Charles R. Ross (85) was born December 6, 1928 in Richland County, SC. After completing high school in May 1946, Ross worked briefly as a delivery route driver for Southern Dairies, Inc. Ross enlisted in the US Army in February 1947. His first assignment was a 3 year tour in Germany with 1st Infantry Division. Shortly after returning to the US, Ross was assigned to the 1st Provisional Battalion for immediate shipment to Korea. He arrived at Pusan, Korea in early August and was assigned to 8th Cavalry Regiment. Within 48 hours of arrival, Ross went into combat with the North Korean Army. In October, Ross’s battalion moved into North Korea and was suddenly surprised to find themselves engaged with parts of two Chinese army divisions. They were quickly surrounded by the hostile force but were able to fight them off until we ran out of Ammunition, food, water and other critical supplies. The battalion was abandoned and left to fend for themselves. After three days and nights of fighting, those that could still walk made an attempt to escape. Most, if not all, that did manage to make it out were either captured, killed or died from exposure to the extreme cold. Ross’s battalion was still wearing their summer uniforms. Ross was captured and spent the next 34 months in 3 different North Korean Prisoner of War camps. He was eventually released on September 1, 1953. After his release, Ross remained in the US Army for the next 17 years and served in overseas assignments to Hawaii, Korea and Vietnam. Ross retired with the rank of Command Sergeant Major on October 31, 1970. ------------------------------------------------------------- A Memoir By Charles R. Ross: After a three year tour of duty in Germany with the 1st Infantry Division, I returned to the United States in June 1950 at the age of 21,I held the rank of sergeant. I was authorized a twenty day leave at home before reporting for my new duty assignment with the 7th Infantry Regiment, Third Infantry Division located at Fort Devens, MA. Approximately two weeks after arriving at Fort Devens I was reassigned to Company C, 1st provisional battalion. This was a new unit being organized for immediate movement to Korea. Upon reporting to my new unit I was assigned duty as the squad leader 3rd squad 1st platoon. Within the next few days eight additional men were assigned to my squad. In about one week our company was at full strength. The men coming into the company were from many different units and had different mos’s. (Military Occupational Specialty) There were some just out of basic training as well as clerks, mechanics, cooks etc. assigned as infantrymen, issued a rifle and told that they were going to war. First we had an orientation and were told that we would be going to Korea as a fighting unit and would likely see action as soon as we arrived there. We remained at Fort Devens for approximately two more weeks, we then boarded a train for a cross country trip to Camp Stoneman, CA. We stayed there for a few days getting our immunizations up to date and had one road march (The only training we had as a unit). We then embarked on the USNS General John Pope for our voyage to Japan, where we were to have had more unit training. The voyage was rather uneventful with four exceptions, one: we became infested with little itchy bugs, some called them “mechanized dandruff” (from the toilet seats, I’m sure) and two: Something happened to the ship and we stopped. We floated dead-in-the-water in 90 plus degree heat for awhile until it was repaired and three: we were ordered to keep going directly to Pusan, Korea without stopping in Japan and four: I received a promotion to Sergeant First Class. We arrived in Pusan, South Korea in late August and disembarked. The 1st Provisional Battalion was re-designated the 3rd battalion of The 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division and as a result C company became L company. As we waited for transportation a few of us were “exploring” the dock area and heard loud voices coming from a small building nearby and went to investigate. We saw some very bloody men being beaten and tortured so we quickly left; we were told later that the men being tortured were North Koreans. We were stripped of all our extraneous items (made combat light) and were transported by truck to a train station for a short trip north to Taegu where we set up a bivouac in an orchard a few miles north of there and were issued ammo (ammunition). Later that day someone accidentally fired his rifle inside the bivouac area and we had to turn all of our ammo back in. The next morning we were trucked north a few miles to watch an attack on an adjacent hill by a Marine unit. (They called it “in combat training”) for us. After a period of preparatory fire by aircraft and artillery the friendly troops began their attack but were driven back down the hill with the NKA (North Korean Army) in hot pursuit. We were quickly being “cut off” by the pursuing enemy so we mounted our trucks and had to lie down in the truck beds as we fled south at high speed. There was some small arms fire in our direction but I didn’t see anyone get hit by it. We had our rifles but no ammo for them. The truck that I was riding in was stopped by an officer and we dismounted. The officer said that he had a wounded man in a field and that they were under hostile fire. He asked for us to give him our ammo and said we could then leave. When we told him we had none he said “Oh my God, mount up and get the hell out of here”, we gladly complied. When we arrived back at our company area we