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Pork Chop Hill 


3"i"l 48"" "66488 : 9846 


MAY If 1964 

APR ^1984- 
APR 22 1935- 



Other Books by S. L. A. MARSHALL 

On Tactics and Leading: 





On Battle: 



On War: 


On Operations: 


HILL 440 


and various other Department of the Army 
manuals and operational narratives 


The American Fighting Man in Action 
Korea, Spring, 1953 



Infantry Operations Analyst, ORO, 03, Eighth Army 
Chief Historian, European Theater 
Correspondent, The Detroit News 

Maps and Drawing^ by 



New York 1956 

1956 by S. L. A. Marshall 
All rights reserved. 

Published simultaneously in the Dominion of 
Canada by George J. McLeod Limited, Toronto. 

Printed in the United States of America. 
Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 56-9545 

This book is affectionately dedicated to the United States 

Navy because it won the love of my wife, Gate, when 

she served it as a Specialist S. 



On Arsenal Hill 31 

Loss of an Outpost 52 

Attack and Repulse 79 

Stumble to Victory 91 

Overture 114 

The Easy Patrol 133 

All of King's Men 143 

Love Alone 167 


Into the Alligator's Jaws 201 

Double Ambush 212 

The Incredible Patrol 233 

Hexed Patrol 250 

Doomed Patrol 272 

The Fight at Snook 292 

List of Maps 

Arsenal was at the extreme end of the sub-ridge 40 

Pork Chop Hill and vicinity 44 

The fortifications at Dale Outpost 54 

Dale Outpost seemed stout enough 57 

Distribution of Yokum's platoon 82 

The counterattack against Dale Outpost 98 

Dale Outpost lay 500 yards beyond the main line 104 

Pork Chop's entrenched works 117 

King and Love Companies attack Pork Chop 146 

Pork Chop Hill lay just beyond the toe of Hill 200 181 

Easy Company counterattack 193 

The patrol was split 205 

Monier's advance 222 

Re-assembly of Monier's Patrol 225 

The front along the Yokkokchon 236 

The attack on Yoke and Uncle 239 

Yoke and Uncle were separately fortified knobs 244 

King-Queen-Jack Finger 251 

The first attempt to rig an ambush 260 

The second attempt to spring an ambush 281 

Outpost Snook was almost lost to sight 293 

Isolated Outpost Snook 295 



work for the first time as a war correspondent with American 
forces. Shortly, at Army request, I found myself doing essen- 
tially the same kind of field work in which I had pioneered in 
Central Pacific operations during World War II, then car- 
ried to Europe during the Normandy invasion and continued 
in Korea in 1950-51. 

The task: to analyze our infantry line and its methods un- 
der pressure, to estimate whether troops are good or bad, to 
see what is wrong or right in our tactics and to recommend 
such corrections as are indicated. 

On the two earlier occasions I was on loan from The De- 
troit News, and my family. In the big war, I went as a soldier, 
subject to orders. Later in Korea I worked as a "research sci- 
entist/' still subject to orders and charged as a committee-of- 
one with analyzing infantry operations. The first task given 
me in the hour when we were defeated in the Battle of the 
Chongchon and beaten back from North Korea was to define 
the fighting methods of our "surprise" adversary, the Red 

What's in a name? Neither job entailed anything more 
complex than interrogation, fact-gathering, straight reporting 
and some deduction, which are supposed to be the abed of 


14 Preface 

news work. In 1953, for reasons which had to do with my 
personal life rather than with my professional obligations, I 
was present only as The News correspondent. 

It made no difference in the work. I was given the same 
help and the same unlimited backing. The same willing and 
candid response came from the troops. The change in hats 
seemed to bother no one except a few minor functionaries. 

To my mind this has always been one of the better things 
about the United States Army. In the field, status becomes 
of relatively little importance, provided one gets essential 
work done and can develop information which is of general 
benefit I was afforded that opportunity, and the resources 
put at my disposal to take advantage of it were proof of the 
interest and support of the higher command. 

Upon arriving in the Theater I began to hear pessimistic 
reports about how gravely our musical chairs rotation policy 
had down-graded the fighting spirit of the average young 
American in the combat line. Worried senior officers ex- 
pressed the view that if the war's pace changed and the pres- 
sure rose suddenly, troops might be found lacking in the old 
drive and guts. Line captains told me that morale had so 
far deteriorated that when units came under full attack more 
men died from taking refuge in the bunkers than from fight- 
ing their weapons in the trenches. 

Quickly, the occasion arose for systematic inquiry. The yth 
Infantry Division was brought to battle in a determined three- 
day attempt by the Red Chinese to smash its vital outpost 
line. In that year it was the only United States division to 
know major fighting. Compared to Gettysburg or the 
Ardennes, Pork Chop Hill was hardly more than a skirmish. 
But within the force that engaged, losses were unusually 
heavy. Maj. Gen. Trudeau's command acquitted itself with 
the highest credit. 

Preface 1 5 

But because Operation Little Switch was going on coinci- 
dentally at Freedom Village, and every correspondent rushed 
to that spot as if all life depended upon it, all that happened, 
all of the heroism and all of the sacrifice, went unreported. So 
the very fine victory of Pork Chop Hill deserves the descrip- 
tion of the Won-Lost Battle. It was won by the troops and 
lost to sight by the people who had sent them forth. 

I felt strongly that the ignoring of the fight by the press 
and the people only made it more important that some day 
the story should be told. The neglect was worse because in 
preceding weeks this same division the yth had been lam- 
basted for the loss of Old Baldy and the staging of Operation 
Smack. They had been described as weary, slipshod, demoral- 
ized troops, and, while the Pork Chop Hill fight was on, this 
caustic criticism from home was repeated over Red Chinese 
loud-speakers to the American fighters. Then when the mo- 
ment came that their brave deeds refuted all disparagement 
of them, there were no witnesses to sing their praises. It was 
terribly unfair. 

Certainly the prisoner exchange was sensationally interest- 
ing and possibly highly significant. It was the big news and 
deserved the big spotlight. But as the song says, the funda- 
mental things apply as time goes by. One fundamental ques- 
tion in Korea, 1953, and now, is how the American character 
continues to meet the test of great events. It would have been 
possible for the correspondents to keep shuttling between 
Freedom Village and Pork Chop Hill which were less than 
seventy miles apart. Under pressure from their home offices 
they had to stick fast to the Panmunjom story. I kept mobile 
for reason which had little to do with the requirements of my 
newspaper. In the middle of the Pork Chop fight, which I 
had already under study, I was called to Freedom Village as an 
adviser to Gen. Mark W. Clark on the problems of censor- 

16 Preface 

ship. So the decision was made for me. It was necessary to 
keep shuttling between the two points. 

One at a time, we formed the companies which had taken 
the main blows on Pork Chop, Dale and Arsenal. The assem- 
blies were held immediately. Already, units which were 200 
strong when the fight began were down to 40 or 50 men. 
Some of the platoons mustered not more than five or six men. 
These little bands were still chins up. 

If the company happened to be holding a sector of the 
front line, we brought it back to the reverse slope to hold the 
group interview, leaving the main trench outposted, since 
there was no shelter or space along the ridge crest ample 
enough to accommodate the assembly. Where the company 
was in a so-called "blocking position/' blocking a valley or 
other avenue which bisected the main line, the work was done 
on the spot where the troops bivouacked. 

The average length of the question-and-answer session with 
each company was seven and one-half hours, during which 
we worked steadily together, except for two or three short 
breaks for coffee and to uncramp my fingers. 

But when we had finished, we knew practically everything 
that had happened to these units during the fight, the de- 
termining events were in almost exact chronological order, 
and we could account for the manner in which most of the 
men had been killed or wounded as well as how effectively the 
weapons had been used. 

The method was the same as I had first used during the 
invasion of the Gilbert Islands ten years earlier. In working 
with a group to reconstruct a confused action, clarification 
becomes possible, indeed almost inevitable, if one starts at 
the beginning and thereafter develops each incident in its 
proper sequence. All of the participants in the fight appear 
as witnesses. The memory of each man is refreshed by what 

Preface 17 

he hears others say. At these formations all rank is put aside. 
The greenest private may contradict his colonel if he believes 
that his colonel's statement is in error. Testimony is weighed 
according to its obvious validity and pertinence to the course 
taken by the operation. There are several surprising things 
about the process which in itself is elementary and requires 
little more than patient concentration. Blank spots rarely 
occur. In the average critique, once work starts, there is al- 
most no disagreement between the witnesses. 

By the time I was through on Pork Chop Hill, my notebook 
contained more than 50,000 words on this one fight. It was 
evident that its great human values could not be compressed 
into newspaper space. Some of the incidents were synopsized 
and sent home. Later, when there was leisure, I began to read 
back through the cold notes. As they warmed again, what had 
been written on the distant ridges seemed clearly to point to 
several general conclusions. 

The in-fighting which took place in the entrenched works 
of the outposts was as hard-pressed and bloody as Cold Har- 
bor, Attu or the Argonne. The Americans won, not simply 
by the superior weight of their artillery, but because the in- 
fantry, man for man in the hand-to-hand battle, outgamed 
the Red Chinese. 

In two vital particulars these Americans outshone any ot 
our troops with whom I have ever dealt: there was a superior 
command presence in their young officers, and a higher ratio 
of enlisted men exercised strong initiative in the most dan- 
gerous moments. 

The one manifest weakness in our youngsters was in their 
leg muscles and not in their fighting spirit; the former the 
Army, in the time allotted it, can do little to correct; it 
should rejoice that they are not deficient in the latter. Their 
officers were wrong in suspecting that when the Red tide 

i8 Preface 

moved in, too many young Americans took refuge inside the 
bunker walls, neglecting to use their weapons. But it was un- 
mistakably true that an inordinate percentage of ROK sol- 
diers behaved that way, and I so reported. 

But in more ways than one, the show remained an enigma. 
Being a book soldier, I could not believe in the policy of in- 
dividual rotation then in use by the United States. To my 
mind, it was ruinous to morale and to good administrative 
order within an armed force. Whatever it gave the soldier, it 
sacrificed most of the traditional values, such as earned pro- 
motion and citation, pride in unit and close comradeship, 
which are supposed to keep troops steadfast. Yet in the cru- 
cible the metal still looked like gold. Maybe the truth is that 
we haven't begun to understand the potential of young Amer- 
icans for meeting the great challenge. 

Shortly after Pork Chop Hill I attended a memorial service 
for the battle dead of one battalion. It did honor to 73 men. 
But they had been given no other honor by their country for 
the victory which they had helped win; it drew no headlines, 
nor did the voices on the national radio give adequate testi- 
mony. There is a great deal of iron in war. There is also irony. 

My work with the patrols was of a slightly different order 
because of a sharply defined objective. For nearly two years, 
Eighth Army had fought an almost stationary war, and pa- 
trolling was its main combat activity. In that time, there had 
been no uniformly regulated system of patrol reporting or 
''debriefing" and there was much slack in these operations be- 
cause the records were not clear. It was quite possible for a 
patrol to fake a probe and get away with it if only a few hands 
wished to avoid an embarrassing exposure. So the work had 
the threefold purpose of demonstrating the weakness in the 
old hit-or-miss method, substituting a system which could be 
centrally controlled, and last, starting a school for the training 

Preface 19 

of people who could extend the system. Had the war lasted, it 
might have proved more than a novel, local experiment. 

I dealt with the patrols as rapidly as I could get to them by 
jeep or helicopter, starting as soon as the word came through 
that a patrol had been hit We did our work in the early 
morning before the survivors had been given rest or a chance 
to clean up. The average debriefing session lasted four hours 
and we forgathered in whatever bunker was handiest to their 
point of return. The curious thing was that the work, instead 
of further straining men already near exhaustion, seemed to 
have a therapeutic effect and provide a spiritual purge. They 
were burdened and brooding over a feeling of failure at the 
beginning. As they talked things out, and all that had hap- 
pened for good or bad came clear to them, they freshened. 
The recuperative powers in the young American fighter in this 
situation are absolutely amazing. Even if only a half dozen 
have survived out of twenty, they go at the problem with 
almost uniform interest and professional exactitude. 

The lessons in these night operations should be clear to all 
who study the detail of what happened. For my own part, I 
was impressed most strongly by the almost invariable collapse 
of communications and the showing that disarrangements in 
night fighting usually come of some freak happening which 
no one could have anticipated. With all the emphasis that is 
put upon control, there is still room to search for improved 

Of the enlisted men who appear in this book, I recom- 
mended 73 for decoration, the awards ranging from Bronze 
Star to the Congressional Medal. In Korea, uniquely, I had 
time to talk to a large group of honor men about their back- 
ground. Not one of the 73 came of a family which could have 
afforded to send him to college. Most of them came from 
families with three children or more. Not one of them was an 

20 Preface 

only child. The majority spoke voluntarily of their home folks 
with enthusiasm, recognizing that the love given them was a 
vital force in their lives. Of the 73, 52 expressed warm admira- 
tion for their fathers, most often with high regard for their 
masculine qualities. Several of these tributes are an integral 
part of the battle narrative. The sample is not large enough to 
be highly significant. It is reported only as it bears on the 
character of the young men whose deeds carried this particu- 
lar fight for the United States. In the words of Elliot Paul: 
"It was a privilege to be associated with such courageous, 
high-minded men, and their enemies will do well to be afraid 
of them so long as they are above ground/' 

What of the enemy? In this book, both during the main 
fight and in the patrol actions, he appears as hardly more than 
a fleeting shadow in his brief forays across the surface before 
he returns to earth. That was the nature of Red Chinese opera- 
tions during the last year of the war. If an attempt were 
made in this book to materialize this force, to make the in- 
tangible comprehensible, it would be unreal. Red Chinese 
operations were a vanishing act on the grand scale. Their de- 
fensive works were engineered for maximum concealment and 
deception; ours were not. In the attack, their individuals were 
furtive, light of foot and highly elusive; ours were not. The 
essential difference between the two sides did not come of any 
natural traits which made one light, the other ponderous. 
After fighting operations were relatively stabilized by the truce 
negotiations, the Red Chinese kept men and units in line. 
The longer they stayed, the craftier they became. On the 
American side, men moved in and out as if the fighting line 
operated on a conveyer belt. No one stayed long enough to 
graduate in the fine art of deception. "Even so was wisdom 
proven blind, so courage failed, so strength was chained." 

In 1950, the Red Chinese were a crude lot, given more to 

Preface 21 

pell-mell attacks and diehard stands than to deception and 
protection. But they stayed and they learned as they went 
along. When they entered the war, apart from their excep- 
tional skill and persistence with the machine gun, they were 
not accurate users of hand weapons in pressing the attack 
home. Until the end, that general weakness was evident 
Otherwise, by 1953 few of the old signs remained. They had 
become as tenacious and as earth-seeking as ants, and in that 
lay a great part of their success. Two and one-half years of war 
in Korea were a bonanza for Communist China. On that train- 
ing ground her armies became as skilled as any in the world 
in the techniques of hitting, evading and surviving. 

Much of the warfare that is described in this book becomes 
comprehensible only when it is examined against the back- 
ground of the two opposing defensive systems. 

The enfilading of our trenches occurred almost invariably 
when the Red Chinese got inside our works. It could hardly 
be prevented. The profiles of the American bunkers stood so 
high above the trench that the enemy was able to use their 
sandbagged walls as breastworks from which to fire along the 
trench. Once he became so placed, it was almost impossible 
to dislodge him with counter grenade and automatic fire. The 
only tactic which availed was for one or two hardy spirits to 
crawl along the high ground behind the parados and try to 
blast him from the flank. 

Downhill communications trenches from the main line to 
the outpost subridges were frequently dug so deep that it 
would have been impossible to fire any weapon from within 
them so as to cover the ridge slopes. Yet in many instances 
they were suitably placed for the putting of flanking fire 
against an enemy force attacking upslope toward the outpost. 
The main object of entrenchments, judging by their depth, 
was to provide the fullest possible cover against enemy artil- 

22 Preface 

lery bursts rather than to afford the garrison a reasonable pro- 
tection without limiting its employment of its own weapons. 

Blinkers had been built without particular regard to the 
slopes which they were supposed to cover or the weapons 
which would be fired from within them. So many times the 
height and outlook of the embrasure made the siting of the 
weapon excessively high. It could not be turned against the 
immediate downslope unless the firer leaned out and beyond 
the aperture. Thus, in effect, the weapon was aimed at ground 
along the flat beyond the ridge foot where its automatic fires 
overlapped the fires of the mortars and artillery. Often the 
rifleman in the trench was similarly interdicted by the depth 
of the cut and the height of the parapet. To put fire on the 
immediate downslope, he had to get out of the trench. 

Roads leading to the main line, under full observation by 
the enemy, many times running parallel to his lines, often 
within less than 1,000 yards of his gun positions, were at best 
only superficially screened. At many points the screening had 
been either weathered down or flattened by the enemy fire. 
Its appearance suggested it had been in that condition for 
weeks, though there had been no effort to replace it. Where 
the screening was up, the one layer could not have been suffi- 
cient to conceal vehicular movement along the main supply 

The placement of main-line fire trenches seemed to be ar- 
bitrary and according to the whim of local commanders rather 
than standardized according to accepted fire principles. Some- 
times the line followed the military crest. Sometimes it was 
along the topographical crest. Along still other ridges, it was 
somewhere between the two. But these variations did not ap- 
pear to be governed by the dominant terrain conditions, for 
example, the topographical crest being too sheer for entrench- 

Preface 23 

ment, or the military crest being rejected because it was too 
far downslope. In fact, there was no discernible pattern. 

Most bunkers, particularly those on reverse slopes used for 
sleeping and warming, were too heavily built The surplus of 
sandbags on the roofs weakened the timbers and tended to 
break the bunker down under artillery fire. Then, because the 
over-all weight of the structure was often much too heavy for 
its insecure moorings, the run-off of only a little rain from the 
bunker, washing away a few inches of soil from the down- 
slope, would collapse the bunker. 

Many of the sleeping bunkers, of no use for anything except 
shelter in the hour of engagement, were distributed along the 
fighting trench on that side of the hill which faced the enemy. 
They were therefore on direct line of sight to the enemy 
artillery. They contributed little or nothing to the defense of 
the hill to make up for this additional jeopardy to troops, 
since the reverse slope, as to contour and structure, was just as 
useful for the purpose and provided more defilade. The works 
of the outpost positions were usually more soundly engineered 
than those of the main line, with better placement and 
greater thickness of defensive wire and less straight alignment 
of the trenches. 

These were the conditions in the system of fortifications 
during the spring, 1953. The field army had already been sit- 
ting on approximately this same ground for almost two years. 
Many of the newly arrived commanders, particularly those 
with engineering training, were appalled to discover that it 
was so badly prepared, and that "the impregnable line, 
strongly organized in depth" did not, in fact, exist. Conspicu- 
ously, within the forward defense zone, the one tier which 
was most vulnerable either to conventional or atomic attack 
from the air was the front line proper. It presented a continu- 
ous and wholly obvious target to vertical attack in any form, 

24 Preface 

and its troops were poorly insulated against any of the effects 
of atomic missiles. 

Though the works of the Red Chinese were in some ways 
short of ideal, they were not similarly vulnerable. The enemy 
had toiled over his fortified belt for almost two years, handi- 
capped by material shortages, lack of an adequate motoriza- 
tion and the retracted position of his air defenses, but favored 
by the muscle power in his hard-driven masses. The salient 
characteristics of the system that had evolved were thoroughly 

Behind the most forward firing posts of the Red Chinese, 
the ridges were entrenched to an average depth of approxi- 
mately fourteen miles. This was not in all respects a perfectly 
reticulated system. But the enemy could have fallen back upon 
successive prepared positions for all that distance. 

Their trenches were a maze which presented few profitable 
targets to the opposing air and artillery at any time. There 
were no easily identifiable gun positions, dumps, CPs, OPs, 
communications centers, etc. There were few observable signs 
of human life or activity even during the after-dark periods 
of engagement. The American air could always batter down 
sections of the trench system. But no real advantage came of 
so doing. Getting at any target more important than a line of 
unoccupied trench was largely in the nature of a guessing 

Rarely, indeed, were groups of personnel in any size to be 
seen within the trenches of the enemy side. I recall one 24- 
hour period in May, 1953, when only 37 persons were ob- 
served along the enemy front by the whole Eighth Army. 
Normally, the trench system seemed to be manned only by 
occasional outposts and lookouts whose mission was to alert 
the garrison in the event of an attack. 

The garrisons lived under the protection of the ridge mass. 

Preface 25 

Tunnels were put into the ridge from the rear. The tunnels 
led to chambers large enough to house a company or battalion. 
Air bombs striking the ridge crests scarcely shook these sub- 
terranean shelters and shelling by the artillery was without 
effect. The tunnel entrances were too well camouflaged to be 
detected through air photography. 

Enemy artillery pieces were fought from other tunnels 
put through the ridge near the crest. The guns were man- 
handled to the top after completion of the tunnel. When 
fired, they would be run to the forward aperture, and then 
drawn back into the tunnel when the firing was completed. 
Entrances to these shafts were so well concealed that it was 
all but impossible to observe them directly. 

Enemy antiaircraft guns were fired from deep pits usually 
dug adjacent to the foot of the ridge. The top of the pit was 
screened with material which blended quite well into the sur- 
rounding terrain. The pits sometimes appeared as a dimple- 
like spot on an air photo but could scarcely be distinguished 
from other common features of the landscape. The guns 
proper were rarely seen, even when engaging. 

Though this description has been put down with a broad 
stroke, these were the main features of the system. By reason 
of the great extension of their diggings, their diligent use of 
camouflage and their recourse to ground cover, the Red 
Chinese had better protection against any type of missile, 
conventional or fantastic, than did the Eighth Army. 

The two systems were quite unlike, though each line was 
immobolized by the conditions which it had accepted. Among 
the Red Chinese, the infantry advance was slowed to a tor- 
toise pace by its cave-anchored guns. When the Communist 
infantry broke through the opposing crust, as happened in the 
offensive against the ROK divisions in the 1953 summer, its 

26 Preface 

assault waves immediately moved beyond the reach of the 
supporting artillery. 

The Eighth Army became immobile because it was under- 
divisioned for defending from a trench system while still re- 
taining forward offensive power. By military theory, trenches 
are dug for the purpose of reducing the numbers of men re- 
quired for the defensive, thereby adding to the general reserve 
or striking force. 

Field armies are supposed to resort to trench systems only 
to enable the resumption of the offensive from them. Since 
trench warfare adds little to individual skill, unit training and 
general mobility, it is axiomatic that every effort should be 
made to reduce the number of men employed in defense so 
that greater numbers can be trained for offensive action. 

During its two years of position warfare, however, the 
Eighth Army had only enough men to garrison its trenches. 
Not only was the line exceedingly thin, but its people were 
always at least 50 per cent deficient in fighting experience. 
Therein lay the contradiction. As to equipment, the Eighth 
was a mobile army, but for lack of manpower, it was com- 
pelled to use the implements of mobility simply to sit and 

So on both sides in 1953 there were general conditions 
which radically limited opportunity in any local engagement 
The fighting which resulted seemed like a deadly form of 
shadow boxing. It may well be that when armies are thus 
bound, the paralysis of the general force is reflected in the 
slowed reaction of the average individual. The pace at times 
becomes retarded until it seems as unreal as a picture in slow 
motion. The energy and fire spent by both sides is all out of 
proportion to the meagerness of the stakes and the numbers 
of men who are actively fighting to seize or hold ground. It 

Preface 27 

is as if both sides are at grips with something they can neither 
let go of nor hold. 

The helpers in the field work which led to this book were 
legion. Simply to acknowledge the great debt I owe them 
must fall far short of payment. In my journeyings along the 
front and about the theater I had the advantage of the sup- 
port and advice of many distinguished commanders. To these, 
many of them dearly cherished old friends, I give my warmest 
gratitude. I only refrain from the pleasure of listing their 
names because I hesitate to involve eminent professional men 
in any responsibility for a work which in some parts repre- 
sents an independent exercise of my personal judgment. The 
Marine Gazette, Cavalier and Army magazine earlier pub- 
lished some of the patrol stories, thereby stimulating the 
larger effort and graciously agreeing to the use herein made 
of the material. Last, I thank James B. O'Connell who goaded 
me into making the start, failing which I would still be say- 
ing, "Some day 111 get on it." 

Birmingham, Michigan 

Book 1 ~~ Pork Chop Hill 

On Arsenal Hill 


out into the Yokkokchon Valley like a side spur of Eighth 
Army's main line across the higher ridges. On those hills, men 
were expecting an attack that night. 

For almost a week the word had been out. No mere rumor, 
it was spread to the squads on the authority of Division G2 
that the Communist enemy would make a "main effort" at 
Hour 2300 on 16 April. 

The word had leaked from the other side and that was a 
good reason to believe it. The reason lay in a contradiction 
within the fighting system of this peculiar Chinese enemy. 
Though his tactics his movement of forces on the battlefield 
reflected the extreme rigidity of an autocratic state, his man- 
ner of handling vital information was democratic to the point 
of recklessness. 

When a battle plan was decided by the high command, its 
essentials were passed down the line until finally even the 
rifle squads were permitted to chew them over. The theory was 
that the troops got a "good feeling" from knowing the secret. 
It made them think that the plan was the best possible one. 
At least, that was the American explanation of the Chinese 

So when any agent or other line-crosser brought word that 
a Communist attack was imminent, it didn't lessen his credi- 
bility that he specified the hour and place. 


32 Pork Chop Hill 

This time the men on Erie and Arsenal were told that the 
main blow would land against the 2nd ROK's sector on 
White Horse Hill which lay within rifle shot distance to the 
right. Because it was nearby, they expected to become en- 
gaged. Easy Company of the 32nd Regiment did not view 
that prospect as a special privilege or feel superior to the rest 
of the yth Infantry Division, which, being extended to the 
left and westward of the company sector, would probably miss 
the show. 

The company strength was quite evenly divided into two 
garrisons, one covering Arsenal Hill, the other guarding the 
rearward outpost, Erie. The airline distance between the two 
perimeters, CP to CP, was 440 yards. The crowns of both 
hills wore ringed entrenchments and were stoutly fortified 
with heavily timbered, thickly sandbagged, artillery-resistant 
bunkers. Also, they were oversupplied with thrice as much 
ammunition as they were likely to need under any circum- 

On Arsenal Hill were First and Second Platoons, 94 men 
altogether, under 2nd Lieuts. Donald P. Murphy and Ralph 
R. Drake, two sturdy characters. The other two platoons of 
Easy garrisoned Erie Hill under Lieut. Jack K. Thun, the 
company commander. But there the garrison had been re-en- 
forced through the attachment of one rifle platoon from 
George Company, and the 81 -mm mortar platoon and one 
heavy machine-gun section out of How Company. So, when 
it came to the balance of fighting power between the two 
hills, Arsenal was but the outpost of an outpost. 

Positions of this kind, isolated, engineered for all-around 
defense, encircled by broad wire entanglements and capping 
the lower ridges, formed an outwork all along the Eighth 
Army front in 1953. Of this reticulation came the only real 
justification for the claim that the defensive line of the United 

On Arsenal Hill 33 

Nations forces was organized "in depth." It was otherwise a 
very shallow and undermanned front. Lying at varying dis- 
tances from the main-line trench, though always within ar- 
tillery and 4.2 mortar reach, the outposts were kept supplied 
by motor carriers operating over dirt roads in broad daylight. 
Then, the enemy artillery usually slept. 

Tactically, the great value of the outposts came from the 
fact that they looked temptingly weak. They were the cheese 
in the trap. The grand object was to confront the Communist 
enemy with a soft touch and thereby lure his forces out of 
their underground galleries and into the open where they 
might be brayed to bits by the superior power of the United 
States artillery. The defending infantry was hardly more than 
a pawn in this game; decision was dictated by the guns. Com- 
pared with the sedentary state of the general front during the 
truce-talk period, it was extraordinarily hazardous duty and 
men and units stood it in five-day stretches or less. 

Easy Company had been nesting on its two hills for 48 
hours and was feeling quite at home when it started. In 
late afternoon, starting at 1730, Arsenal and Erie were shelled. 
For 72 minutes mortar and artillery fell with about equal 
weight on both hills. When the first rounds hit, the men were 
already in the strong-walled bunkers, most of them catching 
a few winks after the evening meal. Even so, on Erie Hill, one 
artillery shell exploded through a bunker door, killing three 
men and wounding seven. Arsenal had better luck. Thirty 
yards of its trench were caved in and one bunker crushed by 
the fire. But after the barrage lifted, Murphy checked all 
squads and reported to Thun that he had lost no skin. 

Through the early dark there was random shellfire against 
Arsenal. Also a recoilless gun, speaking accurately and per- 
sistently from a tunnel somewhere on Hill 200, cut two clean 

34 Pork Chop Hill 

avenues through the belt of wire which protected the hill. 
There was no chance to repair the breach. 

One other incident deserves mention. Just before the after- 
noon bombardment began, there arrived on Arsenal Hill a 
grass-green artillery forward observer, lately graduated from 
Fort Sill, fresh from the United States and still awaiting his 
baptism of fire. He had been sent forward to "look around" 
and to learn by easy stages how the artillery party already pres- 
ent did its work. After 48 hours in this finishing school, he 
would be ready for his turn in line. 

2nd Lieut. William W. DeWitt, 23 years old, had the build 
of a miniature Jack Dempsey and even looked like the Old 
Champ. His home town was Vinita, Oklahoma. His ambition 
was to return there as soon as possible and join his dad in 
selling farm machinery. He explained that to Drake and 
Murphy soon after meeting them. They liked the frankness 
with which he said, "You see, Dad and I have been like part- 
ners since I was a baby, though he'll always be twice the man 
I am/' 

DeWitt was impressed though not awed by the promptness 
with which the thunder began rolling just seven minutes after 
he joined the fighting front. In one hour he counted 73 shells 
as they exploded atop the hill. He was impressed still more 
by the cool way in which the infantrymen took the pounding. 
After the heavy shelling ceased and while a few sparks were 
still flying, he moved out of the artillery OP and along the 
bunker line "to get the feel of troops." What he saw and 
heard gave him assurance that he was among strong com- 

The three hours of silence that followed was to DeWitt, as 
well as the others, more unnerving than the shellfire. 

The clock ticked on. As the minute hand moved toward 
2340, the situation on Arsenal Hill was absolutely quiet, the 

On Arsenal Hill 35 

attitude of the garrison relatively normal. Though their 
ground was already invaded, the men of Easy remained for 
the moment unaware of it. Then the curtain rose, the lights 
went on, the action started and the play rushed to its climax. 
It was all compressed within a few seconds of time. 

Lieutenant Drake was on his bunk in the CP trying to read 
a copy of The Stars and Stripes. But the light was bad and he 
dozed. At arm's length from him was Sgt. F. C. Vance, work- 
ing the phone which connected the CP with the squads and 
the outguards manning alarm posts on the lower slopes of the 

In the artillery OP, which was an anteroom joined to the 
Arsenal CP by a 35-foot revetted tunnel, Lieutenant DeWitt, 
the green hand, was getting some coaching from Lieut. Ed- 
ward Haley, the old hand, while the artillery reconnaissance 
sergeant and the private who worked as wire man stood by. 

Lieutenant Murphy's men at the starting moment were all 
either standing in the trenches, attending the automatic weap- 
ons in the bunkers or sitting at their outguard posts on the 
lower slopes. 

One of the outguards, Private Ramey, happened to glance 
back over his left shoulder. He had heard nothing; it just 
chanced that way. Not more than 20 yards away, he saw the 
figure of a man standing in the clear. Over the phone he whis- 
pered, "There's a man behind me. Shall I fire?" 

Sergeant Vance awakened Drake. He said, "Ramey's calling 
from No. 32. He says he sees a man inside his position. He 
wants to know if he should fire/' 

Drake grabbed the phone. Talking to Private Martinez on 
Outguard No. 33, he said, "You must have heard Ramey. Do 
you see anyone from where you sit? Anything moving out 
there?" Martinez answered, "I don't see a thing. There's 
nothing stirring. Ramey must be wrong." 

36 Pork Chop Hill 

Drake deliberated for a split second, then, handing the 
phone to Sergeant Johns, he said, "We got to clear it up. I 
think we ought to put a flare out there/' 

Before Johns had time to order the flare, three amber lights 
split the sky above Chinese-held Hill 200, followed at once by 
two green flares from the hill called Pokkae. 

Drake, Johns and Vance saw these signals, as did Murphy, 
and Lieutenant Thun, back on Erie. Though so far the two 
hills were quiet, they knew at once that the battle was starting, 
twenty minutes ahead of schedule. 

Johns yelled over the phone, "All outguards withdraw!" 
Already developments had made the order superfluous. 

Murphy was on the sound power giving Thun on Erie a 
blow-by-blow description of what he saw at ringside. "They 
have put up four yellow flares over 200 . . . no, it's three, and 
right together . . . now over Pokkae I see two green lights/* 
Thun answered, "Yes, I see the lights/' Murphy broke off the 

Thun called out over the Erie hot loop, "All outguards 

Sgt. William MacBrien, who was standing next Murphy, 
shouted over the Arsenal loop, "All squads stand ready!" 

Twice the artillery got on the phone to Murphy, asking 
him, "Do you want Flash Arsenal?" Twice he replied, "No! 
No! Hold off! Ill tell you when I want it." 

Murphy was still nursing a doubt about his situation. He 
didn't want artillery fires unless Arsenal was under direct as- 
sault by the Communist infantry. Proof of that was still 
lacking. So for a brief interval he delayed decision. Only 
about forty seconds had passed since he got the first warning. 

Even so, the defense had not reacted swiftly enough to 
assure all-around collection. Having gained entry by stealth, 
the Chinese followed through with extraordinary vigor. 

On Arsenal Hill 37 

Private Ramey, having called the first warning, put down 
his phone and again looked at the spot. Now, instead of a lone 
man, he saw at least ten skirmishers in line across his rear. 
They were bounding upslope between him and the platoon 
trench. He might have fired at them with his carbine. But he 
was too surprised to think of it; besides, there had been no 
shooting on the hill and the lack of it puzzled him. Too late, 
he realized that these were enemy, that they had gone on, that 
a battle was beginning and that he was already cut off. Ramey 
went flat and stayed motionless, his telephone forgotten. That 
put him fully exposed on the foot of the forward slope of 
Arsenal just as the opposing artilleries made ready to con- 
centrate their fires toward his plot of ground. He hugged earth 
and prayed. 

Four other outguards had not waited to hear Johns' order. 
They sprinted for the trench on hearing Ramey report that 
he had sighted a Chinese. By so doing, they gained security 
though they missed seeing any sign of the enemy. Had they 
tarried longer, they might have learned more, yet not have 
lived to tell it. 

On No. 33, Private Martinez learned a split-second too late 
that he had given Lieutenant Drake bad information. As he 
dropped the phone after saying the words, "Ramey must be 
wrong," a squad of Chinese at least eight men arose among 
the rocks not more than twelve paces below his post and 
charged him. Martinez fired a quick burst from his carbine 
and, already on his way dashing for the trench, saw one man 
stagger and fall. Silently, the Chinese came on behind him, 
running hard. Gaining the trench, Martinez veered toward 
the CP. The Chinese went the opposite way, turning toward 
the frontal bunkers. Only one man on top the hill, Haley, the 
forward observer, witnessed their entry, and he saw them only 
as a few fleeting shadows. 

38 Pork Chop Hill 

For local security on that particular night, the Arsenal gar- 
rison had arranged a special challenge, the earthy four-letter 

W0 rd " " to be answered by "you" Johns heard someone 

scratching at the poncho which was draped over the CP door 

and bellowed, " !" In his excitement, Martinez couldn't 

think of the countersign, and he narrowly escaped death at 
Johns' hands. Martinez gasped, "I saw a pile of dead men 
outside the trench." But that was hallucination. 

Followed by the artillery sergeant, Haley jumped to the fire 
port of the OP and began pumping his carbine in the direc- 
tion taken by the enemy group. Neither of them yelled a 
warning to the men in the CP. However, MacBrien and Johns 
saw them firing their weapons like grim death and guessed 
that the works were already penetrated. Haley's oversight 
didn't matter for there wasn't time to pass the word around. 

In a bunker near the front of Arsenal Hill, an attached 
squad from How Company, warned by Johns' call, tried to 
get ready. But the crew on the Browning .30 heavy was in 
difficulty. From too great haste, the belt webbing had become 
snagged. Someone yelled, "The gun's jammed!" Then all 
hands clustered around it; what should have been in these 
vital seconds an all-around deployment became a tight knot 
of men. No one covered the door or stood to the embrasure. 
There had scarcely been time to think of it. And the Chinese 
who had followed Martinez into the trench were headed 
straight for this bunker. 

That group, as well as the skirmishers who had gotten past 
Ramey, had made an almost perfect score. Only three men 
had seen them; only one had fired on them. They were now 
inside the defense. Combined, the two groups counted not 
more than twenty men. By speed and stealth, they had 
achieved a limited surprise. Whether it would bear full fruit 

On Arsenal Hill 39 

would depend, from this point on, on the swiftness of the 
follow-up by the first Chinese assault wave. 

For Arsenal Hill had now come to the fire. In Fourth 
Squad's bunker, which overlooked the main finger descend- 
ing westward from the ridge, Cpl. C. H. Kinder and his men 
were in position to see and report any further movement de- 
veloping along the same line. And Kinder was playing his 
part heads up. Over the phone he was saying to Drake, "I 
can't see anything yet. It's too dark. But they're bound to 
come this way and we're waiting for them. I'm going to open 
fire now." Kinder personally was handling the light machine 
gun. His two BAR men already were out in the trench, set 
either to fire along it or down the slope from both ends of the 
bunker. Corporal Norman, assistant squad leader, was passing 
out grenades and checking the ammunition. 

At the rear of Second Platoon's sector, on top of Arsenal's 
reverse slope where its defenders could see any .movement on 
the face of Erie Outpost, Pvt. John Wolzeak, toting a light 
machine gun, had taken position on the rampart, hugging a 
bunker wall. So situated, Wolzeak's weapon commanded the 
paddy flats on Arsenal's rear. A mellow glow suffused this 
hollow, bounced from a searchlight on the battalion ridge. 
Wolzeak was a bleak and lonely spirit Thirty yards to Wol- 
zeak's right was Private Crane, a newly arrived replacement, 
armed with a BAR. It was not a promising combination. Said 
Murphy, "Wolzeak had been until that moment the platoon's 
prize eight ball. I counted him an unwilling soldier, a man in- 
capable of turning tiger." 

Elsewhere along the bunker line, other men stood ready, 
shouted warning, nervously checked their weapons and 
strained to see any movement amid the rocks of the darkened 
slope. But with a few minor exceptions, the rest of the 94 
men on Arsenal Hill were the supernumeraries of the unfold- 

On Arsenal Hill 41 

ing action. The drama was made and played by the artillery, 
plus the few infantrymen who have already been mentioned 

Less than two minutes had passed since MacBrien had or- 
dered the squads to stand ready. Martinez had just arrived at 
the CP, not carrying the word that the Chinese had followed 
him into the trench, since he had not looked back to see. 
Haley and the artillery sergeant were firing their carbines. 
Out in the trench the 81 and 4.2 mortar observers were mov- 
ing among the bunkers warning the riflemen that a flash fire 
was probably coming. Murphy was again on the phone talking 
to Thun. 

Right then the first salvo from the Chinese artillery dropped 
onto Arsenal. So close was the explosion that the CP bunker 

Murphy said to Thun, "You heard that one. Now I can 
hear small arms. Rifles and burp guns. They're hitting the 
sandbags just outside me. I'm engaged by an unknown num- 
ber of enemy. [It was, in fact, about two companies.] I'd say 
they're not more than 100 yards in front of me/' 

Murphy was about to add, "Tire Flash Arsenal!" 

His words were stopped in his throat by an explosion which 
almost tore the CP apart while setting its beams and sand- 
bags afire. It snapped Murphy's connection with Thun and 
severed every other telephone line on the hill except the one 
wire linking the CP with Fourth Squad. Corporal Kinder was 
trying to raise the CP at that moment. He wanted to say, 
"We see them now. We've got them in the open and we're 
giving them hell!" But at the other end, there was no one to 
listen. During those seconds the CP was totally absorbed in 
its own problems. 

One round of enemy artillery, size unknown, had come di- 
rectly through the window of the OP, hit the artillery sergeant 

42 Pork Chop Hill 

in the head, decapitating him and, exploding from the con- 
tact, had wrecked the rest of the artillery party. The four men, 
Haley, DeWitt, the sergeant and the private, had been stand- 
ing close together. While Haley and the sergeant had been 
working their carbines, DeWitt, for lack of anything better 
to do, had been scoring enemy artillery hits in the CP vicinity. 
He had counted to 33 just as the blast went off. 

After exploding, the blast picked up the three others and 
blew them 35 feet back through the tunnel and to the far 
wall of the CP. DeWitt struck the wall with such violence 
that he knocked down Johns and Vance. DeWitt was uncon- 
scious and bleeding from several superficial wounds. A steel 
fragment had drilled Haley in the head. The artillery private 
had several slugs in his legs and one in his belly. 

For the moment, there was no chance for the stunned in- 
fantrymen to attend the wounded gunners. The OP was fully 
ablaze and the flames were sweeping along the tunnel toward 
the CP. Two of the bunks were afire. All lights were out and 
only the fire illumined the scene against the heavy smoke from 
the burning gunny. 

By the glare, Johns could see the legs of the fourth man 
projecting from the OP into the passageway. He could see 
that the clothing was afire. Johns crawled to the figure and 
beat out the fire with his hands. Then he crawled back 
through the passageway dragging the body. Not until he had 
completed the rescue did he see that the sergeant was head- 

Drake, Vance, MacBrien and the others beat at the flames 
with blankets, ponchos and whatever lay at hand. Their 
promptness saved the situation for a few precious minutes, 
but against the fire they could not do more than hold their 
own; the draft from the wide-open OP was working as a bel- 
lows. All of them came out of the ordeal badly singed. Both 

On Arsenal Hill 43 

Haley and DeWitt had been set afire. Later, no one could re- 
member who had saved them. 

Murphy, steady as a rock, ignored the fire to sweat over 
his communications. Now, having waited a few seconds too 
long, he felt a desperate need to get through to the artillery 
and order, "Flash Arsenal/' Finding that his telephone lines 
were out, he tried to raise Thun on the platoon radio. But 
the instrument, though still undamaged, wouldn't cut 
through. It was a helpless feeling, heightening his fear of what 
was happening to the men on the bunker line. 

On Erie Hill, Lieutenant Thun was trying to see Arsenal's 
plight through the eyes of his subordinate. He knew nothing 
about the holocaust in the CP. He knew that Murphy had 
asked that the artillery "hold off." But the last interrupted 
message from Murphy had indicated that the fight was com- 
ing to a crisis. From the height of Erie, he could hear the 
crescendo of small arms fire around the Arsenal rampart. 
That was enough for him. He called the fire direction center 
and said, "Fire Flash Arsenal," then added as an afterthought, 
"Fire Flash Erie, also/' 

Murphy reckoned that his commander would give the order 
which he was not in position to relay. Jumping into the trench 
and running to the nearest bunker, he grabbed three men and 
said, "Move down the bunker line. See all of the men. Tell 
them I think a flash fire is coming. They are to return all 
fires but stay under cover. They are to pass back to the CP any 
information they have. Our lines are out and so they will do 
it by runner." The men moved out and Murphy returned to 
the CP. 

By the time Lieut. Col. Joseph S. Kimmitt, commanding 
the 48th Battalion, got Thun's request for the two fires, what 
had happened to Erie and Arsenal had become but one seg- 
ment in an all-encompassing problem. The Chinese artillery 


Pork Chop Hill 

Pork Chop Hill and vicinity. The American-held ridges are shown in 
outline. Enemy-held hills are shown in double line. 

was now falling with total weight on the Alligator Jaws, White 
Horse, Hill 327 and the other approximate main ridges. His 
battalion that night would get off 6,452 rounds of counterfire, 
a mark nearing the all-time ceiling for any of the children of 
Saint Barbara, patron saint of all gunners. Fortunately, Kim- 
mitt had a habit of working physically as close to infantry as 
a gunner can get. Only a swinging door separated him from 
the 83 (operations section) of the 32nd Regiment. When a 
fight was on, he and Colonel Van Way of the infantry, in 
effect, shared one office. Within a few seconds, he had called 

On Arsenal Hill 45 

Lieut. Col. Royall Taylor, the battalion commander on Hill 
327, and gotten approval for the shoot on Arsenal and Erie. 

In the burning CP, DeWitt had regained consciousness 
after four or five minutes. Johns told him to move a few feet 
because he was too close to the flames. DeWitt said, "I can 
hear the fire but I can't see it; I guess I must be blind/' Johns 
was busy dressing Haley's wound and merely glanced up to 
note from DeWitt's fumbling motions that he must be speak- 
ing the truth. Then DeWitt said to Johns, "Give me your .45 
and guide me to the door; if any Chinks come, 111 let them 
have it" Johns handed him the pistol and seated him on an 
ammo case at the CP entrance. Sightless and still reeling from 
dizziness, DeWitt sat there while the others beat at the 
flames. Afterward the infantrymen paid tribute to the effect 
on their spirits from the sight of his raised pistol. Said Johns, 
"The guts of that guy steadied us all/' 

Meanwhile a minor hell had been popping all around the 
Arsenal perimeter. 

The first party of Chinese had gone straight for the bunker 
where the How Company squad was preoccupied with the 
balky machine gun. Before the How men could fire a weapon, 
they were caught in a crossfire of burp guns poked through 
the door and embrasure. All eight of them were cut down. 
They stayed where they had fallen, and moments later an 
artillery shell broke down the roof. Though one man lost a 
leg, all eight ultimately survived the fight. After gunning the 
bunker, the Chinese failed to grenade it. It is likely that they 
were partly destroyed, or at least interrupted, by their own 

In front of Fourth Squad's bunker, the Chinese assault 
wave had broken through the wire barricade via the avenues 
cut by the recoilless gun fired from Hill 200 in the late eve- 

46 Pork Chop Hill 

ning. But Corporal Kinder had seen them in time. He sat at 
the light machine gun, blasting the slope where the Chinese 
came through. From the bunker ends, his two BAR men 
centered fire on the same target. Kinder could not see how 
much execution he was working because the Chinese stayed 
low. But he knew that no one was getting to the top of the 
slope and that satisfied him. He got Drake on the phone and 
said, 'We're going strong and I think we're stopping them/' 
Still, the bullet swarm against Kinder's bunker continued to 
thicken. One slug caught Kinder in the shoulder and put him 
out of action. The gun was taken over and kept going by Pfc. 
Ramon Angel, a Puerto Rican, while Kinder, though down, 
continued to direct the squad. 

Whether deflected by their own artillery where it beat 
against the crest and forward slope of the hill, or diverted by 
the hope of staying inside the counter fire from the American 
batteries, the greater part of the enemy infantry body flowed 
around the hill to the rice paddies at the base of Arsenal's 
rear slope. Several machine guns took position behind the 
paddy embankments, and under their covering fire, an irregu- 
lar line of grenadiers and riflemen started the climb. It was 
the moment for which Private Wolzeak had been waiting 
and the glow from the searchlight made the climbing figures 
stand out clear against the silvered surface of the paddies. He 
yelled to Crane, "Now's the time!" Together the two men, 
Wolzeak with the LMG, Crane with the BAR, opened fire, 
though they maintained distance from each other to get a 
better spread over the uneven slope. Their two weapons 
checked the rush from the rear at the crisis of the fight. Still, 
they kept shooting. By the end of action Wolzeak had emp- 
tied seventeen ammunition boxes and Crane had fired eleven 

In these same seconds when Wolzeak made the astonishing 

On Arsenal Hill 47 

discovery that he was a born infantry fighter, Flash Arsenal 
closed around the hill. It was maintained for four minutes. 
Differing little from the curtain barrage of World War I days, 
the "flash fire" of Korean operations was an on-call, tightly 
sown artillery (plus 4.2 mortar) barrage, usually horseshoe- 
shaped and so dropped that it would close around the front 
and sides of an outpost ridge. The main idea of a flash fire 
was to freeze enemy infantry movement, blocking out the 
enemy force on the low ground while locking in such skir- 
mishers as had gained the heights. In effect, one battery fired 
on each concentration, 120 rounds per minute, two shells 
breaking into the ground every second. High explosive and 
proximity fuse shells were both used in this blast, the bal- 
ance varying according to terrain conditions. While a flash fire 
lasted, infantrymen stayed in their fighting positions. 

In the usual procedure, a flash fire was delivered with maxi- 
mum power for three minutes, the howitzers then cutting 
back from twelve to six rounds per tube per minute while 
maintaining the fire six minutes. In the Arsenal-Erie action, 
the 48th Field fired the maximum rate for four minutes, then 
suspended briefly. 

The immediate effect on the garrison was tremendous. In 
Murphy's words, "It was like a silver shield thrust between us 
and the enemy." But as the horseshoe of hot steel exploded 
into the earth around the hill, the dust cloud rose 50 to 60 
feet in air, killing all chance for observation and quickly 
dulling any appreciation of the spectacle. While the bombard- 
ment lasted, the defenders could hear no small-arms fire and 
that gave them an illusion of total deliverance. No sooner had 
the shells ceased coming than the clatter of the in-fighting 
resumed and swelled. 

As the flash ended, Murphy returned to the trench, accom- 
panied by SFC Kenneth McDaniel, to make a quick round of 

48 Pork Chop Hill 

the bunkers and see how things were going. They found 
Wolzeak, Crane and Kinder's squad still fighting like champs. 
But it was amazing how much destruction had been wrought 
by the enemy guns in the brief interval. 

At least half the trench was now caved in. Four main weap- 
ons positions had been destroyed. One BAR man, Cpl. Angel 
Seggara, had been blown bodily out of his fire pit and 
slammed against a munitions pile; knocked cold, he was other- 
wise unhurt. There were five wounded in the wrecked posi- 
tions. Pvt. Jim Richards, the medic, was already attending 
them. Another BAR man, Private Meadows, had escaped un- 
scathed when the embankments of his pit were crushed by 
an exploding shell which half-buried him. Twenty yards down 
the trench from Meadows, two mortar rounds had smashed 
the emplacement and light machine gun serving Private Shive- 
ley, though Shiveley, covered by his guardian angel, was still 
unscratched. Meadows had rolled over and was now firing 
with his BAR from the site where Shiveley had fought, and 
Shiveley was assisting him. A third BAR man, Corporal 
Sharpe, had been hit in the eyes and wounded in one arm by 
a round from the enemy's recoilless gun. 

More than this Murphy and McDaniel did not get time to 
see in their snap survey of the lines. The situation was again 
changing. In the burning CP another hand was reaching for 
the stick. 

DeWitt, though still blind, was thinking the harder because 
of it He had never given an order in war. He had not been 
authorized to take over from Haley. But one thing prompted 
him to act 

He said to Drake, "I hear grenades outside." 

Drake listened and replied, "You're right." 

"They're coming closer," said DeWitt, "and there are more 
of them." 

Gn Arsenal Hill 49 

Filled with self-doubt, he reached for the PRC-io. The 
radio worked; he was talking to Kimmitt, his battalion com- 
mander. Uncertainty filled him as he said it, "Give us VT 
fire lots of it right on the position/' What followed is 
proof of the magic which lies in the right words spoken at a 
crucial moment; they have power to change the course of a 
life. Back came Kimmitt's voice, "Very good, very good, very 
good, son." It was like a light suddenly shining on DeWitt. 
Then Kimmitt added this bit of information, "Re-enforce- 
ments are coming from Erie." 

In a matter of seconds 43 of them the killing shell was 
breaking over Arsenal directly above DeWitt's head. He said 
of it, "When the VT came in and splashed against our bunker, 
it sounded as merciful as falling rain. I have never heard any- 
thing sweeter. We could hear it beating on the sandbags and 
trenches. During the five minutes I kept wondering if it would 
work. That question made it seem like an eternity." 

It did work. The night was now bright with flares; all the 
ground of Arsenal stood revealed as by a spotlight. From his 
bunker Corporal Kinder could see plainly the groupings of 
Chinese on the lower slopes. He stayed on the phone, and 
as he reported to Drake what he saw, DeWitt kept shifting 
the fire. When at last DeWitt closed off the VT, he could 
no longer hear the popping of grenades or the chatter of the 
burp guns. The Chinese had pulled out. So he called for an- 
other flash fire in the hope of overtaking some of the enemy 
on the road home. 

But by then he and the CP group were working from a dif- 
ferent bunker. In the end, the flames had outlasted wind and 
muscle and they had lost the fight to save the old CP in the 
same minutes that they won the fight to save the hill. When 
at last the re-enforcement from Erie arrived, the stress was 

50 Pork Chop Hill 

Later in the night DeWitt's eyesight returned and he spent 
his time helping to regroup Arsenal's infantry garrison and 
setting up new positions along the heights of that much- 
mauled hill. Every bunker on Arsenal had been either smashed 
in or had at least one corner down. All of the wreckage had 
come of the Chinese mortar and artillery fire, the defending 
guns having been no less accurate than effective. 

In this highly compressed action, which had more the na- 
ture of an explosion than of a trial by fire-and-movement, end- 
ing before it was well begun, Arsenal hill suffered eight dead 
and seventeen wounded. 

Private Ramey, who had been seated at dead center of the 
conflicting barrage fires, was not among them. When the 
din quieted, Murphy and Drake were again in the open in- 
specting their ruined works. Coming to a tunneled section of 
trench which was partly collapsed, they started crawling. 
There came a sudden noise as of someone moving to them 
over the rubble. Murphy called, "Who's there?" A voice an- 
swered, "Private Ramey. I just got back to the hill. But I've 
already checked Third Squad position. Don't worry about 
them. They're O.K. I was just coming to tell you." 

What hurts had been suffered by the Communist enemy 
remained unknown. All bodies had been removed from the 
works. But the visitors had dropped one interesting souvenir 
a chart of Arsenal, showing every main position and trench 
with blueprint accuracy, including two bunkers which had 
been set up within the preceding 48 hours. 

Now that Arsenal was cooling, its leaders could look west- 
ward and see fire in the sky beyond the ridged horizon. Hour 
2300 had come and passed. The fight begun on their ground, 
and carried off by the defenders as if it were a purely local 
affair, was spreading now to Dale and Pork Chop Hills. There 

On Arsenal Hill 51 

the results would be more frustrating and the sweat more pro- 

But after Arsenal had called Erie and reported the number 
of "Red Sox" (casualties) to be evacuated, it was through with 
bloodletting for a time. The Chinese had tried that door, 
found it closed, and would not try again. 

The mood of the hill when morning came fairly matched 
the exultant words of young DeWitt: "I got the worst of it my 
first time out; now all the rest of war should be ice cream." 

Loss of an Outpost 


the main line looped across three ridges each roughly U- 
shaped. The right and center opened toward the enemy, 
while the left-hand ridge was reversed. 

Forward of the center ridge 330 yards was Dale Outpost, an 
unimpressive bump at the terminus of the big ridge's farthest 
extended finger. It rose not more than 220 feet above the val- 
ley floor and was connected with the main line by a comma 
trench slotted along the straight-running crest line of the fin- 
ger. So cramped was the position that Ringling's big show 
tent, closed down around Dale, would have concealed the 
whole perimeter. 

No other friendly ground was closer to enemy country. 
Crisscrossed by Communist trenches, Hill i go-Able stood 20 
feet higher than Dale and only 370 yards distant. The massive 
ridge beyond it, Hill 222, was garrisoned by a Chinese com- 
pany, or so it was estimated. Day and night nothing was seen 
to move on 222's entrenched surface. Its people were said to 
live in a great chamber cut into the ridge from the rear. 

Between Dale and igo-Able was a narrow valley pitted by 
shells and studded with blasted tree stumps. Under the full 
moon they shone like silver sentinels. Nervous outposts some- 
times mistook them for marching men, which led to the 
wasting of much artillery. 


