CORPORAL ROGER B. NORD
Korean War – Battlefield Account
Co G, 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, U.S. Army
15 MARCH 1951
ENLISTMENT IN THE U.S. ARMY
As told by my father, Roger Nord:
My Korean War experience actually started when, as a 19-year old attending General Beadle State College in Madison, SD, I decided to enlist in the Army for 21 months, instead of waiting to be drafted, which would result in a 24-month enlistment.
Because of my color blindness, I could not be accepted into either the Navy or Air Force. I was accepted into the Army on 15 March 1951 and was quickly processed and sent to Schofield Barracks on Oahu, Hawaii.
Three months of intense drilling commenced. After scoring in the top three for marksmanship qualification, I was awarded a 3-day vacation at the Island of Kauai, along with the other two top marksmen.
Photos Taken on Oahu, Hawaii (mostly Schofield Barracks)
In August 1951, most of our recruits were put on a ship, destined for Japan and the rest of us were put on a plane bound for Korea. We left at night and went through a violent storm with lightning flashes all around.
BOOTS ON GROUND - CPL ROGER B. NORD'S KOREAN WAR BEGINS
Luckily, we landed safely in Korea, despite the heavy thunderstorms.
They sat us down in a group. A sergeant came along and asked each of us to choose which of three jobs we would prefer doing:
1. Rifleman of a heavy weapons platoon
3. Communications Operator
I chose Communications Operator, because I thought it might be easier and safer. However, I later learned that I would have to carry a 40-lb radio and go wherever the troops were fighting. Also, Radio Operators and Platoon Leaders were prime targets for the enemy.
I spent the first two weeks learning my trade as a Communications Operator, which involved the setup, operation, maintenance and tear-down of field phones, as well as operation of my 40-pound radio.
The previous week, another company had been attacked by the Chinese in this area and we found a few dead Chinese as we walked along. A dirt road ran parallel to us about 200 yards to our right.
The Chinese had it zeroed in with artillery, and lobbed shells on it from time to time as we walked along. Finally, we reached our destination, dug in and set up a perimeter.
FIRST PATROL WAS THE LONGEST
CROSSING THE IMJIN RIVER INTO NO MAN'S LAND
Two days later, I was told we were going out on patrol and I would be the radio operator. This was with the 1st platoon and the leaders were 1LT Stewart F. Floyd, SFC Richard C. Nonemaker and SGT Harry E. (Sonny) Murray.
September 1951 – Timeline of 5th Cavalry in the Korean War
In September 1951, 5th Cav maintained defensive positions on high ground along the east bank of the Imjin River, with a reinforced company maintaining the patrol base near Tekehol-li, following continued enemy attacks against the position.
On 6 September 1951, Company K was attacked on the patrol base by a reinforced enemy battalion, which was soon reinforced to a regiment and resulted in Company K becoming surrounded. During this time, their heroic actions earned them the Presidential Unit Citation. The 3rd Battalion, supported by Company A, 70th Tank Battalion and the 16th Recon Company, crossed the Imjin River to aid the men on the patrol base, while air strikes and artillery support hammered the enemy. Company K was finally freed. Enemy casualties were estimated at over 800 killed, 1500 wounded, with 22 POWs taken.
Following this action, from 8 September 1951 to 12 September 1951, Operation Minden was launched as part of a general offensive to extend the Wyoming Line from Sanggorangpo, to secure positions west of the Imjin River. This was the precursor to the much larger Operation Commando, which established the Jamestown Line.
On another patrol, we spotted a bunch of Chinese in a valley and the lieutenant called their position to our Artillery. The Artillery fired one round on the Chinese. After the lieutenant observed the explosion from that round, he had me tell the Artillery on the radio, “Two clicks left, one click down and fire for effect”. The rounds landed right on them.
ON ANOTHER PATROL - ARTILLERY CALL FOR FIRE
Somewhere in Korea, Fall 1951 - Tanks on the battlefield.
