Delmer Davis was born on July 25, 1931 in Greene County, Arkansas. At the age of 16, he enlisted in the US Army in 1948. He was deployed to Japan in 1949 and, as the Korean War broke out, was selected to be a part of a newly formed special operations company, the Raiders. He participated in many special operations throughout Korea including missions in Inchon, Wonsan, and Chosin Reservoir. After leaving the Korean War in April 1951, he continued his career in the military and retired in 1975 as a Chief Warrant Officer.
Special Forces: The Raiders
Delmer Davis talks about a special forces unit called the raiders which he was chosen to be a part of. He describes the selection process, training, and mission of this close combat unit of 100 men.
Share from this page:
Gunsan Landing: Sept. 12, 1950
Delmer Davis talks about the Gunsan Landing, an operation that he and the special operations company participated in on Sept. 12, 1950 while the Inchon Landing was taking place. Delmer Davis describes the operation in detail and remarks that he feels his unit was used as a decoy for the Inchon Landing.
Share from this page:
Missions on Gimpo Peninsula
Delmer Davis talks about several missions that his unit participated in on the Gimpo Peninsula. He describes working with other military units and capturing enemy soldiers.
Share from this page:
Searching for the Chinese
Delmer Davis talks about the raiders' mission near Wonsan. He describes moving far forward of the front lines in search of enemy forces, eventually locating 10,000 Chinese troops.
Share from this page:
[Beginning of Transcribed Material]
D: I’m Delmer Eugene Davis. DELMER EUGENE Davis. I was born on July 25.
D: Twenty-fifth of July 1931 to a poor Farmer in Arkansas. I was number seven of 10 children.
And I was born out on a farm. So, there was no town involved. It’s in Green County, Arkansas, Northeast Arkansas. And we raised cotton and soybeans. And I basically started out as a Farmer. At the end of high school,
I: When did you graduate high school?
D: Nineteen forty-nine.
I: Name, Green County?
D: Delaplaine High School.
I: Oh. Did you know anything about Korea during your high school days?
D: Oh no.
I: You had history class, right?
D: Well, we had history. But the history that I recall in high school was basically Canada, Mexico, South America, and Europe
Where we had to memorize the rivers and the mountain ranges and all of that. We knew of China, Japan, but we really didn’t have a good concept. Before I graduated from high school, I was getting antsy. And I guess everyone has that independent feeling. They want to be on their own.
I: Uh huh.
D: So, a friend and I decided we would join the Army,
and we would both go Airborne. It seemed exciting for a young man. So, we both joined.
I: When was it? When did you join?
D: Nineteen forty-eight, July. I was 16 years old.
I: You joined the Army before you graduated high school?
D: Yes, I did.
I: Tell me.
D: But I had enough credits.
They gave me a diploma.
I: I don’t get it. So, you stopped high school in 1948.
D: I dropped out in 1948. My graduating class was in 1949. I immediately took the GED, and I sent that in to, the high school board awarded me a diploma over there. So, that took care of that part of it.
I was 16 years old and of course, I really could not join the Army at 16. But I was kind of agitated, and I guess my family could see that probably was the best thing to let me go. So, they signed off that I was 18 years old.
I: Your parents?
D: My parents signed that I was 18. And so off I went to the Army at the age of 16.
So, when I got into the physical part, I was 6’2”, and I weighed 142 lbs.
I: Very thin.
D: Very thin and three pounds underweight. They wouldn’t take me in the Airborne. So, I went to Fort Ord, California for basic training. And out of the whole basic training thing, two of us were picked for leadership training.
And so I went on to leadership.
I: Was basic training because you were Airborne?
D: I wasn’t Airborne. They wouldn’t take me.
I: That’s right.
D: Yeah. So, I went Infantry. It was the 4th Infantry Division. And I was assigned after basic to the First Cavalry Division in Japan.
D: So, that was where I was ultimately headed.
As a part of the leadership training, I had to put a platoon through basic training as a drill sergeant. Here I was a Private, but I had a 48-men platoon all to myself.
D: At Fort Ord, California.
