Monthly Archives: January 2014

“The Hook” Third Wave

Dukes of Wellington Regiment

Dukes of Wellington Regiment

The Hook, near Kaesong, was the site previously mentioned in the post:  https://pacificparatrooper.wordpress.com/2013/12/30/korean-war-34/

battle of Hook map, end of May 1953

battle of Hook map, end of May 1953

This area was a persistent zone of attack waves by the Chinese and the closer the peace talks came to a close, the more the enemy pushed.  During the night of 12-13 May 1953, the Duke of Wellington Regiment relieved the Scottish Black Watch during a lull of combat activity.  The CCF could be heard returning to the area on the night of 17-18 May and after a small skirmish, a POW warned them of another impending wave.  For 2 weeks after their arrival, the Dukes were under constant sniper, mortar and artillery fire.

Black Watch commander, Lt. Col David Rose (right) w/ Gen. Collins at the Hook

Black Watch commander, Lt. Col David Rose (right) w/ Gen. Collins at the Hook

27 May, the CCF started their heavy artillery and mortar fire and the enemy troops attacked in force.  The barrage landed accurate hits on both Green Finger and Warsaw outposts.  On the next day, one of the 2 troops of C Squadron/1st Royal Tanks of Centurions was hit, but they remained in action.  Bunkers began to collapse with men inside and gaps in communication were apparent; wireless communication was maintained with the Americans.

The Chinese began to climb Green Finger and Ronson ridges while the British and Turkish troops returned fire.  When a second attack came up Warsaw, the fighting resulted in fierce hand-to-hand combat.  Another platoon was sent from Hill 121 and those men suffered severe casualties from enemy tank and machine-gun fire.

men of the Dukes

men of the Dukes

The CCF switched their attention to Hill 146 where 2 companies of Kingsmen awaited their arrival.  The Chinese battalion was wiped out as they formed up in front of Pheasant ridge.  Another attack following never stood a chance as they approached Ronson.

In the early morning hours of the 29th, the Chinese attacked once more, but again, they were forced back.  The Dukes secured the Hook at 0330 hours and an operation began to free the men who had been trapped in the tunnels, bunkers and collapsed dugouts.  At noon, the 1st Battalion/Royal Fusiliers began to relieve the Dukes.

men of the Dukes

men of the Dukes

The U.S. Army I Corps Artillery, from a rocket battery, had been firing during these battles in assistance.  The Royal Australian Regiment would see action here in July.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Personal note-

A story from the Daily Mail.co.uk, a first hand piece concerning this  event, will be posted during the intermission time between the Korean War and WWII along with other accounts I missed adding as I collect my notes and research for the early starts to WWII.

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WWII Update – 

A wonderful tribute and Farewell Salute has been posted by fellow blogger, Jacqui Murray concerning Nelson Draper (96).  A Navajo Code Talker from Barstow, CA; USMC in the PTO.

Please read:  http://usnaorbust.wordpress.com/2014/01/29/wednesday-hero-ssgt-darrell-shifty-powers/

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Farewell Salutes – 

UN Service Medal

UN Service Medal

Bill Austin – Midwest City, OK; US Navy, WWII, mine sweeper

Allan Cabot – Springfield, VA; US Navy, Captain (Ret. 30 yrs.), Vietnam

Timothy Canonico – Merrick, NY; US Army, Cavalry Scout

Pearl Dakin (99) – Washington DC; Washington Naval Yard, WWII homefront service, retired

Joseph DePippo – Massapequa, NY; USMC, WWII, Korea, Iraq (2 tours)

Edward “Ted” Edwards – Whangarei, NZ; RNZAF # 412303 & RAF # 59653

Alan T. Proffitt – Wellington, NZ; RNZAF # 43949, WWII

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Korean War (41)

Capt. Mullins, Lt. George Ruffee & CSM Descote, hours before the attack of Hill 187

Capt. Mullins, Lt. George Ruffee & CSM Descote, hours before the attack of Hill 187

The command diary of the 1st Marine Division for April 1953 (condensed) reads:

During the month of April, the 1st Marine Division continued to be engaged in the active defense of its sector, Jamestown Line.  The CCF remained in defensive positions opposing the division.  Enemy elements during the month were, from left to right, the 195th  Division, the 193rd Division and the 120th Division under the control of the 46th CCF Army.

small sample of 1st Marine records I have been reading

small sample of 1st Marine records I have been reading

Enemy activity during the month was characterized by active patrol and ambush action.  The most significant enemy probe was directed at the 7th Marines at COP (command outpost) Carson.  There on 9 April, a two-hour mortar and artillery preparation by the enemy was followed by a swift moving probe in company strength which reached the friendly lines and resulted in hand-to-hand combat. On 11-12 April, smaller enemy forces probed briefly in the areas of COP Elko and Carson.

Close air support for the division remained generally the same as in recent months.  A total of 400 Marine aircraft and 32 Air Force planes flew close air support missions in the daylight hours.  In addition there were 58 MPQ-14 sorties, 68 Marine and 2 Air Force.  On 12 April, searchlights were employed to spot night targets for close air support.  Tactical Air Observers were used to direct the light beams.Strafing runs were conducted after the dropping of the fire bombs.  This would continue throughout the month.

Recognition document, Jamestown Line

Recognition document, Jamestown Line

The 1st Marine Division would remain as one of 4 infantry divisions on the line in the I US Corps sector of the Eighth US Army.  Kanghwa-do island on the left continued to be occupied by units of the ROK Army, guerrilla units and a Provisional Tank Platoon from the 1st Marines.  The 2nd US Division remained in the sector to the right until 11 April when it was relieved by the 1st Commonwealth Division.

hand-drawn cartoon by a combat Marine

hand-drawn cartoon by a combat Marine

The 11th Marines, with the KMC Artillery Battalion and the 1st 4.5″ Rocket Battery, fired 5,985 observed missions in support of the Division.  I Corps Artillery in the 1st Marine Division during this period consisted of the 159th Field Artillery Battalion Group and C Battery of the 17th Field Artillery Battalion.  Units under operational control of the Group included the 159th, 100th ROKA, 623rd Field Artillery Battalion and A Battery of the 204th Field Artillery Battalion.