moved by foot to a hill a short distance away and dug foxholes. The next day our unit received the first hostile fire directed at us. We had one man wounded and was then quickly re-issued our ammo. We had received our “Baptism of Fire.” Our movement for the next few weeks was generally southward from hill to hill as we continued to fall back. Most of the attacks that we received were from small NKA units with only small arms weapons and they were at night, they (NKA) would run screaming, Yelling and firing at us. (We called them “Banzi” attacks). The yelling and screaming would scare the crap out of you at night. We received some direct and some indirect fire from larger caliber weapons but in my opinion it was not very effective since most of it landed short of or beyond us. On September 15th the Inchon landing took place and the NKA seemed to almost vanish. We took some prisoners, (I accepted my first surrendering NKA soldier then) we also by-passed large numbers of them as we were trucked north. We stopped at the 38th parallel briefly then moved north again. (I received a “Dear John” letter from my Fiancé while we were stopped at the 38th parallel). On our move northward from there, I can only remember two occasions where we ran into armed resistance, both were overcome quickly with the use of aircraft and tank gunfire. My company, ( L Co.) became “pinned down” for several minutes one afternoon by machine gun fire from a tank that was sitting in some bushes beside the road that we were on but it was taken out with a 3.5 inch rocket and we continued our northward move. Most of our movement then was by truck. We arrived in Pyongyang, the capital city, around mid October where we remained for several days. It was at this time that we were told that the war was “all but over” and that plans were being made for us to parade for General MacArthur in Tokyo on Armistice Day. We were awarded our Combat Infantry Man’s Badge while at Pyongyang and did some house to house searches and manned a roadblock, looking for weapons and ammo, during our days there. Our platoon sergeant wounded himself while attempting to clean a Russian made pistol that he had taken from a dead NKA officer and had to be evacuated. I was appointed to act as platoon sergeant as well as lead my squad until his replacement was assigned. Shortly after our noon meal on the 29th or 30th of October We were alerted to “saddle-up” and get ready to move out. We mounted trucks and moved north until around dark where we stopped for the night along the road. The next day we continued north until we arrived in a field just north of the Nammyon River bridge where our battalion set up in defensive positions. We were near the village of Unsan, North Korea. At that time we were told that we (the 3rd battalion) was the reserve battalion For the regiment and that a ROK unit (Republic of Korea Army) was protecting our right flank. On November 1st my platoon was sent to a hill top to the south of the company area to man a listening post. We reached the hill top, set up a perimeter and dug in. Things were exceptionally quiet except for a few small planes occasionally flying by. There was smoke in the air but no sounds of gunfire could be heard. Around 2200 hours (10:00PM) that night we received a call on our sound powered telephone to return to the company CP (Command Post) because the regiment was going into a withdrawal. L Co. was ordered to cover the withdrawal for the rest of the battalion. We quickly “saddled-up” and moved back to a bridge near the company CP and stopped. Our platoon leader (Lt. Keyes) called for me to come forward and told me to have the men move to the sides of the road and wait until he went to the company CP for instructions. Most of us sat down and was making small talk as we waited. There was a bright moon that night and you could see quite clearly. A sergeant that was talking to me started to light a cigarette when we heard a bugle blow and at that moment “all hell” seemed to break loose around us. Small arms fire seemed to be coming from every direction at once, even from within the battalion area. I learned later that there were two squads from M Co. guarding the bridge and that they had let a large column of men pass over the bridge and into the battalion area thinking that they were South Koreans (ROKs). Our vehicles, that were parked on the road, began to explode and burn. I rolled down into a ditch but could still see muzzle flashes coming from the hill we had just come from. I got to my feet and ran under the bridge and called for all 1st platoon members to get under the bridge. Only two came (one was from my squad) we could hear the rounds striking the concrete bridge. Confusion reigned supreme and we became totally disorganized within minutes. I have never seen any of our officers since. The three of us from the 1st platoon moved toward the company CP staying low and followed the road ditch until we came upon a group that was manning a machine gun. Most all of our vehicles, with cargo trailers loaded with our supplies and ammo were hitched and the truck’s engines were running. Many were on fire as they sat there on the road. Up to this point I had seen several men that had been wounded and were calling for medics. We had no idea whom we were fighting. I soon realized that our enemy was wearing a fur type hat and that we were wearing helmets. I began to fire at anyone wearing a fur hat. We were receiving almost constant small arms fire but we managed to fire back at them. I remember seeing smoke rising from the barrel of the machine