Within ten minutes, it had several wounded, two of which were platoon leaders. One of
the officers hit was Lt. Tom Carline, the leader of the 3rd Platoon.37
Charles Hughes was a corpsman with How Company 3/7. He later recounted the
experiences of the Marines of 3/7 in the assault on Hill 680:
At 0230 they moved out in the dark on this rainy, foggy night and made their way
single file down the rocky trail leading to the creek below. Visibility was so bad
each man had to hold his hand to the back of the man in front in order to keep
the company together, and the steep rocky trail caused many men to stumble
and fall in the difficult descent to the valley below. [In addition, searchlights cast
the hills ahead into stark relief and eerie, shifting shadows.] By the time How
Company had reached the creek and was ready to begin the assault on 680,
daylight had come....38
One artillery FO with How Company was Sergeant Jim Dettman. He later wrote a
letter to his radio man about the events of that day:
I with Lt. Young marked concentrations on the objective, possible mortar
positions and possible troop concentrations. When we jumped off, to call in
artillery all I had to do was shoot a new azimuth....
... We were about half way up the ridge when we saw 4 or 5 gooks sitting
around a fire. One of them got up and started to urinate when he saw us. He
yelled and all hell broke loose.39
The account of Charles Hughes continued:
When the curtain of fog lifted they were fully exposed to the enemy above
who had them in the sights of their heavy maxim machine guns, burp guns and
rifles, and they cut loose at the Marines of How Company with blistering
effectiveness.... Within less than an hour there were many How Company
casualties, including two platoon leaders.
One of those two was the leader of the 3rd Platoon, Lt. Tom Carline, who
lay exposed to the enemy fire with an almost certain likelihood of being killed.
When Hoagy Carmichael ["Hoagy" was his nickname, after the singer] spotted
him he dashed through the mortar rounds and gunfire, picked up the lieutenant
and carried him to safety. . . . he later received the bronze star.40
37 Third Battalion, Seventh Marine Regiment, "Historical Diary," September 1951, 7; Charles Hughes,
Accordion War, 289-90.
38 Charles Hughes, Accordion War, 288.
39 Letter from Jim Dettman to Wadie Moore, printed in: Charles Hughes, Accordion War, 292.
40 Charles Hughes, Accordion War, 288.
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. http://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc3938/. Accessed January 28, 2015.