The mission of the Division remained to continue to organize, occupy and defend the MLR in its sector.  By the end of the month, however, plans were underway for the relief of the Division by the 25th US Division.

U.S. military summary of enemy count as of 1 May 1953

U.S. military summary of enemy count as of 1 May 1953

Click on images to enlarge.

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Farewell Salutes – photo-pow-mia

Edward Conway – Bronx, NY; US Navy, Korea

William Eberhardt – Holbrook, NY; US Army, WWII

Oscar Lezman – Los Angeles, CA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, POW

Marvin Klynn – Cleveland, OH; US Army, WWII, Sgt., 4th Army HQ

Helen Metzger – Pittsburgh, PA, US Red Cross, WWII

Herbert Parmenter, Jr. – Hernando, FL; USMC, 3rd Div., WWII, PTO

Raymond John Pearson – Christchurch, NZ; WWII, Lance Corporal # 238722

Ferguson Peters – St Louis, MO & Vero Beach, FL; US Coast Guard, Gunner’s Mate 3rd Class, Korea

James Pocock – Christchurch, NZ; WWII, Sgt. # 63176, 2NZEF Rifle Battalion, No. Africa

Lewis Reign, Jr. – Wilmington, DE & VA; US Army Corps of Engineers, WWII, PTO, Korea & Vietnam

Desmond Scalmer – Christchurch, NZ; K Force # 208906 & RNZN # 9057

Arthur Schultz – Dobbs Ferry, NY; US Army, WWII

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WWII Update – 

Peter Seeger,  Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Famer dies at the age of 94.  He sang on overseas radio broadcasts for the Office of War Information early in WWII.  While in the Army, he spent 3½ years in the Special Services entertaining the soldiers in the South Pacific.  He made Corporal.

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Korean War (40)

RCR

By 1 April 1953, George Company/ 3rd Battalion/1st Marines, (mentioned in the previous post), had moved to Hill 229, also known as Paekhak Hill, located about a mile from the Panmunjom Corrider.  It was the second most important position on the MLR.  6 April, the POW repatriation was still the main snag in the peace talks; the communists agreed to voluntary repatriation.

POW camp, view from guard tower

POW camp, view from guard tower

Back at the Chosin Reservoir, 28 months before, Captain Carl Sitter had given Genorge Company the nickname of “Bloddy George” and it was still applicable here on Hill 229.  The new XO, Lt. Richard Guidera stated:

On the evening of 17 April 1953, we were sending out a combat patrol led by Lt. Jack McCoy.  I remember kidding with him that afternoon when I had completed his briefing and final arrangements.  He always wore his .45 hanging like a jock strap in front.  We all would laugh, including Mac.  Anyway, that dark, and if I recall correctly, moonless evening, he led 33 or 35 Marines down through the wire and out from Hill 229 between 2 small ridges, or fingers, leading out from the hilltop and the MLR.  The Chinese ambushed them a long way down, in an area possibly closer to the MLR than to Outpost Kate, but between the two.

CCF soldier in the snow w/ a Soviet burp gun

CCF soldier in the snow w/ a Soviet burp gun

While I talked to Jack McCoy by radio, I could hear much confusion at the ambush site.  He was asking for 81mm mortar support and telling me the location of the patrol when communications stopped.  His PRC 6 went dead; he had been hit and evidently killed instantly.  The radio which he dropped was seen the following day lying on the ground way out front.  So to prevent it from falling into enemy hands, we shot it out with several rounds from a M-1.

M-3 burp gun

M-3 burp gun

Jack had been a good and courageous man.  It was a shock to hear him alive and vital, talking to me one moment, and then not at all.  What a tough night.  Of all that patrol, only 3 were unscathed and 3, including Jack McCoy, were KIA.

Soviet burp gun

Soviet burp gun

Sgt. Jess Meado found himself as the ranking NCO and had no time to reorganize a resistance.  He stated that they were well in front of their lines when they were hit by the ambush.  “They fired burp guns and the ground blew up all around us…”  Then the mortars started wounding more Marines including Meado – again – but he was in charge now that they were without McCoy and their guide.  The enemy was finally forced back and the men began looking for the wounded.  Of the 33 man patrol, 26 were wounded and 3 KIA.  The 4 men on point were the only ones that were not wounded.  Sgt. Meado received the Silver Star.

Silver Star w/ Oak Leaf Cluster

Silver Star w/ Oak Leaf Cluster

Click images to enlarge.

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Helping Veterans – 

veteran Karl Burtzloff & new friend, Hero

veteran Karl Burtzloff & new friend, Hero

Boynton Beach, Florida is the base for Awesome Greyhound Adoptions.  To defray costs of training, food and medical care, they are running a contest between the Army, Navy & Marines to see who will donate the most.  They not only give a veteran beautiful companions as service animals and friends, but this is a second life for the dogs as well.  A double blessing so to speak.

 

Pictured at right is Iraq war veteran Karl Burtzloff with his new friend, Hero.  This story and photo is courtesy of The Palm Beach Post.

