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Intermission Stories (2)

Air evacuation, Korea

Air evacuation, Korea

Captain Lillian Kinkela Keil

By the time 1950 and the Korean War came around, about one million women had worn the uniform from the United States military.  They had been prisoners of war, been wounded, flew planes, planned strategies, nursed casualties and died for this country.  Hundreds of women flew air evacuation, caring for the wounded soldiers during every bumpy air mile one of these women was Capt. Lillian Kinkela, a member of the Air Force Nurse Corps and one of the most decorated women in the U.S. military.

The captain flew over 200 air evacuation missions during WWII as well as 25 trans-Atlantic crossings.  When the Korean War erupted, she donned her uniform once more and flew several hundred more missions as a flight nurse in Korea.  Capt. Kinkela Keil was the inspiration for the 1953 movie “Flight Nurse” and served as the technical adviser during the making of the film.

Capt. Lillian Kinkela Keil

Capt. Lillian Kinkela Keil

Her decorations include: the European Theater of Operations w/ 4 Battle Stars; The Air Medal w/ 3 Oak Leaf Clusters; The Presidential Unit Citation w/ One Oak Leaf Cluster; The Korean Service Medal w/ 7 Battle Stars; The American Campaign Medal; The UN Defense Medal; Presidential Citation, Republic of Korea.

"Flight Nurse" movie poster

“Flight Nurse” movie poster

Capt. Keil’s older brother was killed during WWII while serving in the US Navy.  Lillian married Walter Keil, a Naval intelligence officer who served on Guadalcanal during WWII.  She passed away June       2005 at the age of 88.

This information was supplied by: The National Museum. af.mil/

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The BIG TEN – the first inland demolition raid in Korea by Team 3

We can all agree that there is nothing like a personal account of an event to bring things into perspective and reality.  This story is too long for me to repeat here word-for-word without cropping out too much vital information, so I am just leaving the link for you to decide as to its interest and importance.

Lt. Dan Chandler briefs his "frogmen" before they set out to disarm mines

Lt. Dan Chandler briefs his “frogmen” before they set out to disarm mines

http://www.navyfrogmen.com/PhilCarricoFirstInlandRaid.html

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Sir James Plimsoll and UNCURK

A civilian in war

Sir James Plimsoll had a significant influence during the Korean War as Australia’s delegate to UNCURK (United Nations Committee for the Unification and Rehabilitation of Korea).  The group was formed in October 1950 with the anticipation of a speedy end to the war.  By the time the committee had their first meeting in November, the Chinese had entered the scene.

Syngman Rhee & James Plimsoll w/ the 3 RAR, Korea 1950

Syngman Rhee & James Plimsoll w/ the 3 RAR, Korea 1950

Most UNCURK personnel recommended leaving Korea, but Plimsoll argued to the contrary by bringing the point that their civilian presence should clearly remain.  They did stay, but moved to Pusan along with the South Korean government.  Although their original purposes were altered by events, the commission played a valuable role over the following years.  They remained in constant contact with the ROK government officials, observed elections and reported news to the UN.

L to R; unknown person, Plimsoll, Rhee, R.G. Casey, Pote Sarasin (Thai delegate)  & Alan Watt (US Dept. of External Affairs)

L to R; unknown person, Plimsoll, Rhee, R.G. Casey, Pote Sarasin (Thai delegate) & Alan Watt (US Dept. of External Affairs)

Sir James was a foreign adviser with considerable influence on Pres. Syngman Rhee.  He would explain the views of the UN and pointed out to Rhee his tendency to disregard norms of democracy and human rights.   Sir James returned to Canberra to take up a different position, but in February 1952, the US State Dept. delegate requested him back to Korea; his influence had greatly been missed.

Following the war, Sir James Plimsoll held several high official positions representing Australia around the world and then as Governor of Tasmania; dying in office 1987.