Loss of an Outpost 53 

Hill 222 dominates the valley, being sheerer than the other 
ridges. In easy sight to northeast of it is that loathsome hill, 
Old Baldy. Opposite Old Baldy, the battalion manned an- 
other outpost named Westview, an aerie of machine gun and 
rifle posts atop a sheer-walled limerock battlement. Its crown 
had barely room for one log-walled bunker too small to cover 
one full squad. 

Pork Chop was still farther east. One end of it could be 
seen from the cap of Westview, which was the extreme shank 
of the battalion position. 

Old Baldy, scabrous after months of battle, a mountain 
looking like a refuse dump, more cheated by nature than 
abused by man, was unsuited to the mounting of an attack. 
While its superior heights outflanked Pork Chop and made 
the manning of Westview seem like wanton defiance, it was 
much too naked to afford a concealed approach. The com- 
panion peak, Chink Baldy, was more suitable. Tree growth, 
rock outcroppings and conveniently spread fingers which de- 
scended evenly to the low ground gave it tactical privacy. So 
it was to this platform that troops looked, wondering if an 
attack would come. 

For all hands in Baker Company it was watch night. Third 
Platoon garrisoned Dale. Beyond Dale, twelve of its men rode 
even closer to the danger, being paired in six foxholed listen- 
ing posts which formed a rough crescent around the lower 
forward slopes. If the Chinese approached, the listeners were 
charged to phone the alarm and then run to the platoon 
trench. This echeloning of force a squad covering a platoon, 
covering a company materialized what the Eighth Army 
called "organization in depth/' 

Behind the 12 men nearest the enemy was deployed a rela- 
tively strong company. Of the 144 men under Lieut. Jack M. 
Patteson, 40 were newly arrived Korean replacements. Man- 

The fortifications at Dale Outpost. 

Loss of an Outpost 55 

ning the outpost was 2nd Lieut. Ryan A. Bressler and 42 men. 
Besides personal weapons, his platoon had six light machine 
guns, one heavy, seven BARs and two rocket launchers. 
Where Patteson ran the company show on the big hill were 
11 LMGs, two heavy .305, one .50 machine gun, three 57-mm 
recoilless rifles, three 6o-mm mortars and 15 BARs. If the fight 
started, air, artillery and armor would support them. But the 
integrity of the line came from these few men and their 

Until 2300 the night was without incident. Anxiety kept 
the greener men wakeful. The more seasoned hands, made 
skeptical by frequent experiences with false alarms, sweated 
less. Some slept. Others kidded the replacements about the 
storm soon to come. 

Their calm was broken and their vigil mocked without 
warning. No opening barrage was fired. Not one bullet droned. 
One moment there was no enemy. The next, he was already 
past the listening posts, invading the main trench or closing 
on the knob inside the redoubt. The infestation came in utter 
silence. Chinese had swarmed over the ground without either 
firing or alerting Bressler's men to the need of it. 

So it is not strange that when later the survivors were drawn 
together to determine how the thing had happened, each man 
saw the start differently. The completeness of the surprise and 
the closeness of the embrace, by narrowing each fighter's 
vision, robbed the defense of unity. 

Though Pfc. Joseph E. Smith, a 20-year-old fighter from 
Claxton, Ga., may not have been the first witness, he gave the 
alarm which rang all the way back to regiment. He had been 
with the company but five days and it was mere chance that 
put him that night in Listening Post 21, the station nearest the 

That fact did not particularly concern him, though he won- 
dered, as good men are ever prone to do, whether if an attack 

56 Pork Chop Hill 

came, he could play a strong part. At 2302, he just happened to 
glance flankward toward Listening Post 20 on the next ridge 
finger. And then he saw it: a "whole mob of Chinese" were 
past the LP and scrambling upward toward the main trench. 

Many things happened during those next few seconds. 

Smith grabbed the phone connecting him with Dressier 
and said, "The Chinks are on the hill in great numbers; 
they've gone past LP 20." Bressler asked, "Are you sure?" At 
that moment, Smith's teammate in the LP fired a quick burst 
downslope with his Mi. Smith said, "Now they're in front of 
me," and Bressler answered, "Run for the hill!" Smith emp- 
tied a clip downslope, turned and sprinted for the rampart. 
By then the air around him buzzed with bullet fire. 

From his squad position on the left-hand switch of Dale's 
main trench, Pvt. Duane C. Pfaff saw men moving between 
the two LPs. But the silence nonplused him; if these were 
enemy, someone should be shooting. He put carbine to 
shoulder but still hesitated to fire. 

To CpL John H. Droney in the main trench 30 yards from 
Pfaff, the first word came when Pvt. Lee Chang Woo jumped 
from the parapet yelling, "Chinks coming up the finger." Woo 
had been posted in LP 17 at the base of Dale's rear slope. 
Droney ran for a machine-gun bunker to start the action. As 
he reached for the ammunition, he glanced over his shoulder 
uphill and saw twenty or so Chinese standing atop the knob 
in the center of the outpost. Still, not a shot had been fired. 
Droney tried to swing the gun around, and in his excitement 
wedged the barrel in the bunker door-casement. He ran toward 
the CP crying, "They're in the trenches!" 

In the same bunker sat the platoon sergeant, SFC Robert 
C. Reasor. Bressler had put him there with instructions that 
if an attack came, he was to get on the sound power and 
adjust mortar fire on the approach via Moore's Finger, which 

Seen from above and forward, Dale Outpost seemed stout enough, 
such were the steepness of its slopes and the commanding line taken 
by its bunkers and partly roofed trenches. 

5 8 Pork Chop Hill 

ran like a ramp from the valley to the CP. Half-dozing, 
Reasor had watched Droney's struggle with the machine gun 
without realizing it signaled danger. When Droney cried, 
"They're in the trenches! 7 ' Reasor came awake. 

Pfc. Nathaniel Williams saw the Chinese as they charged 
up Moore's Finger, at least forty men rushing him from a dis- 
tance of not more than 40 yards. He said to Pfc. Eddie Sales, 
"Look there! Chinks!" At that moment the enemy pack en- 
tered the beam of a searchlight which flooded part of Dale's 
slopes. Sales looked and answered, "Yeh, Chinks/' then 
reached for the sound power to call Bressler. Perfectly high- 
lighted, the Chinese came on. Yet neither man thought to 
use his weapon. 

As Reasor got to the bunker door, Cpl. Chung Kyung Moon 
and Pvt. Joe Dawson jumped into the trench, completing their 
run from one of the LPs. Moon cried, "They're right behind 
us!" Reasor jumped for a phone to call Bressler and ask for 
VT fire. The line was already dead. So Reasor ran toward the 
CP. Halfway, he met Dawson again who laughed and said, 
"Look! They're still behind us." But this time he pointed 
uphill toward an enemy group inside the position. 

There had as yet been no real fighting. But the best part of 
two Communist platoons had already penetrated the position 
from opposite directions. On right of the hill, one enemy force 
was gaining the trench atop Moore's Finger, and on left of the 
hill, another swarm was headed up Angel Finger. At least 
eight men had seen the enemy advance. But only Private 
Smith's warning had gotten through to Bressler. 

Also, Smith's shooting from the LP launched the fire fight. 
Thereafter, the following things occurred more or less coin- 

Worrying about Smith, who was one of his men, Pfaff 
picked up his phone which was on a "hot loop" connecting 

Loss of an Outpost 59 

Bressler with all of his squads and the six listening posts. It 
was just in time to hear Bressler tell Smith to run for the hill. 
Pfaff ducked from out the bunker and looked downslope. 
Smith was already running for the trench, and half-carrying 
Pvt Felipe Rodriguez who was screaming, "My arm! My 
arm!" A burst of tommy-gun fire had shredded it from shoul- 
der to elbow. Pfaff reached for the wounded Puerto Rican, 
eased him into the trench and yelled, "Get to the CP for first 
aid!" There was no need to say anything to Private Smith. 
He had seen that the squad's machine-gun bunker was silent, 
and he sprang to it. Seconds after hitting the trench, he was 
pouring fire down Angel Finger, The kid from Georgia had 
an instinct for fighting; in crisis he was incapable of doing 
things the wrong way. 

From somewhere down the trench toward the front of the 
hill, Pfaff heard a yell, "Get VT fire!" It was clear as a bugle 
call. Without waiting to determine who had yelled, Pfaff 
again got on the phone to Bressler, saying, "We must have 
VT fire." Here was a startling example of assumption of re- 
sponsibility by a 2o-year-old private, his first time in battle, 
taken by surprise and burdened by the knowledge that for the 
first time in his life he was responsible for the lives of other 
men. Under rotation conditions, the average combat unit of 
the United States Army often had less than half the officer 
and NCO grades specified by the tables of organization. Pfaff 
had only that morning been named a squad leader, normally 
a sergeant's job. 

The shout heard by Pfaff had come from Sgt. Robert L. 
Smith whose squad, extended rightward from PfafFs sector, 
covered the left side of the nose of Dale Outpost. A 22-year- 
old farmer from Phillipsburg, Kansas, "Big" Smith, as the 
company later nicknamed Him (to distinguish him from 
"Little" Smith, the private), was physically the giant of the 

60 Pork Chop Hill 

company. Big Smith's first knowledge that the hill was beset 
came from the blaze of automatic fire which followed Little 
Smith's exit from his LP. He was sitting at a machine gun. 
With one hand he opened fire down Angel Finger while with 
the other he reached for the telephone to call Bressler. There 
was no response and he realized the line was dead. So he cried 
aloud what he had intended to say to Bressler. But he was 
scarcely aware he had said it and he didn't know that Pfaff 
had heard. So he yelled to the first aid man, Private First Class 
Scully, "Take over the gun!" It was in his mind that he must 
run to Pfaff s position and tell him to phone for VT fire as 
quickly as it could be delivered. 

In the interim, Bressler had relayed both Private Smith's 
warning and Pfaff's request to Lieutenant Patteson on the 
big hill. Patteson ran for his observation point from where 
he could look directly down on Dale Outpost. His eyes con- 
firmed the story. He could see, under the searchlight, a mob 
of Chinese milling around on the knob of Dale Outpost. But 
there were no signs of reaction from his own Third Platoon. 

The first Chinese had been sighted by LP 20 and reported 
to Bressler at 2302. At 2305, Patteson, taking his reckoning 
in the CP, and getting the second message relayed from 
Pfaff, called Maj. Clifford W. Morrow, the battalion execu- 
tive, and requested flash fires on Dale Outpost. As he put 
down the phone, he changed his mind, called again and asked 
that flares first be fired to warn the garrison, followed by VT. 
By his first estimate, the situation was already so desperate as 
to warrant the risk of killing his own men. Instinctive caution 
made him modify it. 

When the two requests hit the fire control center almost to- 
gether, it temporarily flummoxed the artillery. There was long 
argument about whether to shoot VT without first putting 
lights over the hill. When the decision went the other way, 

Loss of an Outpost 61 

the flares burned so far to the right of Dale that Patteson 
knew his own men wouldn't be warned by them. 

In the end that mattered very little. Patteson's one-eyed 
view of the fight, seen through a glass from 450 yards behind 
the outpost, was only slightly distorted. His estimate of where 
the balance lay was accurate. But he was wrong in thinking 
that his own people weren't fighting back. A few big men 
were still going strong on the little hill. 

That their supreme individual efforts went uncollected and 
uncommanded was no one's fault in particular. The rush of 
events had tied Bressler to his phone in the CP bunker. Like 
the others who had started in that direction, Sergeant Reasor, 
his second in command, became accidentally diverted, never 
completing his journey. As he stopped to talk to Dawson, a 
bullet through the shoulder knocked Dawson flat in the 
trench. Reasor picked him up and carried him to Droney's 
bunker, forgetting his intention to see Bressler. Corporal 
Moon was inside with a bullet through his groin. Eight other 
men were either loafing inside the bunker or idling outside 
the door. Reasor formed them along the trench and stayed 
with them, worried now that if he left the others, they would 
quit. They fought as a block, the four in the middle firing 
alternately downhill and upslope while the end pairs fired 
along the trenches. Reasor used Moon's carbine until it was 
shot from his hands. Then he got Dawson's Mi and continued 
fighting. It was. the one solid piece of defensive resistance 
within the platoon. 

Not until he jumped from his bunker to seek Pfaff did Big 
Smith know that the Chinese were already inside the out- 
post and possessing the high ground. He saw at least twenty 
of them scrambling up the slope above his head. They gre- 
naded back at him, and as he ran toward Pfaff, one grenade 
bounced off his shoulder and exploded harmlessly among 
the sandbags. So when Pfaff first saw him, Big Smith was 

62 Pork Chop Hill 

pointing to the crest and yelling, "Watch out! They're coming 
over from behind you." 

Pfaff understood him immediately and started down the 
trench to turn the fire of his squad from downslope to up- 
slope. He yelled back to Big Smith, "I'll try to stop them." 
But that was the last that Big Smith saw of him during the 
fight. He was already doubling back to see what his own men 
were doing, clean forgetting that he had run to Pfaff to ask 
him to message Bressler. There were only six men in Smith's 
squad. He would have to leave it to PfafFs six men to handle 
the penetration. Unless his own six could halt the uprush to * 
the big trench, the position was gone. One thing comforted 
him as he ran: the LMG in Pfaff 's squad bunker was burning 
up the slope of Angel Finger. At least one man was giving the 
Chinese a hard fight. He didn't know it was Private Smith, 
and the name in any case would have meant nothing, for they 
had not yet met But their introduction was coming. 

By then the clock had ticked seven minutes since the fight 
began. The first VT shell from the American guns broke over 
the outpost as Big Smith returned to his squad sector. It had 
taken Lieutenant Patteson until 2309 to get the fire adjusted 
so that the hot steel rained down exactly where he wanted it. 
The artillery FOs had been telling him that it was right on 
target. But they were looking at it from a different angle, and 
his eyes told him that the first fires were 1 50 yards too far to 
the right. When at last it came good, he was in despair, cer- 
tain that at least a full Chinese company was inside his for- 
ward works and that his own platoon, if not dead, was wholly 

The close-up view, as seen by Big Smith, wouldn't have 
solaced him. One of his Korean riflemen had already fled the 
position and wasn't seen again. Privates Small and Faria were 
down, Small with a bullet through his belly and Faria with a 
shattered hand. Faria, least hurt of the two> was screaming, "My 

Loss of an Outpost 63 

God help me!" Big Smith couldn't stand the noise. He told 
Small to take Faria to the CP for first aid. There was no way 
of knowing that already the CP was beyond helping anyone. 

Private Serpa jumped into the trench. The enemy rush had 
trapped him in an LP, but he had kept his nerve and man- 
aged an escape in the darkness. Without saying a word to 
Smith, he grabbed some grenades and began throwing up- 
slope. Smith got the point. It was useless with the forces at 
hand to attempt a fight in both directions; he would have to 
depend on the VT fire to purge the lower slope. He jumped 
for the machine-gun bunker. As he made the door, a white 
phosphorus grenade exploded in air and showered his clothing. 
He shook off the pellets and turned toward the gun, yelling, 
"Scully! Scully!" In the darkness, he couldn't see that the aid 
man was already dead and lying on the far side of the Brown- 
ing heavy .30. Thinking that Scully must have quit the gun, 
Big Smith swung it around and fired upslope. But the weight, 
the angle and the obtrusion of the trench wall made the fire 

Then looking for, but missing, Serpa, Big Smith experienced 
that most wretched of moments when an infantryman finds 
himself utterly alone in a fire fight. He ran toward PfafF s sec- 
tor where he had seen the LMG firing. Little Smith in the 
interim had had his weapon shot out of his hands by a burst 
of tommy-gun fire through the embrasure. He was already in 
the trench and grenading uphill when Big Smith saw him for 
the first time. 

He said, "My name's Smith/' 

Answered Private Smith, "So's mine. Watch me, I'm just 
getting started." 

From where they stood, they could grenade both uphill and 
down. Flankward in either direction, it was a good 25 yards 
to a turn in the trench line. Little Smith had brought to the 
spot a full case of grenades and an ammo can filled with loose 

64 Pork Chop Hill 

grenades. He had already thrown nineteen grenades against 
the Chinese on the upper slope. So with his work cut out for 
him, Big Smith conformed. Surrounded, they stood back to 
back, grenading all around the clock. 

Their last stand was maintained in this manner for approx- 
imately ten minutes. Big Smith still had his carbine and Little 
Smith his Mi. But because of the lack of clear sightings and 
defined targets, there was no payoff in these weapons. During 
this stage Private Serpa came back to them wriggling along 
the parapet. But he didn't join the fight. His Mi had jammed 
and a grenade explosion had numbed his right arm. 

They got down to their last two grenades. They had thrown 
about forty and had drawn a little blood as they knew from 
the flashes and the screaming. At least a dozen enemy bombs 
had exploded within a lo-yard circle of where they stood but 
fast footwork had kept them unhurt. 

Until Big Smith yelled, "Hold the grenade!" they had 
fought without a word. He signaled his intentions by fitting 
carbine to shoulder. They had cleared the immediate slope 
and the surviving Chinese had crowded down into the main 
trench. Then for perhaps another five minutes, they held the 
enemy at bay, Little Smith firing one way down the trench 
with his Mi, Big Smith spraying carbine fire in the opposite 
direction. In the same split second they ran out of bullets: 
during those minutes Big Smith had fired a full belt and Little 
Smith had fired at least six clips. From Little Smith's end of 
the trench, a squad of Chinese charged toward them as the 
rifles went silent. They had already pulled the grenade pins. 

Big Smith yelled, "Throw!" Both grenades landed and ex- 
ploded right amid the enemy pack. Several Chinese went 
down and the others recoiled. 

Little Smith asked, "What do we do now?" 

Big Smith said, "Over the side! Give me your foot!" 

Loss of an Outpost 65 

He threw the smaller man over the parapet. (Little Smith 
is 5 feet 10 inches and weighs 172 pounds.) With a vault, Big 
Smith landed right behind him. Together they rolled about 
15 yards downhill. There, Big Smith grabbed his partner by 
the leg and held him. Serpa had rolled with them and was 
already flattened. 

"What do we do now?" asked Little Smith. 

Said Big Smith, "You're dead. No matter what happens, 
don't move. It's the only chance." 

The new game was improvised on the spur of the moment. 
The three of them were to play it for the next four and one- 
half hours on a spotlighted field rocked by shellfire from the 
ridges held by friend and enemy. In those hours, by their own 
account, they thought of little or nothing. An infantryman 
may play dead until by self-hypnosis he rejects thoughts of 
past and future, and minutes become contracted to seconds. 
It is not quite true that mortal man may not look directly 
either at death or the sun. The big flares fired by the American 
155$ already made their lost hill bright as day. But this they 
did not see as they lay with faces down and eyes closed not 
even turning to look at each other. 

Back at Regiment, Colonel Kern was sweating out two re- 
ports, one from the artillery that the fires on Dale were now 
satisfactory, the other from Patteson that the guns were still 
doing but half a job. The VT fire was at last coming in where 
it should be, but there was no volume. Patteson wanted sat- 
uration fire, not merely a few occasional rounds. He counted 
his men lost and was thinking only about how to kill the 
enemy. It took him another quarter-hour to get what he 

Dale's defense was already disintegrated, though Pfaff, 
Reasor and the few other diehards didn't know it The platoon 
became lost in the few minutes when the Communists had 

66 Pork Chop Hill 

passed the big trench and mounted the knob on scaling lad- 
ders. It mattered very little that, combined with the American 
VT fire, their own artillery came in on the Chinese, killing 
many of them in the open before they could strike a blow with 
their hand-carried weapons. The sufficient number remained 
quick and moving to abet the shellfire in its work of destroy- 
ing the defense. From the enemy platoon which had won the 
high ground, one squad peeled off and, running downslope, 
entered the main trench between PfafFs squad and the pla- 
toon CP. 

Of this entry Pfaff was unaware as he ran in that direction 
trying to pry his men from the bunkers so that they would 
fight for the trench. Sergeant Reasor and his scratch squad 
had already been driven back from the CP area by an enemy 
wave which swept up Moore's Finger and into the trench, 
thereby completing their envelopment. But even Reasons situ- 
ation remained unknown to Pfc. Frank Minor and Pvt. Ran- 
dolph Mott who together were defending a fighting bunker 
just 10 yards from the CP, and not more than 35 yards down 
the trench from Reasons group. Both men were having their 
first bath of fire. Mott, who was to win two Silver Stars 
within 30 days, is a country boy from Maine. Tall, angular, 
stoop-shouldered, slow of step, deliberate of speech, he habitu- 
ally wears a good-natured grin. Hollywood would never pick 
him as a fighter type and in his first minutes of battle he didn't 
react like one. 

So swiftly had come the on-fall that it seemed unreal to 
Mott He wasn't dazed, he felt no fear, but he saw no reason 
to get excited. When his rifle jammed from a ruptured car- 
tridge after he had fired a few rounds down Moore's Finger, 
he dropped the weapon and fell in beside Minor to serve as 
BAR loader. Minor was shaky but doing his best. Mott fig- 
ured a little close assistance would steady him. Neither man 

Loss of an Outpost 67 

knew the Chinese already held the height above the bunker 
since no one came to tell them. 

Mott was shocked out of his lethargy by a heavy explosion 
from the direction of the CP, Mott's own bunker shook from 
the impact. After the action, platoon survivors said, "Two ar- 
tillery shells hit the CP roof right together/' But there was 
really no way of knowing this; the blast that hit the CP may 
have come from a hand-thrown satchel charge. Next Mott 
heard a man screaming in pain. It roused him as nothing else 
had done. He knew his leader hardly at all. But something 
told him that the cry came from Bressler and that the lieu- 
tenant was mortally wounded. 

He went for the bunker door and looked down the trench. 
The CP was in ruins, its roof caved in and its nearest wall 
half-down. A Chinese stood at the broken entrance shining a 
flashlight inward. Mott saw at least five other Chinese with 
him. Oddly then, instead of grabbing the BAR, he yelled to 
Minor, "Hand me a cleaning rod!" The Chinese holding the 
flashlight heard the shout and turned the beam on Mott. He 
ducked within the bunker and with one violent thrust cleared 
his weapon. As he made the door again, he saw the enemy 
group still bunched outside the CP. He emptied the weapon 
and saw three men fall. Two others ran directly past him be- 
fore he could pull again. The sixth Chinese jumped for cover 
behind the sandbag superstructure of Motf s own bunker. 
Like most other works of the kind along this grotesquely en- 
gineered American front, the bunker loomed so high above 
the outwork that an enemy gaining the wall was in perfect 
position to enfilade the trench. 

This boarder had no such aim. Mott nipped into the trench 
trying to catch his silhouette against the skyline. But the man 
was already over the roof and flattened. Leaning down the 
face of the bunker, he tossed two grenades in the embrasure. 

68 Pork Chop Hill 

They exploded under Minor and shattered his legs. An en- 
gineer sergeant, who until then had been sitting quietly in a 
corner, bestirred himself to help Mott lift Minor into a bunk. 

Reaching for the BAR, Mott found it dry of ammunition. 
So doing, he stumbled across a pile of filled sandbags. He 
yelled to the engineer, "Help me fill the window!" While 
they heaved at the bags and stuffed the embrasure, three more 
grenades came through. Mott fielded them with a quick pitch 
through the bunker door. As he clutched the third one on the 
darkened floor, touch told him it was American issue. He 
scooped it up and outward in one motion. It exploded just 
beyond the door frame in the faces of a second Chinese party 
rushing the bunker. 

That inspired him to search the bunker for more grenades. 
He found a full case. Then he stood at the bunker door gre- 
nading toward the mouth of the chogi trench which led back 
to the main line. Targets were plentiful. By that time the 
Chinese in large numbers had climbed the saddle at the rear 
of Dale Outpost and the back door was bending to their 
weight. While his grenade supply lasted, Mott would fight. 
When it ended, he would plug the bunker door from the in- 
side, as he had done the embrasure, and try to stay the night. 

Private PfafFs sortie down the trench line, made to rally 
the other men in the same minutes when Mott started func- 
tioning in the fight, proved futile. In the first bunker were five 
of the platoon's Koreans. Each was armed with a BAR. None 
was firing. Their inertia was robbing the defense of a great 
part of its most useful fire power. 

Pfaff yelled, "Come out and fight!" Not a man stirred. He 
tried it again, "Come out or 111 kill you!" They pulled back 
to the far wall and became lost in the darkness. Two ideas 
blocked his impulse. He wasn't sure he had authority, and if 
he spent bullets there, he'd disarm himself. So he walked on 

Loss of an Outpost 69 

down the trench. Within a few minutes the five Koreans were 
grenaded to death in the bunker where Pfaff left them, para- 
lyzed by their own fear. 

At the next bunker, Pfaff saw a Chinese setting up a heavy 
machine gun on the roof. He fired once with his carbine and 
the man pitched backward down the slope. A second Chinese 
took his place and a second bullet got him. 

Passing the CP bunker, and seeing that the roof was down, 
Pfaff sang out, "Anybody in there?" No answer came back. 
Possibly his voice was drowned by battle sound. Pfaff simply 
took it that Bressler and his assistants had moved elsewhere 
on the outpost. At the fifth bunker he joined Pfc. Dwight 
Marlowe who sat nonchalantly on the roof firing a machine 
gun down Angel Finger as if he enjoyed the work. For two 
minutes they sat back to back. There was no conversation. 
Uphill 30 feet away, three Chinese, armed with burp guns, 
were trying to dust Marlowe from the roof. The fire was going 
high overhead. Pfaff fired his carbine just long enough to 
silence them. It distracted Marlowe not at all. He kept the 
LMG shooting downslope, and turned only long enough to 
yell to Pfaff, "Go to the next bunker; they need help." 

At the door of the next bunker stood Pfc. Rivera W. Ro- 
driguez, a Puerto Rican, firing down the trench toward the 
chogi trail with his Mi. Within the bunker were five engineer 
privates who had come to the hill in early evening to work on 
fortifications. As the fight started, a satchel charge put through 
the embrasure had mangled all five men; three were uncon- 
scious. Rodriguez, with a bullet through one arm, was trying 
to guard them. Pfaff dressed Rodriguez' wound crudely and 
then said, "Cover them a little longer; 111 get more bandages 
at the CP." 

He could barely force his way into the ruin. The air was 
heavy with dust and powder fumes. A thin voice called to him, 

70 Pork Chop Hill 

"Help GI, help GI, help GI." He knew it was Bressler. He 
crawled along the floor. A second voice, still closer to him, 
kept whispering, "Help . . . help . . . help/' He could 
barely hear it but he crawled toward it. In the darkness, he 
felt over the body of Sgt. Chapman T. Spencer. He was leg- 
less from the hips down. 

Bressler called to him again, "Come to me! Come to me!" 
Weak, the note was still insistent. He left Spencer and crawled 
toward Bressler. From the ruined doorway a Chinese opened 
fire with a tommy gun. The bullets splashed among the fallen 
timbers as he crawled. He got to Bressler. The lieutenant's 
legs were pinned by two of the fallen beams. Pfaff strained 
and sweated to free him. The effort was useless. Sandbags 
from the ruined roof pinned down the beams. 

He tugged on. Three grenades came through the door and 
exploded in arm's reach of him. The same beams which kept 
Bressler pinned insulated the explosion and saved his life. 

Bressler said, "Quit it now; you can't help me." 

Pfaff said, "Then 111 stay with you." 

Bressler said, "No, your job is to go get help. That's our 
only chance. Tell Patteson I said to put artillery fire on the 
hill and keep it there." 

Pfaff wondered at that: couldn't Bressler hear the artillery 
already pounding the hill? 

He said, "I'd better stay." 

Bressler said, "You are to go. It's an order." 

There was a small exit on the far side. Pfaff crawled toward 
it. As he made the opening, a wounded Chinese, moving on 
all fours along the outside wall, tried to raise his tommy gun. 
Pfaff was carrying an unpinned grenade. He rolled it and the 
explosion blew the man apart. 

Within the wrecked bunker there had been a third dying 
American. Sgt. Fred Jackson had had his chest crushed by the 

Loss of an Outpost 71 

roof timbers. But he was unconscious and Pfaff missed him 
in the darkness. Due to Bressler's self-possession the scene had 
been carried off without emotion. Once more in the open, 
Pfaff was intent only on carrying out the order, and in his 
agitation clean forgot his promise to return to Rodriguez. He 
ran for the chogi trench. Hardly had he entered it when a 
squad of Chinese blocked his path. He threw a grenade, and 
without waiting for the explosion, jumped from the trench 
and went down the slope in a diving roll. By sheer luck he 
landed in a shallow gully which ran under the concertina en- 
tanglement. Then he started for the company position on the 
big hill. His feet were like lead and he could hardly summon 
the energy to move them. 

By now the fight had been going just a little less than one 
hour. Mott had walled-in his bunker. The two Smiths and 
Serpa were playing dead under the lights. Of Second Platoon, 
only Reasor and his men still stood their ground. But they 
were no longer fighting. For about thirty minutes, they had 
maintained steady fire around their circle with Mi and car- 
bine. The concentration kept the Chinese either under cover 
or at a respectful distance. But at the end of the half-hour all 
weapons were out of ammunition. 

Their predicament was eased only because by then the 
Chinese in the vicinity were in the same plight. Reasor saw 
them wandering back and forth across the knob obviously 
searching for something to fire. They were in such numbers 
that they could have crushed his group by sheer physical 
weight had they grouped and rushed the trench. But they 
moved like sheep, seeming too dazed even to seek defilade 
against the VT fire. It was agonizing to the Americans to see 
these targets moving freely within less than 20 yards of where 
they stood, helpless to cut them down. 

Reasor had been annoyed for some time by the periodic fir- 

72 Pork Chop Hill 

ing of an LMG which sounded very close. Finally, he said to 
one of his riflemen, ''Where in hell is that gun?" The boy said, 
"Just look up: it's on the bunker roof directly above your 
head." There being no way to shoot him down, Reasor 
jumped on the sandbag revetment, grabbed the gunner around 
the knees and spun him and his weapon down into the valley. 

That made the situation scarcely less awkward. The nine 
men were wholly surrounded. The trench was blocked in both 
directions. There was nothing to fire and no one paid them 
the slightest heed. Flares brightened the ground all around. 
Shellfire continued to rock the hill. They simply sucked in 
their guts and hugged the shadow of the trench wall. For at 
least two hours they stayed that way, silent and motionless. 

As midnight came, Lieutenant Patteson, at his position in 
the OP, still could not tell for certain how things were going 
on Dale. No word had gotten back to him since Bressler's two 
telephone calls. As he listened, the small-arms fire on Dale 
seemed greatly diminished, but he could only guess at the 
reasons for it. After coordinating with Battalion, he called his 
Second Platoon and told Lieut. George L. Hermman to get 
his men forward and support Bressler as soon as he was re- 
lieved on his own ground by a platoon from Item Company. 
That necessitated requesting that his own artillery cease fire 
to let Hermman get to the hill. 

Hermman didn't wait. Leaving the rest of his men in place, 
he started forward with one squad under Cpl. Edward 
Shuman. By the time this small band reached the chogi 
trail, another Chinese wave was moving up the saddle from 
both sides. 

At ten minutes past midnight, Pfaff, breathless and shaking 
from his exertions, got back to Patteson. For several minutes 
he stood there panting, unable to speak. Patteson, a coldly 
precise youngster who maintained markedly formal relations 

Loss of an Outpost 73 

with ranks, waited for the storm to subside. When at last 
Pfaff gasped, "I'm from Third Platoon/' Patteson realized for 
the first time that this was one "of his own men. He asked, 
"What's the situation?" 

Regaining his wind and poise in those few seconds by an 
extreme effort, Pfaff made his report as methodically as an 
old soldier, "Bressler and Spencer are both badly wounded 
and pinned by logs in the CP bunker. The CP is in ruins. I 
tried to move Bressler but couldn't. He said for me to come 
tell you that the platoon needs help. He said you must keep 
artillery firing on the hill. The Chinese are all over the 
trenches and bunkers." 

Pfaff said nothing else about his own actions and Patteson 
asked him no questions. Then the kid's legs buckled under 
him and he sprawled on the bunker floor. Patteson helped him 
to his own bed, then called Battalion and reported what he 
had heard. Bressler's words about artillery were not relayed; 
because Hermman's platoon was going forward, the fires had 
already been suspended. 

But the Pfaff report, relayed from Battalion to Regiment, 
convinced Colonel Kern that the outpost was already lost, and 
that if it was to be regained before morning, he'd have to put 
at least another company through Patteson's position. He 
called Lieut. Col. George L. Maliszewski, commander of 
Third Battalion, and told him to get ready. 

Lieutenant Hermman's force, losing almost an hour in tra- 
versing the rough ground, got to the chogi trail in a strength 
of twenty-four men, two squads having overtaken him during 
the march from the main line. Up to that point, they had 
moved without incident. Then without warning they found 
themselves attacked from three sides by the Chinese who 
were climbing toward the chogi trench on both slopes while 
a third group blocked the entrance to Dale Outpost 

74 Pork Chop Hill 

Pvt. John H. Dawson yelled, "The Chinks are on our 
right! " and Pvt. Esequiel Leos answered, 'They're on our 
left!" Corporal Shuman, opening fire with his BAR, aimed 
straight along the trench, dissolving the enemy group in the 
foreground. With rifles and grenades the men to his rear 
opened fire down the slope. The Chinese weren't routed. But 
after a few men died, the others sought protection behind the 
rocks. Four of Hermman's men were hit by the countergre- 
nading. For the moment the passage became quiet and the 
platoon surged forward. 

Hermman got up to Mott's bunker. Mott heard him yell, 
cleared the sandbags away from the door and joined the 
party. Shuman, Dawson, Leos and two others had meantime 
started down the trench on the other side of the outpost, still 
thinking that after mopping up a few Chinese, they would 
become solid with Third Platoon. 

Of the group continuing with Hermman, thirteen were new 
Korean replacements. Mortar shells were now ranging in on 
the trench line, coming in four-round salvos. Hermman told 
the Koreans to continue down the trench and clean out the 
bunkers. They shook their heads and refused to move. 

By sheer coincidence Sergeant Reasor was deciding in these 
moments that if his group was ever to get out, he would have 
to make a break for it. He had not heard either Hermman's 
yelling or Shuman's movement, and he was still unaware that 
a support party had arrived on the hill. Reasor said, "Follow 
me!" and they went. Corporal Droney had found a last clip 
of carbine ammunition within the bunker and, being the 
only armed man, brought up the rear. 

It was about 0200 when Reasons party stumbled into Herm- 
man hard by the CP bunker. Spencer and Bressler may still 
have been alive at the time. But if there was any thought of 
them it was diverted by the action of the next few seconds. 

Loss of an Outpost 75 

Hermman, arguing with his Koreans, was yelling, "Get the 
hell on!" Some of his GIs were kicking the ROKs in a vain 
attempt to get them started. They simply looked blank. 
Reasor heard a noise right behind him. Glancing upslope 
he saw two Chinese setting up an HMG not more than 20 
feet away. So he grabbed a grenade from a Korean and threw; 
it exploded at head level, killing both men. 

As the sound died, four mortar shells came in dead on the 
group. Three exploded along the embankments. One landed 
in the trench. One shard pierced Hermman's leg and went up 
to his intestines. Three of Reasons men were also wounded. 
Another round, exploding through the embankment, had 
sprayed fragments among the recalcitrant ROKs, wounding 
four and killing two. 

There followed several minutes of confusion. By radio 
Hermman got word that Shuman and his men on the other 
side of the outpost had been checked by tommy-gun fire and 
were starting back toward the chogi trench. He called Patte- 
son and said, "I'm hit and IVe lost ten men out of twenty- 
four." He didn't say he had to withdraw but Patteson drew 
that conclusion, telling him, "Fall back on Check Point One," 
which was an outguard position between Dale and the main 

So Hermman called out to his men, "Fall back on Jackson!" 
that being the code name for Check Point No. i. No one had 
ever told Reasor about that code name. But one soldier in his 
group was a Private Jackson and this character was already 
running for the chogi trench. Misunderstanding Hermman, 
Reasor took out after Pvt Jackson and two of his men fol- 
lowed. Split from Hermman, they collided with a Chinese 
party at the mouth of the chogi trench and recoiled, once 
more taking refuge in a bunker on the other side of Dale. 

At this stage of the fight, had the Americans moved quickly, 

76 Pork Chop Hill 

the hill might have been saved by re-enforcing Hermman. His 
party and Reasor's men (except for the last minor incident) 
had not been hard pushed at close range for at least forty 
minutes. They had lost men to grenade and mortar fire. A few 
Chinese, fighting singly, had harassed them, but no large 
organized group had come against them. From these signs, it 
is apparent that the prolonged VT fire had almost liquidated 
the enemy on Dale, either killing or driving to cover all but a 
handful of the hardiest. 

But the Americans on the ground were too distracted by 
their own losses to feel the temporary drop in in-fighting 
pressure, just as the people at the higher levels were physically 
too remote to sense it. Patteson suspected that the Chinese 
had lost their grip. But with Hermman hit and half his force 
gone, he saw no way to exploit the suspected opening. And 
there was another thing. By suspending all artillery fires so 
that Hermman could go forward, the Americans had supplied 
the enemy a helpful interlude. If the Communists were pre- 
pared to reenforce, they would come on now, and Hermman 
would be caught by the counterattack. Reluctantly, Patteson 
had given the withdrawal- order. 

Still, it was easier said than done. Private Mott tried to lead 
the way, and others among the few able-bodied joined him 
in trying to rally and support the wounded men. But another 
grenade exploded among them and two more men were 
wounded. They were now eighteen casualties and nine unhurt 
men. As this crippled column formed and started toward the 
chogi trench, the saddle came under full bombardment by 
the enemy mortars. Before Hermman could complete the 
passage, the party sank back to earth, shocked into immobil- 
ity by its wounds, fear and sweat. 

Pita. Sgt. Burton Ham alone got through to Patteson and 
told him what had happened. 2nd Lieut. Benjamin L. Collins, 

Loss of an Outpost 77 

who had joined the company just that afternoon, was told to 
round up a rescue group to go to Hermman. Because Collins 
didn't know the way, Ham volunteered to return with him. 
There were twelve others. They found Hermman and his 
party strung out over 250 yards of trail and hill. Some of the 
nonwounded were so exhausted that they could not rise un- 
aided. Collins wanted to take Hermman out first because he 
was bleeding badly; Hermman refused to move until the last 
of his party was evacuated past him. Eighteen men were 
brought out. Seven were wholly down and made the return 
journey either on stretchers or other men's backs. By the end 
of twenty-five minutes, Collins had done all possible; he re- 
turned half-carrying Hermman, who had insisted on coming 
out last. First aid had been applied on the spot while the 
bandages lasted. It took the tail of the column another forty- 
five minutes to cover the 400 yards of trail between Dale and 
the Company CP. By then, all hands, including Collins' men, 
were exhausted. 

In the interval, Patteson, watching from the CP, saw an- 
other Chinese company charge up Moore's Finger. One of his 
own .50 machine guns was mounted in the CP. He told the 
gunner to fire on the ridge finger. As the gun got the range 
and line, Patteson saw a few of the enemy fall and others 
waver, but the great number disappeared into the main 

Again he called for VT fire against the outpost. This time 
there was reluctance to give it At Regiment there was in- 
sistence that only a strong counterattack could clear the hill 
and prolonged VT fire would interfere with the mounting of 
it. Patteson was obdurate and kept saying, "I want it/' After 
fifteen minutes they gave it to him and it came in right on the 
nose and perfectly timed to disintegrate a column of enemy 

78 Pork Chop Hill 

bearers trooping down Moore's Finger with their own 

For the next few minutes, and until the counterattack was 
ready, Patteson saw no reason to withhold anything. Not 
knowing that the two Smiths and Serpa were playing dead on 
the forward slope, he figured the hill was clear of living Amer- 
icans. By doubling the fire curtain, the artillery still might 
exact payment for all that had been lost. So the flares played 
without intermission and hot steel swept the hill all along its 

To the two Smiths that made little difference until at last 
one VT frag got Serpa through the back. He groaned loudly 
and half-arose. Big Smith pulled his feet from under him and, 
falling flat, Serpa lay perfectly still. As they glanced his way 
and saw his face buried in the dirt, the Smiths wondered if 
he was dead. But he was conscious and biting his lip to stifle 
his involuntary reaction to the pain. 

Another Chinese company came forward at the run, charg- 
ing up Angel Finger. One squad ran directly toward the three 
Americans. The lead man stumbled across Big Smith, and as 
he fell, the others who followed him piled up on Little Smith 
and Serpa. 

This was the climax of the ordeal. Their inert bodies rolled 
with the blow. The enemy squad jumped up and ran straight 
on. This time Big Smith whispered, "We made it/' and when 
Serpa whispered, "And how!" they knew they were three 

Not another word was said during the night Big Smith 
looked occasionally toward Serpa wondering how badly he was 
bleeding. He had made up his mind that if help did not come 
before first light, he would try to carry Serpa out on his back. 

Attack and Repulse 


Patteson against Dale Outpost were again lifted. 

There had not been enough of it to neutralize the hill. But 
Lieutenant Colonel Maliszewski had reached the big hill with 
two platoons from Item Company. Maliszewski was ready to 
counterattack as promptly as he knew the measure of the job. 

As well as he could, Patteson described the situation, for- 
getting, however, to tell Maliszewski that Bressler and Spencer 
were trapped in the CP and there was reason to think they 
might still be alive. It was a significant oversight, since 
Maliszewski presupposed that all installations were solidly in 
enemy hands and his men should be prepared to blast out 
every bunker. 

After weighing what was told him, Maliszewski decided to 
attack with two platoons in line, using both of them on the 
right side of the ridge, which would put the sweep up and 
over Moore's Finger. 

It was a simple plan and he wanted half an hour to mount 
it, so that his troops could get to the low ground and ready 
to spring, and to allow time for additional artillery prepara- 
tion. The artillery was to stonk the outpost with VT and 
lights again beginning at 0315. At 0330, he would put up a 
red flare signaling that the fires should lift 

With some nudging from Maliszewski, Patteson built up 


8o Pork Chop Hill 

on that idea. While the two Item platoons were readying on 
the right side, he would move his own First Platoon from the 
big hill to the valley. Then, as the artillery fires lifted, First 
Platoon would attack up Angel Finger on the left side of the 

It sounded good to Maliszewski. As seen by the two men 
from the high ground, the problem seemed susceptible to this 
two-winged approach and double envelopment. Neither fully 
appreciated that the outpost was just high enough to separate 
the two actions, deprive both bodies of any feeling of close 
support and make co-ordination impossible. 

Maliszewski walked down to where Lieutenant Collins 
stood in the bunker at Check Point No. i. Seven of Collins' 
men had sufficiently recovered from their labor of rescuing 
Hermman to help him man the outguard. Maliszewski told 
Collins that he would welcome his group as a re-enforcement 
during the attack. Having his first taste of battle, Collins was 
perfectly agreeable. 

On the other side of the hill, the pincher was in charge of 
2nd Lieut Glenn R. Yokum, also untried in a fire fight, look- 
ing almost too small for a soldier suit and too shy to com- 
mand. Yokum wore thick-lensed glasses and at first glance 
reminded one of Mr. Peepers. But as the saying goes, the good 
ones come in all shapes and sizes. Unspectacular, Yokum had 
something essential in a commander: he was steady. 

Yokum marched his men right aloijg. They were at the 
bottom of the valley and ready to start up Angel Finger when 
the moment came that Maliszewskf s red flare went up and 
the artillery fires lifted. That far it had been a breeze. The 
enemy was pitching nothing into the valley and the American 
shelling was hitting the bull's-eye atop Dale. 

Attacking the slope, the men had first to work their way 
through a double apron wire. They made it without hurt, but 

Attack and Repulse . 81 

some became snagged momentarily during the passage, and 
so the platoon became scattered. That cut down momentum. 
Beyond the wire, Yokum lost five minutes getting them col- 
lected again within range of his voice. 

In that interval, they could hear the mounting rattle of 
automatic fire from the far side of the hill. And from the crest, 
several machine guns spoke, though not in their direction. 
They started again, but the advance went more slowly. 

As they got to within 50 yards of Dale's big trench, from 
upslope one grenade landed among them. It wounded three 
men. There were some seconds of hesitation. Yokum yelled, 
"Move on! Move on!", and responding, they came to the 
solid band of concertina wire. Some tried to force their way 
through it; others tried to crawl under. As they struggled, 
grenades exploded among them and from a few yards uphill, 
a tommy gunner opened fire. 

That was enough resistance to turn them, but within sec- 
onds a Chinese machine gun, from farther up the slope, was 
pouring fire on the same line. Then they recoiled about 20 
yards and went flat among the rocks. One man didn't make it: 
Pfc. Antonio Rivera had got some part of his equipment 
snagged by the wire and couldn't break loose. 

Pfc. Robert McKinley, who had fallen back with the others, 
saw Rivera's plight. On sudden impulse, this ig-year-old 
bounded forward and hit Rivera with a body block, aimed hip 
high. The blow bounced Rivera up and over the wire so that 
he fell on the enemy side. 

That move, which fully committed Rivera beyond reach by 
the flattened platoon, undoubtedly led on to the next step. 
McKinley crawled back the 20 yards to M/S George Boat- 
wright. For some seconds he lay there thinking his idea over. 
Boatwright was firing his Mi in the direction of the tommy 
gunner. Briefly, McKinley joined in with his carbine. 

Distribution of Yokum's Platoon when it became held at the wire 

Attack and Repulse 83 

Then he said to Boatwright, "Watch me!" Again, he 
jumped toward the concertina. This time as he hit it straight 
on, in a diving motion, his arms were up to protect his face. 
The wire barrier went flat under his weight. Then he yelled 
back to Boatwright in a voice which rang clarion-clear above 
the sounds of fire, "Send the men over me!" 

Boatwright rushed to within five yards of him and there 
went flat. He yelled, "Come on! Move up! Go across!" His 
arms moved like flails as he waved the men toward McKinley's 
back. But there was no quick response. One other thought 
made the men more hesitant than their fear of fire. As they 
later explained, they thought McKinley would be killed im- 
mediately, and they couldn't stand the idea of walking on a 
corpse. So there were perhaps three minutes of agonizing de- 
lay while McKinley played bridge, waiting for the traffic that 
didn't come. 

Yokum's main thought during this interval was that if his 
men didn't stay flat they would all be killed. The concertina 
looked impenetrable. From just beyond it, the enemy grena- 
diers and tommy gunner were getting the range. Six more 
grenades had landed among the men and three more soldiers 
were crying for first aid. The Chinese machine gun was doing 
no damage; the fire was much too high. But now there was a 
fresh worry. A light mortar had opened fire and Yokum 
counted five rounds as they exploded within less than 30 yards 
of where he lay. 

Yokum's head was averted when McKinley plunged to the 
wire and so he missed the play. He was yelling, "Crawl for- 
wardone at a time go under the wire." Then he heard a 
voice, louder and shriller than his own, "Come up here, come 
up here, you bastards!" It was McKinley, using his own lungs 
to give Boatwright an assist And probably it was the GI 
language that got them started. Ordinarily, McKinley didn't 

84 Pork Chop Hill 

use it. Later in front of the company, he was to acknowledge 
that while he lay stretched on the wire, he kept remembering 
what his dad, a cook in Roswell, N. M, kept writing him: 
"Keep your head and pray to your God." 

Cpl. Virgil Jones was the first man to try the passage. Land- 
ing in the small of McKinley's back in the darkness, he lost 
his balance, banged McKinley in the back of his head with 
the base plate of his machine gun, and jumped back to the 
nigh side of the wire, yelling, "Are you hurt?" McKinley 
shouted, "Jump again and keep going!" 

Jones made it this time and Privates Jeeter and Hughes fol- 
lowed directly after. As each man landed on his back, Mc- 
Kinley gave him a shout of encouragement, "Keep going; look 
for the burp gunner directly ahead!" There had come no slack- 
ening of the fire; rather, the few Chinese among the rocks 
above them were now concentrating both their grenades and 
the automatic fire toward McKinley. The gunner now kept a 
stream going, instead of firing in short bursts. 

Private Godfrey, a Negro, was the fourth man. As he landed 
on McKinley's back, a bullet got him through the shoulder. 
Instead of yelling, he completed his spring, and slumped onto 
the bank beyond McKinley. The others did not know that 
he'd been hit. But McKinley had felt it and he pitched his 
voice toward Godfrey, saying, "If you got it bad, stay where 
you are." 

Privates Naparez and Cox and Sergeant Boatwright went 
on over. Then Cpl. Harold E. Wright took a grenade frag- 
ment through the hip, and in his tumble from McKinley's 
back, kicked him in the head. He lay down beside Godfrey 
and waited for the others to clear. 

Naparez, who was serving as the platoon's aid man, had 
seen Wright crumple. Instead of continuing upslope, he 

Attack and Repulse 85 

dropped beside him and felt for the wound. Wright was al- 
ready losing blood at an alarming rate. 

Nine others, under the spurring of Yokum, who was now 
standing in the clear and urging them on, made the passage 
safely. Counting Rivera, that made eighteen whom McKinley 
had put over the wire. The move had taken approximately six 
minutes after the initial delay. What had slowed the advance 
chiefly was that the Chinese grenadiers were throwing in sal- 
vos, and each man had waited a few seconds, timing his rush 
to the break in the grenade fire. Yokum went last. 

Downslope, short of the wire, Sgt William Welcher was 
having a different kind of trial. The six Koreans in Yokum's 
platoon were all collected within Welcher's squad. They re- 
fused to budge. Welcher booted them until at last one man 
got up and bounded across McKinley. The others still hugged 
the dirt. Frustrated and wondering what to do, Welcher 
simply stayed there, kicking and reviling them, forgetting the 
platoon's problem. 

Sgt. Francis D. Bushman, a go-it-alone kind of soldier, had 
been on the extreme left of the line, virtually detached from 
the main body by a rock outcropping. He had not witnessed 
McKinley's action or heard him. In those minutes he was 
helping Pfc. Buddy W. Vandvier who had been hard hit by 
several grenade shards. After giving him first aid and starting 
him rearward, Bushman crawled forward. By pulling at some 
loose rock, he was able to wiggle under the concertina. 

His line of advance put him on the left side of Angel Fin- 
ger at the same time that the men who had crossed via Mc- 
Kinley were trying, singly rather than as a collected group, 
to charge up the right-hand side. It was a better spot for seeing 
than for fighting. The shelling had set one of the bunkers afire 
atop Dale Outpost and the glare in the background silhou- 
etted the crest of the finger. Bushman could see two Chinese 

86 Pork Chop Hill 

firing down on the platoon with automatic weapons. Still 
higher up the finger, though not more than 35 yards above his 
head, four grenadiers bobbed up in alternate pairs to lob 
potato-masher grenades down on his friends. From the 
heights, an occasional grenade exploded on his own side of 
the finger, but he could not see who threw them nor could 
he counter the fire ripping into the platoon. Already his car- 
bine was empty. He had grenades and he tried to clear the 
ground with them. But the height plus the distance mocked 
his effort and the grenades only rebounded toward him. The 
slope confronting him was almost sheer and wholly barren, 
with no shrubs or rock ledges to offer a handhold. He could 
neither move upright nor crawl The best he could do was 
drag himself upward a few inches at a time. 

The strain on McKinley had not been eased by the advance 
of the platoon except that the fire was no longer wholly con- 
centrated in his direction. He still lay stretched across the 
wire, for there remained the task of evacuating the two 
wounded men, Wright and Godfrey, the same way they had 
come. There was no one to help him, since Naparez, after 
examining Wright, had continued with the platoon. McKin- 
ley's way of handling it was to grab them around the knees 
and pull them back across his own body. That took another 
five minutes, by his estimate and theirs. After this exertion, 
Wright could not arise. McKinley heard him say, "Dear God, 
I'm terribly weak and losing blood." So McKinley pulled 
back to the nigh side of the wire, intending to carry Wright 
downhill in his arms. He was surprised to find that his own 
strength was spent. The best he could do was brace Wright 
with an arm under his shoulder. 

By then the platoon was also reeling. What no one had 
foreseen was that the act which was intended to save it would 
perforce give it a fatal diffusion. McKinley's back was in effect 

Attack and Repulse 87 

a defile. Each man had entered it under fire and, deploying 
beyond it, was still under fire. In consequence, each man ad- 
vanced separately to whatever dark object in the immediate 
foreground seemed to promise the best cover. So all chance for 
unity was lost immediately. 

Pfc. Thomas Nezbella, after crossing McKinley's back, 
bounded about 10 yards up the ridge, and slid into position 
behind a rock ledge. He could hear two automatic weapons 
firing directly above his head; by the sound, they were not 
more than 30 yards away. He moved five yards closer. Then 
five times he grenaded toward the sound. Each of his grenades 
rebounded, exploding closer to him than to the enemy. 

Then off to his right a few yards, he heard a shout. It was 
Private Thacher calling to Private Jeeter, "Come on up with 
your BAR and help me get 'em." He saw the two men con- 
verge and maneuver a short way upslope. Then they joined 
fire, Thacher using an Mi. Within a minute or two thereafter, 
one of the Chinese guns ceased fire, and Nezbella reckoned 
that Thacher and Jeeter together had put the gunner out of 
action. But they, too, had quit fighting, and for the moment, 
this puzzled Nezbella. 

Yokum had tried calling to his men but could get no re- 
sponse. There was too much noise on the hill for his voice 
to carry, and in the dark (he is near-sighted) he could see no 
one else. So he went to work as a rifleman. His carbine fire, 
directed toward the spot where the tommy gunner was operat- 
ing, endured just four rounds. The piece was so fouled by dust 
that it wouldn't fire automatic, and after he had spent four 
rounds manually, it quit altogether. Thus disarmed, Yokum 
decided to start looking for his men. 

Privates Rivera and Rodriguez had moved leftward, which 
line took them around the curve of the finger, and toward 
Sergeant Bushman. As they neared him, either a grenade or 

88 Pork Chop Hill 

a light mortar round landed between them. The explosion 
shattered Rodriguez's arm and wounded Rivera in a dozen 
places, one frag penetrating his stomach. They started back 
the way they had come, Rodriguez half -carrying Rivera. Bush- 
man recovered the Mi dropped by Rodriguez. He at last had 
a weapon and the second Chinese gunner (armed with a Bren) 
was still in clear profile. Bushman fired perhaps a dozen 
rounds; it was probably his fire that killed the second gun. 

Cpl. Virgil Jones had tried to find a spot along the upslope 
where he could prop his LMG for a clear sweep against the 
group of Chinese grenadiers. At last he found it, a rock ledge, 
flat-surfaced. Before he could open fire, a grenade bounced 
onto the ledge and, exploding under the gun, wrecked it. One 
fragment smashed the bridge of Jones' nose. The effect was 
like a hard blow from a hammer. Jones was stunned beyond 
knowing what had happened. But he picked up the ruined gun 
and started downslope. Cpl. Troy Goodman was lying just a 
few yards below him with a bullet through his leg. He saw 
that Jones was hit and reeling, so he put an arm around him, 
and together they continued the journey. 

Private Naparez had climbed only a few feet before com- 
ing to Private Cox, who was down with a grenade fragment 
through his knee. He put a bandage on him, and then, sup- 
porting Cox, started downslope. 

Privates Thacher and Jeeter, whose team play Nezbella had 
seen knock out the Chinese gunner, were returning even more 
blindly. Just how it happened, no one ever knew. But both 
men had been struck in the head by bullet fire, and though 
neither died instantly, both were in their last moments as they 
sought the road to the rear. 

Of the detail of these blows to his men, young Yokum still 
knew little or nothing. Until his carbine failed, he had seen 
none of them and heard no one cry out. It had been as if he 

Attack and Repulse 89 

were fighting alone on the hill; the rocks and the tumult atop 
the outpost killed the sounds of his own men giving battle. 
He reckoned that some of them must have recoiled to the 
concertina, and if he went that way, he could re-collect them. 

The barrier now gaped wide, a mortar round having 
snapped it just a few yards from where McKinley had lain. As 
Yokum neared the opening, it was already semiblocked by a 
cluster of his own wounded and dead. Rivera, Thacher and 
Jeeter had made it just that far and there died within a few 
feet of each other. Goodman, Jones and the other wounded 
were standing by, wordless and motionless, as if shocked by 
the discovery. 

