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

... the Marines were engaged in the east-central [area of Korea], which
turned out to be a very beautiful area, mountainous, wooded, a lot like West
Virginia.... We're in trucks, dusty ride.., then we turned north. We're going
over these mountain passes and so on and so forth. Finally-the only way you
can tell you're climbing or going down is by hearing what the engine on the
truck's doing, you know. . . of course we were facing each other, bouncing
along. Suddenly there's brilliant, brilliant blue flashes on both sides of the truck in
these rice paddies, and then out of these flashes are shrieks and, you know
crashes and shrieks. Well, right away I knew I heard artillery, but if you hear a
whistle or a shriek and then a boom it's coming in. When it goes boom and
shrieks it's going out, well it still shook us up pretty good, you know and Jiminy
Christmas. I look across, the guy across from me during one of these blue
flashes, and we had been running like I said in the trucks and our faces are
coated with dust. And there's rivers underneath both of his eyes. He's crying, you
know, tears are coming out of both eyes....
We stopped, turned out to be the regimental CP which had just been set
up on a timbered slope and they took our weapons and ammunition away from
us. Smartest thing in the world. You know, green people up there. And of course
we weren't on line yet. We're just back from the line. Then the first time looked
across at some ridges right over there and they were illuminated by flares, and I
could hear pa pa, pa pa pa pa pa, pa, gun fire. Then it would be quiet for a while
and then pretty soon _ flare burst, float down and hear pa pa, pa pa pa pa pa.
Then it dawned on me tomorrow night I'm going to be up there where the pas are
going on . . . This is going to happen . . .1 was still excited. Eager, but the main
thing was I didn't want to let anybody down. That really bothered me, that I would
in any way let anyone down.67
The Marines of 3/7 had a short break from fighting. They spent the morning
digging in to Hill 602 (a company-sized patrol base was set up there). The KMCs were
not so lucky. They resumed the attack against 1026 at 0400 while it was still dark. The
7th Marines did provide them with some relief, however, because 2/7 was released from
regimental reserve to take over the defense of Hill 924 from the 1st KMC.68
67Transcript of Interview with Ralph B. Steele, Library of Congress. Mr. Steele went on to analyze the
phrase "shots fired in anger." "[They were not] fired in anger at all. We're all professionals. We don't kill
the Chinese [or North Koreans] out of anger. We kill them out of professional . . . That's our job. We're
professional people. The same with these artillerists. They're not firing at the [North Koreans] out of hate.
. they're on a firing mission."
68 Lynn Montross, et al., The East-Central Front, 179-180; 1st Mar Div, "Historical Diary," September 1951,
7.

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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 October 25, 2014.