I: Um hm.
D: That I put through training as a, by this time I was 17 years old.
And I had no other NCO’s and no officers, just me.
I: You were in charge.
D: I was in charge. I lived in the barracks with them 24 hours a day and put them through this. So that completed my training. I went to Seattle, Washington to wait on a ship to go to Japan.
I: When was that?
D: That would have been in January of 1949.
I: Forty-nine, yes.
And I was there until I think it was April waiting on a ship or a load of people, whatever the Army sent. They pulled a lot of KP and guard stuff.
I: Um hm.
D: And we went to Japan. We docked in Tokyo and then went to Camp Zama for processing.
I: Camp Zama?
D: Zama, ZAMA.
While I was being processed, I was gonna be sent to a Cavalry unit near Mt. Fuji somewhere. They called me aside and said your orders are being changed. You’re gonna be sent to Tokyo as a bodyguard for General MacArthur.
D: Well, I didn’t really know what that meant. But Tokyo sounded a lot better than the First Calvary Division.
So, after a while, I went back and said, hey, how did you pick me out of this? They said well, three things. You’re over 6’ tall, you’re white, and you got above average IQ.
I: Did they have your IQ?
D: Oh yes. 145. Yeah, they had it. I’d been tested.
I: Pretty good.
D: So anyway, so they sent me.
I didn’t know what was going on. But they sent me to Tokyo. And next thing you know, I was called in for an interview with Captain Groom. He was 7’ tall, and his nickname behind his back was High Pockets. But he was the commanding officer of General MacArthur’s Honor Guard.
D: I could see that if I went to that unit, I’d be pulling guard duty for three years, and I’d had enough guard duty. So, he was telling me and trying to sell me on this.
I had to volunteer. And he was telling me that if I would spend three years with the Guard Unit, I’d get a personal photo and a signature from General MacArthur. It didn’t mean a whole lot to me.
D: So, I refused. Then he threatened me with a bad assignment.
I: Why did you refuse?
D: I didn’t want to pull guard for three years.
D: I wanted to be more useful than just pulling guard for three years.
D: And this was an Honor Guard. It really wasn’t a bodyguard thing. It was a show thing anyway.
D: So, he threatened me. But it turned out that I got a great job down on the docks with the GHQ Supply which evolved into G4, DHQ G4 office.
I: G4. Could you tell what it is?
D: G1 is
personnel. That’s where all the Personnel assignments, they oversee the Personnel.
D: G2 is Intelligence.
I: Um hm.
D: G3 is Operations. And then G4 is Supply. They take care of all the supplies. Now, there’s a G5 which is like Civil Affairs. So, I worked in G4 and ended up working for Colonel Bill Mitchell
and Master Sergeant Haegue. And I had a great thing. I had a driver, a Jeep. I took care of the mail. I was in charge of
I: What was your rank?
I: And you had your own Jeep?
I: You’re kidding me.
D: No, I’m not kidding you. This was really something. I had a driver and a Jeep. I took care of mail. I took care of all of the files.
We had a file clerk, and I ended up as an administrator. I opened up all the mail. I distributed.
I: That’s the power of Supplies, right, in charge?
D: Well, you know, it was interesting cause as a Private, I had 48 men to myself. But today, you don’t see such responsibility being given to people that are young, low rank.
And it’s just fascinating, yes. I ended up with some other enlisted men working for me in the office. Anyway, I had a great job. I had a room upstairs. My driver would come up and make up my bed and clean my room and take care of everything. Anyway, the Korean War started. Fast forward to that. I think it was on a Sunday. And I was out somewhere in Tokyo.
And came back in and found out what was going on. And as this wore on, I guess it was kind of being young and dumb, I thought it might be exciting to go to war. I was a soldier. I’d been trained for this. And so, I started agitating to get me into the fight.
After a while, Colonel Mitchel who was a West Point graduate, crew cut, standing and I walked down the aisle, we were two doors from the commanding general’s office. And I walked down, he said oh Davis, come in here. Let’s talk a little bit. I wanna talk to you. So, he asked me a bunch of questions about where I was from and education and a whole bunch of other stuff. He said there’s a secret unit being formed. Now, can you swim? I said of course I can swim.