 

The charity is looking for sponsors and trainers.  Email Barbara Masi – barbaramasi@comcast.net or call 561-737-1941 or go to AwesomeGreyhoundAdoptions.org

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Farewell Salutes – 

Purple Heart

Purple Heart

Costas Anifantakis – Albertson, NY; US Army, 1st Sgt., WWII, ETO

Richard Brown – Northcote, New Zealand; WWII, F/O RAF,  Service No. 199509

John Paul Buckley (87) – Washington DC & Ft. Myers, FL; US Navy Pentagon Service 40 years

Murray Hennick – Boca Raton, FL; US Navy, WWII

Robert “Sport” Horton – Los Angeles, CA; US Navy, Korea, fighter pilot, Purple Heart

Hokoda Katsumi (86) – Poway, CA, US Army

Mary Lesperance – Arlington, VA; US Navy nurse, Korea

Leo Marks – Chicago, IL; US Air Force, Korea

Edwin Michelson – Wheaton, IL; US Army Air Corps, WWII

Sam Ure-Smith – Australia; 30th NSW Scottish Regiment, WWII, PTO

Gary Tucker – San Antonio, TX;  US Army Lt. Colonel (Ret.) 1st Infantry Division

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I certainly hope the readers take a little time to back-track occassionally to view the comments of previous posts.  We have been lucky in receiving additional war information and fellow bloggers such as Gallivata have added names to the Farewell Salutes.  We also have:

Audrey Williams – Tasmania, “Idle Woman”

http://www.smh.com.au/comment/obituaries/audrey-williams-war-brought-a-bargees-life-before-move-to-tasmania-20140114-30sz9.html

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Korean War (39)

Korea 1953

Korea 1953

 

19 March 1953, (still from the official Marine reports and diaries), George Company’s responsibilities included the defense of outpost Esther which the Chinese had given notice they were about the make trouble for.  When the “quiet time” mortar fire began, Pfc Gale Coultard began to organize a stretcher team.  Pfc Robert Cress said that smoke was put down to conceal the Marine movements, “Daylight evacuations had proven extremely hazardous.  Due to the location of outpost Esther, the evacuation trail was almost entirely under close enemy observation and fire.”  Pfc Cress earned a Bronze Star for his actions that day.

Nevada complex

Nevada complex

A recon patrol was sent out around Ether.  About midnight, the patrol detected Chinese movement of approximately a company size approaching.  Pfc Richard Adams was wounded early, but continued firing.  A grenade landed in the trench line and he rushed to cover it with his helmet.  Although injured again, he fought hand-to-hand combat with several enemy soldiers and returned to his position until relieved the following night.  Adams received the Navy Cross.

Navy Cross

Navy Cross

Pfc Frank Cross, in a different trench, fought the CCF until he ran out of ammunition.  When the enemy jumped into the trench, he fought them off with his rifle butt until he could reach a wounded Marine who had a loaded rifle.  He killed several of the enemy and the rest withdrew.  He also remained at his post until the following night  despite his injuries. (This is a summary from his Navy Cross citation.)

Marine at outpost Vegas

Marine at outpost Vegas

Pfc Robert Cress was certainly in the thick of things at Esther.  His second Bronze Star citation for the medal read:

“Although suffering with pain from multiple wounds sustained in the attack, he fearlessly carried out his mission of protecting a machine-gun emplacement.  Expressing complete disregard for his personal condition, he steadfastly continued to deliver a devastating hail of rifle fire upon the enemy who was determined to knock out the position.  When the savage assault was repulsed, he searched the trench line for possible enemy troops and cleared the position of unexploded hostile grenades.  He accepted medical treatment only after he was assured that his task was complete.”

G.I.s & Koreans stack the enormous pile of empty shell casings at a collection point.  This represents 4 days of fighting on the west coast.

G.I.s & Koreans stack the enormous pile of empty shell casings at a collection point. This represents 4 days of fighting on the west coast.

Pfc Cress remarked, “This citation is not too bad, but we were just doing what we were supposed to do.”  He gave credit for the success to the Recon patrol, Sgt. Red Jones and his mortar crew.  The records show that the attack coincided with assaults on How Company’s Marine outpost Hedy and the MLR. (Hedy is not far from outpost Carson).

I believe this picture is self-explanatory.

I believe this picture is self-explanatory.

The main thrust of Chinese forces opened up on the night of 26 March in an area known as the Nevada Cities defended by the 5th Marines.  The key outposts were Carson, Reno and Vegas and each was manned by a reinforced platoon, 40-50 Marines against as many as 800 of the enemy at each outpost.

The CCF appeared to have unlimited supplies of ammunition and did not hesitate to use them on any probable target.  During the night outposts Reno and Vegas were taken by the enemy and the 5 Marines captured were the only survivors.  The battles to regain the outposts raged on for 5 days; an estimated 45,000 rounds of artillery and mortar fire fell on the Marines with a loss of about 1,000 killed or wounded.  Carson was never taken, Vegas was eventually regained and Reno remained in enemy hands.

The view from a trench.

The view from a trench.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Farewell Salutes – 

187th RCT

187th RCT

Robert Courant – Deerfield Beach, FL; US Navy WWII

Benjamin Greenberg – Cincinnati, OH & Boca Raton, FL; US Army, WWII

Joseph Hanus – Chicago, IL; US Army, Korea

Alexander Harrison – Potomac, MD; US Army, WWII, POW Purple Heart

Frank Hope – Granby, Canada; Royal Canadian Air Force, WWII, ETO

John White – Columbia, MS; US Army, B Co/187th/11th A/B, WWII, PTO

William Nagle – NYC, NY; US Army, Colonel, WWII, ETO

Richard Valdes – New Castle, DE & Pembroke Pines, FL; US Army, Korea

John White – Columbia, MS; US Army, B Co/187th/11th A/B, WWII, PTO

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Korean War (38)

3 RAR defenses on the Jamestown Line, Jan. 1953

3 RAR defenses on the Jamestown Line, Jan. 1953

14 February 1953, after four days of Operation Clam Up, during which time the enemy fired 344 rounds of artillery and 1,469 rounds of mortar, they concentrated their attention on Hill 930. (The approach south to Tonpyang and Hills 812 & 854 and lost about 129 casualties, mostly KIA.)  An enemy prisoner, captured from the 45th North Korean Division, stated the reason for their reduced activity was to wait until a South Korean unit replaced the Marines and for the weather to change.  They had been prepared to occupy Hill 854 when they arrived carrying their packs, extra clothing and rations.  Operation Clam Up was terminated the following day.

