turtles, stick your heads out so I can knock them off!" From the darkness down
the hill, someone screamed, "Marine, fuck Harry Truman and John Foster
Durres!" [Dean Acheson was actually the Secretary of State under Truman,
Dulles would come in under Eisenhower, however, Dulles was a "consultant" in
Truman's administration.] Vittori laughed. I asked him, "Who in hell is John
what's-name?" Up till then I didn't know who Dulles was.
Our FO yelled for us to get down because he was going to bring in a
barrage in front of us. CRASH! CRASH! In it came. I felt good knowing we could
get the gooks when they were between the lines.
Once it was over I looked over the rim of the hole and saw the flash of an
enemy 76-mm gun. The shell hissed toward us. It exploded in the treetops above
us and showered us with shrapnel. The fourth round exploded near the FO's
hole. A kid nearby yelled, "He's dead! He's dead!"
A spotter plane flew over and called in artillery. The 76-mm stopped firing.
Clouds floated across the sky. Sometimes the moon was out and it was
bright; other times the moon was covered by clouds, and it was pitch black.40
Possibly, the Marines could even smell the enemy. "We... listened to Sergeant
Sam's advice. He told us that he knew when the enemy was coming at night because
he could smell them. I had my doubts until several months later when I smelled a faint,
musty odor like wet blankets that had been lying out a week or longer. This happened
just before an attack and I knew then what he had tried to tell us. The clothes the enemy
wore had a strong odor."41
Multiple waves of attackers (five waves) fell or were repulsed by the 2/1 defenders
(an estimated 1,200 NKPAs were either killed or wounded in the assault). An example
of the valor demonstrated by the Marines is the fact that two 2/1 Marines each
committed acts for which they were awarded the Medal of Honor within forty-eight hours
of each other (the Medals of Honor earned on Hills 673, 749, and 680 in three days
equaled the number for Tarawa in World War II). The action of PFC Edward Gomez
40 Oral account of PFC Lyle Conanway, Fox Company, 2/1, in: Knox, Uncertain Victory, 302-303.
41 Oral memoir of Jon Charles Genrich at KoreanWarEducator.org.
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 December 18, 2014.