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

up and discovered that the damage to my inner ear was such that I had no sense
of balance. I immediately fell down.
At that time, Sergeant English from the machine gun platoon came out
and said, "Lieutenant, put your arm around my neck and I'll walk you back behind
the ridge line to first aid." I told him to get the hell out of there as bullets were
flying around us. He ignored the remark, and with my arm around his neck we
walked back maybe 25-30 yards with bullets kicking up dust around our feet and
clipping leaves from the trees overhead. Neither of us was touched again. "War
Hero" is a term tossed about too freely, in my opinion. A war hero to me is
someone who does something beyond the normal. He does something
dangerous that he might not normally choose to do to execute a mission or to
save another Marine, but it must be above the normal responsibilities. Sergeant
English fits that perception. He came out to assist me under a hail of small arms
fire when I was hit.
... We got to a corpsman who took off my helmet, looked at my head
wound, and then covered his face with his hands and said, "Oh MY God!" I took
that as a discouraging word. I had no idea how badly I was hit. I just knew I was
bleeding a lot. He bandaged me up and they put me on a stretcher to evacuate
me. I refused to go until some of my men who had been wounded were taken
away first. Evacuation of the dead was not a priority at that time . . . I was damn
lucky, even though I had been wounded. The instant I was hit in the head, I had
just moved my head to the right about two or three inches to look through the
sights of my weapon. Had I not done so, that shot would have been right
between the head lamps. When I was evacuated, I really hated leaving my
buddies behind ... 74
After that, the Lieutenant who had replaced Selmyhr was killed the next day. (This
man's wife gave birth to a son a month later.) The man that replaced him fell WIA the
day after that. Selmyhr's evacuation took over seven hours via Korean stretcher
bearers. (Not all wounded got to be evacuated via helicopter.) He was then flown by
plane to Seoul, then by train to a MASH hospital. They did not treat his wounds properly
there, and his shoulder almost developed gangrene. From there, he went aboard
another train to Pusan and the Navy Hospital ship Repose. Eventually, he was taken to
Yokosuka, Japan, and a Navy hospital.75


74 Ibid.
75 Ibid.

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 July 26, 2016.