Imjin Buddy Bunker - Page Eight


Entry #68 - 04 Sep 2002

John L. Hollier
205 Alex Street
Lafayette, Louisiana 70506

Telephone: 337 234 0389
E-mail: John Hollier

Served in Korea: 1951 to 1953 in Company L, 3rd Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division.

The Story: Following basic training in Hawaii, I arrived in Korea on Easter Sunday, 1952. Six months after being on the frontlines, on August 8, 1952, my platoon was assigned to participate in an ambush of enemy forces on Little Nori under the cover of darkness. Unfortunately, the enemy's plan was the same, and we soon found ourselves being ferociously attacked on all sides. Mortar fire rained down all around us. I felt a thud between my shoulder blades and reached to feel my back. I soon realized that there was a wetness there that was blood. Upon orders to retreat from my squad leader, Donald Staszewski, I picked up my machine gun and started back across the Imjin River accompanied by an elderly Korean litter-bearer who was also wounded.. We finally reached an aid station where wounded were being shipped out to a Mash unit. A Turkish doctor did surgery on my back and informed me that should the mortar have gone l/4" deeper, my spinal cord would have been severed. Following six weeks' hospitalization, I returned to the frontline. Shortly thereafter, soldiers in Korea were being transferred to the 24th Infantry Division in Japan. Luckily I met all the criteria to transfer. There, I had additional training in amphibious landing and winter warfare. Unbeknown to me this training was in preparation for the 24th's return to Korea. When time came for this to happen, my two-year hitch was almost over. I spent the rest of my time doing MP duty at Camp Schimmelpfening in Sendai, Japan. John.

Dan Wolfe (#59) add-on (05 Sep 2002): Merv, I know John well. He was in my platoon when we were in Korea. A gentler Cajun you will not find anywhere in Louisiana. His wife, Anna, is the perfect complement to my buddy John. He received the Purple Heart. Dan

MK add-on (05 Sep 2002): I don't remember John, but I do remember Lafayette, Louisiana. "Il Son Partit"!!!  MK.

MK late add-on (10 Oct 2002): The photo page L on the Imjin, for which Dan Wolfe (#59) furnished the makings, tells a lot more about the 8 Oct 1952 ambush. It also mentions John's participation in it and tells about him being wounded. MK.

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Entry #69 - 04 Sep 2002

Donald R. Elmer
1905 Fieldstone Circle
Paso Robles,  California 93446

Telephone: 805 238 6151
E-mail: Donald Elmer

Served in Korea: Jan 1952 through Dec 1952 in Company L, 3rd Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division.

The Story: I was rifleman for 8 months and after that I was a medical aid man for 2 months. I came over as aid man but they put me in the infantry.

MK note: Let's all hope we hear more of Donald's story soon and, maybe, even see some photos. I know how he must have felt about his assignment. When the Army joined me, I had three years of college and one and a half years of law school - the perfect qualifications for a machine gunner - no? MK.

Dan Wolfe (#59) add-on: Merv, I told both John Hollier (#68) and Don Elmer (#69) about the IBB and am pleased that both jumped into the Bunker. Dan.

MK add-on (10 Oct 2001): Don has furnished two 1952 drawings of "our hills" which he made from two locations of Co L on the MLR and, also, seven 1952 photos of himself and his Co L buddies, two of whom are in our Bunker and one of whom was KIA. So, the Don and His Buddies photo page was born for your look-see. MK.

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Entry #70 - 07 Sep 2002

William Gardner
1736 Kings Drive
Paso Robles,  California 93446

Telephone: 805 238 4893
E-mail: Elmer re Gardener

Served in Korea: Feb 1952 through Dec 1952 in Company L, 3rd Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division.

MK note: Bill does not have a computer; but, Donald Elmer (#69) lives in the same town as Bill (yes!) and has made the kind offer to relay Bill's information and story to us. I will pass that on as if it were directly from Bill. Let's hope we soon hear more of "The Story" from Bill via Don. Other Company L men who knew Bill are welcome to make an add-on for me to post. The casualty lists show Bill as being WIA 16 Nov 1952. MK.

The Story: I was a rifleman.

