6:47 | 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.
From Long Island, Bob Moore was "invited" by the government to join the Army. He remembers the cold weather training in Pennsylvania and the words of the tough sergeant, words he would often appreciate later in Korea.
If you need to pick off a target at 1500 yards, the heavy M-1 is perfect, says Bob Moore. But if you need to crawl around in the dark on patrol, the carbine is a much better weapon. Especially after the maintenance guys modified it.
As he prepared to leave for Korea, Bob Moore found out his wife was expecting a child. This was a sobering thought as he headed for a replacement center near the front. There he heard an unusual motivational speech that stuck with him.
As soon as Bob Moore arrived as a replacement at the front lines, he had to climb a treacherous hill where he proceeded to get chewed out by LT Joe Davis for not being a machine gunner. Thanks to a great sergeant, Dan Sharp, he soon was.
Bob Moore's first night on Old Baldy was memorable. The lines had become static, but there were still attacks, and he was tested that night in his new position on a machine gun squad when the Chinese launched a massive attack against the Americans on Old Baldy. The greater test was after the combat when he dealt with the wounded for the first time.
After a wild first night at the front, everyone else was headed back up the hill to the bunkers but Bob Moore remained behind with his platoon sergeant on the flank of Old Baldy. He was about to find out what a listening post was and how a still night can play tricks on your senses.
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.
On guard duty one night, Bob Moore heard the Chinese loudspeakers broadcasting a propaganda appeal. It did get to him a little when they said his supporting units had left them alone. Bugles and drums were another psychological weapon and the Americans countered with huge spotlights to light up the advancing enemy.
A portion of the line manned by Republic of Korea (ROK) troops was overrun. Bob Moore's unit was sent to plug the hole, and as they struggled, help came in the form of a Forward Observer from the battleship USS Missouri. The "Mighty Mo" was anchored within range of the hill and it's barrage turned the tide of the battle, but the noise of the shells and gunfire had a lasting effect on Moore.
Bob Moore recalls chaplain Cormac Walsh, who was highly decorated while there with him at the Korean front. The chaplain had multiple Silver Stars for valor, but it wasn't bravery, it was his connections, that Walsh used to help Moore visit a friend in a nearby unit. Along the way was the Mad Mile, an exposed area where the artillery was zeroed in.
Bob Moore's closest call was when a Chinese mortar shell hit his bunker entrance. He was blown off his feet by the concussion but was lucky enough to get no shrapnel from the blast. Soon he had given in to the chaplain's demand that he get baptized.
Bob Moore hated to leave his buddies but when he had the points, he immediately headed down the hill. After a memorable entrance into the New York harbor, he got to see his new baby for the first time.
He was pulled from the line and sent to division for Sergeant's School. That was big living after a long line of foxholes. When he finished that and got his stripes, Marine Bob Brockish got even better news. He was going to Quantico as an officer candidate.
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.
It was called Hill 205. The small Ranger company was told to take and hold the hill. They did that as long as they could but Ralph Puckett and his men had to go through hell to do it. Waves of Chinese attackers had him calling in very close artillery strikes. He lay there, unable to move after three wounds, watching the Chinese bayonet wounded Rangers. Then two figures charged up the hill.
When it was time to act, Bill Minnich came through. On a night watch, as he caught sight of a Chinese patrol, the only question was, rifle or grenade? When the unit was pinned down and no one responded to the order to move out, he cussed them all out and charged forward. And when he fell wounded, it was a sure thing that he would get up and scramble through the bullets landing at his feet.
Every Marine knows about inspections. Bob Brockish prepared well and got duty at the front gate as a reward. That did not last but he got other duty which he liked, something which was preferable to guard duty in the cold desert lookout towers.
Ron Clark remembers when the Chinese would attack and how the strategies between American and Chinese differed. He also explains one detailed account of an American casualty during battle and his own major injury that permanently disabled his eyesight.
He was tired of war and service, but he still found himself trying to get back in the Marine Corps. Emory Ashurst had to settle for the Army, but it worked out for 17 more years serving his country. In Korea he was a communications specialist and was fortunate to face no combat.
