August 1, 2003
This week the stories are from two men who fought in Korea and
are members of the Oroville Veterans Memorial Park Committee. Bill
Connelly and I are Co Chairmen to this committee. For more information
call 533- 8147.
Ensign Miller's words on Korea. "I was there, but not in
the thick of things as many young boys were. It was terrible times.
They were retreating as they were being overrun by superior numbers
of Chinese soldiers. I was a member of the Naval Reserve Squadron
UR-872, out of Oakland and Moffitt Field, flying Co-Pilot. My job
was to ferry the dead out to Japan and ammunition back to the front
lines. We used what the Navy classified as R4-D (C47) for this,
known to civilians as a DC3. It was so sad, toward nightfall I looked
out to the snow covered hills and saw, about 3 miles away, one of
our boys wondering looking for some type of cover in the snow. Soon
it would be dark, with Chinese all around, I felt so sad and helpless.
I knew he wouldn't last the night."
Darby has told me this story before and he still chokes up when
he tells it. As I do when I read it. All the time telling me he
did nothing, but he did and this writer is proud of him. After 3
years of fighting, the last two-plus years in Peace Talks, that
never stopped the fighting, the Armistice was signed right where
the war had started, the 38th Parallel.
Ed Ewalt's Story "I was a platoon Sgt. assigned to
HQ Co I Bn 187th Airborne Inf. Regt. (Rakkasans). We arrived in
Korea in Sept 1950 right on the heels of the Inchon invasion. General
MacArthur had decided to execute an all out rapid moving assault
on the North Korean Army and drive the 8th US, Army and UN forces
straight up through North Korea all the way to the Yalu river bordering
China and end the war once and for all. The 1810' airborne Inf Reg.
led the invasion with a parachute assault 25 miles north of Pyong
Yang, the North Korean capital, at the villages of Sukchon and Sunchon.
On 20 Oct 1950 we jumped with 73 planes and approximately 2800 paratroops.
We secured our objectives and the UN force caught up and moved through
us at which time we withdrew to Pyong Yang. We were in PyongYang
until mid December when the Chinese threw in 230,000 "volunteers"
and with this over-whelming force began pushing back the 8th Army
and UN forces. Our (187th Rgt) mission was to guard the retreating
forces from attack from the right and left of the main withdrawal
route. It was mid winter, bitter cold: our cold weather gear had
not caught up with us. Many rather large enemy units had been bypassed
by MacArthur's force on the way north and were fully intact and
were anxious to attack the withdrawing force. We endured bitter
cold weather, nightly attacks and the loss of 3 or 4 men killed
everyday on our patrols. We had some tough battles in the months
to come but this period of time was particularly miserable because
of the mountainous terrain, the bitter cold, and snow storms with
inadequate clothing. On 28th March 1951, we made a second parachute
assault just north of the 38th parallel in Mun Sun Ni valley, spear
heading an attack by our 1st corps, but that is another story.
Ed has so many stories; His Military Career has lasted 31 years
and three wars.
Claude Holt, did this man live in the Oroville Area? Joe Wilson
thinks so and gave me his name. Once I have a name I usually can
find something about the person. Joe remembered he was probably
from Reeds Springs Missouri. So I used that magic #411. That helped
so much on the Dam Memorial. I found Nelson J. Holt, 83 year old
retired post master. He recalled Claude and remembered he was missing
in Korea (along with 8,000 other brave American Soldiers). Remember
the P.0.W./M.I.A. flag. It really represents these men that will
probably be missing for eternity. Nelson said he was sure Claude
had lived in the Oroville Area. His parents also, their names were
Troy and Lucile Holt. He said they did have a service in Reed Springs
for Young Claude.
Sgt. Deborah 1. Shaner is still stationed somewhere in Iraq.