U.S. JETS ON ANOTHER PATROL
Another time, a squad of us were on patrol, but we had not encountered any enemy. All of a sudden, a U.S. jet flew over us. We all jumped in the bushes, because we were afraid the pilot might think we were enemy and drop a napalm bomb on us. We did have a color panel, which we always carried to show identification and we quickly laid that on the ground, but the jet didn’t come back.
Somewhere in Korea, Fall 1951 - This appears to have been a field mess area, because the troops have their weapons slung on their shoulders.
On 1 October 1951, rumors started that we were going on the offensive against the enemy. This got our stomachs churning, but rumors weren’t always fact.
However, on 2 October 1951, we were told to prepare to move out.
Everyone was busy getting packed up when we heard a shot fired. It was Private Burton T. King, Jr shooting himself in the hand. Apparently, he wasn’t going to take a chance on getting killed. He was a radio operator, like me, so this meant more work for me.
3 October 1951: (DAY 1 of OPERATION COMMANDO) - We moved out and it wasn’t until dusk when we reached our position for the night. It was too dark to see the surrounding hills, but we were told we were close to the enemy.
I was given the job of stringing the commo wire to all four platoons, so I had to grope around in the dark to find each of the platoons' positions, then hook the phones up with no light.
After that was done, it was time to dig a foxhole. A couple of hours later, mortar rounds started coming in, but were landing somewhat behind us. That finally stopped and we got some sleep.
4 October 1951: (DAY 2) - Morning came and people started stirring. SGT Frank, who was only one month from rotation to go back home, stood up in his foxhole and stretched. A shot rang out, which sounded like it came from behind us, but apparently echoed off the hill. All of a sudden, I see SGT Frank running towards me, yelling “My arm! My arm!” He fell in the foxhole with me. We all yelled for a medic, but he was dead, shot right in the heart.
After that, we all made sure to keep out of sight as much as possible, since there was a sharpshooter ready to pick us off.
Later that morning, we were to attack Hill 272. This was just one of the many hills that 1st Cavalry Division was attacking. The enemy had been dug in and preparing their positions for six months. 1st and 2nd platoons were to make the initial attack, while 3rd platoon (my platoon) would be back up.
1st platoon had just received a new lieutenant as platoon leader and he was gung-ho to get into battle. SFC Richard Nonemaker was assistant platoon leader and PFC Robertson was the radio operator assigned to 1st platoon.
They had just started charging up the hill when the lieutenant took a fatal bullet to the head. Some of the troops reached the top of the hill, but had to pull back. A couple hours later, SFC Nonemaker brought PFC Robertson back, because he had been wounded in the leg.
I was then given the job as radio operator for 1st platoon.
SFC Nonemaker and I started down the hill. When we reached the bottom, we had to go up the next hill. This was mostly wide open to enemy fire. We were running as fast as we could, until I tripped and fell hard. SFC Nonemaker heard me and thought I had been hit, so he came back, but I got up quickly and we continued running.
We reached the rest of the troops near the top of the hill. Grenades were flying in both directions. One hit near us, but didn’t do any damage. Another one nicked me on the bridge of my nose. With all the blood, it looked bad, but didn’t really hurt. (No Purple Heart was awarded because it wasn't a severe enough wound to take him off the line.)
There was a trooper next to us that was in a bad way. He had been shot in the stomach and chest. He kept asking the medics for water. I’m sure he didn’t make it.
We weren’t getting any orders on the radio and we had no officers, so SFC Nonemaker decided he’d go down the line a ways to E Company, because he knew the officer there. I got up to go with SFC Nonemaker, but he told me to stay, because I would have to relay any orders I received by radio to our company.
Shortly after he left, we started receiving artillery rounds. They were from our own. Someone had goofed and we sure didn’t need that.
Apparently, SFC Nonemaker was blown away, because he didn’t ever return. (Several years later, his brother said his family received a body bag, supposedly containing his remains. So, he was probably found on the battlefield a few weeks after we took that hill.)