gun in front of us because it became so hot from constant firing and I could see several bodies lying in the road in front of it. I began to toss hand grenades across the road where I heard voices that I couldn’t understand, I had a few thrown back at me. At times I could feel the rush of warm air from the exploding grenades but was not hit by their shrapnel. This fighting went on for several hours but eventually, a little while before daylight, it became quiet and I found that I was alone in the road ditch and that my two men had left me. All that I could hear then was the burning vehicles and an occasional explosion as the ammo continued to “cook off” in the fires. For a short time I thought that I may be the only survivor but when I stood up to examine myself for wounds a shot was fired very close to me and I dropped to my stomach and heard someone yell “are you GI?”, I raised my helmet for identification and another shot was fired in my direction. I yelled out “I’m a GI” and I was then told to keep low and come across the road. As I ran across the road I could see several dead bodies from both sides littering the roadway. The place that I crossed the road was literally covered with blood. Ammo inside the trailers continued to explode and some of the recoilless rifle round’s propellant would send the warheads into upward spirals and make a fluttering sound, some looked like propellers with fire sparkling from them, they were going in several different directions and would fall back to the ground without the high explosives exploding, they had not been subjected to the necessary velocity to arm them. Small arms ammo exploded in rapid succession and sounded like firecrackers. When I reached the area where the men were gathering I was told to get into a nearby foxhole and stay alert. There was a “Katusa” (Korean Augmentation To US Army), A South Korean soldier that was attached to our unit already in the hole, he had a severe stomach wound and was pleading for something but I couldn’t understand him. It sounded as if he was saying “Mule”, I later found out that the Korean word for water is pronounced “Mool”. He succumbed to his wound shortly after I got into the hole with him. After sunup that morning we began to form a defensive perimeter in a flat field around a large ditch that had been made into a bunker and apparently had been used by the NKA. As some of us worked digging foxholes others were busy gathering the wounded and moving them into the ditch. We had a doctor looking after them as well as a Catholic chaplain. I located the two men from my platoon (they said that they had gone back under the bridge until daylight), together the three of us manned a foxhole on the southwest side of our perimeter. We would be shot at from the higher ground to our south and west anytime we ventured outside of our foxhole. Late that evening we were surprised by several American soldiers fighting their way into our area. We thought they were coming to rescue us but later found out that they were from the  2nd. Battalion and were retreating from the hordes of advancing enemy. On The night of November 2nd we had several frontal attacks by ground troops with rifles that came at us in waves but we were able to beat them back each time that they assaulted us. The enemy created a cacophony of sounds from bugles, whistles, bells and weird musical sounds that came from somewhere out in the darkness. There was one strange sound that we could not identify, it sounded like the hoof beats of horses running. It was very unnerving as well as frightening. We still had no idea whom we were fighting, we thought they were NKA and only later found out that they were Chinese. We fought off wave after wave throughout the night and I remember one sergeant saying “ They just keep on coming” As daylight neared all fighting ceased and everything became quiet except for the wounded and dying enemy soldiers lying out to our front crying and moaning. I don’t know if we suffered any casualties that night or not. The next day a small plane come in low and dropped a large canvas bag of medical supplies to treat our wounded. We had three tanks that were attached to our unit and they moved inside the perimeter and fired their remaining tank gun ammo at the hill to our southwest where we could see movement of troops. We had one 60mm mortar left and the crew fired the last of their ammo at the same hill. Our only communication with other units was by tank radio to aircraft radio. Early in the day we received a radio message that the 5th Cavalry regiment was coming to rescue us but later that afternoon we received another message saying that they had encountered a road block and was fighting to break through and get us out. I was within hearing distance of the tank and heard the message. A few hours later we received the devastating message that the 5th Cavalry could not break through the road block and were taking too many casualties. The message as I remember it was “We’re unable to break the road block, you’re now on your own, Godspeed”. At that time my heart raced and I thought to myself “this is probably where it all ends for me” but for some reason, I didn’t panic but resolved to do my job and hope for the best. We were almost out of ammo and had no water or rations left. We fought on through that night but had fewer attacks than the night before. During the next day there was not too much firing from either side but I noticed a disturbing trend among our soldiers. They began to leave their positions and gather in larger groups, sometimes as many