Can you shoot? I said I was born with a rifle in my hand. As a kid, I had a rifle. I hunted and fished all the time. He said can you swim with a rifle? I said, well, I never tried to swim with a rifle or a pack on my back. And I was in pretty good condition. So, he said, well, if I recommend you, you’ll probably go. But chances are you won’t come back.
Well, that doesn’t mean a whole lot to a young person. So, I said ok. Well, the next day I was on a bus to Camp McGill. And Camp McGill had been sealed off. And when we got down there, we found out that we were selected for some kind of mission. We didn’t know what it was, raiders. We were gonna go behind enemy lines, somewhere. So, we started very intense training.
We were trained by folks from the Navy Underwater Demolition Team. We had Marine Corps Raiders. We had Airborne. And we started training in everything you could imagine. About 200 of us there. And what we found out pretty quickly is they only wanted 100.
And we find out also a bit later that somewhere between 600 and 1,200 had volunteered. But they had been weeded out through interviews and records check. And they sent 200 into training. And at the end of our training, which was almost six weeks, a little over a month really, only 80 had fallen out. So, they had 100. We ended up with 120. And they said ok.
You’re still standing, we’ll take you.
I: Finally, only 80 people selected?
D: No, 120. Eighty fell out.
D: Couldn’t complete the training.
I: So, a total of 120?
D: So, 120 went into the unit total.
I: Where was it? And please tell me from when to where.
D: This was in July. That’s when I went, in July, near the First of August, the last part of July.
This was in Camp McGill.
D: McGill, Japan
D: Yeah. And they told us anyway it had been sealed off. People weren’t allowed in and out. It was secret training. Engineers came in and gave us demolition training to blow up things. And that was Chigasaki Beach.
And it was, Chigasaki Beach was one of the landings that had already been selected in World War II that was going to be an assault across that beach. But of course, that didn’t happen because of the A-bomb. We did training there. They gave us a submarine, the USS Perch. So, we
D: Um hm. And they also gave us a destroyer.
Actually, it was a destroyer escort, smaller than a destroyer, to train with. And we went to sea a lot. And we trained to get off and onto the submarine. And on the submarine, we had a special cocoon in the back with a speedboat on the back. It was set up to carry raiders. It still had torpedoes, but many of them had been removed.
And there wasn’t enough room where we slept in the submarine for everybody to stand up at the same time. It was really packed and crowded. And we went out both at night and day. But the submarine was set up so that we could take, the sailors on the thing did our rubber boats for us. They’d blow them over there and then collapse them and store them in outside compartments. And we would go out.
The submarine would then tow us in close enough to shore so then we could paddle in. So, we were trained making night landings. A lot of our training was for night because it looked like that’s what was gonna happen at night. So, we were supposed to go to Airborne training, but things were moving so fast in Korea, trying to stabilize Korea, that they decided they needed us early.
I: Um hm.
D: So, they cut the training short because we didn’t get the parachute training.
And we got on a train and went to Kobi. Of course, being low rank, we didn’t really know one day to the next. Our world was pretty small. And we got to Kobi, and we found that there was a British ship, a frigate, the White Sand Bay was there, had been pulled out of Hong Kong
To take us on a raid which we still didn’t know where we were going. We got on the White Sand Bay, and after we got to sea, they started briefing us then that we were going to make a landing at Kunsan.
D: And we did. We pulled in.
I: When was it?
D: The 12th of September
- And we were briefed over and over and over. Interesting. We were stripped of identification, I believe, on the ship. But that didn’t make a whole lot of sense to me cause we were carrying weapons made at Springfield Armory. Our boats had tags on them saying Made in Akron, Ohio.
