that "ruthless" for the Marines; they took many POWs], and veterans of the World War II
Pacific conflict were reminded of occasions when Japanese resistance flared up in
similar fashion after ground was thought to be secure."67
Even after it was "secure," 749 was a dangerous place. PFC Floyd Baxter
The enemy covered their foxholes with grass and leaves and whatever.
Once we had run past their holes, they'd pop up and hit us from the rear. That is
why we lost so many men. Even after we secured our objective and our mortars
were set up behind Charlie Company, we still found gooks hidden in small holes.
Many of them elected to fight, and they died in their holes.
After everything had quieted down, we sat around our eighty-one [mortar].
Suddenly, we were sprayed by a burp gun. Fortunately, only one man was hit.
The gook doing the firing had lain in his hole for a day. He came screaming up
the hill at us. A shot from the M-1 of one of the ammo carriers stopped him; his
head seemed to explode. Needless to say, we sent a couple of patrols then to
find and destroy any remaining gooks.68
PFC Frank J. Davidson, too, remembered Hill 749:
I don't think I'll ever forget Hill 749. We mortar ammo carriers were used to
filling in holes in the rifle company lines when we weren't humping mortar rounds
to the guns. It was almost better than carrying ammunition up the slopes of Hill
749, which seemed almost vertical.
The enemy really didn't want to give up the Punchbowl. The hills around it
were valuable-the highest ground in that part of Korea. So there were
counterattacks on our line almost every night. And when there were no
counterattacks, we were shelled by their biggest mortars.
One night I watched from my gunpit as my friend, Mickey Healy, ran from
one hole to another while the rounds were falling. There was on enormous bright
flash and I saw Healy flying through the air, his arms and legs flailing away at
nothing. I thought surely he was dead. But he fell near my own hole and promptly
crawled in with me. He hadn't received a scratch. A miracle.
Our casualties were heavy, but we held on to our hill, and to the
punchbowl as well ... .69
67 Lynn Montross, et al., The East-Central Front, 193-194; 1 Mar Div "Historical Diary", September 1951,
68 Oral account of PFC Floyd Baxter, in Knox, Uncertain Victory, 299.
69 Oral account of PFC Frank j. Davidson, in Knox, Uncertain Victory, 387.
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 May 1, 2016.