as five men to a hole. I asked a couple of them as they moved through our hole where they were going and told them to go back to their position. I was told where I could go if I didn’t like it. I knew that discipline had broken down and that rank was meaningless at that time. It had become an “each man for himself” situation. I worked myself around to the ditch where our only officers were located to report the break in our perimeter and I was told to get my butt back to my position and not worry about what others were doing. I went back and told my two men what I had been told and shortly afterward, around 2:30 -3:00 PM I heard a muffled explosion nearby followed by a second and I could hear men screaming, I thought that incoming mortar rounds were landing inside foxholes but when I looked I saw heavy white smoke and fiery particles falling in large circles. I then knew that we were being shelled with white phosphorus. I heard a lot of voices to the northeast and looked to see several men (I estimate about 150) running toward the road through the thick smoke. I yelled “let’s go” and we ran after them. The smoke created by the phosphorus shells concealed us as we ran. I had been kneeling for so long that it took several steps before I could run at full speed. The Chinese were firing into the smoke but I didn’t see anyone get hit during our exodus. We ran across the road where our destroyed vehicles sat and then down to the river, which we waded, dipping water with our helmets to drink. We hadn’t had water nor food for nearly two days. After fording the river, which was a little more than knee deep, we moved east as fast as we could walk. We saw several wounded Chinese soldiers lying on the riverbank as we came out of the water but no shots were fired. We continued to walk until dark and then we commandeered a Korean house and stayed there until early morning. Before we left a lieutenant that was with us gave the Korean man his watch as payment for letting us stay there. Others in our group stayed in adjacent houses. We left before daylight and moved south staying in the hills away from the road. We could see the road and saw troop movements along it. That night we stayed in another house and moved out again before daylight. Around 8 AM that morning we were spotted by a Chinese army unit and they began firing at us. I saw several men get hit and fall, the rest of us scattered into the hillside. I along with PFC Donald Vaughn (a member of my squad) hid under a rock ledge and remained there for hours until we could no longer hear gunfire. We emerged from our hiding place and started our hunt for water and food. We were still wearing our summer uniforms and the temperature was well below freezing at night. We wandered through the mountains trying to work ourselves southward toward friendly lines and continued to look for any source of food and drinking water. As we walked along a hillside one afternoon we came face to face with an individual Chinese soldier carrying a large straw bag on his shoulder he stopped and we stopped and just looked at each other for a moment then he smiled and turned right up the hill, we turned right down the hill and went on our way. One night we stayed in an abandoned house and another in a dugout cave. We had planned to stay a second night at the house but an old Korean man came and tried to tell us something and brought us some warm food and motioned to us to come with him. We decided to trust him and went with him to a cave that had been dug into a hillside and lined with straw. He left us a bottle of water and went away. We would sleep close together for each other’s body heat. Late on the afternoon of November 9th or 10th we decided to look for a route using the river as a guide so we wouldn’t walk in circles, as we got up on our knees to look downhill for a route to follow we heard a whistle blow. We quickly ran back downhill and lay down in some tall grass to hide. We saw about twenty soldiers moving across our front maybe ten yards from us they were jabbering to each other. We thought we had eluded them but then we heard a voice from behind us yelling to the group in front of us. They turned and came right to us. I told Vaughn that we’d stand up and put our hands up and when we did the Chinese soldiers did a quick body search and then gave us a piece of paper that read “Hands up surrender WELL treat you” they laughed at us pulled on our growth of beard and shoved us around a little but didn’t hurt us. They motioned that they wanted our rifles but we had hidden them . They took us to the very same house that we had slept in two nights before and gave us some warm soup. As we sat on the porch eating the soup I leaned back against the wall and felt a hand grenade that I had hung on the back of my cartridge belt. I whispered to Vaughn and told him about it. He asked “what are you going to do with it?” I told him that I would turn my back to him and that he could reach under my field jacket and take it off my belt and slip it under the porch, which he did. we slept in a small room with two guards, one of which thought he could speak some English, he would say “Chop-chop, ok” and laugh we would reply “ok” and smile it seemed to make him and his friend happy. The next day we were taken to a field unit and made to sit on the ground under guard for the whole day. When we needed to relieve ourselves we would point and they would understand and take us a short distance into some bushes and let us “go”. Near darkness on the following day we were taken up the road for a mile or two where we