This information is courtesy of  www.awm.gov.au/  “Out in the Cold”

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Farewell Salutes – 

Purple Heart

Purple Heart

Robert Amundsen, Sr. – Dallas, TX, US Navy, WWII

Wilhelmina Buck (nee McGill) – Manurewa, NZ; RNZAF #3376, WAF, WWII, Whenuapai Air Base

Bryan V. Cady, Jr. – Ogden, UT, US Army, Korea

Eugene Cirzan – Sun City, AZ; US Army, Korea

Donald W. Cropp – W.Palm Beach, FL; US Army, Korean War

Joseph Kapala – Tinley Park, IL; US Army, WWII, Battle of the BUlge, Purple Heart

George Manzell – Tauranga, NZ; Merchant Navy, WWII # R233179; British Army, Sgt.RA, Korea # 14460567

James Semradek – Park Ridge, IL; US Army, WWII, ETO, Purple Heart

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Korean War (19)

Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI)

Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI)

15 April 1951, the Canadian Royal 22nd Regiment headed toward Korea while the 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI) is awarded a U.S. Presidential Unit Citation for preventing an enemy breakthrough of United Nation’s lines at Kap’yong.

19 April, all US I and IX Corps were along Line Utah and preparing to advance to Line Wyoming. For 2 days they attacked the high ground overlooking Chorwon. They were halted on 22 April as the combined CCF and North Korean offensive began. The Chinese had some 700,000 troops in Korea and were using about half, which made the Battle of Kap’yong the largest battle of the Korean War. The enemy wanted to present Mao with the recapture of Seoul on May Day. The destroyed ROK 6th Division left a 10-mile gap between the US 24th Division and the 1st Marine Division. Ground was lost when the I and IX Corps were ordered to pull back to fill the void.

An officer of the Glosters points to Gloster Hill after the battles.

An officer of the Glosters points to Gloster Hill after the battles.

During 21-29 April, the UN planes had completed 7,420 air sorties. The 8 days of battles had halted the persistent CCF offensive. A miniature epic of heroism occurred on the Imjin as the British 29th Brigade (3 battalions and the Belgian 1st Battalion) held off a major push by the Chinese Communist Forces. They caused 11,000 KIA of the enemy after 3 days of heavy combat. Out of the brigade rearguard, the 1/Gloucestershire Regiment (“the Glosters”), only 63 men returned to safety. Gloster Hill was added to the list of British battle honors marked as small units that overcame impossible odds.Gen. Van Fleet himself described Gloster Hill as “the most outstanding example of unit bravery in modern warfare.”

Chinese Spring Offensive

Chinese Spring Offensive

23-25 April, the 1st Battalion of the Australian Middlesex Regiment and 16th Field Regiment of the Royal Artillery were attacked by the entire 118th Division of the CCF. The PPCLI held the forward positions for the Middlesex to withdraw. Massive human waves from the enemy that continued unrelentingly came down to hand-to-hand combat. Captain Mills, of D Company, PPCLI, called for artillery from Hill 677. By the afternoon of the 25th, the road was clear of the enemy and the units joined up with the US Army’s 72nd Heavy Tank Battalion. The CCF routed the 6th ROK Div. The CCF then gave themselves away with their horns and tracer bullets and the Canadians were able to coordinate their firing while remaining hidden. The CCF turned to Hill 677. By calling for artillery fire on his own position, Capt. Mills had totally confused the enemy and they were easily beaten back.

29-30 April, six US ships bombarded the east coast and two made amphibious landings to divert the CCF pressure on the 8th Army.

25th Div. & "No Name Line

25th Div. & “No Name Line

14 May, Gen. Van Fleet at the No Name Line had been considerably reinforced during this time. The UN forces laid mines, set up artillery of inter-locking machine-guns, strung barbed wire over 500 miles and situated 55 gallon drums of gasoline and napalm to be detonated electronically. Van Fleet wanted to start new amphibious landings in North Korea to outflank the enemy, but Ridgeway was proving to be more cautious than MacArthur. The Far East commander stated in a memo: UN offensives would seek only to deliver advantage in support of diplomatic negotiations.

