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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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 28, 2014, in Korean War, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 38 Comments.

  1. First, thank you for your like on my blog, Bimbling Along. I have thoroughly appreciated reading through your site. My uncle was a combat pilot in the Korean War (he also served during WWII and in Vietnam), so reading through this post was very meaningful to me. We also live less than 30 minutes from the amazing New Jersey and have toured it.
    Your site fills in gap and reinforces my appreciation for my uncle, so well as for others who have served. Best, Maggie

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  2. It is interesting to read the roles of the tactical air observers during the Korean conflict, wonder if any of them were militarily honoured for their roles apart from combat awards.
    I think we called them Forward Air Controllers during the Vietnam war.
    Ian

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  3. Interesting note on Pete Seeger; that was a part of his life that I didn’t know about.

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  4. The numbers in the ‘enemy count’ are mind boggling. Presumably the Allies had similar numbers.

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  5. I remember those damnable ham and lima beans in K-rations, and they always were the last to be eaten!

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  6. Ham and lima beans used to be a great meal. The problem–I’m sure–is when you eat it over and over (and over). We had it about once a month.

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    • Ham – okay, but those limas make my mouth dry and I just don’t enjoy the flavor. I can truly understand the men getting tired of having them over and over.

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  7. Respect to those men; seems there was more honor back then.

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  8. It is easier to view the scene dispassionately when data is given in forms such as this – but the reality was always there.
    What is meant by ‘firing observed missions’?

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  9. A couple of things struck me here. One was the hand-to-hand combat in the field — awful. And the naming of some of the Command Outposts after cities in Nevada. And Pete Seeger — I wonder how many knew of his military service and not just his 60’s folk/activist songs.

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    • They had the Nevada complex, where Vegas, Reno, etc were fairly close to each other, Berlin and East Berlin, etc. I don’t think too many people knew about Seeger, that’s why I added it. I love those rarely known stories! Thanks for being such a loyal reader, Linda.

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  10. The hand drawn cartoon (et al) was a great outlet for the men. It helped detract from the ugliness of war. On one of the islands during WWII, Old Man Jack told me about one sailor who fashioned intricate charms carved out of coconuts.

    Hand to hand combat. It’s not a school yard fight. It’s a fight for your life. Sends chills down my spine…

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    • I enjoyed the jokes and cartoons we had for WWII and can’t wait to acquire some more for when we get back there (we’re coming close). Hand-to-hand, I believe, would and should send chills.

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  11. The cartoon made me laugh; we were still complaining about Ham & Limas (which had a more profane name among the troops) through the 1970s.

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    • It’s about time I located a cartoon for this site. We have so many for WWII, it helps to alleviate the harshness of the combat data. Sorry you were still stuck with the limas!

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  12. I am always amazed when you publish information on the sheer number of combatants there were in this war – it was on a monumental scale and the thought of ‘hand to hand’ combat is so unimaginable. I just read ‘Escape from Camp 14’ a rare insight into the life of a North Korean born into one of their slave labour camps and it gives a frank account of what was to follow. I probably wouldn’t have read it if not for your interesting blogs. Also you’ve lost another great American – Pete Seeger RIP.

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    • Sounds like a very interesting book and I’m very happy to hear I was part of the reason for your curiosity. Seeger’s note is on my post, just below the Farewell Salutes.

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  13. I love this time period. Do you have a relative or a past life who was there? I cannot think of anything new to say specifically here – we know how these stories end, but these wars were a lot more honorable than today’s occupations, so I find myself rather pretending these noble causes are still ongoing when I read them. Where can I read more? So far, you’re my only authentic source.

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    • The books seem to only give one and half year’s of information on the military and then go into the politics. For data after that I needed to rely on on-line sources such as army history, USMC, etc. For countries outside the US, I usually go to the unit’s history. Hope this helps.

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    • PS. I also a posts where I mention my uncle Jim, USMC Master Sgt., Korea 1952-53.

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      • He sounds like an excellent link. I’ll bet you anything they try to mitigate the remaining history of these wars because they presented us in an unflattering yet very authentic light. That is, the war ended less than satisfactorily for we the aggressors, and they’re hiding something by drowning out the rest with politics. It helps, Mr. Cox. I’ll look into it.

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  14. Thank you for all of this today. So many memories. God Bless them all and may Pete never be forgotten for the sweet sounds he gave us.

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