It reacted on Yokum the same way. Counting score, he 
realized that at most, not more than six of his men could still 
be whole-bodied and moving up the slope. It was no longer a 
platoon, not even a squad. That thought made him oblivious 
to all else. That above him the slope had gone silent, that 
this could only mean that his men, though falling, had not 
failed and had won their side of the hill, were facts which 
simply could not get through to his consciousness. 

He yelled, "Come on back!" and this time, because of the 
stillness, Boatwright, Private First Class Bennett and Private 
Hughes, who were still trying to move upslope, heard him 
and withdrew to the concertina. 

That left Sergeant Bushman all alone on the finger. He had 
not heard Yokum's order. But all of his earlier anxieties were 
now done and he lay flat on the rocks feeling quite content 
There was no longer any sign of the enemy and the sounds 
of fire from on top the hill had diminished to an occasional 
rifle crack. 

When Yokum with the survivors reached the bottom of 
the valley, he reported by radio to Lieutenant Patteson, tell- 

90 Pork Chop Hill 

ing him what had happened. Patteson told him, "Wait 

Aid man Naparez had nipped back up the hill to search 
for other missing and wounded. He met McKinley coming 
down. His journey to the rear with Wright had been slowed 
because two other wounded had joined them, and McKinley 
was trying to handle all three of them shuttle fashion, moving 
a few yards at a time. 

From beginning to end, the fight had lasted hardly more 
than thirty minutes. 

Yokum's waiting ended when Patteson told him that Item 
Company had secured the main entrenchments on top of 
Dale. Patteson said, 'Take any able-bodied men you have, 
move up Angel Finger and join them/' 

There were seven in all, counting Yokum. They turned back 
to the hill and climbed it without a shot being fired against 
them by their enemies. But it gave them no feeling of victory, 
for Item stood on the height while they still toiled up the 
rocky slope. 

As dawn came, so did a bearer detail, bringing coffee. They 
drank and felt a little better. 

Stumble to Victory 


First Battalion on the southern side of the Tong Valley when 
the midnight call came to Lieutenant Hemphill directing him 
to send a platoon to re-enforce Baker Company on the main 

Artillery was already falling on Item's bivouac and one man 
had been killed. Not more than ten minutes after Third Pla- 
toon had hit the trail bound for the front, Colonel Kern again 
called Hemphill telling him that Dale Outpost had been 
overrun and the rest of Item Company would move immedi- 
ately to retake it. There was a bad break: the only Item men 
who knew the ground at Dale Outpost were in Third Platoon. 

No one in the company had slept. Hemphill was new to his 
command, not yet acquainted with his men and without 
knowledge of the countryside. He assembled his two platoons 
in the mess tent, told them the mission and then led the 
column forth. There were 69 men in it. The riflemen all car- 
ried basic loads and five grenades apiece. There were 1,000 
rounds each for the two light machine guns. Hemphill was 
about to leave his rocket launchers behind, then thought bet- 
ter of it. 

They started at 0130. Their approach march to Lieutenant 
Patteson's CP was exactly one-half mile, as Cpl. Billy R. 
Crum knew by reeling off an even doughnut of wire along the 


92 Pork Chop Hill 

trail. But there was much stumbling and checking as more 
artillery found the mark during the march-up, wounding two 
men. They were 47 minutes in getting there. 

During this time, Maliszewski had been champing at the 
bit. Having been perfunctorily briefed by Patteson, he in turn 
gave the picture to Hemphill. Nothing was said about the 
men still missing and possibly alive on Dale. 

Together Maliszewski and Hemphill scanned the outpost 
from the distance. Save for the precisely delivered VT shower, 
it looked deceptively peaceful. Nothing could be seen stirring 
on its surface under the incandescent glare of the light shells. 
To both men the sights and sounds indicated that Dale had 
been deserted. 

Because of the intense glare above Dale, the valley on both 
sides of it was impenetrably shaded. The Chinese would be 
certain to cover their back door. The most promising approach 
was via Moore's Finger on the right flank. But how the finger 
was shaped and how its mass intervened between the valley 
and the rampart were indiscernible. For that reason and be- 
cause Hemphill was new to the scene, the battalion com- 
mander dictated the plan for the company attack. 

All of Item would deploy rightward of the chogi trench, 
with the left tying in to the outguard position which Lieu- 
tenant Collins was holding with ten men. That group would 
join the attack. Item's Second Platoon would be on the 
right flank, directly facing Moore's Finger. The machine guns 
were grouped at the extreme right with the mission of moving 
up the finger until they were on line-of-sight to Dale's crest 
and from there delivering a covering fire while the rifle line 

Patteson had grown restive over the denuding of his part of 
the main line through the commitment of Yokum's platoon. 

Stumble to Victory 93 

He asked Maliszewski, "What dq I do if the Chinese hit me?" 

Said Maliszewski: "Use your cooks and clerks." 

Hemphill wanted to know, "Who will I use for a guide?" 

Said Maliszewski, "You have one; Fm it." 

Hemphill got back to the company, called his leaders to- 
gether and gave them orders. The attack was to go at 0330, 
which, by the time Hemphill was through talking, left them 
just 27 minutes to move and get squared away at the line of 
departure. It sounded simple enough as Hemphill described it. 

But time was pressing. Maliszewski and Hemphill struck off 
together leading the column along the commo trench toward 
the finger. In their eagerness, they moved too fast. The more 
heavily weighted riflemen couldn't keep the pace. So when 
the lead files reached the dip where they were to debouch 
from the trench and form a line on the lower ground to right- 
ward of it, there was no longer a guide in sight and none to 
direct the alignment. 

Lieut. Joseph W. Faris led First Platoon. Tight behind him 
came No. i squad leader, Sergeant Jos6 Lugo, his BAR man, 
Private Anthony P. Sanchez, and the assistant gunner, Private 
Francisco Bermudez-Cruz. And when they formed, that was 
all of the platoon. Private Johnson, who had been behind 
Bermudez-Cruz, had missed a turn at a gap in the wire and 
had led the rest of the platoon off in the opposite direction. 
With only four minutes to go, Faris had to radio for a delay 
in the attack while he hunted his lost men. 

But he was not alone in his embarrassment Hemphill had 
already heard from Second Platoon that part of its line was 
lost or at least missing. Cpl. Donald E. Mullins radioed to 
keep the artillery going while the slopes were searched for 
the strayed infantry. Maliszewski, biting his nails, ordered a 
ten-minute postponement 

Inadvertently, he had helped make this untimely confusion. 

94 Pork Chop Hill 

For in leading off, he had talked it up, yelling, "Let's go! Get 
the sons-of -bitches!" And the men had followed his lead. The 
deployment was bedlamized before it had established order. 
Many of the men were yelling at top voice. Squads already 
on line were prematurely shouting, "Move out! Move out! 
Let's go!" All of it would have been great stuff if Item had 
been set. As things were, the exhorting drowned out the 
voices of Paris and others who were calling for the lost men. 

After hard sweat, Paris found his missing line. Still pant- 
ing, the platoon was brought abreast the LD. And just then 
the red flare went off, signaling the starting of the attack. 
Though most of the squads by that moment were headed in 
approximately the right direction, they were still scrambled. 
Several were still far behind and others had come into line in 
the wrong sector. 

Only one group moved directly and steadily to its assigned 
mission. On the far right flank, the machine guns under 
M/S Robert J. Jones, with Lugo, Sanchez and Bermudez-Cruz 
providing the BAR support, moved straight up Moore's Fin- 
ger to the first knob. From there, they had a straight line to 
the fire bunkers atop Dale, 75 yards away. Of that, there was 
no doubt. Automatic fire from the redoubt was already buzz- 
ing the knob as they settled among the rocks and began 
working their weapons. Behind them, the assault line was still 
trying to collect itself. 

On the far right of Second Platoon, two squads had found 
a conveniently located trench in the valley bottom and were 
standing fast. Hemphill ran that way yelling, "Move out!" 
The men echoed the cry but didn't budge. Corporal Crum 
and Sgt Joe J. Schindel jumped into the trench and, in 
Cram's phrase, "did a lot of ass-kicking." That helped to re- 
store motion. But there was no vigor in it. Every four or five 
yards the men would stop, though they were drawing no fire. 

Stumble to Victory 95 

The repriming had to be done over and over. Yet they con- 
tinued to shout, "Move out! Get going! Kill the sons-of- 
bitches!" as if in the grip of hysteria. 

Second Platoon's two squads on the left were advancing 
upslope, firing as they moved. There were no targets in sight. 
The brow of Moore's Finger, directly ahead of them, masked 
the rampart of Dale Outpost, and all of the bullets were being 
wasted on this dead space. Cpl. Othelius Johnson shouted, 
"Why are you firing?" Someone yelled back, "Because First 
Platoon is firing." Helped by Sgt. Edward Gabriel, Johnson 
moved along the line trying to stop the shooting. Several of 
the carbines had gone dry before the line could see the Chi- 
nese position. 

The base of Moore's Finger divides into three subfingers. 
In the darkness, these divisions could not be seen by the men. 
The left-hand approach which was taken by Paris' First Pla- 
toon is steep-fronted and camel-backed. From the floor of 
the valley, its last high knob hides to view both the mass of 
the main finger and the summit of Dale. Not being oriented, 
Paris' men mistook this cap, not more than 50 yards above 
their heads, for the silhouette of the outpost. When the red 
flare went up and their climb started, they cut loose with all 
weapons. No one had ordered it; nerve tension, mounting high 
during the approach, found release in the trigger finger. Once 
started, it was almost impossible to stop because of the furious 
shouting. But M/S Charles G. Heeg and Sgt. Woodrow L. 
Schlehofer tried. Obviously firepower was wasting at a rate 
that would empty every magazine before Item could draw on 
the Chinese. The two NCOs yelled, "Cease fire! Cease fire!" 
Their voices were lost in the din. The platoon moved on up 
the slope, pouring its bullets into vacant rock two heights 
short of the enemy. 

"Getting onto ground we knew nothing of," said Fans, "we 

96 , Pork Chop Hill 

were not given time for reconnaissance. And the only effect of 
our fire was to warn the enemy and give him time to organize 
against us." 

Lieutenant Collins, who had the Baker detachment which 
was supposed to move with Item, became willy-nilly part of 
this scramble up the secondary finger. Before he had moved 
more than 30 yards from the line of departure, he had lost his 
own ten men in the darkness; knowing none of them by sight 
or voice, he could not regather them. So he tried to command 
whatever men were nearest him. It would not work. They 
lurched forward a few yards at a time, then stopped to fire a 
few rounds at nothing in particular. He moved among them 
shouting, "God damn it, keep moving! God damn it, quit fir- 
ing!" Getting little or no results that way, he started booting 
them in the tail. And that worked. 

When at last they moved off the secondary finger onto the 
arched back of Moore's Finger, conditions changed swiftly. It 
was now a straight shoot up the slope into the fighting bunk- 
ers of Dale Outpost, not more than 80 yards away. Against 
the glare of the illumination and the mortar shelling hitting 
into the rampart, they could see the trench line and see dark 
figures darting about on the bunker roofs. One Chinese ma- 
chine gun was firing straight down Moore's Finger, grazing 
the ground which they had to travel. Now was the time to 
pour it on! And it was at this moment exactly that the cry, 
"Cease fire! Cease fire!" which had started in the bottoms not 
more than fifteen minutes before began to paralyze the Amer- 

Barring their path 25 yards upslope was the broad band of 
concertina wire. Several enemy submachine gunners and a 
few grenadiers, nesting right behind the wire, were peppering 
the foreground. A second machine gun, lodged on a bunker 
roof well over to the right, was firing flankward toward the 

Stumble to Victory 97 

finger. There was more sound than fury in this automatic out- 
burst; most of it was going high. But with the way wide open 
for effective return, Item rode the crisis in a confusion of 
thought and action which directly reflected its early disor- 
ganization. Its fire slacked off to a whisper. The will was lack- 
ing and so were the weapons. At least half of them had been 
fouled beyond use during the up-climb because the men had 
hit the dirt too often while still not under fire. 

Pvt. Augustus T. Young's BAR wouldn't work; he didn't 
know why. Cpl Terrell G. Parker's BAR wouldn't fire; the 
magazine was dirty. Pvt Richard L. Crookston's BAR 
wouldn't fire; he thought it was because the ammunition was 
too dirty. Pvt. Julio Lopez' Mi wouldn't operate, though 
when he yielded it to Parker, it did quite well. Pvt. Earl John- 
son's Mi wouldn't shoot; he thought it was because the clips 
were too begrimed. Cpl. James L. Rector's Mi would fire 
sometimes if he operated the bolt; he blamed it on the dirti- 
ness of the weapon that in one hour he fired only one clip. 
And so it went, along a great part of the line. 

At his machine-gun position farther downslope, Sergeant 
Jones decided to explore forward and see what was holding up 
the company. Private First Class Manning, who had the pla- 
toon radio, went with him. From their position on the right- 
hand secondary finger, they moved on an ascending diagonal 
toward Dale Outpost's rear. Jones could see clearly the posi- 
tions from which the two enemy machine guns were firing. 
The farthest was not more than 120 yards from him. He had 
kept up a continuous fire with the LMGs on these rather ob- 
vious targets and it surprised him that they had not been 

As he came onto Moore's Finger, he saw "at least thirty 
men just milling about" No one seemed to be in charge of 

Pork Chop Hill 

The counterattack against Dale Outpost. Item Company's platoons 
had become intermingled before they gained the summit. 

them, and instead of resting, they were turning in circles like 
corralled cattle. Approaching the concertina, he saw Corporal 
Johnson lying there with the 3.5 rocket launcher. 

Pointing to the machine gun 40 yards beyond the wire, 
Jones asked him, "Why aren't you firing?" 

Johnson was in tears as he replied, "Hell, they won't let 

Sergeant Heeg had given the order. The slope behind John- 
son was thick with men still not under control and Heeg was 
afraid of the backblast. Restoring command unity was the 
main problem; effective response had been made impossible 
by the intermingling of the squads. And until the rest of the 

Stumble to Victory 99 

men could be formed in line and pushed up to the wire, the 
launcher could not be used. 

Hemphill, Paris, Heeg, Jones and the other leaders worked 
at it. Man by man the lower slope was cleared and the line 
crawled forward. The hardiest characters tried to push on 
through the concertina. Pvt. Deforest Small got hung up in 
it, and could neither break free nor lie down. He was sus- 
pended there for six minutes. So were four of the company's 
Koreans. From the nigh side of the wire, Corporal Beckham 
stood up yelling, "Get moving! Crawl through! Crawl under!" 
It was his last try; a bullet got him through the brain. 

Lieutenant Hemphill bounded for the concertina, trying 
to break through. A heavy potato masher exploded next him 
in midair, and the fragments ripped his legs and head. The 
blow stunned him and he sagged. For a few minutes the men 
thought he was dead. 

That was when Jones decided to return to his machine guns. 
The slope was becoming too hot. From behind the wire the 
Chinese grenadiers and burp gunners were getting in their 
heaviest licks. And the machine-gun fire was now cutting the 
grass. While Jones walked back to his guns, he was overtaken 
by Sgt Ferdinand Schulz, his own assistant. A grenade had 
wounded Schulz in the head while he lay next the wire. 

Small broke loose from the wire, as by a miracle, when a 
Chinese white phosphorus grenade landed under his feet. Said 
Small, "I got strong quickly." One great heave and he was 
free, falling back toward the company just before the missile 
exploded. But two of the Koreans who became trapped in 
the same way were killed by burp-gun fire. 

Of these slight wounds the line again bogged down. A mi- 
nority quit the hill. The greater number during the next few 
minutes remained inert next the wire. Even so, that should 
have ended Corporal Johnson's frustrations. But his bad luck 

ioo Pork Chop Hill 

was still running. Someone had landed hard on the 3.5 
launcher and bent it, and he could no longer force a round 
into it. 

SFC Burton Ham, who had been with Lieutenant Collins 
at the beginning, and at the time of their separation had con- 
tinued on with Pfc. John R. Pennington, was sprawled next 
to Johnson very close to the concertina. To both Pennington 
and Ham, it appeared that the in-fighting along the barricade 
was being carried by not more than six or seven Chinese. Yet 
they were holding at least forty men motionless, pinning them 
down and silencing their weapons. 

Collins, though he had lost Ham and the others, must have 
been within a few yards of Johnson, watching the same phe- 
nomenon. The line had become transfixed by the strong play 
of the one Chinese machine gun which fired straight down 
the finger. Collins heard men yelling, "We ought to get that 
machine gun!" Others cried, "Why doesn't somebody use the 
3.5?" But no one fitted action to words. Collins' impression 
was that the enemy grenadiers along the wire were using white 
phosphorus bombs mainly and that most of the stuff was 
bad and fizzed out weakly. 

It is easier to blame inept leadership for this stagnation 
than to understand that the circumstances of the night attack 
had stripped it of salient authority. Unity had been lost in the 
scrambling of the squads. Men command by voice, look and 
gesture, but the chain of force thus generated is dependent 
on recognition. Darkness, din and diffusion had militated 
against recognition on that night to an extraordinary degree. 
Later when the story of the operation was reconstructed, it 
was noteworthy that each man told his part as if he had 
walked almost alone. Not one of them, during the prolonged 
struggle uphill, identified his own experience as related to the 
action of more than two or three persons whom he knew. 

Stumble to Victory 101 

They were a group only in the sense that they had numbers. 

Colonel Maliszewski was hardly less susceptible to this lost 
feeling than the replacements who were having their first time 
in combat, though because the command was HemphilFs, he 
did not attempt an intervention which in any case would have 
been vain. After leading the column to the LD, he continued 
with the attack, moving first with Paris' flank, then swinging 
over to Second Platoon, which he calculated would arrive 
first at the rampart. To a degree, in his detached position, he 
was deceived by the early shouting and tumult which he be- 
lieved reflected a splendid verve in the assault. 

Shortly thereafter, he began to pay more attention to the 
enemy guns than to the spell which they put upon Item Com- 
pany. His interest drawn in that direction, he did not sense 
the state of disorganization within the American attack. 
Beating on his mind was the thought that unless the two 
enemy machine guns could be knocked out, Item would 
take fearful losses at the wire. 

Crossing a draw as he traversed the front, he found a small 
hole in the concertina and wiggled through. He stood there 
alone within 50 yards of the fire bunkers atop Dale. He was 
carrying a carbine and four grenades. Misquoting Confucius, 
he said out loud, with no one to listen: "The strong example 
is worth one thousand words/' He moved on up the gully 
scrambling over the rocks to a knob which he reckoned was 
just within grenade range of the main trench. He had marked 
the two main enemy positions. It was his intention to attack 
both of them, working first against the gun on the Chinese 
left flank by coming up under the blind corner of the bunker. 

Hemphill was thinking along the same lines. He was still 
bleeding badly from his face wounds, and clutching at his hurt 
leg, though his head had cleared. He moved over to Paris' 
flank yelling, "Anybody got a 3.5 launcher? Bring it to me!" 

102 Pork Chop Hill 

Pfc. Clarence L. Sparks, the assistant gunner in First Platoon, 
heard him. The gunner, Cpl. Warren T. Adams, had been 
working with the wounded and at that moment was loading 
Private First Class Jessup on a litter. 

Sparks ran to Hemphill, carrying the tube and a case of 
ammunition. Hemphill asked, "Do you know how to load 
this thing? I don't/' Sparks got a round out of the case, but 
its contact wire had tangled with the spring. Sparks grabbed 
another round and loaded. 

Hemphill wiggled under the wire and ran forward, yelling 
back to his men, "Watch out for backblast!" It was a needless 
warning; no one was following him. Sparks stood by the 
barricade watching him go. 

Thirty yards from Dale's main trench, Hemphill halted 
and fired, aiming at the bunker roof from where the enemy 
machine gun was firing straight down the finger. Another 
grenade sailed in on him as he loosed the round and more 
steel cut into him. Collins, watching the bunker, saw a "great 
flash envelop the roof." The machine gun went silent, ending 
the fire from that direction. The one round had hit home. 

It was like a dam breaking. Almost instantly, the line of 
men who had been prone and silent below the wire arose 
and surged forward. And this time the barbed entanglement 
detained them not at all. Also, there was an upsurge of the 
chorus, "Get the sons-of-bitches!" but as Paris later said, this 
time they knew not only the words but also the right tune. 

As to what killed the second gun, the proofs are less con- 
crete. Maliszewski attacked it within a few minutes, either 
way, of Hemphill's charge against the No. i gun with the big 
bazooka. Jones' machine-gun battery had been plastering that 
same target for more than thirty minutes, and the gun had 
operated intermittently, with long pauses, as if the fire was 
hitting into crew without destroying the weapon. It still fired 

Stumble to Victory 103 

in weak bursts as Maliszewski approached it. Or at least he 
believed it was the bunker housing one of the heavies, though 
it may have been one of the several Brens which the Chinese 
had brought to Dale. His first grenade toss sailed clean 
through the opening. There was an explosion and the gun 
went silent. 

Maliszewski then moved toward the several bunkers di- 
rectly overlooking Moore's Finger. The folding of the earth 
had hid to his view the dramatic effect of Hemphiirs personal 
maneuver. But as he drew nigh the bunker which he thought 
was still holding back Item by its fire, a BAR man settled 
down on the parapet beside him and offered him his grenades. 
Maliszewski didn't have time to get his name. He unpinned 
the grenades and threw. Together the two men ducked back 
into a small ravine just below the parapet. From the main 
trench several grenades showered down on them. Hemphiirs 
assault force was just then crowding to the trenches, moving 
upslope on both sides of Maliszewski. Lieut. Claude T. Ford 
heard a yell out of the darkness, "Come on! Get the sons-of- 
bitches!" and knew it for the battalion commander's voice. 

One big stick grenade found the mark. It exploded under 
Maliszewski as he went flat From the ravine came his cry, 
"Come get me, my right leg is blown off!" followed by silence. 
Luckily, he had only lost a foot. Maliszewski tumbled back 
down the slope, then blacked out. Regaining consciousness, 
he crawled a little way uphill. It seemed to him that an hour 
passed before any help came. But that was an illusion born 
of shock. Sergeant Ham had heard his cry and got to him 
immediately. The medics were working over him within a 
few minutes and he was carried off the hill while the line was 
still carrying on a confused fight to subdue the Chinese re- 

HemphilFs lone-handed sortie had introduced a new if fleet- 

Stumble to Victory 105 

ing note of steadiness in the situation. Besides knocking out 
the gun and jarring loose his troops, Hemphill had given his 
men that fresh confidence which makes control possible. Once 
they had broken through the concertina, Paris, Ford, Heeg, 
Schlehof er and the other junior leaders were able to get them 
in hand. They obeyed orders and formed as a line of skirmish- 
ers just beyond the barrier. There were at least two exceptions. 
Cpls. George A. Mata and Sisto M. Valeho had been in the 
forefront of the movement, and they kept right on going, 
heading for that part of the escarpment where Maliszewski 
had started his attack. 

Mata had an Mi, Valeho a BAR. From First Platoon's sec- 
tor, they cut diagonally rightward across and upslope, firing 
as they went. Mata's rifle was already sticking. Fifty yards 
along, they came to another band of wire. They were both in 
it and Valeho was wedged tight when grenades began to fall 
on them from out the trench just above their heads. Mata 
wrenched free. Then just over to his right about 30 yards he 
heard a call, "Hey over there, come help lis!" He ran that way, 
and hit another small patch of wire. Four members of Second 
Platoonone American and three Koreans were hung up in 
it, and though Mata strained, he could not pull them loose. 
Two potato mashers had exploded among the men and all 
four had been hit by numerous fragments. Mata said, "Give 
me your grenades!" He got three from them, ran back to 
Valeho and got two more, and then took Valeho's BAR. 

Leaving the four men impaled, he headed straight for the 
parapet, jumped into the trench and rushed the bunker from 
which the grenades had been coming. As he bombed into the 
open bunker door, getting away his five grenades as fast as he 
could pull the pin and throw, two more potato mashers ex* 
ploded right at his heels. Hardly pausing, he opened fire with 

106 Pork Chop Hill 

the BAR, dusting the trench in both directions. He stopped 
only when his weapon ran dry. 

Right after that, Corporal Mullins, the radio man, ran past 
him. With Pvt James R. Streit, Mullins had observed Mata's 
whole action from a little way downslope. He had seen the 
Chinese grenading from the bunker and that had given him 
pause. Then as Mata's grenades hit among their soft targets, 
Mullins witnessed the kill and heard the scream of the victims 
evidence which Mata had missed in his excitement. Said 
Mullins, "That was what brought us forward; we knew Mata 
had done it." Streit had fired his Mi as they advanced; he 
continued on to grenade the next bunker past Mata, after first 
singing out, "Hey, any American in there?" Mullins prowled 
the bunker which Mata had bombed. There were seven dead 
Chinese inside the score of a man named Mata. 

On its last leg of the uphill sweep, the line started smoothly. 
There was still fire from the hill. A few burp guns were pop- 
ping away and the remaining Chinese grenadiers hung on 
tenaciously. But the machine-gun fire which had raked 
Moore's Finger was ended. Whether killed by Maliszewski's 
attack, or by the thirty-minute fire from Sergeant Jones' bat- 
tery, or maybe the two together, the second gun did not speak 
again after the line had re-formed. 

Not enemy resistance, but the temptation of ground pro- 
tection, brought about the next unhinging of the line. To 
men moving in an attack, the sight of solid works draws like 
a magnet. This is true even in dark and when the works are 
enemy-held. To take one's chances within solid earth walls 
seems much safer and more sensible than a slow climb in the 
open. The Koreans in Item felt this pull far more strongly 
than did the Americans, and the line rippled back and forth 
as they tried to break for the hillcrest, only to be restrained. 

Renewed confusion came of a peculiarity in the Dale trench 

Stumble to Victory 107 

line. Where the works of Dale wrap around its command 
post, the trench for a distance drops down toward the Sidamak 
Valley, then climbs upslope again. As Item's line advanced, 
the center where the two platoons hinged was opposite this 
low point. Because of the dip, the trench ran diagonally to- 
ward both platoons. Each could see the opening oblique to 
its flank but could not see the embankment along its own 
flank. So the two halves of the line headed for the ditch on 
opposing angles, and in so doing, the squads again became 
completely scrambled. Once the line had' dissolved in this 
manner into the works, the restoration of small group unity 
had to await the end of the fight. Probably by that time it 
mattered very little. All of the Chinese main weapons had 
gone out. Group resistance was almost ended. The enemy 
survivors were little better than fugitives. The fighting prob- 
lem had become one of smelling out grenadiers and killing 
them, two or three to a bunker. 

On entering the trench Private Small heard smothered calls 
coming from several of the wrecked bunkers, "Help GI! Help 
GI!" It troubled him because he had never heard Chinese cry 
out like that, and he wondered about it as the noise persisted 
for an hour or more. Having no grenades, he didn't go after 
the bunkers. He watched others rush the door and throw the 
bomb home. Unlike Private Streit, not all of them took the 
precaution to yell, "Hey, any American in there?" Many were 
having their first night of battle, and of the very special 
problems in counterattack, they knew only what they had 
been told. 

Whether they in fact unwittingly bombed any of Baker 
Company's wounded who might otherwise have survived is 
not known. None remembered having grenaded the CP 
bunker, toward which both platoons converged. If they ig- 
nored its existence, that would be even stranger. Death must 

io8 Pork Chop Hill 

have overtaken Baker's commander, Bressler, and his two 
NCOs before Item reached the trenches. It is simply an 
oddity in the record that by next morning, Item's recollection 
of how it had handled the CP was as blank as its conscious- 
ness that stricken friends were under the timbers there. 

One unwounded soldier, Private Epps, who had lain doggo 
next a bunker wall, did not wait to be succored. As Item 
topped the ridge, this Baker man came out of the darkness 
beyond and ran downhill to Sergeant Jones' machine-gun posi- 
tion on Moore's Finger. He said to Jones, "Pm O.K. as hell; 
you got anything for me to do?" His arrival tipped off Jones 
to the possibility that there might be other friends on the 
hill. His guns had already ceased fire, having burned up all 
ammunition. Re-entering the skirmishing force, Jones worked 
forward along the trench. One bunker was being defended 
from both ends by rifles. It sounded like American fire. So 
Jones restrained the men around him, thereby saving Sergeant 
Reasor and three other Baker fighters. These four were the 
only element on Dale to stay the fight from first to last. They 
should have felt some satisfaction in it. But Reasor was ex- 
traordinarily depressed. 

First light was just beginning to break as the final round 
started. The coming of day afforded the only relief from the 
confusions already visited on the attack. At last men could 
recognize each other over a few yards of distance. Platoon and 
squad unity had been dissolved by the circumstances of the 
closing rush. The full-length commitment foreclosed any 
chance of systematic reorganization. But as each man moved 
along, he saw and joined force with someone whom he knew. 
The mop-up continued undirected and without cohesion, ex- 
cept as friendship and daylight enabled these little groupings 
to form and move together. Till the moment when the out- 

Stumble to Victory 109 

post was at last rewon, the fight went on as a series of sepa- 
rated and unrelated actions. 

At the moment of American entry into the trenches, there 
could not have been more than 50 live Chinese on Dale, 
though there were 123 dead Chinese within its works. Half 
of this force made a clean getaway. Corporal Parker ran to 
Dale's forward slope along the parapet. As he made the front 
of the hill, he saw at least three squads of the enemy running 
downslope not more than 35 yards away. Earlier, he had 
given up his BAR because it wouldn't fire and had picked up 
an Mi dropped by one of the wounded. Now he made the 
belated discovery that the rifle was empty. 

Private Johnson, teamed with Lieutenant Paris, was look- 
ing things over from a crater inside the parados. They saw six 
Chinese running down the trench headed for enemy country. 
Johnson fired eight rounds from his Mi but stopped no one. 
A grenade landed in the crater next to his leg. He jumped 
straight up and while he was in air the grenade exploded. 
Such was the jar to his body that he yelled, "First aid! I'm 
hit!" Faris looked him over. Not one fragment had touched 

Faris continued on and ran into Heeg. Two Chinese 
jumped from a bunker within a few feet of them and ran 
down the trench. Heeg started to fire. A grenade landed just 
behind Faris, exploded and wounded him. Faris went down. 
Heeg saw the grenadier jump to the parapet and streak down- 
hill. Heeg ran behind, grenading the Chinese. His third throw, 
at 40 yards, hit the man in the back just as it exploded. 

Private Sparks had teamed with Pfc. Garbell H. Palmer. 
They stumbled over a wounded Chinese lying in the trench. 
He was moaning and crying, "Help me! Help me!" Sparks 
yanked him to a sitting position. 

Sparks asked, "Are you a Chinese Communist soldier?" 

no Pork Chop Hill 

The man cried, "No, no, no." 

"Are you a Communist?" 

"No, no, no." 

"Are you a Chinese?" 

"No, no, no." 

"Are you a soldier?" 

"No, no, no." 

At that point Sparks gave up. He said to Palmer, "He's 
nothing but a nothing. Anyway, he's wounded. So I guess we 
better put him on a litter and get him off the hill," which they 

Hemphill joined Schlehofer, Sparks, Streit, Valeho and 
Heeg. The party went forward to prowl that part of the perim- 
eter where Mata and Maliszewski had operated. But they 
found the bunkers dead and the slopes cooled off. While 
moving, they were joined by Paris, Johnson, Mullins and 
about fifteen others. With a solid formation at last in hand, 
they made a sweep over the front of the hill finding nothing 
then started to sweep its left side. 

A white phosphorus shell exploded over its lower slope, 
momentarily lighting it. By its flash, they saw a number of 
figures climbing upward toward them through the rocks. 
Somebody yelled, "My God, Joe is coming back!" So they all 
fired. Schlehofer spent all of a clip as did Sparks, Small, Streit 
and several others. One man emptied his BAR. For perhaps 
two minutes, it was vigorous defense. 

Then up from the rocks, during a brief lull, came Ameri- 
can voices, "Don't shoot! Don't shoot! Baker Company! GIs!" 
The target had been the little remnant of Lieutenant Yokum's 
platoon which had managed to survive the attack up Angel 
Finger. The men had flattened under Item's fire and no one 
had been hit. 

The moment was bitter only for Schlehofer. It ruined his 

Stumble to Victory 111 

main chance of the day. He had seen three Chinese running 
toward Baldy down Dale's forward finger. One carried a mor- 
tar tube. So he had put down his Mi and grabbed a BAR 
from one of Item's Koreans. He was just squeezing trigger 
when the cry was raised, "My God, Joe is coming back!" So 
he let the three Chinese escape and swung his BAR around 
to empty its magazine against the slope up which the Ameri- 
cans were advancing. 

During the next half-hour, as Hemphill moved about the 
hill, collecting his men and getting them set on Dale, prior 
to being evacuated for hospital care, he impressed his fol- 
lowers immeasurably. His clothing was blood-drenched and 
the head wounds still flowed freely. But as he made the 
rounds, he said to them, "Don't worry; we're all right now. I 
know we're out of ammo but I'll get it up to you before I 
leave here/' And the face wore a wide grin. He said to Heeg, 
"I already have one Purple Heart. Now they'll have to give 
me a dozen/' 

The courage of Hemphill and his irrepressible cheerful- 
ness were the impressions which stayed indelibly in the minds 
of his men long after he had gone. Because of these salient 
qualities, they spoke gently of him as a leader well worth 
following. Yet they were not elated about how the company 
had behaved in this fight, though it had conquered. Their 
sober judgment was that their failure to become collected 
was in large part their own fault. After Item regained Dale 
Outpost, it was never again threatened. The division thought 
of it as a splendid effort. Its satisfaction was not shared by the 
men who had won the hill. 

Item's losses in this small fight were four killed and thirty- 
one wounded, not a great bloodletting, but still, one-half the 
strength of the company, and spent in less than two hours. 

If there was shock among the survivors, it was still not 

112 Pork Chop Hill 

enough to blot out curiosity. They wanted to know about the 
two main guns the Chinese had used to pin them on Moore's 
Finger, and they wanted to find out even before they out- 
posted the hill. Sgt Clark D. Stewart found the gun which had 
fired frontally until it was killed by Hemphill. Only a wrecked 
barrel remained. There was no sign of the crew. Why that 
was so is a mystery, unless in flight the Chinese evacuated 
some of their dead. Pvts. John R. Sessons and James R. Martin 
reconnoitered the bunker attacked by Maliszewski. They 
found the gun, with eight dead Chinese draped around it. 
Seven had been killed by bullets. The eighth Chinese, who sat 
with hand on trigger, and the gun itself, had been destroyed 
by heavy slugs of metal as from a shell or grenade. 

For the two Smiths and Serpa of Baker Company, who for 
six hours had played dead on the forward slope of Dale while 
the fight went on, the relief came in time. Big Smith watched 
the Chinese survivors flee the hill. Then, carrying Serpa, the 
two Smiths moved uphill and joined Item. 

Shortly after sunrise, Lieutenant Patteson of Baker Com- 
pany went via the chogi trench to the Dale CP. The morning 
was quiet save for the singing of birds. 

Three dead Chinese choked the lower part of the bunker 
door. The caving of the roof had smashed the upper half of 
the doorframe. Patteson could barely get his head inside. 
Within he could see three bodies pinned under the crashed 
timbers. It was dark inside so he could not identify the dead, 
Bressler, Spencer and Jackson. 

But the three bodies lay as, from PfafFs description, Patte- 
son had expected to find them. He knew then that Pfaff had 
been telling him the truth about his own ordeal within the 
bunker, a part which Pfaff himself thought not too credit- 
able, since he had failed to stay and die with his commander. 

Stumble to Victory 113 

It is a simple fact that such men are almost never convinced 
of their own heroism. 

Later, the wreckage of the bunker had to be lifted piece by 
piece to permit removal of the bodies. Then the hole was 
filled in and the site leveled to obliterate a brave but wretched 



named Hasakkol, the light breeze of early evening brought to 
Pork Chop Hill the sound of music. 

For some minutes it continued, rising, then fading out ac- 
cording to the caprice of the wind. Men were singing in 
chorus. It was a mournful chanting, faint, tremulous and 
uncanny. And though the voices were high-pitched, there was 
a muted quality to the music, as if it came out of a deep well. 
Now it became lost in distance again and the men who had 
paused to listen resumed their supper of steak, French fries 
and chocolate ice cream. 

A private said, "It sounds like they're gathering in the tun- 

Another answered, "O.K., as long as they stay there." 
Asked the lieutenant, "But what does it mean?" 
"They're prayer singing," said the interpreter. "I can't hear 
the words but I know the music. They're getting ready to die." 
Said the lieutenant, "Maybe we ought to be singing, too." 
In this manner, Lieut. Thomas V. Harrold got his first 
pointed warning that his men, Easy Company of the 3ist 
Regiment, and their home of the moment, Pork Chop Hill, 
had been marked for special attention by the Communist 

Until then, his concern about this particular night had not 


Overture 115 

been deeply personal. For more than a week, the report had 
been circulating in the division that the enemy would make 
an attack in main at 2300 on 16 April. An agent working be- 
hind the lines had heard it from a Korean woman who was 
also good friend to several Communist soldiers. After going 
to higher commands, the story had been passed back down 
the line to the command posts of rifle companies. 

On hearing it from G2, Harrold had felt no special alarm. 
The report said the blow would fall farther east along the divi- 
sion front. And in past weeks there had been several other such 
rumors, which had never materialized. 

But the music from Hasakkol was like a gun pointing at 
Harrold's head. If Pork Chop was to be a main target, its 
commander of the moment had reason to reflect that his sit- 
uation, and the circumstances of his company, were not bright 
with promise. 

Pork Chop itself was a contemptible hill, ill-formed for 
all-around defense and too loosely tied in to the supporting 
neighborhood. Only 234 meters above sea level at its sharply 
peaked summit, the outpost was not only dominated by the 
Chinese-held ridges, but in fact extended into their country, 
being on the wrong side of the main valley. When one month 
earlier Old Baldy had been wrested away by the Communists, 
there was good reason in military logic why Pork Chop should 
have followed it as a gift. That concession would have been 
in the interests of line-straightening without sacrifice of a de- 
pendable anchor. But national pride, bruised by the enemy's 
rudeness toward Old Baldy, asserted itself, and Pork Chop 
was held. 

These superior heights held by the enemy concealed from 
ground observation a still more formidable characteristic in 
the Red Chinese defensive front. They had organized their 
high ground in true depth by sweating their soldiery and mak- 

n6 Pork Chop Hill 

ing the most of their press gang labor. Compared to this 
monumental work, Eighth Army's "deep front" was a hollow 

An airborne observer looking beyond Old Baldy or any 
other main bastion in the enemy line would have reported, 
roughly, as follows: To a depth of more than 20,000 yards, 
the Reds had entrenched and bunkered the ridges. Their de- 
fensive works had ten times the depth of any belt of entrench- 
ments in World War I. The lines of the main trench systems 
were traced by our air photo interpreters; it was hard and repe- 
titious exercise because the enemy was diabolically clever at 
camouflage. Finally on the acetate the picture looked like a 
giant spider web with successive main lines joined by com- 
munications trenches along the transverse ridges. Shells and 
bombs could be rained on this system day long with little 
chance of finding a soft target. A miss by a few inches, and 
the projectile was wasted. Further, there was no way of know- 
ing, at a particular moment, which part, if any, of the works 
under observation was manned. Every tactical group on the 
enemy side had multiple fire positions within the general 
position; underground tunnels connected one position with 
the others. 

It was suspected that, except for a few warning posts, the 
Red Chinese garrisoning the forward ridges avoided the sur- 
face trenches altogether during normal operations in the con- 
tinuing static warfare and remained deep underground. An 
army which has thus conditioned itself to live in catacombs is 
prepared for modern defense in its most terrible aspect. 

No less clear to the eye than the vulnerability of Pork Chop 
as a defensive position was the untimely weakness of its tem- 
porary garrison. Easy Company, normally strong when col- 
lected, was only half present on the hill, due to the exigencies 



Detail of Pork Chop's entrenched works showing the main bunkers 
and defensive wire. 

of moving day. Harrold's total strength within the perimeter 
counted 96 men, including artillery, medical and engineer at- 
tachments. On Pork Chop, there were but two rifle platoons, 
the First and Third, and they mustered but 76 men. 

Worse yet, not all of them were available to man the main 
rampart. Twenty had been paired off for duty as outguards. 
After dark, they would descend to ten listening posts which 
formed a crescent around the lower forward and flank slopes 
of the hill. There they would await any approach by the 
enemy, hoping to sound the alarm and then duck back. 

Another group of five men was to form half of a patrol 
which was to prowl the small valley forward of Pork Chop 
during the hours around midnight. It did not occur to Har- 
rold that sending a patrol out to brace an expected attack in 

n8 Pork Chop Hill 

main could hardly be profitable. The plan had been set sev- 
eral days before. He abided by it. 

On one score only the lieutenant felt some extra assurance; 
the men would be on their toes, and if the attack came, sur- 
prise would not attend it. To that end, he had taken special 
precaution. On hearing from G2 that the Chinese planned to 
attack on 16 April, he had passed the information along to 
his chief subordinates, leaving it to them to tell the other men. 
Now he was happy that the word had been spread around; 
that meant that the company would be fully alerted and 
would require no extra tightening during the waiting time. 

This confidence steadied Harrold through the early eve- 
ning. It made him feel better during the fight. While it was 
a reasonable assumption, based upon what he knew and had 
tried to do, it was still far wrong. He had given the word but 
it hadn't trickled down. Finally, only a small remnant of Easy 
came through the fight. All survivors were asked if they had 
known an attack was imminent. Three said yes, the others no. 
Not a man in the outguard or patrol had heard the vital in- 
formation. They regulated what they did by the accustomed 
routine. There was no added alertness. 

So it was that the patrol departed the company lines not 
knowing that it might bump a full-scale attack, to be scouted 
but not engaged. 

So it was that the twenty riflemen in the outguard listening 
posts got no special instructions when at 1937 hours they quit 
the main trench to take watch positions on the lower slopes. 
These sightings had been chosen with an eye to viewing as 
much of the approaches as possible. Thus, because of the 
uneven ridge fingers, the posts were at varying distance from 
the perimeter, 125 to 300 yards. 

The twenty listeners did not dig in: they used whatever 
natural rock or bank cover they found. The positions were 

Overture 119 

supposed to be changed from night to night for greater secur- 
ity. But because few rock projections were available, the rule 
was honored more in the breach than in the observance. 

Once settled among the rocks, the outguards went silent 
and stayed put. This was the order and they obeyed it. Except 
for the periodic report by telephone to the company, it was 
a monotonous and stupefying vigil. 

Had they talked, it might have been about the weather, for 
now the Korean spring was at its best. The slopes of their 
battlement were fragrant from the profusion of wild plums 
and chindolea blossoms. The air was balmy. A cloudless day 
was giving way to a starlit night. The pall of smoke, arising 
from numerous forest fires, and dressing the far horizon, was 
the only reminder that the season had been excessively dry. 

For the next three hours, life was reasonably comfortable, 
relatively assuring, among the outguards and in the half-com- 
pany on the bunker line. Despite its incongruity with the 
other parts of the main defensive line, Pork Chop in itself 
was a snug position. The little hill had been engineered ac- 
cording to the pattern then conventional with Eighth Army. 
It was a buffer intended to break up the Chinese attack before 
it could violate the main line. A solidly revetted rifle trench 
encircled it at the military crest, providing wall and some roof 
cover, which served for defense in any direction. Sandbagged 
and heavily timbered, fire-slotted bunkers were tied into the 
trench line at approximately 3o-yard intervals. They gave 
fxoops protection while affording observation and command 
of the slope. These were stout, unblemished works. They had 
been but recently overhauled and fire had not yet marred 

The top of Pork Chop was pushed in, like the dent in the 
crown of a hat In consequence, its works could not form an 
evenly rounded perimeter. The dent was on the rearward side 

120 Pork Chop Hill 

of the hill. This draw, reaching to the crest, in effect produced 
a divided perimeter. The two platoons were loosely joined in 
the center. But the odd shape of the hill nonetheless put 
them in separate compartments. 

Some time after 2200, and somewhat before 2300, approxi- 
mately two full companies of Communist infantry left Hasak- 
kol, and crossing the valley, got almost to the Pork Chop 
rampart without anyone atop the hill becoming aware. 

They had been sighted and engaged by the Easy patrol in 
the bottom of the small valley. Before they had climbed more 
than halfway, they were seen by at least ten men in the out- 
guard line. Still, due to the extraordinary mischance of battle, 
the company got no warning until the assault broke like a 
flood against First Platoon's sector on the left hand of Pork 
Chop. Its surge is therefore best followed through the eyes 
of the sentinels on the lower ridge. There are gaps in the story. 
Of the twenty men, only seven got back. 

On Outguard No. 41, Pvt Kim Tong Ki was paired with 
Pvt. Mike Cowles. They were nested behind a large boulder 
which partly concealed them. Looking downslope, Kim saw 
three Chinese approaching; in the darkness he could not see 
how they were armed. He whispered to Cowles wHl^tried to 
get Harrold on the telephone. The line was dead. By the time 
that fact registered the Chinese were within 15 yards. Kim 
threw a grenade. It exploded between the first two men, killing 
both. The third man ran. Not knowing what to do, Kim and 
Cowles waited there. 

Artillery began to pound the slope, hitting just below them. 
Kirn asked, "We better go top of hill?" Cowles answered, 
"No, the lieutenant didn't say so." This difference of opinion 
caused constraint between them and they both relapsed into 
sullen silence. Kim started to pull out and Cowles held him 
by the legs. Then an artillery shell exploded just a few yards 

Overture 121 

behind them and part of the blast struck Cowles' head, Kim 
crawled over and leaned above him but did not touch him. 
The steel had cut the head badly and the blast had almost 
covered it with earth and small rock. Cowles' pulse wasn't 
checked. Kim simply noted that he was motionless. 

Stopped by superstition, he was equally afraid to touch 
Cowles or leave him. He simply lay down beside him and 
remained the night, shaking all over and unable to sleep. 
When dawn came, he ran for the company trench and made 
it Three other shells had exploded so close to Outguard No. 
41 that Cowles' body was already half buried by the dirt 
spray. Kim reported of him, "I look. No see much. He no talk. 
No move. Seem dead." 

On all outguard posts, it was the company custom to team 
GIs and Koreans, under the peculiarly limiting instruction 
that only the American would use the telephone or exert other 
initiative. At Post No. 41, Pvt. Cho Sung Man was paired with 
Pvt Jose St Nicholas. They had not been told that an attack 
was expected. They knew it first when, under the light of a 
flare, as the artillery opened fire, they saw three Chinese walk 
ing, moving upslope straight toward them. 

St. Niqjplas got through on the phone to his platoon leader, 
and while he was speaking, Sung tried to fire. But his Mi was 
dirty and wouldn't work. The lieutenant told St Nicholas to 
withdraw at once. They made it to the trench before the 
artillery had shifted to the upper slope. There they separated, 
Sung heading immediately for the company chow bunker be- 
cause he was hungry. He still did not know that the company 
position had been penetrated. As he entered the chow bunker, 
four Chinese held him at rifle point One of them said in 
clear English, 'Tut your hands up!" Sung dropped his Mi 
and reached. Two other company Koreans entered the chow 
bunker door perhaps twenty minutes later. There was no need 

,122 Pork Chop Hill 

to disarm them; they had thrown their weapons away. With- 
out difficulty, the four Chinese made them prisoner. 

On Outguard No. 43, Pvt. Koe Kop Chin was teamed with 
Private Fugett. Neither had been warned that an attack was 
expected. So when they heard the sounds of distant firing 
from the direction of the valley, it did not particularly alarm 
them. After that there was a brief interval of silence. The tele- 
phone rang; a voice on the hot loop said, "An attack is com- 
ing." Then they saw a Chinese company upwards of seventy 
menmarching uphill in three platoon columns, straight to- 
ward their position. Fugett tried to call the company, and on 
finding that the line was dead, he called to Kop, "Follow me, 
Fm getting out." 

As they sprang up and into the open, running for the main 
trench, the Chinese saw them and raced in pursuit. Fugett 
was slowed by the weight of his weapon, a light machine gun, 
and continued to lose ground. As he landed in the trench, the 
foremost Chinese were already swarming over the parapet. 
Fugett tried to swing the weapon around but didn't have 
time. One Chinese tried to wrest the gun from his hands. An- 
other Chinese, standing atop the parapet, fired a tommy gun 
burst into the two struggling men, killing them both. 

Kop had watched this, but was powerless to help Fugett, 
having thrown his rifle away during the dash uphill. He 
moved on down the trench, expecting to find help at the 
chow bunker. He was one of the Koreans who walked into 
the trap which had already caught Pvt. Cho Sung Man. Their 
four captors prodded them with rifles and they started march- 
ing, beyond the perimeter and downslope toward Hasakkol. 
A grenade, thrown by an unknown hand, killed one of the 
guards before they got clear of the main trench. Two hundred 
yards downslope, an artillery shell landed amid the party. 
Captors and captives hit the dirt together. The round killed 

Overture 123 

one Chinese and the unidentified Korean. Private Kop jumped 
for one of the other guards while he was still down, wrested 
his tommy gun free and shot the two remaining Chinese. 
Then Kop and Sung ran back to the trench. 

Each of these incidents among the outguards was like a 
play within a play. It ran its own course from beginning to 
end and did not alter or moderate the sequence of events 
affecting the company. Harrold did not hear what had be- 
fallen any of his outguards until the following day. No mes- 
sage got back "to him. The few who escaped the Chinese were 
caught by separate eddies of the fight as they jumped into 
the main trench, and no man returned to Harrold. 

His view of the way in which the company became beset 
necessarily differed from theirs. Harrold could be impressed 
only by what he saw, heard or felt while within the CP 
bunker. And for the same reason, First and Third Platoons, 
each fighting an isolated battle, had neither light nor guide, 
nor any exact knowledge of what was happening to any other 
element on the hill Each saw the storm break in a different 
way and felt it mount to crisis in a different hour. The out- 
guard was finished, its members either dead or in flight, before 
the others knew. 

In First Platoon's sector, SFC Carl Pratt and his men could 
hear both the yelling of the enemy and the pounding of the 
artillery fire against Pork Chop's slopes. But while these effects 
were unnerving during the early stage of the action, there 
was no great tension among the men. 

The enemy was not to be seen and the fire, obviously, was 
going high. So the platoon stayed in bunkers, or sought cover 
under those parts of the trench which were roofed with logs 
and sandbags, lest the flash fires suddenly shift During the 
first half-hour of the battle, its men had no feeling that their 

124 Pork Chop Hill 

sector was close-pressed or that the Chinese assault was tight- 
ening around the hill. 

This illusion of relative safety was in sharp contrast with 
Lieutenant Harrold's reading of the situation from the far 
side of the perimeter where sat the Company CP. 

His own ground was not yet under attack. As of 2300 hours, 
he was not yet sure that a general assault was gathering. He 
had received no messages either from the patrol or the out- 
guard posts which warned him that the Chinese were coming 
on in large numbers. So he was still playing it by ear, lest by 
premature and exaggerated warnings, he give higher com- 
mand the idea that his own nerves were edgy. His trouble was 
that he had heard or seen no positive sign of a major change 
in situation and he was loath to guess. 

Yet in the end, that was what he did. As the minute hand 
of his watch passed 2300, a few enemy artillery rounds came 
in singly. He had seen it happen bef ore, a few teasing shells, 
followed by a double whanimy. 

Sure enough, the steel deluge followed in less than a min- 
ute. But he had already told Lieuts. Jack Attridge and Harold 
Wilson to phone the men on outguard duty telling them 
that they must immediately withdraw. The call to Wilson got 
through both by radio and telephone; but with two excep- 
tions, Wilson could get no response from the men on the 
outguard line. When Harrold tried to get an O.K. from At- 
tridge on his message over the single wire, suddenly the line 
went dead. Via the hot loop, he was still connected with the 
battalion commander, Major Swazey, and the other com- 
panies, but the cutting of his line to First Platoon made him 
suddenly anxious. 

As he listened in that direction, he felt certain that he could 
hear a strong buildup of submachine-gun fire against First 
Platoon's sector. He still had seen no Chinese; nor had any 

Overture 125 

enemy movement been reported to him. Still hesitating over 
his course, he picked up the phone to talk things over with 
Battalion. That line also had gone dead meantime and its 
failure, coupled with the intensity of the Chinese bombard- 
ment, forced his decision. 

He stepped to the CP doorway and fired a red star rocket, 
signaling, * We are under full attack/ 7 Within seconds there- 
after, he fired a second rocket, this time a red star cluster, 
meaning, "Give us Flash Pork Chop/' The second flare didn't 
quite clear the doorway; its backlash set the bunker afire and 
for several minutes the men in the CP had to bail out of their 
shelter to fight the blaze. 

Even so, the badly directed rocket did its work. At 2305, 
the lights came on over Pork Chop, and most of the men still 
in the open trenches ducked for cover, reading aright the 
signal that a killing proximity fuse fire coupled with high ex- 
plosive shell would shortly follow. Two minutes later came the 
VT, not in overpowering volume but fired by a single battery 
of artillery. Even so, Pfc. Richard Long, of the CP group, 
having missed the flare signal, was struck down by the fire. 

He was probably the only victim of this weak, opening 
American counter to the enemy barraging, since there is 
nothing to indicate that the main body of Chinese was yet 
closed upon the Pork Chop works, and much to suggest that 
they were delaying their final rush until their own preparation 
fires subsided. 

First Platoon's side of the hill, which had given Harrold 
the greatest concern in the opening minutes, was still un- 
violated when the first VT shower came down. The men 
cleared into the bunkers, still not having seen a live enemy. 

For approximately twenty minutes thereafter, the mixed 
fires, part Chinese, part American, kept them there. At 2325, 
the hill became absolutely quiet. Attridge called to Pratt, "1 

126 Pork Chop Hill 

think we better walk over to the CP and see about repairing 
our communications/' But when they got into the trench a 
few minutes later, Pratt suggested that while Attridge was 
visiting with Harrold, he would talk things over with the pla- 
toon's own wire man, Corporal Renfrew. 

As Pratt neared Renfrew's bunker, a first aid man, Private 
Rice, came running from it carrying a carbine, and yelling, 
"Look! Look!" Pratt followed his point; under a covered 
section of the trench, not more than 30 feet away, six Chinese 
walked toward them. Rice was already firing. Pratt joined 
with his Mi. Two Chinese fell. The others ran back along 
the trench and then jumped on the parados, from where 
they circled back along the high ground to grenade the ditch 
with potato mashers. Too late Pratt yelled, "Watch out!" 
The second grenade exploded between him and Rice, killing 
Rice instantly and driving Pratt back against the trench wall. 
He came out of it with a broken shoulder and both hands 
riddled with grenade frags. But not until two days later could 
he find time to get first aid. 

Corporal Renfrew and Pvt. James O. Harris had sprung 
from the bunker in the same moment as Rice, and behind 
them came Private Hayford, another aid man. Facing in the 
opposite direction within the covered trench, they saw a still 
larger Chinese party coming toward them. Both Renfrew and 
Harris opened fire with their carbines, and the Chinese, for 
the moment, pulled back beyond a turn in the trench wall. So 
swiftly had the action taken place that neither man realized 
he was fighting almost back-to-back with the others from the 

Then the grenade shower which felled Rice and Pratt 
dropped. As the first bomb exploded, Renfrew and Harris 
ducked back into the bunker. They didn't see the other men 
fall. But from inside the bunker, Renfrew heard Hayford 
screaming, "Come help me!" He returned to the trench and^ 

Overture 127 

taking Hayford by the shoulders, dragged him inside. Then 
he saw that a grenade had blown off Hayford's left leg at the 
knee. For the next few minutes, he was busy tourniqueting 
the leg. 

That was the beginning of a dance with death for the two 
able-bodied men. Renfrew threw sandbags against the door. 
The Chinese went downslope and grenaded through the 
bunker embrasure. Harris and Renfrew tried to field and re- 
turn the grenades. But six exploded within the walls. Two of 
them blew fragments into Hayford's good leg and the lower 
part of his body. The grenading was followed by a strafing 
by two Chinese armed with tommy guns. They also stood at 
the window. Renfrew and Harris escaped the fire by pressing 
tight into the corners on either side of the embrasure. There 
was no escape for Hayford. 

