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February 1, 2008

Fall of 2007, James Crow’s Story provided by his Oroville nephew, Eric L. Zancanella Lieutenant Colonel (Ret) Transportation Corps, U. S. Army Reserves

James Crow’s story continued:
During W.W.II, Japan invaded and occupied most of Korea, China, Southeast Asia to Burma, and the western Pacific region. Upon Japan’s surrender in 1945, Korea was divided into American and Soviet Russia occupation zones. North and South Korea’s provisional governments began competing for control and reunification of the Korean peninsula, precipitating civil war from 1950 to 1953. To understand Crow’s war service is to follow the U.S. Marine Corps combat efforts in Korea the first fifteen months of the war, 1950-1951.

On 25 June 1950 Communist backed North Korea invaded the Republic of South Korea. The United Nations designated a U.N. Command, led by America’s General Douglas MacArthur, to help South Korea. Participating countries, mainly the U.S., started sending troops. Units from all five U.S. military services were eventually involved, and included one Marine division, and several Army divisions. The Communist invasion pushed South Korean Forces, and early arriving U.S. and other U.N. troops to the southeast corner of the country at Pusan by August.

The Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Cates, was ordered by the Joint Chiefs to deploy the 1st Marine Division to Korea by mid-September, but the Division was below strength in equipment and men. Commandant Cates “requested President Truman to mobilize all reserve elements of the Marine Corps and attached Navy medical personnel to bring the division to wartime strength...”

Navy Hospital Corpsman James Crow, 18-years-old, was stationed at the Naval Hospital, Oakland, California, when transferred to the U.S. Marine Corps’ 1st Marine Division in Korea. He arrived October 1950, turned 19 that same month, and came home September 1951.

The 1st Division assigned Crow, along with 21 other Navy Corpsmen, to spend his tour assigned to the tough, elite and highly respected South Korean Marine Regiment attached to the division. The first 15 months of the war saw heavy action, and the 1st Division was in the thick of many operations, working alongside Army divisions in X Corp.

In August 1950, during the fighting at Pusan, all three separate Korean Marine Battalions were organized into the 1st Korean Marine Corps Regiment (Hae Pyon Dae), and attached to the U.S. 1st Marine Division 05 September 1950 for operational control. Thereafter, the ROK Marines performed 1st Division combat activities.

“During this conflict, foreign media dubbed the [Republic of Korea Marine Corps] the ‘Invincible Marines’ after an incident in which a squad of ROK Marines wiped out an entire battalion of Communist forces. The ROKMC also saw action during the Vietnam War while stationed in DaNang, sometimes fighting alongside the USMC or U.S. Navy Seals. During both the Korean and Vietnam wars ROK Marines were never defeated on the battlefield, earning a fighting reputation with such nicknames as ‘Ghost-Catching Marines,’ ‘The Demon-hunters,’ and ‘The Legendary ROK Marines’".
(To be Continued)

Oroville Mercury January 23, 1953
CASTLE AFB (UP) Wreck Inquiry To Take Months Investigation of the wreckage of a B-50 superfortress which crashed Jan. 13, near Gridley killing all 12 crewmen aboard “may continue for weeks of months.” It was announced today. Col. John E. Dougherty, commander of the 93rd Bombardment Squadron, reported that all parts of the plane must be removed to the Sacramento air material command depot for inspection “before a definite cause of the disaster is established.”

Oroville Mercury August 14, 1943
Dick Rasmussen Instructs Navy Men In Solo Flying Pvt. Dick Rasmussen, who enlisted in the army air forces in Sacramento last November, has been stationed at a naval training school at Beckwourth as an instructor. Rasmussen, who learned to fly under the instruction of Larry Martin of Oroville, owned his own plane until it burned in the airport hangar fire here several years ago. He was an instructor in the civilian pilot training program. He was at Reno Sky Ranch and at Sky Harbor, Phoenix, Ariz., before entering the army. Rasmussen teaches solo flying. He formerly was a salesman for a bottling company. His wife is living in Portola. He is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Vic Rasmussen of Oroville.

Stu’s Notes: Seems like the Army could have jumped Pvt. Dick Rasmussen up a rank or two as he was a flight instructor. I wonder if they ever found out why the B-50 Crash near Gridley. I met and had a most wonderful visit with John Cowan and his family. He was so glad that we will find a way to Honor those 12 Airmen who died, as he watched, so long ago.