Battle for the Punchbowl: The U. S. 1st Marine Division 1951 Fall Offensive of the Korean War Page: 108
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and Kanmubong Ridges to be in position to attack at first light. All evening saw enemy
76mm artillery and 82mm mortar shells bombard the companies of 3/7.48
BAR man Joe Sipolski was there that day as well:
I often think of that day 11th September. I remember that night march to
Sanguine. That empty, tight knot in my stomach was a little tighter that morning.
It didn't take long to get in the fight. It looked like half the 1st Platoon was wiped
out in minutes, as the wounded were working their way through our position. It
was not a morale builder. I was working my way to the right of the main finger
and was surprised to see how close we were to the bunkers above. I tried to get
a few shots off but my BAR was jammed. As we worked our to the right up the
hill, all hell was breaking loose. I hit the ground, but obviously not in a good spot.
Shrapnel hit me in the shoulder and a bullet hit my left forearm and traveled nine
inches up through my arm. I worked my way back to the wounded area, was shot
up with morphine, and later started the trip back down the hill with another
Marine who had a bullet wound through his thigh. He had just been with How Co.
for 5 days . . . [After the battle, a division order went out that no new
replacements could be put into combat until they had been with their unit at
certain number of days.]
It was just starting to get dark when I reached the first hospital tent . ... .I
walked into this tiny room in the tent, just enough room for three operating tables.
On the first table was a Marine who appeared to have a bullet hole clean through
his chest. He was sitting up. On the table to the right was a Marine with his foot
hanging only by the skin. On the center table was a Marine lying half propped up
with 2 doctors working on him. His face had been blown open and I could see
inside his head. The docs were talking to him as they worked , and he was trying
to answer back with gurgling sounds ...
I walked out of the room and told a corpsman, "I don't belong in there with
those Marines; they're fighting for their lives ... ." I was loaded on a truck and
sent back to the larger hospital in the rear ....49
Later that day, Genrich was ordered to go see what had become of the other
ammo bearers and he dashed off to where he had left his pack to see.
They were no longer at that location. I was told some men were carrying
wounded down the hill. I gathered up about four cans of ammo and my pack, and
it was all I could do to lug them back up the hill. The distance seemed much
further with the load. . . . I noticed we were only about 40 feet from the edge of
48 Third Battalion, Seventh Marine Regiment, "Historical Diary," September 1951, 7-8.
49 Letter of Joe Sipolski to Wadie Moore, October 1999, printed in: Charles Hughes, Accordion War, 293-
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Montandon, Joshua W. Battle for the Punchbowl: The U. S. 1st Marine Division 1951 Fall Offensive of the Korean War, thesis, August 2007; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc3938/m1/123/?rotate=90: accessed September 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .