves Registration officer drew a map for its relocation and a chaplain recited “The Lord Is My Shepard.” This would not be the only such site; Marines, soldiers and Royal Marine Commandos were interred hundreds at a time at Koto-ri. Also on this date, the 1st Battalion, 7th Marines broke through a roadblock and took the CCF by such surprise at Chinhung-ni that a kettle of boiling rice was found.

9 December, the 1st Marine Division, the 3rd and 7th Infantry Divisions, close to Pusan, had extremely heavy battles; as did the Korean I Corps at Samchok. They would create a 60% loss of the Chinese they encountered.

10 December, the 187th was out of Pyongyang and set up a new command post at Sohung. They set fire and blew up the large stores of Russian supplies and equipment they had captured. A series of battles had to fought to now keep the withdrawal route open.

General O.P. Smith and 14,000 troops made it down the snow covered Funchilin Pass. Photographer, David Duncan, from “Life” magazine, snapped a photo of a Marine hacking his breakfast out of a frozen can of beans. The sight of ice crystals on the beans and in the Marine’s ragged beard made him ask a question, “If I were God and I could give you anything you wanted, what would it be?”
“Gimme tomorrow,” was the reply.

13 December, after General Bowen notified Gen. Walker that his 187th RCT was south of the 38th parallel, Walker ordered him to get them moving back north. The first two days, the troops would not see the enemy.

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15 December, General Peng, at a Chinese commanding officer’s meeting, stated he felt obligated to cross the 38th, but he was not eager to extend too far into South Korea. American intelligence at this point was uncertain of Chinese intentions. But, on this morning, as the 674th Field Artillery, 187 RCT prepared to move out, an observer spotted columns of CCF headed straight at them. The guns swung around into position, paused, and at 500 yards, ALL the heavy weapons opened up. The enemy was caught unawares and bodies fell everywhere, but still, those alive continued to charge. The 3rd Battalion received a radio message from approaching Air Force planes, “Is this a private fight or can anyone get in?” The ground force guns, already getting hot, couldn’t believe how perfect the timing was. The planes bombed, then dropped napalm and when they were empty, they strafed the area until they were out of ammo.

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Also on the 15th, the first contingent of Canadians, the 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry arrived in Korea.

23 December, Gen. Walker and his usual driver, MSgt. George Belton, left the Seoul Headquarters with intentions of going 20 miles north to meet with Rhee. A ROK weapons carrier, rushing south, clipped the rear tire of the jeep, hurling it off the ice covered road. As it flipped and turned over, both men were killed instantly.

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At Hungnam, the city began to shrink in size as the Marines began to go aboard the ships. Reporters and photographers asked the men to smile for the cameras, but few obliged them. Lt. Charles Mize wrote his wife, “I’ll never forget the misery and bravery or the many buddies who died…” Gen. O.P. Smith held a memorial service at another gravesite as 22,215 Marines embarked. When the last ships cleared the beach on 24 December, 400 tons of dynamite (too frozen to ship back) and 500 abandoned 1,000 pound bombs blew the Hungnam waterfront apart.

Some of the troops showed the holiday spirit and their attitude toward the war by sending a HQ-mimeographed Christmas message to friends and family back home:

Xmas greetings from Korea,
Land of lice and diarrhea.
From mulchy shores we’ve half-mastered,
Merry Xmas, you lucky bastard!

November had been the largest retreat in U.S. history and December was not much better. The home front cheered the Marine victory at Chosin Reservoir, but there was little else to be happy about. Truman began to act and speak in what was described as a paranoid manner and Korea’s future was dubious.

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Current news – In Arlington, VA, construction began on the Pentagon, 11 September 1941 to house the rapidly expanding War Department, When completed at a cost of $85 million in 1943, the building accommodated approximately 20,000 workers along 17.5 miles of hallways. In 2001, 60 years later, the building was attacked.

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Farewell Salutes –purple_heart_medal_sticker-rc43cdfcb25234517914e87abe35e9c82_v9waf_8byvr_512

Robert Solomon – Bethesda, MD; US Army Air Corps, WWII PTO

Edward T. Guggenheim – Silver Spring, MD; US Navy, WWII

Hazel (Molson) Iverson – Montreal, Canada; Royal Canadian Air Force, Eastern Air Command, radar plotter, WWII

Elwin Le Blanc – Montreal, Canada; flight officer, WWII

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Resources:Korean War.org; History.navy.mil; Canadians in Korea; “Rakkasans” by E.M. Flanagan; “MacArthur’s War” by Stanley Weintraub; “Korean War” by Stephen Badsey; “The Korean War” by Maurice Isserman; “The Week” magazine;

Korean War (12)

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MacArthur’s twice rejected appeal to bring Chiang’s troops in from Taiwan was sent out again. Washington responded that the idea was being considered, but would involve political and diplomatic consequences. The British were calling for a multi-national committee to run the war, but in answer to that, General Omar Bradley retorted that no war could be directed by a committee.

