Of Cabbages and Kings

Note (6 Jan 2001): Because my 3rd Division Page has plugged John Toland's In Mortal Combat, Korea 1950-1953 for about a  year already, I feel safe in stealing this small excerpt which will be of great interest to the guys in the Imjin Buddy Bunker. Chinchy comments are (as usual) added below along with some name dropping. MK.

So John Eisenhower thought it was eerie where he was - he should have been with Baker Company (and Charlie Company?) advancing up Kelly, or even with Able Company trying to lend support fire from Breadloaf between Kelly and Hill 317, a Chinese stronghold at the time. But, I guess our story does not belong here amongst all that brass.

I'm sorry about venting a little, but the last quote does grate on me somewhat. I wonder if Kelly (where many good men were lost before, on, and after that day) would have been mentioned at all in the chapter about the prison riots (another story in which the 1st Battalion had a part) if notables had not been present on that July day.

Incidentally, I either witnessed the beating of the recalcitrant soldier that morning or of another one with a similar attitude on the same path. My sympathy, tinged by more than a little empathy, was with the beaten rather than the beater.

A late note (6 Apr 2002): After this page was published, General (ret) John S. D. Eisenhower was invited into the Imjin Buddy Bunker. After all, he belonged in the Bunker because, at least for part of a day, he was near one of "our hills" - Outpost Kelly. Although he declined to join us, he DID leave a very gracious message for us on the Visitor Messages board, which went defunct without any advance warning of that event. However, I had saved a copy of his message and here it is:

Wed, 7 Feb 01

Dear Mr. Key:

Please give my greetings and best wishes to the Bunker Buddies of the 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry, who fought on the Imjin River in July and August of 1952. I am proud to have served with them, even for only a short time, in that action. I have always had the deepest respect for those who lived on Kelly Hill, the Noris, Cavite, Tessie and others.

I remember the words of the battalion commander, Mills Hatfield: "Here at battalion headquarters, it is a sissy war. But for the men on those outposts, it is as tough a war as America has ever fought."

Though the hardships, danger, and sacrifices undergone by men on patrol or outpost may have seemed needless, I assure you that they were not. We would not have such a strong position on the DMZ that divides Korea if you had not controlled no-man's-land in front of it. You have every reason to be proud of your service.

John Eisenhower

In 1952, Eisenhower (the elder) said, "I will go to Korea." He kept that promise and, of course, visited his son and the 1st Battalion. Also of course, its members were not the same by then - the most important difference being that I had already gone home. :-) End of late note.

  A later note (18 Aug 2002):
This photo is opposite page 481 of John Toland's book (quoted above) and a frantic discussion arose in the Bunker about the rank of John Eisenhower on 30 Jul 1952.

You may discern that the text below the photo calls John Eisenhower a Lieutenant and says that the photo was taken taken in December 1952 when Ike, his father, visited Korea - this, even though page 539 makes him out to have been a Major on 30 Jul 1952.

Bunker memories, including mine, make it fairly certain, until otherwise proven, that the photo's text has made a RANK error - pun intended. End of later note.

My red ink (not blood) comments on the pages of the book were made long before I had this better way to make notes.

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