And here we were a bunch of Caucasians. It didn’t make a whole lot of sense to try to hide our identity. But anyway, we went ashore around midnight. We weren’t really clear on this. We were supposed to collect information. But there was something weird going on because they said, well, if you’re overwhelmed or there’s any confusion or something,
You’re to swim out to this island, which was two miles offshore, and we’ll rescue you out there. But you’re not likely to see this. If you see anybody, it’ll probably be friendly, farmers and fishermen. I had an automatic weapon. My job was to go to the far left, our platoon was on the left.
I: In Kunsan when you landed.
D: When we landed, my job was to
go to the far left and cover because there’s some houses out front. And enemy fire was expected there. So, I was going to have to cover for the rest of the, we landed first. And then my ammo bearer and I ran over and set up position. Then the rest of the company, we could see them coming in. And it was kind of rocky. So, there was a little bit of noise.
You couldn’t avoid it. Next thing you know, about perhaps 75 – 100’ from me there was a knoll. And the machine gun opened up on us. So, that was our introduction.
D: You bet. And I mean, it was, I was a little bit worried because all of a sudden, I was within hand grenade range. No hand grenades. That was strange. But that was an equipment problem.
So, I asked my ammo bearer, you have a hand grenade? No. Pass the word back. Get me a hand grenade. I’ll take that machine gun out. And word come back. Nobody had a hand grenade. Also, we had no communication with the ship.
D: That’s questions I’ve asked since. No one will answer that. We had no, and we had no fire control party from the ship with us.
I: You’d been preparing for six weeks.
I: And you landed without hand grenades and communication.
I: That tells you how poorly prepared the US Forces at the time in Korea, right?
D: That’s true. I can’t find anything to support this. But my belief is now we were gonna be sacrificed. This was a diversion for Inchon.
And I had a sneaky hunch, and I still do think that. I feel sure that we were gonna be sacrificed on that beach. And I raised this question several times with other members. And Colonel Kiper that wrote the book for us eventually, he interviewed the captain of that frigate?
I: Who wrote this, Colonel?
D: This Colonel Richard Kiper.
I: Uh huh. And about your landing.
D: About the whole thing, the history of the Raider Company.
D: He also wrote this one. And there was a lawsuit of a widow over the fellow that started, Colonel Jessup was writing it. And it’s now, it’s not in circulation. You can’t get it. But this one is brand new. It came out.
It’s very good. So, I asked this, and he questioned, he interviewed the captain of the British frigate. And he asked him specifically what my questions were. They told us that we would swim to that island. Swimming to the island would mean you’d be disarmed. You couldn’t swim there with your weapons. We didn’t have water wings or anything. So, you would be disarmed.
And you would be within almost small arms range of the mainland. And so, it’d be like hunting rabbits cause you couldn’t resist. But they said if you would go there at 5 AM, there would be a boat pass by slowly, 500 yards offshore. And you get that boat. And if you don’t make that one, it’ll be back again the next day at 5 AM.
Well, the captain was questioned. He said there was never any rescue plan. None. So, that led me to believe that somewhere within all of this secrecy that was going on, that we were going to be sacrificed for the invasion in China.
I: So, it’s like a coy, a plot to have a coy in Kunsan so that North Koreans will say that oh, there is a landing there in Kunsan, and they never thought about it would be up there in Inchon later, right?
I: Am I right?
D: We were going if we got out.
I: But North Koreans would not know about this Inchon landing.
I: Because it was in Kunsan.
D: Yeah. And the fact is, they had leaked some of the stuff, and it was a much better landing place than Inchon. So, I guess we got their attention somewhere or somehow. Certainly, they had intelligence
Looking, on the docks and what have you. But anyway, we went ashore. And the machine gun really wasn’t all that effective. I thought it was from what I could see. But it was not. Actually, we had one man wounded by that machine gun. They gave me orders, pull back. So, I got my ammo bearer, and I said follow me. And we pulled back to where the boats were, where we pulled them up on the beach.
And when I got back there, there was no place to hide. So, I said let’s take a boat. And as we pull off, we’ll pull it out in the water and hold the boat so the rest of you can come out. We can load the boat. So, we did that. And the machine gunner spotted us then with the boat, and he tried many times to get us. But he shattered the paddle in my ammo bearer’s hands.
