by Isaac "Ike" Canales
When Ike Canales was in Korea he had a "Dime Store" address book. Printing 30 to 36 lines on a page he recorded events from August 8th until December 4th. After nearly 47 years it was difficult to read but I think we have most of it. — Jim Fine
Sep 6th Sep 18th Sep 25th Oct 3rd Oct 11th Oct 18th Oct 25th Nov 1st Nov 8th Nov 26th Dec 1st
Aug 8th - Took positions along Naktong River. From Aug 9th through Sep 1st didn’t take notes.
Aug 18th - Moved from Naktong River to Taegu.
Aug 19th - Moved to Yongchon. Their outfit was pretty near being wiped out. We moved in just before dark and right above us on high ground was a whole outfit of reds. We didn’t know it until it was too late. We dug in that night and about 1200 midnight hell broke loose. We were lucky an outfit of S. Koreans got in behind the enemy lines. The fighting went on all night long and we couldn’t fire for fear of shooting the S. Koreans. At the break of day the reds spotted us down below and started in on us. We lost two men. We still didn’t fire. By this time we could see the S. Koreans fighting the reds just above us. The S. Koreans won in pushing back the reds. Then we started pulling out to another area.
(Picture above right is from a 4th Platoon Photo.)
Aug 31st - Pulled out of Yongchon. Rested one day.
Sep 2nd moved in on Pohang.
Sep 2nd 1950 10:00 a.m. Pohang-dong. Started on drive, objective secured. Jets and F-51s fired and strafed enemy in front of us. Good support. Russian tanks shelled us (3 casualties - 1 severe). Night of 2nd at 11:15 p.m. the reds shelled the hell out of us. Mortar shells came as close as 5ft from my foxhole. Foxhole was deep enough but it sure didn’t seem like it last night. No one hurt, thank God.
Sep 3rd 1950 Pohang. Our artillery shelling the reds, plenty of small arms fire can be heard. Co. K and a Co. of ROK troops attacked N. Koreans. ROK troops run off leaving Co. K to fight N. Koreans. Co. K greatly outnumbered by 25,000 reds. Co. K suffered 89 casualties. Again the Air Force was called. Fighters fired rockets and strafed N. Koreans. Our Co. (Co. L) was going to make an attack after the Air Force finished strafing but Co. K was called on again to attack. Co. K took over N. Korean ground, found pieces of N. Koreans all over the battlefront. No GIs were hurt in last push. Bn. Hqtrs. sent word for the 21st Regt. To pull out. S. Koreans took our positions and we pulled out. All the fighting took place just outside Pohang where 25,000 N. Koreans are trying to push us back. We are greatly outnumbered. About every 4th N. Korean has an automatic weapon. We have reason to believe the Russians are supplying the N. Koreans by air at night (it stands to reason). Today N. Koreans broke through ROK lines. We have been told if things get worse we will reinforce the ROK troops. Now we are resting a few miles away from the lines.
Sep 4th 1950 - Our Regt. gets shots. I think I’d rather fight the whole red army than take shots. It’s safer. We moved out of our resting area at 5:00 p.m. Moved about 5 miles, ate supper and started to the front lines again. Walked all night up hills and down. Got to the front lines, dug in and waited.
Sep 5th - Spent all day in the same position.
Sep 6th 1:00 a.m. - Reds tried breaking through our lines. Never seen a sorrier bunch of reds in my life. We threw everything at them but the weapons. At daybreak our whole outfit moved out for a big push. Co. K lost some men from small arms fire. We lost 8 men from artillery fire, our own artillery fire (1). A couple of shells hit pretty close to me. Right now we have one of the highest mountains in Korea to take. We took our mountain. Right across from us our artillery and planes are hitting the reds pretty hard. The night was fair except for our artillery that shelled the reds all night. We advanced about 5 miles all day today. When we took our objective we were all just about dead from running and walking up hills.
Ed. Note: Ike was mistaken here. Most of those wounded that day were from Al Sebring’s squad. We rode tanks into this attack (a stupid move in hindsight). Al’s squad from the first platoon was on the lead tank. I was in another squad of the first platoon and was on the second tank. The first shot I was aware of hit the kid across the turret from me in the head. See "KyongJu" on memoirs page. It is true that some rounds hit near men running rice paddy dikes to the left of the road but I have always thought those were NK mortar rounds but do not know if any were wounded by that fire. Al lost his entire squad that day to small arms fire except for Musick and Wines.
Sep 7th Our positions are east of Pohang. We are in whats supposed to be a big push to relieve the pressure on Pohang where 25,000 red troops are concentrated. Yesterday PFC Pickens captured a red. The following info was related to by the red. 400 red troops were in full retreat They are equipped with 71 pieces of mortar equipment, artillery concentrated nearby. Early this morning we moved to higher ground. Artillery and planes are still pounding the reds in front of us. This morning about 0900 our platoon captured 2 reds. The following info was related to us. Between 4 & 500 reds were in full retreat on the mountain in front of us. Before pulling out they destroyed about 69 mortar pieces taking 2 with them (souvenirs). Our tanks and artillery are giving us darn good support. It’s a wonder how these damn reds are holding out with the beating we’re giving them. Every time we take a hill we find dead reds with half their body blown off. It really makes us happy to see dead reds. I wish I could see them all dead. I’m not alone. One thing about our troops, they respect prisoners. Well at 3:45 p.m. we started advancing again. We took a pretty high mountain. Now we have orders to dig in for the night. Our artillery is now firing at the reds. Tomorrow will be another day. Reds are running so fast they’re leaving their equipment behand. It’s about 7 p.m. and a group of reds are starting to come down the hills to surrender to us. There’s about 30 of them. Nothing happened during the night. Only that it rained and everybody is soaking wet.
Sep 8th Nothing has happened so far this morning. Orders just came that we are pushing on again and it’s a rough day. Everybody is soaking wet. 140 reds surrendered to our forces. Rumors are that U.S. Marines and S. Korean Marines made a landing at the 38th parallel and captured Seoul. Today we moved out again and captured another hill. We pushed for 2 miles before we came to one of the highest mountains in Korea. It stood at an 85 degree angle and about 1 ½ miles high. The day was very miserable and it was pretty hard going through mud on a steep grade. When we got to the top, our section ( machine gun ) was set up directly facing the enemy covering a bridge when our artillery started shelling the enemy and made a mistake and shelled us instead. When those 90s started coming in I moved so fast that I burned ground. Never in my life have I been so scared. One of our shells fell about 20 ft. away from us. I bet I broke all official track records. Right now I don’t know whether to keep on going or not. My feet are just raw on the bottom. I feel like just dropping out but that will never happen. It’ll take more than a couple of sore feet to knock me out. It’s rough going but with God’s will we’ll all make it back. It takes more than these savages to beat a bunch of men like us. These people have no regard for life whatsoever. They don’t know what the word defeat means. I’ve seen them lying with their body half blown off and they still try to kill somebody. One thing that should be understood by the American people that will never be told them is that there’s just as many cold blooded men in our army as there is in the N. Korean army. Most of ours have turned killers ‘cause the enemy has committed cold blooded killing on the Americans. I can see killing only when it’s called for. Around here it doesn’t pay to have kind heart. Men with kind hearts don’t live long over here. If some of our people back home who are backing the cause of Russia would only open their eyes and see what it really stands for this world would be a lot safer for our families to live in.
Sep 9th We were called back for a rest. This one time in my life that I’ve really appreciated a rest and I’m making good use of it. We were issued new clothes and we at least got clean. I hadn’t been clean for over 3 weeks. Now we are awaiting orders. We pushed about 15 miles in our push and lost very few men , mostly wounded.
Sep 10th We are all thankful to God that we made it back once again. Everybody is resting. Today our Co. gets whisky. That is all NCOs only so I guess it’s going to be quite a Sunday. I’ve been to the medics and now my feet are better.
Sep 11th Well we’re still waiting for orders. It looks like this morning we’ll be moving out somewhere. Today my squad got issued a new weapon, a 57 mm rifle M18. It can be fired from the shoulder or from the prone position. It’s a recoilless rifle and there’s no kick to it but it sure is hard on your eardrums. Orders just came out that there will be no more censoring of mail.