After losing about half of our troops, either dead or wounded, we finally received orders to leave the hill.
6 October 1951: (Day 4) - The regimental commanding officer wanted our company to take Hill 272 back, because he had information that the enemy had left. 3rd platoon was selected to go check it out, so I went as a radio operator.
1st Lieutenant Robert E. Hunter, Jr., took us on the long hike to a ridge for a jumping off point. He decided we would open fire from there to see if we could get any return fire. After some time, we quit firing and waited.
About 10 minutes later, all hell broke loose and grenades came flying over the hill. Apparently, they got nervous and thought we were about ready to charge their positions. Anyway, we found out the enemy was still there.
When we returned to our base and informed 1LT Lloyd L. Burke, our Executive Officer, he got on the phone and called the regimental commander. When the regimental commander asked 1LT Burke if there were any Chinese on the hill, he replied, “I hope to shit in your mess kit sir”. That became the saying among the troops after that.
Our unit was moved to the left, or south, after that and were taking up positions on a new ridge.
During one night of enemy attacks, we got word that it was a large force. We had less than 100 men, so we thought our best chance was to call artillery on our position, since we were dug in and the enemy would have no protection.
Between the artillery and our return of fire, we drove them off.
A short time later, I heard some excited gook chatter in front of my position. My foxhole buddy wanted to throw grenades, but I talked him out of it, because I didn’t think it was the enemy. It turned out to be friendly Korean ammo bearers that were sent to resupply us. They were scared out of their wits and were extremely lucky this time.
The next morning, we found a number of dead enemy and one still alive, with a stomach wound. We didn’t suffer any casualties, although I had a piece of shrapnel hit me in the back that scraped off some skin. (No Purple Heart was awarded because it wasn't a severe enough wound to take him off the line.)
On another night, in a different location, an enemy solder came into our lines, apparently to surrender. I heard him saying “Take me to Captain”. We didn’t have a captain, as our only officer was 1LT Hunter who was with me in a bunker. I went to the troops that had him and told them to search him. They found grenades taped to his back. Supposedly, he planned on killing the captain.
On another night, some of our outposts heard Chinese approaching, so they bugged out and returned to our lines. However, PFC Marvin Abrahamson, one our outpost guys, tried to hide, but was captured (on 18 October 1951). I found out later that he was released after the war was over.
During one of our movements, we traveled through a very scenic valley with a road of sorts. We went single file, because the road was mined and you could see some of them sticking out of the ground. There were a few dead Australian soldiers along the way, which was unusual, because the dead were always picked up, if the fighting was over. It could have been that they were waiting for the engineers to clear the mines out first.
5th Cavalry Regiment had three battalions. I was in 2nd Battalion. Each battalion took turns manning the patrol base. Each turn was for about a week or two at a patrol base between our lines and enemy lines (no man’s land).
It had been raining off and on for a few days and we had pup tents to sleep in, but we were dug in, so water was a problem in our hole.
One afternoon in early September, the officer received word to prepare to retreat. I was told to run to one of the outposts and tell them that we’re to act as the rear guard and cover the rear flanks as the troops were moving out.
When I returned to my original position, everyone and everything was gone, including my tent and poncho. The reason was because they had received word to evacuate immediately, as the Imjin River was rising and they wouldn’t be able to cross much longer.
The rain became very heavy as we started our retreat toward the river. I was soaking wet and without a poncho. We heard the river had risen about 40 feet and houses, trees and debris were floating downstream. We were trapped on the wrong side, all wet and cold. If the enemy knew it, we’d be had.
Before we reached the river, we found a Korean hut. Because one of the guys was really sick, they took him inside (out of the rain) and tried to warm him up. But, he died.
We arrived at the river bank and the 30, or so, of us prepared for the night. I found a rock to sit on and tried to keep warm in my wet clothes. During the middle of the night, a wild cat jumped on my back. That got my blood circulating a little. If it had been a Chinese, I’d have been had, because I was numb.
