Imjin Buddy Bunker - Page Six


Entry #46 - 5 Sep 2001

Carlos Betances

Served in Korea: May 1952 to Oct 1952 at Hq of 2nd B, 65th Inf Rgt.

MK note: Carlos is the first man from the 65th to jump in the Bunker and so we all are especially pleased to have him with us. I am leaving a blank space below so that he can have room to tell us more of his story. MK.

The Story: MK late note (29 Oct 2001): His story will be told by Bart Soto - a close friend to Carlos and a contributor to the Bunker. Bart just emailed us this sad news:

"Gentlemen, it is with heavy heart I inform you that Lt. Col. (Ret.) Carlos Betances-Ramirez passed away at 7:00 p.m. last night, October 28, 2001. He was a former commander of the 2nd Battalion, 65th Infantry, during the Korean War (in 1952). Bart Soto."

(11 Nov 2001): Carlos is our first Buddy lost after he jumped in the Bunker. That fact makes his death of particular poignancy to me and I am pleased to tell you that Bart has told The Story for Carlos on a page entitled A Short Biography of Carlos Betances-Ramirez. It's a well written remembrance of a remarkable man and soldier. MK.

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Entry #47 - 6 Sep 2001

George Jackson
B657 Monte Vista Road
Golden, Colorado 80410

Telephone: 303 526 2543
George Jackson

Served in Korea: Much of 1952 and 1953 in Co G, 65th Inf Rgt, 3rd Inf Div.

The Story: I was on the MLR close to Outpost Kelly when it was lost to the Chinese. Later, I was with units on Tessie, Nick and Betty.

Mk note (02 Nov 2002): The 65th Infantry Regiment on Kelly story is told, and well, by Bart Soto, a friend of George Jackson and of the rest of the guys in our Bunker. MK.

MK late note (17 Dec 2002): LTC (Ret) George Jackson did not mention that he was a Captain and the Company Commander of G Co at the time the 65th Infantry Regiment on Kelly story took place. Nor did he mention that he also served on other hills lying to the east of what I have called "our hills". One of them became known to history as Jackson Heights.

This month, about fifty years after LTC Jackson served on that hill which has been bearing his name, he was awarded the Silver Star for his actions on that hill. Bart Soto, who was the ramrod making sure that LTC Jackson received his long due recognition, has furnished us photos of the award ceremony along with his comments about those attending that ceremony. Please visit what I have called the Pomp and Circumstances page. It also has a photo of LTC Jackson when he was CO of G Co. MK.

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Entry #48 - 9 Sep 2001

Herbert Reiman
former residence:
Irvington, New Jersey

Served in Korea: Jan 1952 to Oct 1952 in Co B, 15th Inf Rgt, 3rd Inf Div.

MK note: James McGlew (#5) has made this entry for his buddy Herb. Anyone who wishes to add to Herb's story may email the add-on to me and I'll put it right here. MK.

The Story: Herb was a buddy of mine. We met in basic, went to and served in Co B together, went on R&R together, and came home together. He was my Best Man at my wedding. He passed away in 1986. Jim.

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Entry #49 - 10 Sep 2001

Charles (Al) Haynes
58 King Edward's Grove
Teddington, Middx., UK TW11 9LX

Telephone: 020 8255 1299
Al Haynes
URLs: With The Welch Regiment In Korea     BKVA - The Middlesex Branch

Served in Korea: Nov 1951 to Nov 1952 in MMG Platoon, Support Co, 1st Battalion, The Welch Regiment.

The Story: On 24 Nov 1951, The Welch Regiment replaced the 1st Republic of Korea Regiment on a piece of terrain overlooking the Sami-chon valley known as The Hook, the name denoting its protrusion of the line into what would normally be enemy territory, or no-mans-land. These positions faced an 'unoccupied' feature slightly higher than the surrounding area, namely Hill 169 or, taking its code name, 'Top Hat'.

