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

Before we had time to think or fully prepare, the next attack came at us. I
was in a shallow hole about a foot deep and fifteen feet behind the gun. I raised
up to fire my rifle but I couldn't see the enemy because of the terrain .... I
grabbed the sack of hand grenades, dumped them out, and started throwing
them over the edge of the hill into the trees. I threw the first grenade to the right,
one straight ahead, and the last to the left like mortars. I felt this was my mortar
fire and kept throwing until the grenades were gone. I heard Big Mac yell as he
was firing the machine gun, "This is the most fun I've had since my grandmother
got her tit caught in the wringer.... "
He had thrown grenades, fired his rifle to kill over half dozen North
Korean, and had beat the last to death with his rifle butt. Some thought he should
have gotten the Medal of Honor, but this requires an officer to write it up. They
never seem to be around when one was needed....
We had beaten them back the second time, which had been difficult since
they had come out of thick trees and brush only 20 yards down the hill . . . they
were difficult to see until they were almost on our position. The Company
Commander called in artillery from the rear command post and the first round
was short. The white phosphorous exploded on our location. Several hit my leg
and burned right through my dungarees and into the leg. I grabbed at the
phosphorous to pull or knock them off and my index finger was burned. (I had no
fingerprint for several years afterwards.) I then remembered to grab dirt to
smother the phosphorous. . . After the artillery found the range they pounded
them for what seemed like fifteen minutes. We stayed ready for the next attack,
but it never came.44
Patrols of 1/7 and the Division Reconnaissance Company both saw some
combat, the latter screening the northeast quarter of the Punchbowl. The AT (Anti-tank)
company of the 7th Marines was attached to Baker Company 1/7, of which one platoon
included Lt. Eddie LeBaron, the future star quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys. It too
saw action. "There was one particular bunker [on Hill 602] that we fired at all day [with a
75mm recoilless rifle]. Artillery and air strikes were called in to help. Again and again we
destroyed this bunker; and again and again, the North Koreans rebuilt it. By sundown it
had been leveled to the ground, and we could no longer see it. That night the North

75

44 Ibid.

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 July 13, 2014.