But he didn’t scratch either of us. And we assembled everybody. We had boats that were shot up, but they had a lot of air compartments. So, we got back to the boat sometime, I don’t know what time it was. But it’ll probably be in the book. We got back to the boat, and we had a squad, no, we had a platoon.
We had a platoon on that island. And they didn’t know what was going on either.
I: What is the official name of that secret unit? It’s Raider Company?
D: Well, it evolved into Raider Company. And we knew Raiders right from the start. But it wasn’t official. It was called Special Operations Company.
I: Special Operations Company.
D: Um hm. And we were attached to various places.
We were attached to the Navy. We were attached to the Marines. We were attached to the South Division for different tasks. When we got out of, we lost three in that raid. But we got out of it.
I: When did you get out of it?
D: We got out of it relatively
D: We got on our boats, and we got back on the ship, and we left.
I: Um hm.
D: We left before daylight.
so on the day you landed.
D: We went in about midnight, and we got out of there just about daylight. The captain was getting excited because it was too close to shore for that boat to, it could take fire.
I: You lost three?
D: We lost three. We lost two that the Colonel shot. And we lost one from that 51 caliber or 61 caliber anti-aircraft. And
he was wounded badly, and we got him back on the ship. But there was no surgeon on the ship. We had no doctor. And so, the radio communications, they needed to, so we started steaming to mee the US ship that had a doctor. And he didn’t make it. So, we had a burial at sea. They came out with a helicopter and dropped a flag for us to cover (INAUDIBLE) and that. We had a ceremony. And we steamed
I: From there?
D: From there, yeah. Well, the Colonel that was with us, he had two missions for us. He wanted us to take Womedo Island. And General Oliver Smith and the Admiral, they didn’t like that at all. The Marines were gonna take it. And so, we had another mission, and we got all prepared for that. We were gonna,
we were gonna make a landing and walk and establish a base. And then we were going to attack Kimpo Airport. And what we were to do, in the briefing we got, we were to go in, surround it and open fire on them and make them turn the guns around because photo reconnaissance had showed that they were expecting an air drop, a parachute jump at Kimpo.
So, the guns were turned inward. We were to go out and make them turn the guns around on us. And then the airdrop would come in. We were transferred from our ship to a Korean fishing vessel. And we were steaming to our point to debark and get on shore. When we got there, there was about two miles of mud flats.
They made a mistake. They didn’t read the tide. And the Korean captain was asking well, what are you gonna do cause we had one platoon that was heavily loaded. And we had a fighting platoon lightly loaded going, and we were taking in three days of supplies. And he was looking at all this and said what are you gonna do? And it was explained to him we were gonna go in. He says how fast can you paddle those boats?
(INAUDIBLE) He said the onshore current is eight knotts. You’re not gonna get ashore. And then we got there. And there was two miles of mud flats. You couldn’t even get through. So, that cancelled us. So, we went back, and we got on the, I think it was the George Clymer. It was a command ship and went up, that’s where General MacArthur was.
He was sitting there watching the invasion. So, we got to watch the invasion. And all the bombing and the planes and all that.
I: So, that Kimpo airbase raid was not done.
D: We couldn’t do it. We couldn’t get ashore even. So, that was just more blunders by planners with that pie in the sky kind of thinking they did some glory somewhere. Well, it turned out, when the 87th Airborne
was supposed to jump in, they hadn’t left the States yet. They were still in the US.
D: And they were, we were supposed to be there waiting for them to fall out of the sky. That was horrible planning. But we got there. And we sat there for a day.
D: At Inchon Harbor.
I: Um hm.
D: Watching this thing and watching the Marine vessels
form up and go ashore. And then we were assigned to Marines, and we went ashore in a boat. We went ashore one day behind the Marines.
I: Um hm.
D: And some of the first things I saw was American prisoners who had been executed with their hands tied. So, I decided then I would not be captured.
But we walked from there to Kimpo. And in Kimpo, we set up defenses and relieved the Marines so they could move on.
I: In Kimpo, what happened to you?