joined two more prisoners from the 3rd battalion. The next day we moved further north and were joined by three more Americans and a large number of South Korean prisoners. We marched north every night and were joined by still more prisoners until we had about twenty Americans and maybe a hundred South Koreans. We were given a handful of boiled corn or other grain each night to eat. Many of our men were wounded and we had to carry two of them for two nights but they were left after the second night and we never saw them again. We marched night after night in the bitter cold and once had to wade across a river with ice floating in it. The Chinese guards told us to remove our boots and I did but some didn’t and their feet became sore and blistered. It was two or three days before full feeling came back into my feet. As we marched north some men couldn’t keep up with the pace because of their feet, wounds or diarrhea and would fall out of the column. A guard would stay with them as we went on and would later catch up with us but we never saw the prisoners again. We would stay in buildings during daylight and march at night because of the American planes patrolling the skies; we couldn’t be seen by them for fear of being strafed with machine gun fire. One afternoon we started our march just before dark and while on the road two American fighter planes came over the horizon, we all ran into the tall grass and lay on the ground until they were out of sight. We reached a valley sometime in December and were put into houses where we had to stay inside during daylight. At night we would carry water and boil grain to eat. We stayed there until January and were then marched during daylight up a road and then across a frozen river to our permanent prisoner of war camp which was Camp 5 at Pyoktong right on the banks of the Yalu River. We were placed in Korean houses, about twenty men to each small room and fed a meal of grain once a day. The temperature was well below zero degrees at night and we could hear the ice on the river rumble as it froze harder during the night. Men began dying shortly after we arrived, a few at first and then in large numbers. We had to bury them across a small inlet of water from the camp. We made an agreement in our hut to hold a short memorial service for each person that died in our building and since there were men of different religious beliefs, we conducted our service by standing with heads bowed and repeated the Lord’s Prayer. When someone appeared to have died we would have three different men check them for breathing, pulse and listen for heart beat before we would take him outside. We did not record the deaths and in most cases didn’t even know their names. We soon became covered with body lice and we were constantly hungry; we would scrounge for even a tiny grain of food that had been dropped onto the ground as our food rations were being carried up from the boats, (or sleds in the winter) that were on the river. We had to wear the same clothing from October until about May without laundering them. We began having to attend political lectures around February and things slowly began to improve for us during the early spring, especially the food, not the quality but the quantity. Many suffered and even died from diseases such as beri beri and dysentery. As the weather began to warm we would take the straw mats that we slept on outdoors to sun them in an effort to try to control the lice infestation. We became so used to having them crawl on us that we began to joke about them. We knew that they migrated from person to person sucking blood, so at night when someone would feel one biting they would say “I’m getting another transfusion”. We would sit around during the daytime and squeeze the little creatures between our thumb nails. We called that our “indoor recreation.” When The Chinese Instructors (we were required to call them “Comrade”) began what we now know as “brainwashing”. Our living conditions did improve somewhat and we were given new clothing and allowed to swim, bathe and wash our clothes in the river. The lectures about the virtues of communism, socialism and the faults of the American government’s policies were daily and most of us hated them. There were a few that seemed to accept the Chinese teachings and they were called “Progressives” by them but we called them “Rats” or“ Calibrators.” We once went on a strike and refused to attend a lecture and were called out for a roll call where a Chinese general told us that if we continued, we would lose our POW status and be declared an enemy and he would go to war with us and reminded us that they had guns. We quickly ended our strike and didn’t try that again. Winter clothing worn by Prisoners of War I was moved two different times while at camp 5 and given more sleeping space each time, I feel sure that it was because of the many deaths. Other than being constantly hungry I had very few health problems. I could tell that I was losing weight and while many suffered from diarrhea I became constipated. A friend of mine (Sgt. Bobby Sheppard) crawled into the Chinese kitchen and helped himself to a pocket full of salt and made a warm water and salt solution for me to drink, it worked. He said his mother used to do that. He also picked tender leaves from a weed that he called Lambs quarter and boiled them in a steel helmet for us to eat. He said that it had some vitamin that we needed. We had to make our own entertainment so someone took cardboard tobacco boxes, cut them out and drew a deck of playing cards on the blank side then