30 November 1950, Truman held a press conference that ultimately turned into a discussion about using the atomic bomb. When asked by Frank Bourgholtzer of NBC, “Does this mean that we would not use the atomic bomb except on a United Nations’ authorization?” Truman replied, “The action against Communist China depends on the action of the UN. The military commander in the field will have charge of the use of weapons, as he always has…” (Truman, forgetting the rules of the Atomic Energy Act, had in fact handed the use of the A-bomb over to MacArthur.) This news immediately shot around the world.

General Marshall knew that Prime Minister Atlee would panic at the subject of the Bomb and sure enough, he was on is way to the U.S. Atlee, who had praised MacArthur on the Inchon invasion was now concerned with protecting British international trade and its colonies. MacArthur only wanted the weapon to be stored on Okinawa in the event it would be imperative to use to withdraw the troops safely out of Korea. (The threat of the Bomb, by the end of December, would come mainly from Washington.)

The Chosin, Nov.-Dec. 1950

The Chosin, Nov.-Dec. 1950

The 10,000 men of the 1st Marine Division, about 2,000 G.I.s and a small unit of the British Royal Marine Commandos were also threatened to be entrapped at their location. The massive battle of the Chosin Reservoir, destined to become the most famous battle of the war, began on 1 December. With the foresight of their commander, General O.P. Smith, having had moved gingerly before the CCF attack, had stockpiled supplies along the route from Hungnam. The Chinese forces were running low on supplies and becoming exhausted. MacArthur felt that General Walker had lost control of his troops; if he had made a stand above Pyongyang, the war would have gone differently.

The British General Mansergh sent a dispatch to London: American soldiers are not interested in the Korean civil war, their morale is bad and they are untrained for defense. They only joined in peacetime so as to receive a G.I. Bill education after discharge.

While leadership was being blamed for any defeat or retreat, a Silver Star sergeant was pulling off his mittens to hurl a hand grenade and got frostbitten fingers for his effort; Navy Lt.Commander Lessenden, running a Marine hospital tent, reported that plasma bottles were freezing and breaking; Corpsman Pfc Win Scott was holding morphine Syrettes in his mouth to keep them from freezing and soldiers were sleeping with their rifles to keep them operational. The Chinese were also dealing with the gruesome weather: Sgt. Ray Davis brought his colonel to see an enemy outpost – all but 2 men were frozen to death.

The Chosin

The Chosin

The long march south from Hagaru to Koto-ri, to be followed by Hungnam, began 6 December. To dispose of surplus ordnance, they shelled the Chinese during the night. Captain Drake and his 31st Tank Company were among the last units out of Hagaru and the town was set on fire as they saw the enemy scrounge the streets in search of food. The rear guard blew the bridge over Changjun River to slow the CCF from following. The road down was still a dangerous trek of icy, twisting turns causing trucks and tanks to slide down. The Chinese still lay in ambush, but the exhausted Allies continued to fight. The CCF blew a 16′ gap in a bridge known as Funchilin Pass, but the American engineers built a steel span from materials dropped by parachute.

MSgt. Thomas Brett, US Army 3rd Division said, “Cold chills still go up my spine as I recall watching Marines, themselves frozen from head to foot, meticulously caring for their wounded and bringing back the dead bodies of their comrades…”

6 December, MacArthur issued the CINCFE (Commander-in-chief, Far East) Plan No. 203 that was 38 pages detailing ‘the orderly withdrawal” of all UN forces and equipment from Korea to Japan. This would also include the ROKs and POWs, “due to pressure from superior forces.”

937th Field Artillery self-propelled 155-mm "Long Tom" guns

937th Field Artillery self-propelled 155-mm “Long Tom” guns

Both General Almond and Walker acted as though everything they destroyed – MacArthur could replace. General O.P. Smith argued the point on the destruction of good materiel and Almond told him, “Don’t worry about your equipment, once you get back we’ll replace it all.” Smith responded, “I’m not going to do that. This is the equipment we fight with.” When Almond flew out, Smith told his operations officer, “This guy is a maniac. He’s nuts. I can’t believe he’s saying these things.”

