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

At 2400, the Battalion CP was informed that for the next day's attack it would have
control of an engineer mine team (to locate and disarm mines), and a liaison team for
the Marine tanks in the area. The evacuation of wounded was a formidable logistical
problem September 16. In addition, "too many Marines were used as stretcher-bearers
for wounded that might have reached the forward aid station under their own power;
some, not in danger, might have waited for Koreans to carry them to the rear." The
implication is that some Marines were leaping to be stretcher bearers for men that didn't
need it in order to escape the shelling on the front lines for a time. For one Marine, the
situation was the opposite and he was chastised for it. After being badly wounded, "My
comrades were unable to get me to the aid station that night. So early the next morning
I walked. Not the smartest thing I have ever done. My arrival at the Battalion Aid Station
was highlighted by a detailed explanation of my stupidity. It seems that they had
dispatched the litter bearers, at first light, to pick us up. Now I had wasted all that
valuable time and scarce resources. I explained that if it would make them feel better I
would walk back, up the hill, and lay down so we could start over."32
The roads that existed in rear areas, too, were a problem. Most became a "sea of
mud" that had to be bypassed via a "tank pass," but soon, that too was "impassable to
jeeps. [Then] a three-quarter-ton ambulance was used until this vehicle could not pass
the quagmire; then 6X6 [2 ton] trucks ... ." And even though hot coffee and soup
could be had at the CP of the 5th Marines, none of the line companies got any since
Korean carrgadores humped in only essential items-mostly ammo. Other problems
were in communication. Again, wires were frequently broken and radios unreliable. For
32 Pooky Pentecost, "First Person Story," first-person account of a Marine. Found at www. 1- person story.htm; "Historical Diary," Second Battalion, Fifth
Marines, 35. Website last consulted April 2007.


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 May 22, 2015.