By then, Lieutenant Harrold was already calling for VT 
fire in maximum volume on Pork Chop, sending the message 
via the radio of his artillery observer, Lieutenant Anderson. 
When it came in, the Chinese were driven from the em- 
brasure, and the men in the bunker knew an interval of rela- 
tive peace. 

What happened there was typical of the scene elsewhere 
on the hill for the next hour or more. Both in the assault and 
defense, there was virtual infantry paralysis because of the 
intensity and accuracy of the artillery concentrations coming 
from opposite directions against the crown of the ridge. The 
Americans had not been permitted time for collected action. 
The Chinese had not hit hard as tactical groups during the 
few opportune minutes of relative quiet when they might 
have wiped out Easy Company fraction by fraction. With 
the renewal and intensifying of the artillery duel, the open 
was forbidden to both sides. Their riflemen huddled wher- 
ever they could find a protecting wall or roof. 

Lieutenant Attridge had gotten back to Harrold's CP just 

128 Pork Chop Hill 

in time to become confined there by the fire and separated 
from his own platoon by the crowding of the Chinese into 
the roofed portions of the trench. 

The group there survived mainly through the personal fight- 
ing power of ist Sgt. Howard Midgeley and Corporal Riepen- 
hoff, the company clerk. 

Midgeley stood at the bunker door guarding the party with 
a submachine gun. Others tried to relieve him and take their 
turn at the point of main danger. He shrugged them off 
silently and pointed to the results of his markmanship as if 
asking whether anyone could do any better. He was a method- 
ical man. When he downed a Chinese, he dragged the body 
next the sandbags so as not to clutter his field of fire. Finally, 
the bunker had an extra revetment of thirteen dead Chinese. 

RiepenhofF, being a clerk, was more deferential. Armed 
with an Mi, he lay on a pile of sandbags at the embrasure, 
covering the downslope area. When he saw a Chinese, he said 
to Harrold, "Sir, there's a Chinaman. May I have the lieu- 
tenant's permission to shoot him?" 

Harrold answered, "Permission granted." 

Five times it happened, and each time this solemn ritual 
was repeated. 

Though there were three officers and two other NCOs also 
present, the salvation of the CP was worked chiefly by these 
two hands. Their fire made a blockhouse of the bunker, bar- 
ring the rear door to Pork Chop. The Chinese who had 
stormed the position and gotten inside the works could not 
pass it to gain the hill's rear slope and cut the route by which 
help might come. In the opening thrust, some of the enemy 
had won to that point and captured the chow bunker. But 
it was a brief hold only, and once released, was not there- 
after recovered. 

Otherwise, the defense of the hill was without a linchpin. 

Overture 129 

Such of Third Platoon's 37 men as still lived (six had been 
killed on outguard duty as the fight started) were pinned to 
their shelters by the bombardment. Of First Platoon's 39 
men, there remained, other than Attridge, not one person 
who could still move and fire. 

First Platoon's only survivors were the half dozen men who 
have been mentioned here. Its only acts of successful resist- 
ance are the few pitiful examples which have been described. 
The platoon was not only whipped but, in effect, destroyed 
before it could make a fighting start. The Chinese assault 
columns had hit the main line at both ends of First Platoon's 
trench sector and then pinched inward toward each other. 
Most of Attridge's men were grenaded and machine-gunned 
while in their bunkers. What toll they took of the Red Chi- 
nese in their last minutes is not known. Later it was impossible 
to determine how they had died, for their bodies were either 
crushed by falling walls or shredded by the artillery pound- 
ing. The difference between Renfrow and Harris and the 
majority of their comrades is that the two men lived to tell 
the story. 

By the logical process of killing the tenants and then mov- 
ing into their quarters, the Red Chinese came into possession 
of half the hill. They had come like phantoms, their swift, 
silent movement facilitated by their rubber-soled running 
shoes and lack of heavy burdens in the attack. It was their 
custom to enter a fight carrying only enough ammunition to 
create the initial shock; they counted on capturing American 
stores to continue the fight. That risk usually paid off because 
of the defender's bad habit of oversupplying the outposts. This 
time, having staked their claim to half the hill, they squatted 
on it, holding the bunkers instead of continuing down the 
trench line. Either they were stopped by exhaustion and fear, 
or the haul of captured ammunition was not sufficient 

130 Pork Chop Hill 

To Harrold's listening ear, the silence from that direction 
spoke eloquently. The lack of small-arms fire told him that 
First Platoon was dead and he could only surmise that the 
Red Chinese were reorganizing at the scene of execution. 

To higher command, he had radioed these forebodings, 
saying that as he viewed it, there was no longer an American 
garrison on Pork Chop Hill. Battalion relayed the informa- 
tion rearward and Col. William B. Kern took it at face value. 

Shortly before 0200, Kern sent word that he was sending 
one platoon of Fox Company and another from Love Com- 
pany to attack up the rear slope of Pork Chop with the object 
of "re-enforcing" Easy Company. That was how Kern or- 
dered it and that was how he supposed that it had been done. 
The maneuver is so described, as a two-platoon attack, in the 
regimental record. 

But there had been many a slip. The Fox platoon, be- 
coming lost in the night, never arrived at the fire. The Love 
platoon, moving with alacrity on its mission, was not told 
that the Red Chinese already swarmed over Pork Chop, and 
took literally the guarded statement that its task was the rela- 
tively simple one of "re-enforcement." So it marched up the 
rear slope in a closed column, not expecting a fight. 

This was the body that a few minutes after 0200 got to 
within 20 yards of the chow bunker. There a few machine- 
gun rounds struck its van, inflicting minor casualties. And 
there, because of its closed formation and the total surprise, 
it went into recoil, its members running back to the valley. 
(See the chapter "Love Alone" for details.) After Love pla- 
toon had slipped away, Red Chinese barrage fire swept the 

But the realities of this inevitable failure were not known 
to Harrold. He had been told that two platoons would hit 
and he took it for granted that they were moving in attack 

Overture 131 

order. To accommodate them, he ordered that the flash fires 
be lifted from Pork Chop's crown and shifted 250 yards closer 
to enemy country. 

So when he saw the forefront of the succoring force dis- 
solve, its dissolution followed immediately by the Red Chi- 
nese barrage fire, he decided that the Red Chinese were man- 
ning the rear slope in great strength and were directing their 
artillery by radio from inside his position. 

From the roof of Harrold's own bunker, a Chinese machine 
gunner was streaming fire in the direction taken by the Love 
platoon. Harrold had no way of knowing that almost single- 
handed this enemy fighter had precipitated what Harrold be- 
lieved to be a two-platoon repulse. A few yards down the 
trench from the bunker, a Chinese tommy gunner was firing 
toward wounded Sergeant Pratt who was trying to crawl to 
the CP. So Sergeant Midgeley, the one-man show, resumed 
fire and shortly killed the two enemy gunners. 

Midgeley had stopped briefly for first aid. The Chinese had 
pushed a grenade through a crack in the sandbags and he, 
Harrold and Lieutenant Anderson, the artillery FO, had all 
been wounded by the fragments. 

Both artilleries now resumed their heavy pounding of the 
hill. The sealing-in effect to the two infantries became ever 
more complete. Now holding the greater part of Pork Chop 
in numbers which otherwise should have been sufficient to 
complete the mop-up, the Chinese didn't venture into the 

Anderson's radio had at last been killed by the grenade ex- 
plosion. Harrold's one remaining tie to the outside was a 
telephone line to his Fourth Platoon, which wasn't on the 
hill. Via this roundabout relay, at approximately 0400, he got 
a garbled message from Division warning him that, at the first 
chance, the Chinese would try to blow up the CP bunker. 

132 Pork Chop Hill 

He already well knew it. But he answered, "Tell them we 
will try to hold. Tell them also that any force set to relieve 
us will need flame throwers and heavy rocket launchers." He 
was thinking that, with the Chinese solidly lodged in his 
works, the soundest tactics would be to burn and blast them 

At that point, Sergeant Hutchins, FO for the 8i-mm mor- 
tars, counseled an opposite course. He said to Harrold, "I 
think we ought to make a break for it now; we may still have 

But Harrold shook him off. He was convinced that the 
enemy already swarmed over the hill and he was afraid that 
by withdrawing now, he might desert those few of his men 
who could still be holding in the other bunkers. 

So with the help of the others, he now closed the bunker 
tight by piling sandbags, the dead radios, the ammo boxes, 
sleeping bags and everything else movable against the door 
and embrasure. 

Then he called through Fourth Platoon to ask for a con- 
tinuing illumination of the hill. His idea was that if full light 
was combined with the VT fire, the Chinese would have even 
less inclination to move along the trenches for fear of being 
picked off by snipers. 

For the next hour the CP group remained virtually im- 
mured. As dawn arrived, the American artillery lifted. That 
was the first sign to Harrold that a relieving force was knock- 
ing at his back door. 

Lieutenant Attridge, the only man in the CP not yet a 
casualty, started down the trench toward the chow bunker, 
intending to guide the relief onto the hill. He was wounded 
in the head before he could reach up-coming King Company. 
So he returned to the bunker, and its door was sealed again 
while the party waited rescue. 

The Easy Patrol 




against the face of an anticipated attack by the enemy, it was 
done on that night 

Some days previously 3ist Regiment had scheduled a patrol 
action out of Pork Chop Hill for 16 April. It was to have the 
routine mission familiar in Korean operations. The patrol 
would advance to the valley bottom which divided friendly 
and enemy country. On the low ground it would rig an am- 
bush. Should it encounter Chinese, it would try to capture a 

This was a sensible object along a quiescent front where 
the only fighting came of contact between patrols. But it had 
no orthodox relationship to preparations against full-scale 
attack. The taking of one or two prisoners out of an already 
advancing line was not a sure way of getting information and, 
in fact, could jeopardize only those who made the attempt. 

But having been scheduled, the patrol was not called off. 
Why that measure was not taken is subject to but one ex- 
planation or excuse. There was no certainty that the attack 
rumor would prove true. And when in doubt, as higher com- 
manders usually see it, it is best to keep patrolling or troops 
will go slack. 

So for two days preceding the appointed night, the patrol 
went through the accustomed rehearsals in the rear area and 


134 Pork Chop Hill 

got the usual briefings. The men were told that they would 
move out from Pork Chop at approximately 2000, advance to 
within 100 yards of the shallow stream which wound through 
the valley bottom, and there lie in wait until they saw some 
Chinese coming. 

Even when the rumors of an attack were totally discounted 
the circumstances were not auspicious for such an undertak- 
ing. Easy Company, having just relieved Item, still stood on 
Pork Chop in less than half -strength, with only 96 men guard- 
ing the hill, including forward observers and medics. 

Consequently, to give Easy a fighting chance, it was decided 
that half of the patrol of ten enlisted men would be drawn 
from Fox Company, with Easy also supplying five. One group 
would compose the assault force and the other the support. 
That the men did not know each other presaged a lack of 
organizational unity within the patrol from the beginning. 

Sgt Henry W. Pidgeon of Fox Company got back from a 
brief leave at 1600 on the afternoon before the mission to 
discover that there is something in a name. Lieut. Robert 
Grimes met him at the CP with the word that he would lead 
the assault group and be responsible for the patrol as a whole. 
The support would be under Sgt. Lovell Poole of Easy Com- 

Pidgeon, who is a physically rugged and emotionally mature 
soldier, was skeptical from the first about the arrangements, 
though he had not yet heard the attack rumor. But when 
Grimes asked him, "Are you prepared to lead it?" he an- 
swered, "Sure." 

The show was jinxed from the beginning. During that eve- 
ning between 1600 and 1830, 200 enemy mortar rounds fell 
on Pork Chop. There were no casualties but the shelling drove 
the men to their shelters. In consequence, the two groups, 
occupying bunkers on opposite sides of the hill, did not 

The Easy Patrol 135 

rendezvous until the last moment, and had time for only a 
hit-and-run final briefing before they got away. 

Possibly Pidgeon, in his eagerness to get set, pushed his own 
group too hard. Poolers men never quite caught up. Both 
parties had perforce gone single file through the barb wire, 
which scattered and slowed them. By the time Poolers group 
had re-collected, Pidgeon's diamond-shape formation had ad- 
vanced beyond sight. So Poole led his people to the last knob 
on the ridge finger, about 350 yards beyond the main line. 
There he set up a horseshoe defense, with Pfc. Joe Miezejewski 
on the BAR covering the line to the rear. By phone, he re- 
ported to Lieutenant Harrold what had happened. 

Pidgeon, arriving in the bottoms and there halting his men 
for the moment, started advancing alone to reconnoiter the 
spot for the ambush. 

Right then, a dozen or more flares from the 8i-mm mortars 
brightened the sky directly behind the patrol, throwing its 
members sharply into silhouette and casting long shadows 
down the vale before they could go flat. 

Pidgeon called Harrold, "For God's sake stop the flares!" 
There were three more rounds before the valley again went 
dark. He then called a second time to report that his men 
were on position. The hour was then 2115. Harrold said, "Keep 
a sharp lookout. We are expecting a main attack." That some- 
what baffled Pidgeon. By his account, this was his first in- 
formation that the patrol had been sent forward into an other 
than routine situation. 

But another hour and fifteen minutes passed before he saw 
the enemy for the first time. During the interval, his men had 
stayed flattened but alert. The warning of the attack kept 
them edgy. Yet they didn't quite believe it until looking at 
the slope of the enemy hill called Hasakkol, they saw about 
fifty Chinese in line advancing toward them. 

136 Pork Chop Hill 

Pidgeon sent his point man, Cpl. Robert L. Noel, forward 
to scout the moving line, telling him, "See all you can and 
report immediately to me." He had not yet called Harrold. 

Noel was back within one minute. He said, "They're all 
around us. They cover the slope. For Christ's sake, do some- 

For the moment, Pidgeon saw nothing to do except re- 
enforce the point, sneak it out and attempt to get close 
enough to the Chinese to stop them with grenades. He still 
was not sure that an attack in main was developing, and 
being unsure, he did not call Harrold. 

So taking along Private Hall, he joined Noel, and they 
moved forward about 25 yards. One group of four Chinese got 
to within 20 yards of the rocks which hid them. The Ameri- 
cans grenaded together, throwing twelve bombs. One Chinese 
ran back. The others disappeared. Though Pidgeon didn't 
know whether he had scored any hits, he was surprised that 
he got no reply. And he was quite unaware that he had loosed 
the first shot in a general battle. 

It was then that he tried to call Harrold on the sound power 
phone. But it was too late. He had forgotten that minutes 
earlier he had explored the forward ground while carrying the 
phone, and that its wire had looped around the rocks there 
and was not later withdrawn. His own grenades in exploding 
had killed his last line of communication. Quickly he went 
to Cpl. Henry T. Settle who held the radio on the patrol's left 
flank and tried to raise the company. But the radio couldn't 
cut through. 

Thereafter for fifteen minutes he waited, then at last gave 
the order for the patrol to withdraw. It was too late. The 
group got only 40 yards. Suddenly a curtain of 4.2-inortar fire, 
ordered by Easy Company to stem the Chinese advance, 
dropped between Pidgeon and the main hill, missing his men 

The Easy Patrol 137 

by scant yards. It was steady fire, eight to ten rounds at a time. 
Nearby was a jutting rock ledge which offered partial cover. 
Pidgeon and the others crawled under it. Within a few min- 
utes, flash fires from the artillery built up the barrage and 
extended toward their refuge. One air burst struck Corporal 
Noel in the face, neck and chest. He said to Pidgeon, "I've 
had it," and he died within a few minutes. Illuminating 
rounds now brightened the valley. The rain of steel was un- 
ceasing. There was nothing to do but press tighter into the 

In the support position, Poole and his men had not heard 
the grenading and, for all of Pidgeon 's skirmishing, remained 
unaware of the threat mounting in the valley. But at 2245, 
Poole, on calling Lieutenant Harrold, was told that the assault 
group was expected to "make contact" shortly, and that he 
had best advance to assist Pidgeon's party. 

He started moving. Harrold, having meanwhile withdrawn 
the men on outguard duty to the hill, ordered the barrage. If 
it was to work, it had to be accurate. Harrold wanted a horse- 
shoe-shaped barrage which would drop even with the outguard 
positions and work back gradually until it enfolded Pork 
Chop perimeter, thereby eliminating any Chinese who might 
be climbing the slope. 

But that wasn't what he got. 

Poolers party, advancing in a wedge shape, moved 50 yards 
closer toward Pidgeon. Then the barrage caught it dead on, 
and the formation dissolved as men separately jumped for 
rock cover. Privates Williams and Miezejewski, who had 
formed the back of the wedge, were cut down, though the 
others still didn't know it. Poole tried to get Harrold on the 
phone, but the line had been cut by the shelling. Sergeant 
Taylor, the artillery FO, tried to raise him on the radio "Peter 
io/' But that also failed. 

138 Pork Chop Hitt 

Then Poole attempted to regroup his survivors, intending 
to return to the main line. But such was the persistence of the 
fire that he could neither move backward to the hill nor for- 
ward to Pidgeon. Now looking toward Hasakkol, the men 
Gould count Chinese to the number of several hundred stand- 
ing against the skyline. Still other enemy groups, though in 
smaller numbers, stood out prominently on the ridge knobs 
between the patrol and Pork Chop. These enemy skirmishers 
were well inside the barrage. 

An artillery round exploded just above Poole. He took the 
fragments in all parts of his body, head, chest, neck and all 
four limbs. He said to Pfc. Kenneth Weber, "Now, 111 never 
make it." Weber said to him comfortingly, "Sure you can, 
111 help you along." With Sergeant Taylor helping, Weber 
tried to carry him. But Poole had lapsed into unconsciousness, 
and before getting 50 yards, both Taylor and Weber were 
down from exhaustion. Weber felt it was useless to continue 
the struggle. So they laid Poole in a shell crater, and uncertain 
what to do, they rested beside him for the next few minutes, 
paying no heed to the barrage or the enemy. 

There Private First Class Rawles caught up with them. He 
said, "Woll is down there among the rocks; shrapnel got him 
through the back." Weber listened, still trying to catch his 
breath. At last he heard the cry of Private Woll borne faintly 
on the wind, "I'm hit I'm hit. Please don't go off and leave 


Alone, Weber went back for Woll, slung him over his 
shoulder and carried him upslope to the crater, where he was 
put alongside Poole. Woll seemed terribly weak and kept 
whispering, "Thank you, thank you, thank you," as Weber 
struggled uphill. Within less than a minute after he was 
placed beside Poole, a VT shell exploded almost directly 
overhead, and a second shard pierced his groin. 

The Easy Patrol 139 

Weber was again flat out, clean spent by his exertions. Woll 
was still conscious. He said to Sergeant Taylor, "Won't 
you please take me back to the company? I want to live/' 
Taylor replied, "I'll try." 

He hoisted Woll and made the start. They were not more 
than 20 yards along the trail when another shell exploded 
directly overhead. One fragment went through Woll's skull 
A second fragment hit Taylor's left ankle, shattering the bone. 
Both men had been knocked flat by the violence of the blow. 
Taylor crawled over to Woll, felt for the wound and knew 
that he was dead. So he crawled back downtrail to the shell 

Now there were but two sound men left, Privates Weber 
and Rawles. Not only were they tied to the spot by the 
wounded, but Weber, by physique, nature and spirit the most 
indomitable man in the group, was temporarily exhausted. 
For about one-half hour he lay there on his back, saying 
nothing and seeing only the stars and the artillery display. 

Then he said to the others, "If we expect to live, we've got 
to start digging." There were two entrenching spades at hand. 
Weber and Rawles set to work. Occasionally, Taylor spelled 
them. Though he couldn't get on his feet, the dirt around the 
crater was loose, and he could still work the spade with his 

That task occupied them until about 0400, They had to 
suspend it when Rawles, glancing downslope, saw eight Chi- 
nese aid men advancing straight toward them. His own Mi 
was so fouled with dirt that it wouldn't fire and so was 
Weber's. Taylor was carrying a .45 Colt pistol. Weber bor- 
rowed it, waited until the leading pair of Chinese got within 
about seven yards of him and shot them both dead. The 
others scampered away, dropping their stretchers as they ran. 
Not a word was spoken during the action. 

140 Pork Chop Hill 

They stayed there, digging fitfully, whenever they could 
summon the energy. Now when shells came in, they no longer 
bothered to dodge back into the crater. Their response to the 
situation had become almost trancelike. They worked auto- 
matically as the ebb and flow of strength permitted it, and 
they guarded in much the same way. But an awareness of 
danger no longer possessed them. Later, that surprised them: 
that they had reached a point where death seemed not to 

First light came, and they were still working. Coinciden- 
tally, there was a great flash just outside the crater. An explod- 
ing 4.2-mortar shell lifted a large rock slab and dropped it 
into the hole on top of Rawles, breaking both of his legs. The 
concussion, pounding his head against the bank, knocked him 

There was now left only Private Weber in fighting condi- 
tion. Taylor could still fire but he couldn't walk. As the sky 
brightened, he crawled over to Weber's foxhole. For perhaps 
one-quarter-hour they sat there together, saying nothing. Both 
were too far gone for speech, but each drew spiritual warmth 
from the other. 

Then at last Weber broke the silence, and for some min- 
utes they talked, going over all of the painful facts in their 

Finally Weber asked, "Well, what do we do now?" 

Taylor answered, "I don't see that we can do anything. If 
you went alone, you couldn't make it back to the hill. Not 
until the artillery lifts." 

But the artillery wasn't lifting that morning. Within easy 
sight of home base, they had to stay there, without food, 
water, first aid or arms, other than the .45 pistol. 

Pidgeon and his party had somehow missed them in the 
darkness. At 0445, Pidgeon had decided to pull away from 

The Easy Patrol 14* 

his shelter under the rock ledge and try to make it to Pork 
Chop. He figured there was less risk in passing through the 
barrage than in greeting the dawn still in enemy country. 
Having no idea that his support had been shattered, he and 
the three others moved up hill as noiselessly as possible, leav- 
ing Private Noel's body. 

They mounted as far as the saddle of the ridge which usu- 
ally cradled Outguard No. 40. By then they had passed 
through the fires uninjured. As they walked toward the decliv- 
ity used by the outguard, they saw that it was filled with Chi- 
neseabout two squads of them. 

But it was the enemy that was surprised. Pidgeon yelled, 
"Fire!" and they did it together, two Mis and two carbines. 
The rifles emptied, they didn't stop to reload, or measure the 
execution. Bullets were already zinging against the rocks 
under their feet Pidgeon turned and ran back down to the 
stream bed, his three men following. They walked eastward 
along the river bank until they came out at the Fox Company 

In the downward flight as in the upward climb, Pidgeon's 
group must have passed within a few yards of the crater held 
by Taylor and Weber. But they saw and heard nothing of 
each other. The exertion either of moving or digging on a 
battlefield is somewhat preoccupying. 

For Weber and Taylor, the day dragged slowly on. They 
stayed low in their foxholes. The artillery fires continued to 
interdict the slope. From where they looked, the hill now 
seemed to be cratered right to the summit. Within the val- 
ley, there was no sign of a moving enemy. Still, they gained 
no impression of how things were going atop Pork Chop. 
Taken up with their own problems, they did not guess that 
the fight there might have gone against the company. It was 
home base and they yearned to return to it. 

142 Pork Chop Hill 

By midafternoon both men knew that they would either 
get out together, or not at all, though they did not express 
this thought to each other. Poole was now motionless and 
they thought him dead. Rawles was unconscious from the pain 
and strain and would be dead weight. Throats so parched 
that speech had become difficult, they looked longingly at 
the river. But it was forbidden them by the interdicting shell- 
fire from the Chinese. In fact, it was the enemy mortars and 
artillery, more than their own, which kept them pinned down 
through most of the day. 

At about 1900, they saw a curtain of white phosphorus 
shells breaking along the river bank and smoking it for sev- 
eral hundred yards. 

Weber said to Taylor, "That must be to cover a screening 
patrol. Maybe they are sending someone out for us." 

For at least thirty minutes the smoke thickened and they 
waited. Weber had been wrong in his surmise. The smoke 
was not concerned with the patrol. It had been thrown out 
to cover a counterattack by Fox Company of the iyth Regi- 
ment up Pork Chop Hill. 

Then suddenly there was a brief lull in the Chinese barrag- 
ing with only a few shells coming in. Taylor said, "Let's go/' 
They climbed the ridge with Taylor using an Mi as a cane. 
Weber carried him through the wire. There was still a hand- 
ful of Americans atop Pork Chop fighting to hold the 
trenches. Friendly arms were opened to receive them. 

All of King's Men 



strength seemed ample for the task ahead according to the 
reading of the situation taken by Battalion and all higher 

These rearward views were wishful and perforce badly in- 
formed. All that was known of the infantry fight on Pork 
Chop had come from Lieutenant Harrold and Harrold had 
not been able to leave his own bunker. All the higher com- 
mands knew was that there were some Chinese on the hill 
who could be re-enforced through the valley. 

In King Company were 135 men under Lieut. Joseph G. 
demons, Jr. King had spent a quiet night in a reserve posi- 
tion behind Hill 347. All hands had had a late meal and 
caught a few hours' sleep. At 0330 demons was told by phone 
to move the company into an attack position behind Hill 200, 
just to the rear of Pork Chop. 

The trucks were already on their way. King was ready when 
the convoy arrived. For each rifle there was a full belt and 
extra bandolier. Each rifleman carried three or more grenades. 
There were six BARs in each platoon with twelve magazines 
per weapon. Five boxes of ammo were carried for each LMG. 
Because Harrold had so recommended, each platoon took for- 
ward a flame thrower and heavy rocket launcher. 

When King unloaded behind Hill 200, Lieut Col. John N. 


144 Pork Chop Hill 

Davis was already waiting in a bunker. He suggested to 
demons that in counterattacking Pork Chop's rear slope, 
King should hit with two platoons abreast and one in reserve. 
The mixed situation on the summit was not made clear to 
demons because Davis did not know the facts, demons got 
the impression that the Chinese held the hill solidly and his 
own men could therefore fire without restraint. 

As Davis explained it, while King assaulted the rear, two 
platoons from Love Company would attack up the ridge fin- 
ger on Pork Chop's right. This meant risking a crossfire at the 
very point where the converging forces would have to take 
hold. But it also made demons feel more resigned to the 
absence of his heavy weapons platoon which hours earlier had 
been detached for direct support of Westview Outpost. 

American VT fire was still raining on top the hill. "Tell 
me/' said Davis, ''when you're ready to go and I'll have it 
lifted." demons got his platoon leaders together and said 
to them, "Hit the hill hard and get to the top as fast as the 
men can go. Success depends on speed; we must close before 

They were deployed Second Platoon on the right, First on 
the left and Third in reserve. The assault platoons walked in 
column 400 yards down the road to the assault line at the 
foot of Pork Chop. From there, it was only 170 yards to the 
nearest fighting bunkers. But the way was very steep, the slope 
was rocky and cratered and this was, literally and spiritually, 
darkest hour before dawn. 

At 0430 demons said to Davis, "We're ready now." Re- 
layed to the batteries, the message stopped the fires. King's 
men sprang forward, some of them, under prodding by their 
NCOs, starting upslope at the double. 

Haste made waste. By the time Second Platoon stalled at 
the lower side of the five-fold concertina which circled the 

All of King's Men 145 

hill, SFC Walter Kuzmick felt that the too-brisk start had 
been a mistake. The spring had gone from his legs. His men, 
panting hard, tugged at rocks and shrubs to assist them. The 
more heavily burdened ammo, flame-thrower and launcher 
carriers straggled. Still, he yelled out over the line, "Keep 
going! Make it fast!" The front runners found gaps in the 
barricade, gaps cut by the shellfire. They slipped through and 
followed Kuzmick. In the dark he didn't notice that the 
freight carriers quit him, dropped their burdens and lay down 
next the wire. For the next hour, he was much too busy to 
note that they were missing. 

Enemy artillery and mortars had wakened to the attack but 
were overshooting the mark. The barrage dropped into the 
valley 100 yards behind the line of departure. So though the 
barb wire which confronted First Platoon was still solid, its 
passage was completed uneventfully. Men weighed down the 
bands with their bodies and other men used their bodies as 
a bridge. 

Though King's men completed the climb without one shot 
being fired at them, they took 29 minutes to travel the 170 
yards from the jumpoff to the height It was the longest res- 
pite from fire given them during the day. The Chinese artillery 
got the range immediately when they topped the rise. It 
doused the hill for ten minutes, then lifted for ten minutes, 
a monotonous but effective pattern thereafter steadily main- 

First man to enter the Pork Chop works, CpL William H. 
Bridges, saw two Chinese rise from among the rocks beyond 
the parados and fire directly on First Platoon with subma- 
chine guns. He yelled, "Watch out!" and dove for the trench. 
The burst cut down five men close behind him. 

Pvt Rudolph Gordon made the trench almost at the same 
moment Turning leftward, he started for the second bunker 

King and Love Companies attacked Pork Chop simultaneously in the 
morning. Denton's Platoon had already tried in the night and failed. 

All of King's Men 147 

down the line. Three grenades came at him from behind its 
far wall. They fell short. He and Bridges grenaded back. But 
protected by the bunker mass, the Chinese grenadiers played 
African dodger, revealing head and shoulder just long enough 
to heave their potato mashers. 

More First Platoonmen piled into the trench. Two squads 
tried to form up on either side of the first bunker, though in 
the narrow ditch that merely invited trouble. To protect the 
assembly, Cpl. Arsenio Correa jumped onto the parados with 
his LMG and fired two boxes of ammo at the bunker door, 25 
yards away. The enemy grenadiers centered fire on him but he 
was comfortably beyond their range. 

Taking advantage of this diversion, SFC Lewis J. Hankey, 
Cpl. Wilfred Volk and Pvt. Pak Song crawled along the para- 
pet to within five yards of the bunker. From there, they gre- 
naded over the wall, throwing ten bombs altogether. It was 
even give-and-take. Their sortie silenced the Chinese grena- 
diers, but in the exchange Pak was wounded in the head by 
the same explosion that shattered Hankey's leg. Volk treated 
them where they fell, then left them in the lee of the bunker 
wall while the fight went on. 

Kuzmick's men encountered their first fire as they came to 
the chow bunker, which was some yards downhill from the 
main trench. But it was unaimed and going high. On reach- 
ing the main trench, Kuzmick kept his squads moving abreast, 
intending to mop up the ditch while securing the ground 
both ways from it as he swept toward the Pork Chop CP. It 
was an elementary precaution taken by him mainly because 
the hour was 0520, the hill was still dark and he was fearful 
that if he moved in column through the ditch, the Chinese 
would close across his rear. 

But it was uneven work because of the irregularities in the 
ground. On this rear rightside of Pork Chop, which was far- 

148 Pork Chop Hill 

thest removed from the enemy's point of initial onfall, the 
trench was still relatively free of debris. Kuzmick's own party 
was therefore unimpeded as it moved in column down the 

On the outer wing, Sgt. Rollin Johnson's squad became 
strung out as some men sought rock cover to escape the fire 
sweeping the downslope. Lieut. Robert S. Cook had joined 
Johnson to help control the maneuver toward the CP. Walk- 
ing the rampart, along with Pvt. Edgar P. Bordelon, he got 
some distance to the fore. At the first fire bunker, Cook was 
joined by one of Easy Company's Koreans, who had survived 
the night by hugging the sandbag revetment. The three ad- 
vanced another 15 yards. From there, Cook could see the CP 
bunker door. There was no activity. Bordelon fired a few test- 
ing rounds at it from his carbine. From within came a voice, 
"Hold fire! We're GIs." But wishing to see more, Cook did 
not instantly call warning to the skirmishers behind him. 

During these minutes, Sgt. Norbert Huffman's squad had 
even harder going crossing the infield. The upslope was an 
obstacle course of rock outcroppings and shell craters. Over 
this treacherous surface were scattered smoke-blackened tree 
stumps looking like sitting men in the half-light. The flank- 
ers had to move at a crawl. Kuzmick tried to regulate the ad- 
vance of his center in time with the flankers. But it was im- 

Huffman got to within 12 yards of the rear of the CP 
bunker without ever seeing it. There was a prone Chinese on 
the bunker roof holding a light machine gun. Huffman was 
still crawling forward when a cluster of five or six heavy gre- 
nades, thrown from the far side of the bunker, landed on and 
around him. One explosion blew away his right hand. Frag- 
ments from other grenades pierced his head, neck and chest. 

All of King's Men 149 

As he slumped, the machine gunner fired a quick burst at 

Cook at that moment had jumped to the rampart, waving 
his arms toward Kuzmick's men and yelling, "Come on up! 
Get along! Keep moving and we've got it made!" He still said 
nothing of the Americans in the CP. 

From out the bunker where Cook had liberated the Korean, 
a Chinese crawled along the rampart. He heaved a grenade. 
Another heavy grenade came sailing from behind the CP wall. 
The two grenades exploded simultaneously between Cook and 
the Korean, shattering one of Cook's legs and hitting the 
Korean in the stomach and groin. 

Before anyone in the platoon could react to fire a shot, five 
Chinese jumped from behind the bunker wall down into the 
trench and disappeared from sight into the wreckage forward. 
Pvt. Thomas M. Dugan stopped to put a tourniquet on Huff- 
man's stump. Then seeing that he was unconscious and bleed- 
ing from many wounds, Dugan carried him back to the chow 
bunker, where he could be given serum albumen to stave off 
the shock. 

The other men did not recoil or hesitate. It was simply that 
in their state of fatigue they could not change motion quickly 
enough. For the last several minutes the hill had been quiet 
of artillery; but while the enemy barrage lasted, they had still 
pressed on. In a situation for which their training had little 
prepared them, they had responded as cheerfully as American 
troops are ever likely to do. No one had told them that in 
modern war, you may repeatedly get within 20 feet of your 
enemy, and still not know where his defense is hidden. 

Kuzmick dashed toward the bunker door, intending to gre- 
nade it In that tense second, Lieutenant Attridge looked out. 
His head was bandaged. His arm also was cocked to throw a 

150 Pork Chop Hill 

grenade an eloquent measure of the confusions of that morn- 

The sight of Attridge stopped Kuzmick cold. Right on his 
heels was demons, who was so astonished that he simply 
gaped. Neither of King's leaders had been told about the 
party of Easy wounded in the CP. They thought Harrold's 
company was out of it, and they had no reason to look for any 
friends on the hill. 

This tableau was broken up before anyone could cry out. 
Three rounds of artillery exploded directly into the scene. 
Their source was never determined. But because the Com- 
munist fire had lifted a few moments before, the men all con- 
cluded these were "shorts" from their own support batteries. 
One round exploded into the bunker door, giving Attridge 
his second wound in the head. The other two fell about 25 
yards behind Kuzmick, wounding three of his Koreans. 

To the platoon it was a kick in the groin. Until then, the 
flank had kept pressing despite the leg weariness of the men. 
But the impression that they had been fouled by their own 
guns impacted on them more heavily than the wounding of 
Cook and Huffman. Shock had stifled elation in the worst 
possible moment. Kuzmick's men recoiled bewildered and 
listless and for minutes made no attempt to do anything. The 
flank as a whole never got going again. In war, one resolute 
soul can bind the excited minds of many men in a kind of 
bloody mesmerism; and one small accident can in a twinkling 
snap that chain of force. 

Followed the dull anticlimax. Pvt Samuel K Maxwell went 
on alone to the CP. There were five wounded men inside, one 
with a leg missing. Attridge was still conscious. Harrold told 
Maxwell to return to the fight; he would look after his own 

The sun was edging the horizon; the dark had gone. Pvt. 

All of Kings Men 151 

George Atkins, covering Second Platoon as rearguard, brought 
news to demons. From a high knob, he had looked westward 
and seen "many Chinese" moving on Pork Chop from the di- 
rection of Princeton OP. 

demons called on radio. Would the artillery plaster Prince- 
ton Hill and drop a curtain in the valley between Pork Chop 
and Hasakkol to choke off re-enforcement? The answer was 
yes, but the requested fires never came in. Three medium 
tanks, which had been attached to King as support, were still 
idling around the base of Hill 200, some 500 yards rearward, 
demons switched them to the low ground west of Pork Chop. 
Their guns diverted the enemy approach from the westward 
but couldn't dam the flow of Chinese from Hasakkol through 
the valley. 

Some hours later the tankers asked, and received, permis- 
sion to withdraw, apprehensive that if Clemons was re-en- 
forced, their vehicles would become the target of the Chinese 
artillery attack. Clemons watched the tanks pull out, reflect- 
ing bitterly that because of the withdrawal, his riflemen would 
get the undivided attention of the enemy guns. 

A few of KuzmicFs men picked up and started moving 
down the trench. Before they could pass the CP bunker, they 
were stopped by a blast of bullet fire coming from downhill on 
their right. This time there was no choice about returning it. 
The fire was from Love Company, attacking up the right- 
hand finger. King's men tried to signal Love to shut it off, 
but the fire was too intense to stand against. It died only after 
Love had been bled into silence. 

By these stages, all group initiative became lost to the com- 
pany. Such energy as remained to King's leaders was chan- 
neled for the most part into personal effort. The attack carried 
on only because a number of the more resolute individuals 
engaged in widely separated and almost unrelated actions, 

152 Pork Chop Hill 

demons personally was between the devil and the sea. The 
harder he pressed the fight forward, the greater became his dis- 
organization to rearward, where evacuation of casualties was 
still proceeding empirically, ^ supply remained unassured, his 
channels to outside were narrowing and his heavy weapons 
carriers were shirking the fight. He did not have enough able- 
bodied men to take the hill by storm; he had too many to 
plead fatal weakness. The few who remained fighting were 
dangerously dispersed; to withdraw and regroup them would 
yield hard-won ground to the enemy snipers. It was time to 
look things over more carefully and get his house in order 
if possible. With his executive, Lieut* Tsugi O'Hashi, he 
walked back to the chow bunker. 

On the right of Pork Chop, Sergeant Johnson, joined by 
Sgt Robert E. Hoffman, continued to bore in, moving straight 
down the trench. They came to a bunker where two men from 
Easy's third platoon had survived the night by playing pos- 
sum. At dawn three enemy grenadiers had discovered them 
and begun to bomb their hiding. Having snatched a few hours' 
sleep, the two Easy men had freshened. They decided to fight 
back, though between them, they had but one dirty carbine, 
which wouldn't fire automatic, and one steel helmet. So they 
took fifteen-minute turns at the fire post, one man operating 
as sniper from behind the bunker wall while the other man 
stayed inside. They had bagged no game but their show of 
resistance had been enough to keep the three grenadiers from 
rushing them. 

One of the men motioned to Hoffman and Johnson to 
move on along the trench and try to take the grenadiers in 
flank while he held their attention from in front. By then, sev- 
eral other of King's men had reached the spot. Before Johnson 
could start his deployment, seven artillery rounds (Chinese) 

Ml of King's Men 153 

exploded along the embankments. One round silenced the 
Chinese grenadiers. Another landed among the Americans. 

CpL Robert Rossrilli was arm's length from Johnson as the 
round came in. The explosion sat him down hard on his 
buttocks and the shock was so violent that he at first sat there 
stunned, certain that half of his seat had been shot away. 
Because the trench was partly covered and half-filled with 
wreckage, he momentarily lost sight of Johnson. 

Then he heard a voice say calmly, "Well, I'll be damned, I 
am wounded/ 7 Johnson got up, not more than six feet away. 
The shoulder of his jacket was already blood-soaked, one 
large fragment having cut him to the bone. He called out in a 
booming voice, "Hoffman, it's time for you to take over." 
Then he walked rearward along the trench. But for the time 
being, he didn't get very far. For the next twenty minutes or 
so, Hoffman could hear him belaboring the stragglers farther 
down the trench, "Damn you, get up there and help Hoff- 
man." There was a payoff even in the sound of his voice. 

Almost coincidentally, the first flame thrower got up to 
demons. Its operator, Pfc. William W. Sykes, was given a 
squad under Sergeant Asman to run interference for him, as 
he advanced toward a bunker 50 yards forward on the left 
side of the hill. Approximately a dozen Chinese grenadiers 
were nesting there, some inside, and others behind the sand- 
bag revetments, and their combined efforts had kept that 
alley tight blocked. 

Asman and his party moved forward cautiously, spread over 
both embankments. As their forefront got to within throwing 
distance of the bunker, a shower of grenades exploded among 
them, battering Asman around the head and neck and wound- 
ing every other member of the squad. The Chinese had quit 
the bunker, then regrouped on the high ground inside the 

154 Pork Chop Hill 

trench and grenaded the party from the flank as it came 

Not seeing how it had happened, Sykes continued right 
down the trench with his flame thrower and, getting to the 
bunker door, flamed the inside for thirty seconds. The door 
frame caught fire. Then another grenade landed in the trench, 
exploding its fragments into Sykes' buttocks. He couldn't 
make his legs move. Pfc. James Freley helped him from the 
hill, surprised that Sykes had made his run, gotten hit and 
then retired without uttering a sound. Sykes still carried his 
flame thrower. It was now empty but no one thought to re- 
lieve him of it. 

When Asman's party was dissolved, the Chinese grena- 
diers returned to the trench, beat out the fire set by Sykes 
and reoccupied the bunker. By then demons was ready with 
a new weapon. Another of his stragglers had at last come 
forward with a 3.5 rocket launcher. But the boy looked too 
frightened to do a job with it. demons handed the launcher 
to Sgt. Frank Krohn who crawled along the trench and from 
a range of 20 yards put four rockets against the bunker. It 
brought down part of the wall and ended the grenading. 

A trio of riflemen who had followed Krohn, keeping flat 
while he fired, ran on past the bunker. For most of the rest of 
its length on the west side of the hill the trench had been cov- 
ered over with beams of pinewood and blinders, heaped with 
sandbags and, in some places, with several feet of earth. The 
theory behind the covered trench was that it would prevent 
enfilade and afford protection against overhead fire; the fault 
in the theory was that it assumed the garrison would always 
be able to hold more tenaciously there than elsewhere. Artil- 
lery had crushed in the roof at several points. These splin- 
tered sections had become successive barricades. A slight rise 
in the trench floor terraced them one behind the other, 

All of King's Men 155 

making each a concealed fire port. Fire came from them but 
the firers could not be seen. No hand-carried weapon could 
batter through these successive layers. The three riflemen 
took a quick look and then pulled back. 

Such was the dispersion that it was impossible to count 
f noses. But demons made a rough guess that he had lost at 
least half of his men. Most of them had been knocked out by 
grenade fire. The enemy had been prolific, but unskilled in his 
use of the tommy gun. Apart from the worrisome noise, it had 
done little damage. What plagued demons worst was the 
fear that his own men were about out of ammunition, though 
fanned out as they were, he could get no accounting of it. He 
decided that it was time to call his reserve platoon into the 

On the right of the hill, as on the left, progress was made 
possible by the action of one weapon in the hands of a deter- 
mined man. Two enemy-occupied bunkers, on opposite sides 
of the trench and 40 feet apart, had stalled advance there. 
Burp-gun fire laced the ditch, the gunners operating from the 
bunker doors, while from behind the bunker walls, grenadiers 
covered the embankments. 

Thirty yards short of this enemy block was an unoccupied 
bunker partly collapsed by the shellfire. Timing his advance 
to Krohn's attack with the 3.5 rocket launcher, Sgt Lovell 
Jenkins ran for the bunker's nigh wall, carrying a light ma- 
chine gun. From its shelter, he emptied four cases of am- 
munition into the two fighting bunkers. The gun was 
"behaving like a lamb" and as fast as it emptied, Sergeant 
Kuzmick was getting up to Jenkins with resupply. Quite sud- 
denly, resistance died. Looking to the right^ Jenkins saw about 
fifteen Chinese break into the open just beyond the two bunk- 
ers and start downslope. They were close bunched and almost 
tripping on each other's heels. He turned the gun that way. 

156 Pork Chop Hill 

They seemed to stop "quite suddenly, as if someone had 
pulled a string on them/' Then, almost as one, they pitched 
face forward down the slope. 

Sergeant Hoffman looked at his watch. It said 0745. The 
company had been on the hill approximately two hours. Its 
attack under fire had not yet carried more than 200 yards. 
Not more than one man in five had pushed hard in the fore- 
front of the action. But it was clear to Hoffman that the com- 
pany already was at the point of physical exhaustion. There 
was no talk among the men and very little movement. Some 
of the riflemen were dragging their weapons as if too spent to 
carry them. Others sat in the trench staring vacantly. When 
the NCOs tried to direct them, their words blurred. 

Kuzmick was astonished at his own physical weakness. For 
the march-up, he had loaded himself as lightly as possible to 
conserve strength, carrying only his rifle, canteen and one belt 
of ammunition. Now he felt as if his legs couldn't take him 
"to the next bunker" and as he looked over the other survivors 
of Second Platoon, he could see that they were in no better 

But the job was not yet half-done. The Chinese still sat in 
the bunkers along two-thirds of the trench line and held all 
of the covered parts of the trench. The battering which the 
artillery had given the works in order to kill men had but 
made it easier for the remnants of the two garrisons to stand 
off each other. The collapsing of a great part of the trench 
wall made impossible any sighting along it. Bunker doors had 
broken down under the weight of their own sandbags and no 
longer served as a portal for grenading. Timbers which had 
supported the near ends of the covered trench were splintered 
and fallen, closing the trench to sight and sortie and giving 
tactical cover to its defenders. From within this jumbled 
ruin, potato-masher grenades were hurled toward the Ameri- 

All of Kings Men 157 

cans in large number, and an almost incessant burp-gun fire 
on both sides of the hill kept them pinned to the defilades 
churned up by the night's shelling. But the wreckage hid all 
other animation and they looked vainly for the coign of the 

Feeling that King's men had stretched almost to the break- 
ing point, demons saw no choice but to mark time while 
waiting for help. He was no longer in touch with higher com- 
mands. The artillery had cut his telephone lines and his five 
radios had been killed one by one by direct fire. Three of the 
operators had been hit and evacuated from Pork Chop. From 
the chow bunker, where the wounded were taken, back to 
Hill 200, a personnel carrier was now on continuous shuttle 
taking out the worst cases. One vehicle had been smashed by 
a mortar shell which killed the driver and rewounded two 
passengers. It was quickly replaced. From Hill 200 the casual- 
ties were moved rearward by litter jeep and chopper. 

The Love force which had fought its way up the right-hand 
finger at last closed on the trench. There remained but twelve 
beat-up men, as worn as demons' own, under command of 
Lieut. Arthur A. Marshall. Sixty-two had started with Lieut. 
Forrest J. Crittenden. Wounded, he had given way to Lieut. 
Homer F. Bechtel who was quickly struck down by a grenade. 
Before Marshall could fit his twelve men into demons' lines, 
submachine-gun fire cut the number to ten. 

They had tried but they had failed. The maneuver had no 
pinching-out effect Those who had arranged it did not fore- 
see that with both attacks proceeding on a narrow front, the 
entrenched enemy, having the advantage of interior lines, 
could keep the downslope hot without lessening resistance to 
demons. So Love simply withered away under the blast, and 
its beaten remnant at last joined King's men without having 
aborted any main portion of the enemy-held works. 

158 Pork Chop Hill 

Not all of Crittenden's men, however, had been as ready as 
their leader to make a good Purple Heart try. Early in the 
maneuver, under cover of dark, some had slipped away, rather 
than face the fire. Lieut. Virgil W. McCall of Mike Company 
rounded up two squads of Love stragglers along the slope of 
Hill 200. He marched them back to help demons and, en- 
route, captured an unexpected prize. The Red Chinese also 
had their duty dodgers. McCall pinioned one of them he 
found hiding in a bunker. With the aid of the prisoner, he 
lured out four other Chinese who had holed up in a covered 

Presenting the bag to demons, he said, "We might try 
the same thing here/' demons was willing. The prisoners, 
though reluctant, at last agreed to co-operate. McCall pushed 
his decoys forward to the bunkers nearest the enemy line. 
Covered by McCall's riflemen, they proceeded to make their 
surrender appeal. The only visible effect was a sharp increase 
in the grenading and automatic fire from out the rubble, 
demons said to Pvt. Melvin F. Lucas, "Take the prisoners 
off the hill before they get hurt." 

From the slackening of the fight for the ditch came further 
dispersion. On both sides, men left the guarding of it to out- 
posts and scattered over the higher slopes inside the parados; 
Among the Americans, this was not a reaction to orders and 
the movement was uncollected. 

The fighters turned that way individually, partly to escape 
the death stench befouling the trenches and partly for sur- 
vival. On the upslope there were defiladed craters among the 
rocks which might afford more personal protection than the 
broken battlements which ran head-on to the artillery shelling. 

This instinctive shifting brought the two sides closer to- 
gether than before. But there was no grapple or pickup in the 
fire engagement. Both sides were touching bottom. In these 

All of King's Men 159 

minutes, either side might have cleared the hill through the 
collected action of twenty or so men moving and firing to- 
gether over the high ground in Pork Chop's center, then press- 
ing on to the end of the ridge. But there was not that much 
unified energy present and the situation all but prohibited 
organization of it. When men under fire are physically spent, 
widely dispersed, out of water and short of ammunition, the 
restoration of group activity is next to impossible. It was a 
measure only of their common weariness that these rifle lines 
crawled closer to each other not to court death but to escape 
it in the rocks and pits of the upgrade. 

Such was the situation at 0800. For King's men, the fight 
had been underway less than four hours, and in that time, 
they had moved under their own power hardly more than one 
mile. Canteens had long since been drained in slaking the 
heavy thirst of the wounded. Weapons had become so be- 
grimed that cleaning required more effort than firing. All of 
the extraordinary stresses on the hill were of man's making. 
The morning itself was delightfully cool and fair, a typical 
day in Korea's loveliest season. 

At 0814, re-enforcements began to arrive, at first just a 
trickle of riflemen, the greater part of two squads. They were 
from First Platoon, George Company, iyth Infantry. Until 
then, demons had not known that any part of the Buffalo 
Regiment was within the area. Automatically, he sent the new 
men along to stiffen his left flank which had been stopped by 
the covered trench. Then a pleasant voice asked, "Will you 
please tell me the situation?" demons looked up to see his 
brother-in-law, Lieut Walter B. Russell, who at the last ac- 
counting was still in the United States, demons said, "Now 
what in hell are you doing here?" 

Russell was commanding George Company. He explained 
that the rest of his force was still toiling up the hackslope, 

160 Pork Chop Hill 

slowed by the artillery fire. His mission was to "assist demons 
in the mop-up" and then withdraw from the hill as soon as 
possible. To demons 7 mind, that instruction was a first reve- 
lation of the distance separating high command from the real- 
ities of his situation. It presupposed that the Chinese were 
but barely holding and that King remained a mobile and 
combat-worthy force. One assumption was as wrong as the 
other. There remained to demons about thirty-five tired men 
from King, the ten survivors from Love and twelve derelicts 
from Easy who had been freed during the push down the 
trench line. Harrold had left the hill, and the Easy men, be- 
sides being leaderless, were nursing minor wounds. There was 
no leg push in any of these elements. It was doubtful if they 
still retained holding power. 

Pondering these factors, the kinsmen weighed what should 
be done. As demons saw it, the best course was to withdraw 
and regroup his people while Russell's men were still ap- 
proaching, so that the still solid company would have a clear 
field. Russell, being the green hand, deferred to demons, 
who, though battle experienced, was brain weary. The dis- 
placement and flankward shift under fire, always a danger, 
was begun immediately, and proved to be a mistake. Though 
demons did not know it, a fresh Chinese company was ar- 
riving at the other end of the ridge and closing to contact 
more swiftly than Russell's men. When demons' advanced 
skirmishers pulled back, thus easing the foreground pressure, 
the enemy snipers and grenadiers rushed into the vacuum. 
The momentum which might have been gained by Russell's 
coming was dissipated before he could get his men into the 

Suddenly, the hill was again ablaze. The Chinese artillery 
and mortars ranged in and where the earth was not shaking 
from heavy metal, bullet fire was pinging off the rocks and 

Ml of King's Men 161 

cutting the grasses. Re-enforced and resupplied, the Chinese 
grenadiers doubled their aggressiveness. These were the con- 
ditions in which the maneuver, made to apportion sector re- 
sponsibility, took place. The new men were down and breath- 
less, their weapons fouled by dew and dust, each seeking to 
hold a little patch of ground, before any platoon, any squad 
had a chance to see its situation as a whole. Lieutenant Mar- 
shall with the ten Love men and Lieutenant Ess with a pla- 
toon from George took over the left sector. Russell with the 
rest of George moved to the right flank and extended down 
the finger. Under Lieutenant O'Hashi, King's men regrouped 
and moved to the center, which put them on the high ground 
looking to Hasakkol. Man by man and yard by yard, they 
continued with the shift until the wanted dispositions were 
complete. Thereafter, nothing came of it. A few men were 
killed and another score or so wounded. Otherwise, there 
was no change. George Company settled into the line, and 
for some hours, helped hold it. But it had already burned up 
the energy needed to extend the mop-up. The re-enforcement 
by both sides had only the effect of getting more bodies into 
the meat grinder without changing the tactical balance. The 
stagnation of the fight was not less than before. The morning 
wore on with both Chinese and Aftiericans acting defensively. 

demons and Russell moved into Harrold's old CP. Using 
Russell's radio, demons messaged Battalion, "I must have 
water, plasma, more medical assistance, flame throwers, litters, 
ammunition, several radios/' At 1100, a party of Korean bear- 
ers got as far as the chow bunker bringing a load of C-rations 
and water. Distribution of these supplies among the men in 
the forward foxholes was no longer possible, due to the in- 
tensity of the barrage fire on the hill. 

At noontime, Lieut James Blake, the battalion 82, entered 
the CP. He had a written message from Colonel Davis for 

162 Pork Chop Hill 

demons. Any of the survivors of Easy and Fox companies 
were to be sent to the rear immediately, and George Com- 
pany as a whole was to withdraw promptly at 1 500. demons 
said to Blake, "Take this message back. Tell them I believe 
that the crisis here is not appreciated either by Battalion or 
Regiment. I have left but very few men. All are exhausted. 
Russell has only fifty-five men left. When they go out, it is 
not reasonable to expect that we can hold the hill/' One hour 
later, his message was acknowledged by Battalion, but nothing 
was said about amending the order. 

By 1200, the flame throwers, ammunition and litters which 
demons had requested had arrived at the foot of Pork Chop's 
rear, carried by eight Korean Service Corps cargadores. But 
the barrage-swept crest looked too formidable to these men. 
So for safety's sake, they marked time on the low ground 
during the hours of early afternoon when their cargo might 
still have been of some use to the embattled force at the 
summit. Falling 170 yards short of their target, they failed it 

The last touch of irony was supplied by Lieut. James Bar- 
rows, a division public information officer. Daring the fire 
which had stopped the Korean bearers, Barrows entered 
demons' CP at 1445, with two staff photographers in tow. 
He had come to take pictures of what he thought was a suc- 
cessful American action, demons said to him, "Forget the 
pictures. I want you to carry a message to Battalion." He wrote 
it out: "We must have help or we can't hold the hill/' Bar- 
rows started immediately. Within the hour Battalion ac- 
knowledged the message. But that was all. 

Whether it was an oversight by demons due to fatigue, 
or the consequence of a professional training which unduly 
emphasizes the virtue of brevity in communications, his 

Ml of King's Men 163 

messages to the rear had not clearly stated his own losses, 
which was the critical point. 

Knowing their man, both Battalion and Regiment gave full 
weight to his distress calls, accepting it as fact that the force 
on Pork Chop was "dead beat," though Colonel Kern was 
still not informed that both King and Love had taken exces- 
sive losses. 

Kern emphasized the physical exhaustion of the force, and 
not its depletion, when he called up Division to urge that 
King, if not relieved, must be re-enforced. Being still more 
remote from the fire fight, Division was even more sanguine. 

