7:44 | Ben Malcom recalls a mission to infiltrate and destroy a 76mm gun hidden inside a North Korean mountain. During the cover of night on July 14, 1952, Malcom managed to sneak 120 guerilla fighters onto the mountain and into the bunker, and describes the combat that ensued.
Ben Malcom explains how his Special Forces unit controlled several small islands off the coast of North Korea, where he helped command a guerrilla unit of Korean fighters, along with a guerrilla leader named Pak Chol, to disrupt North Korean military and economic actions as much as possible. His missions were Top Secret and even other Army leaders in the area knew little or nothing of his activities.
Ben Malcom recalls how three North Korean agents had infiltrated one of their attempts to recruit guerrilla fighters, which resulted in a series of "tremendous firefights" while Malcom's men attempted to escape the volatile area.
On a mission to gather intelligence on North Korean land targets including a hydroelectric plant, Ben Malcom's B-26 was hit nine times by anti-aircraft fire. Having narrowly survived that excursion, Malcom devised a plan to team his guerrilla fighters on the ground with Army airborne assets to take out that hydroelectric plant.
Ben Malcom recalls a story involving a fellow Special Forces operative, Jim Mapp, who helped rescue a downed Air Force pilot, Col. Albert Schinz, in North Korea.
Ben Malcom remembers a clandestine mission to bring supplies to his Special Forces compatriot Jim Mapp, who was imbedded deep in North Korea near the Yalu River.
Ben Malcom describes some of the more unique aspects of living on the small islands near North Korea. Boats were numerous and very important, and his boats were specialized to disguise their function and speed. Aircraft flying missions over the area also depended on the small islands to crash land when necessary, in which case Malcom would destroy the irreparable aircraft.
Ben Malcom describes how his Special Forces unit would capture North Korean soldiers as prisoners 150 miles behind enemy lines.
Ben Malcom describes the makeup of the 8240th Army Unit, a Special Forces collaboration between the U.S. Army and guerilla fighters in North Korea. Over 200 Americans were spread out over nearly two dozen individual units, commanding and assisting hundreds of guerrilla fighters each. Malcom's individual unit became known as the White Tigers.
Ben Malcom comments on the disappointment many of his North Korean guerrilla fighters felt that the United States didn't press further into North Korea, and instead negotiated a compromise to end the war. Some of his fighters settled in South Korea, but many stayed behind in the North, some of those even continued to report on their operations after the war.
Ben Malcom discusses how his Special Forces unit worked with the indigenous Montagnard people of Vietnam in order to train them to fight against North Vietnamese forces.
Ben Malcom recalls the lesson he quickly learned about how to secure convoys to reduce the likelihood of taking fire from Viet Cong.
Ben Malcom remembers the bombing of the Brink Hotel by Viet Cong forces in Saigon in December of 1964. Bob Hope was scheduled to be in the building when it was destroyed, but luckily he'd been held up at the airport.
He had chickened out after trying to enlist, but the Army recruiter showed up at his house a week later and Lou Pardy wound up going in for a three year stretch. Basic training was tough and it put a few more pounds on his small frame.
After moving around South Korea, Records Clerk Lou Pardy prepared to head into North Korea to Hungnam. The unit was in relief of Marines, whose tanks were not winterized. It was bitterly cold and there was a constant stream of refugees to screen in addition to regular duties. Finally, as the Allies lost ground, the city was evacuated in almost disastrous fashion.
Evarist LeMay recalls the capturing of a group of Chinese soldiers by his regiment and the actions they took for retribution. While scouting, LeMay and his fellow scouts come across a group of American soldiers that had been brutally executed. He credits these types of situations for the PTSD that happens to guys like him when they come home.
Lou Pardy remembers the daily grind of Korea, the constant moving around and making do wherever you were. He also reflects on his long tenure as a Corporal, and why that was, and on his ill-fated attempt to reenter the military years after the war.
When Bill Camper arrived in Korea in command of an engineer company, the peace talks were going on so they were able to do their work on roads and bridges without getting shot. Mines were a threat, though, left by the retreating Communists. After tours in Japan and Germany, he was training paratroopers at Fort Benning when the Vietnam War began to heat up.
After a training operation in the Caribbean, Lou Pardy was settling in to a routine as a clerk in a tank battalion when the Korean War broke out. They were given seven days to get ready to leave and after that hectic week, they were shipped to a slightly more hectic location, the Pusan Perimeter.
We were totally unprepared for war when we had to fight one in Korea. Ralph Puckett should know because his job was to take a small unit of new Rangers into the country for dangerous missions. They arrived at Pusan where the American forces had just barely avoided being pushed into the sea.
After a short stint in the Navy, Bill Camper decided that it wasn't for him. He was going to serve, but in the Navy, the gulf between officers and enlisted men was too wide, so he got out and enlisted in the Army, where he knew the officers would be in the mud with him. Once in the Army, he was sent to Officer Candidate School and went to Korea with an engineer battalion.
After the war in the Pacific, Curtis banker got married but the Army still beckoned and he reenlisted in 1947. After a year of driving a target tank on the Fort Benning firing range, he got orders to ship out to Korea, where a desperate force was clinging to a perimeter around Pusan.