Morning finally came and we received word that a helicopter was coming to pick us up. They picked us up one at a time. I was about 5th in line, so I didn’t have a real long wait. It was quite a relief to get back to friendly territory.
Another time on patrol base, we were pretty sure that we would be hit by the Chinese. Barbed wire had been strung all around our perimeter. Tin cans had been added to make noise if someone touched the wire.
A new lieutenant had joined the company as a replacement. He was scared to death and was practically a basket case. I’m not sure what happened to him, but he wasn’t fit for combat.
One of the nights, we heard the Chinese blowing bugles. This was usually something they did before attacking. Everyone was wide awake that night and sometime during the night, six shots rang out. It sounded like a BAR (Browning Automatic Rifle), but it turned out that the troop had fired his M1 rifle as fast as he could.
In the morning, they found a dead Chinese hanging on the barbed wire with six shots in him. Other than that, we had no attacks.
3-15 October 1951
The attack began on 3 October 1951 from the Wyoming Line, which had been extended during Operation Minden, and ended on 15 October, with a few hills south of the line still in Communist hands. The seizing of these hills required a follow-up operation—Operation Polecharge. As a result of this 6 miles (9.7 km) advance, the badly mauled U.S. 1st Cavalry Division was later withdrawn to Japan for refitting in December 1951.
1st Cavalry Division
Shoulder Sleeve Insignia
5th Cavalry Regiment
Distinctive Unit Insignia
The Rank Structure of U.S. Army Enlisted Soldiers in 1951.
1952 - Hokkaido, Japan
Corporal Roger Brent Nord
We left early in the morning and the valleys we walked through were fogged in. After seven miles of up and down marching, we came to a vantage point where we could see enemy activity in the distance. 1LT Floyd stood up, out in the open, and one of the soldiers said to him, “Lieutenant, those chinks are going to use you for a base stake”.
Shortly after that, we started our retreat. As we were going up the big hill, behind us, mortar rounds started coming in. I was running up hill as fast as I could, but my legs were giving out. Fortunately, PFC James P. (Robbie) Robertson, another radio man, gave me a hand and we reached the top before the mortar rounds caught up to us. This was my first patrol and probably the longest I ever had to do.
1LT Stewart F. Floyd - I don't have any other information about him.
SFC Richard C. Nonemaker is reported to have been awarded the Silver Star under General Orders Number 29 (1952) for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action against the enemy while serving with the 1st Cavalry Division in Korea.
SGT Harry E. (Sonny) Murray served in the Tennessee National Guard prior to being called to active duty in the U.S. Army during the Korean Conflict. He was awarded the Silver Star for Valor and was one of the most decorated soldiers from Carter County Tennessee from the Korean Conflict.
The story you are about to read is an account of Corporal Roger B. Nord's incredible experience in the Korean War, as told by him. I included green text boxes periodically throughout his story to provide a historical context (ie dates, places and events) of his unit during the period of his service. I also included green text (in parentheses) to add my comments to clarify or explain certain things. Quotes are shown in red, italic text. Links are indicated with blue text.
(Authored by his son, Jeffrey A. Nord, retired Sergeant First Class)
15-19 October 1951
The Fifth Cavalry Regiment of the 1st Cavalry Division, together with a Belgian battalion attached to the 3rd Infantry Division, was tasked with the capture of Hills 346, 272 and 230. The Eighth Cavalry Regiment would provide support if required.
15 October 1951 – UN Forces launch Operation Polecharge to seize control of a few hills south of the Jamestown Line still remaining in Chinese control following Operation Commando.
16 October 1951 – 5th Cavalry’s assault on Hill 346 began at 0300 hours, but the enemy’s heavy fire power stopped their advance.
17 October 1951 – After two days of sustained pressure on Hill 346, 5th and 8th Cavalry could not break the defenses, but heavy artillery bombardments stripped all vegetation on the hill, earning it the nickname "Old Baldy".