Besides, Division was concerned with a more complex ques- 
tionwhether Pork Chop was ultimately worth the indicated 
price in blood. If the hill were yielded, the Communists would 
strike next at Hill 547. If it were fought for, Pork Chop might 
become another battalion-per-day affair like Triangle Hill 

The fight was local but the issue was national. So Division 
isked a decision of I Corps, which asked it of Eighth Army, 
which asked it of Far East Command. The basic question was 
imazingly simple: "Do you really want to hold Pork Chop?" 
But while the big wheels debated the answer, the task of 
holding devolved on a picket squad of worn-out men. After 
bearing Kern, Division said that, for the time being, King 
ivould be given no help. It was not a hard-boiled refusal. Divi- 
sion simply had to be sure that the fight was in dead earnest 
before wasting another company. Maj. Gen. Arthur G. Tru- 
3eau and his ADC, Brig. Gen. Derrill M. Daniel, got in a 
chopper and flew to Davis' CP to get a clearer view of how 
King was faring. They landed at 1500. 

At exactly the same hour, taking advantage of a lull in the 
:annonading, Lieutenant Russell pulled his George Company 
survivors out of the Pork Chop works and led them down the 
bill He had lost half of his command in less than seven hours. 

164 Pork Chop Hill 

While his column was getting out, the six Korean bearers, 
heartened by the lull, climbed to the chow bunkers carrying 
the flame throwers. It was now too late to use them. Some of 
Kuzmick's men tried to lug the throwers forward. They lacked 
the strength even to lift them. 

There now remained to demons but 25 men, including the 
Love survivors under Lieutenant Marshall. The rest of King's 
men 18 killed and 71 wounded had all been lost to the 
day's fire. It was obviously impossible to continue the tactics 
of the morning. The remnant could not be stretched across 
the crown of the hill; to attempt it would mean sure death. 

demons gathered the men and led them as a tight group to 
the highest knob on the left side of Pork diop. After de- 
ploying them, he returned to his CP, with his radio man and 
one runner. So positioned, neither the group nor its com- 
mander was linked physically with any support to rearward. 
What earlier had been a rifle company integrated within a 
general defense line had become three squads clinging in 
isolation to a defensive island, demons stayed in the bunker 
to save his radio, his one hold on survival; if help arrived, he 
would be in the right place to make the contact. The other 
task of keeping the group alive fell mainly to O'Hashi and 

Within the perimeter which the group formed on the knob 
were three small, partly collapsed bunkers. Eight or nine of 
the worst-spent men took shelter under their sandbag walls. 
The others moved into nearby shell craters. The holes were 
not deep enough for good cover. Using spoons, knives and 
bayonets for the work they lacked the strength to wield the 
small entrenching tool they tried to widen and deepen them. 
The only other activity was an endless cleaning of rifles and 
carbines, done with toothbrushes, the standby equipment of 
the soldier when nothing else will free his grimed rifle. Kuz- 

All of Kings Men 165 

mick set the example. The others followed it, though their 
response was trancelike. Since early morning they had been 
without water. Faces caked, tongues thickened by the dust 
shower which plagued the hill, under lashing by the guns 
and mortars, they no longer talked to each other. Nor did 
they move from their places except when shaken loose by an 
exploding shell. From the foreground, an almost constant 
bullet fire rained upon the knob. Occasionally, a grenade 
came sailing in. Yet they saw not a single human target, and 
therefore made no attempt to return fire. In the end that 
perhaps mattered very little, since most of them no longer 
had sufficient strength to raise weapon to shoulder and aim. 
Than this, there is no more moving entry in the record of 
King, that young Americans too exhausted to fight may still 
obey such group discipline as their enfeebled resources permit. 
It was to be their portion for four hours. "We lay there 
and took it," said Corporal Bridges. "There was nothing else 
to do/' To the few who endured it, the earlier trials of the 
day seemed nothing compared with this final test. Hit and 
harassed, endlessly cleaning weapons with no valid hope of 
again using them, they still held ground. The earth and rock 
banks which they had raised above their small craters were 
creased and scattered by the bullet storm. The enemy artil- 
lery, which had ranged widely over Pork Chop, now concen- 
trated against this one small area of defiance. The embank- 
ments caved in. The sandbag walls were flattened. Repeatedly, 
the men were buried under the dirt shower. Weapons freshly 
cleaned were refouled. Again the toothbrushes were plied. In 
this way continued the monotonously deadly round. At the 
end, fourteen had survived it, sick and shaken but relatively 
whole-bodied. Seven were Americans, the others ROKs. All 
had repeatedly cleaned weapons. Seven and these were Amer- 

166 Pork Chop Hill 

leanshad done some digging. Of the fourteen men, only 
three had fired so much as one round. 

Even had he tried, demons could not have returned to 
them. By the time he re-entered his CP, Chinese snipers and 
grenadiers had already filtered through to the unguarded 
slopes around it, and he was invested from both sides of the 
trench before he could make one move to help the com- 
pany's situation, demons and his three enlisted men, having 
no choice, picked up their rifles and fought to save them- 
selves from being overrun. 

In this way, more than an hour was lost before he could 
get back to his communications. At about 1640, there was a 
fleeting respite. He called Colonel Davis on radio and said, 
"We have here about twenty men who are still unhit. They 
are completely spent. There is no fight left in this company. 
If we can't be relieved, we should be withdrawn." 

Present with Davis when the message came through was 
General Trudeau. It was like a five-alarm warning. Until that 
moment, the picture had remained blurred. The informa- 
tion had been too fragmentary. Trudeau had realized that 
King was being badly punished, but he did not know that 
the defense of Pork Chop was at a final strait of desperation. 
Now, with the day already gone, he was aware that the hill 
could not be held, unless additional troops moved toward it 
as rapidly as the night. The question was where to get them 
and how many should be sent By this time Pork Chop was 
nigh a total ruin. Its shattered works could not avail cover 
to more than a few men, and the Chinese artillery would con- 
tinue unrelenting so long as its people had a purchase on the 

Trudeau flew back to his CP to mull over the problem with 
the other generals and with Colonel Kern, already enroute to 
the same destination by chopper. 

Love Alone 



the Pork Chop fight, it is necessary to return to the beginning 
and follow its experience step by step. 

What the men atop the hill saw and heard of its effort had 
not been impressive. While the remnant of Easy Company 
was awaiting succor, one of Love's platoons had counterat- 
tacked and had been knocked back. Then when King Com- 
pany entered the fight, it was disappointed in the hope that 
the converging movement by the other two rifle platoons 
from Love would lighten its work. Finally, only a corporal's 
guard of Love men got to the top. These things the men 
attacking the bunker line well knew. 

But the view from the top was very limited. The men fight- 
ing there could not see how the rest of the attack was faring. 
Its failures, frustrations and problems were far outside their 
informed understanding, as were the trials of any comrade 
who happened to fall unseen among the rocks. 

Love's luck had not been running in the hour when the 
fighting started. The weapons platoon was absent and the 
three rifle platoons were alerted and trucked forward, at first 
with the idea of back-stopping Hill 347, just in case the Chi- 
nese overran Pork Chop and kept coming. Two of the trucks 
were wrecked by mortar fire before the company got on loca- 


168 Pork Chop Hill 

That interrupted the ride of Third Platoon. About the time 
its leader, 2nd Lieut. Earle L. Denton, had his men ready to 
move again, a staff officer out of Second Battalion (Denton 
didn't know the man) arrived and told him he was to march 
the platoon to Hill 200 and thereafter "re-enforce Pork Chop 
by occupying same." The officer added, "When you get to 
Hill 200, you will pick up Fox Company and they will go with 

Denton immediately marched on Hill 200, with M/S 
Aubrey Norcross bringing up the rear of the column so that 
the men wouldn't get lost in the trenches. Despite the pre- 
caution, the column got split. 

Arrived at the CP on Hill 200, he met several artillery 
officers, but found no one who could tell him anything about 
the location or movements of Fox Company. Having been 
given his mission, and having gained the impression that time 
was of the essence if Pork Chop was to be battened down, he 
decided to proceed alone. By this chance, and due to Denton's 
own misunderstanding of the situation, there fell upon one 
platoon the mission which higher headquarters assumed was 
being carried out by an adequate force. 

From the peak of Hill 200, Denton gazed long and earnestly 
at Pork Chop. To his untrained eye, the view seemed not 
alarming. The hill was being shelled but the artillery action 
was not vigorous. He could hear no small-arms fire and there 
was no sign of human activity. So he concluded that his pla- 
toon was being committed to strengthen a defense which al- 
ready was doing well enough. 

Deciding to move via the road which ran from Hill 200 to 
Pork Chop, he started immediately. It was an easy, uninter- 
rupted march. The platoon got to within 50 yards of the 
chow bunker, still in column, without hearing one warning 

Love Alone 169 

Then from Pork Chop's height, two machine guns opened 
fire. Both guns were about 100 yards away. The fire from one 
came straight at the column, the other ranged in obliquely, fir- 
ing from a bunker roof. The flank gun was right on target. Six 
men were cut down, four of them from Sgt. Carlin F. Foot's 
squad, all of them shot in the legs. 

Still thinking Pork Chop was solidly in American hands, 
Denton concluded that his platoon was being waylaid by a 
nervous but friendly garrison. Denton yelled, "God damn it, 
quit shooting!" 

Foot and Sgt Frank Hippler had received the same im- 
pression as Denton. So they joined in the cry, "Cease fire! 
Cease fire!" It had effect: the two machine guns became 
silent. From somewhere near the gun which was directly 
above the column, a voice called out, "Come on up!" Foot 
said to Denton, "Say, Lieutenant, does that sound to you like 
a GI talking?" The question both startled and annoyed Den- 
ton. For another five minutes, he stayed there motionless, 
looking upslope and wondering what to do. The men stayed 
flat in the drainage ditch off the road. 

Finally Denton sang out, "O.K., let's go!" They were up 
again and barely starting. Again the two machine guns opened 
fire. Pvt. Santiago Alieca got a bullet through the shoulder. 
The other men were already flat and seeking cover. Wonder- 
ing now how best to withdraw them, making certain they 
would stay collected, Denton remembered that on the march- 
up the column had passed a tank-cut in the narrow gap be- 
tween Hill 200 and Pork Chop. It was the one easily identifi- 
able object that he had noted along the route. So Denton 
called out to the others, "Let's everybody get back to that 

They complied without further urging. Though it was rapid, 
it was not a disorderly withdrawal. Some men ran down the 

i 7 o Pork Chop Hill 

backslope; others crawled down the ditch to defilade. But no 
equipment was left behind and the wounded were all helped 
from the hill. Yet when six minutes later Denton tried to 
reform his platoon at the tank-cut, he counted only sixteen 
men. It was a nerve-wrenching discovery. Somewhere along 
the road from Hill 200 to Pork Chop, Denton had lost three- 
quarters of his force without anyone saying boo, and he had 
not the slightest notion how or why it had happened. 

There was a personnel carrier idling in the tank-cut. Alieca 
and the other casualties were loaded and started rearward. 
Then the men fell into argument about what should be done 
next Denton was undecided. He felt that he was funking his 
mission, but hunch also told him that the mission was a blun- 
der, though he couldn't say why. In the circumstances, he 
would have liked to talk over the problem with higher au- 
thority. But his one radio had been smashed by the machine 
gun on top of Pork Chop Hill and he had no telephone. So 
for a few minutes Denton listened to the argument. 

Hippler said, "We should either go forward or march back 
quickly. To stay here is no good This cut is a magnet for 
heavy fire. I've seen it come in here." 

CpL Robert E. Chambliss said, "Let's get back to where 
we were up on Pork Chop, form a line and open fire. Those 
are Chink guns. I know them; I can tell by the sound/' 

Foot said, "If those are Chink guns, then weVe got no busi- 
ness there. They wouldn't be on the rear slope unless they 
have the whole hill, and you can't take it away from them 
with a couple of squads/' 

The argument became more shrill, and more of the men 
joined in to call out, "Let's move! Let's get out of here!" Then 
Lieut John Nesbitt got up to Denton and explained to him 
that the "lost" part of the platoon was still anchored on Hill 

Love Alone 171 

200. Thereon he decided to withdraw full length and get his 
force in hand before making another move. 

As the party moved out of the cut, the two machine guns 
from atop Pork Chop cracked down. The bursts were just a 
few yards short. The men broke into a trot and then picked 
up speed. Denton, who is a sprinter, ran forward yelling, 
"Hold it! Hold it!" thinking they were right on the verge of 
panic flight. The front runners were just approaching a culvert 
as he gained the lead and tried to turn them. But it didn't 
quite work. Momentum carried them past him. All that saved 
them from final disorganization was a Chinese artillery con- 
centration. Arriving in salvos of ten shells, spaced not more 
than twenty seconds apart, they exploded into the road, not 
more than 40 yards ahead of the men. Within the next ten 
minutes, approximately 1 50 rounds hit and exploded in their 
immediate foreground. 

They had all stopped and hit the dirt at the first salvo all 
except Denton. Off on the right of the road, about 30 yards 
away, two medium tanks were parked. Denton stood in mid- 
road calling to his men, "Get under the tanks! What do you 
want to run off for? There's only good men in this platoon. 
We got nothing but the best/* They went, and from that 
moment forward they loved the guy and would have eaten 
from his hand. 

Denton hammered on the tanks with his carbine and finally 
got one of them to open up. On the tank radio, he tried to 
raise Battalion, but the radio wouldn't cut through. He then 
asked the tank sergeant to load his twelve men aboard the two 
tanks and make the ran to Hill 200. In that way he managed 
to stay collected while getting the platoon through the artil- 
lery fire. Two of his men were hit by shell fragments during 
the short haul. 

When he got to the check point and told the company 

172 Pork Chop Hill 

commander, Lieut. Forrest James Crittenden, what had hap- 
pened, he was told to stand by for further orders. Crittenden 
then reported to Lieut. Col. John N, Davis that his Third 
Platoon had failed in its counterattack, and Davis issued 
orders for the strengthened effort which was to be made 
jointly by King and Love's other two rifle platoons at dawn. 
That brought to Denton his first awareness that his platoon 
supposedly had been carrying out a counterattack instead of 
executing a more or less routine re-enforcement. No one had 
rung the bell and so he had failed to come out of his corner 
fighting. Crittenden told Denton to stand by with Third Pla- 
toon on Hill 200 and be prepared to advance against Pork 
Chop on order. In the meantime, he would try again with his 
other two rifle platoons. 

After first being routed from their bivouac, the two platoons 
had spent their hours marching to the sounds of fire, though 
getting approximately nowhere. Almost coincidental with the 
ringing of the telephone at 2330, when came the order that 
Love Company was to take position on the finger of Hill 347, 
and be ready to block, two artillery rounds had struck their 
camp and demolished two squad tents. A third round 
wounded a BAR man, Pvt. Ben Williams. They were glad 
enough to quit that ground and go forward. 

For maybe an hour or more, they tarried at the position on 
Hill 347. Then they were moved forward to the perimeter of 
Hill 200, the mission being the "re-enforcement of First Pla- 
toon of Fox Company/' Since no one had explained the 
situation to them, that meant very little. 

It was after Denton's return from misadventure that the 
other two platoons were alerted for their predawn advance to 
Pork Chop. Curiously enough, the one lesson which had 
come of that brief reconnaissance was wholly lost to the rest 
of the company. Denton and the twelve men who had been 

Love Alone 173 

to Pork Chop's rear slope came back convinced beyond doubt 
that the hill was dominated by the Chinese. Denton passed 
that word to his superiors. But when First and Second Pla- 
toons were told the new mission, they were given no clearer 
light on the real situation than Denton had received. 

Said Sgt. Horace Ford, "We were told to assemble for a 
move to Pork Chop. We were not told we were to make an 

Said Sgt. Edward Newton, "My squad was told by Lieu- 
tenant Paris that we would march up and re-enforce Pork 
Chop. That was all; nothing was said about a fight." 

After platoon and squad leaders checked men to make sure 
that they were carrying a basic load of ammunition, the march 
started. By then, the hill had been lost for more than four 
hours, and none but enemy guns was firing from its ramparts. 
Denton's report, the messages coming from Harrold and the 
lack of steady infantry fire atop Pork Chop all pointed to this 
fundamental change in the situation. But if there was due ap- 
preciation of it anywhere in the command level, it was still 
not communicated to the riflemen who were expected to 
redress the balance. They were not steeled for a toe-to-toe 
scrimmage with small arms, though there was sufficient re- 
minder of danger in the area. As the column slipped away 
from Hill 200, thirteen rounds of mortar dropped on and 
around it, and Lieutenant Bechtel got his first wound of the 

Still, that was not enough to prompt the degree of caution 
needed in the approach. Upon deploying, the two platoons 
did not take care to stay tied in so that if hit, they could react 
together and help each other. Once again committed to an 
attack without knowing it, Love got away badly for having 
been imprudent. 

No reconnaissance was attempted. First Platoon started 

i 74 Pork Chop Hill 

walking up one flange of the finger, advanced to within 40 
yards of Pork Chop's top, became confronted by the solidly 
staked and unbroken wire barricade, came under grenade fire 
from beyond the wire, hesitated and weaved for about three 
minutes, then recoiled to the valley. 

Later the men said that the grenade shower was "heavy." 
But Sgt. Horace Ford counted only eleven grenades. Sergeant 
Newton counted thirteen. Three men were lightly wounded. 
M/S Edward L. Posey, sensing that the others wavered, gave 
the order, "Fall back!" He crawled among the flattened men, 
whispering the order to them, just to keep excitement down. 

They re-formed in the valley, then moved rightward to an- 
other part of the finger where someone had found a small hole 
in the concertina. That move widened the gap between First 
and Second Platoons. 

They got to the hole all right, and as the leading files started 
to crawl through it, grenade and submachine-gun fire hit 
among them. The gap was commanded by a stout-walled 
bunker about 35 yards upslope. Several men could be seen 
moving on its roof. The worst of the fire was coming from 
out the bunker. A few Love men started firing their rifles. 
The enemy silhouettes disappeared. Within the first several 
minutes, three more men were wounded by grenades. 

Cpl. Joseph R. Munier was for several reasons an extraor- 
dinary American soldier. A native of Montreal, he had come 
to the United States and enlisted in the Army because a war 
was on and he wished to see it. On Pork Chop Hill he was 
armed with a BAR and was lying next to Private Williams, 
another BAR man, who despite having been wounded by 
shellfire earlier in the night, had continued in the action. 

Sergeant Posey wiggled on his belly to the two men and 
suggested that they try to crawl up to within 15 yards of the 
bunker which was giving the line hell and try to kill it with 

Love Alone 175 

their fire. Munier said, "We'll try but you can't knock down 
a bunker with BARs." 

Finding a small gap in the concertina, they continued up- 
slope. At less than 12 yards* range, Munier sprayed bullets 
through the embrasure, not stopping until he had spent all 
five clips. Then a potato masher came sailing out of the open- 
ing, exploded five yards behind him and wounded him in the 
thighs and buttocks. Munier dropped flat and Williams took 
his place, firing into the bunker until his BAR, too, ran dry. 
Another grenade exploded and one fragment hit Williams in 
the neck. 

By that time, Posey had seen enough. He crawled forward 
to the two men and said, "I think you better fall back, and I 
think it would be better if we all withdrew as far as the base 
of the hill." A great light had dawned on Posey: he was at 
last convinced that the Chinese were in charge of Pork Chop. 

And astounding though it seems, it was not until this inci- 
dent occurred that the same light dawned on the others in 
Love Company. Ford, Newton, Paris, Lavoie and the men 
with them, having started with the wrong idea, had clung to 
it tenaciously. Not until the bunker resisted Munier and 
Williams at close range did they at last realize that they were 
fully engaged by an active enemy. Yet a third BAR man, 
Private Patterson, had been hit by a bullet, and three of the 
company's ROKs had been wounded by grenades, before 
Munier made his sortie. 

Posey and the two BAR men slipped about 30 yards to the 
leftward, mainly to remove themselves from the bunker's 
direct line of fire. In so doing, Williams found a large gap in 
the concertina, and while he and Munier held there, Posey 
crawled downslope to rally some of the others and lead them 
to the opening. 

In a few minutes, he was back with the greater part of three 

176 Pork Chop Hill 

squads. Several Chinese grenadiers had maneuvered down- 
slope through the rocks and were waiting just above the gap. 
Having emptied their BARs, Williams and Munier couldn't 
supply a covering fire. A dozen grenades fell among them as 
the men surged through the gap. Sgt Edward Newton was 
wounded in back and neck. Pvts. Lindbergh House and John 
Swaguer were hit in the face and shoulders. Four or five men 
behind them were struck down and left the fight, but these 
three tried to keep going. 

With Cpl. William Locklear, Ford's assistant, leading, the 
rush continued. Locklear ran for the main bunker which 
Munier and Williams had attacked and heaved three gre- 
nades through the door. The other skirmishers fanned out 
to grenade the bunkers on either side of it. Six more Ameri- 
cans were hit by grenade frags during this swift and successful 
mop-up, including Locklear, who drew a badly shattered left 

On his way out, Locklear passed Crittenden, who said to 
him, "Get back to 200 and tell Fox Company that I've either 
got to have re-enforcements or ammunition; IVe got nothing 
with which to fight/' It was hardly an overstatement. The 
BARs and machine guns were all dry; half of the carbines were 
empty; all grenades had been spent in getting to the first three 
bunkers. In the clutch, what saved Love Company for a little 
while was the discovery of two cases of grenades in one of the 

Newton was still moving with the others but was bleeding 
badly. Posey looked Swaguer over and said to Newton, "If 
you don't get him to first aid quick, he'll never make it." So 
Newton started for Hill 200, staggering downslope under 
Swaguer's weight Private Williams, already twice wounded, 
stayed in the attack. 

The wire, bunkers and trench which Love's First Platoon 

Love Alone 177 

had overcome was a Pork Chop outwork, three-quarters way 
up the finger, but still several hundred feet downslope from 
the entrenched crest, though connected with it by commo 
trenches. Checking his squad and finding that he had only 
two sound men left, both of whom were out of ammunition, 
Ford continued upward with Posey and Cpl. Nathan Feather- 

From out of a smashed bunker just forward of them, two 
Chinese suddenly jumped into the trench and heaved potato 
mashers at them, then darted back into the bunker. The blast 
drove fragments into Posey's left leg while wounding Ford 
and Featherstone in the face. Ford was not even stopped, so 
light were his wounds. He rushed the bunker, only to find 
that the two Chinese had vanished into a tunnel leading from 
its floor. Within the bunker he found a light machine gun 
and several boxes of ammunition. After advancing the gun 
about 50 yards upslope, he put Pvt Columbus Jackson on it 

Firing at the crest of Pork Chop, and toward the midsec- 
tion of its works, Jackson kept the gun going until his am- 
munition was spent. His and Ford's account of how the gun 
was placed and aimed indicates that the fire was bearing 
against the face of the King Company attack at just about 
the time demons' men felt they were making headway 
against the Chinese. If it was a mistake by Love, it was still 
pardonable. Besides not knowing that the Chinese held the 
hill, the men had not been informed that King Company 
would be attacking the rear slope at the same time and there 
would be a risk of crossed fires. 

Jackson's fire noticeably quieted the racket atop the hill 
Misreading that sign, Ford thought it meant that the enemy 
was being scared off and Love was gaining control He yelled 
to Jackson, "Boy, we're getting there/' 

But just as happened with King atop the hill, the moment 

178 Pork Chop Hill 

of highest hope was dashed by the sudden dropping of the 
supporting artillery. One salvo exploded around the gun, 
putting a shard through Ford's arm and another through 
Jackson's helmet; it broke through the liner without even 
graving his scalp. 

Another salvo landed in the commo trench among fourteen 
members of Love, getting all of them, including Private Wil- 
liams; it was his third hit in one night's action. Posey was 
wounded again. Lieutenant Bechtel was hit for the second 

Bechtel crawled up to Williams and said, "We got to stop 
that fire. Go to the rear of the hill. See if King Company has 
arrived there yet Tell them we don't have ten able-bodied 
men left Tell them to come on and help us. And tell them 
to raise the artillery." The message is eloquent of the degree 
of misunderstanding in both flanks of this "co-ordinated" 
attack, and the failure in either to get any feeling of support 
from the other. 

Williams started on his mission. Partway around the hill, 
he ran into three parked medium tanks. He asked the sergeant 
to message that the artillery should lift fire. While he was 
talking, two more rounds hit among the tanks, but Williams 
ducked under the steel hull in time. He continued his walk, 
and on getting to the road which winds down Pork Chop's 
rear slope, saw some of King's wounded come out of the 
works and start toward Hill 200. This was Williams' first 
knowledge that the other company was fighting and he re- 
turned to the finger, intending to tell Bechtel. 

In Love's sector, meanwhile, there had been no slackening 
of the artillery storm. Whether the initial barrage had come 
from American guns (as the men thought) and this mistaken 
fire had merged quickly into an enemy cannonading of awe- 
some power and purpose, there was no real way of knowing. 

Love Alone 179 

The men who survived the deluge were conscious only that 
there had been no break in it. For the better part of one hour 
it descended on them, breaking eighteen rounds per minute 
into the small acre where First Platoon's remnant was still 
clinging to life. The men could do no more: to advance, or 
even to think of taking any fighting action had become im- 

Right after the first salvo broke, Corporal Munier, the 
Canadian, found himself in a ruined bunker with Lieutenants 
Paris and Summers, the medic, SFC James Cooper, and four 
other wounded men whom he did not know. Paris had been 
hit at the wire by grenades, and an artillery slug had gone 
through his shoulder. Munier was working on Paris and trying 
to stanch the blood flow with his first-aid pack and handker- 

More shells exploded in the trench outside. A voice 
screamed, "Help me! Help me! I can't move/' Munier started 
to go. Sergeant Cooper waved him off, and disappeared 
through the door. Munier continued the bandaging. More 
rounds came in, and then a cry from Cooper, "Please come 
help me!" Again, Munier started to go. Summers stopped 
him, saying, "No, your job is to stay here and help Paris/' As 
Summers stepped from the door, a shell exploded behind 
him and one fragment cut through the base of his spine. 
Munier went out and pulled all three men into the bunker. 
Cooper was not too badly hurt; he quickly joined Munier in 
applying first aid to the others. Summers died in about thirty 
minutes; later, another shell broke through the bunker and 
decapitated him. 

By these stages was completed the wrecking of First Pla- 
toon. Of its forty-five men, only five were in the group of 
twelve which later that morning, under the leading of Lieu- 
tenant Marshall, gained the top of Pork Chop and joined the 

i8o Pork Chop Hill 

mop-up effort by King Company. One of them was Munier. 
He was still fighting at 1030 on the following day when a 
strange lieutenant approached him and said, "You don't be- 
long here. Love Company has left the Ml." 

The events leading up to the disintegration of Second Pla- 
toon are less well-known because still fewer of its able-bodied 
men stayed with the fight until Pork Chop's main trench 
was gained and managed to survive the ordeal of the after- 

Second Platoon jumped off on the left side of the finger, 
supposedly abreast of First Platoon's line, which harassed by 
its own problems, could not stretch far enough to join hands 
with Second's flank. The ascent was much steeper and rockier 
along Second's path, and therefore it did not keep pace. Half- 
way up the hill, it came onto a broad saddle, and paused there 
to get the squads reorganized. No fire had yet come against 
it during the climb. 

That was when the platoon ground was swept by the can- 
nonading which had culminated First Platoon's misfortunes. 
Approximately sixty shells exploded among and around the 
squads during the next fifty minutes. The men jumped for 
rock cover, when they could, and, for the most part, stayed 
there, taking it The effect was to demoralize and disunify 
them almost wholly before they had moved to close grips 
with the Chinese. Not many were hit by the fire; the agreed- 
upon number is at most six or seven. But other men, hearing 
no orders and shocked by the experience, drifted away from 
the slope, seeking the rear. When at last the cannonading 
slackened, the platoon stood at less than half-strength. 

By then, SFC Gilbert Dobak, the platoon sergeant, was in 
command. He said to Sgt Joseph Lavoie, "We got to move 
out of here." They started upward, and some of the others 
arose and followed. When they got to the wire barricade, and 

182 Pork Chop Hill 

started through a gap which had been cut by the artillery fire, 
grenade and burp-gun fire from behind the barricade met 
them. The men went flat, and a few of them, including Dobak 
and Lavoie, replied with grenades and carbines. Seven more 
men were hit by the enemy fire before resistance tapered off. 
A few others weakened and bugged out. 

When the climb was resumed, only eleven men followed 
Dobak through the barrier. He was hit by submachine-gun 
fire before he got to the commo trench. SgL George Linker 
took charge. He was still present when what was left of the 
two platoons entered King Company's lines. From beginning 
to end, the attack had lacked any semblance of military or- 
ganization. That in the end the efforts of a few willing, un- 
helped men partially redeemed it was due only to individual 
dauntlessness. They stayed on Pork Chop until midafternoon, 
but their force had been spent in the uphill fight, and they 
did little to help demons. 

Lieutenant Denton was still on Hill 200, with his own sur- 
vivors, the stragglers from the other two rifle platoons and the 
duty-fit men of weapons platoon. At about the time the Love 
squad on Pork Chop was preparing to withdraw, Colonel 
Davis called on Denton to tell him that he was now com- 
manding Love Company and was expected to take it forward 
and defend Pork Chop as promptly as he could get the com- 
pany armed. * 

The "company" was resting on the reverse slope of 200. 
Denton walked down and counted noses. Of the 187 men 
which Love had mustered the prior midnight, there were now 
left 56. Denton formed them as a three-platoon company, 
making riflemen of his weapons people, and then stood by 
while ammunition this time with double the load of the 
night before was issued. 

Two hours later they were on the road, and by 1630, the 

Love Alone 183 

company had moved up to and reassembled at the chow 
bunker without losing a man. But the approach had a touch 
of genius. To beat the artillery and mortar fire, Denton had 
advanced his unit from Hill 200 one man at a time, with a 
two-minute interval separating files at the point of departure. 
That cost him an hour but he figured it was worth it. He ex- 
plained his purpose to the men and he felt gratified that they 
moved right along despite their extraordinary extension. 

Denton pushed on to the CP and found demons immedi- 
ately. Small-arms fire crackled up and down the trench but 
for the moment demons' fire was keeping the snipers back 
from his own vicinity. 

demons said to Denton, "I've got only sixteen men on this 
hill. I can't tell you how they're deployed at this moment. I 
haven't had time to look/' The figure was approximately right, 
though demons was guessing at it. 

It was agreed that Denton had best try to set up his men in 
a limited perimeter facing the forward slope of the hill with 
two of his platoons in line forming the front and the third 
platoon filling in the shrunken circle by covering the rear. 
This arrangement would still leave three-fourths of Pork 
Chop's crown, including the CP area, outside the defensive 
circle, but in the circumstances there was no more promising 

Before Denton's deployment was more than half-complete, 
his chosen sector was hit by an artillery concentration and he 
lost six men to the fire. The others took it without jar; they 
were now acting heads up and Denton felt confident that they 
would stay steady against whatever came. He kept his war cry 
of the prior evening, changing only one word, "Nobody but 
good men in this company! Nothing but the best!" They 
heard him say it over and over and they believed him. 

Nor did it upset Denton when he discovered that in his 

184 Pork Chop Hill 

rush, he had forgotten his communications. He sent a run- 
ner back for some AWPR-6s, and before any further damage 
was done the company, the man had gone through fire and 
returned with two of them. The incident was typical of Love's 
closing round, after its several bad starts. For another six 
hours, it would continue to travel the road of blood and fire. 
Before sunup, more of its men would die, and others would 
be wounded. But at long last, the feeling of success was com- 
ing, attended by that special magnetism which flows from 
an inspired spirit. There was a breeziness about young Den- 
ton, a gentleness and a manliness which bound others to him. 
The kid was proud to be commanding his fellow Americans 
and he was not afraid to let them know it. 

After the harsh greeting by the Chinese artillery when they 
settled in, Denton's men knew several hours of relative quiet 
They kept low because of the thickening sniper fire over their 
area, but except for an occasional mortar shell, there was no 
heavy pounding of the hill. The King men under Kuzmick 
and the detachment at the CP also shared this partial respite. 
With the darkest hours approaching, it seemed the Chinese 
were withholding themselves before a last great effort. Yet 
there was no great safety in this quiet Any movement on the 
hill was swiftly punished. The badly wounded could not be 
evacuated. Lieutenant O'Hashi, leaving his position on the 
crest to talk to demons, was directly hit by a potato masher 
as he entered the CP door. The blow shattered his right 

During these same hours, decision was being reached at the 
higher levels. General Trudeau at Division talked to Maj. 
Gen. Bruce Cooper Clarke at I Corps, asking and getting as- 
surance that if he spent more men to regain Pork Chop, it 
would not later be yielded. Once that point was cleared up, 
the Second Battalion of the iyth Regiment was attached to 

Love Alone 185 

the 3ist Regiment. Since George Company of the lyth had 
already been chewed up during the afternoon fight, that gave 
Colonel Kern two rifle companies with which to win his fight 
The lyth's First Battalion was also moved to the Pork Chop 
area but not put under Kern. 

Kern immediately called Captain King of Fox Company 
(the time was 1800) and told him to move on Pork Chop 
and relieve demons' force as promptly as he could make 
ready. He decided to withhold Easy Company, awaiting proof 
of need, just as Division had decided that it would keep a 
string on lyth's First Battalion up to the moment when the 
course of the fight proved that Kern could not win without 
using it. Now that everything else along the Division front 
had cooled, all higher headquarters could concentrate on the 
one neat problem of getting the maximum result at Pork 
Chop while risking the minimum loss. The results show how 
narrow is the dividing line between practical economy and 
the wastage which comes of sending too few men. 

Captain King lost some hours in getting Fox Company on 
the road. He moved after he was at last satisfied that the men 
were as well equipped and ready as the circumstances per- 
mitted. Still, in the end the delay probably cost Fox Company 
an excessive price. 

Fox's men started arriving on the hill at 2130. One platoon 
was deployed into the Pork Chop trenches. Several of the 
officers pushed forward to talk to Denton and demons. Cap- 
tain King, moving with the main body of the company, was 
still some distance down the rear slope. His radio had been 
jammed by the enemy as he began the approach, and he 
could get no idea of how his lead platoon was faring, nor could 
he talk to the commanders he was supposed to contact, 

At the same time, there was a sharp build-up of fire against 
the Love Company front and Denton could see a body of 

186 Pork Chop Hill 

Chinese crossing the valley from Hasakkol. On radio, he 
called on the artillery to fire "Flash Pork Chop" which would 
interdict the forward slope with killing fire. The barrage 
dropped quickly and it scattered the Chinese attack. 

Whether it was cause and effect, the Chinese loosed the 
heaviest concentration of artillery and mortar fire against Pork 
Chop that had yet hit the hill. (Denton believed that an en- 
emy radio man hiding in one of the bunkers had called for the 
TOT.) It dropped mainly on the trenches where Fox's lead 
squads were deploying and on the rear slope where the two 
platoons were still toiling upward. Before having any chance 
to engage, Fox Company lost nineteen men; and as the steel 
continued to rain down 7 the entrenched men huddled and 
the columns broke and scattered. Such was the state of disor- 
ganization, that it took Fox another three hours to get the 
greater part of its force set on the hill, and the platoons never 
did get satisfactorily tied in to one another. 

So once again in the Pork Chop duel, the massing of ar- 
tillery erased the attempt to gain advantage through infantry 
numbers. The body blows against Fox sapped its energy, leav- 
ing it in no better state than the weary forces it had come to 

For these reasons, as well as because of the confusion at 
the start, the relief was long protracted, clumsy and hazard- 
filled. Captain King asked Denton to assist him with platoon 
guides, though Denton didn't know the hill and Fox wasn't 
fitting into Love's positions. The Fox men forward were al- 
ready so tightly bunched that they had to be pried apart 
physically to execute the deployment. As Denton said of it, 
"At every point the relief was sticky and it was almost im- 
possible to keep the men from bunching or persuade them 
that they were safer if they spread out; the conditions of the 
fight made the argument seem unreasonable." Some of the 

Love Alone 187 

Fox men were still in shock from the hard opening blow dealt 
by the enemy artillery and their hysterical shouting and 
screaming muffled the effort to give them direction. 

There was also the acute problem of attending the casual- 
ties, giving them first aid and arranging a base for their ulti- 
mate evacuation from Pork Chop. There being no letup in 
the barrage fire, the problem kept growing. At one stage, Den- 
ton came upon five wounded Fox men piled up in the trench. 
One man had lost a leg. Denton carried the five to the CP, 
then returned to his rounds. By then it was wearing on to- 
ward midnight Both he and demons were growing increas- 
ingly concerned about getting their own fractions off the 
hill and passing full responsibility to Captain King. 

The question of what to do about lights arose at this point 
in the relief. Under demons and Denton, the defense had 
been making steady use of illuminating shell over the top of 
Pork Chop and the forward slopes which served the Chinese 
approach. They reasoned that since their own men were hold- 
ing tight to the foxholes and their main danger came of 
prowlers who were already on the hill, the lighting of the hill 
was all in their favor. But when came time for the withdrawal, 
demons wanted to turn the lights off so that his men, in 
moving, would not be silhouetted. Captain King felt it not 
less important that the lights should be kept on to steady his 
own garrison. In the end, they compromised, continuing the 
illuminating of the forward 'slope while keeping the rest of 
the hill dark. 

As soon as that confusion had been cleared away and Den- 
ton had examined the wounded and done what he could for 
them, he started sending his own men off the hill, bound for 
Hill 200, once again having them monitored out at two-min- 
ute intervals singly to cheat the enemy artillery. 

Then he returned to Clemens* CP, running a gauntlet of 

i88 Pork Chop Hill 

fire his last 20 yards to get there. Enemy grenadiers had 
crowded in and were throwing at the door. He and demons 
stood just inside, ready to field and return anything hot that 
came through. On the bunker roof just above their heads, they 
could hear two Chinese moving a light machine gun into 
position. The gun opened fire. Corporal Chambliss of Love 
Company, who had decided to stay with Denton, had been 
waiting for that moment. Disregarding the grenadiers, he 
jumped into the trench and sprayed upward with his BAR, 
shooting both gunners off the roof. 

These things happened right around midnight. Besides 
Chambliss, Newton, Ford, Lavoie, Munier and a hard-boiled, 
ig-year-old runt from Brooklyn, Pfc. John L. Baron, had 
stayed with their commander. Baron was a case; the boy 
talked a blue streak of profane obscenity and thus far in the 
fight had done little else. Also in the bunker with Denton 
were demons, Captain King of Fox Company, demons* 
two enlisted helpers, Sgt. Richard Falk and five (unidentified) 
wounded men. Though the casualties had been stowed in the 
bunks, it was rather crowded. 

Ready to leave, demons, Denton and their men had been 
awaiting a respite in the close siege of the CP. Hence when 
Chambliss killed the machine gun on the roof, as many of the 
others as were weaponed jumped through the door into the 
open and sprayed fire over the embankments and along the 
trench. That lasted for five minutes and temporarily cooled 
the area. 

demons and his men started rearward. Denton and his 
few retainers were about to follow when Captain King said to 
him, "I don't know this position at all. Could you stay awhile 
and help me?" So Denton stuck it and his small "palace 
guard" stayed with him. 

Clemons had been gone one and one-half hours when the 

Love Alone 189 

fight flared. There were sounds of movement from the roof 
as of men tearing at the sandbags. Through the top of the 
CP door sailed three grenades, as if a leaning man had made 
the toss from above. Two blew off harmlessly. The third gre- 
nade exploded metal into one of the American wounded. 

Then a Chinese came through the door triggering a sub- 
machine gun. Denton was shot through the leg and hand. 
Other bullets hit Captain King and one of his men, Sergeant 
Robertson. Shooting from the floor. Baron cut down the 
gunner with one burst from his carbine, yelling, "Take that, 
you son-of-a-bitch!" 

Again the Chinese on the roof grenaded through the door- 
way, and in the same instant, a second burp gunner aimed his 
weapon through the embrasure. The grenade exploded under 
the bunk of a wounded man who had already lost a leg. Cham- 
bliss, Newton and Ford blasted toward the embrasure and 
killed the Communist gunner before he could fire. Once more, 
Baron jumped into the open trench and, spinning, fired at the 
roof. The grenadier fell and his feet still dangled above the 
CP door in the morning. 

He would have been dead in three more seconds anyway. 
As Baron rebounded into the bunker, three i22-mm artillery 
rounds landed in salvo, two crushing in one corner of the 
roof, the other exploding into the bunker's sandbag base and 
caving one side of it. One round cut a yard-wide hole in the 
ceiling and showered fragments over the bunks holding the 
American wounded. 

Hit again, they screamed and sobbed hysterically* 

Denton cried, "Shut up! I don't want any cry babies in 
here. Nobody but good men in my company!" 

That silenced them immediately. 

Baron shouted, "Jesus Christ, this is worse than Custer's 
last stand." 

190 Pork Chop Hill 

Asked Denton, "Were you there, too?" 

"No/' yelled the kid, "but I've read about it." 

Denton's radio was still working. He had already been in 
touch with two Quad-5os which had parked halfway down the 
finger waiting for the moment when they might assist the 
infantry fight. It flashed over his mind that if the eight .50 
machine guns could put a grazing fire over the bunker roof, 
the Chinese could be kept from grenading through the hole 
blown by the artillery. 

Denton called the Quads, "Can you give it to me now- 
all the fire that you've got- put it right over the CP roof?" 

Came the answer, "Which roof, Lieutenant? From where 
we sit all of the bunkers look alike." And it was too true, as 
Denton reflected. 

He dropped the instrument, grabbed a grenade and wired a 
flare to it, then looked for a willing hand. Again it was Baron 
who volunteered to go into the trench and pitch the impro- 
vised light on the roof to mark the target for the Quads. He 
went, grenade in one hand, carbine in the other. As he made 
the upward toss, a Chinese burp gunner, ten yards away, 
opened fire. The burst cut three buttons from Baron's jacket 

without breaking the skin. Yelling, "You son-of-a- 

bitch!" he whirled with his carbine and emptied a magazine 
into the man. 

With the light came the deluge. The Chinese correctly read 
it as a signal for help in some form. Earlier, their attack upon 
the bunker was a random effort, the unorganized forays of a 
few determined individuals. Now, as if on order, they pressed 
on it in large numbers, coming from all sides, grenadiers 
throwing and machine gunners firing as they ran screaming 
toward the central target 

The men inside the bunker knew now that they were 
beaten* The noise was overpowering. No one moved toward 

Love Alone 191 

the trench. Denton did not try to form them for the last 

Baron had walked over to the man with the missing leg. 
He had seemed to be lapsing into deep sleep. "I watched 
him/' said Baron, "hoping he would make it; it kept my mind 
off things." Suddenly the man stirred and propped on his 
elbow, crying, "Save the ammo! For Christ' s sakes save the 
ammo! Don't waste another bullet!" 

Sergeant Falk spoke, "Nothing can help us now but prayer. 
That's what I've always heard about spots like this." 

Denton said, "Well, Falk, if you can pray, go ahead." 

Falk started, "Our Father who is in heaven forgivefor- 
give us our debtors Oh hell, Lieutenant, I don't know it, I 
just don't know it" 

During the moments of this fervent supplication, reverent 
in spirit if not in language, they were all silent. (Later, they 
quoted Falk's prayer verbatim as if it were etched in the 
memory.) Then as Falk said the last words, outside the bunker 
there was silence also, broken only by the crackling of rifle 
fire at some distance. Gone was the oppressive rattle of the 
burp guns and the fury of the oncoming grenadiers. The storm 
ended as suddenly as it had arisen. 

Easy Company of the ijth Regiment had arrived on Pork 
Chop. Under the impact of Easy Company's advance, the 
Chinese resistance for the moment was diverted and almost 
stunned to silence. Some of the enemy, who still saw a road 
of escape down the northern fingers, fled toward the valley. 
Others, becoming trapped between the advancing skirmish 
line and the debris, died fighting. The greater number simply 
crawled back into the woodwork, letting Easy Company have 
the field temporarily, while saving their shot and storing their 
strength until the moment when more comrades would reach 
the hilL This was the typical, well-seasoned reaction. In two 

192 Pork Chop Hill 

years of trench warfare, the Red Chinese soldier had become 
like Brother Fox. Any part of earth was his covert and he had 
learned to bide his time. 

Colonel Kern had heard about the difficulties of the relief 
and Fox Company's early ordeal. About one hour before mid- 
night, reckoning that Pork Chop was again slipping from his 
fingers, he called General Trudeau and said that he was com- 
mitting Easy Company immediately. Trudeau agreed with 
the decision, saying, "If weVe got to counterattack again, lay 
it on before first light." To double the insurance, Trudeau at 
the same time released the lyth's First Battalion to Kern. 
Within five minutes of its authorization, the attack was un- 

Given a task to do, Easy Company solved it with a new 
maneuver. The direction of its movement, rather than the 
power of its small arms, made the decisive difference. Instead 
of attacking obliquely from Hill 200 via the supply road and 
up the rear slope of Pork Chop, as the other companies had 
done, Easy risked a plan which carried it out and around the 
hot corner. From the cut between the two hills, Easy marched 
forward into enemy country and, from a line several hundred 
yards beyond the American front, attacked directly up the 
face of Pork Chop, its back turned on enemy-held Pokkae as 
it jumped off. Had the Red Chinese been trying to re-enforce 
Pork Chop at that moment, or had they suddenly shifted 
their artillery concentrations from the rear to the east slope 
of Pork Chop, Easy might have been killed before it could 
start. But the boldness which prompted the stroke earned 
its due reward. The local surprise was complete. No fire in- 
terrupted the charge. An approach designed to cheat the artil- 
lery also had the effect of boxing in the enemy infantry. 

The plan was the inspiration of Easy's young commander, 
Lieut Gorman Smith. When his battalion first moved up, 

Love Alone 


When Easy Company counterattacked Pork Chop from in front, the 
hill mass was enemy-held except for the two encircled areas. 

Smith noticed that the back slope of Pork Chop and the val- 
ley between it and Hill 347 were directly under the eye of 
the Red OPs on Old Baldy. He said to his commander, Lieu- 
tenant Colonel Tully, "If I have to re-enforce that ridge, I 
want permission to move through the front door/' Smith was 
so certain that this was the right way to do it that he schooled 
his company on the approach 24 hours before he drew the 

When the order carne, no additional instructions had to be 
given. Every man knew the reason for the unorthodox march; 
all had been briefed on the route. They started immediately. 

While Easy Company worked its way along the front of 
Hill 200, Smith's forward observer, Lieutenant Clark, laid a 
covering barrage in the valley east of Pork Chop about 200 
yards beyond the assault column. The extra novelty in this 
protective move was that it risked calling attention to what 
was being done. The barrage was maintained as Easy's line 
charged up Pork Chop's east-running finger. Smith's main 

194 Pork Chop Hill 

safeguard against head-on collision with a mobile enemy force, 
Clark's fires helped Easy reach Pork Chop's crest without 
losing a man or ducking a hostile round. 

But Gorman Smith felt no illusions about his success. He 
said, "Our route and our plan were proved good only because 
they worked; had we not made it, had we become trapped, I 
feel sure I would have been called a three-cornered fool for 
going that far forward of my own main line to attack Pork 

Be that as it may, of Smith's bold thinking came the ex- 
traordinary speed of Easy's assault to the crest. For the em- 
battled group within the Pork Chop CP, the minutes thus 
saved by one man's intuition and hard work were as decisive 
as a last-minute reprieve to the condemned. 

To Denton and his assistants, the fact of deliverance was 
at first unbelievable. Once again the irrepressible Private 
Baron jumped into the trench to see what was happening. 
His first impressions are given in his own words, "There's a 
ROK soldier going by me, firing a BAR, going to town. Jeez, 
can that guy use a weapon! Leave him alone and he'll go 
clean to China. Hey, and there's a hot shot of a little kid, just 
a small punk, hasn't even got a man's voice yet, screams like 
a girl, but he's all over the place, doesn't seem to know how 
to turn that carbine off. Jeez, what a guy, the little bastard's 
a one-man army." 

Easy's assault was the pivotal event in the battle. While it 
determined the outcome, it did not immediately end the 
fighting. Thereafter the Communists challenged again and 
again but the advantage stayed with the Americans. Their grip 
was not again loosened until three months later when they 
gave Pork Chop away feeling that it was no longer worth the 
price of a squad or a man. 

By 0250 Easy Company was deployed fully over the wrecked 

Love Alone 195 

battlements and Colonel Kern was hearing the report that 
"Pork Chop is under full control/' Smith knew, when he 
said these words, that they were more comforting than ac- 
curate. It was an unprecedented situation and he was at a loss 
to describe it. The position was "secure" in the sense that for 
the time being there was no fighting and at all points Smith's 
men were temporarily in control of the surface. But under 
the surface nothing was yet secure. Scores of armed and able 
Red Chinese still infested the ruins and would come fighting 
from the refuse heaps and smashed bunkers after a breathing 
spell. Despite the deceptive quiet, custody was still divided. 

At 0320, another Chinese counterattack came via the north- 
ern finger and promptly the Red snipers on Pork Chop 
emerged from their holes and resumed fighting. So began the 
blood bath of Easy Company. At 0429 still another company 
of Chinese climbed Brinson Finger on Pork Chop's left flank, 
gained the height and dug in. 

On getting that message, Colonel Kern read it as a five- 
alarm warning. Calling General Trudeau, he said he thought 
it time to commit the additional battalion of the iyth Regi- 
ment. Trudeau replied, "No, we're chewing up one battalion 
a day. We can't keep it up. Send just one company. Then 
withdraw the extra company the moment we get the position 
under control/' 

So as the second dawn came, Able Company of the iyth 
went to the fight. As Trudeau had hoped, its weight was suffi- 
cient unto the end. The struggle lasted all day, its fury un- 
abated. Fox and Easy were punished hardly less than the 
early garrisons. Abie's strength was still needed to stiffen their 
depleted ranks when that night, after sunset, the enemy gave 
over, Pork Chop became tranquil, the smoke blew away and 
men could see the stars once more. 

Denton and his crew of diehards had stayed the fight until 

196 Pork Chop Hill 

midafternoon. Some of them had dozed for a few minutes 
after Easy gained the hill A bit refreshed when morning 
came, they discovered that the Chinese had systematically 
booby-trapped the CP area during the night. So as a gesture 
of hospitality to the new tenants, they got the house clean 
again before they left. 

When Pork Chop cooled, the battle ended. For the troops 
who stood guard along the ridges to rear of Pork Chop, 
Arsenal and Dale, it had been a mildly unpleasant 48 hours, 
made so by the persistence of the Chinese artillery. But save 
for that small pinch of danger in the air, and the molten 
downpour which cost a few men their lives and many more 
their sleep, they were hardly more than nonengaged onlookers. 
The battle of Pork Chop was an artillery duel. The American 
guns won it The relatively few riflemen who struggled to hold 
the outposts, doing it with their flesh when their weapons 
would no longer work, only validated the guns' claim on 

A minor affair as to infantry numbers, it was impressive in 
weight of metal Nine artillery battalions were kept operat- 
ing under the hand of Brig. Gen. Andrew P. O'Meara, due 
to the presence in yth Division's neighborhood of 2nd Divi- 
sion's organic artillery. 

During the first 24 hours the guns fired 37,655 rounds in 
defense of Arsenal, Dale and Pork Chop. The proportions 
were 9,823 rounds fired by the heavies and 27,832 by the light 
howitzers. On the second day after Arsenal and Dale had been 
.saved and only Pork Chop was in jeopardy, the supporting 
fire built up to 77,349 rounds total. 

Never at Verdun were guns worked at any such rate as this. 
The battle of Kwajalein, our most intense shoot during 
World War II, was still a lesser thing when measured in terms 

Love Alone 197 

of artillery expenditure per hour, weight of metal against yards 
of earth and the grand output of the guns. For this at least 
the operation deserves a place in history. It set the all-time 
mark for artillery effort. 

Pork Chop when the fight was over was as clean picked 
as Old Baldy. And its cratered slopes will not soon bloom 
again, for they are too well planted with rusty shards and 
empty tins and bones. 

Book 2 The Patrols 

Into the Alligator's Jaws 



one men strung out over approximately 65 yards of trail space. 
This was their normal way of going when operating condi- 
tions, by their standards, seemed reasonably good. 

When fog, rain or dark cut the horizon to nothing, with 
consequent risk that the column might split through some 
follower taking the wrong path at a trail fork, it was their 
custom to lock hands from front to rear. Then, in the manner 
of a daisy chain, they would advance into enemy country. 
This practice, which western troops would be disposed to 
scorn as being beneath dignity, they accepted gladly as an 
extra safeguard against danger. When close to the enemy, 
they linked themselves with wire to signal what came. 

Americans thought the night of 28 April formidably dark. 
There was no thickening of the atmosphere at ground level, 
but a heavy cloud wrack had blacked out the stars. Still, as 
the Ethiopian column began dogtrotting downtrail, 2nd Lieut 
Wongele Costa could see as far as the back of the fourth man. 
That seemed adequate for the mission and he saw no reason 
to contract the column or restrict its movement. 

The ridges which bound the Yokkokchon Valley are ex- 
ceptionally rugged and deeply eroded. From Second Com- 
pany's home on the big ridge to the patrol's rendezvous at the 
extreme end of the forked, low-lying ridge called the Allig^- 


202 Pork Chop Hill 

tor's Jaws the distance was 2,000 yards air line. But the trail 
cut obliquely across country, dipping into three draws and 
rising steeply over as many sprangling ridge fingers. The 
actual walk to the object approximately doubled the air dis- 

It is a matter of record that at 2028 hours, Wongele Costa 
reported by radio that he had arrived at the appointed ground 
on the tip of the Alligator's Jaws and his men had already set 
up their weapons and were ready to fight. He also said, "These 
are the first words said by anyone since the start." The ad- 
vance had been without incident and is noteworthy only be- 
cause of its express-like speed. We had witnessed the patrol 
depart the company lines at exactly 2000. In less than a half- 
hour, in dark and over formidably rough country, they had 
progressed as far as average infantry can go in sixty minutes. 

They had come to a position which, so far as terrain features 
were concerned, was almost identical with the ground which 
brought disaster to a patrol from Charley Company, iyth 
Regiment, several days later. 

Where they had decided to rig their intended deadfall, the 
upper end of the Alligator's Jaws tapered down to the valley 
floor. An irrigation ditch looped around this extreme finger- 
like projection of the ridge. Atop the finger, approximately 
125 yards from the ditch, and rising not more than 30 feet 
above the valley floor, was a last knob, shaped like a camel's 
hump, with space enough to seat at least half the patrol. 

Here were the same simple terrain features which the 
Charley patrol tried to exploit toward rigging a secure am- 
bush. The knob obviously should be manned since it domi- 
nated the trails around the base of the hill along which the 
Chinese patrols were likely to move after midnight. But a 
ditch is a dilemma in night operations. Used defensively for 
cover, it is quite satisfactory, provided one finds the right spot 

Into the Alligators Jaws 203 

and the enemy does not Otherwise, the consequence may be 
a dreadful enfilade. There is no final answer to any of the 
most acute problems in minor tactics. Time and luck are the 
chief handmaidens of sound decision. Take the situation of an 
infantry company defending a strategically important bridge. 
No rule in the book helps the commander to determine the 
moment when it is better to destroy the bridge than seek to 
save it. As for a ditch in night fighting, it may be either a life- 
saver or a deathtrap. 

In deciding to base on the ditch at the Alligator's Jaws and 
use its walls to the fullest, Lieut. Wongele Costa took on the 
same setting that flummoxed the Charley patrol, then or- 
ganized his ground according to an exactly opposite pattern. 

His assault group was put on the high ground. Ten men 
were put on the knob, nine armed with Mis, one with a car- 
bine. All carried four grenades apiece. Other than arms, they 
carried one radio, a sound power phone, one red flare to sig- 
nal for the arranged fires, one green flare to request help from 
the main line and one amber star cluster to message that they 
were returning. 

Each flare was handled by a different man: he would not 
fire it except on order from the patrol leader. It was an extra 
precaution taken by the Ethiopians while on patrol but not 
observed by our own. troops. They considered themselves too 
weak in radio technicians and therefore put greater reliance 
on old-fashioned signals. 

