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February 16, 2007
Oroville Mercury Register 1951
Blood Proved Lifeline For Wounded In Korea
“They need whole blood in Korea. They need plenty of it, and they need it now.”
These words were spoken yesterday by Sgt. First Class Richard E. Nicolas, Thermalito veteran of the bitter October and November fighting near the Manchurian border in the Korean campaign. And Sgt. Nicolas should know, because it was vitally needed transfusions that aided in his recovery from shrapnel wounds and frost-bitten feet and hands suffered in escaping from Chinese Reds who had captured him during the ill-fated United Nations offensive in North Korea last fall.
Sgt. Nicolas was captured on October 30 at Usan, 15 miles from the Manchurian border on the west coast of Korea, when his regiment was overrun by a screaming horde of Chinese communists. “I’ll never forget that Halloween,” the sergeant said, “The Reds really put on a show for us. They came charging over a hill with drums beating, horns blowing and whistles screaming and out-numbered us about 100 to 1. That was our first experience with the Chinese communists.” The Sergeant and 26 other American soldiers were captured and taken behind the communist lines where they were questioned by Red officers, all of whom were Chinese. They were told that they were to be taken to Manchuria, then to China then they would be sent to the United States.
After the men had been in captivity for 12 hours, American B-26 bombers struck the enemy camp and the 27 Americans made a break for freedom. Sgt. Nicolas became separated from the group headed back toward his own lines, and the next day ran into eight other American soldiers who had been cut off from their outfits and were also trying to get back to friendly territory.
Three days later, the group merged with 26 more Americans, who were also lost , and shortly after that, the whole group was surprised by a company of enemy troops. Only seven men lived through the ensuing battle and safely returned to American lines.
Sgt. Nicolas and the other six men reached American positions on November 9, where they were immediately sent to the Swedish Red Cross Hospital at Pusan. “That Red Cross hospital was wonderful,” said the sergeant, “They are doing a magnificent job in Korea, but they need help. Most of all, they need whole blood that really does the job for the wounded. If the American people could visit the wards in that hospital where men from almost every country in the world are patients-including enemy wounded- they would see tremendous part that their donations of blood are playing in the fight against “Communism”
Sgt. Nicolas is spending his 30-day convalescence furlough with his wife and two children in Thermalito. At the end of that time he will report to Camp Roberts where he will be stationed as an instructor. His family will accompany him and make there home the base.

Oroville Mercury Register February 7, 1951
Communists Reeling Under Heavy UN Blows Tanks
Pace Drive Within Sight of Capital City

Oroville Mercury Register March 7, 1951
Take War To China Or Face Stalemate, MacArthur Warns,
Fighting Rages As Both Side Launch Attacks
Approved Ceiling On Armed Forces Committees Okeh Troops to Europe
The Senate voted today to place a 4,000,000-man ceiling on the armed services. Democratic leaders backed the limitation to block a lower one, 3,500,000, proposed by Republicans. The 4,000,000-man figure, offered by Sen. A Willis Robertson, (D) Va., was adopted on a roll call vote of 49 to 41. The Republican drive for the 3,500,000 ceiling was let by Sen. Wayne Morse, (R.) Ore. He offered it as an amendment to the pending 18-year-old draft bill. He said it would give Congress a “constitutional check” on the military.
Current Defense department plans call for a total armed force of 3,463,000 men some time this summer. In an effort to head off the Morse amendment, Sen. Lyndon B. Johnson, (D). Tex., produced letters from the nation’s top military leaders. They said the 3,500,000 figure would be a “direct gamble with the national security” and might lead to World War III.

The Korean campaign sounds like a party, not a war where our men are dying. A war it was. I wonder what happened to Richard Nicolas, a Thermalito Hero.