18 October 1951, 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry took Hill 346 against stiff resistance. Later in the day, 3rd Battalion, 5th Cavalry met similar resistance on Hill 230. However, 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry managed to seize Hill 340, just left of Hill 346. That night, the Chinese gave up and retreated.
19 October 1951 - 1st Cavalry Division seized its final objectives on the Jamestown Line as the enemy retreated north of Yokkok-chon, marking the completion of Operation Polecharge.
For the period 3-19 October 1951, enemy estimates were 21,000 KIAs (Killed In Action) and 300 POWs (Prisoners Of War). 1st Cavalry Division was credited with 16,000 of those KIAs and reduced the CCF 47th Army to 50% strength. 1st Cavalry Division suffered 2,900 casualties, including losses incurred during Operation Commando, and was withdrawn to Japan the following month.
Sometime in the middle of October, we moved to a new position. Word was that we were to go out on patrol to our left flank, a couple of miles away, to check out a hill.
We had received some new replacements and one was going to be a Radio Operator. Because he was new, they wanted me to go along to help show him the ropes.
We came to the hill and the platoon spread out in the four squads and started up. As we neared the top, we were greeted with small arms fire and grenades. Everyone hit the deck and returned fire. I was lucky and was able to get behind a rock.
A squad leader joined me and, after a minute, he wanted me to look at his back. He thought maybe he had been hit. Sure enough, he had a wound in his back. It was hard to tell how severe, or deep, it was, so I told him he better get down the hill while he was still able to walk.
The fire fight went on for some time. One of the guys I knew was hit, so I asked 1LT Hunter if I should help get him out.
Another soldier and I got to him with a stretcher and, sort of, dragged him down the hill. We were trying not to get shot while we were getting him out. When we reached the bottom of the hill, which seemed like a much safer place, our patient was really elated.
He was wounded in the ankle and was sure this was good enough to keep him out of any more combat. We carried him a ways and set him down for us to rest.
While resting, we noticed blood on his thigh and further checking revealed a bullet had hit him there. After that, he lost his elation and appeared like he might be suffering a little shock.
We got him back alright and the rest of the troops worked their way off the hill. I can’t remember what we did about that hill, but I suppose we called in air support.
Earlier in the month, 1LT John D. Stransky, from Mitchell, SD, joined our company. He and 1LT Hunter really seemed to hit it off.
However, on 14 October 1951, only after a couple of weeks in the company, he was killed by shrapnel while returning from patrol. Roger Bates had gone with him as radio operator and was able to hit the ground a little quicker than 1LT Stransky. Everyone hated to lose him, because he seemed like a good guy and we were short of leaders.
On 18 October 1951, we made another push to knock the chinks off their positions. (18 October 1951: 5th Cav’s 1st and 2nd Battalion took Hill 346 and adjacent ridgelines). This was done by our whole battalion in the area we were fighting. Our company was not finding much resistance on the ridge we were on, but Company E, on the ridge to our right, was in a real fight.
We could see both sides throwing grenades, so some of our troops began firing at the enemy. Shortly after that, Company E asked us to cease fire, because they were concerned with shots coming from our direction.
My job had been to string wire from a couple hundred yards away. It was all out in the open, so I made a fast job of it. There were numerous grenades and booby traps to avoid.
When night came, Company E left the ridge and a 155 mm artillery weapon moved into position and fired, point blank, at the hill (Hill 346?). It sounded like the hill was being blown apart.
The next morning, there were no enemy left, so another trooper and I decided we were going to be the first to reach the summit of the ridge. We beat a couple of Company E troops by a little bit.
Our company spent the rest of the day going through the cave along the other side of the ridge and found thousands of cases of mortar rounds, grenades and ammo.
In one of the caves, there was a chink. A couple of troopers were trying to get him to move. One of the guys in charge said, “I’ll get him to move”. A shot rang out and he went tumbling down the hill to join a lot of others that were lying there.