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Farewell Salutes – imagesCAJ7G97J

Nathaniel Young – Fairfax, VA & Tallahassee, FL; US Army Air Corps, WWII ETO 8th AF co-pilot, 35 combat missions + D-Day

Kenneth Condit – NYC, NY & Princeton, NJ; US Army, WWII

Frances Stueve – Dyerville, Iowa & Washington DC; survivor of Pearl Harbor

William A. Bennett – Fort Pierce & Gainsville, FL; US Navy, WWII aircraft communications instructor, graduate of Annapolis

Charles F. Milheron – Bangor, ME; US Army, Korean War

John Fallat – Dickson City, PA & Alexandria, VA; US Navy, Korean War

Dennis Reinke – Arlington, VA; US Navy, 26 year veteran, Master Chief Petty Officer

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Resources: armchairgeneral.com; olivedrab.com; “Korean War” by Stephen Badsey; “Warfare of the 20th Century” by Christopher Chant; Army archives; “MacArthur’s War” by Stanley Weintraub & “Hey Mac, Where Ya Been?” by Henry Berry

Patriot & National Service & Remembrance Day, 9/11

Thomas Kinkaid's tribute

Thomas Kinkaid’s tribute

Today we fly the American flag, not only in memory of the 2,977 who died that day, but for all who suffered from the consequences of the terrorist actions of a few and those that gave their all to assist in the rescues.

Memory of the Twin Towers

Memory of the Twin Towers

The Pentagon

The Pentagon

Pennsylvania Memorial under construction

Pennsylvania Memorial under construction

Pentagon memory

Pentagon memory

Hero dogs

Hero dogs

Hero dogs

Hero dogs

FDNY Station #12

FDNY Station #12

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WWII news update –

AP news service announced that in Italy’s Lake Garda a WWII DUKW, (amphibious trucks known as “ducks”) was found upright 900 feet down. According to Cpl. Thomas Hough, the sole survivor, on 30 April 1945, 3 DUKWs of the 605th Field Artillery left the east bank of the lake and his duck began to take on water. Loaded down with 25 soldiers and a 75mm cannon, they began to discard their ammo and equipment. Twenty-four of the men drowned. An Italian group of volunteer divers are making plans to locate and return the bodies home if they can be found.

the 'Duck", a DUKW

the ‘Duck”, a DUKW

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Women of World War II by gpcox

We seem to be having photo problems this month, but this article was prepared to include more of the world in what was such a massive war.

imageslandarmy

WASP poster, Pearl Judd

WASP poster, Pearl Judd

Congressional Gold Medal

Congressional Gold Medal

Canadian 1943 poster

Canadian 1943 poster

Australian women's poster

Australian women’s poster

"Greatest Generation" Life Lessons

Women of WWII

By: gpcoxhttps://pacificparatrooper.wordpress.com

I want to apologize to gpcox because there are five pictures in this post and for some reason, they will not transfer when I post the article. I’ve tried it several ways and they just won’t come through.

 As WWII unfolded around the globe, women were also affected.  Some found themselves pressed into jobs and duties they would never have previously considered.  Hitler derided Americans as degenerate for putting the women to work, but nearly 350,000 American females alone served in uniform voluntarily.  A transformation of half the population, never seen before, that began evolving in the early ‘40’s and continues today.

For the WASPs, 1,830 female pilots volunteered for Avenger Field outside Sweetwater, Texas alone and it was the only co-ed air base in the U.S.  These women would ferry aircraft coming off the assembly lines from the factories to the base.  They…

View original post 1,195 more words

Korean War (11)

MacArthur watching the action

MacArthur watching the action

23 November was Thanksgiving Day in 1950 and the United Nation troops had special turkey dinners flown in, even for the New Zealand and Turkish troops who had never eaten turkey before. Some of the meals, including fruitcake and pumpkin pie, were delivered frozen. The cooks for the 7th Division worked to heat the dinners by the glare of truck headlights; but morale was high and the men up and down the peninsula talked of being home by Christmas. The festivities would be over quickly for the men as they began the Allied offensive once again the next day.

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The CCF also had their plans and hit the 8th Army on 25 November with massive “human wave” assaults; a frightening experience for any soldier. Units were overrun by the enemy and the front lines turned into chaos. The Friday after Thanksgiving, when MacArthur met up with Generals Walker, Melburn, Coulter and Church at an airstrip just south of Chongchon River, Church told the general that if the resistance remained status quo, his division would make it to the border. MacArthur answered, “Well, if they go fast enough, maybe some of them could be home for Christmas. Don’t make me a liar.” The UP news service picked up the statement, but misquoted it as, “…if they get to the Yula – they WILL go home for Christmas.” Hence – the misunderstanding by the troops and the home front.