Cpl. Raffi Degene was left in charge of the assault group. 
They sought rock cover and did not dig in. 

Wongele Costa then led the support party to the ditch, a 
dirt-banked structure raised a foot or so above the flat con- 
fronting it. The ditch turned sharply at the point where he 
established the force. There were but seven men to be de- 
ployed. The weapons available to hold the ditch were three 

204 P r k ch P 

Mis, two BARs, two carbines and forty hand grenades. He 
split his force in two wings, so that three men faced north on 
the right of the turn and four men faced west to left of it. 

In so doing, his thinking was that the two flanks would be 
mutually supporting along the ditch, if either got hit. The 
chance of enfilade had been reduced. The approaches to the 
hill were covered from two directions. 

He did not calculate, however, that the group on the low 
ground was more likely to figure in an initial interception than 
the men on the heights. No trail led directly to the ditch posi- 
tion, though several paths skirted it and merged where the 
ditch rounded the finger end just north of the assault position. 
Hence as Wongele Costa envisaged the main possibilities of 
his ambush, the Chinese might start climbing the Alligator's 
Jaws, become routed by the assault group, and in flight to 
their own country, be taken by flanking fire from the support. 
That was why he put both BARs in the ditch. He had been 
ordered to take prisoners if possible. Because of the low visi- 
bility, he saw little chance of doing it unless the enemy virtu- 
ally stumbled over his men. 

One BAR man, Cpl. Tiggu Waldetekle, was left in direct 
charge of the support. Taking along his runner and the two 
aid men, the leader then moved upslope to a point halfway 
between assault and support. He was connected with both 
groups by phone and with higher levels by phone and radio. 
His preparations complete, he waited. 

Until exactly 0300, the hill was absolutely quiet. Wongele 
Costa had just looked at his watch. His men had been on posi- 
tion six hours and 32 minutes. During that time, the only 
sounds he had heard were his own voice making the hourly 
report by radio to the company: "Everything negative/* But 
he knew that the men were awake and watchful. Cpls. Degene 
and Waldetekle had seen to that. At fifteen-minute intervals, 

Into the Alligators Jaws 


The patrol was split, half of it deploying into a ditch^ the other half 
holding the high ground. 

each junior leader made his rounds, crawling from man to 
man. He pressed the man's hand. The man pressed twice in 
response. It was their way of assuring an alerted unity. 

Both corporals had just crawled to his position and com- 
pleted their hand check. Wongele Costa had called the com- 
pany and his two assistants were already back with their men. 

As WaldeteHe slid back into his position with the support 
group, he saw the men on the left, pointing vigorously out 
into the enveloping darkness with their rifles. It was the sig- 
nal that they detected enemy movement. He moved to them. 
Then he could see a figure in clear silhouette standing not 
more than 20 yards beyond the ditch. 

Waldetekle backtracked along the ditch, then crawled again 
to Wongele Costa, saying nothing, but pointing with his rifle 

206 Pork Chop Hill 

as his men had done. The lieutenant sent Private Tilahullnin- 
guse crawling uphill to give the same signal to Degene and his 
men. The whole alert had been carried out soundlessly. All 
weapons were now pointed in the direction where the one 
Chinese had been seen. Then, for a few seconds, Wongele 
Costa waited, confident that his own presence and prepara- 
tions had not been detected. 

Waldetekle crawled to him again, gesturing still more vig- 
orously with the rifle. It was the sign that he had seen several 
other Chinese moving along the same axis. 

To Wongele Costa's left, a shallow gully ran unevenly to- 
ward the ditch. Using hand signals, he told Tilahullninguse 
to unpin a grenade, crawl down the gully and bomb into the 
enemy group. It was done as directed. Wongele Costa was still 
certain that the Chinese were unalerted and wholly within 
his field of fire. But he was bent on capturing prisoners and he 
figured wrongly, as developments were to prove that one 
grenade would hardly more than momentarily upset them and 
enable the support group to bag them before they could recoil. 

Tilahullninguse was 15 yards uphill from the nearest Chi- 
nese when he loosed his throw. As the grenade exploded, by 
its light, Wongele Costa could see about twenty of the enemy. 
More than that, they were deployed, lying flat and with 
weapons pointed straight toward his support line, which so 
far hadn't fired a shot. 

As the scene went dark again, the enemy opened fire against 
the ditch with grenades, rifles and submachine guns. Not 
more than five seconds elapsed between the explosion and the 
answering volley. Before Wongele Costa had time to shout 
an order, the left wing of the support group had joined the 
fight full blast, three rifles and the BAR. 

In this way began a duel almost without parallel in mod- 
ern war. The opposing lines were just a little less than 15 

Into the Alligators Jaws 207 

yards apart. (The distance was tape measured on the follow- 
ing day.) At that range, as the shooting began, the odds were 
four riflemen against twenty. Only Waldetekle's left wing was 
free to trade fire with the enemy. His right flank weapons 
were interdicted from fire by the turn in the ditch. From its 
position on the knob, the assault group could not bring weap- 
ons to bear on the Chinese without risking that the volley 
would slaughter the four Ethiopians who were fighting. These 
things, Wongele Costa weighed within the first few seconds 
while watching the fire flash. He made his decision. 

There was just time to call the assault group on the sound 
power phone and say, "Don't move! Don't fire! Now send a 
man down to the right flank of the support and give them 
that same message." Then he turned to Tilahullninguse and 
his two aid men and said, "Follow me!" On hands and knees, 
he moved down the gully which cut through Waldetekle's 
position, stopping every few feet to fire his carbine. The three 
men behind him did the same. 

Their entry into the ditch was timed precisely to save the 
position, though the re-enforcement did no more than plug 
the gaps cut into ranks. The ditch, which was running about 
one foot of water, was deep enough to provide full body cover 
for the line of riflemen. But to fire, a man had to come head 
and shoulder above the embankment, and Waldetekle's half- 
squad had chosen to face it, though bullets beat like hail 
against the bank 

A grenade sailed in, bounced off the bank and exploded as 
it struck just above Waldetekle's elbow. His right arm was 
blown off clean just below the shoulder socket. He uttered 
neither cry nor groan. The others didn't know he was hurt 
until with his left hand he passed the BAR to Private Yukonsi, 
saying, "Fire, and keep it low." Thereafter, he continued to 
give orders. 

208 Pork Chop Hill 

Yukonsi triggered the weapon for only a few seconds. Then 
a burp-gun burst hit him in the left arm, shredding it from 
wrist to shoulder. The BAR was still in working order. 
Yukonsi handed it to Tilahullninguse without a word, then 
collapsed in the ditch unconscious from loss of blood. 

On the extreme left of the line, Pvt. Mano Waldemarian 
took three bullets through his brain. But in the frenzy of the 
action, no one saw him fall. 

Wongele Costa yelled to the two aid men to take over the 
grenading. Then he propped against the ditch bank and let 
go with the carbine, firing full automatic. During the re- 
mainder of the duel, he worked as a rifleman, leaving the 
directing to Waldetekle. The point-blank exchange continued 
for another fifteen minutes. Wongele Costaa precise man- 
timed it with his wrist watch. But once all five weapons were 
brought to bear in volume, the enemy fire ranged increasingly 
higher, and there were no more casualties in the ditch. 

A messenger from the assault group came crawling down 
the gully. Word of the action had been sent the battalion 
commander, Lieut. Col. Wolde Yohanis Shitta. He was ask- 
ing, "Shall I send help?" 

Wongele Costa replied, "Tell him no. Tell him I can hold 
this field with my own men/ 7 The messenger left and the 
lieutenant resumed fire. 

Action was temporarily suspended when at last Waldetekle 
cried, "There's nothing coming back/' Wongele Costa called, 
"Hold fire!" and then listened. It was true. Either the enemy 
had been wholly destroyed or its discouraged remnant had 
been driven off. There was not then time to look. The BAR 
had gone dry. The carbine was empty and the aid men had 
thrown their last grenades. 

By radio Wongele Costa called for flares over the position, 
as had been prearranged with the 48th Field Artillery Bat- 

Into the Alligators Jaws 209 

talion under Lieut. Col. Joseph S. Kimmitt. Within the next 
minute he got four rounds. They lighted the hill and the ditch 
bright as day, and, in so doing, diverted attention from what 
had transpired in the foreground. 

As the lights came on, Wongele Costa glanced toward the 
hill at his back. Then he saw it: an entire Chinese platoon, 
deployed in skirmish order, was advancing up the nose of the 
ridge. The line of approximately fifty men was in that second 
still upright and marching straight toward the assault group. 
In the next second, the line had gone flat, thereby foiling the 
lights. The Chinese were still about 100 yards short of the 
position on the knob. 

"VT fire on White all you can give me." That was the 
radio message from Wongele Costa to the artillery. If the 
proximity fuse shells came in as directed, they would just 
miss his own men and stonk the enemy in the "white" area. 
He got his barrage in exactly thirty seconds and it landed right 
on the button. From his post in the ditch, he could see the 
rounds exploding into the enemy line and he could hear the 
outcries of the wounded. In less than one minute the forma- 
tion was broken. Some of the Chinese ran for the base of the 
hill. Others ran forward looking for a hole or a rock. 

In that interval, Wongele Costa abandoned his position on 
the left side of the ditch. The casualties were carried to the 
position on the right flank. But in the darkness, he missed one 
man, not knowing that Waldemarian was dead. So he called 
for lights again to assist the search. When the flare came on, 
he could see Waldemarian in the ditch. He sat there in a natu- 
ral position, the rifle folded close in his arms. Wongele Costa 
crawled over to him, found that he was dead and so returned, 
carrying the body. Thereby he simply followed the tradition 
of his corps. Fiercely proud of the loyalty of their men, officers 
of the Imperial Guard are likely to say to a stranger, "Should 

210 Pork Chop Hill 

trouble come, stay with me, Fll be the last man to die/' But 
in battle, it is the officer invariably who takes the extra risk 
to save one of his own. 

There had been no letup in the VT barraging of the nose 
of the ridge. Costa simply had it shifted forward a short space 
to choke off escape. Then Corporal Degene called him to 
say that from the knob, he could hear the Chinese reassem- 
bling on the other side of the finger, downslope 70 or 80 yards 
from his position. 

Wongele Costa again called the artillery, "Keep the fires 
going on White. But give me more VT and put it on Red." 

Fifty-five seconds later, the new barrage dropped on the far 
flank of the hill. Thereafter, for 65 minutes, the fires were 
continued unrelentingly against the "White" nose of the hill 
and the "Red" slope. 

The patrol merely continued to hold ground. Degene's men 
neither shifted position nor fired a shot. Unassisted, the artil- 
lery broke the back of the Chinese attack. 

Wongele Costa and assistants had long since returned to 
their position between the two groups. The aid men had 
tourniqueted and quieted the wounded. They would have to 
last it with the others. 

At 0430 Colonel Shitta called the lieutenant to ask how 
things were going. 

Wongele Costa replied, "The only live Chinese in this 
valley are in our hands." 

Said Shitta, "If that's it, you might as well return." 

So Wongele Costa got the patrol reassembled and on the 
trail. To the number of twenty-two, they had counted enemy 
dead in their foreground. They were confident that with the 
help of the artillery, they had wounded at least as many more. 
Two badly shot-up prisoners had been taken. 

The wounded and dead were put in the van of the column. 

Into the Alligator's Jaws 211 

Costa helped bear Waldemarian's body. They started uptrail 
and at last closed on the company lines at 0535. They still 
looked fresh in the full light of a lovely dawn. 

There is but one note needed in summary. Wongele Costa 
and his twenty men were having their first experience under 
fire. Theirs was the first patrol sent from the newly arrived 
Ethiopian battalion which had come to Korea boasting that 
it would outshine the old Kagnew Battalion, which was a 
shining outfit. 

But these men knew their ground, almost as a man knows 
the palm of his own hand. Following the method used by the 
old battalion, four afternoons successively, prior to the pay 
run, all members of the patrol had marched to the entrenched 
height on the Alligator's Jaws which overlooked the flat they 
had chosen to give battle. There they had spent hours study- 
ing the distances, the relation of one slope to another and the 
likely application of weapons, according to the probable con- 

The start of their debriefing followed the combat by less 
than two hours. Wongele Costa said, "Every detail of that 
ground had become part of a print in my mind. It was like 
moving in my own house. I could see in the dark." 

Double Ambush 


twenty-four-man patrol from Charley Company, lyth Infan- 
try Regiment, started a starlit march toward T-Bone Hill. 

They were led by 2nd Lieut. Ronald A. Monier, who had 
not yet been under fire. As they began the descent from the 
main-line ridge, moving single file along the trail winding to 
the valley, there was a normal expectation that within four 
hours they would return whole and hearty, reporting a nega- 
tive end to a routine mission. 

Their commander, Lieut. Stephen J. Patrick, watched them 
vanish into the downslope darkness and then went to OP 17 
from where he would follow them by radio. 

The assigned route took them into no-man's country with 
its chance of hostile contact* But the Korean night was calm 
and clear, the men were buoyantly fresh and the mission was 
too limited to make an open fight seem likely. 

Charley Company's trench overlooked two strongly forti- 
fied outposts garrisoned by Americans 600 yards forward of 
the Army main line. The perimeters of these small subridges, 
Erie and Arsenal, fairly dominated that part of the valley 
bottom where the patrol would nest, 

Monier had been ordered to advance past Arsenal to where 
its forward fingers tapered to the low ground. There, at a dis- 
tance approximately 900 yards north of the Arsenal trenches, 


Double Ambush 213 

he was to deploy the patrol defensively and sit tight The ob- 
ject in all such operations was to ambush an enemy patrol 
if possible, or capture prisoners, or forestall surprise against 
the main line. Provided none of these opportunities arose, the 
patrol would hold ground for four hours and then return 
to home base. 

By Korean war standards, it was a conventional design. The 
start this time was auspicious. During the march, all things 
went perfectly. Monier was delighted that his men moved 
right along and maintained just the right interval. They did 
their 1,500 yards in complete silence and got to the appointed 
ground without once breaking their good march order. 

Come to the terminus of Arsenal's most forward finger, 
the patrol split in two. The "support group" of twelve men, 
led by SFC Julio S. Varela, deployed as a crescent around the 
last knob of the finger, their backs toward Arsenal, their 
weapons sighted forward. 

Monier and his dozen continued on another 100 yards. 
That interval put the "assault group" in the bottom of a 
sandy wash and next the embankment of an irrigation canal 
which followed a twisting course around the base of Arsenal. 
The ditch was, in fact, between the two halves of the patrol. 
Some of the men groused to each other that its high banks 
gave the enemy a perfect approach to inside the position. But 
they said nothing to Monier. So the forward group there 
formed another defensive crescent facing toward the ditch. 

There ensued for the twenty-four men under Monier an 
eventless and prolonged semivigil. At the assault position 
several old 6o-mm mortar holes were convenient to the pur- 
pose. Apart from the shallow cover these pits provided, the 
patrol did not dig in. With the lengthening of the night and 
the ceasing of all activity, their senses dulled and even the 

214 Por k ch P 

best soldiers among them felt an almost overpowering urge 

to sleep. 

But along the friendly heights to rearward of them, there 
was a sense of danger not shared by the patrol. This violated 
the familiar rule in Korean operations. Usually in his move- 
ment through disputed country, the Chinese enemy was so 
furtive that he gave no preliminary warning to the defenders 
on the heights despite their superior observation. It was a 
common thing for patrols to get within grenade-throwing dis- 
tance of an enemy column without any warning being 
sounded. At such close quarters, getting word back to home 
base without alerting the Chinese was a main problem. 

But on this midnight the closest echelons to rearward knew 
that the valley was crawling with a live danger though no 
warning word got forward to the twenty-four men nearest its 
embrace. It was the fault of no one man in particular. There 
were small slips at various points. All that the rear knew or 
suspected was not relayed to Monier by phone or radio, and 
such little information as Monier received, he did not pass 
along to others in the patrol. Possibly this reticence came of 
his lack of experience; most of his men were likewise green 
and in no mood to prod him. In consequence of several lapses 
in leadership, the patrol for at least ninety minutes carried 
out its mission perfunctorily, when all the time the rear was 
aware of developments which would have kept its members 
fully awake and watchful 

The communications lag which invoked the penalty is al- 
most exactly measurable. Monier's men continued at a half- 
way alert right till the moment when they were due to 
withdraw. By their own account, as 0200 hours approached, 
they were taking it easy with no sweat The initial tension had 
passed completely and most of the men were sprawled and 
resting. Said Pfc. Eldridge J. Linkous afterward, "Not one 

Double Ambush 215 

word had been said about the enemy; after three hours of 
waiting, I felt perfectly safe." 

But on the big ridge to the rear of Arsenal Outpost, at 
thirty minutes past midnight, Lieut. Omer L. Coble, Jr., of 
the battalion staff, had received a message from the men 
manning Outguard No. 11. That listening post was at the base 
of Arsenal and covered one of its flanks. Its men had seen a 
party of twelve Chinese approach to within 50 yards of their 
ground. Taking a quick reckoning of the terrain and distance, 
Coble figured that he could put up lights to reassure the out- 
guard and still not endanger the patrol. But he checked with 
Monier on that point and was told to go ahead. Also, his re- 
quest for the flares was approved by Maj. Earl C. Acuff, the 
battalion commander. 

The mortar section of Baker Company, which was to fire 
the flares, was behind Erie Outpost Because of uncertainty 
over the target area, possibly compounded by Coble's in- 
structions cautioning against high-lighting the patrol, the 
shoot was long delayed. Finally, two rounds were gotten off. 
The outguard reported that the second one had shone di- 
rectly over the desired spot and had scared away the enemy. 

Again at 0145 Coble was called. The reserve platoon on 
Arsenal had heard an unknown number of enemy moving 
around on the slope behind the CP. Coble told them, "Gre- 
nade your wire and then investigate/* This they did, but found 
nothing. Almost coincidentally a work detail from Charley 
Company reported "enemy moving" on the forward slope of 
Erie Outpost. Via the hot loop, Coble passed this informa- 
tion to the companies and again asked permission to fire 

By then Lieutenant Patrick's company loop was alive with 
information. Outguard No. 11, on the slope which faced 
toward Erie, was again calling. It could see between fifty and 

216 Pork Chop Hill 

sixty Chinese milling around on the ground between Erie and 
Arsenal. Could the battalion help out by firing some lights 
over that area? Coble concluded that it was a good idea. He 
again called the Baker mortar section and ordered the firing 
of flares between the two outposts. Again, there was the pro- 
longed delay in executing the order. 

Adding these reports, then discounting them by half, the 
indications remained strong that the Chinese in superior num- 
bers held ground between the patrol and home base. Yet 
what the company and the battalion surmised either did not 
get through to the patrol, or if Monier heard it, he still did 
not share the information with his men. They remained sleep- 
ily unaware. Pvt. Charles Riddle, who was carrying the phone 
for Monier, heard Coble request and receive permission to fire 
the flares. But Riddle was a new soldier and to him the mes- 
sage conveyed nothing. Pltn. Sgt. Jack D. Robbins did not 
even hear that much and his confidence that the night was 
clear of danger continued unabated. 

At 0200, Monier, checking his watch, said to Robbins, "It's 
time to call the company." Robbins nodded and walked away 
a little distance. Riddle handed the phone to Monier, then 
stepped back a few feet, not noticing that the wire was looped 
around his leg. 

The conversation lasted not more than five seconds. 

Monier said, "Negative. Shall we withdraw?" 

Patrick replied, "Hold just a few minutes. Someone be- 
tween us and Baker. We want to check." 

As Patrick finished, the sharp rattle of automatic fire and 
several loud explosions came at him over the phone. Then 
Monier's voice yelling, "Hell's fire!" At that point SFC Joe 
Lopez of the support group cut into the loop just long enough 
to say, "We're hit!" The line went dead and Patrick heard 
nothing more from Monier. 

Double Ambush 217 

To say what killed the phone is easier than to explain how 
the surprise was put upon the patrol. Exactly as Monier called, 
the Chinese sprang their trap. The triangular-shaped ambush 
had been drawn up between the two groups so that it covered 
Monier's crescent full length. Undetected, the enemy had 
worked to within 20 to 35 yards of the assault party. Appar- 
ently timed to some signal perhaps Monier's call the Chi- 
nese grenadiers and tommy gunners had opened fire together. 
For a few seconds, Riddle, the phone man, galvanized by 
shock, stood rooted to the spot Then he dove for the nearest 
cover and, diving, with the wire twined about his leg, broke 
the connection. 

Thereby Monier was cut away both from the higher levels 
and from his twelve men to rearward. All that saved his own 
party in this first crisis was that the enemy was too eager even 
as the patrol was too incautious. Except for Monier, Riddle 
and Robbins, the men were already prone, though not guard- 
ing and ready to fire. A flattened, motionless man on a dark 
night is not a satisfactory target even for point-blank musketry. 
Had the enemy but marked time for a few minutes, the group 
might have been caught formed and standing. That opening 
grenade shower, exploding among the Americans, failed to hit 
flesh; in fact, most of the bombs fell short. The automatic fire 
was high. But it was not high enough for Monier's men to 
feel like raising their heads or turning until they could bring 
their own weapons to bear. So there was no counteraction. 
The Americans simply lay there under and amid the whistling 
steel, helpless but for the moment unharmed. It was a tem- 
porary reprieve, made so by the bad shooting and hesitancy 
of the enemy. Having virtually won the skirmish with the per- 
fectly staged ambush, the Chinese forbore to clinch it with 
a closing rush. 

Robbins, like Riddle, had hit the dirt. That left Monier 

2 i8 Pork Chop Hill 

the only man not prone. He still knelt by the telephone. His 
first flash reaction, in the seconds when shock passed and his 
wits returned, was to call Varela for help. But as he fumbled 
with the instrument, trying to raise the support party, sud- 
denly the sky came bright not more than 120 yards to his rear. 
Varela's knob stood out boldly under the glare. Monier 
shouted into the dead phone, "What's happening back there? 
What's happening?" In his excitement, he didn't realize that 
the line wasn't working, while Riddle, watching this vain 
effort detachedly, was too stunned to tell him. 

For perhaps one full minute the assault party continued in 
this weird tableau, the men pinned, Monier trying to raise 
someone on a dead line, the fire sweeping overhead, the 
enemy too fearful to close, the front of the patrol full beset 
and paralyzed, its members counting for survival on help from 
the rear element 

That faint hope was already dashed, though Monier's party 
remained unaware. Varela's party, formed in their loose semi- 
circle on ground 30 feet higher than Monier's, should have 
had the best fighting chance, all other things being equal. 

In greater strength than opposed Monier, a second enemy 
wing stalked Varela. But its skirmishers had not yet fixed the 
position with a tight ambush. They were still groping and 
closing when the thing happened. 

Belatedly the mortar battery from Baker Company fired 
its two flares as ordered by Lieutenant Coble. They were in- 
tended to illuminate the vale between Arsenal and Erie. But 
the crew had been listening to too many co-ordinates that 
night and the lights missed their target by a country mile. 

Flaming on the wrong side of Arsenal ridge, they drifted 
directly down on Varela's party, transfixing it like a poacher 
shining deer. Suddenly every man in the crescent was under 
bright light. Sergeant Lopez got off one last frantic message 

Double Ambush 219 

to Patrick, "The lights are on top of us. For God's sake stop 
them!" Then Patrick heard the line go dead. It was the final 
message between patrol and company. But it was too late. The 
damage was done. 

Two lines of Chinese had been converging toward Varela's 
knob when the lights came on. The physical evidence sug- 
gests they could not have been more than 35 or 40 yards away. 
But the Americans, stone-blinded by the magnesium glare, 
saw nothing. They knew the Chinese were there in the mo- 
ment when their spotlighted stage was riven by an intense 
crossfire from automatic guns. 

Pfc. Thomas L. Colvin, the radio man, was hit in the head 
by a burst which opened his skull and laid his brain bare, 
though he still lived. 

Pvt Pak Hak Soon, rifleman, took three bullets through 
his legs and one through his right shoulder. 

Sgt. Robert W. Pratt, who was acting as forward observer 
for the mortars, was hit in the hand, back and chest. 

Pvt Donald B. Bashaw, who had been on the sniperscope, 
was dead, six bullets in his neck and head. 

Sergeant Lopez was also hit six times, both arms, both 
hands, both legs. 

But of these deep and mortal wounds inflicted in the early 
seconds, the few who survived whole-bodied saw and felt 
nothing. They were still sightless from the glare's aftereffect. 
The noise of enemy fire drowned every outcry. 

The first flare parachuted down to land not more than five 
yards from Cpl. James R. Hammond who was third man from 
Varela. The second parachute hit earth about 35 yards be- 
hind the knob. By then the scene was again dark. But while 
the hapless targets were less naked to the fire, vision did not 
swiftly return. 

Again, had the enemy rushed, every man would have been 

220 Pork Chop Hill 

lost. For at least two or three minutes the Chinese maintained 
fire from the distance. When at last Varela's sight cleared, a 
Chinese stood directly over him, arm cocked to throw a gre- 
nade. Varela pulled the trigger of his Mi and the man 

Varela unpinned a grenade. Before he could heave it, enemy 
grenades fell all around him. They came in batches, five or 
six at a time. He felt that he was surrounded and probably 
alone on the knob an inaccurate impression. Instinct made 
him thresh out with arms and legs as the grenades came in, 
kicking and pushing them away. His guardian angel must 
have stood with him. At least a dozen bombs exploded just 
outside the circle of his reach but not one fragment touched 
his body. 

So unremitting had been the pressure that his own grenade 
was still in his hand, kept inoperative only by the tight clench- 
ing of his fist. There was no time to throw it, though retain- 
ing it compounded his danger. If stunned, he would die from 
his own bomb. 

As the bombardment slackened momentarily, Varela rolled 
off the knob and crawled on his belly toward the irrigation 
ditch. He still knew nothing of what had happened to his 
men, his own ordeal having kept him insensible to all else 
that went on. But he knew that whether any of the others 
still lived, at least the chance for successful resistance on 
the group's chosen ground had died with the lights. 

Varela crawled deeper into the rice paddy, feeling surprise 
that no enemy moved to stop him. Halfway along he got his 
answer. From beyond the canal bank, submachine-gun fire 
searched the muddy flat. Varela counted at least four weapons 
firing from behind the bank. With the situation delivered 
wholly into their hands, the Chinese had "chickened" and 
sought the cover of the waist-high embankment. 

Double Ambush 221 

In the muck Varela overtook Pvt. Ronald P. Devries, who 
was barely dragging along, due to a shattered hip. Beyond 
Devries were Private Soon, thrice wounded, and Cpl. Robert 
Fontaine, with a bullet in his right arm. Varela slowed to the 
pace of the three hit men. 

The last to close on this battered group was Pvt. Gonzales 
Carmela, Puerto Rican, the only man who had used a weapon 
at the original position, the last fighter to withdraw from the 

Carmela is built like a bull, blond, blue-eyed, ruddy-faced, 
a singular type for a Latin. He speaks no English; so Varela, 
the boy from the Southwest, had been his channel to the 

While still blinded from the lights, he had fired two clips 
from his Mi, just getting the stuff out as best he could. Then 
the rifle fouled from a ruptured cartridge. By the time he 
could see again, there seemed to be no one moving on the 
knob. Sergeant Pratt, thrice wounded, was still sticking it, 
and would continue to do so, trying to raise the mortar section 
on radio so that he could report the plight of the patrol. But 
this Carmela didn't know. 

So he stood up and walked away. When he reached the 
paddy and the bullet fire came against him, he continued on 
hands and knees. Until he overtook Varela, he had main- 
tained himself in utter solitude. As he explained, the overpow- 
ering sound and fury of the fire fight had excluded all sensa- 
tion of the near presence of other men. He said, "I could feel 
me and the fire. I lived. The object of the fire was to kill me. 
So I fired/' Elementary, but still the hardest lesson to drive 
into an infantryman's head. 

Pulling along the others, Varela and Carmela got to within 
15 yards of the ditch bank. There Varela called halt. He knew 
that Soon, Devries and Fontaine were useless because of their 

Monier's advance and the Communist penetration. 

Double Ambush 223 

arm wounds. So he whispered, "Give me your grenades." 
With the six which he collected, he had eight. Carmela was 
carrying three. 

Then on Varela's signal, he and Carmela stood together 
and grenaded into the ditch. As the bombs went off, they 
could see the water splash. And they could hear the scream- 
ing of the Chinese along the embankment They were certain 
that their metal had bit into some of the targets and demor- 
alized others. For the moment, the enemy weapons were 
struck silent. 

Feeble as was this action, it was the only piece of timed 
and collected counterhitting by members of the patrol. And 
it lasted less than one minute. 

With the throwing of the last grenade, Varela and Carmela 
pulled the other three to their feet, and as best they could, the 
five men moved obliquely across the paddy. Varela wanted to 
get to Monier; he did not know that the assault group was 
already close engaged; his own ordeal excluded all impression 
of things elsewhere. 

Devries could no longer walk. Varela carried him piggy- 
back. Carmela put an arm under Soon's shoulder. Their 
route would take them through the ditch at the point where 
it cut the line between the patrol's two initial positions. They 
tried to run because the tommy-gun fire was again nipping at 

Lopez, Hammond and the few others who had escaped the 
knob immediately all ran directly toward Monier while 
Varela and his party were attacking across the paddy. All had 
been wounded, and none was any longer in condition to fight. 

They could not have reached the canal bank at a worse 
moment either for themselves or for the good of Monier's 
party. The whole action had not yet lasted five minutes and 
Monier was still paralyzed by the circumstances. The Chinese 

224 Pork Chop Hill 

who had boxed in his crescent were concentrated between the 
two halves of the patrol with their center anchored on the 
canal-bank turn. 

Startled by the burning of the flares on their rear, the Chi- 
nese skirmishers contracted toward the ditch and, in so doing, 
disunified and reduced their fire. Thereby for the first time, 
Monier's men came relatively free to move and to think about 
using their own weapons. 

Pfc. Robert W. Krause swung his BAR into action, aiming 
at the ditch bank. Sergeant Robbins yelled, "Everybody fire! 
Everybody fire!" Several riflemen joined Krause. 

They barely got started. Then they heard cries out of the 
target area. "Lieutenant Monier. Lieutenant Monier. Where 
are you? Don't shoot. We're coming in/' 

Krause yelled, "Cease fire! That's Lopez." Over the sights 
of his weapon, he could see five or six men rise up along the 
canal bank, amid the Chinese, and lurch toward him. 

Monier also realized these were his own men. He yelled, 
"Don't shoot! Don't shoot! That's the support/' That stayed 
all hands just in the nick of time. The position had to go 
quiet to save Lopez, Hammond and others in the first group 
of walking wounded. Hobbling toward Monier from the ditch, 
they masked the enemy position just a few feet to their rear. 

This sudden appearance was hardly less confusing to the 
Chinese than to Monier. They could have won in that mo- 
ment by redoubling their small-arms fire. Instead, they 
stopped. Then a few of them arose and, following along be- 
hind Lopez' group, used the Americans as a shield while 
grenading over their heads toward Monier. 

By then, Varela and his group were approaching the same 
canal turn, so that, in effect, the deployment was like a four- 
layer cake, alternately American and Chinese. Varela still car- 

Double Ambush 


Re-assembly of Monier's Patrol. 

ried Devries. But both he and Devries had been hit by gre- 
nade shards during the last stretch. 

It was an unbelievable entanglement executed in slow mo- 
tion. Due to the reeling pace of the walking wounded and the 
folly of the enemy in not standing as a firm fire block, the 
agonizingly slow convergence but compounded confusion to 
both sides. At this stage one eddy of resolute action on either 
side might have made a stampede. 

Varela caught up with Lopez just after crossing the canal. 
Lopez said, "I'm done. You take over/' But there was nothing 
to take over. Both were aware that they were moving almost 
cheek-to-jowl amid the Chinese. They could do nothing about 
it except lurch onward toward Monier. 

Sergeant Robbins watched this strange formation approach. 
Almost spellbound by the spectacle, and feeling his own nerve 
unravel, he was jarred out of it when a grenade bounced off 

226 Pork Chop Hill 

his helmet and exploded. Suddenly he was at dead center of 
the enemy grenade shower. As Varela had done earlier, he 
gave over all else to fend off the missiles landing in his per- 
sonal circle. While succeeding in this mad scramble, he heard 
cries from two of his men which told him they had been hit. 

Again it was Private Krause, the BAR man, who led by 
example when all other kind of leading failed. Krause saw 
one of Varela's men crawling toward him from the ditch bank. 
Behind the American came two Chinese grenading toward 
Krause. The wounded man was about 20 yards away when 
Krause rolled to escape the first grenade, then rolled the other 
way to clear the second. The leading Chinese got to within 
five yards when, having dodged two more grenades, Krause 
triggered his weapon and shot down both Chinese. One of 
them had already blasted toward Krause with a submachine 
gun and was less than 10 yards away when Krause killed him. 

Having started, Krause maintained fire until he had spent 
half a magazine. He couldn't be sure of friend or foe. But 
wherever he saw an unhelmeted head, that was his target. 

Twenty-five yards away from Robbins, on the extreme left 
of the defensive crescent, lay Cpl. Richard E. Murdock, rifle- 
man. So far, he had been a bystander, doing nothing. It had 
seemed to him that when Monier gave the order, "Don't 
shoot!" the Chinese grenadiers had arisen and moved via their 
right flank, so that they bore directly down on him. For a few 
seconds, he watched, certain he would be overrun, yet holding 
his hand because of Monier's order. 

That changed when a Chinese stood almost directly over 
him firing a burp gun toward Monier's end of the line. Mur- 
dock didn't have to aim his Mi to kill the man; there was no 
way to miss. A second Chinese came right behind him and 
was dropped by one round. Then from 1 5 yards out, two Chi- 
nese rushed him, grenading as they ran. Both grenades missed 

Double Ambush 227 

and the two Chinese ran right over Murdock. Turning, he 
threw a grenade without aiming. By sheer luck, it exploded 
between the pair, felling both of them. 

Murdock yelled, "I did it! I did it!" So intense was his 
feeling of personal relief that seconds passed before he real- 
ized there were no longer any targets in sight. He looked 
around. The scene had become almost inanimate. The rest of 
the enemy had vanished into the landscape. 

Intrinsically brief as were these two personal stands by 
private soldiers, Krause and Murdock, they were pivotal in 
effect. In the end, they saved most of the patrol to fight an- 
other day. None other among Monier's men had reacted in 
the same strong way during the critical minute when it 
seemed that everything was lost. The others did not shrink 
from duty. It was simply that they could not see anything to 
be done. 

Privates Linkous, Riddle and Wilson still had not fired. So 
swift had been the transitions in situation that they could not 
understand what was going on or distinguish friend from foe. 
Wilson in particular was looking for a chance to fight and 
was angry that he had been thus far balked. 

Again, Monier had jumped for the telephone, still not real- 
izing that it was dead. He wanted flares put over the scene. 
Since they could hardly have helped him, and the patrol's 
scrambled situation was beyond effective intervention by the 
artillery, it is perhaps just as well that he couldn't get through. 

Robbins moved toward Monier to tell him that it was use- 
less to call. Before he could reach him, Cpl. J. B. Craft 
sprawled between them crying, "I'm hit." Monier said, "We 
better get out of here," then stopped to feel for the wound in 
Craft's body. 

A grenade exploded between Robbins and Monier. The 
blast knocked Robbins off his feet and backwards. Some of 

228 Pork Chop Hill 

the fragments cut into Monier who, though Robbins didn't 
know it, was already carrying five burp-gun bullets in his legs. 

Stunned, Robbins momentarily lost his feeling of what was 
happening. When his brain cleared, he could see some of the 
men already in motion toward the canal along the path back 
to Arsenal. He started after them, not knowing that Monier 
was still down and unconscious. 

In this way the two leaders lost contact. Craft also had 
arisen from beside Monier and started back. From out of the 
darkness, occasional grenades pitched and exploded onto the 
ground where the patrol had been. There was no more auto- 
matic fire. 

Carmela, the strong Puerto Rican, loaded the helpless 
Devries on his back and started for Charley Company's home 
on the big ridge. He made it, 1,500 uphill yards, carrying his 
wounded comrade all the way. 

Robbins got only so far as the knob which the support 
group had occupied. There, seeing a huddle of his men, and 
hoping to get them reorganized, he called out, "What kind 
of weapons you got?" Himself so dazed that he could not 
remember whether he had come the 100 yards walking or 
crawling, he still had the wholly mistaken impression that 
only three or four members of the patrol had been hit. That 
illusion died when he checked the group of nine. Every man 
was weaponless. All were too badly hit to do much more than 
stumble along. 

Bashaw's body was there, the sniperscope beside it. Mur- 
dock felt for his pulse and said, "Dead/' Pvt Jimmy R. Wil- 
son wanted to be sure. He also felt the pulse and said, "You're 
right; he's very dead/' 

Sergeant Pratt, the mortar FO, shot in back, hands and 
chest, was still at his radio working, at last in the act of raising 
the Baker mortar section. He told them that the patrol was 

Double Ambush 229 

shattered and that a succoring party was needed to get the 
survivors back to Arsenal. 

The people on Erie relayed that message to Lieutenant 
Coble. He was told that the men under Robbins would mark 
time at the foot of Arsenal. It was the only message received 
by anyone in the battalion and it proved to be wrong. 

Robbins reckoned that there was still death all around him, 
and if anyone was to be saved, it was best to get his depend- 
ents moving. At first they strove to reach the high ground 
bringing out their dead and wounded. But it was a vain effort. 
Then Private Wilson protested that they were uselessly spend- 
ing the residue of strength which might enable them to save 
Colvin. There had been no need to check the pulse of the 
man with the shattered skull; he was screaming high in de- 

So they left Bashaw's body there and struggled on. Their 
main enemy was now the slope. Such was the weight of the 
wounded that they could move upward only a few feet at a 
time. In the next hour they moved only 150 yards. 

During this vulnerable passage the Chinese dogged their 
footsteps. On both sides enemy flankers moved parallel to 
the column. There was no fire. But the Americans were 
mocked by derisive calls and the jangling of cowbells from 
out the darkness. 

Private Soon, slowed by his wounds, fell into enemy hands. 
Before dawn he would show up at an outguard post on Erie 
with a strange story about contriving escape by feigning death. 

At 0315 the men in the center of Third Platoon's position 
on Arsenal heard repeatedly a plaintive call coming from be- 
yond their belt of protective wire. 

"Gist! Gist! Come help me." 

They were baffled by it because the slope in that sector was 
supposedly interdicted by a tightly laid minefield. But they 

230 Pork Chop Hill 

passed the word to 2nd Lieut. Roy A. Gist. He crawled 
through the wire and found Lieutenant Monier flattened on 
the far side. 

Monier was badly dazed and bleeding hard. Consciousness 
had returned to him shortly after Robbins had left the posi- 
tion. But in his shocked condition he had missed the trail, 
gone to the wrong ridge finger and kept climbing. His erratic 
course took him directly through the minefield. When the 
wire stopped him, he at last got his bearings and called for 

Even so, he had returned before the patrol. From him, Gist 
and the others got the first word of how the patrol had been 
ambushed. Gist got him through the wire and carried him to 
the CP. Already, Gist had volunteered to lead a rescue mis- 
sion. He rounded up twelve men and led them through the 
minefield along a marked path leading to a listening post, ap- 
proximately reversing Monier's upward journey. 

Within a few minutes, they were at the knob where Varela 
had been hit. Because of Pratt's message to Coble, Gist had 
expected to find the survivors there. He found no one. 

So he called out for the two men in the patrol whom he 
knew best. 

"Craft! Fontaine! Craft! Fontaine!" 

From just a short distance up the finger, Craft answered, 
"I'm here." The party under Robbins had all but foundered. 
Robbins sent Krause down to guide Gist's group to him. Then 
the worst wounded were loaded on litters. 

They were ready to start climbing when someone said, re- 
ferring to Bashaw's body, "But we've left a man behind." 

Gist answered, "Then we have to get him." 

Private Wilson again lost his temper. "Damn it, Lieuten- 
ant," he said, "that man is dead." 

Said Gist, "We've got to be sure." He then told SFC Ken- 

Double Ambush 231 

neth G. Booth of his own party to take along another man 
and bring back Bashaw. 

Young Wilson, nettled to the limit, volunteered for the 
job, saying, "Damn it, I'll go along to show you that he's 
dead/' He turned back to the valley. 

When they reached Bashaw, Wilson again felt for a pulse 
beat. Then he tried to shoulder the dead weight. The ser- 
geant meantime was covering him, with his rifle pointing 
downtrail. Bashaw was heavy. The weight was beyond Wil- 
son's strength. As he struggled with it, Booth called, "Chinese 
coming up the finger!" 

Wilson said, "Damn it, we got to leave this man." 

Before Booth could give him an argument, they were en- 
gaged by rifle and grenade fire. Both men returned it with 
their Mis and Wilson threw his last two grenades. Still more 
grenades came in on them. 

Wilson yelled, "Damn it, follow me. I'm getting out of 

They legged it toward Gist. As they rejoined the party, 
Wilson said to him, "If you want me to bring that man out, 
you better give me a few hands who can do some fighting/' 

His complete earnestness won Gist over. He could no longer 
see any logic in risking additional lives toward recovering a 
body. He said, "Let's march." 

The fifth litter was loaded and the last of the patrol was 
started uphill. 

When they counted heads on reaching Arsenal's first-aid 
station, six men were still unaccounted for. Four of them 
showed up later at Erie. They had missed their way in the 
darkness and wandered until they heard a friendly challenge. 

At dawn Lieut. Roberto L. Cordova led another patrol 
down from Arsenal to recover Bashaw's body. They also sal- 
vaged part of the litter left in the patrol's wake telephone, 

232 Pork Chop Hill 

radio, sniperscope, BAR, three Mis and five carbines, the last 
all fully loaded. 

As they lifted cargo to start the return journey, cowbells 
jangled among the wild thorn beyond the canal. The morning 
was delightfully calm but the enemy still lingered in the 

The Incredible Patrol 


Bastogne, it was a classic fight, ending in clean triumph over 
seemingly impossible odds. But unlike other great tales of 
war which become legend, it went unsung, though it hap- 
pened almost under the noses of 163 war correspondents then 
in Seoul, forty minutes' air flight from the fight. Held spell- 
bound by the headline values of Operation Little Switch, they 
had neither time nor space for the reporting of epic courage. 
Such abberations are common in modern warfare. Homeric 
happenings go unreported. Sometimes the bravest meet death 
with their deeds known only to heaven. 

If another reason is needed for now unfolding the tale, 
there is this, that of all troops which fought in Korea, the 
Ethiopians stood highest in the quality of their officer-man 
relationships, the evenness of their performance under fire 
and the mastery of techniques by which they achieved near 
perfect unity of action in adapting themselves to new weap- 
ons during training and in using them to kill efficiently in 

They couldn't read maps but they never missed a trail. 

Out of dark Africa came these men, thin, keen eyed, agile 
of mind and 95 per cent illiterate. They could take over U. S. 
Signal Corps equipment and in combat make it work twice as 
well as the best-trained American troops. When they engaged, 


234 Pork Chop Hill 

higher headquarters invariably knew exactly what they were 
doing. The information which they fed back by wire and 
radio was far greater in volume and much more accurate than 
anything coming from American actions. 

Their capacities excelled also in one diversionary aspect of 
the soldierly arts. There are no better whisky drinkers under 
the sun. They take it neat, a full tumbler at a time, without 
pause or chaser, and seem abashed that Americans can't fol- 
low suit. This unexampled skill might properly become a 
proper object for research by a top-level military mission. 

Their one lack was a good press. The Turks, the ROKs, the 
Commonwealth Division and others in the medley got due 
notice. But the Ethiopians stood guard along their assigned 
ridges in a silence unbroken by the questions of the itinerant 
correspondents. They were eager to welcome strangers and 
tell how they did it. But no one ever asked. 

If to our side, at the end as in the beginning, they were the 
Unknown Battalion, to the Communists they were a still 
greater mystery. When the final shot was fired, one significant 
mark stood to their eternal credit. Of all national groups fight- 
ing in Korea, the Ethiopians alone could boast that they had 
never lost a prisoner or left a dead comrade on the battlefield. 
Every wounded man, every shattered body, had been returned 
to the friendly fold. 

That uniquely clean sheet was not an accident of numbers 
only. Knowing how to gamble with death, they treated it 
lightly as a flower. On night patrol, as he crossed the valley 
and prowled toward the enemy works, the Ethiopian soldier 
knew that his chance of death was compounded. It was stand- 
ing procedure in the battalion that if a patrol became sur- 
rounded beyond possibility of extrication, the supporting ar- 
tillery would be ordered to destroy the patrol to the last man. 
That terrible alternative was never realized. Many times en- 

The Incredible Patrol 235 

veloped, the Ethiopian patrols always succeeded in breaking 
the fire ring and returning to home base. If there were dead 
or wounded to be carried, the officer or NCO leader was the 
first to volunteer. When fog threatened to diffuse a patrol, 
the Ethiopians moved hand in hand, like children. Even so, 
though they deny it, these Africans are cat-eyed men with an 
especial affinity for moving and fighting in the dark. In most 
of the races of man, superstition unfolds with the night, trick- 
ing the imagination and stifling courage. It is not so with the 
Ethiopians. The dark holds no extra terror. It is their element 

Of this in part came the marked superiority in night opera- 
tions which transfixed the Chinese. It hexed them as if they 
were fighting the superhuman. The Ethiopian left no tracks, 
seemingly shed no blood and spoke always in an unknown 
tongue. Lack of bodily proof that he was mortal made him 
seem phantom like and forbiddingly unreal. 

That may explain why, toward the close, everything done 
by the Ethiopians seemed so unbelievably easy, even under 
full sunlight. We watched them from Observation Point 29 
through glasses on a fair afternoon in mid-May, 1953, * n as 
mad an exploit as was ever dared by man. Under full observa- 
tion from enemy country, eight Ethiopians walked 800 yards 
across no-man's land and up the slope of T-Bone Hill right 
into the enemy trenches. When next we looked, the eight had 
become ten. The patrol was dragging back two Chinese pris- 
oners, having snatched them from the embrace of the Com- 
munist battalion. It was only then that the American artillery 
came awake and threw smoke behind them. They got back to 
our lines unscratched. So far as I know, this feat is unmatched 
in war. How account for it? Either the hex was working or 
the Communists thought the patrol was coming in to sur- 

This brazen piece of effrontery took place only three days 


Pork Chop Hill 

The front along the Yokkokchon as seen from the crest of Hill 327. 
This sketch was made by a tank gunner and used by him to assist his 

after the fight of the Incredible Patrol. These were actions by 
men who had never previously been under fire. Ethiopia sent 
a fresh battalion every twelve months. Kagnew Battalion 
named after the war charger of King Menelik in the first war 
with Italyhad fust sailed for Africa after little more than 
a year in line, with its men grousing, as soldiers ever do, be- 
cause they had been held overtime. They were also piqued 
because the relief battalion was boasting that it was better 
before it had ever faced the enemy. Thereafter the war lasted 
just long enough for the new arrivals to supply a few items in 
solid proof that they might have cleaned it up, but for the 
papers signed in Panmunjom. 

My part in these things was that I was working over all 
patrols along our part of the front which had met and fought 
the Chinese. We were trying to get uniformity into our de- 
briefing system so that all data would be equally reliable and 
we could see where we were making our mistakes. 

My work was to get to the survivors immediately and draw 
out of them all that had happened. It necessitated ridge- 
hopping by helicopter through the late dark or early light so 

The Incredible Patrol 237 

that I could interview the patrol at the point where it re- 
entered our lines. By dawn, the front was normally quiet save 
for the singing of larks, thrushes, thrashers and cardinals. It 
was a wonderful front for bird watchers. 

There were fifteen men in the Incredible Patrol under the 
command of 22-year-old 2nd Lieut. Zeneke Asfaw. They were 
of the Third Company of the new Battalion Kagnew, and the 
First Company of that command, under Capt. Behanu 
Tariau, was garrisoning two outpost hillocks flanking the nar- 
row draw via which Asfaw's party moved toward enemy coun- 

The plan and scene were typical of many such operations 
during the last two years of the Korean war. Forming the right 
flank of the United States yth Infantry Division along the 
Eighth Army's main resistance line, the battalion held the 
crest line of a great ridge which rose about 300 meters above 
the valley floor. Forward of the great ridge approximately 750 
meters were the outpost hillocks, Yoke and Uncle, each en- 
trenched all around its summit, and with slopes well covered 
by wire entanglements. 

Yoke was just large enough to accommodate a platoon. As 
with a hundred other such small hill positions forward of the 
Eighth Army's main line, the twofold object in garrisoning 
Yoke was to parry any attack before the Chinese could reach 
the big trench, and, also, to lure the enemy into the open 
where he could be blasted by the markedly superior American 
artillery. It was wearing duty, for it made troops feel like the 
bait in a trap. So the garrisons were rotated every five days. 

Lieutenant Asfaw's mission on the night of 19 May was to 
descend into the main valley about 800 yards to the right front 
of Yoke and in this disputed ground attempt to ambush $ 
Chinese patrol and return with prisoners. This was the more 
or less routine object in all patrolling. He started his march 

238 Pork Chop Hill 

at eleven o'clock, with his second in command, 21 -year-old 
Cpl. Arage Affere, leading the column. In exactly thirty-five 
minutes, they reached the bottom. The actual trail distance 
had been one and one-half miles, partway uphill, where the 
route traversed two ridge fingers. But they had done most of 
it at a running walk 

At twenty minutes before midnight, having seen nothing 
of the enemy, Asfaw decided to halt The patrol had come to 
a concrete-walled irrigation ditch. Where Asfaw stood, the 
ditch did a go-degree turn, with the elbow pointing directly 
at T-Bone Hill. To the youngster came the flash inspiration 
that here was the tailor-made deadfall. Three trails crossed 
within a few yards of the bend in the ditch. He could deploy 
his men within the protecting walls and await the enemy. 
Within the next five minutes he distributed his men evenly 
around the angle with one Browning automatic rifle on each 

It was done in the nick of time. There was the briefest wait. 
At ten minutes before midnight, Asfaw, straining to catch 
any movement in the darkness, saw standing in the clear, 300 
yards to his front, a lone Chinese. While he looked, approxi- 
mately one platoon built up on the motionless scout and 
simply stood there, as if waiting a signal. It was a tempting 
target; though too distant for his automatic weapons to have 
more than a scattering effect upon the enemy force, it was 
still vulnerable to the American artillery fires which could 
be massed at his call. 

Asfaw switched on his radio to call Battalion. By some fluke 
in those first minutes as the game opened, it wouldn't cut 
through. He spat in disgust at a technical failure which, seen 
in retrospect, was clearly a blessing in disguise. The whole pat- 
tern of this strange fight developed out of the accidental cir- 
cumstance that during the next half-hour, the Chinese felt 

The Incredible Patrol 

The attack on Yoke and Uncle. By the time the outposts were in- 
vaded, the patrol was fully enveloped. 

free to extend their maneuver, and Asfaw, being without radio 
contact, had to keep telling himself that he had been sent 
forth to capture prisoners. 

In that time, the body confronting him rapidly swelled to 
two platoons, but still did not move. That meant that close 
to 100 men would be opposing his group of 15. That was fair 
enough. So he crawled along the ditch cautioning his men to 
maintain silence and retain fire until he gave the word. It was 

When at last the Chinese moved toward him, it was not 
in columns, but in V-shape like a flight of wild geese, with 

240 Pork Chop Hill 

the point inarching directly toward the apex of the ditch. 
AH of this time Asfaw had been concentrating attention on 
the enemy directly to his front. Now as he turned his gaze 
toward the files at the far ends of the V, he caught what all 
along his eyes had missed. Five hundred yards to his left, an- 
other Chinese company, marching single file, had passed his 
flanks and was advancing directly on Outpost Yoke. He looked 
to his right. Another body of the same size had outflanked 
him and was marching against the ridge seating First Com- 
pany. With that, he saw the problem as a whole. He was in 
the middle of a Communist battalion launched in a general 
attack. Its grand deployment was in the shape of an M and 
the V-shaped body advancing on his ditch was simply a sweep 
which tied together the two assault columns. 

By now they were within 200 yards of him and the column 
on his left was almost at the foot of Yoke. His radio was still 
out. To his immediate rear was an earth mound perhaps 10 
feet high. Thinking that the mound might cause interdiction, 
he moved leftward along the ditch, whispering to his men 
to stand steady and testing his radio every few feet. 

The eight Chinese forming the point of the V were within 
10 yards of the ditch when Asfaw yelled, "Tekuse!" (fire). 
He already had arranged it that the fire from his two flanks 
would cross so that both sides of the V would be taken in 
enfilade. The eight-man point was cut down as by a scythe. 
It was a rifle job. The two wings which followed at a distance 
of 15 yards lost another dozen men to the BARs before the 
surprised Chinese could recoil and go flat. At that moment 
Asfaw's radio sparked and he raised a friendly answer. This 
was his message as entered in the journal, "The enemy came. 
I stopped them. Now they surround me. I want artillery on 
White Right." 

"White Right" meant the ground to Asfaw's left and rear. 

The Incredible Patrol 241 

Their ranks being unable to use map coordinates, the Ethi- 
opians achieved artillery fire control by blocking out in colors 
the map areas where they were likely to need help. Thus, 
they simply called for fire on "Blue Left" or "Red Right," 
etc. In his own hour of emergency, Asfaw was ignoring the 
force to his front, hoping that he would still be in time to 
shatter the columns moving against Yoke and Uncle. 

No sooner had he given the direction than he saw the flat- 
tened company in his foreground start skirmishers around his 
left flank. He felt this was the beginning of an envelopment. 
Still, he did not amend his fire request. Instead, he shifted 
more of his men leftward in the ditch, figuring that with 
grazing fire he could slow the movement. As he said, "By then 
I had steadied and was enjoying it." 

In three minutes, the American barrage fell right where 
Asfaw had wanted it. Illuminating shells from the 155$ began 
to floodlight the valley. By their glare, Asfaw could see the 
killing rounds biting into the column, killing some Chinese, 
scattering others. But he could also see figures in silhouette 
moving against Yoke's skyline and he guessed that the enemy 
had penetrated the works, which he reported on radio. 

So he was just a bit too late for a perfect score. The small- 
arms fire all about him had made imperceptible to him that 
the Chinese artillery had massed fires against Yoke and the 
big ridge almost coincidentally with the opening of his own 
engagement It was a real clobber. Within the space it takes 
to tell it, all wires were cut and the men were forced back into 
their bunkers. 

On Yoke, 2nd Lieut. Bezabib Ayela and his 56 men had 
heard the first volley of Asfaw's skirmish. But it sounded far 
away. The impression it made was swiftly erased when the 
enemy artillery deluged their own hill. Both of Ayela's radios 
were hit and his field phone went dead. Ayela moved from 

242 Pork Chop Hill 

post to post crying "Berta!" (standby), but for all the noise, 
he had no forewarning of what was coming. 

Realization came when three red flares cut the night above 
Yoke's rear slope. Ayela ran that way along the trench, know- 
ing they had been hand-fired by the enemy. At the rear para- 
pet, he could hear voices chattering from downslope. Yoke's 
rear was lighted by a searchlight beamed from the battalion 
ridge. Raising himself to the embankment, Ayela could see at 
least a squad of Chinese working up through the rocks not 
more than 30 yards away. 

Cpl. Ayelow Shivishe was with him and survived to tell 
about it. Within call of Ayela were thirteen riflemen and one 
machine gunner, covering the backslope, but all in the wrong 
spot to see the approach. Before Ayela could either fire or cry 
out, he was drawn back the way he had come by the sounds 
of shooting and a piercing scream right behind him. Two 
squads of Chinese had come up the side of Yoke, killed a 
BAR man, and jumped into the main trench. 

