meal hours." This kept most 2/5 Marines in their holes throughout the day. They had to
choke down cold "C" rations. Some few fortunate ones had wood alcohol fuel tablets
and managed to improvise a warm meal within their fox hole. If one had to "do his
business," it was usually in an empty ration can or container that would be tossed down
the hillside afterwards.29
The supply problem was acute. Because of this, only ammo and food were
brought to the front lines. Mostly ammo. Stretchers were in extremely short supply. Over
200 had been "absorbed" (meaning cycled somewhere in use and were now missing) in
two days. A common expedient was to sling a man in his poncho to carry him, sort of
like a hammock, with one man per corner to carry it. This was often messy, however, as
blood would congeal in the bottom of the waterproof poncho and pour off in a morale-
disrupting fashion whenever one end was let down. In addition hand grenades and
belted MG ammunition were scarce. Orders went out to conserve these as much as
During the day, recoilless rifles fired on Hill 980 and reported several direct hits on
enemy bunkers. That day, too, the OP-CP displaced forward to near the position of the
81mm mortar group (about where Fox Company's CP had been the morning of the
17th), while the 81s were firing. Thereafter, the OP group moved to Easy Company's
positions. Major Averill and the 2/5 CO, LtCol Stiff made their way up 812 and inspected
the positions of Easy and Fox.31
Gerald P. Averill later described his experiences on September 18, 19 and 20,
1951, on Hill 812:
29 Ibid., 55.
30 Ibid., 58-59.
31 Ibid., 55.
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 September 20, 2014.