MK late add-on (10 Oct 2002): Three photos of Bill are now on the photo page Don and His Buddies; and, the photo page L on the Imjin, for which Dan Wolfe (#59) furnished the makings, tells about a 15 Oct 1952 Co L operation ambush and mentions Bills participation in that event and his wounding. MK.

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Entry #71 - 07 Sep 2002

Charles Mesiar
Deceased - formerly of Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin.
Elmer re Mesiar

Served in Korea: Feb 1952 through Dec 1952 in Company L, 3rd Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division.

MK note: One of his buddies in Co L, Donald Elmer (#69), has given the information for this entry and promised to tell some more of "The Story" and even to send some photos of the Co L gang. Thanks, Don. MK.

The Story: He was a rifleman in Co L and died of natural causes in 1999.

Daniel Wolfe (#59) add-on: Charley Mesiar passed away about three years ago. He had been a rifleman in Co L and then became a Jeep driver. Also, he had attended two of our Co L reunions. Dan.

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Entry #72 - 18 Sep 2002

John F. Hatchard
35 Manchester Street
Victoria Park, Western Australia 6100

Telephone: 62 (08) 9361 3092
E-mail: John Hatchard

Served in Korea: Dec 1951 to Oct 1952 in the 1st Battalion of the Welch Regiment, Commonwealth Division.

The Story: Greetings to all members of the Imjin Buddy Bunker. Charlie 'Al' Haynes, your #49, put me onto this site. He was in the same regiment as me and, when I decided to write up my memoirs of my time in Korea, he was of great help in recalling the details about certain events.

In June 1950, when the Korean War broke out, I was fresh out of High School and on holiday in South Wales (UK). I had a premonition that I would somehow get caught up in it.

When I started my national service the following December, it took only three weeks to be told I would be going to Korea - to the Gloucester Regiment. Fortunately, it took a year to get me there and in that time the Gloucesters had been wiped out as an operational unit in the Chinese offensive of April 1951 - the famous battle of the Imjin. That was my good luck and it was followed by my being sent to join the Welch Regiment.

We spent a full tour on The Hook and then on 355 before leaving for Hong Kong. Our spell in both positions was relatively quiet when compared with what had been going on both before and after we left those positions - to the PPCLI mostly! I think the fact that the Welch Regiment battle flag bore the emblem of a red dragon on it must have made the Chinese, who regarded dragons as emblems of good fortune, think twice about taking us on!!! Anyway, I like to think so.

I now live in Western Australia where I have had the privilege to recently meet Major John Gerke, CO of C Coy, 3RAR, which had taken Hill 355 on 4 Oct 1951 and Hill 317 on the next day - quite an extraordinary feat, I think.

I look forward to exploring this site and may be able to get hold of some maps to send in - but don't hold your breath!

MK comment: I won't, but I may inhale and exhale deeply for a while. John's time in Korea coincides with mine and, for much of the time he was on the western end of "our hills" near the Imjin, my Co A/15 was at the eastern end - so, I may learn some more stuff about the doings on "our hills" during those particular days. I hope that John drags Col Gerke into our Bunker and sends us his maps - photos too, John? MK.

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Entry #73 - 03 Nov 2002

Rene S. Marfull

E-mail: Rene Marfull

Served in Korea: Jan 1951 - Jan 1952 in the 1st Cavalry, 5th Regiment, Mike Company, MG Platoon.

The Story: No special story, I was just a guy that carried a machine gun, M1919A6 or an M1917A1. We usually were attached to a rifle company. I spent most of my time with "Love" Company, 5th Cavalry Regiment.

MK comment: The History of the 3rd Infantry Division says:

"The 3d Infantry Division returned to the front on 20 Nov 1951, relieving the 1st
Cavalry Division in a sector near the confluence of the Imjin and Yokkok Rivers."

Having already known that the front which the 3rd went to in Nov 1951 was the area of "our" hills, I used Greek and Roman logic to figure out, from that abbreviated history and without Rene telling me, that he also served in the area of "our" hills. I hope to hear more of his story whether he thinks it is "special" or not. MK.

