Graybeards - Korean War Veterans Association

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Graybeards - Korean War Veterans Association

20

60th Anniversary Memories

Only my family and friends wondered where I

had been

When the “Forgotten War” broke out, I lived in the Bronx,

NY. I was drafted in 1950, at which time I had never heard of a

place called Korea. Worse, I had no idea of where it was.

After a short basic training, I was sent to Seattle, WA. The

next day I was on a troop ship to Yokahama, Japan. From there,

we traveled to Camp Drake (at least I think that is where we

went).

At Camp Drake we were issued M-1 rifles, then we were off

to Sasebo, Japan. We boarded a ferry to Korea, on which we

slept on mats. We reached Pusan, Korea the next morning.

Then, we boarded a one-track train to the north. Finally, we

were assigned to our outfits.

I was assigned to the Second Infantry Division, 38th Regt. I

stayed on the line for nine months, and returned home. When I

arrived there, only my family and a few friends wondered

where I had been or what I had been doing. But, I didn’t care.

Today, I know that what I did for my country and the Korean

people is all that counts.

Peter Piccininni, 865 Charlemagne Blvd., Naples, FL 34112

My wish is that the Koreas become united

On 25 June 1950 my wife of two weeks and I were returning

from our honeymoon, when we heard of the invasion of South

Korea by troops from the north. We knew a little about Korea,

as a member of our wedding party had served in Army

Intelligence in Korea in the late 1940s.

During WWII I had been commissioned a 2nd Lt of infantry

at Fort Benning. I opted to stay in the Army Reserve. My combat

experience was as a Combat Engineer Platoon Sergeant at

the invasion of France on 7 June 1944. I was attached to the

82nd Airborne Division.

In September that year I returned to the States with an Army

appointment to West Point. I had to prepare for the entrance

exams. In 1948 I entered Officer Candidate School, as I did not

qualify for West Point.

By September 1950 I was recalled to service in the first drop

of the New York/New Jersey Command. I reported to Fort Dix

on a Sunday morning. By Friday, 95 of the 100 men who

arrived on Sunday had orders by air to Japan.

I was assigned to the 60th Regt. of the Ninth Division as a

training officer. I took a training class through infantry basic

training. At the end, my class and I were on orders for Korea.

In April 1950 I joined F Co., 19th Inf., 24th Div. as a Rifle

Platoon Leader. In October I assumed command of the company

after the captain was wounded, and was appointed as commander

by my West Point Battalion Commander. In December

I joined 2nd Bn. Staff as Assistant S-3 and active S-2. I returned

to the States in February 1952, when I received my discharge.

As I grow older, I often reflect on my days in Korea. One

day stands out above all the others. It was in the second week

of the October drive to retake the 48th Parallel.

I had been taking casualties every day, and it was getting to

me. This day I had platoons on two ridge lines that converged

into one at the peak of the hill. My right platoon, commanded

by Lt J. Allen, came under both enemy and friendly fire. The

latter came from a tanker who saw movement and fired on my

men.

I went crazy on the radio to turn him off. Then, I led the left

platoon on a rush to the fortified top to turn off the fire on Lt.

Allen. After a fire fight, I withdrew the left platoon to hold the

ridge line until the morning.

The next day a company passed through my line and finished

off the enemy position. The body count was over 80, and MSgt

Woody Keeble of G Co. earned the Medal of Honor for his

service that day.

In my mind, it was necessary for my country to fight the first

active aggression by the forces of communism. It was unfortunate

that it ended in a stalemate, but the results are dramatic.

South Korea is prosperous and the north is starving. Unlike the

two Germanys, they have been unable to reunite.

North Korea is still an unhappy and dangerous country. My

wish is that the 60th Anniversary would be a dramatic and welcomed

reuniting of the two Koreas under a democratic government.

John K. Daly, 221 Martling Ave.

Staten Island, NY 10314, (718) 448-2431

A lot of my questions were answered quickly

On 25 June 1950 I was sitting on my bunk in the barracks at

Ft. Benning, GA, at what is called the “Sand Hill” area. I was

with B Co., 30th Inf., 3rd Div.

We were listening to a radio broadcast of the news about the

North Korean invasion of South Korea. President Truman was

saying that the U.S. Armed Forces under UN sanction were

going to aid South Korea with air support and commit ground

troops stationed in Japan.

I felt like I had when I was 11 years old and listening to FDR

on radio while he was talking about the Pearl Harbor attack. I

did not know if we would be shipped out or if the Army troops

sent from Japan would end the fighting quickly. There were

other things I did not know.

For instance, I did not know what to think about being in

favor of our participation or not, or where Korea was. I don’t

think I had ever heard the name before. A lot of my questions

were answered quickly.

My earliest significant memory was getting to Korea by

troop ship, getting off it at Pusan in the dark, and going to a railroad

station. There was a train at the station carrying wounded

troops. We could hear them moaning in pain. Then we boarded

a train to Taegu.

We were issued WWII-era K-rations and 1903 Springfield 5-

round clips that would fire only single shots, as the rounds did

September – October 2010

The Graybeards

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