DUKW

DUKW

During the 14th, the island of Hwangto-do received 40 rounds of fire and 2 bunkers caved in; 2 US ships provided counterbattery fire.  Yo-do received 84 rounds and had 2 men killed and 9 wounded, including a USMC officer.  The Korean Marine Corps (KMC) command post had a direct hit, 3 DUKWs were damaged, 2 squad tents destroyed, the aid station damaged and the telephone wires were downed.

islands of Wonsan

islands of Wonsan

28 February, the aircraft from Task Force 77 bombed and strafed Pusan’s #2 power plant.  An examination of the enemy fire power, for the month, from shore batteries showed that 90% were directed toward UN bulwarks and 10% against shore vessels.

Mao & Stalin

Mao & Stalin

5 March, Stalin passed away and his successor, Georgi Malenkov, announced that “there is no disputed or unresolved question that can not be settled peacefully.”

Georgy Malenkov

Georgy Malenkov

For the 1st Marine Division, March as a whole was relatively quiet.  The reason for this being that the Chinese were preparing for their next offensive against the UN line.  A major victory would be to their advantage as the peace talks were to resume shortly.  By 10 March, the 3rd Battalion had replaced the 7th Marines on the MLR.

????????????????????????????????????????????????

The map shows the sectors of the battalion during this “quiet” time.  Sgt. Jess Meado was recorded, as the spring thaw arrived:  “My squad had one of those outposts which was always under mortar fire.  There was also a sniper who shot at us persistently.  We fired rifle grenades each morning and received mortar fire in return…we went on patrol one dark and rainy night, crossing waist-deep streams.  Mud was everywhere.  We heard the gooks working on their wires and cans and we were told to shoot at them and then move out fast.  We all fired at once and their mortars hit the area we had just returned from.”

In an event at George Company’s CP position, Sgt. Meado related:  “A Chinese 76mm shell hit the front of the bunker, blowing up our mail box.  A piece of that round had gone through the doorway of another bunker, hitting the last of 4 men who were sitting in a row,  I ran over to see if I could help and the corpsman asked me to get his first-aid bag which was in the CP bunker.

“I barely got back to the wounded man when another 76mm went through the CP bunker… 7 men had been inside, 5 of them ran out.”  The two men Meado pulled out were dead:  “Pfc Donel Earnest and Pfc James Kimball would have gone home on the next draft out.”

Korean prisoners of war

Korean prisoners of war

POWs in UN custody became even more anxious about their fates.  The Koreans who wanted repatriation numbered 66,754 POWs and civilians.  Virtually all the non-repatriates were former soldiers: 35,597 Korean & 14,280 Chinese.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Personal note – 

Once again, for our newest readers, I wish to iterate that the dates omitted from these posts in no way suggests that the combat action on land or sea was silent.  If I have omitted any episode that you have knowledge of – Please, by all means, include it in the comments for others to view.

My e-mail address is not actually associated with this site and any messages delivered that are not in my contacts, go to Spam and are deleted.  So, please send your stories and links to research sites in the comments for everyone.

Thank you for being here, for being so loyal and helpful – I couldn’t be continuing on this site without you!

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Farewell Salutes – 

Joseph Albano – NYC; US Army, WWII, PTO

RCAF badge

RCAF badge

Stanley Cogdell – Pointe-Claire, Quebec; RACF, WWII, Flight Engineer

Albert Fara – Chicago, IL; US Army, Korea

Gregory Hutchinson – Washington DC; US Army (Ret.) Lt. Colonel

Mary (nee Tierney) Kennedy – Elmhurst, IL; WAVES, WWII

Jeremy Maristany – Scotsdale, AZ; USMC, Sgt., 11th Marines; Iraqi Operations

Martin O’Neill – E.Islip, NY; US Army, Korea & VietnamWAVES

Troy Ogden – Long Beach, CA; US Army, 511th Reg., WWII, PTO

Rudolph Pick – Vienna, Austria & Falls Church, VA; Czech Div. of British Army in Belgium & Dunkirk, WWII

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First Hand Story

Marines in Korea 1953

Marines in Korea 1953

Pfc Richard Newman, of the First Recon Company, First Marine Division, from St. Louis, MO joined the Marines for the simple reason that he did not wish to be drafted.  His Drill Instructor at Parris Island had told the newbies, “… forget that individualistic bullshit.  You jerks are going to learn to act as a team and it might save your life if you get to Korea!  If one of you screws up, everyone is going to pay the price!”  That’s what he said and that’s what he meant – Newman’s indoctrination would soon prove to him that the D.I. , without any college degree, was a bona fide psychologist.  “When Platoon 70 left that hole known as Parris Island, we were a team.”

On Christmas Eve 1952, while out on a typical patrol, the enemy had their loudspeakers going full blast – all propaganda.  Then they’d play Christmas songs and tell the guys they were all going home in body bags.  The patrol kept getting closer to the Chinese and then, WHAM, they opened up.  The men on both sides of Newman were hit.  But they returned home and the recon men would go out to no-man’s land many more times after that.

I believe this picture is self-explanatory.

I believe this picture is self-explanatory.

“Recon was all volunteers.  You could go to another outfit if you so desired.  Many of our men were and fast anticommunists.  There were all kinds.  We had several refugees from central Europe who had come to America after the Communists took over their native countries.  We had Japanese and Chinese – you name it and we had it.”

On 15 January 1953, Pfc Newman went out on his last patrol.  For reasons unknown to him, they were were going out at full strength.  This included the cooks, bakers, clerks – virtually anyone who could walk – and it was daylight.  The Chinese troops seemed to sense the unit’s advance on the skirmish line and reinforced their positions.  That’s when the air power came into action.  With the patrol only a couple hundred yards from the enemy, the napalm dropped.

Australian stretcher bearers; approx. the same time as this story.

Australian stretcher bearers; approx. the same time as this story.

A mile from the MLR (Main Line of Resistance), the Marines were pinned down in a ravine by enemy fire and someone yelled, “Okay, we’re going up that hill!”  Newman didn’t necessarily want to go with him, but if that’s what he wanted – that’s what he was going to get.

So, they started out and Newman was carrying a BAR, the first and only time he carried one in Korea, and firing as he went.  He could actually see the enemy looking down at him.  He was carrying his weapon in the cradle of his arm, no tripod,”… and then the gooks opened up with those damn mortars.”