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Entry #74 - 03 Dec 2002

Kenneth E. Vance
1866 Port Margate Place
Newport Beach, California 92660

Telephone (work): 949 706 7518
Fax: 949 706-7519
Ken Vance

Served in Korea: From Oct 1951 to about 01 Jun 1952 as a Forward Observer for the 4.2" mortar section of the 7th Inf Rgt, 3rd Inf Div.

The Story: I went from being a Private to being a Sergeant during my short time in Korea.

I still have map of Hill 355 with our mortar concentrations marked on it. Fifty years ago, I slept with that map in my back pocket and it is dirty and pretty well beat up but still can be read. I used that map for the action on and around Hill 355 in November of 1951.

Later, I was attached to two 2nd Bn companies (Co G and, maybe Co E) at their positions on two hills which were close together and near the good old Imjin-Gang. Those two positions were about 5 or 6 miles north of 355 and a mile or so to the right . There was a little river that ran in front of us, turned north for a little bit, and then ran south into the Imjin-Gang.

I also have a map of the area of those two positions. That map also has our mortar concentrations listed on it.

MK comment: The History of the 3rd Infantry Division says:

"The 3d Infantry Division returned to the front on 20 Nov 1951, relieving the 1st
Cavalry Division in a sector near the confluence of the Imjin and Yokkok Rivers."

Ken has promised to snail mail me the two maps which he mentioned in his entry. When they come, I will know for certain where the 2nd Bn of the 7th Inf Rgt was near the Imjin River. I already know where the 15th Inf Rgt was at the same time - on both sides of the MLR from where it was crossed  by the Imjin. I'll let you know the outcome. MK.

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Entry #75 - 02 Jan 2003

J. Ross Franklin
13522 Perdido Key Drive
Pensacola, Florida 32507

Telephone: 850 492 9446
Fax: 503 905 8335
J. Ross Franklin

Served in Korea: Feb '52-Oct'52 in I Company, 7th US Inf Regt.

The Story: Wounded twice - overrun on Nori - would not have made it back home without the aid of the sergeants we had, many from WWII.

MK comment: I learned by an email from David A. Strongin (#50) that this entry, briefly modest as it is, might be made. Dave said, in part:

"I took the liberty of inviting J. Ross Franklin, DSC, to the Bunker. You might want to know that Ross is the most decorated graduate of the USMA class of '50 and holds a doctorate in African studies. He has devoted the past years and the rest of his life to doing good for others. His company is called Pachomious after an ex-soldier turned saint. He was a baldheaded, 23 year old company commander when I met him. Dave."

When the entry was made, I learned that another well-rounded man had jumped in our Bunker. The entry by Col Franklin was accompanied by his email saying:

"Merv, have completed the form to join this honorable group. Does this authorize me to join the 3rd in Kuwait? Ross."

I am looking forward to learning more about Col Franklin's experiences on Nori, my usual "outpost home" in 1952.

Meanwhile, I have already learned, from the 3rd Div casualty lists, that one of his woundings occurred 24 Sep 1952 when he was a 1st Lieutenant. You can read that same listing by clicking Joseph R Franklin. That is the Army's way of referring to our new (new only to some of us) buddy. I was an annoyed (in more ways than one) "David M".

When Paul E. Tardiff (#61) entered the Bunker, he mentioned both Col Franklin and the occasion on which the then Lt Franklin earned the DSC. MK.

MK add-on: (16 Mar 2003) Ross emailed me his comments about the page Korean Stories written by Sherwin "Arc" Arculis (#6) and I couldn't resist passing them along. Here they are:

    "Mervin. I read Arc's Korean Stories page with great interest.

    "In Sep of 1952, Kelley was overrun and a company of the 15th Inf which was on Kelly at the time had only eight survivors. That company was commanded by Bill Nelson, a classmate of mine.

   "My company, Item of the 7th Inf, was given the mission of making a night attack to draw the Chinese from Kelley while the main attack to retake Kelly was being made by the 65th Inf. The attack by the 65th was a fiasco and resulted in it's Regimental CO and the 3rd Division CO being relieved.

       "Paul Tardiff (#61) and David Strongin (#50) were with me for the action near Kelly.  I was wounded and later joined by Paul in the hospital. He was wounded in a separate action. Fifty years later, Senator Collins of Maine and I  were privileged to award Paul a Silver Star for his actions on the date he was wounded - but, that is another story.