D: Well, once we went ashore, we lost our boats. We didn’t have vehicles. We were foot soldiers. So, we started, somebody found some abandoned vehicles that didn’t run, and we had people who could
fix them. So, we started getting some vehicles together. And then we started stealing vehicles. But we were turned into anti-guerilla kind of stuff and Infantry. They assigned us to a South Korean Marine battalion, and our job was to clean off the peninsula of enemies. It was really interesting because we made the sweep, and we did get into it. And some two weeks later,
the 187th Airborne came in and relieved us, and we went back to get ready to go to Wonsan. But what I wanted to tell you was they told us this Marine battalion was in trouble, and we needed to reinforce it. So, we walked in at night. And we captured one going in, and we got firing. But it was ineffective. We just walked right on through it. When we got to the Marine battalion, they had campfires,
and they weren’t worried about anything. And so we found a place, and we always kept a pretty tight perimeter, and we didn’t have fires and all that stuff. It turned out they’d been fighting this North Korean battalion. And that day, the North Korean battalion had captured one of the company commanders. And they had,
they had cut off his tongue and let him die. And they were really angry about this. Turns out that the Marine battalion commander and the enemy battalion commander that we were fighting were brothers.
I: You mean, the Korean Marines?
D: The South Korean Marine battalion commander and the enemy battalion commander.
I: How did you know?
D: Were brothers.
I: How did you know?
D: Well, we got it in a story. Some of the research was done. And we went on a mission with them. We went on a strike, and we captured 65 or 70 of them. And then they started questioning him.
And they found out who was involved in this. And they were all executed.
I: Are you still talking about in Kimpo?
D: Kimpo Peninsula.
D: So, they executed all of those that were involved in this. And I don’t really remember what happened to the rest of them. We had lines of prisoners sitting cross legged and tied. I can tell you, but it’s gory. I don’t want to.
I: From Kimpo, where did you go?
D: After we were relieved and the Airborne finished cleaning on the other side,
D: We boarded a ship and went to Wonsan.
I: When was it?
D: That would have been in October.
D: And we were having trouble, the Harbor was mined badly, and we had to hold off
for a while till they could clear it. We went ashore at Wonson and didn’t move about halfway between
D: About halfway between Hungnam. And the 3rd Infantry Division, 65th Infantry Regiment, Puerto Ricans had moved in nearby.
And they were patrolling. And one of their companies got hit in the middle of, about 2:00 in the morning. The Chinese went through them with bugles blowing, and they didn’t know what hit them. And they didn’t know who did it.
I: You mean in the middle of October, Chinese?
D: Yeah. Well, yes, it was Chinese because they didn’t know who did it. But there was Chinese.
I: Um hm.
D: Yeah. So, they asked us, since we were supposed to be the specialists in this kind of stuff,
I: Um hm.
D: To find out. So, they took us by truck and took us as far forward as the 65th had been. We had oxen to carry radios and supplies. And there was no road. So, we walked into the mountains. And we went in there and patrolled for several days. I don’t know how many days. But we found the Chinese in a valley, estimated 10,000.
We thought we were smart. We thought we had found them. They knew we were there already. And so, we had a high-powered radio, and we asked if we could curtail the mission.
I: Um hm.
D: And they said well, for some reason, no. And then the Chinese, we had people out watching, and the Chinese had moved 300 in, locking us from getting out.
I: Where are you talking about?
D: This is way back in the Taeback Mountains.
I: Um hm.
D: Monsani or, it’s back in the interior. I’m not sure where it was because we didn’t get much information.
I: Was it close to Chuncheon?
I: No. So, between Wonsan and Hamhung.
D: Yeah, it was about halfway back in the Taebacks.
D: So, they moved, estimated about 300 behind there. There was only one hundred and some of us. And then they said okay, you can go.
I don’t know if it was Lieutenant Donahue. I can’t think who was in charge. I can’t remember. But anyway, Major Weir might have been with us. He said okay. First platoon, break the roadblock. One platoon, 300 men. Yes, sir. So, the 3rd platoon, bring up the rear. That’s me. And Lieutenant Noreen said Davis, take the rear. And so, we started out, just 12 miles till road downhill.
