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

was not destroyed in the area. He still had major defenses just a few miles from the
front lines and only yards away in some cases, and he certainly had the capacity to
resume the offensive later (he even did so in some sectors). In addition, the tactical
initiative was lost to the enemy when the decision not to resume the offensive was
made. Nevertheless, the 1st Marine Division did not make policy, and it carried out the
orders it received in a manner well worthy of the credit bestowed upon it by the
President and left the NKPA and the CCF with a great respect for the "yellow legs"
(called thus because of their leggings) division in Korea.13
The fighting had been very intense. "The resistance was characterized by the
enemy's willingness to fight for every bunker and his dogged determination in the face
of heavy artillery and mortar fire supplemented by air strikes on his most heavily fortified
positions. Close-in fighting decided the issue on every hill." But even with the high
casualties and bitter fighting, the morale of the 1st Mar Div remained high.14
Spike Selmyhr remembered the division fondly: "never in my lifetime would I serve
with such a splendid group of men (warriors) who, to a man, would lay down their lives
for one another." And, "the battle of September 13, 1951 stands out in my mind after all
these years because of the absolute skill, courage, and willingness of my Marines to
close with the enemy."15
The view of many Marines that the enemy fought as fiercely as the Japanese in
World War II was correct in that the NKPAs were harsh in their discipline and expected
their men to fight to the last, but their ideology was not as strong among the soldiers
13 Jack L. Cannon, "Attack on Hills 673 and 749," 24.
14 st Mar Div, "Historical Diary," September 1951, 3-4.
is Interview Transcript, Garlen L. "Spike" Selmyhr, 2000.


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 December 4, 2016.