Even without any college, Bob Brockish passed all the tests at Officer Basic School, where even college graduates were taking remedial courses. He wanted to go to artillery or armor school, but the captain had other ideas, so he decided to go inactive and entered the Marine Reserves.
Following training and boot camp, Bob Owen attended radar school so he could learn to detect and communicate with other ships while overseas. Before that, however, he was given two weeks with his family for the holidays and remembers a nasty bus accident that happened on the way home.
After the Big War, Andy Carpenter joined the reserves and got married. As his first anniversary approached, he was recalled for Korea. This was a rough time with a baby on the way. But still he went to the frozen misery near the Manchurian border and became part of the epic retreat to the South. (This interview made possible with the support of FRANK LEYENDEKKER.)
After the Battle of Horseshoe Ridge, Bob Brockish stayed on the move, taking and retaking hills as both sides jockeyed for position. He lived in foxholes, where the sleeping arrangements could be described as tense.
After successfully completing his training and studying up in radar school, Bob Owen was finally ready to go aboard the USS Rupertus. On board, he was always kept busy. His main duty was to monitor the destroyer's radar, but was also instructed to join his team in shore bombardment on San Clemente Island. His first assignment was to make a trip to China, where the ship encountered a chaotic typhoon and much of the equipment on the ship was lost as a result.
From the rear at the Battle of Pork Chop Hill, Sgt. Gilbert Howland sent in the worst casualty report of his life. The tenacious enemy would not let go, even though the territory being fought over had no real tactical value. His unit was relieved and then, to the relief of everyone, came the armistice. (This interview made possible with the support of DAVID W. MARQUEZ.)
Despite having a few initial doubts in the first few days, Bob Owen never really regretted joining the Navy. Having spent his early life in seminary school, he ultimately made the decision for himself that he was not a preacher and wanted to instead join the military.
Just as the Marine Corps was releasing Bob Brockish from active duty, North Korea invaded the South. Soon he was at a newly bustling Camp Pendleton, training for deployment to the peninsula. His new cold weather gear proved to be a problem on exercises in Southern California.
Right after meeting up with a bunch of friends in Nashville to join the Navy, Owen was sent head-shaven into training and boot camp almost immediately. While there he made a few really good friends and, of course, had to endure very tough work environments. The most significant thing he remembers is that they were always kept busy, even if it meant having to perform mundane tasks like repeatedly picking up cigarette butts.
After the push to get to the Punch Bowl area, Bob Brockish went into reserve with his battalion and it was around this time that he became squad leader. The Marine was nineteen years old and suddenly he was responsible for twelve men.
His memories of the Battle of Horseshoe Ridge are noise, light and smell. There was so much ordnance and so many flares that you didn't need lights. Bob Brockish relates these impressions and remembers the men lost. Decades later, there are still expeditions to locate the remains of the missing. Part 3 of 3.
There were celebrities in Gilbert Howland's training unit at Fort Dix, including Eddie Fisher. They were preparing to go to Korea and it wasn't long before Howland found himself there in the frigid winter; dodging artillery and trying to capture prisoners for interrogation. (This interview made possible with the support of DAVID W. MARQUEZ.)
It was like sandlot baseball. The replacement Marines were divvied up by the platoons and fire teams and Bob Brockish was the last guy to go. He had been driving an ambulance in the rear, but now he would be in a foxhole on the front line.
The first thing he noticed was the smell. Bob Brockish was still on the ship at Pusan when he caught a whiff of the local fertilizer. The Marine's first assignment was driving an ambulance, but before he even got to that, he had two run-ins with the regimental commander.
It was a historic day for the Marines, the first air assault with Marines placed at the front with helicopters. Bob Brockish didn't make that ride but his unit relieved those troops and he couldn't believe what they were complaining about. As he looked around the terrain, he wondered why there was apparent road construction on the top of a ridge.
His flight home had to circle around after an aborted landing and Bob Brockish thought for a moment, am I going to survive Korea and then die here? He was on his way home for Christmas and then on to Quantico, where hoped to become a commissioned Marine officer.