Battle for the Punchbowl: The U. S. 1st Marine Division 1951 Fall Offensive of the Korean War Page: 125
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still alive . . . he was breathing real heavy but there was big pink bubbles coming
out. Well I had been taught that that's a lung.... ain't going to last long when
By 1515 Dog and Easy were on the trail in the draw between Hills 680 and 673..
Fox Company at 1610 was on the knob of the ridge between 673 and 749. Then Easy
and Dog moved up 749 together to attack from the west (meanwhile Fox moved
towards them from the east).
Ralph B. Steele remembered the attack:
Then within another 50 yards or so we came to the crest of a ridge and ...
when you get to the crest of the ridge over in Korea. . . [it's usually] stripped of
trees from napalm strikes and artillery and then Gooks had chopped down some
of the trees to make bunkers. So it was all . . . [clear] of trees, and about that time
they wanted us to do was get on the other side of the ridge because we were
going kind of east really and then we would turn and go north. Well, as we
started to move out a bunch of mortar fire hit on the ridge that we were going to
occupy, so our lieutenant very wisely says we're not going to do that. What we're
going to do is we go over one at a time they'll get us one at a time. He said when
I give the word we're going over all at once....
... he was counting. It took about five seconds after they fired a round
before they kicked the breech open, got another round inserted, pulled the liner,
took about four to five seconds. So when the round hit... [he] said go, so the
whole platoon at once - and you know when you're running like that it seems it
takes you five minutes, but we cleared the crest just as the 76 round hit... [and
we're] so relieved everybody's giggling and laughing. We jumped in a hole. We
were all laughing about it, and one of the sergeants says, you know this is the
second time this has happened to me . . . but we moved out...28
We were starting to come up on more and more debris of battling, a few
things struck me. One was there was a machine gun, American machine gun box
metal [ammo can] and there had been a concussion next to it. . . and it pushed
the sides of that box in and all the bullets on the belt had poked through the
metal of the side of the box. . . the guy that was carrying that, he was gone.
Then one of those horrifying things . . . I . . . just turned 20 . . . here's three
Gooks in a trench and a round had hit and they were buried partially, but they
were looking out over this valley right there and a round had gone through, a
large round [cavity] I looked at their faces because [I was young ] and you always
get curious .... I could look right through the eye sockets and see the side of the
bank behind it. What the heck. His head was gone just his cervical was sticking
up and his head, his face .... the remark when my buddy was walking right
27 Transcript of Interview with Ralph B. Steele, Library of Congress.
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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/m1/140/?rotate=90: accessed January 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .