The photo of Betty on your left was taken shortly after our marriage in September of 1950, and while she was a graduate student at Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio.
At the same time, I was stationed at Fort
Knox, Kentucky, where I was completing my Basic Training. I carried that photo
of her in my wallet all through my tour of duty in Korea in 1951.
Betty had graduated with honors and with a BFA degree at Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, in the spring of 1949 and was initiated into the Delta Phi Delta Art Honorary Society. On completing her education at OSU in December of 1950, she received a BS Degree in Education.
When Betty secured a glossy and an AP release of the photograph of her spouse, the Korean war rifleman in silhouette, taken on March 4, 1951, she had no way of knowing that her initiative would, in time, have profound consequence. Labeled "Korean Watch" in its nationwide AP newspaper release during the following Easter Season, she had it framed for display in the living room of her parent’s home in Trenton, Ohio.
Thirty-five years after its 2nd nationwide wide release [this time for the fund drive for the U. S. O. symbolizing America’s fighting forces throughout the globe] she was working as an Art Director for one on the foremost international music conglomerates, designing layouts, catalog covers and record jackets when she volunteered her service to design posters, using the photo as an anchor for yet another noble cause. The hundreds of KWVA posters she designed soliciting funds for the construction of the Korean War Veterans Memorial to be situated in our nation’s capital had an inestimable impact. Generating membership to the fledgling KWVA as well, these impressive posters were also instrumental in building awareness of the Korean war. Produced for both the KWVA National HQ and individual chapters, they were reproduced for nationwide distribution by KWVA membership.
photograph of Sgt. Belisario was taken at the same site and time frame as this
one of me which is installed on the "Dick Coate At Work" page of the IBB.Company
Clerk Belisario, and I shared two experiences during our overlapping tours
of duty in Korea which are indelibly imprinted upon our psyche. The first involved the
tragic circumstances we, as the two 2nd Bn., 15th Inf., 3rd Inf. Divi. Company Clerks
performed out duties alongside the Medical staff at the 2d Bn. Aid Station during
Operation Cleanup II late Sept. and early October of ‘51. Though Belisario returned to
his own Co. HQ after the processing the wounded from the action on Hill 487, one of a
strategically important five hill complex west of Chorwon, Korea, I remained at the aid
station while Division participated in Operation Commando. Though our immediate
objective involved wresting from enemy hands the well fortified rise on the ridge line
between Hills 487 & 477, it was but one aspect of "Commando." "Commando" was
coordinated with many other units whose objective it was to move the line North
seven miles to "Jamestown." Command Reports informed me that the rise in the
saddle between Hills 487-477 was actually Hill 460. (X re: My letter to my wife, Betty, on
"Dick Coate At Work."
Following the last major action in which I was involved, the seizure "Armistice Hill" (a/k/a "Dagmar" and as Hill 355), from enemy hands in late November of 1951)of Belisario and I shared a glorious and well earned R & R in Tokyo. Quartered at the R & R Center, the Meiji Hotel, from December 11 through the 16th, we, along with four others from the 2d Bn., had one helluva good time lapping up the good life a whole world away from the horrors taking place on the Korean peninsula - just across the Sea of Japan.
ROTATION HOME - EARLY JULY OF ’51(goes on
photo with names)
Sgt. Taylor and "Shorty" Haskins were among the first "E" Co., 15th Inf. Reg., men to rotate home during my time there.
They had set foot on the Korean Peninsula on or about November 11, 1950 when the Regiment out loaded at Wonson Harbor, North Korea. While the 15th replaced the marines in that sector, the other two regiments of the division set up a hundred mile defensive perimeter stretching north to Humnang. With the Chinese entry into the war and the uncertainty of the tactical situation, the 15th Infantry, in temperatures as low as 35 degrees below zero, "promenaded" a couple times in open gondolas between Wonson and Humnang until the perimeter narrowed in defense of Humnang.
While the Marines fought their way
out of entrapment at the Chosen Reservoir, the 7th Infantry fought their way
south from the Yalu to withdraw through the 3rd Inf. Div. perimeter. Though a
small element of the 65th Inf. Regt. set off the fuses which set off the blast
sending the harbor sky high were the last out of Humnang, the 15th Infantry was
the last regiment to evacuate on Christmas Eve of 1950.
Sgt. Taylor, who was the "E" Company Clerk, was wounded on Hill 425, south of the Han River late January of 1951 and evacuated to Tokyo General Hospital. Shorty Haskins was transferred from a rifle platoon to replace him as Company Clerk.
With the announcement of the Rotation Plan, both were eligible for rotation home at the same time. Cpl. Taylor, Stateside, had trained as a Company Clerk. In order that he qualify for rotation, he was returned to the line to train his replacement. On 1 May 1951, after I was transferred from Lt. Dustin's rifle platoon to Co. HQ, Sgt. (then a Cpl.) Taylor buckled to the task of training me. Poor Ole Shorty was transferred back to the line to sweat the odds against survival. Their long anticipated "Big Day" finally arrived in early July of 1951. I departed from "E" Co. on the first leg of my long voyage home on 1 Jan 1952.