“Well, they say you never hear the one that hits you, and it’s true.  The next thing I knew, I was in a field hospital behind the lines.”

Field hospital, Korean War

Field hospital, Korean War

A few months later, Newman met a buddy who was also injured on that hill and he learned what happened that day:  It turned out the cooks and clerks were along on patrol to be the stretcher bearers.  There was one, Leo Succhi, that he never got along with, turned out to be the one guy to see him go down and yelled for help.  No one wanted to leave the ravine they were cornered in, so Succhi picked up a rifle and yelled, “You better get up here and pick up Newman!  If you don’t, I’m going to open up on you!”

Newman was dragged back to the ravine and put on a stretcher to be carried back a mile or so to the field hospital and he never saw Succhi again, but Newman did put in his story – Leo, shalom.

Pfc Richard Newman lost his leg from the knee down, but he returned home, went to the University of Pennsylvania, married and became CEO and President of Buckingham Co.; a liquor distributing company.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Farewell Salute – 

Joseph Bryjak – Chicago, IL; US Navy, WWII

2nd New Zealand Expeditionary Forces, Korea

2nd New Zealand Expeditionary Forces, Korea

William Blocker – W. Pullman, Chicago, IL; US Navy, WWII

James Farho, Jr. – Omaha, NE & Lighthouse Point, FL; US Navy, 20 years, WWII

Horace Johnson – Panama City, FL; US Army, Co. A/511th Regiment, WWII

Patrick Mason – Lawrence, MA; US Army, Vietnam

Douglas Rapley-Devonport – New Zealand; 2nd NZ Expeditionary Force, 2nd Battalion, WWII, No. 32567

Joseph Tinerella – Norridge, IL; US Army Vietnam

Evans Wilshere – Holtsville, NY; US Army, WWII, 187th RHQ/11th A/B Div.

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Personal Note – I have been having serious internet connection issues lately.  Should I appear late in reading your sites, answering your questions, or seem to drop off the face of the earth for a few days – please don’t be surprised or offended!  Have a great day__gpcox

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Korean War (37)

President Eisenhower having a meal with the troops

President Eisenhower having a meal with the troops

 

As of 1 February 1953, the communists added another division to their ranks and at this point totaled approximately 841,000.  The new President Eisenhower issued an order directing Task Force 72 to cease the blockade of Formosa.  It was on 2 February that he announced the 7th Fleet would no longer prevent Nationalist Chinese attacks from hitting Communist China.

5 February, in the Marine records for the 1st Division on this date were described as a typical day:  By 0510 hours, elements of the 1st KMC Regiment forced enemy squads to withdraw after a brief exchange of small arms and automatic weapons fire.  At 1510 and 1525 hours, the 3rd Battalion/1st Marines fired on enemy groups with 81mm mortars; the 7th Marines with 4.2″mm mortars inflicting 7 enemy casualties.  Division tanks destroyed or damaged 50 bunkers and 2 gun emplacements with direct fire during the day.

USMC - 3rd Battalion/1st Marines

USMC – 3rd Battalion/1st Marines

Artillery fired 54 observed missions, 16 on troops, 12 on bunkers, 11 on mortars, 4 of propaganda, 2 on observation posts, 3 against enemy artillery, 2 on supply points, ine on each command post, a machine-gun fired on an antiaircraft emplacement and a personal shelter.  74 harassing and interdiction missions were fired during that period.

Routine rear area patrols in the corps reserve were without enemy encounter.  The day’s result:  Friendly casualties – 1 KMC was WIA and 1 Marine WIA.  Enemy casualties were 9 KIA, 28 estimated WIA and 2 POW.

1st Marine Division

1st Marine Division

7 February, the report was worse than a “typical day” as mixed mortar and artillery fire hit the galley tent of I Company/1st Marines repeatedly.  And, a light Bell helicopter exploded in mid-air, killing the pilot as he approached to remove the wounded.

AntiSubmarine Mounting "Squid"

AntiSubmarine Mounting “Squid”

9-10 February, HMNZ ship, the Hawae, reported sonar contact with a possible submarine traveling at a max speed of 20.  They attacked the sub with a “squid”, but did not observe any results.

Task Force 77, after attacking supply routes in the past 3 weeks by night pilots, reported 80% of the trucks were destroyed.  Van Fleet visited the 1st Marine Division on an inspection tour of the front line installations near Sokcho-ri.

The 1st Marines and the 1st KMC Regiment continued to feign withdrawals in the 8th Army’s plan of Operation Clam UP.  The enemy demonstrated their curiosity by concentrating their attention to Hills 930, 812 and 854 by firing their guns randomly, talking loudly and blowing bugles.

LGen. Maxwell Taylor (w/ bouquet) upon arrival in Korea; Van Fleet (left), Gen. Paik Sun Yup (Chief of Staff ROK) & Gen. Clark (right) 3 Feb., 1953

LGen. Maxwell Taylor (w/ bouquet) upon arrival in Korea; Van Fleet (left), Gen. Paik Sun Yup (Chief of Staff ROK) & Gen. Clark (right) 3 Feb., 1953

11 February, an enemy patrol of 14 approached Hill 812 and attacked with grenades.  The once-silent 1st Marines fired and the Chinese withdrew, leaving 10 killed and 2 wounded who were captured.  At night, the enemy made 3 attempts to penetrate and 16 were killed.  General Van Fleet Fleet was replaced in EUSAK by General Maxwell Taylor, who had led an airborne division under Ridgeway in WWII.  He wanted to build up ROK forces to replace the UN troops.

12 February, 15 of the enemy attempted to penetrate the tactical wire in front of the Marines who killed 3 and wounded 9 in the 15 minute battle.  The same action transpired in the KMC and 7th Marines sectors.