    "At that time, fifty years after serving together in Fighting Item, Paul, David, and I were reunited with five other members of our company at a monastery near where I then lived.

    "Please forward this to Arc, and anyone else you want.

    "Volens et Potens, Ross.

Thanks, Ross. MK.

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Entry #76 - 29 Jan 2003

Don Booth
373 Stetler Avenue
Akron, Ohio 44312

Telephone: 330 784 3204
E-mail: Don Booth

Served in Korea: Nov 1951- Aug 1952 in Company E and the 15th Infantry Battle Patrol, 15th Inf Rgt, 3rd Inf Div.

The Story: I hoping to contact anyone with whom I served in the 15th. I particularly remember Lt Harold Beck of Winnabago County, Illinois, Ray Hanville of Sonora, California, and Tex Honaker. Unfortunately, I have forgotten a lot of names over the years.

MK comment: Haven't we all, Don, haven't we all? Maybe you would like to tell us more of your story and, of course, let us see any 1951-52 photos that you may have salvaged for more than fifty years. That might help you in your search, for which we wish you the luck that others in the Bunker have had in the same regard. Welcome to the Bunker. MK.

MK note: (04 Mar 2003) The good news is that Don sent me the makings for a photo and tale page. My Bunch in the 15th Infantry Battle Patrol is the name of the page and it's worth your look-see.  MK.

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Entry #77 - 3 Feb 2003

Alan A. McFarland
615 Pheasant Run
Rensselaer, Indiana  47978

Telephone: 219 866 0476
Fax: 219 866 0496
E-mail: Alan McFarland

Served in Korea: 23 Apr 1951 to 8 Aug 1952 in the 1st Battalion of the King's Own Scottish Borderers.

The Story: In April of 1951, I sailed with the KOSB from Hong Kong to Korea on the USS Montrose. Frank Pearson and I share the same experiences over there. Did my job as required and just endured without heroics.

MK comment: All in our Bunker are proud to have another Kosbie jump in with us. Tom Jones, a friend to all in the Bunker, made an entry in the Bunker for the just mentioned Frank Pearson (#45). Click on his name to visit his entry into the Bunker and read some detail about the doings of the 1st Bn KOSB as they "just endured" on some of "our hills".  MK.

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Entry #78 - 16 Feb 2003

Leroy Bunders
18 Westover Drive
Poquoson, Virginia

Telephone: 757 868 6290
E-mail: Leroy Bunders

Served in Korea: August 1951 to June 1952 in Co C and Co A, 15th Inf Rgt, 3rd Inf Div.

The Story: From Aug 1951 to Feb 1952 I served in Co C as a Weapons Squad Leader, a Rifle Squad Leader, an Assistant Platoon Sergeant, a Platoon Sergeant, the 1st Sergeant, and a Platoon Leader.  While I was with Co C, we fought on Hills 487, 400, and 477 and then went to the area along the MLR just west of the Imjin River.

In Feb 1952, I was transferred to Company A and served as the Platoon Leader of its 2nd Platoon from Feb 1952 until June 1952 when I rotated home as a 1st Lieutenant. During my time with Co A,  we were usually in the area of the MLR along the Imjin River and fought mostly on and around Outpost Nori. I will never forget how cold the Imjin river got and how many times I crossed it on the way to Nori or elsewhere beyond the valley on the other side of the river. From the last part of April 1952 through part of June 1952, we were guarding prisoners at the POW camp near Pusan.

I am very proud of the men that I served with in both Co A and Co C; and, I think that we in Co A were very lucky to have Cpt Pearson as our Commander.

MK comment: Well, I feel very lucky to have the man who was my Platoon Leader (for about five months) jump in the Bunker with us. He is one of those in a photo on the page Refugees Plus - Again. Don't be surprised if some tales about our doings along the Imjin and at the POW camp also get linked to from here.  MK.

MK late add-on (05 Aug 2003): Eureka!!! I finally (after some distractions) got around to making a photo page using goodies snail mailed to me by Lt Bunders. Do yourself a favor by viewing photos and read more about the refugee doings and other stuff on the Don't Carry Me Back page. MK.

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