FINAL DAYS OF OPERATION POLECHARGE
FIRST LIEUTENANT JOHN D. STRANSKY
23-28 October 1951
On 23 October 1951, UN Forces launch OPERATION STONEWALL to strengthen the Jamestown Line by constructing defensive walls to prevent possible enemy counterattacks. The “Battle for the Outposts” began. Establishing outposts on the rugged high ground just south of the Yokkok River was extremely difficult, because of enemy resistance to give up that ground. 5th Cavalry Regiment had the toughest time securing their assigned areas. On the first day, only Company K was able to secure its objective.
24 October 1951 - Companies A and C advanced to secure their bases, but a night of enemy counterattacks drove them back to the main line. Elsewhere, similar resistance also thwarted other companies’ initial efforts. Heavy bombardment increased the intensity of repeated assaults and objectives were later taken, but not without casualties.
28 October 1951 - Company G, 5th Cavalry was pinned down while trying to seize Hill 200, near Chong-dong.
By the end of October 1951, the Jamestown Line and its Outpost of Line Resistance (OPLR) was seemingly secure in friendly hands.
As of 25 October 1951, the weather had been nice, with sunny days and cool nights. We were told to start moving up to Hill 200. There were about 50 or 60 of us troops left. 1LT Hunter was in charge of 3rd Platoon and next in command was SGT Murray.
After a long march, we approached the hill in the distance. We could easily spot a firefight there in the pitch-black night. We continued marching until we were about 3/4 mile away from the hill. Then, 1LT Hunter halted the troops and told them to stay put for the moment, so he could go up to the hill and assess the situation before moving the troops in closer.
He took me (Radio Operator) and CPL John W. Koon, a Company Runner (Gopher). It was so dark out that we could hardly see, but since the fire fight was going on, we had no problem getting to our destination.
After we got there and 1LT Hunter determined what was to be done, he sent me back to bring up the rest of the troops.
This was a pretty lonely trip back. I couldn’t see a thing and the only way I could stay on course was to stay on the ridge and that was by feel only. At first, I was a bit concerned that I might run into some Chinese along the way, but then I got to thinking, “what if my troops mistake me for the enemy as I got back to them?”. It seemed like forever and I began to think I was lost, but finally I heard talking and I walked right into the midst of my comrades. Good thing I wasn’t the enemy.
After getting their attention, we moved out and up to the hill where the fight was going on. Some of us were on the hill and some formed a perimeter to the right and down the ridge. 1LT Hunter and I were in a hole together. There were troops in holes and trenches around us.
The firing went on all night, with mortar rounds coming in every once in a while.
Finally, daylight came (26 October 1951) with shooting and grenade-throwing going on. Sometime in the morning, a 120 mm mortar round exploded about 15 feet to the right of us. (120 mm mortar is as big as they get.)
Immediately afterward, a soldier came running to us. He had guts and flesh all over him. We thought he was a dead man running. After checking him over, we found he wasn’t injured, only shell-shocked. The body parts belonged to the two other guys in the trench with him. They were blown to bits. 1LT Hunter sent him down the hill. He survived and stayed with the company when we went to Japan. He always acted punch drunk.
A little later in the morning, CPL Koon came running up to us yelling, “I need more grenades!” He was a gentle person that let it be known that he would have nothing to do with fighting. Now he had a bullet hole through his neck and he was determined to wipe out the Chinese. 1LT Hunter told him to go down the hill, as he was badly wounded. Hunter had to give him a direct order to get him to go. CPL Koon survived and returned to our company in Japan.
Sometime later, probably around noon, the company commander, CPT Henry Sheridan Morton, came up to the hill with an Artillery Lieutenant and his radio operator, SGT Grey.
CPT Morton was new to the company. He replaced CPT Pritchard whose tour of duty was up. Morton was a Reserve or National Guard officer and had no idea what he should be doing. He had been ordered up on the hill by some regimental officer. The only problem was there wasn’t room for this many people, so 1LT Hunter moved to a trench on the left and I was then radio operator for CPT Morton, since I had the only radio in the company.