Pres. Eisenhower & Gen. Van Fleet

Pres. Eisenhower & Gen. Van Fleet

A total of 28 rounds of enemy shore battery fire was received by the islands in Wonsan Harbor: Hwangto-do had 8 of 81mm mortars and 1 of 75/76mm;  Sin-do received 3 rounds;  No-do had 4 of 10mm and Tae-do was hit by 8 of 10mm and 4 of 8mm mortar fire.

The month’s most intensive enemy artillery and mortar fire was received on 2 February, when 299 rounds of artillery and 882 mortar rounds fell in the division’s zone.

Click on images to enlarge.

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WWII Update – 

With the release of George Clooney’s film, “The Monuments Men,” the Smithsonsian magazine has honored the Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives (MFAA) unit within the AMGOT (Allied Military Governement for Occupied Territories) with an article titled “The Venus Fixers” by Ilaria Dagnini Brey.  I felt the original men of that unit should be displayed here for their contribution.

Men of the MFAA

Men of the MFAA

 

Searching the ruins

Searching the ruins

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Farewell Salutes – 

William Anderson – Chicago, IL & Cape Coral, FL; US Navy in WWII & US Army for Korea

June Cooke – Cordova Bay, BC, Canada; WREN, WWIIWREN

Richard Fleishman – Lansing, IL; US Navy, Korea

Paul B. Malone III – Annandale, VA; US Army (Ret.) COlonel

James Milligan – Christchurch, New Zealand; Brigade Band (BCOF), 2 NZEF, No. 172486

Gerald Paisley – Great Bend, KS; US navy, Signal Corps, WWII

Edward Preston – Springfield, VA; US Army, WWII

Stephen Thomas – Homerwood, IL; US Army Engineers, Korea

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Korean War (36)

some members of the 3rd Battalion, 31st Regiment

some members of the 3rd Battalion, 31st Regiment

1953

8 January 1953, the Marine 7th Regiment took Hill 67, a mile and a half from Panmunjom.

24 January, two platoons from the Ethiopian Battalion attached to the 7th Div. seized a hill south of Old Baldy.

During the period 12-20 January 1953, the 57th Field Artillery Battalion, alone in direct support of the 31st Regiment, poured close to 110,000 rounds of 105mm fire into the T-Bone complex.  They were seeking to destroy enemy bunkers and weapons in preparation for Operation Smack as the D-day, 25 January approached.

Pershing & Sherman tanks of the 73rd Heavy Tank Battalion, Korea

Pershing & Sherman tanks of the 73rd Heavy Tank Battalion, Korea

On 24 January, the Air Force dropped 136,000 lbs of bombs  and 14 napalm tanks on the target complex.  The next morning, as the infantry and tankers gathered in the assembly areas, the Air Force began the first of 18 strikes.  Carrying two 1,000 lb bombs each, 8 F-84 Thunderjets swept over the cross of T-Bone and unloaded their cargo.  By mid-morning, 24 more Thunderjets, in flights of 8, had bombed the enemy positions.  Then came a mass strike by 24 Thunderjets, with 48,000 lbs. of bombs; this completed experiments A and B.  Twenty additional  planes in 2 flights hit the objective before the tanks and infantry began to move out.

Diversionary tank movements and fire to confuse the enemy began as the assault troops made their final preparations.  Then the 15 supporting tanks from the 73rd Tank Battalion crossed the line of departure.  Experiment C was attempted by two flights of 4 F-84 each.  The first flight missed Spud Hill and the second flight only put one napalm tank on the target.  Shortly after the last strike by the Air Force, 8 F4U Marine Corsairs attempted to lay a smoke screen in front of the tanks and infantry to conceal their approach, but some released their bombs too.

Once the air phase was complete, the supporting artillery, mortars, AAA and automatic weapons along the MLR opened fire.  As the supporting tanks reached their firing positions close to Spud Hill, they joined in the bombardment of the enemy strongpoints and trenches.   Major Phillips, commander of the 2nd Battalion, directed the operation from his command post.

F-84

F-84

For the assault of the hill, Major Phillips had ordered E Company to furnish the platoon and the company commander had chosen his 2nd Platoon, under 2nd Lt. John Arbogast, Jr., for the task.  Two flamethrower teams had been added to the platoon for the operation.  As they moved forward to the base of Spud Hill in personnel carriers, the supporting tanks and artillery continued to pound the objective.

Arbogast’s platoon dismounted quickly when it reached the foot of the hill and divided into 2 groups.  It was not until the squads neared the point where the two fingers met, reuniting the attacking troops, that the Chinese started to react strongly.  The machine-gun fire became intense, driving the men of the 2nd Platoon into a  hollow between two fingers.  This left them easy prey to the grenades lobbed from the crest of the hill.  The litter bearers found it difficult to keep up with the growing number of wounded.

T-Bone Hill sector

T-Bone Hill sector

In an attempt to break up the grenade attack, the two flame thrower teams were called forward; one man was killed and the other machine malfunctioned.  Seeing that the assault platoon was pinned down, Major Phillips ordered the 1st Platoon to reinforce Arbogast’s remaining troops.  Every half hour, 4 Thunderjets dropped bombs on the T-Bone complex, but they too, had little influence on Spud Hill.

Lt. Arbogast was already wounded and his platoon sergeant and several of the squad leaders had been put out of action.  Phillips decided to commit the 3rd Platoon to the attack, but the end result proved to be the same.  When regimental commander, Col. William Kern, learned of the fate of the 3rd Platoon, he called off the attack and ordered the men remaining on Spud Hill to withdraw.  By this time, all three platoon leaders had been wounded.

All this ended up costing the Chinese fewer than 65 men and while using but a fraction of the ordnance, had inflicted great losses upon the 7th Division.  All in all, Operation Smack was a fiasco.

Gen. J. Van Fleet (left) inspects 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment w/ MGen. John O'Daniel

Gen. J. Van Fleet (left) inspects 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment w/ MGen. John O’Daniel

Toward the end of the month, Gen. Clark warned Van Fleet that the enemy might try to take advantage of the ground thaw to launch an offensive toward Seoul.  Van Fleet was not worried; he was sure that the Eighth Army could handle anything that the enemy could throw at it.  Despite the frustrations of fighting a limited war, the energetic and aggressive old warrior had lost none of his drive or desire to deal the enemy a crippling military blow.  The general left for retirement and home in February 1953.