So, we started asking for help. And there wasn’t any help. The 65th was pulling out. So, we started. And for some unknown reason, we didn’t fight. They let us out. And we went out and did some more patrolling. And it wasn’t very, I’ve got to go back to this. When I got there, I was holding back.
They were pushing civilians. They had rounded up individuals and were pushing. But I could assume that they had people in there. So, I wouldn’t let them. I had bayonets, and we backed out. And we got clear of that, and we never had a problem. I was really worried about that. By the time I got out, I had a squad.
At that time, I had a one American and seven South Koreans who had been assigned to us. When I got out, they were gone. Meantime, a Lieutenant had given me a map and said if you get out, here’s where we’re gonna rendezvous. Here’s where we’ll be. When I got there, there was nobody. So, I got a ride back to the main between Wonsan and Hungnam, they got a road. But all the traffic was going South, and I had to go North.
So, I got stuck there for a few days with my squad. I had them up on the mountain. And I saw a truck coming down at 10:00 at night. And I’d already bedded my troops down. So, I said just stay put. And I grabbed a BAR and I walked down to the road to see. There were no trucks moving at night.
I: Um hm.
D: And it was strange. And it had headlights on, and it was pedal to the metal. So, I went down and stepped behind a tree.
When that truck got by, I stepped out into headlights. And all of a sudden, he threw the brakes and said Davis. He had been sent back alone to find me with a deuce and a half truck. I said my goodness. There’s supposed to be roadblocks. He said there are, but they fired at them, but they didn’t know who anybody is. I said okay, I’m gonna load my troops. We’re going back the same way. So, we went back that night, full blast.
Got it back. We joined up with our unit about 1:00 in the morning. And they fired at us. But I was in the back ready to fire but didn’t see anything to shoot at. But we got back. They put us in a hut. Five o’clock that morning they woke up and said gotta go. And this was when the big thing started with the Marines.
I: Um hm.
D: This was really getting hot.
I: Um hm.
D: And so, we had to go forward and hold a mountain pass open so the Marines could get out. And then we had to start patrolling, which we did. And it was snowing. We did that until the 16th of December. We did a lot of patrolling. We inserted.
I: It’s still the same area or were you up North?
D: Yeah. We had moved up past Hungnam, Hamhung, up in the mountains.
I: But not near to Chuncheon Battle.
D: To the Chosin Reservoir?
D: We were down below that. But we were in the mountains below that.
I: Below that.
I: So, was it like Kotori? Do you remember the name of the area?
D: We didn’t get to Kotori.
D: No. But we did extensive daylong patrols in the mountains looking for the enemy.
And the fact is, we even inserted South Korean spies.
I: Um hm.
D: To infiltrate and go back later to pick them up into their territory.
I: Um hm.
D: At some point, light planes came over us and dropped a
message. Get to Yangpu or whatever it was, an airport. We went to Yangpu.
I: Um hm.
D: And I remember clearly that we were, they pulled us out close to the plane and took us down near Pusan somewhere.
I: Um. So, you were airlifted?
D: Yeah. Our whole company was airlifted.
I: Tell me about the Chosin battle aftermath.
You saw many Marines come down from Chosin, no?
D: I don’t remember seeing any. We were mostly in the mountains patrolling. So, I didn’t really see any of this.
I: Any of those.
D: We were pulled out on the 16th. So, I can’t remember.
I: December 16th.
D: December the 16th. We were airlifted out. And I think the Marines actually came out after that.
I: Right. So, we didn’t really see them.
D: But we were in this mountain, we did face one tank and took care of that coming down, one of the T34s.
I: So, what happened in Pusan?
D: We spent Christmas there. We did the training and started back North again. And we did a lot of patrolling.
We ended up, this was in January or February, I can’t remember. What we ended up doing was we were briefed. Now this is the third platoon that I’m in.
I: Um hm.
D: That we were going to reinforce a Korean Force. We had a what they called an attack battalion. The South Koreans had been trained.
