6:14 | As company clerk, John Meyers had several responsibilities, the captain's morning report, letters home to parents of men killed in action and writing up awards recommendations. He wrote up the recommendation for Charles Gilliland, a seventeen year old, whose heroic actions made him the youngest soldier to receive the Medal Of Honor in the Korean War.
Keywords : John Meyers Korea Charles Gilliland Medal Of Honor (MOH) Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR) Chinese .45 cal pistol
John Meyers was drafted in 1950 and thought that basic training was pretty good for a young man of 22. On his way to Seattle to ship out for Korea, he was broke but came up with a great way to get some money and enjoy some beer in the bargain.
He nearly froze in Korea because of the light gear he was issued. John Meyer remembers that and the guard duty in the wee hours when he imagined all sorts of enemy swarming around in the dark.
After three weeks on the front line in Korea, John Meyers was made the company clerk. The captain's morning report was his responsibility and this led to a chilling experience when he had to visit graves registration. Since he had to go to the front every day, he was still subject to artillery and mortar fire.
After the Chinese intervened in Korea, John Meyer's unit was constantly on the move, often in retreat. He worked in the rear, so he saw the huge masses of refugees fleeing the fighting, some of them receiving medical treatment while there.
Strange things happen in war and John Meyers saw his share in Korea, from the gruesome to the humorous. He recalls some of them here, including the escapades of Hogan, a notorious character.
He was ready to come home from Korea and he loved the welcome he got in San Francisco, but John Meyers had about three months left to serve. He was made a platoon sergeant at Fort Ord and managed to make a difference to those men, who were in a poorly performing unit when he arrived.
The call came soon after Alan Lertzman targeted his first strike as a new Forward Observer on the Korean front lines. The shells were hitting around U.S. tanks. Just before he was transferred to a radar station, he heard bugles and heavy artillery in the middle of the night. The battle of Pork Chop Hill was on.
After the war became a stalemate with a static front, Bob Moore's unit moved across most of the major hilltop battlefields including Old Baldy and the Punchbowl. They were surprisingly close together as he moved eastward.
Walt Russell’s uncle secured him an appointment to West Point, where he met his best friend and future brother-in-law Joe Clemons. After graduation and basic, he went to jump school because paratrooper pay meant an extra $110.
While trained to be a combat engineer, Neil Barnhart had to fill in as a machine gunner on tanks venturing into North Korea in 1951. Upon receiving surprise mortar fire from Chinese forces, he protected his assistant from a nearby blast, but Barnhart himself took shrapnel damage for which he earned a Purple Heart.
Robert Weisbrodt says that to get an idea of what it was like in Korea, look at the flimsy clothes on the statues of soldiers in the Korean War Memorial, and imagine having only that to wear in minus forty degrees with a foot of snow and a thirty mile per hour wind. He also discusses providing support for the peace talks and hitting a mine.
The outbreak of war in South Korea pushed Young Chang Ha’s family further south to Pusan where an already struggling family would have to find any way to survive. As the U.N. forces repelled the North Koreans, he would find work as an interpreter despite not knowing much English at all. In spite of the hardships he and his family were able to hold out until the armistice was signed.
His last post was Sandbag Castle, another barren Korean hill, where the soldiers had hoisted an American flag and then got rid of it as the artillery zeroed in. A new commander surveyed the situation and decided what he needed was modified depth charges that could be catapulted at the enemy.
When Joe Nemastil arrived at the front in Korea, his platoon leader gave him a short talk, then disappeared, not to be seen very often again. Joe was assistant gunner on the 75 mm recoilless rifle and quickly learned how to use it in combat. That was just one heavy weapon on the line, and it was really something when they were all firing at once.
A year after his family made it to safety in Seoul, the North Korean forces had begun their invasion of South Korea. Young Chang Ha describes the terror he faced as he spent three months in an attic with his uncle trying to avoid capture, and the relief of hearing U.S. tanks retaking the city.
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.
Ron Clark explains the bunkers they used when fighting in Korea. He remembers being in these bunkers during guard duty and the strategic mental games the Chinese and Americans would try on one another when fighting on Bunker Hill.
We were 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.