someone drew a monopoly board and carved out a set of wooden dice. Later the Chinese furnished playing cards and a few library type books in English as well as a newspaper called “The Shanghi News”. They also gave us a tobacco ration (but no cigarette Papers), some rough paper for sanitation purposes along with some soap. We certainly appreciated the paper because we were tired of using grass or leaves. Our tobacco ration was very small and we had to use newspaper to roll cigarettes. I remember one man saying “I bet my lungs look like the Shanghi News.” Whenever someone lit a cigarette someone would yell “Butts” then someone else would yell “Lip burners” and still others would yell “Ashes”, we didn’t waste anything. On a couple of occasions I remember men arguing but I don’t remember any prisoner being hurt by another prisoner . About two months before I was moved from camp 5 to camp 4, I had washed my underwear and had laid it on some rocks beside our building to dry along with other men’s laundry. When I retrieved it, I accidentally picked up another man’s under shorts and started to walk away when he called out to me that I had his drawers so I put them back and got my own. Someone nearby called out “Thief, Thief.” And then they started in on me and a “Kangaroo Court “ was set up to “try” me, I got a friend of mine (Msgt Edwin Potter) to be my attorney. A “judge” (he wore an overcoat for a robe) was appointed and we drew a line around an area to be the courtroom. As we came in for my trial the “judge” was twirling a string around his finger that had been tied into a hangman’s knot and announced “Bring the guilty bastard in.” Everyone had a good laugh and the “judge” asked Potter “Do you think your client is capable of larceny?” Potter replied “your honor he’d steal stink off of poop if he could get it”. Everyone there was laughing loudly and that’s when the Chinese came and made us break it up and go back to our buildings. We tried everything we could to break the monotony and this is just one example of the things we did for entertainment. In August of 1952 all NCOs’ (Non Commissioned Officers) were transported on river barges towed by motorboats north to camp 4 at Wiwon where we were broken into two companies and housed in school buildings. I was in 2nd company and we were about quarter mile from 1st company. Our lectures continued at Camp 4 but were now about how the Chinese government was trying to bring about world peace and how the Americans were always starting wars and the evils of capitalism. I feel that we were transferred away from camp 5 in order to separate us from the lower ranking and younger men so the Chinese would have better chances of success in indoctrinating them politically without our influence. In April 1953 a few men that had wounds or were sick were taken from the camp to be released in Panmunjom in what was known as “Operation little switch”. On august 16th 1953 we were called out for a lecture and were marched to the 1st company area where a Chinese officer spoke to us, he and had an interpreter translate his words. His lecture was primarily about discipline and behavior and we were warned that if we did anything criminal or violated military law we could be held even after an armistice had been agreed to. About ten minutes into his talk he said that there had been an agreement and an armistice had been signed on July 27th and that all of us that wanted to be repatriated would be released within sixty days. There were a few “gasps” but most of us remained quiet. We were then returned to our company area to wait. During the following days we were “treated” to music over a loud speaker that was mounted on a pole outside our building, some of the music were from old world-war-two records of the Andrews Sisters, some were of Bing Crosby singing, others were of Chinese music and others were of mourning music in remembrance of Joseph Stalin. The majority of the time we just sat around and waited. During that period of time we received our first and only Red Cross “goody bag”. On the morning of August 20th, after breakfast, we were told that everyone wanting to be repatriated should get everything they owned and get onto trucks that were lined up on the road adjacent to the camp. Most of us got onto the trucks as soon as we could but a few chose to remain with the Chinese. We left sometime around 9:00 am and rode until almost dark. It rained hard all afternoon and we came upon an area on a mountainside where the roadway had washed out. Some of us dismounted because it was hot and uncomfortable. We crawled underneath the truck to escape the heavy rain and to watch a large number of Chinese soldiers make repairs to the road. After a few hours we got back in the truck, the Chinese tied ropes to the right side of the truck that I was in and we rode through the newly repaired section of the road while Chinese soldiers walked along pulling on the ropes to keep us from sliding down the mountain. After all the trucks had gotten through, we rode on until we reached a train depot. We were fed a meal of boiled grain and then loaded onto train boxcars that took us to an area just north of Kaesong where we stayed in a tent city. (Ironically he tents were stenciled “US”). There were 150 men called out each evening in preparation for their release the next day. My name was called on august 31st and I was moved to a Temple to stay the night (I didn’t sleep very much). The next morning, September 1st, we were fed a right good breakfast and allowed to shave then offered interviews with British Red Cross