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Topic: November 1950
Replies: 9   Last Post: Nov 22, 2019 6:45 AM by: Captain Midnight
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November 1950

[20]
Posted: Nov 21, 2019 5:10 PM
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I was looking through some of my "stuff" and remembered November 1950 was not one of my favorite months. About Nov. 1, I arrived in Pyongyang, North Korea, bundled up with about all of the clothing I owned in an attempt to keep from freezing. The temperature was hovering around Zero degrees F, not my kind of weather.Further north at the Yalu River, apparently the Chinese Army got word that I had just arrived in Pyongyang and here they came, thousands upon thousands, not the kind of news one looks forward to.

The US Army did not want us to starve so there appeared to have an unlimited supply of "C" rations. The "C" rations were much better than our field rations of WW2 but I have learned long ago nothing beats home cooking and it tastes even better when one is home

As the days passed and the Chinese kept advancing South, food was becoming less and less the main subject. Even discussion of the bitter cold was not the hot topic. Our ears were glued to the news coming from the north. Then "Presto", food once again became the hot topic. Thanksgiving was on the 23rd and we would have a traditional Thanksgiving dinner -- turkey and all the trimmings. I don't remember if our mess crew received frozen or fresh turkeys but it would have made no difference. Our mess tent was outside with no heat except the heat from the stoves. Anyway, we had a big feast and ate and ate until we could eat no more. We even had leftovers the next day.

Well, the Chinese were still advancing and we began preparations to move when we received our orders. We were not a front line force so we did not have the firepower or equipment to be the last line of defense. The news was not good and we had not received orders on when to evacuate our position or our final destination. Every thing we did not need was already on our trucks. We were issued additional ammo. The remaining items could be loaded on a moments notice.

It seemed like every unit north of us had already left the area but still no orders. Our Captain finally got in touch with the powers that be and wanted to know when we were to evacuate. He was told we should have already been on our way but we had never received that order. Most of you probably know that you don't do anything in the Army unless you have a written or transmitted order.


Now that we had that transmitted order, we literally threw the remining items in the trucks, jumped aboard the trucks and left Pyongyang on Dec. 1, 1950. When we left the Chinese Army was on the northern outskirts of Pyongyang and finally took control of the city on Dec. 4 or 5, 1950.

From the time I arrived in Pyongyang until the day we left, the temperature never rose above 32F.

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Re: November 1950


Posted: Nov 21, 2019 5:25 PM
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Definitely not a time that will ever be forgotten. Korea and Vietnam are two wars we never finished.

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Re: November 1950

[1]
Posted: Nov 21, 2019 7:46 PM
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Joe, my dad was with the 187th RCT in Korea and he said he had never been so cold in his entire life - before or after. The other thing he said was it didn’t matter how cold it got; there were always lice on you. He also said it was the most miserable he had ever been.

One other thing he told me often when we talked about or compared our military experiences during my military career: “Billy, you don’t have to practice being miserable.”

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Re: November 1950

[1]
Posted: Nov 21, 2019 8:20 PM
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The winter of 1950-51 was the coldest weather I have ever experienced. It got down to minus 35 F. I was lucky because I had been issued some of the newer winter wear. The best items were the Artic Pac boots. Keeping my feet warm and dry was the first objective and they were effective.

Lice did not become a major problem with our units until the spring of 1951. During the winter a couple of guys on my team decided to take a bath at the exhaust of our PE-75 power generator. They were the only two who had lice. I suppose the rest of us were so dirty and smelled do bad the lice avoided us.

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Re: November 1950


Posted: Nov 21, 2019 8:03 PM
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You were a signal guy, Joe?

That’s the worst when you’re just constantly cold. I cant imagine being that cold for that long.

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Re: November 1950


Posted: Nov 21, 2019 8:23 PM
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Yes, but because I had an engineering degree, I did more work while on TDY with a Combat Engineering Company.

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Re: November 1950


Posted: Nov 21, 2019 8:45 PM
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What was the sleeping arrangement like back then?

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"Smelley, Garcia, and Beecher are going to lead you to 4-8." - york_tiger


Re: November 1950


Posted: Nov 22, 2019 5:42 AM
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Joe you are a Hero and I hope you will share more stories and reprint the old ones. I would love to read them.

I have a question that I have always wanted to ask the troops who fought in Korea. Whose approach to the war seemed to be the best strategy once China entered the war, President Truman’s keep it limited or General MacArthur’s push the Chinese back across the Korean / Chinese border?? Even if it meant using tactical limited nuclear weapons according to MacArthur’s philosophy.

If you decide to write a book ( and I really hope you do ) I will take at least 5, maybe more. These young kids need to learn real history.

By the way it is an Honor and a Privilege that my 5000th post was to a Tigernet Icon Joe21!

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Re: November 1950


Posted: Nov 22, 2019 6:04 AM
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I was born in November 1950.

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Re: November 1950


Posted: Nov 22, 2019 6:45 AM
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Love reading of your experiences. Please do write a book!

Korean vets and their stories of the cold amaze me. I once worked with a guy who was 1 of only 11 men in his Marine rifle company to walk out of the Chosin reservoir.


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