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July 26, 2013
Oroville Mercury Register
October 25, 1950
Little Thing Like Drum on Burp Gun Saves Life of Young Paratrooper

By H. D. Quigg
With U.S. Forces in Korea - (U.P.) - A young paratroop lieutenant pulled himself up on his good elbow in a hospital bed and turned his blue eyes on me. “It was bright moonlight and this North Korean was carrying a burp gun,” he said, “If it had been dark or the North Korean had been carrying a rifle, both the exec and I would have been dead.” The lieutenant, John E. Screver, Jr., 27 of Aurora, Ill., was commander of his company in an American paratroop drop near Sukchon. He had been shot through the right shoulder and forearm. A green sling tied over his blue pajamas held the arm in place. Screver sat up, dangled his bare feet over the edge of the bed and told the story of the Communist soldier who crept unnoticed through the entire platoon and shot the company commander and executive officer. The shots were the signal that touched off a big banzai attack one night after the Sukchon jump. “The reason we are alive,” the lieutenant said, smiling as he remembered the events of that night, “is that my exec who was sleeping in a foxhole with me finally heard the North Korean when he was about four feet from us. He looked up and saw the silhouette in the moonlight and recognized the drum on the burp gun. “If the guy had been carrying a rifle he would have thought he was one of our own men.” Screver said his executive officer was Lt. Kitch Josey of Scotland Neck, N.C. “He’s a very slow moving southern boy but when he wants to move fast-he moves fast,” Screver said. “It was about 1 a.m. and this North Korean must have crawled through all our positions. Nobody heard or saw him and there was a man awake in each foxhole. He followed a phone wire and it led to my foxhole. “Kitch sprang up and was hit in the left shoulder as he rose. He went for the Communist but the guy got five bullets off meanwhile.” Josey go hit twice more. Screver was rising when a bullet went through his shoulder and knocked him back down. As he reached for his.38 he was shot in the forearm. “Kitch took the gun away from the guy,” Screver said. “How did he do that?” I asked. “Well, he is six feet one and weighs 200 pounds and he played on West Point’s baseball team,” Screver said. “He grabbed the burp gun and hit the North Korean on the back of the head with the stock. The guy stumbled but that blow didn’t stop him. He ran through a hedge fence and ran all the way through our lines and got away. Can you imagine that? All our men saw him but they were afraid to fire because they might hit each other. He was that close.” Shots from the infiltrating North Korean were a signal for an attack by about 150 Communists. The battle lasted two hours during which Screver led his company without having his wounds bandaged. Forty Communists were killed.

From A Leaflet dropped from an Army Piper Cub, picked up by Sam Bebout:
Cease Fire Order To: All Members of this Command 1. The following telephone message received from 8th Army “quote Armistice was signed at 1000 hours today. Cease fire will be at 2200 hours today. Encode, Cease fire and withdrawal orders follow at once. 2. No firing will be conducted in the forward areas whatsoever. BY ORDER OF COLONEL OLSON: (SIGNED) Robert L. Clark Major, Infantry Adjutant DISTRUIBUTION “A”

Stu’s Notes:
It was after 9 o’clock, on deadline night my lead story was one I used two years ago about S/Sgt Darwin Dreyer who served his country proudly for two wars. Well, thanks to Daryl’s web site, I found this out. Lynn looks up from her book with those famous words, is it ready. Of course I had a blank look on my face so she knew I wasn’t. Well I had just read the above story about those heroes and by golly they could have been from any town USA. Because our country is full of men like that, thank God. I think that would be my worst fear being in a fox hole in the dark. Course, I said yes. I’m ready after doing this column for 11 years it is hard to remember which ones I’ve done, as Lynn say’s I have no organizational skills, what ever that means, but I have something better, Daryl’s web. I think in 11 years I’ve only repeated a story once or twice maybe three times. The last little story was on a leaflet that was thrown from an Army piper cub like plane some were in North Korea Oroville Veterans Memorial Park Committee Member, Sam Bebout, was on a hillside on that day looking for the enemy and probably thinking, another night in a fox hole when he grabbed the note fluttering down. Sam doesn’t say much about the war but I’m sure he was so relieved to read what it said. Wow! Double wow! The county has sent out the bids for our two parking lots it’s been a long time coming more on that next week. Being a columnist, I guess that’s what a pretend to be, is not easy. I would rather be high in the air grabbing an Iron Beam. I was good at that.

The Moose Lodge #519 and Women of the Moose #1776 are hosting a day long benefit for the Oroville Veterans’ Memorial Park honoring all of Butte County including a golf tournament at the Kelly Ridge Golf Course for an entry fee of $70, followed by a steak dinner and band at the Moose lodge 1462 14th Street in Oroville. Tickets are available from the Moose lodge, Kelly Ridge Golf Course, Table Mountain Golf Course, Eagles Lode, or Veterans of Foreign Wars. For more information: 534-8200