After some initial attempts to ambush Commonwealth patrols on reconnaissance of Hill 169, it became 'contested' territory, in that the enemy occupied it by night and the UN forces by day, on an almost 'gentleman's agreement', with no hostile resistance either way, save the occasional small shell, or 2" mortar.

A ten or twelve man Welch patrol, walking across the valley and picking its way along the raised walkways intersecting the rice paddies, was a regular daily, dawn spectacle. Each day like clockwork, the patrol would cross the valley, enter a cutting that led to a track giving access to the rising ground that took them up and on to the forward slopes of Hill 169. There they would lay out their aircraft identification panels and settle down for the daylight hours and make the return trip at dusk.

This arrangement went on without interruption until the fateful day of 9 Feb 1952. On that day, as the patrol entered the cutting, which was filled with thick morning mist, they were 'jumped' by a Chinese ambush party.

Two men of The Welch Regiment died that day - Private Norman Babbage, a wireless operator and a member of the patrol, and Corporal Reginald Greaves, a member of the relief party going to the assistance of the 'jumped' patrol. Both were members of A Company. Charlie.

MK note: Hill 169 is located fairly near Hill 317 and not very far from Hill 355. During the period of time about which Charlie just spoke, Company A of the 15th Inf Rgt was regularly playing the same back and forth "game" on Outpost Nori, which was right on the Imjin River and not very far to the east of Hill 169. Our "game" often had the same results you just heard about from Charlie.

Charlie's With The Welch In Korea site, on a Photo Album page, tells more about the Hill 169 incident and has references to the "Welch" taking over Hill 355 from the 2nd Battalion of the 15th Inf Rgt along with a (poor quality, but good) photo of the hand-over ceremony. MK.

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Entry #50 - 1 Oct 2001

David A. Strongin
P. O. Box 3600
Incline Village, Nevada 89450

E-mail: D. A. Strongin
URL: Two Flags

Served in Korea: Aug 1951 to Aug 1952 in Co I, 7th Inf Rgt, 3rd Inf Div.

The Story: On Thanksgiving Day of 1951 the 3rd Battalion of the 7th Inf Rgt relieved elements of the 1st Commonwealth Div. I think that it might have been the King's Own Scottish Borderers. I also think that the hill they were on came to be known as Kelly, but I am not certain of that.

It was a gloomy, wet, and misty day as our column snaked its way to our new position. Along the way, the Chinese shelled us but did little damage.

I was engaged in working my way up to the head of the column, then falling back to the rear to keep stragglers moving, and then repeating that exercise. It was about 1600 hours when I found myself waiting for the column to pass in the cold drizzle. I stood opposite a parked Churchill tank. The British OIC and crew chief invited me over for tea with a cheerful, "Yank, would you like tea?"

We sat leaning against the bogy wheels on the lee side of the incoming, and I enjoyed the best cup of tea in the whole world. When our entire column had somewhat passed me, I reluctantly left the comfort of the warm, sweet tea, and caught up.

As we turned left off the road for the climb to our positions, I saw our Thanksgiving dinner at the bottom of a ditch. The jeep and trailer that carried it had been hit.

That was the beginning of a very, very unpleasant time. David.

MK note: The hills where the 7th Inf Rgt relieved the British forces surely included Kelly and, maybe, other hills fairly near Hill 317 and not very far from Hill 355. The King's Own Scottish Borderers had just been driven from Hill 317 over the night of the 4th and 5th of Nov 1961 in the infamous Charlie Chinaman's Gunpowder Plot which Bill Ballinger (#38) and others have told us about. If David and I are both wrong about the Kelly ID, someone else in the Bunker will be sure to let us know . MK.

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Entry #51 - 2 Oct 2001

Leroy Keeney

E-mail: Leroy Keeney

Served in Korea: Summer of 1951 to summer of 1952 in Co C, 7th Inf Rgt, 3rd Inf Div.