Ayela ran for them rifle in hand. In full stride he was blown 
up by a bomb an ordinary grenade with TNT shaped around 
it, used by the Communists to clean out bunkers. Shivishe 
went flat in the trench and emptied his Mi into the enemy 
group. He saw three men drop. Then he knew he had been 
wrong in wasting time that way. The hill was leaderless 
though no one else knew it. Shivishe ran the other way around 
the trench to tell Sgt. Maj. Awilachen Moulte that he was 
in command. As he made the turn, the Chinese at the rear 
slope came over the parapet and were in the trench. But not 
unopposed. The machine gunner, Pvt. Kassa Misgina, had 
heard the noise and rushed to the breach. He cut down the 
first three men. Then two things happened right together: 
his gun jammed and an enemy grenade got him through both 
legs. Deep wounds, they didn't jar his fighting rhythm. 

The Incredible Patrol 243 

Misgina passed the gun back to a rifleman, yelling to him to 
get it freed. He then grabbed a box of grenades and, return- 
ing to the step where Ayela had been those few seconds, re- 
sumed the fight to block the rear portal. Reasoning that if he 
kept them ducking for cover they couldn't rush, he stood on 
the parapet and let fly. 

None of this ordeal was known to Asfaw down in the valley 
or to the higher commands tucked away among the high 
ridges. But unlike every other actor in the drama, Asfaw alone 
could see all parts of the big picture. From his place in the 
ditch, he had witnessed the enemy's grand deployment. Also, 
he knew that the observers on the high ground had no such 
advantage, and due to the interposition of the lower ridges, 
could catch only fragmentary glimpses of the developing ac- 
tion. When his eyes told him that the artillery dropped on 
Yoke's forward slope had effectively shattered the reserves of 
the Chinese column there, his reason replied that the hills 
masked that fact to everyone else. 

Having already concluded that his task was to destroy the 
Chinese battalion by use of artillery, and realizing that he 
only was in position to regulate fires so that there would be 
no "overkilling," Asfaw saw clearly that a halfway success 
along either flank must finally doom his patrol. Driven back, 
the survivors would converge within the draw which was his 
escape route to the rear. There they would re-enforce the 
company which was moving around his left flank. From that 
side, the ditch provided no protection. 

For fifteen minutes, he had watched the artillery stonk the 
Chinese on the lower slope of Yoke while doing nothing 
about the enemy column attacking First Company's ridge. 
The reason was that the latter force had made slower progress 
and was still toiling toward the hill. During the same interval 
the Chinese platoons to his front had continued the crawl 

The Incredible Patrol 245 

around his left flank and were now even with his position. He 
took another look at the enemy's solid column on his own 
right rear: it was just 50 yards short of the main incline. At 
that point he gave his direction, calling for the fire to be 
placed where it would catch the attack head-on. It was de- 
livered "on the nose/' The column attacking First Company 
began to dissolve and recoil toward him. 

In this manner, while his withdrawal route was still open, 
he made his decision to fight it out on the original line. Here 
was a youth having his first experience under fire. But the role 
he had voluntarily accepted made requisite a sense of timing 
rarely found in a division commander. The Chinese nearest 
him continued to extend their outflanking maneuver; he but 
shifted a few more riflemen to the left to slow them with 
grazing fire. 

On Yoke, Sergeant Major Moulte's first act after taking 
command was to run to Ayela's body to make certain he was 
dead. Two enlisted men had been felled by the same bomb 
which killed the lieutenant Moulte yelled for stretcher bear- 
ers. Then, gathering six men and passing each an armful of 
grenades, he swung along the trench toward the front of Yoke 
on the heels of the Chinese group that had entered the works 
after killing Ayela. It was a sneak movement, the men moving 
silently and in a crouch, with one scout five yards to the front. 
Surprise was complete. Perhaps 35 to 40 yards beyond, the 
scout gave an arm signal, hand out, pointing the direction 
for the grenade shower. The explosions came dead center 
amid the enemy group. Some Chinese were killed. Others 
scrambled for the parapet or tried to hide next the sandbag 
superstructure of the bunkers. Moulte saw at least six Chinese 
in clear silhouette as they climbed up from the trench wall. 
He was carrying a BAR. But he didn't fire a shot He said 
later, "I don't know why; I just didn't think of it/' (This 

246 Pork Chop Hill 

same aberration occurs much too frequently among GI fight- 
ers.) Ordering others in his party to carry on and hunt down 
the invaders in detail, Moulte dojibled back to see how things 
were going at the rear slope. By then, the wounded Misgina's 
machine gun had become freed, and with that weapon, he 
was still holding the portal, supported by one BAR man. 
Looking downslope, Moulte counted ten dead Chinese in 
front of Misgina's gun. Beyond them, he could count at least 
thirty of the enemy among the rocks. They became revealed 
momentarily as they grenaded upward. But the distance was 
too great and the bombs exploded among their own dead. 

At that point the action was taken out of Moulte's hands 
for reasons requiring a brief recapitulation. Because of broken 
communications, Asfaw's fight had been underway thirty 
minutes before Battalion knew the patrol was in serious 
trouble. Asfaw's first radio message had gone to the platoon 
of First Company on Uncle and his call for artillery on Yoke 
had perforce bypassed Battalion because First Company's 
radio went temperamental at the wrong moment. As relayed 
from Outpost Uncle, the message taken by Capt. Addis Aleu, 
the battalion 82, was merely a brief warning, "Main move- 
ment against Yoke ... fire White Right/ 7 Then the Uncle 
radio cut out and Battalion CP could only guess about de- 

But from his hilltop on OP 29, First Company's com- 
mander, Capt. Behanu Tariau could eyewitness the skirmish- 
ing on Yoke's rear slope. He had received the relayed' message 
that the patrol had engaged; it came to him from Uncle dur- 
ing the period when First Company could no longer raise 
Battalion. Then for fifteen minutesthe critical period when 
Moulte was rallying his men to repel boarders his own radio 
cut out. His anxieties mounted because of his helplessness. By 
the searchlight's glare he could see Chinese massing against 

The Incredible Patrol 247 

Yoke's back door but he was in touch with no one. When 
quite suddenly his radio cut through again, he told 2nd Lieut. 
William W. DeWitt, his artillery forward observer, to hit 
Yoke directly with VT (proximity fuse) fire and illuminating 
shell. The order was passed upward to Lieut. Col. Joseph S. 
Kimmitt: 'Tire Flash Yoke Three/' Five minutes later Yoke 
was under a fierce rain of hot steel. The effect of the fire was 
to drive Moulte's men back to their bunkers for protection 
while transfixing the Chinese in the open. There was thirty 
minutes of this. Then Tariau asked for a curtain barrage on 
both sides of Yoke to box in the enemy survivors. He pon- 
dered extending the barrage to across the forward slope, then 
rejected the idea, apprehensive that Asfaw's men might be 
falling back on Yoke. 

On that score, he might have spared himself worry. Asfaw 
was still sitting steady in the ditch and enjoying it. By now 
the Chinese who had been to his front had completed the 
half-circle and were spread across his rear. Their skirmish 
line, a lean 100 yards from him, had already been joined by 
the first stragglers retreating from the fires on Yoke, Uncle 
and First Company's hill. His big moment was at hand, when 
having nailed his flag to the mast, he would now win or lose 
it all. To Uncle, he gave the message, relayed from there to 
Captain Tariau and from him to the artillery, "Fire Blue 

If his guess was right and the fire was accurate, Blue Right 
would crush the Chinese to his rear and fall just short of his 
own position. There was a suspense of two minutes. Then the 
barrage dropped dead on target, braying the enemy line 
from end to end. He kept the artillery on Blue Right for ten 
minutes; when it lifted, there was no more fire from his fore- 
ground or immediate rear. 

But it had been, and still remained, the closest kind of 

248 Pork Chop Hill 

thing. At the moment when Asfaw asked for Blue Right, his 
own patrol was wholly out of ammunition, save for the 
cartridges in the magazines of three Mis. The fragments of 
the two main enemy columns continued to drift back toward 
him. He knew that the patrol's survival from that point on 
would pivot on the radio and the accuracy of his call to the 

At last fortune rode wholly with him. The fight continued 
on these terms for the next two hours, with no firing from 
the patrol. There were times when the Chinese, rebounding 
from the two outposts, then regrouping, got within 50 yards 
of the ditch. Blue Right never failed him. There were also 
times when he asked and got barrage fire on all four sides 
of his patrol, thereby to close the enemy escape routes lead- 
ing to T-Bone Hill. 

By four o'clock in the morning the battlefield was at last 
quiet and Asfaw could see no sign of a live enemy. The patrol 
arose and stretched, satisfied that it had done a good night's 
work. Asfaw radioed the message, "Enemy destroyed. My men 
are still unhurt. We have spent our last bullet/' Being now 
unarmed, the patrol expected a recall. 

What came back proved with finality that Ethiopians pre- 
fer to fight the hard way. This was Captain Aleu's message to 
Asfaw: "Since you have won and are unhurt and the enemy is 
finished, you are given the further mission of screening the 
battlefield, examining bodies for documents and seeking to 
capture any enemy wounded." 

That task, which entailed another four to five miles of 
marching, preoccupied the patrol for the next two hours. The 
light was already full and the bird chorus was in full song 
when I met them as they re-entered the main line. Asfaw went 
briefly into the statistics of the fight. On the ground within 
150 yards of the ditch he had counted 73 dead Chinese. On 

The Incredible Patrol 249 

the slopes of Yoke and within the trenches were 37 more 
enemy bodies. There were other bodies among the paddies 
forward of Uncle, still not counted. But assuming the usual 
battle ratio of four men wounded for every one mortally hit, 
the score said that he had effectively eliminated one Chinese 

As a feat of arms by a small body of men, it was matchless. 
No other entry in the book of war more clearly attests that 
miracles are made when a leader whose coolness of head is 
balanced by his reckless daring becomes attended by a few 
steady men. Victory came not because of the artillery but 
because Asfaw believed in it, willed it, then planned it. 

But as the story unfolded, its significance transcended the 
importance of this one small field. On a vastly reduced scale, 
we had witnessed the prevue of great battle in the future, as 
it must be staged, and as its risks, decisions and movements 
must become regulated, if the field army is to endure against, 
and with the use of, atomic weapons. 

What we heard fired the imagination. Asfaw's patrol be- 
came a combat team riding armored into enemy country, too 
small and elusive to be a profitable atomic target, large enough 
to block and compel the enemy to extend his deployment. 
So doing, it would perforce make use of the most advan- 
tageous earth cover possible. Then, having developed the sit- 
uation, from the vortex of action, it would call on the big 
lighting to strike all around. At no point would its force be 
any better than its nerve and its command of communications. 

Done by an Ethiopian second lieutenant, it is a case study 
for generals pondering the possibilities of the war of tomor- 

Hexed Patrol 


line at the extreme left of the division sector, three hogbacks 
ran roughly parallel toward the river. Hill 172 was generously 
proportioned and a full infantry battalion could stand guard 

The hogbacks were called "fingers" because they directly 
abutted the big hill. But they were in fact transverse subridges 
set perpendicularly to the American fire front. The banks of 
the river and the extreme ends of the hogbacks were no-man's 
country though the outposts from both sides pressed close 
enough to oversee the river trench in daylight. Deep-scored 
valleys, each having its small stream and complex of paddy 
fields, separated the hogbacks. 

The graduated descent of the hogbacks, their fairly smooth 
and reasonably straight-running crests marked by well-beaten 
paths leading to the disputed ground, invited vigorous patrol 
action. They were like so many staircases permitting a com- 
fortable approach to the danger zone where the Communist 
enemy was most likely to be found after dark. The terrain 
features on his side of the river having an almost identical 
character, his patrolling was not less vigorous. 

With the river serving as a kind of neutral buffer, the game 
played by both sides was to maneuver down to its embank- 
ments, set up a deadfall and then wait hopefully. It was like 


252 Pork Chop Hill 

animal trapping, with man as the trapper, the bait and the 


The bottoms of the feeder valleys had a well-scrubbed look, 
but the untended slopes of the hogbacks were matted with 
thicket, flowering shrubs and stunted pine. When this growth 
was in full leaf, it limited observation from the crest line and 
was a great advantage to the side which could move most 

In mid-May, 1953, the river rose to near-flood stage after 
three day-long rains. In front of the hogback on the right was 
a ford where the water ran not more than knee-deep. It was a 
logical deduction that if the enemy came at all, he would 
advance via the ford. 

Second Battalion of 3ist Regiment, which had been sitting 
comfortably on Hill 172, thought long and hard about the 
ford, and worked up a tentative plan. It called for sending a 
strong patrol to the valley bottom and rigging an ambush 
which directly covered the water passage. The shore on the 
American side next the ford was thick with dead cedar stumps. 
Riflemen could use them for concealment. Machine guns 
from the heights directly above the ford could protect the 
rear of the patrol. This reasoning disposed of the argument 
against setting an ambush on low ground. 

Second Battalion moved from Hill 172 before it could make 
the experiment. On taking over Hill 172, First Battalion in- 
herited the plan and decided to modify it To Maj. William 
M. Calnan it seemed that the rigid ambush over the ford put 
too many eggs in one basket. He favored sending a patrol 
down the hogback to the left of the ford, and after the patrol 
had prowled the nose and base of the hogback to make cer- 
tain that its flank was clear, it would then shift rightward 
and go into position at the ford. 

At that stage of planning, Regiment intervened. If Calnan's 

Hexed Patrol 253 

idea was good, then it was worth amplifying. Two strong 
patrols should be sent. One out of Charley Company, num- 
bering twenty men, would go to the ford where lay the main 
chance for action. The supporting patrol out of Baker Com- 
pany would police the finger where Calnan had intended to 
make only a brief reconnaissance. By going out earlier and 
staying later than the Charley patrol, the Baker patrol would 
serve it as a fortifying backstop during its hours of greatest 

Artillery and mortar fires were plotted for both patrols. The 
Charley patrol would take along two light machine guns and 
two sniperscopes. Two additional machine guns would be put 
in the battalion outguard line so sighted that they could give 
Charley patrol a covering fire should real trouble develop. 

As for Baker patrol, its power and protection were made 
lighter because its mission was reckoned to be safer, simpler. 
It had conventional strength for Korean operations of this 
kind fifteen men under a second lieutenant. Just as conven- 
tionally, the patrol was to be split when it reached the far 
end of the hogback. Three hundred yards short of the river 
the "support" group of six men under a sergeant would go 
into a defensive perimeter. The nine men with the lieutenant 
would advance to the final promontory directly overlooking 
the river. If either party was attacked, the other could sustain 
it in less than four minutes. 

The last half-mile of the hogback along which Baker patrol 
was to advance was interrupted by three rather bald and suffi- 
ciently spacious limestone knobs, which for operational pur- 
poses had been named King, Queen and Jack. The support 
would tarry at Queen. The "fix" element under the lieutenant 
would advance to Jack, 300 yards beyond. There was no ob- 
struction to clear observation between the two points. Queen 
Knob was about 35 feet higher than Jack, which would 

254 Pork Chop Hill 

greatly advantage the two BARs and the light machine gun 
with the support group in protecting the fix's rear. The peak 
of Jack rose a good 200 feet above the valley bottom. Its base 
nudged the river and from there to the cap its densely cov- 
ered slopes were of such steepness that the climb was difficult 
even in daylight. 

The operation was set for the night of 14 May. That after- 
noon, Baker Company assembled for a ceremony. Pvt. Ran- 
dolph Mott was decorated with the Silver Star for gallantry 
and strong soldierly conduct in the defense of Dale Outpost, 
one month earlier. Attending the formation was SFC Robert 
C. Reasor who had already been given his Silver Star for 
superb personal conduct in the same fight. 

Both were going out on the patrol that night, Mott because 
he had been assigned, Reasor because he had volunteered. 
These circumstances were in direct contrast with the moods 
of the two men. Mott was in high spirits and so relaxed that 
he grinned broadly when the medal was pinned. Reasor was 
grim-faced and his talk was morbid. 

Baker's sixteen men moved out at 2030, hitting the trail in 
column. All hands were armed with four grenades apiece and 
carbines with sixty rounds apiece, except for the two BAR 
men with the support group and the one BAR man with the 
fix, who carried twelve full magazines. Via the circuit which 
tied all of the operators together, Battalion, Company and 
the outguard posts had full knowledge of its progress as the 
patrol advanced. 

The patrol moved along very slowly. That was because 
Mott, who was serving as point man, also carried the sniper- 
scope. The patrol dressed on Mott, and being a careful opera- 
tor, he stopped every few feet for an infrared sighting on the 
bushes and other likely hiding places in his foreground. The 
sides of the King-Queen-Jack finger were well pocked with 

Hexed Patrol 255 

small caves of such varying size as to conceal anything from 
a half-squad to a platoon. Mott stopped at each entrance and 
tried to screen the interior with his glass. No one had told 
him that the sniperscope was useless for such a purpose. 

The support group reached Queen Knob at 2049 and set up 
immediately. From there to Jack Knob in daylight would be a 
short five-minute walk. But because of Motfs excessive cau- 
tion, the fix group took 69 minutes to get to Jack. 

One advantage went with the position. Its crown was al- 
ready slotted with a circle of shallow rifle pits, dug by the 
Chinese during one of their forays. The men fitted them- 
selves into these holes, after Ferris had ordered their conven- 
tional deployment. Pvt. Alvin A. Bolf was put on the left 
flank, covering toward the river with his BAR. On the op- 
posite side were Pvt. Sherman Cagle and Sgt. Chester F. 
Hamilton, armed with carbines. The light machine gun was 
mounted on the forward slope, Pfc. James F. Cooper handling 
the gun, with Pvt. Lester LeGuire assisting him. Cpl. Dee 
Thompson covered the rear with a carbine. In the center was 
the "reserve/' 2nd Lieut. Roland R. Ferris, Pvt. William H. 
Reed, who was handling the sound power phone for him, 
and Mott, with his sniperscope. 

For three hours, the men maintained a motionless vigil in 
uneventful silence: The only active figure was Mott who, at 
five-minute intervals, checked the area through the sniper- 
scope, moving in a circle around the perimeter. During the 
three hours, he saw and heard nothing. Ferris called the com- 
pany every fifteen minutes to make the same report: "Nega- 
tive/ 7 

At exactly 0100, Lieut. Ernest Clark O'Steen of Baker Com- 
pany started to lay down the phone to light a cigaret. He felt 
sure that the cast had missed and the night would prove rou- 
tine. Private Reed had just told him, "There's nothing doing 

256 Pork Chop Hill 

and I think we'll soon be coming back." The line was still 
open as he lowered the instrument Then he heard Reed's 
voice screaming, "My God we're hit!" O'Steen asked, "What 
is it? What is it?" but the line had gone dead. 

Surprise had been complete. Not one warning sound had 
been heard by the men under Ferris. From 20 yards away, a 
burp gunner lying prone on the slope opened fire on Private 
Bolf. The burst ripped him through the chest. In falling he 
cried, 'They've killed me." 

That opening volley was the signal loosing the attack 
against the knob by approximately twenty Chinese who had 
crawled undetected halfway up the slope of Jack. The gun- 
ner, obviously the leader, had yelled a command as he fired. 
Immediately, from three sides of the knob, three or four other 
burp guns joined fire, and from front and rear of the knob, 
grenades fell among the defenders. Within one second after 
Bolf died, his comrades were under full pressure from all 

Ferris was given time only to empty his carbine down the 
slope. The men heard him yell to Cooper, "Get the machine 
gun going!" As the carbine emptied, he reached for his pistol. 
Then four or five bullets hit him in the upper body, still not 
killing him. He yelled to Cooper, "Get the gun going!" just 
as he sagged. A potato masher landed between his legs and 
exploded. He gave a gurgling sound and died. 

Knee to knee with Ferris at that moment, Private Reed 
picked up the radio and started crawling across the knob, 
figuring that his place was with Hamilton, who was now in 

Private Mott threw three grenades toward the river. He saw 
no targets but he guessed that the bomb that killed Ferris had 
come from that direction, and he wanted to do something 
about it. 

Hexed Patrol 257 

Yelling, "I can't stand the noise of those God-damned 
Chinks!" Private Cagle cut loose with his carbine, firing down 
the rear slope. By chance, and not because he saw the man, 
his opening burst cut down a Chinese burp gunner who had 
charged to within 10 yards of him. There were two others 
behind him and they also went down. 

Reed made it to Hamilton, who had engaged with his car- 
bine side by side with Cagle, and had already fired two of 
his three magazines. Reed asked, "Can I get into your fox- 
hole?" Hamilton said, "Try it" But when he wedged in, the 
hole was so cramped that it was impossible to work weapons. 
So Reed got out. As he emerged onto the open, he was hit 
around the shoulders by several burp-gun bullets. Whether he 
died then, the others did not know. Within a few seconds, a 
white phosphorus grenade struck directly on him and ex- 
ploded. His body was slowly incremated while the fight con- 

Reed had left his radio in the hole. Cagle picked it up and 
called Sergeant Reasor of the support group, saying, "We're 
hit hard and Ferris is dead. Please come help us." Reasor re- 
plied, "I'll be right there." 

Privates Cooper and LeGuire on the LMG weren't doing 
very well. Cooper had test-fired the gun just before leaving the 
MLR and it had worked perfectly. Now, whether because the 
gun had become dirty or anxiety had sapped his fingers of 
dexterity, he couldn't get the gun started. 

On the other side of the knob, Private Thompson, a colored 
soldier, had first reacted to the situation by standing in the 
clear and running from one point to another to fire downslope 
with his carbine. But he quit that quickly because of the 
bullet swarm around his head and returned to his foxhole. 
He had heard Ferris cry out to Cooper to get the LMG going. 

258 Pork Chop Hill 

Since the gun was still silent, he thought it was because the 
crew had been hit. 

So Thompson quit his foxhole and crawled across the knob 
to get to the LMG. Three times during the crawl he was hit 
by grenades. The fragments cut deep into his neck, chest and 
limbs, wounding him nigh fatally. Still he dragged himself 
along. Mott, who watched him make the journey, reckoned 
that it took Thompson five minutes to get from his foxhole 
to the gun. 

When he made it, Cooper at last had the gun going, and 
though it never did respond normally, Cooper fired 463 rounds 
during the fight. Thompson propped himself beside Cooper, 
swaying back and forth from weakness, but still firing down- 
slope with his carbine, to protect Cooper and LeGuire on 
their open flank. 

Mott had also gone to the LMG. Looking downslope 
through the sniperscope, he saw five Chinese scrambling up- 
ward, not more than 30 yards away. One man in the center 
carried a box of grenades. Mott yelled, "Fire with me!" and 
pulled the trigger. Cooper and Thompson turned weapons to 
the same spot. Through his glass, Mott saw the five Chinese 
pitch forward and lie still. 

For the next twenty minutes, the fight went on that way. 
The six Americans sat there, working their weapons against 
the enveloping darkness, seeing no more live targets, but 
maintaining the fire. Midway, a grenade exploded in Hamil- 
ton's foxhole, wounding him around the shoulders and head. 
He yelled, "I'm hit but I'm still shooting/' The effort was 
just enough to hold the Chinese back. Twice they seemed to 
come on at a charge, as the defenders judged by the crescendo 
in their screaming. Both times the assault withered under the 
blast from the knob. Then they pressed a third time and were 
again driven back. With that recession, Hamilton cried: "I'm 

Hexed Patrol 259 

almost out of ammunition; we got to get to hell out of here/' 
It was time. 

What meanwhile had happened to the support group? 
Sergeant Reasor, who was handling communications, got 
Lieutenant O'Steen on the phone within seconds after the 
fire fight started. He said to O'Steen, "I think the fix is being 
directly hit and Fm sure the Chinks have cut in between us 
and the MLR." At that moment the sound power line went 
out. Reasor then got on the radio to O'Steen but the contact 
was maintained by Reasor just long enough for him to say, 
"Now we're surrounded/ 7 

Only O'Steen heard him say it. The other members of the 
support, noting merely that Reasor was busy talking to the 
rear, were mystified by his hesitation. They had heard the 
burp guns open fire on the fix element, but they could also see 
machine-gun flashes from the far side of the river. The noises, 
close up and distant, were confusing. The men were not alto- 
gether sure that the forward group was being directly pressed 
and they waited for Reasor, the old hand, to say something. 
He did not tell them about the call from Cagle nor did he 
tell O'Steen. Pvt. Paul F. O'Brien grew so concerned about 
the support's inaction that he started down the forward slope 
of Queen with the object of reconnoitering Jack. Right then 
Reasor called him back, spun him back toward his foxhole 
and said, "We've got to stay compact/' But no one in the 
group had seen any Chinese or heard one suspicious sound, 
apart from the fire forward. Reasor had told them not to fire 
until he said so, and he never gave the order. His messages to 
O'Steen remained as inscrutable as his conduct 

Ten minutes passed. A few "overs" from the fight on Jack 
had plunked into the dirt of Queen. Other than that, nothing 
had happened. Then Reasor said, "We'll have to go back to 
the MLR in the same order that we came," And that was 

Group movements in the first attempt to rig an ambush along the 
King-Queen-Jack Finger. The Ambush Patrol did not become engaged. 

Hexed Patrol 261 

what they did. The other five men fell in, and the support 
trekked back uphill during the same minutes that the fight 
on Jack was wearing to its dreary conclusion. It was a fifteen- 
minute retreat and during the climb neither Sergeant Droney 
nor any other soldier thought to ask Reasor what he had on 
his mind. The lack of protest in his comrades is no more ex- 
plainable than the aberration in Reasor, a brave but worn 
fighter, so mixed up emotionally from his ordeal on Dale 
Outpost that he volunteered to stay two extra days in Korea 
to attend this last patrol. 

Instead of returning via the finger, the six survivors on 
Queen slipped rightward off the knob, reckoning that the Chi- 
nese had barred the back door. Cagle and Cooper, carrying 
Thompson, who was unconscious from loss of blood, went 
first, with Hamilton limping along. Mott and LeGuire trailed 
behind, Mott weighted by his sniperscope and the LMG> 
which he had determined to bring out "because it is such a 
damned good gun/' 

Haltingly, pausing every few yards to rest, they started up- 
ward through the terraced rice paddies which cover the draw 
lying northeast of the finger. For perhaps 100 yards, it seemed 
that they had gotten away clean. Then from the paddy em- 
bankment toward which they marched, a .30 machine gun 
opened fire on them. There were just two bursts. 

From the first one, a bullet got Hamilton. Cagle had 
crawled forward to throwing distance of the bank. His gre- 
nade fell short but the Chinese picked up the gun and ran. 
Hamilton could still walk, though he needed arm support. 
So he fell back on Mott and LeGuire. 

They got to the last paddy where the draw ended and the 
ridge began. Then from the height above, fire from a .50 
machine gun searched the paddy and drove them to the cover 
of the banks. It was random fire from one of Baker's own 

262 Pork Chop Hill 

guns. No one atop the hill had imagined that the patrol 
would attempt to exit via the draw. 

What stopped the fire was that two lights from the bat- 
talion's 6omm mortars broke suddenly directly over the heads 
of Mott and his party. They stood up in the clear. Men mount- 
ing the outguard posts halfway up the ridge saw them. Back 
to O'Steen went the message, "Hold all fire! Some of our 
men are coming in. We see three of them/' 

Because of doubt about what had happened in the valley, 
Major Calnan at Battalion had already alerted 2nd Lieut 
John J. Tierney of Able Company. He was to take his Second 
Platoon, advance to Queen and then try to screen Jack. He 
called his CP, got cut into the hot loop, and heard for the 
first time that Ferris' party had probably been "beaten up/' 
He asked, "But what happened to the support?" The answer 
was supplied by his own first squad leader, Sergeant Taylor, 
who at that moment entered the bunker to report, "I see a 
group of Americans coming up the finger; I'm sure it's the 
support from the Baker patrol." It was then 0200. 

Reasor arrived breathless. His support group had passed 
through an outguard on the last leg of the climb. Mott had 
reached another outguard post almost at the same time. The 
word had gone over the loop, "three Americans left on Jack," 
and Reasor had heard it before reaching Tierney. 

When he caught his breath, he said, "Will you please call 
Baker Company and tell them I've got to go back? There are 
three men left on Jack. It's my job to get them." While Tier- 
ney was phoning for authority to include Reasor's party in 
his own patrol, Reasor spoke to the men he had just led up- 
hill, saying, "Now we've got to go back. We've got to help 
the fix/' Still, such was the high excitement of the night that 
neither Tierney nor the rest of the patrol was impressed by 
his irrational behavior. O'Steen might have been inclined to 

Hexed Patrol 263 

question it, but then O'Steen believed from what he had been 
told on the phone that Reasor had been caught in the same 
trap as Ferris and had broken out. 

O'Steen agreed by phone that it was all right to send 
Reasons party back. But Major Calnan felt there was no 
longer need for Tierney to move his full strength out immedi- 
ately. Instead, Tierney was to detach one squad to beef-up 
Reasor's party, which would go posthaste to Jack Knob, and 
Tierney would follow as promptly as he could get the platoon 
in order and the company could make the extra stretch to 
cover the hole he left behind. 

Several hitches developed. Reasor, in departing, picked up 
Tierney's radio, and, dropping his own useless Peter 6 on 
Tierney's lap, said, "You can hold onto this damned thing." 
It is not surprising that this exit left the lieutenant speechless. 
His remaining two squads had already been routed from the 
bunkers and were standing at alert in the main trench. Lieut. 
William D. Hughes called Tierney to say that he could go 
when ready. Tierney said, "But now I have no radio/* Hughes 
got one from the communications section and started it out 
by runner. Enroute, both the runner and the box were hit by 
a mortar burst. It took Hughes forty minutes to learn what 
had happened and to send another radio. In the interim, two 
of Tierney's outguards came in to tell him that their phone 
lines had been cut by mortar fire. Tierney gave the outguards 
a fresh doughnut of wire from which to make the repair, 
realizing as he did so that he might be running the patrol 
short. Ten minutes later the radio arrived and he reassembled 
his force. In this way one hour was lost. He still had heard 
nothing from Reasor. It was 0300 before he felt free to start. 
So he led his platoon down the finger at a run, fearful that he 
already was too late to help the other patrol. 

The column got to King Knob in less than six minutes. The 

264 Pork Chop Hill 

wire was running out, and there was just time to set up the 
sound power phone before Tierney's worst thoughts were con- 
firmed. From the thicket just in front of them came sounds as 
of men crashing through heavy foliage. Then a voice 
screamed, "For Christ's sakes, are you GIs? For Christ's sakes, 
tell me, are you GIs?" Before anyone could answer, two fig- 
ures reeled out of the bush, stumbled a few yards and col- 
lapsed flat on the trail. 

It was Sgt. John H. Droney, of Reasor's patrol, and the 
medic, Private Naparez. Droney was shot through the wrist, 
shoulder and buttocks. Naparez bled from a number of super- 
ficial grenade wounds. Droney looked up at Tiemey and said, 
"You gave us only green men and they scattered all over 
hell/' Tierney questioned him about what had happened. For 
the time being it was useless. Droney's teeth were chattering 
and his effort at speech produced only a mumble. 

Had Droney been more articulate, he still could not have 
explained much to Tierney. He and the others under Reasor 
had once again followed mechanically a man who moved 
as if in a trance. The experience had so bewildered them that 
when crisis overtook the group it had already morally disin- 

Reasor had led them only in the sense that he had gone first 
as the column trotted to its rendezvous. After his outburst at 
Tierney's CP, he had said not a word. The men knew only 
that they were going back; they had no idea what they were 
expected to do. The other fourteen trailed after Reasor si- 

Come to his former position at Queen Knob, Reasor walked 
on. The group got perhaps another 35 yards. The saddleback 
just beyond Queen was now thick with smog. Mist rising 
from the valley bottom had mingled with the smoke from the 
brush fires atop the higher ridges. The smog had a sharp edge 

Hexed Patrol 265 

as if a curtain had been lowered on this part of the finger. 
Reasor pulled up short on seeing it Then he leaned toward 
the curtain, pointing with his finger and cupping the other 
hand to his ear as if listening. He said nothing. 

For perhaps two seconds the others stood behind Reasor, 
motionless and waiting. Four riflemen stood abreast just to 
his rear. Back of them, Pvt. Paul F. O'Brien, who was just 
completing his first week at the front, and Pvt. Robert Beaver, 
a BAR man, dropped to a crouch, not because they heard 
anything but because they thought it safer. The two files 
immediately to their rear followed their example. The others 
remained standing. 

Five seconds. From within the smog bank, and not more 
than 15 yards in front of Reasor, a burp gun opened fire. 
Whether he was killed by the opening volley is not known. 
As of that moment he vanished from sight of the patrol. No 
one heard him cry or noted his fall. He was missed in the 
early searching of the area and was first carried MIA. Days 
later his body was found in the brush halfway down the 
knob. It was too late to determine how he had met his death, 

As the gun cracked, O'Brien and Beaver fell sideways and 
started rolling toward the slope of the saddle to escape the 
line of fire. But in rolling they saw the four riflemen behind 
Reasor cut down in a body. The burst had gotten each man 
through the upper part of the body. The Chinese gunner had 
gone flat after firing about twenty rounds. Beaver could hear 
someone yelling, "The damned sons-of-bitches! The damned 

O'Brien whispered to Beaver, "Why don't you fire?" 

Beaver answered, "I can't. That pile of bodies is between us 
and the Chink." 

Grenades came in on them from out of the smog. Some 
exploded lightly; others shook the earth around them. One 

266 Pork Chop Hill 

loosed a rock mass between the two men and sent Beaver 
careening down the slope. O'Brien wondered whether to fol- 
low him or to try to get at the burp gunner. He took out his 
three grenades and crawled a few yards closer. But he did not 
trust his arm and he was afraid that if he threw, his bombs 
would explode among the American bodies. 

Sergeant Droney, near the end of the column, had been 
attempting a hopeless stand. Men were trying to break past 
him and he was lashing out with hands and feet in an attempt 
to stop them. O'Brien looked that way. He saw Droney 
standing there, struggling violently to turn the other men 
around. O'Brien heard him cry, "Where in hell are you going? 
Where in hell are you going?" But the bag was already empty. 
The last two men had just dodged past Droney. Then the 
Chinese gunner turned his fire in that direction, and the burst 
hit Droney and the last two runaways. That completed the 
rout. One submachine gun and not more than twelve gre- 
nades had done it. The Americans hadn't fired a shot. 

O'Brien rolled downslope to Beaver. They did a semicircle 
and came back on the trail some 30 yards to rearward. Both 
men were armed with BARs. For a moment they discussed 
whether to join the flight or have a go at the enemy gunner. 
What decided them was the sudden appearance of Pvt Rey- 
nald St. Pierre who had fallen beside the trail. He said, "I'm 
hit. They got me in the foot. I can't walk." 

O'Brien passed his weapon to Beaver. Then he picked up 
St. Pierre piggyback and started uptrail. Beaver made the 
climb walking backwards, so as to cover the other two men. 
This, and the fact that he was trying to handle two BARs 
in his first experience as a rearguard, gave the three-man re- 
treat a unique flavor. 

Of these details, Tierney, having arrived at King Knob and 
met two survivors, still knew nothing. He judged from 

Hexed Patrol 267 

Drone/s hysteria that the patrol had been hard used. On 
radio, he told the company to send litters down the finger 
to pick up Droney and Naparez. Then he relieved Droney of 
his grenades and the patrol again moved, going warily, with 
its skirmishers spread well apart on both sides of the trail. 

Halfway to Queen, Tierney again heard a movement in the 
underbrush ahead. Six men staggered into view and then fell 
flat when they saw Tierney's party. Concluding from their 
reeling gait that they were all wounded, Tierney again called 
the company, "Send six more litters/' One of the men mum- 
bled over and over, "The sergeant's back there. We left the 
sergeant. Somebody ought to get the sergeant/ 7 This was Pfc. 
Walter P. Brooner who had been serving Reasor as point man. 
Later he told a strange story about seeing Reasor cut down 
by burp-gun fire only to fall on an exploding grenade which 
blew him apart. But the other men said the Red Chinese did 
not use grenades at the beginning. They thought Brooner had 
suffered an hallucination. The failure of the screening patrols 
to find Reasor's body deepened the mystery. 

From that point forward, Tierney proceeded with maxi- 
mum caution, fearing another ambush. The interval between 
men was increased. Instead of going at a slow walk, the patrol 
advanced by individual bounds, each man moving about 15 
yards at a time. 

But the method slowed their advance to a crawl and the 
patrol got not more than 50 yards before it was checked by 
the breaking of 6o-mm mortar flares directly overhead. In- 
tended to help Tierney, the lights, through misdirection, 
nearly ruined him. Able Company had been aiming for the 
ford down in the valley; it missed by at least 350 yards. The 
third flare came down directly on Tierney's head; at the last 
second he threw up his hand to ward the blow. He was just too 
late. The metal opened his scalp, knocked him cold and broke 

268 Pork Chop Hill 

two of his fingers, though he was not aware of the hand in- 
jury until the patrol had ended. 

In a few minutes, Tierney regained consciousness. Sergeant 
Taylor was just saying to some of the other men, "What will 
we do now that the lieutenant's hit?" Tierney gave the answer 
by getting to his feet and resuming the march to Queen. 

He found nothing at all on the knob. There were no dead 
men and no signs that an action had taken place. So he called 
for a flare between Queen and Jack; in these few minutes the 
smog had vanished and visibility was good. It took a long 
time and much trying to get the lights where he wanted them. 
Still, nothing was revealed other than the peaceful-seeming 

Since he had not been ordered to prowl Jack Knob, Tierney 
called Company on radio, asking, "What do you want me to 
do?" He got the order, "Proceed to Jack and look things over." 

Tierney moved to a shallow trench on Queen and stopped 
the patrol. He had decided to split the patrol, which was still 
strung out over trail space. With him was the first squad 
under Sergeant Taylor. Slightly behind him, he thought, was 
Sergeant First Class Strauss and the second squad. 

So he said to Taylor, "Crawl back and tell Strauss to hold 
this knob and pare off three of his men to serve as rearguard/' 
Taylor returned in ten minutes, saying, "Sir, Fm sorry but 
there aren't any men back there." It was true. Despite all the 
care exercised the patrol had broken in half. 

So Tierney put it to Taylor to stay on Queen with half of his 
squad and cover the route to the rear. He took the other half- 
squad and moved on to Jack. From that point, he radioed 
Able Company, "I am sitting on Jack with four men. No one 
is shooting at me. There are dead Americans here but I can't 
carry them back. Now what do you want me to do?" 

That was at 0352. Tierney was told, "Return to the MLR 

Hexed Patrol 269 

and screen the area as you come back." He did his best to 
comply, but it was a broad-backed finger and well covered 
by undergrowth and thicket. The "screening of the area" 
consisted of five men crawling single file up a poorly marked 
trail just as fast as they could make it. Halfway to Queen they 
were stopped by mortar fire coming in three-round salvos two 
minutes apart and hitting just a few yards beyond them. Get- 
ting his men off the trail and onto the slope, Tierney kept 
them flattened there for twenty minutes until the hill became 

They resumed crawling and got on past Queen Knob. 
Private Dunlop, who had been serving as point man from the 
moment of departing the main line, suddenly went flat be- 
side the trail, aimed his carbine and cried, "Are you GI?" 
Tierney crawled up next him. He could see a helmet project- 
ing above a boulder just a few yards on beyond. Dunlop called 
again: "Are you GI? Answer, dammit, or I'll shoot." 

Back came a voice, "Don't shoot! Me ROK soldier." Then 
two men got up from behind the boulder. They were two of 
Tierney's own ROKs, the forward files in Strauss' squad. The 
rest of the squad was strung out behind them. At the rear 
was Sergeant Strauss, still unaware that Tierney and his party 
had moved to Jack and returned. The two ROKs had been 
told to maintain the contact On the final bound toward 
Queen, they had watched Taylor's men move forward, and 
had deliberately stalled in their tracks, thereby breaking the 
patrol in half as it maneuvered into the danger zone. Asked 
why, one of them said, "Me afraid." 

First light was just breaking. Tierney marched his platoon 
back to the MLR as rapidly as the fatigued state of the men 
would permit. As they closed, he keeled over from loss of 
blood and was carted to the dispensary to have his head 
wound dressed. Although the patrol had not made contact, 

270 Pork Chop Hill 

it had been a relatively rough go for a youngster having his 
first experience under fire after only six days in the company. 

At 0515, 2nd Lieut. Laurence Dankel, of Able Company, 
led still another patrol down the finger. In it were four men 
from Able and four from Baker. Lieutenant O'Steen, count- 
ing heads, reckoned that Baker was still missing seven men, 
counting the losses on both Jack and Queen. Baker needed 
Abie's help in making a final screening and recovering the 

Daylight was arriving fast, and so the patrol was given a 
WP smoke screen which in the end did more to confuse than 
to protect it. When he arrived at Queen, Dankel thought he 
already was standing on Jack, and so told the men. They acted 
pooped and several of them sprawled flat and fell asleep while 
he prowled the vicinity. Then the smoke cleared and he saw 
that he was on the wrong knob. He started to Jack, not noting 
that two of his men failed to follow. 

Enemy machine-gun fire from the far side of the river raked 
the forward knob as the patrol approached it. They crawled 
the last 40 yards. Dankel quickly found Private Bolf s body, 
and a second corpse, burned beyond recognition. (This was 
Private Reed.) The carrying party moved out, three men to 
each litter. That left Dankel alone on Jack in the moment 
when he found Ferris' body lying in the shallow trench. Still 
under fire, he lifted Ferris and made the portage back to 
Queen unassisted, where the burden was shifted to the pair 
who had slept. They were another hour in getting to the top 
of the ridge. Dankel said, "I'll never do anything like this 

During that night, the strong patrol out of Charley Com- 
pany which had moved out on the right, with the object of 
rigging a deadfall at the ford, was left in peace. Its members 
saw the lights and heard the sounds of fire on their left. But 

Hexed Patrol 271 

such was the quiet in their immediate neighborhood that they 
felt no alarm. 

Yet the Chinese had contrived to maneuver around this 
main ambush to twice ambush the smaller forces intended 
only to backstop it. 

Doomed Patrol 


on a high ridge near the ruined village of Sokkagae, Korea. 

It was 19 May, 1953. Except for the division commander, 
all others present were members of the 3ist Infantry Regi- 
ment, which has a unique record: it has never served so much 
as one day inside the United States. Our purpose was to hold 
an inquest. We wished to learn, if possible, how and why an 
entire patrol of Americans had been killed with every man 
dying in an identical manner. 

Begun as a more or less routine debriefing of forces in an 
operation which had gone badly for our side, it developed into 
a hearing on a plain case of mass murder. Where death at the 
hands of the enemy is a not unexpected incident in war, it 
is still something new on the battlefield to engage an enemy 
with a plot and purpose as diabolically conceived and as ter- 
ribly executed as was the St. Valentine's massacre in Chicago. 

Two American patrols had been sent out the night before. 
It was my task to determine, through living witnesses, and 
by physical proof, why one of them had not returned. 

The patrol which had been annihilated had expected to 
operate in relative safety. The patrol which had survived un- 
scathed had intentionally been given a mission of great dan- 
ger. Here was the paradox which from the beginning sug- 
gested that the results came of a deliberate design by the Red 


Doomed Patrol 273 

First Battalion of the 3ist Regiment, like other infantry 
along the main line, nightly patrolled down into the valley 
which separated its ridge from enemy country. The object 
in all such patrolling was to take prisoners and to keep check 
on enemy movements. 

To descend to the valley, the patrols normally moved via 
the trails winding down the ridge fingers which projected into 
the valley like so many flying buttresses. Arrived at the bot- 
tom, the patrol would usually set up a defensive perimeter on 
a likely knob to ambush or intercept any Communist party 
moving toward the main line. 

For control purposes, the knobs along the descending ridge 
fingers were given names. Able Company of the 3ist Regi- 
ment sat astride the ridge from which the finger marked by 
Ace, King, Queen and Jack knobs tapered to the valley. 

Four nights earlier a patrol from Able had descended all 
the way to Jack Knob and there set up a defensive circle to 
await the enemy. But the Red Chinese had proved too clever. 
The American ambush had been counterambushed, caught 
in a crossfire and almost destroyed, only three men escaping 

That is why there happened to be two patrols on this par- 
ticular night. The Americans were anxious to avoid being 
caught once again in the same trap. And perhaps they re- 
flected a bit too wishfully that their own side was just as 
capable of playing the devious Red Chinese game. 

Both the problem and the American resolve to whip it were 
well put by Lieut. Jack L. Conn of Pasadena, Texas. This 
tall, mild-mannered Longhorn was a veteran of seven months' 
experience in the warfare of the stabilized front Conn speak- 
ing: "I like to have a patrol leader on the line ten days before 
I send him on patrol. But right now I haven't got one who's 
been here that long. So with the green lieutenant, I try to send 

274 Pork Chop Hill 

along an old sergeant. That means a veteran of at least one 

"Sometimes they act like footpads out therethe Red 
Chinese. They latch onto our patrol when it leaves our lines 
and just shadow it. They bird-dog it right into their own 
works and out again. But they do nothing. Our men can't 
see or hear them. They just sense that they're being shadowed. 
It's sort of ghostly. At other times, they get in early, rig an 
ambush and just sit there waiting for our men to make the 
return journey. So we have to get smart after we hear that 
whistle or birdcall a few times and are then showered with 
hand grenades from both sides of the path. We get to going 
out one path and returning by another. That's not a highly 
original thought, but it's the best we can do when we're 
bushers in the ambush league." 

So changing pace, the Americans decided that a half- 
strength patrol would be sent down the Ace-to-jack finger. 
Only this time it would stop at Queen Knob, two-thirds along 
the way to the bottom of the valley. It would have simply 
an "alert" mission, meaning that it would not deliberately 
engage or seek the enemy, but would stand by ready to help 
if needed. 

At the same time a full-strength patrol would move down 
the parallel finger fronting Baker Company. The patrol would 
go all the way to the bottom, set up a defensive perimeter 
and remain quiet The Baker finger was rightward of Abie's 
position and its terminus was closer to enemy country. If the 
Red Chinese were drawn back to the Ace-to-jack finger be- 
cause of their earlier success, not only would they find the 
lower knob unoccupied, but in transit, they would have to 
cross Baker patrol's front. 

This was the plan, and the movement into the valley by 
the two patrols precisely followed it. 

Doomed Patrol 275 

From Baker Company went a patrol of twenty men under 
Lieut. Benjamin L. Collins. Because the prospect for the Able 
patrol was that it would sweat out nothing worse than a 
night's exercise in ridge-climbing, it was cut to ten men 
under command of a 21 -year-old corporal, Otis Alford. 

Thus the preliminary moves toward the setting of the stage. 
The drama itself is composed from the lines spoken by the 
men who fought that night. 

There are many Korean nights like this one during the late 
spring. Along the crests of the higher ridges the air is clean 
and the stars shine bright. As the sun goes down, mist rises 
from the paddies in the bottoms and shortly thickens into 
fog. From the top view, the scene is not formidable. The 
valley below is a place of Ipst horizon. 

Collins led his patrol out at ninety minutes before mid- 
night. The march route was straight down the ridge finger, 
and they did it single file. So that progress could be measured 
accurately in the CP, the path of descent had been divided 
into five check points, named in order, Champagne, Beer, 
Rye, Scotch and Gin. It took forty minutes to reach Cham- 
pagne, Collins knew by then that he would be bucking the 
weather no less than the enemy. Visibility and the patrol were 
together reaching bottom. 

At Point Champagne, the patrol split, Collins leading half 
the party forwawl to Beer, while the other half tarried at 
Champagne so as to put 150 yards' distance between the two 
parties during the move into enemy country. With Collins 
was the "fix" element The "support" element was under Pvt 
Loy J. Bearchild, an Indian who had volunteered for the 
night's task because he had accidentally shot a sergeant that 
afternoon and wished to square things. 

Point Beer was marked by a tall pine, lone and conspicuous 

276 Pork Chop Hill 

amid the belt of scrub oak, sumac and jack pine which cov- 
ered the lower abutments of the big ridge. As Collins came 
abreast the tree, quite suddenly the fog curtain split, as if 
taken by an updraft from the valley. Standing about 75 yards 
away, forward and to his left, at the bottom of the draw be- 
tween the two ridge fingers, he saw two men. 

Before he could take a second look, or call anyone else's 
attention, the fog closed again. He called his commander, 
Lieut. E. H. Pedrick, by telephone, saying, "I think I saw two 
men; I think they're enemy." Pedrick answered, "You must 
be wrong; they must be from the other patrol/' Asked Collins, 
"Why not call LP6 and find out?" Pedrick did. The men on 
LP6 said they had seen nothing. Corporal Alford answered 
that his men were on their assigned knob and hadn't moved. 
As for signs of the enemy, Alford said, "Negative, no sweat, 
all quiet." 

Whether Collins was being tricked by his imagination, at 
least his sensing of the night was in whole contrast to Alf ord's. 
His ear was tuned to the sound of gravel slipping under his 
men's feet and to the whisper of the breeze through the under- 
growth. But there were other slight, unaccountable noises all 
about him the breaking of twigs or the rustle of garments. 
He felt the presence of an enemy almost close enough to him 
to be touched. 

Behind him, Bearchild was harboring the same thought, 
but for different reasons. He leaned into the mist, sniffing; 
later, he said, "I smelled them." 

But again the fog played tricks. A clear shaft opened for a 
few seconds between the two ridge fingers, giving Alford a 
fleeting glance of Collins' men in silhouette. He so reported 
by radio to Pedrick who concluded that if Alford had seen 
Collins, then Collins earlier must have been looking at Alford. 
Highly logical, but still wrong. 

Doomed Patrol 277 

When this information was relayed by Pedrick, Collins 
stood still for an indecisive five minutes. It bothered him 
badly that the danger he felt could still not be clearly ex- 
pressed and that Pedrick was giving him too little credit 
Finally, he said to his men, "Well move on to Rye." 

On getting to that check point, he called Pedrick, asking, 
"Does LP6 see us now?" After a minute or so, Pedrick an- 
swered, "No, so get yourself a drink of Gin/' By that time, 
the two young officers were of opposite minds about the mean- 
ing of the same piece of information. Collins' safe arrival at 
Rye spelled to Pedrick that Collins had been wrong in report- 
ing the presence of Chinese off his flank. To the man on the 
spot, it meant that he was being ordered arbitrarily to go on 
to the object, leaving an enemy force on his rear. 

Collins believed that at that moment he should have been 
told to move flankward and beat the bushes for an enemy 
whose presence he had reported. In moving on to Gin, he 
would have to bring Bearchild's group to Scotch, thus com- 
pleting the movement according to the original plan. That 
would put the patrol as a whole about 75 yards beyond where 
the Chinese had first been sighted. 

In their final positions, the fix was about 70 yards forward 
of the support. The two knobs, Gin and Scotch, were at equal 
elevation, possibly 200 feet above the valley floor. Figuring 
that no conventional disposition suited the extraordinary haz- 
ards of the night, Collins arranged the patrol in two V's with 
points toward each other. He and Bearchild would occupy 
the pivots within shouting distance of each other. If the 
Chinese tried to rush the saddle between them, both flanks 
of the two V's could provide mutually supporting fires. A 
spur-of-the-moment arrangement, it is perhaps just as well 
that it was never tested. 

For almost forty minutes Collins listened and sweated, 

278 Pork Chop Hill 

while the flattened patrol went silent. It was drizzling now, 
and though the breeze quickened, the fog hung thicker than 
ever. He could see not more than 10 yards. But again his ear 
caught a fugue of almost imperceptible sound. His anxieties 
were mainly for what was happening on his left, not that he 
thought of Alford's group, but because it was on that side he 
had first seen the Chinese. So he went that way, moving per- 

haps thirty paces down from the knob. His ear caught he 
felt quite sure of it the restrained breathing of a body of 
men out beyond the fog. Then for a third time a corridor was 
wafted briefly in the fog and in the clear, as if spotlighted, he 
saw and counted six men. The impression of a split second, it 
was gone as quickly, and the swiftness of the transition made 
him doubt that he had seen anything at all. 

He sprang back toward the summit, aware even as he moved 
that his men were not favorably deployed toward the point 
of danger, and concerned not to lose time and energy in 
turning them that way. At his own position was a 6o-mm 
mortar tube and two rounds which he had brought down 
from the hill. It took him perhaps one-half minute to fire the 
weapon. As the round got away, he yelled, "Keep lookout to 

Doomed Patrol 279 

left!" The shell fell and exploded right where he thought he 
had seen the six Chinese. But the flash and roar revealed 
nothing. Now the silence became oppressive as he halfway de- 
cided that all along he had been tricked by his imagination. 

For the next few minutes, he played it cool. He didn't 
bother to tell the men what he thought he had seen, nor did 
he radio Pedrick that he had fired a mortar round hoping to 
scare an unknown number of the enemy. However, Pedrick 
had watched the round explode from his post on the hilltop 
and, baffled by it, had murmured, "Now, what the hell!" 

At last suspicion overcame reticence. Collins asked his run- 
ner, Pvt. Walter E. Busch, Jr., "Tell me, am I nuts, or are you 
hearing anything?" Busch answered very solemnly, "I sure do. 
I been hearing it for an hour. There's something very funny 
out there." That one word of assurance, coming from an en- 
listed man, was all that was needed to get Collins back in 
balance, confirming his worst thoughts about the situation 
and clearing his recurrent doubt of self. At last he felt sure 
that most of the night's noise was man-made. It built higher 
as he listened. His main worry the fear of envelopment was 
partly relieved only because, now that he knew he was dealing 
with something real, his ear told him that the noise came 
from the low ground between him and Alford's patrol. 

Collins sent Busch crawling back to Bearchild to give him 
the picture and warn him of the need for full alert. Busch 
carried along two communications wires, so that Collins and 
Bearchild could signal each other by jerks on the wire if they 
sighted the enemy or needed fire. Collins then altered his 
formation as shown in the diagram on page 278. 

In this way, his party faced about toward its own main line 
and concentered its weapons in the direction of the noise. 
Collins decided to tell the others what he thought he was up 

280 Pork Chop Hill 

against. The men showed no nervousness and proceeded si- 
lently to reorganize. It was now near midnight. 

Of these forebodings in the Collins patrol, Corporal Alf ord 
and his nine men knew nothing, though they were but 230 
yards distant. That can be charged off to greenness and lack 
of knowledge of each other. Alford, the most experienced 
man, was making only his second patrol. Four of his men 
were non-English-speaking Katusas. Of his five Americans, 
three had been assigned only that day to Able Company and 
had not yet met their comrades. The other two had been with 
the unit ten days and had seen no action. In this not-dry- 
behind-the-ears look, it differed not greatly from Collins' 
patrol, only two members of which had been with Baker 
Company longer than six days. It was an evil that was char- 
acteristic of Korean operations in that period, imposed on the 
fighting line by the rotation system. 

Alf ord had marched his men straight down the ridge finger, 
insensible to the night noises which were disquieting Collins. 
Passing through King Knob, and then arriving at Queen, he 
had deployed his men in a circle around the knob. It was al- 
ready worked with half-dug foxholes and the men simply fitted 
into them. There they sat, resting and relaxed, while Collins 
was hesitantly moving down from the ridge top. They did not 
expect a fight, because the other patrol was moving into the 
forward ground and their own mission was to assure it extra 
defensive protection. Whether that outlook made them less 
wary, it is at least clear that Alford said nothing to his men 
to alarm them and he reported nothing to Pedrick indicating 
a belief that he was in the presence of the enemy. 

So at their station the fog simply worsened the monotony. 
Time moved routinely until just past midnight. A few of the 
men dozed and Alford did not bother to prod them into 

Doomed Patrol 


Movement in the second attempt to spring an ambush at the King- 
Queen-Jack Finger. 

The new day was just two minutes old when Collins heard 
several bursts of fire off to his left The fog muffled- the sound; 
still, he thought it came from the direction of the Able Patrol. 
Pedrick called him immediately, "What's happening?" Said 
Collins, with pardonable exaggeration, "All hell has broken 
loose on my left rear/' Pedrick asked whether the fire came 
from friend or enemy, and Collins gave him his best judg- 
ment: "I think if s Chinese/' 

Exactly eight minutes later, Pedrick called again. The time 

282 Pork Chop Hill 

interval is important because, till the moment when this sec- 
ond conversation opened, Collins had been listening to auto- 
matic fire in heavy volume over on his left. As he began to 
talk, the automatic fire died; thereafter, he heard nothing but 
what he described as "scattered rifle fire/' Asked Pedrick, 
"What's happening now?*' Collins started to say that the fight 
was still going. Then corrected himself and reported, "Nega- 
tive. There's no fire except what my people are giving in 
support, and we're pouring it on heavy." 