The Artillery Lieutenant hopped in the hole with CPT Morton. His radio operator and I started digging improvised foxholes for ourselves. I dug mine as narrow and deep as I could. It was so close to CPT Morton, that I could hand him the radio phone when he had an incoming message.
Later on in the afternoon, more mortar rounds started coming in. They were 60 mm mortars and were being fired at us from a short distance away. You could see the rounds going up and coming down. They apparently had us zeroed in with several mortars and were literally raining in on us.
I curled up in the bottom of my hole and did some praying.
I could tell that CPT Morton & the Artillery Lieutenant had been hit many times (and killed). Also 1LT Hunter, who was in a trench to my left, was also hit and was wounded. I could hear yelling that he’d been hit. He managed to go down the trench and get off the hill.
Periodically, the shelling would stop, and I’d consider getting off the hill. It was a tough decision, because shelling would resume at any moment. During one of these lulls, another troop had the same idea and jumped on top of me after he heard another incoming round.
Finally, after what seemed an eternity, the shelling stopped. It was getting dark and the Chinese probably figured they had wiped us all out on the hill.
We climbed out of the foxhole and checked the holes around us. CPT Morton and the Artillery LT were gone, but we thought SGT Grey might still be alive. About this time, a couple of troops came up with stretchers. We put SGT Grey on one and carried him off the hill. I never knew if SGT Grey survived or not.
I had lost my hearing and could only hear if someone yelled in my ear. Not being able to hear wasn’t a big concern to me, because I was just overjoyed to be alive.
I remember the death of Calvin Shagura, a Japanese boy who looked to be about 14 years old. I’m sure he’d never seen any violence before being in the military. He had been at HQ doing odd jobs, but had been sent up to the hill on either the first or second day. I remember when they carried him off screaming with both his legs blown off. He was alive then, but died soon after.
LONELY TRIP TO BRING THE TROOPS ONLINE TO HILL 200
DAY 1 - BATTLE FOR HILL 200
There were others sent back off the hill on the second day. Most were from some other company. The remaining men of our company were in holes to the right of Hill 200. We could watch the mortar shelling of the hill. It was only sporadic, but we could see it getting some of our troops.
DAY 2 - BATTLE FOR HILL 200
It was afternoon when 1LT Burke, our Company Executive Officer, joined us on the line. He was due to rotate out, so he had been doing mostly executive duties. Now he was the only officer left in the company.
Because I had lost my hearing, I couldn’t hear what he was saying, but he was urging us (troops) to follow him up Hill 200.
Gradually, we started moving out, but 1LT Burke was way out in front. He had a SGT Arthur Foster with him. I don’t know where he had been, but he was helping Burke.
For whatever reason, the Chinese had quit shelling the hill at this time. Burke made contact with the enemy and is said to have single-handedly killed about 100 of them. The rest of us were to his right, firing at the Chinese trenches.
After that, it was all over and we got out of our trenches and started surveying our conquest. A total of 250 Chinese dead were found there, 100 of them killed by 1LT Burke. Out of one of the trenches, a Chinese jumped up and started running, his arms flailing. Several of the troops took shots at him, but he made it to safety. The Chinese trenches were full of bodies piled on bodies.
DAY 3 - BATTLE FOR HILL 200
On 29 October 1951, replacements came up the day after the battle was over and the 30, or so, of us walked off Hill 200 and back a couple of miles to HQ (Headquarters) for regrouping.
My friend, Hank Corrales, told me a story about two captured Chinese prisoners that were taken on this hill. He and another soldier were told to guard the POWs. A few hours later, when it came time to pull out, they asked what they should do with them and were told to shoot them. After being with them for a couple of hours, Hank said they were starting to bond, so they couldn’t shoot them (two lucky Chinese).