The Story: I dropped out of school, lied about my age, joined the army, and went to Korea in 1951 at 16 years of age. I don't know the date when I got there, but it was hot at the time. Then, there was a rainy season, a very cold winter, and another hot length of time before I left for home in 1952. Because I spent two months in a hospital in Japan and didn't get front line rotation points for that amount of time, my tour of duty was longer than most of the men I knew. The men who stayed on the front lines usually spent only nine or ten months there; but, as a result of the hospital stay, my time in Korea spanned more than a year.

I was in an assault squad in the taking of Hill 281 but have no idea where it is located. In Nov 1951, our company was involved in the retaking of Hill 355 [Dagmar] and was the last company on the hill. I don't think it was ever lost again. I was on several outposts but don't remember them as having names. I remember the taking of Old Baldy (Hill 487) but we were in a blocking position just behind it and didn't participate in the assault.

I was a squad leader when I left Korea. In fact, I "volunteered" to lead a reinforced squad on a patrol during the night before I headed home. Although I already had my orders to go home and had turned in all my equipment, they decided they needed me and were kind enough to issue me enough equipment to lead the squad.

Actually, I didn't exactly "volunteer" for that last patrol and I'll tell you more about that experience later on, maybe when I send you the very few photos I have from 1951-1952 if you want them.

I was broken from volunteering a couple of months earlier. A friend and I had been volunteering for a ten man outpost because we had a sniper rifle with a scope and enjoyed trying to shoot Chinese on the hill across from us. But, I guess they got tired of that and tried to sneak up on us with a small raiding party. I found out I wasn't as brave as I thought I was and never volunteered again.

I appreciate what you are doing here and thank you for letting me weigh in. Leroy Keeney.

MK note: Hills 281, 355, and 487 are well known to many others in our Bunker. For instance, J. C. Poe (#2) has told us about 487 on his page named On Top of Old Baldy. I suspect that the unnamed outposts on which Leroy served included the hills just across the Imjin from Outpost Nori.

Many guys who were stationed in Japan requested transfer to a front line unit in order to get four rotation points a month instead of, I think, only one and a half. For some of those men, it was a very unwise choice. I remember one of those men well. He came to A/15/3 as a replacement in the early spring of 1952. On his second day there, he was KIA on Nori. The memory of helping to retrieve his body and having to help in the usual duty of going through his duffle bag is unpleasantly vivid to me. By doing that, we learned his reasons for wanting to get home as soon as possible, but his reasons are too poignantly personal to him to be mentioned here. MK.

MK late note (14 Nov 2002): Leroy and I finally got his photo page done. You can visit Digging on 355 and Bathing in the Imjin to see those photos and read about that "last patrol" and other 1951-1952 "adventures" that Leroy had near and in the Imjin River. MK.

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Entry #52 - 4 Oct 2001

Aaron "Art" Ekelchik
939 Garrison Avenue
Teaneck, New Jersey 07666

E-mail: Aaron Ekelchik

Served in Korea: 2 Apr 1951 to 22 Jan 1952 in Co A, 15th Inf Rgt, 3rd Inf Div.

The Story: I was a machine gunner with the 1st Platoon. I was wounded on 29 Sept 1951 on Old Baldy (Hill 487) and taken to first aid. A number of my buddies were wounded and the Company Commander, Cpt Tucker, was one of the Co A guys killed that day. I think he was a West Point Graduate. After a day or so, I was sent to a military hospital in Pusan where I recuperated for two weeks before being sent back to the front line. I was a Cpl at the time, so the doctors and nurses there had higher ranks than I. They kept tasking me until I outfoxed them. I will tell more of that story later on.

Later, not long before I was rotated home on 22 Jan 1952, Company A had a position along the Imjin River MLR with Nori as the outpost across the river.

Sincerely, Aaron.

MK note: It's great to have another Able Company guy in the Bunker with us. Art and I will have a good excuse for not remembering each other. He was in the 1st Plt and I was in the 2nd - plus, we only overlapped there for about 29 days. I arrived 24 Dec 1951 and he left 22 Jan 1952. MK.

