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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About GP Cox

Everett Smith served with the Headquarters Company, 187th Regiment, 11th A/B Division during WWII. This site is in tribute to my father, "Smitty." GPCox is a member of the 11th Airborne Association. Member # 4511 and extremely proud of that fact!

Posted on January 16, 2014, in Korean War and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 85 Comments.

  1. Sadly, Richard Newman passed away. I don’t know the exact date. Before his death, he became the president of Austin Nichols, the company that formerly owned Wild Turkey bourbon. He also worked with Chatham Imports to resurrect the Michter’s brand. I would like to talk to you about some of your research, as I am looking to publish a piece about Newman (and other veterans who went on to work in the whiskey business). Email me at bourbonscout@gmail.com when you get a chance. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m afraid I don’t do private emails. If you wish to begin researching a veteran, I suggest you start with the National Archives. If you know his unit, there are usually associations and reunions for these and can be found on-line. After that – hit the library and bookstores!! Good luck.

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      • I am aware of the National Archives. I am a young veteran myself and was simply looking to confirm that you learned about this story from Mr. Newman first hand, as the title indicates. I cannot find information about this account through any of the sources you’ve pointed out.

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        • I apologize for the misunderstanding. I checked back into my records and this story came from the book, “Hey, Mac, Where Ya Been?” by Henry Berry. Thrift Books.com has a number of copies of this book starting at $3.79. I have used this company for over 100 books and find them reliable and always cheaper than Amazon! Hope this helps you.

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  2. Leo Suchy , my dad…has told me this story and I would like Richard Newman and Leo to talk on the phone at least.

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    • Debbie, Dick Newman passed away several years ago, but I am in touch with his son Michael. Let me know if your dad would like his contact information.

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  3. nice post – as usual – and
    this part gave me the chills: “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.”

    Like

  4. So many powerful stories. It just goes to show, you don’t have to get along with someone, and yet you are still friends. Friendship is strange. I am so happy to catch up with you, take care and keep up the great blogging! Brenda

    Like

  5. Having served on a ship with Marines, we always used to hear from the old timer Sailors, that if/when you go to the ‘regular fleet’ (especially carriers) they’re going to seem a little substandard to what your used to. And, they were right…lol

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  6. Wow, your blog is incredible! So much detail and pictures! Great work!

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  7. That is one hell of a story mate.
    Thanks for taking the time to share a unique historical incident.
    Aussie Ian

    Like

  8. Tom reminded me we were behind in reading your blog. Guess that tells you what’s on our schedule.

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  9. That’s chilling. Bring the cooks etc to be stretcher bearers. I’m glad Newman didn’t know that.

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  10. It made me think of families. You can not get along but to the rest of the world, you never break ranks. Newman owes his brother Succhi. Made me cry.

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  11. I’ve kept meaning to say thank you for including the Kiwis in your Farewell Salute. Great post, and I hope your internet connection improves. BTW: where did you find the picture of the NZ expeditionary force? Was it taken in NZ (assuming so, but would love to know). Cheers.

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    • You are very welcome. I only regret not having more time to search the world’s newspapers. The photo I stole from Christchurch City Libraries and it was taken on Cashel Street under the Bridge of Remembrance. Have a great day, Su.

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      • You’re doing a great job – must take a huge amount of time anyway! The Bridge of Remembrance was damaged in the Christchurch Earthquake of Feb 2011, but luckily the Council decided to repair it and are hoping it will be partially completed for the August 2014 commemoration of the beginning of WWI.

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        • Thanks for added info, Su. I don’t get that sort of information about the photos, etc. I appreciate you taking the time to put it here.

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          • No problem. I haven’t been to Christchurch since the earthquakes and realised I didn’t know what had happened to the Bridge. Apparently it took quite a lot of lobbying by returned services groups to persuade the powers that be to restore the Bridge – which is one of the main war memorials in the city.

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  12. Always enjoy the stories of real war heros. Have to wonder how they maintained the needed strength to carry out their orders. Perhaps it was the desire to return home.

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    • Could be, but very often (many forget these days) that when it is needed, the human mind and body can endure that which is ordinarily thought to be impossible.

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  13. An interesting and very personal story. I enjoy this type of “history” so much more than texts devoid of the personal connections.

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    • I know what you’re saying, John. They do to me as well, that’s why I’m always asking around for stories that the readers know of, neighbors where I live, books, internet – everywhere I can. Thanks for reading.

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  14. Well done with the NZ photo! I suppose the poor internet connection is affecting your ability to research your posts 😦 Very frustrating.

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  15. Good story – I enjoyed reading it.

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  16. A heroic and interesting story !!!

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  17. The bravery of these men never fails to astound me. I am so proud of all of our military who put their lives on the line every day for our freedoms and the freedom of others. God bless them all and God bless you for sharing their stories!

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  18. The bravery and the courage of soldiers is mind-boggling.

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  19. These personal stories really do remind us all that these were real human beings just trying to stay alive in terrible conditions. Thanks.

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  20. Stories like that really bring it home to one.

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    • Yes, Colonist. Sometimes we like rough stories to be distant so that they don’t feel quite so realistic. But these events not only happened, but they happened to our sons and fathers and uncles and neighbors.

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  21. Another outstanding story Greg. My late dad, who was Army, 2nd Inf, would have understood what they went through.

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  22. A gripping account of just one battle… And it is clear Newman is a fighter, continuing on in civilian life. Oo-rah.

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    • I thought it was a pretty good story, despite the fact that Newman couldn’t remember which hill they were on. The battle scene does resemble 2 specific battles I can think of. But more and likely it was around the Iron Triangle/Pork Chop Hill area.

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    • I thought it was a pretty good story, despite the fact that Newman couldn’t remember which hill they were on. The battle scene does resemble 2 specific battles I can think of. But more and likely it was around the Iron Triangle/Pork Chop Hill area. Yes, Newman was an excellent example of making the transition. Fellow blogger, Col. Mike Grice, has a wonderful site for veterans to help make their transition easier, I’ll put the link here and hope other readers see it.:
      http://orderstonowhere.com

      Like

  23. Thanks for another great one. Love first hand experiences.

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  24. Great story. Thanks. War is hell, there is no other way to say it. Why can’t the human race learn that? Why do we have to go on forever killing and maiming each other?

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    • If anyone of us could answer that – we’d have the wisdom of the ages! All we can do is try to get the next generation to learn from it – only it doesn’t seem to be working as yet.

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  25. Please excuse my typographical error. I meant to type, “I do not think we have …” I apologize. (Stupid computer)

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    • I know what you mean, I often see a typo in my answers – after – I click ‘Respond’ or ‘Post Reply.’ What are going to do? We’re trying to do too much in too little time.

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  26. Great story; I so nor think we have too many of these stories. When we finally get beyond government propaganda, we learn the ominous truth about war: it is as horrible as it should be. Government leaders should do everything within their power to avoid war unless, or until it is a last course of action, when it is in our nation’s interests, or in the defense of our people. My reading of the Korean War is that it might have been avoided were it not for the gross incompetence of our own diplomats, beginning with Truman.

    We seem not to learn many important lessons from history these days. But I want you to know that I value this blog and the writing you do and that I am very glad that I found this blog.

    Semper Fi

    Like

  27. Great post. I particularly enjoyed that touch of personal irony.

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  28. What a tremendous story, GP, and so tightly told. Great photos as ever. (BTW Happy New Year!)

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  29. The story of Newman’s rescue brings out the ages-old, sage advice to kindly regard ones personal enemies.

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  30. Great contribution! Thank you for sharing and including this!

    Like

  31. Brave men! Great story.

    Like

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