The Graybeards - KWVA - Korean War Veterans Association

The Graybeards - KWVA - Korean War Veterans Association

RIGHT: Brandon paints some range poles.

BELOW: 3rd Squad Survey Team at a point along

Traverse to Hungnam Water – Front for Gun

Positions (Dec.1950).

Holiday, a new man took over. General

Matthew Ridgway came on the scene and

once the 8th Army stopped backing up and

consolidated below the 38th Parallel it got

orders to go on the offensive. The move

north began in late January.

Once again the main mission of the

8221st was put on hold. When X Corps

Artillery moved so did we. At about this

time the 8219th A.U. was activated and

joined IX Corps in the west central sector.

It’s complement of enlisted came from

stateside and other units. The 1st

Observation Battalion that was part of 8th

Army early on in 1950 had been over-run

in actions in that sector and lost most of

their personnel and equipment. The battalion

was not put back together in Korea.

Our two units filled that void for 8th Army


From out of the Pusan Perimeter and

our bivouac at Yang-san we became gypsies

again. We moved, sort of going with

the flow. We set up tents, we dug foxholes,

built bunkers, recovered trig stations, surveyed

in gun positions for the field

artillery, qualified new battalions for combat

duty that were assigned to X Corps, did

some forward observing for artillery fire,

pulled guard and security duty, went on

specialized recon patrols, and of course

dug some more latrines. R & R tours began

and there was talk of rotation. The season

changed from cold to wet to hot. The countryside

began to stink and the C-Rats, the

powdered milk and eggs and potatoes were

getting on our nerves.

Before July was over we had put on a

lot of miles by ankle express and by road

and goat trails. We had been part of and in

direct support of most of the major campaigns.

Our effort resulted in a lopsided

KIA ratio of them v. us. We were still in

one piece, no casualties, although wandering

around in that “No-Mans Land” sometimes

beyond the last outpost of the

infantry and tip toeing through poorly

marked minefields (theirs and ours), made

us feel like we had an angel on our shoulder.

We did I am sure.

By the fall of 1951 the 8221st settled

into its assigned routines of surveying and

weather data collection. We had been up

and down X Corps sector like a yo-yo

doing our thing. The unit was now operating

again above the 38th Parallel in the

vicinity of Inje, the south western side of

the Punchbowl, and in the Yanggu Valley.

A permanent bivouac site was in the making.

A static war scenario was settling in

over the battlefield. Our missions became

more defensive minded. On a daily basis

as we moved out to do recon and recovery

we were cautioned to be careful and trust

no one but our instincts. We did just that

and thanked our stars that we were surviving

with our on the job training experience

and good equipment. What kind of field

conditions and equipment would the future

combat surveyors have to contend with

and master?

[End Notes] There are several stories in our

files (The 8221st A.U. Association) relative to

specific actions, incidents involving our unit

in Korea. Research for this article comes

from U.S. Army historical records and command

reports of like units in WWI and WWII

personal experience in Korea (1950-51 as a

survey party chief), personal interviews with

members of the 8221st and WWII artillery

surveyor veterans.

The 8221st A.U. Field

Artillery, Topographic and

Meteorological Detachment

was activated in Yokahama,

Japan at camp Mc Neely on 7

Sep 50. On or about 19 Oct

50 the unit was alerted to

move to Korea by ship.

Equipment and vehicles were

taken to dockside to be

loaded aboard a cargo vessel.

Unit personnel, members

of the HQ X Corps and HQ X

Corps Artillery along with elements

of the 3rd Infantry Division boarded

The President Jackson (MATS) on or about 2

Nov 50 in Yokahama Harbor. The 8221st

debarked from the President Jackson in

Wonsan, NK on 5 Nov 50 onto an LST in the

harbor. The unit subsequently moved by road

to Hamhung to complete assigned missions

until the 3rd week of December when it was

evacuated from the port city of Hungnam to

Pusan, SK.

The 8221st was deactivated in Korea at a

location about 11 miles north of Yanggu, NK

in the east central sector of X Corps

Operations on 1 Nov 50. It was in located in

two bivouac areas about 2 miles south of the

DMZ at that time. The TOPE Section was in a

draw between some hills on the west side of

a north-south road just south of X Corps Arty

HQ. The village of Mundung-ni and

Heartbreak Ridge were nearby to the northwest.

The metro section was perhaps another

half mile further south on the east side of

the road next to a small air strip. There was

also a mash unit there with elements of the

24th Infantry Division.

In the 8221st’s four years of service in

Korea, the roster turned over almost five

times (250 EM). The unit had 10 different

CO’s, 1 KIA and 2 WIA. No MIA’s. The unit

qualified for 8 battle stars, was awarded 2

Korean Presidential Unit Citations, over 20

Bronze Stars, 6 Commendation Medals,

commendations and special recognition for

outstanding performance of duty and services.

Individuals also received combat awards

for heroism under fire and participation in

certain actions, the U.S. Presidential Unit

Citation while working with infantry divisions

and artillery battalions attached to X Corps.

(Thank you Michael for the many photos

and sketches. Just too much to print all.


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The Graybeards

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