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Entry #53 - 4 Oct 2001

Mark H. Pease
4155 Courtlandt Drive
Newburgh, Indiana 47630

E-mail: Mark Pease

Served in Korea: Mar 1951 to Feb 1952 in Co F, 7th Inf Rgt, 3rd Inf Div.

The Story: I remember Hill 355 vividly even after 50 years have passed.

My Company was one of the few that didn't get kicked off the hill in November of 1951 and was surrounded for about 3 days. The guys of the 15th Rgt fought like hell to get us out of our predicament and I will always be grateful. One of the members of my company, Noah Knight, was awarded the Medal of Honor (posthumously) for his actions at that time. I think the Chinese attack on Hill 355 lasted from 22 Nov 1951 to 26 Nov 1951. That attack was very savage but the efforts of the 7th and 15th Regiments saved the hill.

I have emailed Mervin two pictures - one of Hill 355 and the other of a nearby sign. Mark.

MK notes: (4 Oct 2001) Those two photos are posted on the page Pease to Hill 355 - click it and take a peek. (16 Oct 2001) Two more of his photos are now on the page Pease on 355 which also tells Mark's story that goes with the photos. MK.

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Entry #54 - 9 Oct 2001

Mario DeSantis
10825 SW 83rd Avenue
Ocala, Florida 34481

Telephone: 352 854 0985
E-mail: Mario DeSantis

Served in Korea: Jul 1952 to Jan 1953 in a rifle platoon of Co C, 7th Inf Rgt, 3rd Inf Div.

The Story: I was a scout on my first patrol near Kelly. Later, I saw action at 355, Three Sisters, and Arrowhead Ridge. I also spent time on patrols near the Imjin river and on OP Whitehorse. I trained at Schofield barracks in Hawaii before that duty with the 7th/3rd around the Chorwan valley. I earned two bronze stars and a CIB to go with the Korean Service Medal. I am still proud to have served with the "Cottonbalers" -THE BEST. Mario.

MK note: Please visit Me - Two Buddies - Three Snafus to see a 1952 photo of Mario with two of his buddies and to read three light-hearted stories that go with it. MK.

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Entry #55 - 17 Oct 2001

George Knight
7613 Shenandoah Avenue
Allen Park, Michigan 48101

Telephone: 313 382 5370
E-mail: George Knight

Served in Korea: Apr 1952 to Sep 1952 in Co K, 15th Inf Rgt, 3rd Inf Div.

MK note: George's stuff is being relayed to us by J. C. Poe (#2). MK.

The Story: I met George Knight at the Sep 2001 Reunion in Arizona and he asked me to make the entry to IBB for him because he is not into computers.

He vividly remembers Hill 317 and gave me a photo of Nori and the surrounding area as (not needed) evidence of the fact. I'm glad he did because it is the best Nori photo I have seen that was taken from the Able Company position on the Imjin during the winter of 1951-1952.

He also gave me a photo of himself in Korea and jokingly said that it was taken before he was demoted from a full bird to a buck Private and then promoted to Private First Class.

I have sent these photos (by snail mail) on to Merv for his handling as usual. J. C.

MK add-on (18 Oct 2001): The two photos of which Poe just spoke are now posted on the page Knightbirds and Nori - a page special to me because of the nostalgia I feel when I see the view of Nori there presented. When you first visit the page and view the other photo, you will learn the full truth of the "full bird" business (just as I finally did after I got the photos from Poe) and realize why I delayed the posting of George's entry until I saw the photos. MK.

MK late add-on (24 Oct 2001): George, through J. C., has corrected the dates he was in Korea to those now shown above and given the answer to my puzzlement as to why George was in Korea for only five months. George and a few other selected (lucky?) "Can Do" guys were sent to Japan to train with a unit of Marines for a amphibious landing (that didn't come off) in North Korea. George ended up returning home from Japan without getting back to Korea. George also told J. C. that he couldn't remember the answer to another query I had: when did his 3rd Bn relieve the 1st Bn on the Imjin? However, he did remember that they lost some men in the river when they were caught in a flash flood while crossing on the way to Nori. This means to me that his 3rd Bn was there in the late spring or early summer of 1952 after the 1st Bn was dispatched to the POW Camp near Pusan and before the late July doings on Kelly. MK.