Sep 12th Looks like we didn’t get to go anywhere yesterday. Latest reports are that the 21st Regt. or the whole 24th Div. Is going back to take invasion training, so I guess we’ll have it rough going.
Sep 13th Still resting and really having good chow.
Sep 14th Today at 4:00 a.m. we moved out to Taegu. On the way to Taegu we went through a town that had just gone thru a pretty rough battle. All the houses were leveled to the ground. The hills around the town were covered with dead Koreans. Speaking of something stinking that place stunk from dead people. No body was making any effort to bury the dead. Well now we’re in Taegu and once again taking life easy.
Sep 15th Well late last night and early this morning 4 Divs. Moved up here, the 82nd, 3rd, 7th and the other not known. The Navy Air Force has been alerted for a major push. Today is the starting of the final blow. Latest are that the 24th Div. Is supposed to support one of the Div. I figure if the big push did start today this war won’t last over 2 weeks. A N. Korean officer was captured the other day and he said they ( N. Koreans ) just about had enough supplies for 30 days. Today Sep 15th 1950 at 1300 hrs. a landing was made by the Marines and some other Divs.
Sep 16th 1950 at 0900 a.m. our troops made a landing on Inchon and Yongdok. Today was the official day of the coming big push.All day yesterday our tanks kept coming thru here on the way to the front. I never did find out if there was a limit to the tanks coming over. There’s quite a few Eng. Outfits over here just waiting to move up front. We even have 8 inch guns mounted on trucks (prime movers). Now I’ve seen everything. I pity the reds. Our objective is to get this war won before winter. This morning our ban. was called for a big before by our ban. comb. and we were told that the 24th Div. Would be playing a big role in this big push.
Sep 17th 1950. All day today planes from Australia kept coming in to the airfield here in Taegu. I counted about 150 fighters alone. Gen. Stratemeyer was over here today on some kind of mission. Late tonight took in a movie at the airfield.
Sep 18th 1950. The 24th Div. Was instructed on how to make a crossing in the near future. We know better. We’re supposed to cross the Naktong River very soon. As a matter of fact we’re moving out now to the Naktong River. This morning I thought I was going to have to go to the hospital. My left ear was hurting so bad it was driving me nuts. It was caused from firing that new rifle we got. 57mm. recoilless similar to the 75mm. only smaller. But now I feel better. One thing I don’t like being left behind from my outfit. Well our trucks are here and it’s about 15:35 p.m. and it’ll be an hour before we leave here. It’ll be good going back into action again. I think it’s safer up front. Since we’ve been off the line there’s been many shootings and once our own guys got drunk and pretty soon they’re shooting at each other. In 2 days I’ve disarmed 2 men. One of them had the rifle all loaded and ready to shoot at a group of men when I jumped him from behind. I was really shaky from anger. We have more casualties behind the lines than we have on the front lines. One of our "cowboys" was tinkering with a 45 when it went off taking one of his fingers with him it. And the other night I was playing cards when somebody fired a shot that hit a tree pretty close to me. Well we pulled out of Taegu. We finally got to our destination. We drove so slow that it took all night to get to the front. We are now at the Naktong River and we were (told) that we’re making a crossing tomorrow before daylight. We’re pretty close to Waegwan. Well we’re now digging in for the night. The whole 24th Div. is here now.
Sep 19th 1950. Well this morning some of our units made the crossing. We’re still waiting for orders. In the meatime we’re dodging shells. We’ve had about 3 casualties from shelling. My buddy and I dug a hole about 6ft deep and then dug a cave on the inside about 4ft wide and 6ft long. The reason we dug so deep was because I happened to notice a shell crater about 5 or 6ft wide and about 3ft deep. I still think we didn’t dig deep enough. Well tonight we’re crossing the river. Got to hang up now. Shells coming in. The reds zeroed in on one of our units in front of us. Our planes are out trying to locate the enemy artillery. We’ve suffered a few casualties. The outfit in front of us is reported to have suffered heavy from artillery. Our men in front of us are reported doing well. We’ve had about 5 of our men with nervous breakdowns. They were sent back.
Sep 20th . Our main elements crossed the river last night and this morning our Company (Co. L) crossed the river. This morning the 19th Regt. joined the rest of the 24th Div. Today our planes have raised hell with the reds. Some of our men captured some prisoners and they revealed the following info. Between 3 & 4000 enemy troops are dug in directly in front waiting for the 24th Div. to attack with plenty of mortars. Well the rest of the day went by fairly quiet with occasional small skirmishes. So far we’ve met no real opposition. Suffered very few casualties. The enemy has suffered heavy, both men and equipment.
Sep 21st . Well all night last night we waited for the estimated 3 or 4000 reds to attack. I kind of had a feeling they wouldn’t try it. My buddy and I stood guard by our 57mm. all night like we were part of it. The night was sure rough. It got pretty cold. It got so cold that I had to smoke all night to keep warm. Cigarettes sure keep 2 men warm in cold weather. I never smoked but I do now. Well this morning before the light of day came out our planes were over us giving the reds hell. Without them God only knows what the story would be now. The 24th Div. sure owes a great deal to the USAF. I’m sure the ——— fighting men over —— feel the same way about it. At 0645 this morning we started advancing again. We got he three bridges that span across the Naktong River. Once the Eng.’s get the bridges repaired we’ll start getting tanks and supplies over across the river to us. This morning we went for about 3 miles no opposition. Now the morale in the 24th Div. is up 100%. Everybody is either singing or making some attempts at it.
Well we got to our objective. Another outfit is going up ahead of us. Now we’re by the river everybody’s swimming. Today is just wonderful.
We just captured Waegwan and by the looks of things the reds are in full retreat. Going thru Waegwan I saw a lot of equipment left behind by the reds in their hasty retreat. Now we’re really giving the reds the same treatment they gave us at the beginning of the war. The only difference is that we’re doubling the punishment we took. Right now our planes are after some tanks that are holding us up. By the looks of things we’re headed towards Kumchon. News just came that our bazooka squad knocked out a tank. One of our boys got lost and came about 25 yards from an enemy tank without knowing it. When he found out he opened up on the tank with his carbine and then started running. He made it back. Coming through Waegwan I saw enough captured automatic weapons to equip a Div. Those reds sure pulled out fast. They even left their artillery. Well it’s getting too dark to write anymore. By the looks of things we won’t be digging in tonight, we’ll probably push all night. Well we were pulled back for the night. Our other Co.’s went ahead of us. We are staying at Waegwan.
Well we’re here now and are we tired. Our bazooka squad got two tanks. The red tanks were out of gas and out of ammo but they were shooting at us with burp guns so we had to blow them up. They wouldn’t surrender. The reds are afraid to surrender. What they’re doing now is waiting for us to capture a position. Then they hide and make sure we’re Americans. Then they come out and surrender to us. They’re beaten now. They won’t surrender in groups because if they do their own officers will shoot them. They’re starting to surrender now in groups nevertheless. They’re leaving so much equipment behind that we can’t find enough trucks to haul it away. Tonight we ( 57mm. Squad ) are sleeping next to a small tunnel. There’s 5 of us. We’re covering the road in front of us just in case somebody should decide to run tanks against us. Corporal Bates is playing it safe. He thinks there’s reds in the tunnel we’re staying next to. I threw some rocks in too but all I heard was a hollow bang. Anyway Cpl. Bates and PFC Dunn started throwing dirt and covered the mouth of the tunnel. Well we’re all going to bed now. The town is really light. Every house is on fire. Good night.
Sep 22nd . News just came that we have more than 50 tanks just waiting for the bridge to be repaired to get across to us. Then look Gooks. We’re really coming in. Well I’ve got the jitters this morning. That tunnel that Cpl. Bates said had reds in it did have reds in it. Cpl. Bates and myself and PFC Weber went over to talk to some fellows when 3 reds started coming out of the tunnel and surrendered to PFC Brennan and PFC Diehl. Those reds could have come out last night and shot us all. They had enough grenades, 2 rifles and 1 burp gun and plenty of ammo. I guess God was really watching over us. After Bates and myself saw those reds surrendering we came over and Brennan and Diehl searched the prisoners and then I crawled into the tunnel and found a set of binoculars which I kept and a burp gun which I gave to Cpl. Bates. And two rifles, one I gave to PFC Brennan and the other some jerk got it. I found plenty of ammo. I was kind of scared going in there ‘cause there were plenty of grenades.
