187th Rakkasans – part (2)

HQ Co./187th Reg. from the 1943 Yearbook

The 11th Airborne Division, along with the 187th Airborne Infantry Regiment, was returned to the United States in 1949. The 11th Airborne Division was stationed at Camp Campbell, Kentucky. Along with the 82nd Airborne Division, the 11th was part of the strategic reserve of the American Armed Forces. In February and March of 1950, the Rakkasans took part in Operation Swarmer, the largest peacetime airborne maneuvers ever to be conducted. Their performance in these maneuvers was instrumental in being re-designated an Airborne Regimental Combat Team on August 27, 1950. The 187 Airborne RCT returned to Japan to serve as General MacArthur’s airborne forces during the Korean War. While attached to the 1st Marine Division, the 187 RCT followed up on the success of the Inchon Landing, clearing the Kimpo Peninsula between the Han River and the Yellow Sea.

Paratroopers of the 187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team, seated in the cargo compartment of 314th Troop Carrier Group C-119 “Flying Boxcar,” “sweat out” the flight to the dropzone at Munsan-ni, Korea, in March, 1951, ca. 03/1951.
Credit: National Archives

On October 20, 1950 the 187 Regimental Combat Team made combat jumps near the towns of Sukchon and Sunchon in North Korea in the attempt to cut off fleeing communist forces. The Rakkasans fought named engagements at Suan, Wonju, Kaesong, and Inje. In Operation Tomahawk the 187th Airborne made the second combat parachute jump of the Korean War at Munsan-ni on March 23, 1951. The regiment returned to Japan to serve as the strategic reserve in June 1951. In May 1952, the Rakkasans were ordered to quell a North Korean and Chinese Communist prisoner of war (POW) uprising on the Japanese island of Koje-do. The 187 was inserted to the line on two other occasions, in October 1952 and June 1953, as a stop gap against Chinese offensives at Wonton-ni and Kumwha.

187th jumps on Munsan, Korea

During their time in the Korean War, the Rakkasans were awarded a Presidential Unit Citation and two Korean Presidential Citations, as well as earning five more Battle Streamers for their flag. Three soldiers from the 187th were awarded the Medal of Honor: Lester Hammond, Jr., Rodolfo Hernandez, and Richard Wilson. Their success in Korea re-energized the belief in using paratroopers as a strategic response. Soon after, the XVIII Airborne Corps at Fort Bragg, North Carolina was reactivated.

During the early 1960’s, the Rakkasans were part of a series of transfers and re-designations to help experiment with new division formations for the Cold War. This included being part of the 11th Air Assault Division (Test). By 1964, the 3/187th Airborne was the only battalion of the regiment on active duty. They were assigned to the 3rd Brigade of the newly reactivated 101st Airborne Division. The 3rd Brigade, which included the 1st and 2nd Battalions of the 506th Airborne, deployed to Vietnam in December 1967.

Tribute to 3/187th , Vietnam

The Rakkasans spent the next four years in Vietnam, fighting in twelve major engagements. They earned two Valorous Unit Awards and two Presidential Unit Citations for the battles at Trang Bang and Dong Ap Bia Mountain. The latter is better known as “Hamburger Hill.” Another Rakkasan, Captain Paul W. Bucha, was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions near Phuoc Vinh in March of 1968. The 101st Airborne, along with the 3/187, returned to Fort Campbell in 1972.

To be continued……

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE.

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Military Humor –

Airborne, 2nd Point of Performance – Check Canopy

Airborne, 3rd Point of Performance – Lookout during descent

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Billy Brooks – Cherokee County, AL; US Army, Corps of Engineers, SSgt. (Ret. 30 y.)

Thomas R. Cross (101) – WY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, 517th PIR, Colonel (Ret.)

Douglas Ferguson – Weyburn, CAN; RAF/RC Air Force, WWII, ETO, navigator

Arthur Graydon – Illawar, AUS; Australian Army, WWII

Harry Gustafson – Brockton, MA; US Navy, WWII, PTO, USS YMS-193/Korea USS Columbus/Vietnam USS America, Sr. Chief Petty Officer (Ret. 27 y.)

Alva R. Krogman – Worland, WY; US Air Force, Vietnam, 1st Lt., pilot, 504/7th Air Force, Air Force Academy grad. ’64, KIA (Laos)

Paul McCormack – Covington, LA; US Army, Co. A/503/11th Airborne Division

George Pinto – E.Hartford, CT; US Navy, WWII, USS Lyman K. Swenson

John “Art” Romig – Ubly, MI; USMC, WWII, PTO

Vernnette Stodtmeister – Sioux Falls, SD; US Army WAC, WWII, nurse

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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 July 23, 2020, in SMITTY, Uncategorized, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 81 Comments.