The line and radio links with Alford's patrol on Queen 
Knob had gone dead, Pedrick having heard nothing from it 
since the fire opened. He guessed, or hoped, that Alford's 
men by now were scrambling back up the ridge finger. So he 
said to Collins, "Fall back on your support, move toward 
Queen and be ready to assault if the Chinese have it." But a 
bell already rang in Collins' brain telling him that he was too 
late. Dropping all caution, he shouted at top voice, "Join 
me at the rally point!" and without waiting to organize the 
fix group, started for Point Rye. They trailed after; Bearchild 
and his men were already ahead of him. The Indian, too, was 
filled with a terrible premonition. What he had heard through 
the fog lacked the dynamic and rhythm of a normal fire ex- 
change followed by disengagement. A BAR had fired pro- 
longedly amid a crackling of carbines and rifles. That noise 
was swiftly drowned by the rattle of burp guns fired in large 
number. Then as the automatic volume suddenly cut off, 
there was a diminuendo of rifle shots. Afterwards, only silence. 
It was a senseless pattern for a skirmish between sides fight- 
ing for ground. 

Collins got his men to the base of Queen in ten minutes, 
moving in squad column on the double. Only then did he 
bother to form a skirmish line for the upward sweep. It was 
a useless precaution; the scene was utterly quiet. Without 

Doomed Patrol 283 

interruption, they got to the top of the knob. There they 
found eight dead men in American uniform. Alford's patrol 
was still formed in a circle around the top of the knob. Each 
man seemingly had met death where he had been stationed. 
Their weapons lay beside or under them. "It was/' said Col- 
lins, "a perfect execution." And he spoke better than he knew. 
It was much too perfect for war. 

Collins called Pedrick. On hearing that the alert patrol had 
been massacred, Pedrick told him to bring the bodies out. 
Collins' men tried, but it was no go. Clean spent from the 
emotion and exertion of the night, climaxed by the shock of 
their discovery on Queen Knob, they had lost all lifting power. 
They dragged several of the bodies a few yards, then gave it 

When Collins explained this to Pedrick, he relayed the in- 
formation to Able Company. Its commander, Lieut. R. F. 
Rasch, thereon told 2nd Lieut. John J. Tierney to take a 
patrol of fourteen men down to Queen, get the ground under 
control and give such help to the Americans as proved neces- 
sary. The exact order given shows that Rasch had no clear 
idea of the situation and was unaware that his alert patrol had 
met disaster. He said to Tierney, "Go down the chogi trail 
to Queen. There's a disorganized enemy force holding it. You 
are to form an assault line and recapture Queen." 

So Tierney started down the ridge, falsely assuming that 
his main job was to move into a fighting situation and get it 
under control. Tiemey told his men to fire at anything mov- 
ing off the trail. They moved along at a running walk. There 
were eight Americans and seven Koreans in the party. 

During that half-hour Collins' men simply lay down and 
rested alongside the chogi trail above Queen Knob. They 
were still flattened when they heard Tierney's patrol come 
clattering along and forthwith challenged it That circum- 

284 Pork Chop Hill 

stance possibly averted a collision between the two parties 
as Tierney was wholly surprised to meet friends in the neigh- 

When Collins gave him the news that his task was to por- 
terage a dead patrol, Tierney immediately had heavy trouble 
with his seven Koreans. They refused to touch the bodies. So 
Tierney pointed his carbine and said he would fire unless they 
obeyed the order. When they still didn't move and he failed 
to fire, he lost his point. Only one Korean, Pvt. Chim Sa Soo, 
changed his mind, shouldered a body and carried it to the 
company lines under his own power. 

The other seven bodies had to be handled by Tierney's 
eight Americans, since Collins' men had but sufficient energy 
left to pull themselves along up the trail. Thus the carrying 
had to be done in relays, while Tierney, to help his men, 
moved along under a load of three rifles and four carbines. 
The combined party was two hours and 35 minutes in reach- 
ing the main trench atop the ridge. 

As stated, there were eight men in the killed patrol. But in 
the beginning, ten men of Able Company had been sent to 
Queen. The discrepancy comes of what happened to two 
Katusa (Koreans serving with American units) soldiers. 

Cpl. Pak Si Jong and Pvt. Im Ben Gun ran from the perim- 
eter shortly after the beginning of the fire exchange, before 
any hurt had been done the patrol. They bolted blindly from 
sheer panic and were already well up the ridge finger by the 
time Collins' patrol got to Queen Knob. By their own state- 
ments, and according to all of the facts developed in the offi- 
cial inquiry, it was an act of inexcusable cowardice. 

But they were not the only weak vessels present. Three 
hundred yards up the chogi trail, their line of flight carried 
them through an outguard post manned by Pvt. Gerald Cos- 

Doomed Patrol 285 

tello of Able Company. A draftee, he had joined the company 
just that day. 

His job in the outguard post was to serve as contact be- 
tween the patrol and the company and sound warning of any 
untoward development. He had heard the fire below. Still, it 
did not impress him as anything which should be reported; no 
one in the Army had ever told him how a fight sounded. 

The two fleeing Katusas literally overran him and knocked 
him down. He had made no effort to stop them, and had 
they halted, he would have asked them no questions. That 
there was any connection between the sounds of the fire 
and their precipitate flight didn't occur to him. He thought 
it mildly interesting that two men should be running so hard 
through the fog on a black night. But he didn't bother to 
report this or anything else to the company. 

Costello was simply a lost soul wholly surrounded by a 
meaningless wilderness. Given a number, a rifle and a respon- 
sible soldierly task to do by Uncle Sam, this hapless nephew 
was utterly incapable of understanding his relationship to 
anything about him. 

So at dawn atop the big hill we met with the living and 
the dead of the three patrols. All of the actors were there, 
including the company and battalion leaders who had par- 
ticipated only as voices from the wings, Collins' men who 
had survived, Costello the vacuous outguard, the two Katusas 
who had fled the fight and their comrades who would never 
speak again. 

Yet from these mute witnesses came the most eloquent and 
damning testimony of all. It was supplied by the look of their 
broken bodies. Even the barest examination of them raised 
the question: "How did this unbelievable thing happen?" 
Eight men had been killed; all had died in the same way. In 
that lay the great riddle of the night. And even as the nature 

286 Pork Chop Hill 

of their wounds prompted the question, in the end, it proved 
the key to the answer. 

Tierney had been instructed by radio to bring the bodies 
out exactly as he found them and had been faithful to his 
mission. So they lay there, eight dead men, each wearing a 
bulletproof vest, zippered from the lower belly to the neck. 

The vests were unscratched. The heads of the victims were 
also clean. Each man had died from a single bullet. Each 
bullet had entered at the groin, just below the edge of the 
vest. Thereafter, in each case, the bullet had ranged upward 
through the body and lodged there. All eight men had died 
from internal hemorrhage. 

The mathematical chance of that having happened in a 
straight-on fire fight would be one in ten million. Every bullet 
would have to be a ricochet. Yet these men had died while 
deployed in a circle with backs turned toward each other. 

Something clicked. In years of covering the courts in West 
Texas, I had run into not a few self-defense cases in which 
the victims had died from a bullet coursing almost directly 
upward. And I had heard counsel and the experts say, "He 
had to be shot from the floor/' 

So we went into the debriefing and heard from the living 

Pedrick, Collins, Bearchild and the others who were identi- 
fied with the big patrol described their experience as it has 
been related here. Again and again their feeling came out, 
supported by what Collins had seen, that from the beginning 
of the movement into the forward ground, there had been 
Chinese all around them, a feeling obviously not shared by 
Alford's men. 

"I am sure they knew we were there," said Collins. "After 
I fired the mortar round, they had no reason to doubt it. 
Then when we fired in support of Alf ord, our position became 

Doomed Patrol 287 

cleanly outlined. But for some purpose of their own, they let 
us alone/' 

We continued, developing the big patrol's story by routine 
questions and answers. At last we reached the point where 
Collins told about the outbreak of small-arms fire on his left. 

I asked him, "Was it friend or enemy? Who fired first?" 

Answer: "The Chinese." 

"Are you certain about it?" 

"I think so." 

"Think about it! You say the sounds were muffled because 
of the fog. You knew there were Chinese between you and 
Alford. Isn't it therefore possible that, expecting enemy fire, 
you are mistaken about the sound and source?" 

Answer: "My impression was quite definite." 

At that point, I asked the same main question of Private 
Bearchild, who had been about 50 or 60 yards farther from 
the fire. The Indian shook his head, and answered, "It came 
so suddenly that for the first minute or so, my brain was con- 
fused. I have no idea who fired first. Then I cooled and could 
hear the BAR going and later the burp guns. Afterward I 
heard scattered rifle fire." 

That was how we left it as we went on with the debriefing 
of the big patrol. 

Cpl. Pak Si Jong, the Korean who had fled the fight, stood 
about 5 feet in his socks. 

His commander, Lieutenant Rasch, cut him down to yet 
smaller size as he walked before us. "The boys call him Easy 
Ed," said Rasch. "That's because he's slick and a first-class 

I looked the little man over. He could speak no English, so 
he stood mute, waiting for the interpreter's questions. But 
one thing about him was thoroughly impressive. He was 
shaking like an aspen and he had the dread of death in his 

288 Pork Chop Hill 

eyes. There was no question what Easy Ed was thinking. A 
tribunal was passing on his dereliction and the end of it would 
be a post and a firing squad. 

The tension was terrific. Yet I had to avoid smiling at the 
runt lest it give him assurance. It was necessary to keep him 
pitched to the terrible solemnity of the occasion, if we were 
to draw the truth from him. 

His story came forth, one jerk at a time. 

"We ten men set up on top of Queen about eight o'clock. 
There were half-dug foxholes there, more long than deep, 
so that we lie down in them. 

"We hear nothing. We see nothing. Corporal Alf ord makes 
the rounds, but with everything quiet, it is hard to keep the 
men from sleeping. 

"Then right after midnight, we have trouble. Alford sees 
two Chinese walking up the forward slope toward his position. 
He fires his carbine, maybe six rounds. 

"That's all, right then. Maybe thirty seconds later, I think 
I see an enemy moving about 10 yards downslope from me. 
I can't be sure. No noise from them yet. But I fire my carbine, 
four bullets. My position is on the other side of Queen from 
Alford. When I fire, he gets excited and yells, 'Everyone fire/ 
So we all fire, a few rounds each. Nothing happens. We see no 
one. We hear no enemy. Everything gets quiet and we guess 
we have made a mistake. 

"Eight, maybe nine minutes pass. Then the big noise. Up 
the forward slope toward Alford come many Chinese, maybe 
twelve or fifteen, all firing burp guns. That's when I run and 
Pvt. Im Ben Gun follows me out. I couldn't stand. I do not 
wait to see how any of our men are killed." 

I stopped him then to take a double check on the one im- 
portant thing he had said, asking, "And you are sure abso- 
lutely that you, Alford and the others all fired your pieces 

Doomed Patrol 289 

from your prone positions some minutes before you heard any 
enemy fire?" 

He answered, "Yes, sir, sure, there can be no doubt/ 7 
I grinned at Easy Ed, and I guessed he realized for the first 
time that he was not going to be shot. His body relaxed and 
he slumped onto a wooden bench. Then I turned to the divi- 
sion commander, Maj. Gen. Arthur Trudeau, and said, "The 
boy's story wraps it up. It is now possible to say with absolute 
certainty how these men died/ 7 

Trudeau's first question was, "How can you be certain that 
his account is true and that Collins is wrong in his impression 
that the Chinese fired first?" 

I answered, "There are three reasons. To begin, Collins was 
too distant to be a reliable witness, and moreover he was ex- 
pecting enemy fire. But the man on the spot must certainly 
know how the fire started, who started it and probably why. 
Therefore the only question is whether Easy Ed is lying. And 
there the answer must be 'no/ For he would be lying against 
interest Had he been startled and driven out by a sudden 
burst of enemy fire, there would be an excuse for his flight. 
But by his admission, his own comrades started the fight, held 
their ground and were still facing enemy fire when he made 
off. So he tells the truth only to convict himself. He must be 
telling the truth. That leads to the final point, that with his 
story, all the parts now fit into place and we at last get blue- 
print clarity out of what has been a wholly confused action/ 7 

So with all hands listening, the general asked for the ration- 
alization, and it was given to them this way. 

The Chinese had known all along that both patrols were 
there. But they had decided earlier that on the next go-round, 
when the weather favored such a design, they would plan 
toward not simply ambushing an American patrol but mur- 

290 Pork Chop Hill 

dering it. That called for an extremely devious arrangement. 

When the Americans decided to send two patrols down the 
separate fingers on one night, it put an extra complication in 
their plan. But counting on the insulating effect of the heavy 
weather, they must have reckoned that if they ignored Col- 
lins* patrol, and did not even harass it, Collins would stay 
placed in isolation. The approved plan was intended for exe- 
cution upon a smaller group. 

Alford's unawareness of the enemy presence played into 
the Chinese hands. The first two skirmishers who advanced 
up the forward slope toward him were a diversion, sent to 
draw American fire and then fall back. But at the same time, 
a ring of Chinese skirmishers had been sent wriggling up the 
slope of Queen to get right under its rim next the fire pits, 
under cover of the fog. 

The pair advancing openly had exposed the position of 
only one weapon Alford's. So another man had stood up to 
draw more fire Pak Si Jong's. Then all the Americans fired 
briefly. That put the final touch on the enemy arrangements. 
The executioners who had deployed under the rim of the knob 
simply moved a foot or so one way or the other to get directly 
under the intended victim. They made that adjustment dur- 
ing the eight-minute silence. 

Now all was ready for the coup de grdce. The wave of 
Chinese armed with burp guns advanced up the forward slope 
to flush out the game and force members of the patrol to their 
feet, in the first act of withdrawal. As the silhouettes rose, the 
circle of executioners simply canted rifles upward toward the 
lower half of the looming figures and fired. 

Yes, it was "shooting from the floor/' There were powder 
burns on four of these dead men. Their killers must have been 
less than rifle's length from the victims when the rounds went 

Doomed Patrol 291 

The debriefing was over. The general and I walked back 
to the choppers for the flight back to Division Headquarters. 

He asked, "But what's the object?" 

I said, "As in most patrolling, to prove that you're top dog, 
to demoralize the other fellow as much as possible and to 
make his patrols feel weak in the stomach before they ever 

Then he thought a moment, and popped the real question: 
"What can we do about it?" 

I answered, "Nothing. They sit here year after year. The 
longer they stay, the smarter they get. Our youngsters keep 
moving in and out They're smart and they've got guts, but 
they don't stay long enough to learn. You can't beat Davy 
Crockett with a boy scout." 

The Fight at Snook 


ness. According to Webster's, "snook" means to smell, to 
nose about, to lurk and to lie in ambush. It can also mean "a 
thumbing of the nose." 

Either or both definitions could have been in the mind 
of the unknown but scholarly GI who first looked at the 
outpost and said, "Let's call it Snook/' The tiny knob inter- 
rupted the otherwise flat bottom of the Yokkokchon Valley 
in awesome isolation. It was an act of deliberate defiance by 
the Americans that they insisted on garrisoning it. 

Yet there was something about Outpost Snook which 
charmed the eye and soothed the senses. The other outpost 
hills all appeared melancholy. Snook alone looked chipper. It 
was if God had made this funny little place just to provide 
special care for the watchmen of the night. 

Snook was joined to the big ridge of the main line by an 
attenuated and sharply descending ridge finger of such taper- 
ing narrowness that from the high ground it looked like a 
dinosaur's tail stretching into enemy country. The last knob 
on the tail was Outpost Snook. From the main line of resist- 
ance, a communications trench ran 1,100 yards down the 
spine of the animal to serve the peewee fortress. The trench 
was of such depth as to prohibit supporting weapons being 
fired from it. So steep were the slopes of the finger and so 


294 Por k Chop Hill 

sharp-edged its crest that the trench embankments did well 
to withstand a pounding by mortar fire. Except by entering 
the trench itself, the enemy could not use the upper heights 
of the finger to take Outpost Snook from the rear. But because 
the finger ran straight and true from the hilltop, fires from 
behind the big ridge could beat upon the sides of the ex- 
tension while re-enforcing infantrymen descended to Snook 
via the deep trench. 

Atop the knob there was room for just one bunker, which 
was called the CP, and a straight-running, 3O-foot sand- 
bagged trench which could accommodate not more than ten 
men. To cover and strengthen the battalion position, eight 
outguard (listening) posts were mounted in an arc around the 
base of Snook, closer to the enemy than was the CP by an 
average distance of 200 yards. Outguard No. 14 was almost 
directly to the front of Snook. Outguards No. 15, 16 and 17 
were echeloned to its left and rear so that they curved upward 
along the lower slope. Outguards No. 13, 12, 11 and 10 
stretched rightward across the paddy fields and therefore had 
maximum exposure. There were two or three men in each 
outguard post. 

By reason of its extreme isolation, limited means and ex- 
traordinary terrain, Snook had therefore more the nature of a 
stationary patrol than of a fortified redoubt The knob was 
not either wired in or protected by minefields, as the position 
was too cramped and the slope too steep to permit it. If hit, 
the garrison would survive mainly by its own power. 

For the greater part of two years, the Chinese Communists 
had looked hungrily at Snook, knowing that if they could 
grab it, they had a sally port to the main ridge. But while 
they continued to probe and hit every other outpost position, 
Snook they left very much alone. 

On the night of 15-16 May, 1953, Snook was defended by 

Isolated Outpost Snook, tied to the main line by a communications 

296 Pork Chop Hill 

eight men from Third Platoon, Able Company, xytli Infantry 
Regiment. Sgt. George Transeau, who was in command, had 
seen Snook for the first time late that afternoon. The others 
already had spent one night on the ground. Including 
Transeau, the average length of service along the fighting 
front by the members of the garrison and outguard was thir- 
teen days. Of the eight men atop the knob, four were newly 
arrived replacements. 

All of the outguards were tied in with the CP by a tele- 
phone hot loop. The same open circuit kept Battalion in con- 
tinuing touch with developments at Snook. If, for example, 
one outguard got on the loop and cried warning to Transeau, 
all other outguards heard it, as did the CP people on the 
company hill, and Major Acuff at Battalion. 

At exactly 2304, Transeau heard a rattle of fire from some- 
where along his immediate front. The sounds were muffled 
and at first they conveyed to Transeau's mind nothing of 
great importance, though he immediately reported what he 
had heard to Acuff at Battalion. 

While he was talking to Acuff, a number of the outguards 
cut in and sounded off on the wire. They had heard the firing, 
but they had seen nothing; they wanted to know what the 
shooting was about. Transeau counted them off, one by one. 
There was a conspicuous blank: Outguard No. 14 hadn't re- 
ported. Quickly, the other outguards were calling it to his 
attention: "We're hearing nothing from 14; what's happen- 

There was good reason for the silence. At Outguard No. 
14, Privates First Class Robart, Holmen and Gothier had met 
sudden death. Afterward, the look of their bodies indicated 
that they had all been killed where they sat by one subma- 
chine gunner and, after that, grenaded for good measure. But 

The Fight at Snook 297 

the men on Snook did not then know it. Transeau reported to 
Acuff only this, "We are hearing nothing from 14." 

Acuff told him, "Use the other outguards and re-enforce 
toward the vacuum." Otherwise sensible advice, it underesti- 
mated the weight and speed of the threat. Time and develop- 
ments had already closed off the chance for any such 
maneuver, as Transeau realized before he had time to repeat 
Acuff 's order, 

Pvt. Harold Gardner was on the hot loop now, talking to 
Transeau from Outguard No. 15: "We see them. There are 
fifty to sixty of them. They have overrun 14 and are now 
heading straight toward us. We've got to get out/' 

Transeau said, "O.K., run for the hill as fast as you can!" 
Acuff heard him say it, and realized that his own present task 
was to alert the supporting heavy fires that would save Snook, 
leaving it to Transeau's judgment whether the other out- 
guards should be withdrawn. 

Private Gardner and Pvt. Bae Yon Bee started for Snook 
on a dead run. But the main body of Chinese was already 
across their line to the CP. So they ran diagonally upward 
intending to get into the commo trench between Snook and 
the main hill. 

Wholly occupied with his communications which kept him 
inside the bunker, Transeau didn't have time to spell out the 
situation to the seven men behind him who were in the 
trench garrisoning the knob. They had to play out the show 
by instinct and according to what they had been taught in 
basic training; so did the men im the outguard posts on the 
low ground. 

The truly remarkable thing is that, with no exception, all 
hands decided to remain right where they were, fire if they 
saw anything that looked like a target and move only when 
ordered. The voices they had heard over the hot loop were 

298 Pork Chop Hill 

steady, and that fact steadied them. They had made their 
personal decisions even before Transeau said over the phone, 
"We've got a fight on Snook; stay where you are and give it 
all you can." The outguards heard that message; the seven 
men in the trench behind Transeau didn't. 

To Pvts. Roy L. Howell and Robert A. Cayo, who were 
having their first time under fire in the Snook trench, it was 
momentarily disconcerting that no warning had come and 
that no one said, "Look here! You are in a fight. There is the 
enemy. Now fire!" That was more or less how they had ex- 
pected it would be. But the noise of "two or three burp guns" 
had sounded unfamiliar to their ears. And within four or five 
minutes after they had heard the first shots, enemy mortar 
shells, arriving ten or twelve to the minute, began to shake 
the earth near them. They decided, on their own, that Snook 
and their personal fortunes were in jeopardy and that they 
had best do something about it 

Howell heard a Browning automatic rifle (fired by one of 
the outguards) go into action. He said, "When I heard the 
friendly fire, I came out of my trance. Until then, though I 
had heard enemy fire, my reaction was still as if I were watch- 
ing a movie of which I was not a part." 

Howell was within arm's length of the CP. He walked five 
or six yards and looked down the slope. At a distance of about 
40 yards he could see "from twenty-five to thirty men" climb- 
ing the shale bank toward him. They were in "gang forma- 
tion" and were moving obliquely across his front as if their 
purpose was to gain a slightly defiladed saddle and enter the 
trench on the rear of Snook. As fast as he could load and pull 
trigger, he fired four clips from his Mi and saw "several" of 
the Chinese fall. Others changed direction when he opened 
fire and, dropping to their bellies, crawled toward him. They 
yelled, "Cease fire!" as they came on. Others among them 

The Fight at Snook 299 

cried, "Spread out! Spread out!" Though they spoke clear 
English, it did not disconcert him. He dropped his rifle and 
put his three grenades on the rampart. When the leading 
Chinese got to within 20 yards of him, he unpinned his 
grenades and threw. He heard screams and saw two of the 
Chinese go limp and lie still while the others scrambled down- 
slope and were lost in the dark. That ended the assault on 
his personal position. When the targets vanished, Howell 
quit firing. 

Pvt. Robert A. Cayo was about 10 yards from Howell. He 
was lying in the trench and trying to rest when the first shots 
were fired. After Howell opened fire, Cayo arose and tried 
to look over the trench wall. The Chinese whom Howell was 
fighting were closer still to Cayo. But the trench had been 
dug unevenly. Where Cayo stood, it was deeper, and Cayo 
was a shorter man than Howell; on tiptoe, he still could not 
see beyond the revetment. So he dropped to a squatting posi- 
tion and waddled a few yards, still wondering what he should 
do. That brought him within a couple of paces of Howell who 
was still firing downslope. So far, Cayo had seen no sign of 
the enemy. Cayo looked up. He saw a man's head bob up 
above the trench wall not six feet away. As he looked, two 
more heads appeared behind it, and then a fourth and fifth 
head. But since the embankment covered the prone figures, 
Cayo saw only the heads and not the bodies, and was re- 
minded of objects in a shooting gallery. He said to himself, 
"They must be Chinese." The heads didn't stir and Cayo re- 
mained as motionless as possible. Still on his haunches, he 
unpinned and flipped a grenade over the bank, the toss car- 
rying not more than six feet. There was a loud explosion. He 
heard men screaming. He said, "Got 'em! Got 'em!" and felt 
enormously satisfied, though as far as he knew, there was no 
one to hear him. He threw another grenade. Then a hand 

3 oo Pork Chop Hill 

pulled at his elbow. It was his buddy, Pvt. John Alcott. Al- 
cott said, "I've got three grenades/' and handed one to Cayo. 
Keeping low, they put their three grenades over the bank and 
heard more screaming after the bombs exploded. Then they 
crouched back-to-baclc, carbines in hand, facing in opposite 
directions along the trench line, awaiting the enemy. But 
there was no need to fire. 

Transeau, for just one minute, stepped outside the CP 
bunker. He could hear the noise of fighting along the Snook 
trench but could see none of his men. He judged that his 
position was already in the process of being overrun. On the 
other hand, he dared not leave the telephone. The support- 
ing fires from the mortars and artillery had not yet come in. 
Moreover, the men on the outguards were still in full jeopardy 
and would not likely stay steadfast if he quit talking and 
they concluded that Snook was gone. So he could do little 
more than take a quick look and then duck back. With his 
carbine, he fired several rounds downslope, then returned to 
the phone. Without knowing it, he had aimed the right way 
in the right moment. 

The enemy plan had been quite simple. The main body- 
between forty and fifty menwent for the big prize, charging 
up the left slope of Snook to get on its rear. But a smaller 
party perhaps ten men or so had come right up the nose of 
Snook, aiming to grab the CP bunker and polish off the gar- 

Pvt Freddie Sakai was not more than 20 feet from Tran- 
seau, guarding the entrance to the CP passageway. He had 
heard a crackling noise from somewhere down the right-hand 
embankment. (Howell and Cayo had become engaged from 
the left.) Sakai leaned toward the noise. Standing not more 
than 10 yards from him were five Chinese, pausing for breath 
after their hard run up the nose of Snook. That was Sakai's 

The Fight at Snook 301 

first sight of the enemy. Three of them sprang toward the 
trench. Sakai emptied his carbine into them. A fourth Chi- 
nese jumped on top of the CP bunker, firing a burp gun at 
Sakai, range five yards. Sakai dodged to one side, then hugged 
the sandbag wall of the bunker, reloaded, stepped back into 
the open and fired upward. Though he saw the gunner go 
down, he felt certain that he had missed him. But it was im- 
possible to put a grazing fire over the bunker roof. The fifth 
Chinese was still standing uncertainly outside the trench; 
Sakai fired and the man dropped. That ended his action. He 
said later, "It was too bad; I didn't get a chance to do any 
real fighting." 

Pvt. George Sakasegawa was at the upper entrance to 
Snook, his job being to hold the fort if the enemy got into the 
commo trench. He had heard the burp-gun fire from the val- 
ley; it bothered him that no one came to say what it meant. 
About five minutes passed. Sakasegawa had been straining to 
catch any sign of movement down the commo trench. Quite 
suddenly he looked over his left shoulder toward the rampart 
Six Chinese stood on the earthbank directly above his head, 
gazing down at him. From behind Sakasegawa someone (it 
was probably Transeau) opened fire with a carbine. The sound 
animated Sakasegawa. He cut loose with his Mi, firing three 
clips in less than one minute. He thought he saw three of the 
six Chinese fall to his fire, but in his excitement he could 
not be sure. The others ducked out of sight downslope. 
Sakasegawa leaned over the trench wall and fired a fourth 
clipload that way. He could hear "many voices" chattering 
Chinese, broken repeatedly by a sharp command in English: 
"Spread out! Spread out!" It sounded to him then as if the 
enemy was trying to move around him and enter the coinmo 
trench farther up the finger. Rifle resting on the parapet, he 
leaned far over. But beyond 20 feet he could see nothing be- 

3 02 Pork Chop Hill 

cause an earth hummock masked the lower slope. Close at 
hand he could hear burp guns clattering and grenades pop- 
ping. But he could not tell the direction of the sounds. 
Sakasegawa waited for about five minutes, wondering what 
to do, fearful that if he fired more, he would run out of am- 
munition. There was plenty of it in the bunker, 35 feet away, 
but he felt rooted to the spot. Then two grenades thumped 
on the earthbank within a few feet of his head, rebounded 
down the slope and exploded; that meant that the Chinese 
grenadiers were not more than 10 yards below him. Pvt. Andy 
Amadelo joined Sakasegawa. Another grenade came in, 
landed right next Amadelo's feet and, exploding, spent its 
force in air, not even scratching him. He said to Sakasegawa, 
"I think we better give them something/' So both men gre- 
naded the outer sides of the trench wall upslope, throwing 
four bombs apiece. They saw no positive sign that the Chi- 
nese were moving in that direction. But that was their open 
flank and the point of main danger. The grenading was just a 
precaution. They heard nothing more of the enemy. 

Privates Gardner and Bee, who had been bounced hard out 
of Outgard No. 15, blocked by the advance of the enemy main 
body and diverted toward the company hill, didn't get very 
far. Unintentionally, they collided with the enemy group which 
was recoiling from Sakasegawa's fire. There were about twelve 
Chinese. Gardner and Bee tried to run on. Several potato 
mashers exploded at their heels. As the steel bit into their legs, 
they stumbled and fell. Gardner yelled, "Throw!'' They 
jumped up and grenaded back, each man throwing twice. In 
the action they became split. For a time they hid in the grass. 
They were not certain they had hit any Chinese but they had 
seen the group scatter and run. After the field was clear, they 
separately found their way back to the Snook CP. 

Apart from the action by Gardner and Bee and the killing 

The Fight at Snook 303 

of the three men on No. 14, the outguards did not get into 
the fire fight. They sat steady with weapons ready, awaiting 
the chance to use them effectively. The chance never came. 

Sakai continued to worry about the enemy gunner he had 
seen and attempted to wing atop the CP roof. The man had 
disappeared into shadow and Sakai, who is a very small sol- 
dier, couldn't sight across the roof top. Transeau again 
emerged from the bunker. The Chinese rose out of the sand- 
bags, fired once with the burp gun and hit Transeau in the 
shoulder. Then he jumped clear and was lost in the darkness 
before Sakai could fire. 

That was the last shot in the in-fighting. 

Transeau returned to his phone to tell Acuff, "Sir, I think 
we've got it made. We've been going for twenty minutes and 
I haven't yet heard one yell from my crew." He had not had 
time to check the squad. He was playing it by ear. But the 
guess was right. 

The fight had started at 2304, At 2327 the Chinese attack- 
ers put up two red flares over Snook. It must have been a 
distress signal, since they made no further effort to close 
against the garrison. 

Acuff meanwhile had put his supporting fires along the 
flanks of the finger and on the valley floor ahead of Snook. 
It was a gradual crescendo, begun in the first three minutes 
by two Quad-jos, joined later by one platoon of 4.2 mortars, 
four 6o-mm mortars and one battery of 105$. When the two 
Chinese flares were fired, Acuff called for "Flash Snook" and 
within one minute the curtain of fire closed around the front 
of the knob. That interdicted the escape route and provided 
just enough light to put a glow over the finish. One large 
group of the enemy was seen by Transeau as it attempted a 
getaway; in midflight, it was hit by a salvo of 4.2 shells, and 
when the smoke cleared, no sign of life remained. 

304 Pork Chop Hill 

At 2400 two answering flares were fired from the Chinese 
hill named Pokkae. If it was a signal to withdraw, it was al- 
ready too late. Those for whom the signal was intended were 
already either destroyed or in full flight, due to the more or 
less random efforts of seven willing American riflemen. 

Transeau sat down to make his final accounting, totaling 
his wins and losses before reporting to Acuff . His bookkeeping 
completed, he called for first aid. 



Acuff, Maj. Earl C., 215, 296- Artillery 

297, 303 

Adams, Cpl. Warren T., 102 
Affere, Cpl. Arage, 238 
Alcott, Pvt. John, 300 
Aleu, Capt. Addis, 246, 248 
Alford, Cpl. Otis, 275-276, 280- 


Alieca, Pvt. Santiago, 169, 170 
Alligator's Jaws Hill, 44 (map) 

Ethiopian patrol from, 201-211 
Amadelo, Pvt. Andy, 302 
Ambushes of UN patrols by Chi- 
nese, 216-217, 256-272, 280- 
Ambushes rigged for enemy 

Charley Company, i7th Rgt, 

Ethiopian, of April 28, 202- 

205; of May 19, 237-242 
at Hill 172, 252-255, 273-275 
Anderson, Lieut, 127, 131 
Angel, Pfc. Ramon, 46 
Armor, in action at Pork Chop 

Hill, 151, 171 
Arsenal Hill, 31-51 

action of April 16-17 at, 33-49 
action of May 10 at, 212-232 
defensive fortifications, 32 

in action at Snook Outpost, 


against Attack on Yoke and 
Uncle outposts, 240-241, 
in fight at Arsenal and Erie 

hills, 43-45. 47, 49 
in fight at Dale Outpost, 62, 

65, 76, 77-78 

in fight on Pork Chop Hill, 
125, 127, 136-139, 193-194 
flash fire of, 47 
figures for combined actions of 

April 16-17, 196-197 
in support of Ethiopian patrol 
from Alligator's Jaws Hill, 

tactical employment of, 33, 249 
Asfaw, Lieut. Zeneke, 237-241, 


Asman, Sgt, 1 53 
Atkins, Pvt. George, 151 
Attridge, Lieut Jack, 124-125, 

127-128, 132, 149-150 
Ayela, Lieut. Bezabib, 241-242 

Baron, Pfc. John L., 188-191, 194 
Barrows, Lieut James, 162 
Bashaw, Pvt. Donald B., 219 




First, i7th Rgt, at Pork Chop 

Hill, 185, 192 
Second, iyth Rgt, in battle of 

Pork Chop Hill, 184-196 
First, 3ist Rgt., in action at 
Dale Outpost, 52-90; in pa- 
trol actions at Hill 172, 252- 

Third, 3ist Rgt., in action at 
Dale Outpost, 73, 79-80, 90- 

48th Field Artillery, in action 
of April 16-17, 49; in action 
against Yoke and Uncle out- 
posts, 240-241, 245-249; in 
support of Ethiopian patrol 
of April 28, 208-210 
Kagnew (Ethiopian), 233-236; 
in patrol from Alligator's 
Jaws Hill, 201-211; in pa- 
trol from Yoke Outpost, 237- 

Bearchild, Pvt. Loy J., 275-277, 
282, 287 

Beaver, Pvt. Robert, 265-266 

Bechtel, Lieut Homer F., 157, 
173, 178 

Beckham, Cpl., 99 

Bee, Pvt. Bae Yon 7 297, 302 

Ben Gun, Pvt Im, 284-288 

Bennett, Pfc., 89 

Bermudez-Cruz, Pvt. Francisco, 


Blake, Lieut James, 161-162 
Boatwright, M/S George, 81-83, 

84, 89 

Bolf, Pvt. Alvin A,, 255-256 
Booth, SFC Kenneth G., 230- 

Bordelon, Pvt Edgar P., 148 


Bressler, 2nd Lieut Ryan A., 55- 
56, 60-61, 67, 70-71, 108 

Bridges, Cpl. William H., 145- 
147, 165 

Brooner, Pfc. Walter P., 267 

Buffalo Regiment. See Regiments, 
i7th Infantry 

Bunkers, placement and construc- 
tion of, 22, 23 

Busch, Pvt. Walter E., Jr., 279 

Bushman, Sgt Francis D., 85-89 

Cagle, Pvt Sherman, 255, 257, 

Calnan, Maj. William M., 252- 
253, 262 

Carmela, Pvt Gonzales, 221-223, 

Casualties, handling of, 157, 170 

Cayo, Pvt. Robert A., 298-300 

CCF (Chinese Communist 


ambush of UN patrols, at Ar- 
senal Hill, 216-217; at Hill 
172, 256-271, 280-291 
attack techniques of, 20-21, 35- 

39, 55-58, 129 
defense fortifications of, 24-25, 


dissemination of vital informa- 
tion among, 31 
immobility of, 25-26 

Chambliss, Cpl. Robert E., 170, 

Chinese Forces. See CCF 

Chink Baldy Hill, 44 (map), 53 

Clark, Lieut, 193-194 

Clark, Maj. Gen. Bruce Cooper, 

demons, Lieut, Joseph G., Jr., 
143-144, 150-164, 166, 183, 



Coble, Lieut. Omer L., Jr., 215- 

2i6 t 229 

Collins, 2nd Lieut. Benjamin L., 
76-77, 80, 92, 96, 100, 102, 
275-287, 289 

Colvin, Pfc. Thomas L., 219, 229 
Communication trenches, place- 
ment and construction of, 

Communications with patrols, 
collapse of, 19 

Charley Company, 17 Rgt., pa- 
trol, 217-219 

at Hill 172, 256, 259 
Communist Forces. See CCF 

Able, i7th Rgt., in action at 
Pork Chop Hill, 195-196; in 
action at Snook Outpost, 

Baker, i7th Rgt., mortar sec- 
tion support of Charley Co. 
patrol, 215, 216, 218-219 

Charley, i7th Rgt., in patrol 
beyond Arsenal Hill, 212- 

Easy, i7th Rgt, in action at 
Pork Chop Hill, 191-196 

Fox, i7th Rgt, in action at 
Pork Chop Hill, 142, 185- 

George, i7th Rgt., in action on 
Pork Chop Hill, 159-164 

Able, 3ist Rgt., in patrol from 
Hill 172, 262-270; massacre 
of patrol from, 272, 275, 

Baker, 3ist Rgt., in action at 
Dale Outpost, 53-90, 108, 
no; in patrol from Hill 172, 
253-270; on patrol of May 
18, 275-285 

Companies (Cont.) 
Charley, 3ist Rgt., in patrol 

from Hill 172, 253, 270-271 
Easy, 3ist Rgt, in action on 

Pork Chop Hill, 114-142 
Fox, 3ist Rgt, in action at 

Pork Chop Hill, 130, 134- 

Item, 3ist Rgt, in action at 

Dale Outpost, 79-80, 90-111 
King, 3ist Rgt, in action on 

Pork Chop Hill, 143-166 
Love, 3ist Rgt, in action at 

Pork Chop Hill, 130, 144, 

151, 157-158, 161, 164, 167- 

Easy, 32nd Rgt., in action on 

Arsenal Hill, 32-51 
George, 32nd Rgt., on Erie 

Hill, 32 
How, 32nd Rgt, in action of 

Erie and Arsenal hills, 32, 

First, Ethiopian Battalion, in 

Communist attack on Yoke 

Outpost, 237, 241-247 
Second, Ethiopian Battalion, in 

patrol hgm Alligator's Jaws 

Hill, 201-211 
Third, Ethiopian Battalion, oa 

patrol beyond Yoke Outpost, 

Conn, Lieut Jack L., 273-274 
Cook, Lieut Robert S., 148-149 
Cooper, SFC James, 179 
Cooper, Pfc. James F., 255, 257- 

258, 261 

Cordova, Lieut. Roberto L., 231 
Correa, Cpl. Arsenia, 147 
Costa, Lieut Wongele, 201-211 
Costello, Pvt. Gerald, 284-285 
Cowles, Pvt Mike, 120-121 



Cox, Pvt, 84 

Craft, Cpl. J. B., 227-228, 230 
Crane, Pvt, 39, 46, 48 
Crittenden, Lieut. Forrest J., 157, 

172, 176 

Crookston, Pvt. Richard L., 97 
Crum, Cpl. Billy R., 91, 94 

Dale Outpost, 44 (map), 52-113 
attack on, 55-78 
counterattack on, 79-111 
fortifications at, 53-55, 57 
Daniel, Brig. Gen. Derrill M., 

Dankel, 2nd Lieut. Laurence, 


Davis, Lieut Col. John N., 143- 
144, 161, 163, 166, 172, 182 
Dawson, Pvt. Joe, 58, 61 
Dawson, Pvt. John H., 74 
Debriefing sessions, procedure of, 

16-17, 18-19 
Defensive fortifications 
CCF, 24-25, 115-116 
UN, 21-24; at Dale Outpost, 
53-5 5> 56, 104; at Erie and 
Arsenal outposts, 32; on 
Pork Chop Hill, 117, 119- 

Degene, Cpl. Raffi, 203-206, 210 
Denton, 2nd Lieut. Earle L., 168- 

173, 182-191, 194 
Devries, Pvt. Ronald P., 221-225, 

DeWitt, 2nd Lieut. William W., 

34-3 5> 42-43, 45> 48-51, 247 
Division Headquarters. See jth 

Infantry Division 
Dobak, SFC Gilbert, 180-182 
Drake, 2nd Lieut. Ralph R., 32, 

35-36, 42, 48-50 

Droney, Sgt. John H., 56-57, 261, 


Dugan, Pvt. Thomas M., 149 
Dunlop, Pvt., 269 

Eighth Army 
organization of front in 1953, 

23-24, 32-33, 53-54 
immobility of, 26 
Epps, Pvt, 108 
Erie Hill, 31-51 

action of April 16-17 at, 33, 43 
action of May 10 at, 212-232 
defensive fortifications of, 32 
Ess, Lieut, 161 
Ethiopian forces, 233-235 
patrol from Alligator's Jaws 

Hill, 201-211 
patrol from Yoke Outpost, 237- 


taking of prisoners from enemy 
trenches in daytime, 235-236 

Falk, Sgt Richard, 188, 191 

Faria, Pvt., 62-63 

Paris, Lieut. Joseph* W., 93-94, 

99, 102, 105, 109-110 
Featherstone, Cpl. Nathan, 177 
Ferris, 2nd Lieut. Roland R., 255- 


Field artillery. See Artillery 
Fire bunkers and trenches, place- 
ment of, 22-23 
Flash fire, 47 

Fontaine, Cpl. Robert, 221 
Foot, Sgt. Carlin F., 169-170 
Ford, Lieut Claude T., 103, 105 
Ford, Sgt Horace, 173-178, *88- 


Fortifications. See Defensive for- 
Freley, Pfc. James, 154 




defensive fortifications of op- 
posing forces, 21-25 

Eighth Army organization of, 
in 1953, 23-24, 32-33, 53- 

immobility of opposing lines, 

Fugett, Pvt., 122 

Gabriel, Sgt Edward, 95 
Gardner, Pvt. Harold, 297, 302 
Gist, Lieut Roy A., 229-231 
Godfrey, Pvt., 84, 86 
Goodman, Cpl. Troy, 88-89 
Gordon, Pvt Rudolph, 145-147 
Gothier, Pfc., 296 
Grimes, Lieut Robert, 134 

Haley, Lieut Edward, 35, 37-38, 


Hall, Pvt, 136 
Ham, SFC Burton, 76-77, 100, 

Hamilton, Sgt Chester F., 255- 

259, 261 
Hammond, Cpl. James R., 219, 


Hankey, SFC Lewis J., 147 
Harris, Pvt James O., 126-127 

Hill 172, 250-253 

patrol of May 14 from, 253- 

patrol of May 18 from, 272- 


Hill i9o-Able, 52 
Hill 200, 33, 36, 44 (map) 

Hill 222, 52 

Hill 327, 44 (map) 

Hippler, Sgt. Frank, 169-170 

Hoffman, Sgt Robert E., 152-153 

Holmen, Pfc., 296 

Honor men, backgrounds of, 19- 


House, Pvt. Lindbergh, 176 
Howell, Pvt Roy L., 298-299 
Huffman, Sgt Norbert, 148-149 
Hughes, Pvt, 84, 89 
Hughes, Lieut William D., 263 
Hutchins, Sgt., 132 

Infantry, tactical employment of, 

Jackson, Pvt, 75 
Jackson, Pvt Columbus, 177-178 
Jackson, Sgt Fred, 70-71, 112 
Jeeter, Pvt., 84, 87-89 
Jenkins, Sgt. Lovell, 155 
Jessup, Pfc., 102 

Harrold, Lieut. Thomas V., 114- Johns, Sgt, 36, 38, 42, 45 

115, 117-118, 123-124, 128, Johnson, Pvt Earl, 93, 97, 109- 

130-132, 135, 137, 143, 150, 110 


Hasakkol Hill, 44 (map), 114, 151 

Hayford, Pvt, 126-127 

Johnson, Cpl. Othelius, 95, 98- 

Johnson, Sgt Rollin, 148, 152-153 

Heeg, M/S Charles G., 95, 98- Jones, M/S Robert J., 94, 97-99? 

99, 105, 109-110 
Hemphill, Lieut, 91-94, 99, 101- 

105, 110-111 
Hermman, Lieut George L., 72- 


102, 108 

Jones, Cpl. Virgil, 84, 88-89 

Kagnew Battalion. See Ethiopian 



Kern, Col. William B., 65, 73, 91, Marlowe, Pfc. Dwight, 69 

130, 163, 166, 185, 192, 195 Marshall, Lieut. Arthur A., 157, 

Kim Tong Ki, Pvt, 120-121 

161, 164, 179 

Kimmitt, Lieut. Col. Joseph S., Martin, Pvt. James R., 112 

43-45, 49, 209, 247 

Martinez, Pvt, 35, 37-38, 41 

Kinder, Cpl. C. H., 39, 41, 46, Mata, Cpl. George A., 105 

48, 49 

King, Capt, 185-189 
Kop Chin, Pvt. Koe, 122-123 

Maxwell, Pvt. Samuel K., 150 

Meadows, Pvt, 48 

Midgeley, Sgt Howard, 128, 131 

Koreans. See ROK soldiers with Miezejewski, Pfc. Joe, 135, 137 

U.S. units 

Minor, Pfc. Frank, 66-68 

Krause, Pfc. Robert W., 224-227, Misgina, Pvt Kassa, 242-243, 246 


Krohn, Sgt Frank, 154-155 
Kuzmick, SFC Walter, 145, 147- 

Monier, 2nd Lieut. Ronald A., 
212-214, 216-218, 223-228, 
150, 155-156, 164-165, 184 Moon, Cpl. Chung Kyung, 58, 

Lavoie, Sgt. Joseph, 175, 180-182, Morrow, Maj. Clifford W., 60 

Mott, Pvt. Randolph, in action at 
Dale Outpost, 66-68, 71, 74, 
76; in patrol from Hill 172, 
254-256, 258, 261-262 

Moulte, Sgt. Ma}. Awilachen, 


LeGuire, Pvt. Lester, 255, 257- 

258, 261 

Leos, Pvt. Esequiel, 74 
Linker, Sgt. George, 182 
Linkous, Pfc. Eldridge J., 214- 


Locklear, Cpl. William, 176 

Long, Pfc. Richard, 125 A/r . ^ , T - 

Lopez, SFC Joe, 216, 218-219, Munier, CpL Joseph R., 174-176, 


Lopez, Pvt. Julio, 97 
Lucas, Pvt Melvin F., 158 
Lugo, Sgt Jos, 93 

242, 245-247 

Mullins, Cpl. Donald E., 93, 106, 

179-180, 188 
Murdock, CpL Richard E., 226- 

Murphy, 2nd Lieut Donald P., 

32-33, 36, 39, 4i, 43, 
MacBrien, Sgt. William, 36, 38, 5 

McCall, Lieut. Virgil W., 158 Naparez, Pvt., 84-86, 90, 264, 

McDaniel, SFC Kenneth, 47-48 


McKinley, Pfc. Robert, 81-86, 90 Nesbitt, Lieut. John, 170 
Maliszewski, Lieut. Col. George Newton, Sgt. Edward, 173-176, 

Nezbella, Pfc. Thomas, 87 

73, 79-8o, 92-94, 101- 
Manning, Pfc., 97 

Noel, Cpl. Robert L., 136-137 



Norcross, M/S Aubrey, 168 
Norman, Cpl., 39 

O'Brien, Pvt. Paul F., 259, 265- 

O'Hashi, Lieut. Tsugi, 152, 161, 

164, 184 
Old Baldy Hill, 44 (map), 53, 

O'Meara, Brig. Gen. Andrew P., 

O'Steen, Lieut. Ernest Clark, 

255-256, 259, 262-263, 270 
Outposts, organization of, 33, 53- 


Pak Song, Pvt., 147 
Palmer, Pfc. Garbell H., 109-110 
Paris, Lieut., 173, 175, 179 
Parker, Cpl Terrell G., 97, 109 
Patrick, Lieut. Stephen J., 212, 


Able Company, 3ist Rgt, at 

Hill 172, 272, 275, 280-291 

Baker Company, 3ist Rgt, at 

Hill 172, 253-271, 275-285 
Charley Company, i7th Rgt., 

at Arsenal Hill, 212-232 
Ethiopian, from Alligator's 
Jaw's Hill, 201-211; from 
Yoke Outpost, 237-249 
tactical use of, 133 
weakness in methods of, 18-19 
Patterson, Pvt, 175 
Patteson, Lieut Jack M,, 53, 60- 
62, 65, 72-73, 75-80, 90, 92- 
93, 112 

Paul, Elliot, quoted, 20 
Pedrick, Lieut E. H., 276-277, 

279, 281-283 
Pennington, Pfc, John R., 100 

Pfaff, Pvt Duane C., 56, 58-59, 

6l-62, 65-66, 68-71, 112 

Pidgeon, Sgt Henry W., 134- 

137, 140-141 

Pokkae Hill, 36, 44 (map) 
Poole, Sgt. Lovell, 134-138, 142 
Pork Chop Hill, 44 (map), 53, 

assault against main positions, 

attempt by Love Company to 

re-enforce, 167-184 
Communist advance past out- 
guard line, 120-123 
fortifications of, 117, 119-120 
patrol engaged by enemy, 133- 


re-enforcement by King Com- 
pany, 143-166 
relief by companies from i7th 

Rgt, 185-196 

Posey, M/S Edward L., 174-178 
Pratt, SFC Carl, 123, 125-126, 

Pratt, Sgt Robert W., 219, 221, 

Princeton Hill, 151 

Ramey, Pvt., 35, 37, 50 
Rasch, Lieut R, F., 283, 287 
Rawles, Pfc., 138-140, 142 
Reasor, SFC Robert C., in ac- 
tion at Dale Outpost, 56-58, 
61, 65-66, 7*-7 2 > 74"75r 108; 
in patrol from Hill 172, 254, 
257, 259-265 

Rector, Cpl. James L., 97 
Red Chinese. See CCF 
Reed, Pvt William H., 255-257 

i7th Infantry, at Pork Chop 
Hill, 142, 159-196; in pa- 



trol of May 10, 212-232; in 
action at Snook Outpost, 

3ist Infantry, in action at Dale 
Outpost, 52-113; in battle of 
Pork Chop Hill, 114-196; in 
patrol actions at Hill 172, 

32nd Infantry, in action on Ar- 
senal Hill, 32-51 

Renfrew, Cpl., 126-127 

Rice, Pvt, 126 

Richards, Pvt. Jim, 48 

Riddle, Pvt. Charles, 216-218, 

Riepenhoff, Cpl., 128 

Rivera, Pfc. Antonio, 81, 87-89 

Roads, front-line, 22 

Robart, Pfc., 296 

Robertson, Sgt, 189 

Robbins, Sgt. Jack D., 216-217, 
225-228, 230 

Rodriguez, Pvt., 87-88 

Rodriguez, Pvt. Felipe, 59 

Rodriguez, Pfc. Rivera W., 69 

ROK soldiers with U.S. units, 
failure in combat of, 18, 62, 
68, 74-75, 85, 269, 284-285 
Service Corps, 162 

Rossrilli, Cpl. Robert, 153 

Rotation, effect on combat-unit 
strength of, 14, 18, 59 

Russell, Lieut. Walter B., 159- 
161, 163 

Sa Soo, Pvt. Chim, 284 
St. Nicholas, Pvt. Jos6, 121 
St. Pierre, Pvt. Reynald, 266 
Sakai, Pvt. Freddie, 300-301, 303 
Sakasegawa, Pvt. George, 301-302 
Sales, Pfc. Eddie, 58 
Sanchez, Pvt. Anthony P., 93-94 

Schindel, Sgt. Joe J., 94 
Schlehofer, Sgt. Woodrow L., 

95, 105, iio-iii 
Schulz, Sgt. Ferdinand, 99 
Scully, Pfc., 60, 63 
Seggara, Cpl. Angel, 48 
Serpa, Pvt, 63-65, 71, 78, 112 
Sessons, Pvt. John R., 112 
Settle, Cpl. Henry T., 136 
7th Infantry Division, 14-18 
disposition of, 32 
Headquarters decision on Pork 

Chop battle, 163, 166, 184- 


Sharpe, Cpl., 48 
Shitta, Lieut. Col Wolde 

Yohanis, 208, 210 
Shiveley, Pvt., 48 
Shivishe, Cpl. Ayelow, 242 
Shuman, Cpl. Edward, 72, 74-75 
^PfOTgrT^ 284, 287-289 

Small, Pvt, 62-63" 
Small, Pvt. Deforest, 99, 107, 


Smith, Lieut Gorman, 192-195 
Smith, Pfc. Joseph E., 55-56, 59, 

62-65, 71, 78, 112 
Smith, Sgt Robert L., 59-65, 71, 

78, 112 
Snook Outpost, 44 (map), 292- 


action at, 294-304 
Soon, Pvt Pak Hak, 219, 221- 

223, 229 
SpaJcs, Pfc. Clarence L., 102, 

Spencer, Sgt Chapman T., 70, 


Stewart, Sgt. Clark D., 112 
Strauss, SFC, 268-269 
Streit, Pvt James R., 106, no 
Summers, Lieut, 179 



Sung Man, Pvt. Cho, 121-123 
Supply roads, 22, 33, 181 
Swaguer, Pvt John, 176 
Swazey, Major, 124 
Sykes, Pfc, William W., 153-154 

T-Bone Hill, 44 (map) 

Ethiopian patrol onto, 235 
CCF: ambushes of UN patrols, 

216-217, 256-271, 280-291; 

attack techniques, 20-21, 35- 

39> 55-58, 129; organization 

of front, 24-26 
UN: organization of front, 23- 

24, 26, 33, 53-54 
Tanks. See Armor 
Tariku, Capt Behanu, 237, 246- 


Taylor, Sgt, 137-142, 262, 268 
Taylor, Lieut Col. Royall, 45 
Thacher, Pvt, 87-89 
Thompson, Cpl. Dee, 255, 257- 

258, 261 
Thun, Lieut. Jack K., 32-33, 36, 

Tierney, 2nd Lieut. John J., 262- 

269, 283-284 

Tilahullninguse, Pvt. 206-208 
Transeau, Sgt George, 296-298, 

300, 303-304 
Trench system 
at Dale Outpost, 54, 57 
on Pork Chop Hill, 117 
weaknesses of, 21-24, 26 
See also Defensive fortifications 
Trudeau, Maj. Gen, Arthur G., 
163, 166, 184, 192, 195, 289, 
Tully, Lieut Col., 193 

Uncle Outpost, 44 (map), 237 
Communist attack of May 19, 

Valeho, Cpl. Sisto M., 105, no 
Vance, Sgt F. C., 35-36, 42 
Vandvier, Pfc. Buddy W., 85 
Van Way, Col., 44 
Varela, SFC Julio S., 213, 218- 

Volk, Cpl. Wilfred, 147 

Waldemarian, Pvt Mano, 208 
Waldetekle, CpL Tiggu, 204-208 
Weber, Pfc. Kenneth, 138-142 
Welcher, Sgt. William, 85 
Westview Outpost, 44 (map), 53 
White Horse Hill, 32, 44 (map) 
Williams, Pvt, 137 
Williams, Pvt Ben, 172, 174-178 
Williams, Pfc. Nathaniel, 58 
Wilson, Lieut Harold, 124 
Wilson, Pvt. Jimmy R., 227, 229- 


Woll, Pvt, 138-139 
Wokeak, Pvt. John, 39, 46, 48 
Woo, Pvt. Lee Chang, 56 
Wright, Cpl. Harold E., 84-86 

Yoke Outpost, 44 (map), 237 
Ethiopian patrol of May 19, 

Yokkokchon Valley, position of 

Erie and Arsenal hills in, 31, 


view from Hill 327, 236 
Yokum, Lieut. Glenn R., 80-90 
Young, Pvt. Augustus T., 97 
Yukonsi, Pvt., 207-208 

1 24 446