Well we’re moving up again. The 24th Div. Is doing very good. Well today our Air Force really gave the reds hell. They’re in full retreat. We’ve had air support so close to us that the plane fire almost hit us a few times. I guess today has really been a very lucky day for us. Today while advancing we came across 4 Russian brand new trucks that were left behind. We (57mm. squad ) got one and got it running and now we’re riding trucks. Co. L really got mobilized overnight. We have Russian trucks and motorcycles and plenty of tires for our truck. Now besides the binoculars I captured I got me a burp gun. It’s about the same as our Thompson-sub only the burp gun holds 72 rounds of ammo in the magazine. Well a few enemy tanks held us up today but our bazooka’s and tanks got them. Two of our tanks are knocked out. One got it in the tracks. The other got it broadside but no one was wounded. Our Div. is really advancing. We’re advancing so fast that we hardly can keep up with the enemy. Well today makes the 5th day of our push since we crossed the Naktong River. Tonight the 24th Div. made history in this war. We ( 21st Regt. ) made the first night attack of this war. We advanced about 2 miles when 5 artillery pieces opened up on us. That put a stop to our night advance. We dug in for the night and one of our platoons went up ahead and ran off the reds. The reds fired about 300 rounds on us before our platoon silenced them. No one was hurt.
Sep 23rd - We had a pretty cold night despite the close call we had. So far I’ve counted 13 enemy tanks knocked out and 3 self propelled guns. As for enemy trucks there’s been so many left behind that I lost count. I lost count at 58. Well right now we’re bringing up the rear. Our men in front must have hit stiff resistance ‘cause there’s been wounded carried by us in fair numbers about two tank crews included. Some kid was riding in a jeep sitting up with half his face blown off. He didn’t even show signs of pain.
News just came that we’ve lost 6 tanks ( 2 beyond repair ) since Sep 19, the beginning of the big drive. Our troops up front on the outskirts of Kumchon have met plenty of small arms fire but are doing well. Our planes have been with us all the way. The 19th Regt. is supposed to relieve us when we get to Kumchon. News just came that the 19th Regt. won’t relieve us. They’ve been called to help the British out instead. The 5th RCT is relieving us. We are now about 3 miles from Kumchon. We are just bringing up the rear. Our main units are in Kumchon already. Well it’s getting late at night and I’ve got a feeling we’re getting shelled tonight so I’m digging in for the night.
Well my feeling was right. We did get shelled. During the shelling some dumb jokers decided to blow up an enemy tank near our encampment. They just hollered "fire in the hole" and blew up the tank. Fragments from the tank blew all over the area. I was kneeling just going to bed when I saw the big flare from the explosion. I thought it was enemy shells coming in on us. I jumped and while on my way to my foxhole a piece of steel from the tank hit me right in my rear and on my knee. Fortunately it didn’t hit me with full force and I wasn’t hurt, but my buddy next to me got a piece of shrapnel in his knee. He had to go to the medics. After the explosion the tank started burning pretty big fires and it drew fire from the enemy lines.
During the late hours of the night our tanks "about 20 in number" started coming thru our lines towards the front. Then following was our artillery. Right behind us we have artillery. Well our tanks and artillery finally got the enemy artillery so I guess we can spend the rest of the night in sleep.
Sep 24th . The night was very peaceful except for the reds. Our artillery nailed them all night long. Well we spent ‘til noon behind the lines. Now our Co. is supposed to go ahead about 8 miles. It’s night now and we’ve been on the road about 3 hours. We are right on the river bed where the reds can see us. They’ll probably start shelling us before long. The moon is bright as can be.
I was right. We got shelled for about 3 hours straight. This was one time that I really did some praying not only for myself but for all our boys. God must have heard me ‘cause none of us were hurt. A few pieces of shrapnel fell pretty close to many of us. We would walk a few feet when shells would come in on us and we’d dig in. I bet I dug about 15 holes. We started advancing about 6:30 p.m. and didn’t get out of the river bed till 2:00 a.m. The river bed wasn’t over 3 miles long. We had too much artillery coming in on us.
Sep 25th . Well we’re out of the river bed and on our way again. I guess we’ll be walking all night long. Our tanks are all moving up along with us. Now we’re about 3 miles more ahead and our leader just found out that we took the wrong road so now we have to go back 3 miles and start all over again. It’s now about 4:30 a.m. and it’s really cold. We just had to cross a river about knee deep. Lucky the water was warm. Well it’s been walk and walk. We just came into a very long slit trench where pretty near close to 4 reds were just waiting for us to come. We were all pretty lucky our leader lost his way ‘cause if we’d of gotten there a few minutes sooner they would have picked us off one by one. As it was the reds got tired of waiting for us and took off.
Well now it’s daylight and our planes are strafing and bombing Kumchon. This is the first stiff opposition we’ve had since the start of this push. Once we kick them all out of Kumchon they won’t have too much of a chance to hold us back. They can’t fight much longer ‘cause the 7th Div. and the 1st Marine Div. are pushing south from Inchon, where they made their invasion. News just came that the 1st Cav. is 23 miles in front of us at "Sanju." They crossed the Naktong farther up north and went right in and captured Sanju. What they want to do now is wait for us to catch up to them and then push up together. The enemy may be beaten but they still reserve the initiative to strike at us once in a while. We’ve taken many prisoners. There’s only two kinds of good reds, dead reds and the ones that surrender. I’d sooner take them prisoner than fight them. I just came to one conclusion, Gen. MacArthur sure used his brains when he had the Marines and the Army invade the 38th parallel. By doing that we can destroy the N. Korean army in S. Korea and thus we have accomplished our mission whereas if we just push them into N. Korea and not go beyond the 38th parallel we have not accomplished nothing. Well getting back to us, our planes are still strafing Kumchon and we’re still waiting and are we tired. No sleep all night. My feet are really tired and aching. We got into a small skirmish and our planes were called over. The planes got mixed up and strafed two of our boys before they found out where the reds were.
Well now we are in a fair size skirmish. We got the reds scattering for the hills. Our platoons are after them while the machine guns and the 57’s ( that’s me ) are all lined up firing away. I made 4 hits out of 4 with my 57 mm. at about 800 yds. and 750 yds. I guess we got the reds I hope. We haven’t got too much ammo left with us. Right now I’m not firing ‘cause I’ve just got two rounds left. I have to hang up now. Air support was just called. This I’ve got to see. When you get a front seat to a strafing show you’ve really seen something.
Well our Air Force really did a wonderful job. Now comes our artillery. "Boy" are they doing good. Now our platoon is going to take a village and I have to fire a couple rounds at the two houses facing us to get a few reds there so our platoon ca go in. I got two direct hits at 400 yds. and 350 yds. I bet I got every one of those Gooks. We’re drawing plenty of small arms fire. I just fired a couple more rounds at a hill where the Gooks were retreating up a hill. I got both rounds right smack in them.
Well we captured a small town and a hill with only three casualties. The reds suffered plenty plus some prisoners. There’s about a 1000 reds waiting to surrender but they won’t ‘cause they’re afraid of their officers. When we had first started taking this town 2 reds ran to us to surrender. One of their officers saw them and shot one. The other made it to our lines. One of our men shot the officer. Coming through one section of the town we were advancing and to our left there was a high bank which had reeds on both sides and the bottom of the bank. Advancing we came to a section of the bank that had a bridge. Reds were retreating on the other side. When I spotted them just as I was going by the bridge I couldn’t fire at them ‘cause I was carrying my 57 mm. so I called on some of my buddies to fire at them. Cpl. Bates made an attempt to fire at them but he didn’t have round in his rifle. Then the reds were out of sight and we kept on going. Our CO got complimented on the good teamwork we practiced in taking this town. This town is just between Kumchon and Sengju. It’s a small industrial town or shall I say it was after we got through with it.
Well the night was very pleasant. For once since I’ve been here in Korea I didn’t get shelled at night. We all hadn’t had any sleep for one day and we sure walked that night.
