ridge and hit his squad while they were still stuck in the minefield. Though Daigneault
himself bled from his own mine-inflicted wounds, he crawled through the rest of the
minefield to meet the NKPAs and draw their fire away from the other wounded in his
squad. Bursts from his BAR tore into seven enemy soldiers, killing four and wounding
three others. Their companions turned tail and headed back up the ridge. Thereafter,
Daigneault refused evacuation for his own wounds until he was sure the enemy was not
coming again against his squad. "He was responsible for saving the lives of his
comrades and for the accomplishment of his unit's Mission." For this act, Daigneault
would be awarded the Navy Cross.32
One Marine of Fox 2/7, Jim Swartzwelder, later recalled that day:
At the time, I was a squad leader. Right in front of me was one of the
ammo carriers for the machinegun outfit, a guy named Jamie Marsh. They
had told us to stay on the trail because each side was mined. So we were
working our way up the trail, and as you go up, it's stop and go, stop and
go, [like and accordion] because its so slow going up these trails. Finally
we stopped and Jamie turned around and sat down-right on top of a
mine. It just blew him to pieces. It blew me off of the trail, down into a gully
and a small stream, which ran down the draw. And it wounded me, also.
Fortunately for me, certainly not Jamie, he took all the blast...33
Mines continued to be a problem even when Marines knew their location. One
Marine described a night march with trip wires over the trail. "At one point each man had
to hand a trip wire to the next man who had to then step over the wire, which was
attached to a mine beside the trail." If that was not a nerve-wracking experience,
Through September 12, 1800, Phase Two (so far) of the battle had cost the
Marines 22 KIA and 250 WIA. The two days had been costly, and it seemed the
32 Navy Cross Award Citation for Donald A. Daigneault.
33 Burton F. Anderson, We Claim the Title, 337. This may be the same incident described by Steele.
34 Ibid., 345.
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 July 2, 2015.