workers if we desired, I declined. We boarded trucks and were taken to Panmunjom and returned to US army control. On our trip that morning we passed several trucks going north with returning Chinese and north Korean POW’s. We kept our seats and remained quiet as we observed them throwing their American issued clothing out of the trucks and littering the roadway, they seemed to be either singing or shouting. We had one English speaking Chinese riding with us. When we arrived in Panmunjom we were greeted by an army colonel and then escorted into a tent, given cigarettes, gum and candy if we wanted them and welcomed back to military control. We were then taken for showers, issued new fatigue uniforms and de-loused with an insecticide powder. I then knew that some of us had finally made it back safely and I thanked God. Now as I look back at the death and destruction at Unsan, the numerous deaths at Pyoktong, the extreme cold, the near starvation, the diseases, the filth and the treatment that we had endured as prisoners of war for almost three years I could not help but consider it a miracle that I had survived. I believe that my faith in God kept me going throughout this period of hardship. As a favor to and at the insistence of my wife and children, this memoir was written in October 2007; almost 57 years after these events took place. Given the elapsed time coupled with my age and my memory faults I did the best that I could to keep things as factual as possible, knowing that memory and facts don’t always mesh. Dates may be off a bit but are close to the actual date of specific events mentioned. The battle at Unsan in early November 1950 will, I think, forever be the most traumatic event of my life because of the excitement and fright that I experienced there. There are many separate incidents that I remember from the prison camps that I did not mentioned such as: seeing a dog being hanged prior to being butchered for food, Korean kids learning from us to say “I like Ike” and “Ike ok”, watching American fighter planes fly over the camps and tip their wings at us, learning to play the card game Bridge and telling our life’s experiences to anyone that would listen. The Korean War has been called the “Forgotten war” but for anyone reading this; I have one request of you. PLEASE don’t forget the ones that did not come home. They were the heroes, I was a survivor. If anyone is interested in reading a rather thorough report that gives the “big picture” account of what was officially recorded concerning the battle and subsequent annihilation of the 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment. At Unsan, Korea in November 1950, you may go to the website I’ve listed below. These reports will give you information about how and why we got into such a predicament and why General Milburn gave the order, to abandon the 3rd battalion to its own fate. I have been asked how I felt about being abandoned by our own army after we had been led into such a situation. I have pondered that question for many years and have come to a sort of compromise. On one hand I feel some anger for having been abandoned without food, ammo, water and proper clothing and on the other hand I can see why General Milburn made the decision to let us fend for ourselves because it was costing too much in lives and equipment to attempt to rescue us. So, I hold no ill feelings and I feel that it was just an unfortunate consequence of war. Some abbreviations used: Ammo – Ammunition Bn. - Battalion CAV - Cavalry NKA – North Korean Army MOS – Military Occupational Specialty PFC – Private First Class NCO – Non Commissioned Officer (Sergeants) KATUSA – Korean Augmentation to US Army USNS – United States Naval Ship ROK’s – Republic of Korea Soldiers CP – Command Post http://www.army.mil/cmh-pg/books/korea/20-2-1/sn34.htm I feel sure that there are mistakes in grammar, punctuation, spelling and syntax in what I have written but with my limited education I have done the best I can to tell our story. I know that Thanksgiving Day is the fourth Thursday in November but I have a special and personal Thanksgiving Day which is the 2nd day of November. I will always remember that day in 1950 and try each year to remember in prayer those that lost their lives there at Unsan on that fateful day. If a Dedication is in order, I dedicate this writing to: My Fellow soldiers that did not survive our ordeal. After my return to military control at Panmunjom, Korea On September 1st 1953 I decided to remain in the US Army and to Make it my career. I completed my army career and retired as a Command Sergeant Major with 23 Years, eight months and eighteen days of continuous service on November 1st, 1970. Over the years I have heard and read stories from several Former Korean POW’s describing their experiences while they were being held prisoner. Some of their descriptions of events I can  confirm, others I cannot. I will only attest to those events that I personally witnessed and have first hand knowledge of. There are probably as many stories told about the Korean war as there are story tellers but this one is mine. This is a picture of camp 5 at Pyoktong, North Korea taken from the internet, it had a credit line as being posted by an Australian soldier that had been held there as a prisoner. The NCOs’ were transferred from here to camp 4 at Wiwon, North Korea in August 1952. The basketball court was added after our departure. Many prisoners were buried on the river bank just beyond the water inlet near the center-right of the picture. May they rest in peace. End
-->