Sep 26th . Early this morning 13 of our tanks went thru our lines on the way to the front. The 13 tanks were medium tanks. Here come the heavy tanks now. 12 heavy tanks came thru. 12 heavy tanks are the same as 40 medium tanks. Plenty of troops going with the tanks. Our patrols just came from scouting thru the town we took last night and they say there are about 50 Russian tanks that were left behind by the reds. They didn’t even fire with them. We found plenty of artillery ammo stacked up alongside one of the hills we took. Some of our Korean soldiers told me this morning that I saved their life by firing with my 57 mm. rifle at a bunch of reds piled up on a hillside. They were firing at us with everything. If I had a camera I could sure take some good pictures. There’s GI’s riding horses, some driving captured Russian jeeps and driving Russian tanks. Some trying to fire Russian artillery. Some playing basketball with an old football they found laying around and funniest of all there’s two GI’s chasing a poor defenseless pig. I’ve got a hungry feeling we’re going to have pig tonight.
Well we’re staying behind and some other units are going ahead of us. There’s been trucks and trucks full of troops pass thru our lines. News just came in that our other units pushed clear up to Yongdong. We’ve uncovered many boxes of enemy ammo. We captured about 50 tanks that the reds left in their hasty retreat. I believe they’re retreating faster than our troops were when the war first started. Our Co. alone has killed and captured quite a number of them. From what I hear the war can’t last the rest of this month. Well it’s night now and I guess it’s safe to sleep without worrying about getting shelled.
Sep 27th . Everybody had a pretty good nights sleep. Everything is progressing fine. Our troops are doing fine. Today we move out for the front. The 7th Div. has been reported 3 ½ miles from Taejon. Well we’re on our way again only this time by trucks. We’re passing through Yong-dong and by the looks of it our forces sure raised hell here. There isn’t a building standing. The reds left tanks and artillery and ammo behind. There was quite a number of prisoners taken here. I guess we’ll be staying here the rest of the day and probably tomorrow. We’ll be moving into Taejon. Well we dug in up on a hill and my 57 mm. rifle. We ( squad ) set up the 57 mm. covering a big draw where (it’s) reported (a) number of reds have been reported stringing down the draw to surrender. We’re supposed to see that nobody shoots at them and that they don’t try to break through our lines. Well the night was very dull. Nothing happened.
Sep 28th 1950. Early this morning two reds started coming down the draw when one of our trigger happy machine gunners opened up on the reds. They just ducked in time to be missed. I hollered at the machine gunner to hold his fire and I went down and took in the two prisoners. Well we’re in our trucks waiting to move out again. I guess we’re moving to Taejon. Every time we move through a town all the civilians wave at us and cheer at us. I guess they’re happy to be free again. ( Sept 25 PFC Brant got killed). Well I guess we won’t be going into Taejon just yet. Taejon still isn’t secured. We’re spending the night near Yongdong.
Sep 29th . Early this morning we got orders to move into Taejon. One of our Regt.’s captured Taejon and got the airstrip too. Well we’re in Taejon now. We didn’t get to see too much of it. We have to be up on the hills guarding against a breakthru by the reds. Well everybody is relaxing now. The night was very quiet.
Sep 30th . Early this morning one man from "M" Co. shot himself cleaning his rifle. He forgot to unload. I went through all of Taejon today and I saw great big holes about 20X20 and there was about 25 holes dug. They were all filled with dead S. Koreans. The N. Koreans shot everybody that wouldn’t cooperate with them in defending the city. They buried some up to their necks and then took pot shots at them. The reds had about 40 American prisoners all of which the reds shot. They tied their hands behind ( them ) and then shot them. All of Taejon is nothing but rubble.
Well we’re moving back today about two miles and start flushing out the hills and searching for weapons.
Well we’re staying in a schoolhouse. From here we’re supposed to go out and patrol hills. One of our patrols just came back from patrolling and they came in contact with seven reds. The reds opened fire on our patrol. Our patrol shot back killing 1 and wounding 4. They captured all of them and brought them in. They sure had a bloody mess. Well the night was very quiet.
Oct 1st . Well this morning I went out on patrol and captured one red. I searched a lot of homes looking for arms and ammo but found none. Every patrol that went out brought back some prisoners. Our patrol brought one. The biggest bunch was brought in by our Gimlets. They brought in about 14. All day today our trucks have been hauling back Prisoners by the hundreds. It’s rumored that somewhere in the vicinity of Pohang there’s a few thousand reds that were given a chance to surrender but they refused it and today our Air Force started in after them. The reds are really getting a break they don’t even deserve. My opinion is that if we’re going to accomplish anything from this war we should start by giving the prisoners fair treatment and treat them like humans and make them see the truth. Every time I capture 1, I try and make him feel at ease by offering him a cigarette. News just came that tomorrow we’re moving up north about 60 miles from here. The boys at church today were told that Gen. Walker told Gen. Church that the 24th Div. had one more job to do and that within two months the 21st Regt. would be either in Japan or the states. I hope it’s the states. Now it’s night and everything looks all right except that the Eng.’s are really on the ball. They got a locomotive running today.
Oct 2nd 1950. Well the night was very calm and everything went pretty good. This morning we’re supposed to move 60 miles up north. After that job is done I believe we’re going home.
Well we just went through Chochiwon and all I could see was bunch of dead reds that the S. Koreans caught and hung. The city itself was leveled down. Between Taejon and Chochiwon I counted about 300 vehicles and 30 tanks destroyed by either our Air Force or ground troops. We crossed the Kum River and in one small section I saw 6 tanks destroyed. Some tanks were left intact. And as for ammo the reds have left loads and loads of it. Well it seems like the people like seeing us back here again. They gather in groups and as our trucks go by they cheer at us. We just came through Chason and did our Air Force raise hell with the reds here. Just before coming into the city itself there’s a few hundred trucks, jeeps and tanks destroyed. I counted about 50 SP guns and a bunch of small 37s.
Now we’re staying in an old army barracks. One of our company’s is set up about 3 miles ahead of us. All we’re doing is setting up a roadblock for any reds that should happen to come our way. Either they surrender to us or we’ll have to fight it out. I’d rather have them surrender to us than have to fight them and kill them. I can see killing them only when it’s called for. Well the rest of the was very quiet.
Oct 3rd 1950. Last night was very quiet. Early this morning one of our SGT’s came around looking for volunteers to go on patrol into enemy territory. The patrol is supposed to go and find out if there’s any enemy concentrations nearby. Anyway I was one of the volunteers to go. We went about 5 miles up on our lines to Div. Hqtrs and picked up a couple of civilians. One was a missionary who said that the N. Koreans had been plundering villages at night and killing many of their people ‘cause they wouldn’t cooperate with them in fighting us. He said that the N. Koreans had butchered about 300 innocent people. We drove for another 8 miles and then left our lines and started into enemy territory. As we passed thru some villages the people would holler and cry, hollering "Welcome." Some came up to me and grasped my hand and kissed it. Some shook hands with (me). Some people would jump up with joy. Kids, hundreds of them all over filled with joy welcoming us. We drove to a church where all the killings were supposed to have taken place. When we arrived there I got kind of scared ‘cause I saw a great big mob totaling a few thousand. I loaded my weapon and so did the other men and we just kept on driving towards the mob. Then the missionary told us that the mob was his people waiting for us. He’d told them that he was bringing American troops to protect them. As we drove up to the mob they started crying with joy. Those people didn’t have anything to fight with. All they had were bamboo sticks with a sharp point at the end of it. But bamboo sticks are no match against military arms. I went inside the church and one missionary told me that the reds had hoarded every thing away. I didn’t see anything inside the church. The rest of our patrol was talking to the townspeople and I started looking for the people that were supposed to have been murdered. They had been buried but I saw a few enormous graves where the ( townspeople ) had buried their people. By now we were about 5 miles in(side) enemy lines. While another of our patrol went to another village to look for enemy troops some of us stayed behind waiting. When they returned they said that the villagers had everything under control. They had about 80 red prisoners just waiting for us to take. We told them we couldn’t take them back but we’d send a truck to haul them away. We fired a few shots. We had 4 BAR’s and 3 M1’s and 3 carbines and only 3 weapons would fire without trouble, 1 BAR 1 carbine and 1 M1. The rest all had some kind of trouble. I was carrying an M1 and every time I fired a shot I had to poke a long rod through the barrel to knock the cartridge out of the chamber. It wouldn’t extract but I had a hand grenade with me. After looking over the place we proceeded on our mission looking for enemy troops. We stopped in a few villages, searched the houses for possible enemy weapons. We finally drove to about 15 miles into enemy lines and according to the villagers we were completely surrounded but the reds only had one weapon to every 5 or 10 men so they didn’t dare attack. If they’d only known the condition of our weapons! In one section 200 troops and in another section they had 500 troops and many others we didn’t count.