He was at jump school when he heard about the North Koreans invading the South. Determined to get in the war, young 2nd Lieutenant Ralph Puckett was at a stopover in Japan when he was told to report for possible selection for a special Ranger unit. He found out that the officers were already selected but he made a pitch to get on the team as a rifleman if nothing else. Come back tomorrow, he was told.
Lawrence Abel was called back into service for the Korean War. The Air Force maintenance technician kept the planes flying over the 38th Parallel, then he was selected for a secret unit based in Japan. He made a career of it and even took his family with him to his favorite post in England.
Curtis Banker's armored unit was part of the force that came into Hungnam to support the Infantry and Marines who were "advancing in a different direction" out of North Korea. After the evacuation of thousands of civilians and Allied personnel, and as they were sailing away, he saw the warehouses full of supplies burning, torched so the enemy would not benefit.
Both feet were severely injured so Ralph Puckett had some serious hospital time coming up. Evacuated from Korea to Japan, then back to Fort Benning, he could, at least, see his family. Then came a knock on the door and two pretty girls walked in. If only they knew what he had just told his father.
At first the tank battalion supported the line around Pusan, but then they became a part of the huge landing at Inchon. Tank Driver Curtis Banker drove his vehicle ashore with only one boot, which still makes him laugh. As part of the RECON platoon, he had a variety of missions, only one of which was reconnaissance.
It took a while for the doctors to figure out what had happened when Fred Fletcher was knocked out by a projectile which hit him in the back of the head at the Chosin Reservoir. He recovered and made the Marine Corps a career, although he feels the Corps pulled a fast one on his last assignment. At least the deal made him a Captain.
Piano wire? Those Rangers want everything, groused the supply officer. When the volunteer company got into Korea, though, they only had the most basic cold weather gear. The first mission for company commander Ralph Puckett and his men was to rout North Korean stragglers and units left behind when they retreated Northward.
Jay DeGraw was on inactive reserve status but that became active in 1950. He returned to Camp LeJeune, made Staff Sergeant and shipped out to Korea. As Motor Transport Chief of his unit, he was able to support a very important visitor who was short on jeeps. He was behind the front, but incoming fire was still a big part of his life.
He always wanted to be a Marine. Ever since he followed the daily news through World War II, Fred Fletcher had that deep desire. He survived the abrasive Drill Instructor at Parris Island and was assigned to Subic Bay on routine station duty when the Communists from the North attacked South Korea. Soon he was in a different climate.
The Army evaluated him and sent him to radio school. Then, Arthur Hurst shipped out for Korea, where he was assigned to Headquarters of a tank battalion on the line. He enjoyed working with the sophisticated equipment, but the extreme weather was miserable.
When the Korean War broke out, Hospital Corpsman Archie Parrish had been training with the Marines for two years at Camp Lejeune. His Warrant Officer discovered that he lied about his age to enlist and implied that all would be well if he volunteered to go to Korea. So off he went with a hastily assembled division that combined seasoned veterans with raw recruits.
The Marines were heading North when they found out that China had joined the North Koreans. Fred Fletcher was one of the men on the high plateau at the Chosin Reservoir. One of the patrols from his unit got to a ridge top and when they looked over, there were "many, many, many Chinese."
They were ordered to push to the Yalu River and the Manchurian border. Encountering only light resistance, the Marines moved deep into the mountains. Archie Parrish was with them and he recalls how Douglas MacArthur said that the Chinese would never attack. Colonel Chesty Puller knew better, and General Oliver P. Smith also knew that they were being drawn into a trap. Part 1 of 4.
They were freezing immediately, and filthy in a matter of days, after arriving in Korea. The Marines were entering a stalemate situation in deep winter conditions. Richard Hawes enjoyed serving with the Turks and the South Korean Marines, although he was unsure of the South Koreans' interrogation tactics.
Hospital Corpsman Archie Parrish did not care for his first assignment following boot camp, helping deliver babies in the Dependents Ward. He was told he could always volunteer for the Fleet Marine Force. Despite not knowing exactly what that was, he was soon integrated with the 2nd Marine Division training at Camp Lejeune. The mission of the Corpsman? To have as many Marines as possible firing as many guns as possible for as many days as possible.
His father was career Navy, but Richard Hawes, after a two year stint in the Navy himself, went for the Marine Corps after being prodded by a colleague of his father's. The Korean War caught the Corps with a lack of junior officers, so an Officer Candidate Course was begun and he was in the first class. The Drill Instructors were specially chosen to deal with college graduates instead of the usual mix.
Max Ferguson was arriving in Korea just as the armistice was being signed. Deployed near the 38th Parallel, he flew Korean generals and American Colonels around, but only one at a time. The cabin was a clear bubble with two seats. The biggest danger along the DMZ was simply that is was poorly marked, so you had to be careful.
He wasn't even eighteen, but after seeing The Sands Of Iwo Jima, Archie Parrish and his pals tried and failed to enlist in the Marine Corps. But the Navy recruiter next door told him how to hide his real age and he set off to boot camp. This allowed him to escape his strict brother, who was overcompensating for a missing father.