Battle for the Punchbowl: The U. S. 1st Marine Division 1951 Fall Offensive of the Korean War

form by the canvas formed by the V of the weight of the body blood
coagulated . . . ran out and ran on the grass . . . the bull rushes and whatnot. I
thought, "Man, this guy is KIA." . . . I handed him by and I looked at his face,
which I always try to avoid looking at somebody like that. He had taken four
bullets right through the forehead from a burp gun and the face was intact but
everything below the face was-the face just floated on a-kind of a crust, and I
thought, "Jiminy Christmas," but, you know, again, if I was to see that today I
would probably lose my supper. That was not my emotion. My emotion was, what
is his parents doing this moment?13
Such was a patrol action for the Marines of 1951, an event huge in the life of those
who survived it, but as much as completely forgotten by anyone else, especially the
"history books."
One other patrol resulted in 8 MIA. However, most of thee men made it back to
friendly lines.14
Jack C. Walker was one of those men:
One of the officers of Able Company Seventh Marines was briefing the
men of the First Platoon.
"Men it is unlikely that you will see 'Charlie' [the enemy] today as it looks
like he pulled back from 673 so your job will be to go up there and blow up his
positions so he won't have positions to return to in case he decides to return. It
should be a very routine mission ...
... my good friend always joked: Its hell to be on the "1st." anything! For
example if a tough assignment came up in Regimental Headquarters, some
general would say. "Let's give that to the First battalion!" Then the First battalion
commander usually said. "Let's let Able Company have that one!" In the
Company CP, they would say. "The first platoon can handle this!" Then, you
guessed it! "Hey, first squad get that first fire team up here!" Well we think that is
how our fire team was chosen for the point of that patrol.., on that day in
We passed through Baker Company lines into "No Mans land." As we
crossed the edge of the valley, there was a shallow stream off to your left and in
the middle of the stream was the remains of a dead gook. I recall that
unmistakable, sickening, sweet smell of death. You think of "Charlie" as being
short normally but this guy was close to seven feet tall. His decaying flesh was
black and they eye sockets empty. ...
As the point arrived at 673, I was about 20 feet from a huge bunker and it
appeared that there was nobody home. And then as the old saying goes, ALL
13 Ibid.
14 First Battalion, 7th Marines, "Historical Diary," Chronological Narrative for 7 September 1951.


Montandon, Joshua W. Battle for the Punchbowl: The U. S. 1st Marine Division 1951 Fall Offensive of the Korean War. Denton, Texas. UNT Digital Library. Accessed May 30, 2015.