We came to a village about 15 miles in enemy lines and the townspeople were waiting for us with flags waving and cheering at us. We talked to the mayor and he told us he had about 50 prisoners locked up. 2 men and myself went up to the jail and the rest of the patrol kept watch. They had a bunch of S. Koreans standing guard with long sticks with sharp ends. When I looked up all the prisoners showed signs of being worked over. Their faces were bloody where the S. Koreans had poked them with their sticks. We took 2 that were supposed to be the leaders. We took them back for questioning. On the way back we stopped at the church again and the people there had a chicken dinner waiting for us. We ate French fries and eggs. They begged us to stay so we could protect them. We told them we couldn’t but that our troops would be here very shortly as soon as we reported back. We were sure lucky. 15 miles in enemy lines surrounded by several hundred and eating a chicken dinner not worrying about the war. That was really something. We came back and turned in the prisoners and came back to camp. We had our chow and went to bed.
Oct 4th . Sure had a good nights sleep. Right now waiting for today’s duty. Yesterdays 2 groups of our men went up towards Taejon where our Div. suffered heavy losses at the early stages of the war. Our ….. said that Div. Hqtrs estimated about 1100 dead Americans killed on one certain place. This happened on one hill which was nick-named "suicide hill" where our troops made one of this war’s greatest stands against tremendous odds. It is estimated that for every G.I. that was killed 10 reds were killed. They just came in waves all bunched up like a bunch of cattle. Some of our men went out on patrol and captured two trucks and killed (1) red trying to run. The rest of the day was quiet.
Oct 5th - Well this morning I volunteered to drive a truck to haul army personnel to another place. I drove for about 20 miles. Drove a Russian truck, they’re no match for our trucks. I was just told that tomorrow we move again "North." We’re going about 1 ½ miles from the 38th parallel. What I think is that instead of going home we’re going to make the crossing at the "38." I myself feel that if we are to achieve peace from this war we should carry the war all the way north until we have licked the enemy. If we stop at the 38th the fighting will never cease. Nothing happened today …. that we were told that yesterday all our forces combined captured 4000 prisoners. "Good news." The night was pretty calm and we’re all getting fat like pigs acting ….. Well nothing else for today.
Oct 6th - Well we’re all waiting to move this morning. All packed up and everything. Well now we’re in our new place. We came through Suwon and Seoul. I couldn’t see too much of Seoul. We came through at night. We drove about a hundred miles. Now we are waiting for further orders.
Oct 7th - All around us we have the Cav. and I hear we’re supposed to help the Cav. take a town. So we’re getting ready for it. I got my 57mm all set for action. Well we didn’t help the Cav. We’re just supposed to wait here a couple of days until further orders.
Oct 8th - Well today I was made squad leader of the 57mm. I used to be gunner before. We’re still waiting for orders to move out. Nothing unusual happened today.
Oct 9th - Today we were told that we are going to cross the "38." All day today truckloads of troops and Artillery and supplies pass through here on the way to the "38." Right now we (24th Div.) are about 30 miles from the 38. I kind of doubt if we (24th Div.) will have to go across the 38. The marines and the 7th Div. Are making a landing up north close the N. Korean capitol while the S. Koreans are coming from the east coast and a few other divisions composed of Americans, British, Australians and S. Koreans are to push up north from the Seoul area. Today 4 S. Korean divisions and our trucks hauled trucks and truckloads of British and "Aussies" to the front lines. Our air force had gotten a little lax on the reds for a few days but now they’re going at it again. We were told that the N. Koreans turned down the surrender reply. The only (reason) I can see for them for turning down the surrender plea must be because they expect the Chinese to help them. Our air force spotted two columns of tanks coming down south from up north in the direction of Wondong and the N. Korean capitol. When the S. Korean divisions were passing thru here I counted about 14 infantry women with them. Well we’ll be moving any day now I guess.
Oct 10th - All night last night hundreds of troops just kept a steady stream through here and plenty of our tanks and supplies came thru.
Oct 11th - We’re still waiting for orders. We’re really enjoying life. Going to the movies at night. Right now we’re like a bunch of vacationers just out for a time of relaxation.
Oct 12th - Well this morning we move out up north somewhere. Well some ride it was. We came thru Kaesong and crossed a big bridge which was supposed to be the 38th line so I guess we’re across now. Well we’re back in combat again. We’re on a hill where the 1st Cav. got counter-attacked 3 times Oct 11th. If they try counter-attacking us we’ll be ready for them. The 1st Cav. lost quite a few men because they all fell asleep at night and the reds just sneaked in at night and had their pickings. Well we’re digging in for the night now and heres hoping those reds don’t start coming around at night and getting nosy cause we’ll sure do our best to accommodate them.
Oct 13th - "Whew". Did I sleep last night. They can start calling me pop now. Luck for somebody the reds didn’t come around last night to get acquainted with their new neighbors. If they’d of come over last night we couldn’t have been of any service to them. All we had to serve was nice hand grenades and mortars and 57mm and some of that good old southern hot lead. Well we got patrols out probing around us to see just what is in front of us. Mostly what we are fighting now are small patrols of reds. Well all day today we’re preparing for a reported counter-attack that’s supposed to come at night. We have plenty of mortars and machine-guns and I’ve got plenty of ammo for my 57mm. Well the rest of the day was spent preparing for anything that might come. Now it’s about 11:30 at night and I had one of my men on guard and he reported some .. reds were coming up our flanks. Everybody was awakened and a burp gun in front of us went off and our machine-gun opened up. I was kind of worried but I overcame that. After awhile we laid low and waited.
Oct 14th - Well all last night we just waited for the reds to start coming. They didn’t know they better stay (away) cause now we got tanks, artillery and all kinds of weapons. Today we’re just waiting for more reds.
Oct 15th - Well it’s Sunday once more and this morning we had a luxory, hot baths, I just came back from one. All day our Artillery and mortars (4.2) harassed the enemy. Our patrols have been sent out and report that the reds are all running away. Well it looks like we’ll be moving out tomorrow. We were just told that the 7th , 3rd , 1st Marine Divs. Just made a landing 30 miles from the Manchurian border. I was just issued my winter clothing so I guess we’ll be here all winter.
Oct 16th - Well last night was pretty quiet. It rained all night. Now we’re ready to move out. We’re supposed to push 15 miles and stop there. That’s a lot of miles to walk when you’re loaded down with weapons. I’m carrying about 160 lbs. of equipment.
We sure walked a long ways. We captured a town 15 miles away on the 38th without being asked. Before the reds pulled out they massacred 1000 civilians including kids and women. It’s really a bloody mess. The town folk are really glad to see us. They’re all crying with joy.
Well we were just starting to dig in when orders came to pull out. The S. Korean police are taking over the town and we’re supposed to move by trucks about 85 miles north, where nobody knows.
Well we finally got here. We just went 40 miles into North Korea. The reds must have drafted everyone cause all I’ve seen so far are old men and kids. Well we’re staying behind lines for tonight and tomorrow morning we (21st Regt.) are making a push (on) the red capitol. From there we’re supposed to be relieved and ship out of Korea.