USS Leyte

USS Leyte

To distract the enemy from MacArthur’s visit, the Far East Air Force beefed up its flight schedules and the aircraft carrier, Leyte bombed the Sinuiju bridges. Inadvertently, the Chinese People’s Volunteer HQ was hit and Mao’s eldest son was killed. (The chairman was not informed until a month later.)

 1950 Korea map

1950 Korea map


On Monday, 27 November, X Corps and General Almond were convinced that the CCF presence above the dam’s reservoir were equal to that of their own. Their orders were to draw the enemy away from Walker’s right flank. The temperatures bottomed out at 25 below zero, making the weather as much of an enemy as the Chinese. General O.P. Smith kept his men moving slowly north up the western slopes of the reservoir while Arnold became increasingly aggravated at their pace.

Army 31st RCT of Chosin Reservoir

Army 31st RCT of Chosin Reservoir

On the east side of the Chosin Reservoir, 3,200 soldiers of Task Force MacLean were cut off from making a retreat. The fighting continued for 4 days and Colonel Allan “Mac” MacLean, the commander, was wounded, captured and later died; as did his successor, Lt. Col. Don Faith. The surviving 350 men made their way across the frozen waters to the stronghold at Hagaru.

On the second day of the offensive, the Chinese seemingly exploded from everywhere in broad daylight; contrary to their usual tactics. The fighting lasted into the evening hours with the equivalent of 18 American divisions on the flanks and in the rear. Three divisions of ROK II Corps collapsed. The Turkish Brigade rushed in to assist and were ambushed; 770 of which would be buried on Korean soil.

28 November, MacArthur sent a message to Washington that was said to compare with that sent after Pearl Harbor. General Omar Bradley said it sounded “rather hysterical” and he doubted that it was much of a catastrophe as it sounded. Later that evening, MacArthur issued Communique No. 14, “Consequently we face an entirely new war…” He then called Almond and Walker to Tokyo for an emergency meeting. Admiral Joy and Generals Stratemeyer, Hickey, Willoughby, Whitney and Wright were also present. Quartermaster packers, C-119s, C-46s and C-47s were sent to Yonpo to prepare drops of supplies to the cut-off troops. Walker and Almond were back at their command posts (CPs) 29 November and ordered a discontinuing of offensive action and to withdraw. All over North Korea the reports were the same – the Chinese were everywhere and only visible when their guns flashed; the mountains looked like Christmas trees.

Chow time in a Korean winter.

Chow time in a Korean winter.

Casualties were heavy as they retreated on routes laden with ice and snow. Frostbite victims were added to the wounded lists. Lt. Col. Roy Davis had his head grazed by a sniper, but lived to win a Medal of Honor and later became Commandant of the Marine Corps. Bob Hammond remembered, “… the Chinese were coming out of everywhere, all lined up…” The Americans tried to hide in caves, but were flushed out by the enemy. Able Battery was overrun and the 2nd Division was trapped between Kunu-ri and Sunchon. MGeneral Keiser was sending out “HOW ABLE” (Haul Ass) messages over the radio, but there were no discernible front lines.

Yet, according to two former members of the Recon Company (the Chosin Few), the unit was receiving reports from pilots all along and knew of the “trap.” In one night alone, a report that 500 sets of headlights were headed for the Chosin Reservoir – “They sure as hell weren’t going to a ski resort,” one said. They also commented that Old “Blitzen Litzen,” (Colonel Homer Litzenburg of the 7th Marines) was not up to date on how to utilize a Reconnaissance Company.

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Farewell Salutes –

ambulance arrival at a MASH unit

ambulance arrival at a MASH unit

Lawrence Wigbels – Washington DC; U.S. Army Colonel, WWII ETO, 101st, 902nd Engineer HQ CO, 101st & 82nd Airborne Div.

John Levender, Sr. – Lindenhurst, NY; USMS Sgt., WWII

Paul Lozowsky – Massapequa, NY; U.S. Navy, WWII

Richard Lee Reed – Covington, KY; U.S. Army Air Corps, WWII

George Cavanaugh – Laurel, MD; U.S. Army Air Force, WWII

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Personal note – This coming Tuesday, 10 September, Judy will be posting my article on the Women of WWII. I will re-blog it here and sincerely hope you all enjoy reading.

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Resources: “Hey Mac, Where Ya Been?” by Henry Berry; “Rakkasans” by E.M. Flanagan; “Korean War” by Stephen Badsey; Kiki’s place.com; Wikipedia; “MacArthur’s War” by Stanley Weintraub; Army Archives; National Archives