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Entry #56 - 1 Nov 2001

Prentice D. Carroll
206 Prugh Avenue
Xenia, Ohio 45385

Telephone: 937 372 3188
E-mail: Prentice Carroll

Served in Korea: 3 Jun 1952 to 15 Apr 1953 in 3rd Sq, 3rd Plt, Co B, 7th Inf Reg, 3rd Inf Div.

The Story: I was a corporal and a BAR (Browning Automatic Rifle) man. When I got first got to Company B, we were in the punchbowl area. I've been on Hill's 355, 347, 250, on Bloody Ridge, White Horse Mountain (for just short of 2 months - my longest time one place) and in the Iron Triangle. I was on some more hills that I can't think of right now.

The story I want to tell about now happened in 1952; and, because the Koreans were saying that the monsoons came later than usual that year, I think it happened in the latter part of July of that year.

Our company was occupying the hill where the bend of the Imjin River turned west. Our patrols were being ambushed and the order came down that the third platoon was going to take the Chinese outpost on the hill inside the bend. I think now that hill we were to take was Nori. The second platoon had done the recon and said that the best place to cross the Imjin was next to the bend right after it had made the turn west.

When we got to the river there were two things I particularly remember: we had a full moon and there was a huge bomb crater right where we are going to cross. My squad's job was to cross the river first and set up in position to protect the rest of the platoon while crossing. Then, we were to fall in behind for the clean-up. So, in the water we go. On my right side were the Company Commander, Captain Stovall, and and the radio man. The others were in a straight line to my left side.

We all waded on about eight or nine steps and the water is up to my ammo belt. I noticed the water getting very swift now as we pressed on, trying to maintain our balance. When we were midway across and the current became so swift that it was washing the gravel out from under my feet and the only thing that held me up was the weight of my weapon, my ammo belt, the extra magazines I have stuffed in my fatigue shirt, and the other usual gear.

I decided that we were not going to make it across without being swept downstream by the river. As I turned toward Caption Stovall to suggest we turn back, I happened to glance toward the far shore. WHOA!!! There, framed in the moonlight on the far bank, were two Chinese with a 51cal machinegun. One of them was sighting down the barrel at us and the other one was holding the belt of ammo to guide it into the gun.

The Captain saw two Chinese at about the same time as I and said, "Look there. Do you see them? What do we do now?" I didn't have much time to think this over; I had to come up with the RIGHT answer and do it QUICK. I knew the reason they didn't open fire on us was they knew they could only kill a few of us before the rest of the platoon on the other bank would wipe them out. I said to the Captain, "I hope they understand English." Then, I said real loud so everyone could hear, "HEY GANG, WE CANT MAKE IT, THE WATER IS TOO DEEP AND SWIFT, TURN AROUND AND GO BACK."

Our squad was waiting for that call, so everyone one turned around and started back. Meanwhile, the Captain was on the radio. Then, he turned to me and said, "Pass the word on, AS SOON AS YOUR FIRST FOOT HITS DRY DIRT, DIVE FOR THAT BOMB CRATER." I no more than hit the ground than eight or nine other guys landed on top of me. As the wind was mashed out of me, the artillery rounds were screaming just over the tops of our heads. They shelled the North side of that river bank for about half an hour. There was nothing left standing on that river bank, not even a single weed.

Later the next day, we learned that up in North Korea it had rained real hard. The way the water runs off those mountains the rivers could rise as much as fifteen to twenty feet in a matter of a few hours. I mean to tell you that was one scary situation. On my walk back to that bomb crater, I could almost feel a bullet tearing through my back on every step I took. But, that never happened. Prentice.

PS. The only reason the Captain and the radio man were on my end of the squad was that the Captain and my squad leader didn't get along too well. Prentice.

MK note (19 Dec 2001): A 1952 photo of Prentice and his interesting tale about BARS and Angels is now ready for your look-see. MK.

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