Oct 17th - Well this morning we’re all ready to go and get into action. Right now we’re all rested from a good nights sleep. Well we advanced 18 miles since 0230 this morning without opposition. Right now it’s 12:00 noon. Boy am I tired. My feet are really burning from walking. It was 60 miles from where we started this morning to the red capitol. Right now our tanks in front of us found resistance. There(s) some reds in a house right now trying to hold us back. Our tanks are blasting away. Well I guess our tanks knocked out the reds. We’re advancing again. North Korea is sure a … place. The farming lands are all dry and nothings been raised on them for … … time. I guess the reds must of forced all of the Northern people to fight. Mostly what we see has been women and kids. Our Bn. Just captured a Co. of reds plus two officers. Every mile we advance we take 20 or more prisoners. I guess they’re finally realizing that they’re licked. I just came thru a bunch of hills and upon these hills there was 1 machine gun plus 10 able men (reds) and the people up there they could of just cut us down. They had high ground but instead picked up their weapons and surrendered to us. On one of our flanks we had a platoons go up a hill where they found one Co. of reds. Our platoon got up on high ground and started going down after the reds. I guess they killed every one of them. Some tried to bug out but our men got them. The reds have surrendered to us artillery and all kinds of automatic weapons. They’ve got plenty of machine guns. They just don’t want to fight anymore and I don’t blame them. I hate killing people or even think(ing) about it but I will try and do my share when ever it’s called for. What I want to do now is get this war over with and get home where people are free. I don’t mind fighting this war. I don’t mind ‘cause I know from this war many people are going to learn to respect people’s freedom. I’m helping win this war so that every human on this earth can live and worship the way he feels. All we fighting men ever think about is getting is getting back home again and start living again. Well I guess we’re nearing our objective for today. It’s getting dark now and I guess everybody’s hungry. All we’ve had to eat was two pancakes this morning. We’re supposed to get hot chow in a few minutes. Well we just came thru a small town and I guess we’re staying here. I just found out that we advanced 30 miles. That’s a lot of miles to walk in one day. My feet are just raw on the bottom. But if I have to go I’ll go. I guess everybody in the outfit’s got sore feet. We’re just 30 miles from the red capitol. From there we’re supposed to get relieved and pulled back. I just got back from eating chow. Boy, was it good. Now I’ve got to take my squad and set up on an outpost.
Oct 18th .Well last night the reds tried to sneak into our lines from the rear but our Gimlets spotted them in the dark and opened up with machine guns. That was enough. They didn’t bother us anymore the rest of the night. We sure have a bunch of good Gimlets with us. Gimlets are S. Koreans that we put into American units to fight alongside us. They wear the same clothing we do and get the same rations we do. They’re rough little fighters.
Well I guess some other BN. is spearheading this morning. The 5th RCT is ahead now. We linked up with the 19th Regt. They’re part of the 24th Div. This big push is being done by the 24th Div. That’s us. Well my feet sure feel good this morning. When I went to breakfast I went for 4th helpings. That’s how hungry I was. Well we’re waiting for orders to move out. I just came back from taking a walk thru the town we stopped at and all I can say is I’m really ashamed of the things our men are doing to these N. Korean civilians. In one instance I saw a bunch of our Gimlets beat up a couple of kids to a pulp. And GI’s are going around beating up old and young men alike. I just hope this doesn’t get around to the U.N. This morning I saw three Gimlets go into a watch shop and beat up the owner and break all his watches. All I’ve got to say is that the first G.I. or Gimlet I see shoot a defenseless N. Korean civilian I’m going to shoot that man right on the spot and then drag (him) to an officer. Then maybe they’ll put a stop to these inhuman acts. I think it’s about time somebody wised up. The order just came out that anyone committing indecent acts against civilians would be court martialed. One of our officers just found 3 GI’s and 4 Gimlets with 20 N. Koreans tied up and beating them on the head with a club. The 3 GI’s were so dumbfounded that when the officer asked them why they were beating up the civilians they just said "We’re punishing them!" Evidently they haven’t heard of that system that punishes the guilty by fair trial "LAW." We just had a meeting and we were all told that if anyone man or men were caught beating up these civilians to turn them in. I’m a 100% for that. Well it kind of looks like we’ll be here for awhile now. One of our other Regt.’s is doing the spearheading now. Well it looks like the slaughtering stopped this morning. The Gimlets robbed a bank of 3 million in Korean currency. Well I guess we’ll be moving tonight about 2 thousand yards away and set up a roadblock.
Oct 19th . Well it finally happened, just what I feared. Some GI from another outfit went into town and beat up a Korean thinking the Korean was a Northern. He picked the wrong man. The Korean happened to be a S. Korean C.I.D. man and besides beating up the man he set fire to half the town.
Last night was very quiet. Nothing happened. Well it’s rumored that the 24th Div. might go to Germany. As of today the U.N. Forces have captured 60,000 prisoners. There can’t be very (many) more reds left. Well looks like some officer spotted some reds up in the hills and they’re sending us to get them. They’re sending 2 rifle squads, 1 mortar squad and 2 57 mm. squads. Must be quite a bunch of reds.
Well we just got back from the patrol. We estimated about 50 reds. 40 of them took off before we got to them and 4 came running to us with their bugle and very happy to surrender to us. Our riflemen fired at a bunch of reds hiding in some very thick bushes and some little girl got in the way and got shot in the arm. We’re taking her back to our medic station with us. Well it’s night again and tomorrow we’re moving again. Moving about 17 miles farther north. Today we were told that all the roads in the N. Korean capitol were closed to all Div.’s but the Cav. I’m glad we’re staying behind. They can take all the credit. Well night is setting now and it’s time to turn in.
Pages 46 and 47 of Ike's diary -- this covers that part of Oct 18 thru that part of Oct 19 that is shown above in bold italics.
Picture by Jim Fine
Oct 20th . Well we had another night of rest. We’ve got plenty of time and can’t get hold of writing paper. Well we’re going out on patrol again this morning. It’s reported that 70 reds are next to our camp.
We just got back from patrol and we had some pretty good catchings. Most of the reds got away but we killed 16. The officer in charge of our patrol gave the reds a chance to surrender. They preferred to die. One of our medics got wounded in the ankles and our officer got shrapnel in the head. When we looked over the dead reds we discovered they were high officials. They were all wearing pretty fancy clothing. Now we got our G-2 looking them over. We found some very important papers on them. We brought a prisoner back and he told us there’s pretty close to 200 reds hiding out in the hills near us so I guess tomorrow we’ll be going out again. Well it looks like we won’t move today either not until we get all these reds cleaned out. We’re supposed to move to Haegu. It’s about 17 miles from here on the coast. Haegu is supposed to be one of the most modern seaport cities in N. Korea. Well I guess we’ll just be spending the rest of the day relaxing.
Oct 21st . I guess I was right about going out on patrol again today. We’re getting ready for it now.
Well we’ve covered about 6 miles already and still can’t find any sign of reds. I’m getting pretty tired just walking and no action. It’s a pity having to tow all these heavy weapons so far and not fire them.
Well we’re back in our camp and we didn’t fire one shot. As we were heading back our officer spotted a Korean and asked me if I needed a man to carry my 57 mm. I told him I did and the Korean turned out to be a soldier. He had white clothing over his uniform. I started shaking him down and found some very important papers in his shirt cuff.
Well it’s been three days since we’ve been here and there’s really been a lot of equipment and troops go by here. Right now we’re about a 1000 yds from Yonan. It’s a small railroad town in North Korea. I guess we’ll be moving into the red capital day after tomorrow. Our billeting party is leaving tomorrow to find a place for us. Well tomorrow will be time to go to church again.
Oct 22nd . Well this morning some very good news came. We might leave Korea very soon now. Our Gimlets are all going home today. All our litter bearers are leaving and without them we can’t go into battle. The special service is sure on the ball. They’ve been showing movies ever since the second day we took this town but me and my squad can’t go. We have an outpost and we have to remain here. Well no patrol today and news just came that …. mean one of the men can go into Haeju and see a movie.
Just got back from Haeju. It’s really a better town than I’ve seen before over here.
Oct 23rd . Well we’re moving this morning up north past the North Korean capitol. We’re supposed to go about 50 miles.
Well we just passed through the red capital. It’s quite a place. It’s better than Seoul. It’s got a big airfield. The only thing wrong with the capital is that it has been bombed too much. There’s equipment strung all over the place.
Well we finally got to our objective. Right after we got here we could see our planes dropping artillery pieces to our paratroopers. We’re supposed to be here until the 2nd Div. relieves us. Then probably it’s home for the 21st Regt.