The Kapyong Valley

The Kapyong Valley

15 May, showed signs of an impending attack including an increase in the number of enemy agents attempting to slip into the lines. The next day, 21 CCF divisions, flanked by 3 North Korean divisions stormed down the center of the Kimpo Peninsula. To the east of this sector, the CCF crossed the Pukhan River and hit the ROK 5th and 7th Divisions along a 20-miles front. The 40,000 ROKs scattered and pulled a bug-out; abandoning their artillery and rifles in what would be the largest and most disgraceful of the war. When the US 2nd Div. and 1st Marines were able, on 18 May, they moved east to fill in the gap. During this battle, the 2nd Div. lost about 900 KIA or WIA to the enemy’s 35,000 loss.

New Zealand troops fire a 25-pounder at Kapyong

New Zealand troops fire a 25-pounder at Kapyong

Ridgeway flew to Korea on 19 May to meet with Generals Van Fleet and Almond of the X Corps to discuss a new offensive. Almond wanted the 187th RCT (Regimental Combat Team) as his replacements. But, as a paratrooper himself, Ridgeway did not wish to use the 187th as a ground force. He felt his “expensive and elite” troops should be available for other operations; nevertheless in the end, he conceded.

23 May, the 1st Marine Division attacked on the east side of the Hwachon Reservoir. The 187th went up the Hangye-Inje road along the river with the support of the 64th Tank Battalion. The sides of the river were very steep. Near Oron-ni there was a bridge about 8 miles south of Inje; the Soyang River crossed the road and these would become bloody markers in the attack. The staff of the 187th felt that at least 4 Chinese divisions were still in the area.

A lot of the enemy were hidden in foxholes with a camouflaged cover. As the men pushed on toward Inje, the ground was bayonet tested and hundreds of the CCF died in their holdouts. By late evening of 25 May, the city was in the 187th’s hands, despite the Communists fighting hard to try and protect their supply bases.

C Company, 3 RAR, Occupying a Chinese dug trench

C Company, 3 RAR, Occupying a Chinese dug trench

26 May, the column was receiving a heavy bombardment of grenades and rifle fire and then the mortar fire kicked in. It would take till the next day before they could advance again. Hills were fought for through heavy combat and hand-to-hand action with very few prisoners taken on either side. Cpl. Hernandez, although severely wounded, survived to receive the Medal of Honor.

On 27 May, The 2nd RCR (Royal Canadian Regiment) organized A Company to take Chail-li and Kakul-hong to the north; B Company on the left flank, C Company to secure Hill 269 between the town and Hill 467 and D Company to go on the main assault – which received heavy machine-gun resistance. Brigadier Rockingham called for a withdrawal and reorganized. This area was vital to the CCF as a supply route and they fought hard to protect it, but the RCR retook their positions with only 6 men KIA and 54 WIA.

The PPCLI, originally with the 28th British Commonwealth Brigade, moved south to rejoin the Canadian command.

Click images to enlarge.

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Farewell Salutes –

Robert Lavender – Douglas, MI; US Army 1951-56

Clarence “Hank” McCall, Jr. – W.Palm Bch., FL – US Navy, Lt. Commander, submarine duty, PTO, USS Greenling

Carlos “Scotty” Tadlock – Corpus Christie, TX, Jupiter, FL; US Air Force, 23 years, Vietnam

Thomas Todd – Northfield, IL & Carlsbad, CA; USMC Captain, WWII & Korea

Tom Adelfio – Palermo, Italy, Tequesta, FL; US Army, WWII

Nathan R. Chapman – Seattle, WA; US Army, Sgt. 1st Class, Afghanistan

Arthur Blank – NYC, NY & N.Palm Beach, FL; US Navy (Ret.), Commander, WWII

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Personal note –

I had planned to fully explain the ‘Lines’ such as Utah and Wyoming, but I’m afraid my resource for that is down due to the government “shut-down.” Perhaps it will be activated soon.

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Resources: “Korean War” by Stephen Badsey; Warfare of the 20th Century” by Christopher Chant; Wikipedia; “Rakkasans” by Gen. EM Flanagan; Korean War on line; Army photos

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