[information taken and condensed from the U.S. Army history archives.]

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WWII Update – 

Military photos help archaeologists of today in the search for the past…

001 (800x429)

Click images to enlarge.

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Farewell Salutes – 

Stephen Anastasion – No. Carolina; US Navy, Captain (Ret.), WWII, USS Champlin (DD601), ETO, Bronze Star

Frank Arado, Jr. –  Chicago, IL; US Army, Korea

Bronze Star

Bronze Star

Gearld Beamish-White – Rotorua, New Zealand; WWII, Force No. 204182

John Del-Zio – Astoria, NY; US Navy SeaBees, WWII, PTO

Gearld Goldstein – Milwaukee, WI & No. Miami Beach, FL; US Army Air Corps, WWII

Harold Jones, Jr. – Georgetown, TX; US Army Air Corps, 2nd Lt. , WWII, flew P-38s and B-25s

Howard Krueger – Bolingbrook, IL;  US Navy Chief Petty Officer (Ret.)

Marshall Treado – Gaithersburg, MD; USMC, Lt.Colonel (Ret.)

Preston Wilburn, Jr. – Issaquah, WA; US Navy, Korea

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Korean War – First Hand Story

 

The Skyraider

The Skyraider

It has been some time since a first hand story has been included here, therefore I planned one for #36.  Obviously on the same wave length as I, fellow blogger/Korean War correspondent Rafe Steinberg at: http://nightowlsnotebook.wordpress.com  sent me this story from the New York Times:

Kenneth A. Schechter, 83, Dies; With Help, He Flew Blind 

by Bruce Weber (condensed by gpcox)

On 22 March 1952, Navy pilot, Ensign Schechter, 22, a member of Fighter Squadron 194 (“Yellow Devils”), while flying over Wongsang-ni, North Korea in what was his 27th mission was at the heart of one of the most electrifying air rescues in American history.  An enemy antiaircraft shell exploded in the cockpit of his A-1 Skyraider.  “Instinctively, I pulled back on the stick to gain altitude.  Then I passed out.  When I came to a short time later, I couldn’t see a thing.  There was stinging agony in my face and throbbing in my head.  I felt for my upper lip.  It was almost severed from the rest of my face.  I called out over the radio through my lip mike, ‘I’m blind!  For God’s sake, help me!  I’m blind!”

Naval aviator wings

Naval aviator wings

He was headed for a cloud bank at 10,000 feet that would obscure him from view of his squadron.  By coincidence, his scream for help was heard by fellow pilot, Lt. Howard Thayer, Schechter’s roommate on the Valley Forge, “Put your nose down!  Put your nose down!  Push over.  I’m coming up,” Thayer yelled back.  Schechter, fading in and out of consciousness, refused to eject from the plane as Thayer flew alongside.  They were headed for the Marine airfield K-18 about 30 miles away.

Korean air fields

Korean air fields

“I continued to follow Thayer’s directions, but he could see that my head kept flopping down from time to time and he doubted that I could make it to K-18, so he decided to get me down right away.”  Thayer spotted a deserted airstrip not far beyond the battle line, but due to the ruggedness and brevity of the strip (or due to the blindness he was unable to locate the controls), he had to make a belly landing.

“From his plane, flying 25 feet away from mine and duplicating my maneuvers, Howard’s voice was cool and confident,” Schechter said.

“We’re heading straight.  Flaps down.  Hundred yards to the runway.  You’re 50 feet off the ground.  Pull back a little.  Easy.  Easy.  That’s good.  You’re level.  You’re O.K.  You’re O.K.  Thirty feet off the ground.  You’re O.K.  You’re over the runway.  Twenty feet.  Kill it a little.  You’re settling down.  O.K., O.K., O.K.  Cut!”  A short while late, “You’re on the ground, Ken.”

“No fire.  No pain.  No strain.  The best landing I ever made,” Schechter said.

Kenneth Schechter and Howard Thayer

Kenneth Schechter and Howard Thayer

Ken Schechter was taken to a Naval hospital and only regained sight in his left eye.  He went on to graduate from Stanford and Harvard Business School.

Howard Thayer made the Navy his career and was later killed in 1961, when on a night mission, he flew into the water returning to a carrier in the Mediterranean Sea.

Distinguished Flying Cross

Distinguished Flying Cross

In 1995, Mr. Schechter was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and addressed Mr. Thayer’s 3 children, by then adults, “I hope you will see this ceremony as your ceremony, because that’s exactly the way I feel about it.”  Fourteen years later, in 2009, Thayer received the same award, posthumously.

Click on images to enlarge.

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This event was reported in The Associated Press.  Later, an article by Cmdr. Harry Burns, in the Saturday Evening Post & an article written by James Michener were used as the basis for the 1954 movie “Men of the Fighting Lady” which starred Van Johnson as Lt. Thayer and Dewey Martin as Ensign Schechter.  Mr. Schechter recounted his story for the book “Chicken Soup for the Veteran’s Soul” and the Naval Aviation News nearly 50 years later.

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Thanks to the research of Kevin Brent, we have the legacy of the AK-47 for a WWII update; please follow the links –

http://jkbrent.wordpress.com/2014/01/04/kalaschnikov-russias-imprint-on-global-terror/

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Farewell Salutes – 

The Missing Man formation

The Missing Man formation

Desmond Andrewes – Mt. Eden, New Zealand; RNZAF, WWII Flight Lt. No. 427174

Raymond Beaulieu – Coral Springs, FL; US Navy, WWII

Albert “Bud” Campbell – Seattle, WA; US Army, WWII PTO, Capt. 33rd Infantry Div./Company H/123rd infantry Reg.

William Currier, Jr. – Delray Beach, FL; US Army Air Corps/Air Force, Lt. Colonel, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Cuban Missile Crisis

John Eddleman – Fairfax, VA & Missoula, Montana; US Air Force Colonel, (Ret.)