Well it’s night now and we have to pull guard. Right now my men in my squad brought 3 ducks and I guess we’ll have duck tonight.
Well I roasted the ducks and were they good. Tomorrow my men are going after more prey.
Oct 24th . We were lucky. We found some coal last night to burn. If we hadn’t we’d have froze. It got so cold last night that our water in our canteens froze. We were up in the hills ( as usual ) pulling guard.
Well it’s happened again. Some G.I. last night raped a girl and now we can’t even leave our Co. area. I’ve got no place to go anyway but who ever stooped so low as to go around raping girls. I hope he gets caught.
I think we’re getting pushed around too much. We were just told that we ( 24th Div. ) have to push about a 100 miles up to the Manchurian border. I don’t mind it myself. It’s just that they tell us we’re on our last job, then they bring up another one. The only thing that’s got me worried is this coming winter. We’re getting winter sleeping bags very shortly so it won’t be so bad.
Well I just fried a chicken in a pot full of lard. Boy was it good. By the time the 24th Div. leaves Korea there won’t be any chickens left. All we do all day long is go around from village to village looking for chickens, rabbits or ducks and are they good. We got relieved so tonight we’ll be staying inside a building.
I just finished taking a hot bath. The water was so hot you could have cooked a chicken in it. I sure feel good.
Well it’s night now and we finally got some writing paper. Not much good but it’s writing paper anyway.
Oct 25th . This morning we were told that unless our supplies start coming in we’ll be eating two meals a day. That’s going to hurt some of our other platoons. It won’t bother us cause lots of the men in the platoon I’m in are all cooks and there’s quite a few cows and pigs running around here loose. It happened the fan hit the sky. Just a few minutes ago 8 of our men came in with one pig and one cow. So there’s good eating tonight.
Our Bn. commander just called up and he wants all of the troops under his command to go over to Bn. for a little speech.
Well we just got back from our little speech and our Bn. commander told us that we ( 21st Regt. ) had one more technical job to do and after that we start polishing up ( shipping out for home ).
We just started in on the cow and pig. Our platoon has 32 men. In 4 hours our platoon of 32 men had eaten the pig and eating till midnight and my squad ( 4 men including myself ) took two posts up in the hills and with us we took about 50 lbs. of meat from the cow. That lasted us till midnight. If we had more we’d eat more. We got a fire going and got a big pot and filled it half with lard and just kept frying the meat in it.
Oct 26th . Well it started raining early this morning. Lucky it didn’t rain last night. Well so far we haven’t had word on moving out. We do know that we’re moving up north very soon. We’re all equipped for winter.
Well nothing unusual happened today. All we’re doing besides going up on the hills or on outpost is eating and sleeping.
Oct 27th . Well last night was a night of horror. We got bombed and strafed last night. Our 50’s opened up on the airplane but I don’t think they hit it. The plane sure came down low. He dropped two bombs and strafed a little but I don’t think anyone was hurt.
Well word just came that we’re moving out
We just came thru a town where the paratroopers landed and I guess they really did a good job coming thru this town. We saw hundreds of dead reds scattered all over town. Their body’s we really re.. from bullets.
Well now we’re close to the lines and it’s night now so we’re staying here for the night. We just heard on the radio that a Regt. of ROK troops has been surrounded by reds close to the Manchurian border and there’s no other way of getting supplies to them but by air. The ROKs have been advancing so fast that they had to throw away some of their equipment so that they could keep up with the retreating reds. Right now we are right on the MacArthur Line. This line is to be sort of a defense line in case uncle Joe or China chose to step into this so called "police action." I doubt very much if either of them will risk open war with us. We have plenty over here now.
Oct 28th . Well early this morning my hunch came true. About 12 flying boxcars were on their way to drop supplies to the ROK Regt. that’s surrounded up north this morning. The British crossed the river this morning and met stiff resistance. Our air force is giving the enemy hell today. The reds are really getting the works.
Well it’s about 3:00 p.m. now and we were just told that the ROK Regt. pushed it’s way out of the trap they were in. The ROKs have been pushing so fast that their supplies can’t even catch up with them. Our planes have to drop them supplies.
Now it’s exactly 9:30 p.m. and a red airplane just came in on us and dropped some bombs. Fortunately only one man was hit and it wasn’t severe. Shrapnel hit him in the leg. I guess those bombs hit about 200 yds. from my tent. All of our anti-aircraft opened up on him. I think he got away. Well I guess he won’t be coming back here tonight.
Oct 29th . Early this morning I went over to look at the spot where the bombs fell and I really made a strange discovery. The plane dropped 3 mortars and it came so low he fired a burp gun and blew out two tires on one of our jeeps.
Well we’re moving out this morning up north. We’re supposed to move thru the British and relieve them. We just passed thru a small town where the British had a fight and there’s reds laying all over.
Well we’re at our new place and this just about makes us 30 miles from the Manchurian border. Tomorrow morning one of our Bn’s. is supposed to push first and the first roadblock they run into as soon as they knock it out we push thru them and take over. This push is being done for the 21st Regt.
We just heard some rather nasty news from one of our officers. He told us that our objective which is the Manchurian border is about 30 miles away and we are supposed to take one of the largest power plants in Korea. This power plant is supposed to furnish all the electric power for N. Korea and there ( we know for a fact now ) the Chinese have 40,000 troops. Now whether we fight them or not depends entirely on them. One thing is certain then. They’ll have to move out regardless. Well here’s hoping we don’t get bombed tonight.
Oct 30th . We just found a name for our night intruder. He’s been named "bedcheck Charley" cause he always comes around at night to make sure all the troops are in. Then he drops a few bombs on us to make sure we’re all in. Lucky for him he didn’t come around last night. Four of our B-26’s (night fighter equipped) kept circling our area all night long and our ground twin 40’s and anti-aircraft guns with spotlights and radar kept watch all night long for him to come over.
Well this morning we were told that our original plans had been changed. What we’re going to do now is push west instead of north and come into this town from another road and about 6 miles from this border town stop. Right in this town is one of the biggest power plants over here in the orient and it’s just like a twin city. Half of it is in Korea and half of it is in Manchuria. The Chinese claim that they helped finance and build it. It cost somewhere between 75 and 80,000,000 dollars to build. Our air force never did bomb there. These 40,000 Chinese troops are supposed to be guarding the plant. Anyway that’s our objective. Once we get there and secure the area the 3rd Div. is coming over to relieve us. The 3rd Div. is coming up now.
Today I help conduct a class on the 57 mm. and I can see that I’ll have to do plenty of it once we’re back in garrison. Well news is that where we’re going the reds have plenty of S.P. guns and plenty of tanks but no artillery. Today we have been getting class 1 rations. They’re just like home cooking and they really taste good. Well night’s coming and we have to get ready for bedcheck Charley.
Oct 31st . Well I guess bedcheck Charley gave up his job of checking troops at night. I imagine it got too hot for him.
Well we’re moving up again this morning and our Bn. (3rd) is going into the attack now. We’ll probably go into it tomorrow. The trucks are here now and we’re loading up.
We moved out and just relieved the British. The British are at a town we just came thru and our air force really did a job there. It leveled every building in sight. Well we’ve reached a position where we’re supposed to remain till tomorrow morning. Then we relieve one of our Bns. and we take the attack. Co. "L", that’s us, is supposed to take the lead. 2nd Bn. of the 21st Regt. ran into 15 tanks destroying all but three. The three got away. All we’re up against now are roadblocks and stragglers. I pray to God none of us get killed or wounded.
Well I guess we don’t stay here after all. We just got orders to move up about 12 more miles. The men in front are really doing a fine job. Our jets just came flying over us so I guess the men in front met up with something big. Well we finally reached our point. We stay here tonight and tomorrow morning we push through the 1st Bn. and take the lead right on through to our objective. We’re all set up for the night.
Well, we started pulling guard about 11 PM and "Bed check Charley" brought another friend with him and now he’s circling our area looking for a fire. Well I guess he won’t be dropping "Bombs" on us this time . I think the plane mistook the Reds for American troops and strafed them. Well now I guess … … … back to sleep.