A day or two later (30 or 31 October 1951), we moved to a position further to the rear and had our first shower and shave in over a month. Also, clean clothes were issued.
AFTER THE BATTLE FOR HILL 200
FIRST LIEUTENANT LLOYD L. (SCOOTER) BURKER
Congressional Medal of Honor - Awarded for his actions on Hill 200
1st Lieutenant Lloyd L. Burke, the company’s executive officer (and only officer left in the company at that point, according to CPL Nord), left the safety of his command post to rally the troops, but they were shell-shocked and beaten. Burke ran to an exposed vantage point, threw several grenades at enemy bunkers, and then returned to get an Ml rifle and adapter. He made a lone assault, wiping out another position and killing the crew with the rifle. He lobbed grenades in the center bunker and, with his pistol, killed three Chinese that attempted to surround him. Ordering his men forward, he charged the third emplacement, caught several incoming grenades and threw them back at the enemy. His heroic action inspired the 35 men remaining in his company and they overran the enemy’s position, but were again pinned down by increased fire. So, 1LT Burke grabbed a light machine gun and three boxes of ammo, ran through the impact area to an open knoll, set up his gun and wiped out about 75 enemy soldiers. Although wounded, he ordered more ammo, reloaded and destroyed two mortar emplacements and a machine gun position. Leading his men forward, machine gun in hand, he killed about 25 more enemy soldiers and secured the objective. For his gallant action, 1st Lieutenant Lloyd L. Burke received the Congressional Medal of Honor.
1. I had given up my field jacket earlier in the month to use as a makeshift litter to carry one of the many wounded. To keep warm at night, I pulled dirt on top of my foxhole.
2. I washed my spoon (used for c-rations) with dirt and used my bayonet to scrape the excess dirt off my face.
3. When artillery or mortars were coming in on a regular basis, I would go to the toilet in my fox hole and scoop it out with my entrenching tool. One of our troops was badly wounded while going outside and caught shrapnel in the back or behind.
On 7 December 1951, (the 10-Year Anniversary of Pearl Harbor Attack), the day finally came when we were put on a boat. It was a day most of us thought would never come. We left Korea and sailed to Hokkaido Island, Japan, to become part of the US XVI Corps.
Four days later, on 11 December 1951, we arrived at Muroran, on the southeast coast of Hokkaido Island, and rode in a train to Camp Chitose, Area I.
In late December 1951, I attended a six-week clerk typist course at Etajima, Japan, and graduated in early February 1952.
After graduation, from February 1952 to March 1953, I returned to Camp Chitose, Japan and remained there for the rest of my time overseas.
7 DECEMBER 1951 – MARCH 1953
HOKKAIDO ISLAND, JAPAN
In early November, I was trucked south with some other soldiers to see a USO show put on by Danny Kaye and Monica Lewis. It was a real treat for all of us.
Later on in November, three of us in Company G got three days of R&R (Rest and Recreation) in Seoul, South Korea. We stayed in, perhaps, the only building left in Seoul that was still in good condition. It was one of the best three days of my life; a warm bed and hot showers. What a life!
The truck trip back and forth was not so nice and the weather was very cold, but we survived.
Back at the company, I was tasked with typing up a roster for our exodus to Japan.
Shortly after 1st Cavalry Division (and 5th Cavalry) was pulled off the Jamestown Line and placed in reserve, it received orders to relocate to the island of Hokkaido, Japan, to establish a military presence as a deterrent to the Soviet Union’s interest in taking over the area.
7 December 1951 - Boat ride from Korea to Japan.
On 30 March 1953, I processed out for discharge at Camp Carson (now Fort Carson), Colorado. However, before outprocessing, I took a trip to the Grand Canyon with a fellow soldier.
30 MARCH 1953
CAMP CARSON, COLORADO
The slideshow below contains some photos my father took while enjoying free time in Japan. Some photos, including the first one shown, were taken somewhere in Japan, but where is not known, so they are entitled, "LOCATION IN JAPAN UNKNOWN".