  1. The way the political stage is shaping up at the moment, the Rakkasans may be required to fly over South East Asian waters again gp.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Soldiers during WWII and the Korean War were real heroes! Have a pleasant week forward!👌☕️☕️

    Liked by 1 person

  3. A friend of mine who had survived breast cancer went skydiving for the first time late in life. She found it exhilarating. It would take an awful lot to convince me (LOL).

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I anxiously waiting on the next post

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I wanted to tell you that I saw a great movie recently called “The Last Full Measure” about William Hart Pitsenbarger. What a powerful, beautiful, heart-touching story! If you get a chance to watch it, I hope you will.
    (((HUGS))) 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I saw you mentioned the 82nd Airborne. I was wondering whether parachutists still are used today, and went looking for articles. I found this very current and very interesting one on the 82nd’s role in Iran. I don’t remember reading about it at all. The news reports usually are so general you don’t know who’s been deployed, or their destination.

    I see there’s another post coming; perhaps you’ll be telling us a bit about the more recent history of these brave units.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Apologies, this is a different subject. You follow Charlotte Hoather’s blog, I think. There is an ‘inspiration award’ being offered by the Royal Philharmonic Society https://royalphilharmonicsociety.org.uk/awards/rps_music_awards/inspiration-awards.
    I have nominated Charlotte because of the Balcony Concerts. Although the number of nominations is not what matters, if these concerts moved you too, you might like to nominate her too.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. re: “Vernette Stodtmesiter – Sioux Falls, SD; US Army WAC, WWII, nurse”

    The headline (as shown above) for her on-line obit contains two errors. From the family-generated text of the on-line notice, her name is spelled as follows: Vernnette Stodtmeister. She was still paddle boarding in her late 80s and was 96 when she died. Another remarkable woman of the greatest generation.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Really like your posts on Rakasans, GP. Never realized the amount of combat jumps in Korea.
    The cartoon about watch your descent brings back a jump memory of a crowded sky that I posted in my blog a while back. It is funny today. T’wasn’t funny when it was happening.
    The photo of the men in the C-119…great plane to jump out of but worse plane to ride in.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. For the 11th Airborne Division this sounds like a little bit as never ending boredom. 😉 Thank you for the information, and enjoy your weekend, GP!

    Liked by 2 people

  11. From WWII to Vietnam – that quite a stretch of service to be proud of.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Thank you for doing this website, it’s important to honour and remember our brothers in arms across the world. I am an ex Irish Ranger, have some good friends in all military groups and countries. A Veteran turned Author.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Thank you for sharing this second part, GP! This is so interesting! What brave, dedicated, hardworking soldiers!
    My brother was at Ft. Campbell in Kentucky before going to Vietnam.
    HUGS!!! 🙂
    PS…as for the funnies…Wow…so many important things to remember! 😉 Ha! 😀

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Interesting that the group also spent time in Vietnam. That would have been quite the sight to have seen the troopers jumping from the plane. Wow!

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Thanks for the continuing history lesson, GP! That sky full of parachutes photo is an amazing sight!

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Enjoying the history of these courageous men on a very dangerous missions.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. More interesting history, GP. Thanks.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. It’s hard to find that kind of pride in ordinary jobs.

    Liked by 2 people

  19. Their work required such courage

    Liked by 2 people

  20. Good morning, GP. Thanks for another marvelous post. Also, I never thought about there being military yearbooks. Hugs on the wing!

    Liked by 2 people

  21. I was just looking at Lieutenant Krogman killed over Laos in 1964. It seems a world away, and as for Korea, where the British fought, that is fast disappearing into history books.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Such a shame too, John. Lt. Krogman was shot down while he was doing a recon fly-over. Unfortunately, the pilot who went looking for him was also shot down.
      Korea just might have to be your next project. We can not allow those men to become forgotten.

      Liked by 1 person

  22. I didn’t know they were engaged at ‘Hamburger Hill’, GP. I’m enjoying this informative post- WW2 history.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I realize there are too many units and too many battles for any one person to keep up with. That’s why there will always be something else new for people to publish and learn.

      Liked by 2 people

  23. Staying prepared for duty seems to be a very necessary exercise, especially for these guys. Thanks for filling in the history we’ve never heard, GP – I always enjoy these posts.

    Liked by 2 people

    • So true. During WWII, all the home front heard about in the Pacific was the USMC. After that, the 101st and 82nd A/B became the popular headlines.
      Thanks for continuing to read their history, Dan.

      Liked by 1 person

  24. When did your dad leave the service? Was he still with the Rakassans in the Korean War? Or was he home safe and sound?

    Liked by 2 people

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    Liked by 1 person

  26. Dad used to call recalcitrant cattle “knuckleheads.”

    There were weren’t many years between the end of WWII and the Korean War, were there?

    Liked by 3 people

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