Nov 1st - Well we have just ordered to get ready to move out. It’s 4:00 am and rather chilly. …
Nov 2nd - Well it looks like we’re moving back this morning. I believe we’re getting relieved. Well rumors are really going around right now, mostly bad. Its rumored that the Chinese went to war against us and that we’re moving back to a more defensive position. All I can say is that if the Chinese go to war with us we’ll have to use the "A" bomb. That would be the only sensible thing to do. Well we just heard the news that President Truman was pretty near to getting assassinated and the something happened in Puerto Rico. Well we move(d) out at 5:00 p.m. and we traveled by truck till 10:00 p.m.. Now it looks like we’ll be spending the night here and tomorrow morning we’ll move out again. Still no one will really tell us whether we’re getting relieved or we’re pulling back.
Nov 3rd - Well last night was a pretty cold night. We’re all packed up ready to move out again and still no one knows why or where we’re going. All we know what is that we’re moving back. Rumors are popping out everywhere. Well we’re on our way now and I guess we’re going back quite a ways yet. Well we’re here now and thank God somebody really knows what’s really going on. Our officers told us that "officially" 6 Chinese jets similar to ours were destroyed. And our job so far is to form a defensive line here and prepare for the worst and may the best come. Up north close to the Manchurian ... ... have about 7 DIV’S and 4 ROK DIV’S. It could be that the N. Koreans had some jets hidden somewhere. I hope so. Accidentally we did reached our objective but no one knows what came off with the 40,000 Chinese on our Regt. It is said that the Rocks took over our objective. Well we have reached our objective an we are digging in on the MacArthur Line. It is estimated that 1500 reds are trying to surround us.
Nov 4th - Well last night was a pretty dull night except for our artillery (155’s) that kept firing on the reds all night long. The news just came that one of our REGT’s (19th Regt.) got cut off and the British are trying to help get them out. Anyway we are supposed to go and help out too. Today we killed 4 pigs on our …. . They sure tasted good. Well it’s getting late now and we were just told that tomorrow sometime we would move.
Nov 5th - Well we moved out last night at 1:00 am and I guess we walked 8 miles to the assembly area. Now this morning we’re supposed to move in for an attack and back off some reds. Well we’re moving out and it’s a little bit might chilly. Well it’s 4 hours later and we made good our attack. We captured x. Believe we didn’t suffer any casualties. Now we are digging in. I was wrong on casualties we suffered. Five of my best buddies were killed by a mortar shell. It makes me feel pretty bad losing my buddies. One of the men killed was one new man we just got 4 days ago. He was married and had 4 kids. Our artillery and planes are really giving us close support. Our planes are coming down so low that the dirt around us is picking up. Well it’s night and we’re all digging in.
Nov 6th - I doubt if anybody slept last night. All night long the reds tried making banzai attacks but every time they tried we repulsed them. Our artillery gave us support all night long. This morning we might make another attack and take another hill. Our plans are for us to take another hill and then we get relieved and go in reserve. One of our companies last night got about 3 banzai attacks. The first failed but the last one the reds managed to drive the company off the hill. This morning the same company rushed the reds on the hill and retook their lost hill. The reds come in at night blowing whistles and bugles and making noise like a bunch of people that got no sense and try to demoralize the troops. Well at 4:00 p.m. we started on our objective and had it secured by 4:30 p.m.. Here’s how the whole operation went off. At 3:45 we called in for air support. Our planes worked the hill over for ten minutes. Then our artillery went to work for five minutes they laid a pretty heavy barrage of fire. Then at 4:00 p.m. sharp my … squad and 2 … 57 squads and 4 squads of 75s and 6 squads of machine guns and 4 squads of mortars opened fire on the hill for five minutes. Then our company started climbing the hill. Only 4 men were lost and they were only wounded. The fight lasted for 25 minutes. Then we secured the hill. The 19th Regt. Relieved us and we went into reserve. We walked back for about 4 miles up and down hills and dug in around 6 of our tanks at night.
Nov 7th - I think somebody was crazy when they said we were going in reserve last night. I don’t think anybody slept at all. Reds tried to overrun our lines but failed. We opened up with everything we had.
Well this morning we (21st Regt. ) officially became reserve. All the other outfits are starting a big push this morning. Our bombers are strafing and bombing the hills right in front of us. Well news just came that I’m to transfer to the SV Co. 24th Div., 21st Regt. So I guess my days of combat are over with now.
Well I’m in my new company and I guess I’ll be driving now.
Nov 8th - Well this morning I got my job. I’m hauling mail for our Regt. (21st ). It’s kind of quiet here. I’m kind of thinking of going back to my Co. even if it means going back into combat. The people here just don’t seem to get along with each other.
Nov 9th - Well today I had my first run. But I still prefer a line outfit to driving.
Nov 10th - This morning I spoke to my motor officer about getting sent back to my outfit and he just told me to "stick around for a while." So I guess I’ll just have to make the best of things and stay driving. Maybe if I stick around long enough I’ll like this job. One thing the morale here in this Co. is low. These people don’t kid around like the combat fellows do. When I was in the front lines morale was high ‘cause there you find fellows that are always kidding around and get along like brothers.
Nov 11th - Well same old thing driving for the post office only this morning we really got our cold spell. It really got cold aside of that "Normal." Troops pushing up …. .
Nov 12th , 13th , 14th , 14th , 15th , 16th , 17th, 18th, 19th, 20th, 21st, 22nd - Nothing new.
Nov 23rd - We’re moving up this morning. Moving up the same road we withdrew down a few days ago. Well we moved 17 miles, W of Pak’Chon.
Nov 24th - Our front troops have been advancing without opposition. I hope that something doesn’t happen as before.
Nov 25th - Well we’re moving out again today. … Well we moved 20 miles the … time and now … … … artillery.
Nov 26th - Well this morning when I went after mail I heard that the Chinese had broken thru the ROKs and that we (24th Div.) were withdrawing to prevent from being cut off. On my way back to our area I found out that my Co. had moved back 6 miles. The Chinese found a weak spot and just kept coming in . Its very doubtful whether we’re staying here in this area long.
Nov 27th . All last night our artillery kept pounding the Chinese and at 4:30 a.m. we packed up and pulled back to Anju again. So I guess our troops are getting up in Pakchon. Well I went after mail and set up my tent and went to bed.
Nov 28th . We’re still waiting for further orders. Nothing new on the war. I haven’t heard nothing.
Nov 29th . Well we’re moving out again this morning over to Sukchon to fill in a gap. Going thru Anju about 6 miles east we ran into a roadblock of about 300 reds. Our officer called for support and 4 tanks came over to help us out. We then turned around and went back through Anju and Sinanju and out Sukchon so we’re going to stay here tonight to probably tomorrow continue to Suchon. Something funny is going on right now. Everybody is falling back. I can’t see why we’re falling back with all the firing power we have. We’ll probably move back tomorrow. Still no one knows what really is going on. The roadblock we ran into today still hasn’t been knocked out. We have 28 tanks trying to break it up plus our A.F. that’s been helping out.
Nov 30th . Well looks like moving again. We’re still going to Suchon I guess. We finally made another stop. We’re still not in Suchon. We’re six miles east of Pyongyang. We’re just staying here for the night and tomorrow continue to Suchon. About 16 miles from where we’re at now there’s been an estimated 10,000 bypassed reds pretty well organized. On our way here from Anju I saw an outfit of Canadians going to Anju. They totaled 10,000. Today I heard that we are fighting 200,000 plus 500,000 (more waiting to come across) Chinese. The airfield over here in Pyongyang was evacuated last night. Well it looks like there won’t be a home Xmas for many of us over here. Oh well, it won’t be the first time for me.
Dec 1st . Well we still haven’t had orders to move. We’ll probably spend the day here.
Well we still haven’t moved so I guess we’ll be staying here another day.
Dec 2nd . Well we’re moving again about 15 miles south of Pyongyang .
Well we’re here now and I guess the Chinese are getting pretty close to us.
Dec 3rd . Well things are sure cooking around here. The roads are all packed full of convoys going south. The Chinese are about 15 miles from us now.
Dec 4th . Well Chinese artillery are having a duel with our artillery. We’re supposed to be pulling out very shortly. It is rumored that the Chinese told the UN that if it pulled it’s troops out of N. Korea they (the Chinese) would bargain with us.