Vincent Faga – Warren, PA & W.Palm Beach, FL; US Air Force, Vietnam

Franklin Lewis – Rosebud, TX & WA; US Army, Sgt., WWII PTO,

Nick Soffos – Alexandria, VA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, 11th A/B Div.

Glen Stalker – Bethesda, MD; US Air Force, pilot, WWII & Korea

Elston VabSlyke – Seattle, WA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, Co. E/511th

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Korean War (35)

USS Oriskany

USS Oriskany

28 October 1952, the USS Oriskany (CV-34) joined Task Force-77 and launched its first attacks.  This marked the first combat use of the F9F-5 Panther jet.

Grumman F9F-5 Panther jet

Grumman F9F-5 Panther jet; this particular aircraft flew 2 Jan. – 3 March 1953 w/ the “Screaming Eagles”

1 November, according to US naval reports – the Navy pilots flew 11,004 sorties during October; approximately 50% were missions of ground support strikes.  That month also – the Helicopter Transport Squadron 161 set a new record by evacuating 365 casualties.

IL-28 Beagle courtesy of Global Aircraft.org

IL-28 Beagle
courtesy of Global Aircraft.org

The US tested the first Hydrogen bomb on Eniwetok Atoll in the Pacific.  This weapon proved to be about 1,000 times more powerful than other conventional nuclear weapons.

6 November, the FEAF (Far East Air Force) accepted the fact that the enemy had 15 IL-28 twin engine jet bombers in Manchuria.  In the past, the main threat was the MiG-15s, but now the enemy had a weapon capable for level bombing any target in Korea.

23 November, President Syngman Rhee, Mrs. Rhee, General and Mrs. Van Fleet, Gen. Park SunYup (ROK Army Chief of Staff) and Gen. Lee Hung Keen (Commander of the 1st HOK Corps [helicopter corps] were guests aboard the USS Los Angeles.  They arrived and left by helicopter. (The reason for this meeting is unknown to gpcox)

Pres. Eisenhower on a Korean visit

Pres. Eisenhower on a Korean visit

29 November, President-elect Dwight D. Eisenhower visited Korea to personally access the war.  During his campaign he had made it clear to the communists that America would not be satisfied with a tenuous stalemate.

F4U Corsair

F4U Corsair

During November, the enemy boldly used the highways.  This enabled the ADNs and F4Us of TF-77 to destroy 206 trucks and damage 274.  Most of the activity was at night, south from Hamhung to Wonsan and the east/west corridor from Wonsan to the front.

During December, the Eighth Army moved from the front lines to enable the 5th Air Force and Navy fighter bombers to target those areas for the enemy.

Gen. Edwin Pollack

Gen. Edwin Pollack

3 December, at the 1st Marine Division CP (Command Post), General Edwin Pollack gave a briefing of the current situation to: Eisenhower, Generals Bradley, Clark, Van Fleet and Kendall; also Mr. Charles Wilson (Secretary of Defense designate), Gen. Parsons (Ret.) Special Assistant to Eisenhower and Mr. James Haggerty, presidential press secretary.  This visit convinces Eisenhower that further offensive action is useless, it would only cause more casualties.  He tries to renew diplomatic efforts.

The UN General Assembly passes a resolution calling for the return of all willing prisoners put forth by the Indian representative.  The Soviets were the only negative vote.  POW repatriation is the main snag to peace talks.  Disturbances developed with the prisoners that had been moved from Koje-do to the newly built camps  as the UN prepared for prisoner exchanges.  The North Koreans and Chinese knew repatriates would have to prove that their capture was unavoidable and their resistance heroic, up to the highest communist standards.  The worst of these riots occurred on Pongam-do, where Pak still commanded the civilian prisoners  loyal to the communist movement.  85 resisters died rushing the wire in a breakout attempt; undercover doctors and nurses killed POW patients  they regarded as traitors.

American POWs who refused to come home - considered traitors

American POWs who refused to come home – considered traitors

11-13 December, battles for ROK outposts Little Nori, Hill Betty and Hill 105 along the Injin River began between 2 battalions of the CCF and the ROK 11th Regiment.  After 3 days of fighting, the enemy withdrew.

17 December, President Eisenhower met with General Douglas MacArthur.  The retired general described his views and plans (if still in charge), but Ike rejected them.

Outpost wars map - T-Bone Hill is just west of the black triangle

Outpost wars map – T-Bone Hill is just west of the black triangle

25 December, the Battle of T-Bone Hill began between the Chinese and the 38th Infantry Regiment/2nd Infantry Division at their outposts Eerie and Arsensal.  The intense battle cost the enemy 500 men; the 38th suffered 6 KIA and 41 WIA.

During December, the communists developed an ambush tactic against the F-86 pilots that patrolled the Yalu River.  They would catch them as they returned to base, low on fuel.  Since many pilots were forced to ditch their planes, the UN forces maintained an air rescue detachment on Cho-do Island.

As B-29 losses increased; the 5th Air Force joined the Navy and Marines to provide fighter escorts.  They also restricted the missions to cloudy, dark nights because the contrails betrayed the bombers’ locations.

Click on Images to enlarge.

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Farewell Salutes – 

Leo Ashby – Calif.; US Army Air Corps, WWII PTO, C Company/127th Engineers

Bruce Brown – Tacoma, WA; US Navy, WWII

A Farewell Salute

A Farewell Salute

Frank Collins, Jr. – San Diego, CA; US Navy, Rear Admiral, Korea

William Dasinger – Alexandria, VA; US Navy, WWII, Korea & Vietnam

Donal Gaste – Burnsville, MN; US Army, 187th RCT, Korea

Fred Howard – Ann Arbor, Michigan; US Air Force, WWII ETO, bombardier

Robert Pyle – Springfield, VA; US navy Captain (Ret.), Vietnam

James Vignola – Carthage, NC; US Army Air Corps, 11th A/B, WWII PTO

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