They were going to attack North Korean guerilla group of about 1,200 they said. But they had some prisoners, and we wanted those prisoners. That was part of our job was to defend the 10th Corps Headquarters. So, we ended up finding, and finally they got a rescue unit in. And then we finally got Navy Corsairs to come in with Napalm.
And that broke their backs, and they disengaged and took off. That was their last major.
I: Battle that you were
D: Battle. Shortly after that, well, we did a lot of patrolling. But that was our last major fight. We didn’t have very much after that. And then somewhere High Command, of course there’s always jealousy by Generals and what have you. They didn’t like Special Forces kind of stuff.
They liked to fight like Napolean. And so, they decided they would disband all of the special units. And they did that. I think that was last of April.
I: Um hm.
D: When that happened, somewhere in all of this mix, we were kind of pets of General MacArthur’s Headquarters because we were from there. So, they airlifted us back to Tokyo.
When we got to Tokyo, they said
I: Do you remember when it was? April?
D: April 1st, something like that. Probably right in that neighborhood. And so, my job was already filled. But they said you know, whatever. What would you like to do? And I said well, make me a military policeman because I’d been running from them too long.
I: Um hm.
D: I want to be one of them. So, they sent me to Military Police school.
D: Yeah. And so, I ended up there, going to school and doing a little bit of patrolling. They pulled me into Intelligence. So, that’s where I worked.
I: Um. When did you retire from the military?
D: I retired in 1975 as a Chief Warrant Officer. I came back to the States, went to Germany, spent three years in Civil Affairs in Heidelberg in a
major command there. And from there, I came back to the States with the 3rd Infantry Division. Then I went in the Marksmanship Unit and Firing. And from Marksmanship Unit, I went to the Armed Forces Staff College for three years in Norfolk and spent another two years in writing movement plans in Okinawa, and I saw that they were gonna
send me South, so I volunteered for Nuclear Reactors. And they sent me to Nuclear Reactor school. And then I started teaching Nuclear Reactor Operations and Power Plant and specialized in electrical. So, while I was there
I: Nuclear Reactors in where?
D: Bellware, Virginia, we had five nuclear reactors around the world. We had one under the ice
in Greenland. We had one in Nicmerdo Sound in Antarctica. We had one on top of a mountain in Wyoming, and we had one in Greeley, Alaska. This was a research project.
I: So, you retired in 1975.
I: Looking back all those years, your service in Korea that you never knew before, right?
You never knew before about Korea.
I: You didn’t know where it was.
D: Not really.
I: Yeah. Looking back all those years, what do you think? Why did this thing happen to you, and what do you think about your service? Why were you there? How do you put that into perspective?
D: Well, it’s hard to put into perspective. But I had an unusual career. I don’t think anybody would have had the kind of things that I’ve done and where I’ve been.
I really don’t know except there was a marriage that came up. And I could see where God’s hand was in this so I would be in the right place at the right time. That’s the only thing I could see right now. The Lord was working with me. And he was, in fact, we were in an ambush. In an open rice field, about 600
enemy. And everybody was on the ground. They were all harmed. And there were a lot of bullets, like rain. And I said why don’t we just shoot like a rabbit, and I said Lieutenant Noreen, I said, if I can get up on that hill with this automatic weapon, I can maybe suppress some of this firing and we can get out. He said well, I’m not gonna order you. I jumped up and took off. And the firing all then began to end. And I tried the old Infantry tactic of laying down for a while. Well, when I laid down,
the firing would go down. When I’d get up, it would start up again. And bullets were hitting the ground around me. But I did get up on that hill. And I did get behind, and I did suppress that power, and I did break up a bunch of small units. And I even sniped, I got one of their officers. Yeah, I got one of their officers. And they started trying to use rice shocks, it was in the Fall, to try to camouflage
themselves and move up on the guys that were laying on the ground. I shot some of those. Everybody got out, and we only had one wounded in all of that. Everybody got out. And I was the last one out. We had three agents. Captain Moriarity came and said hey, would you stay here while I go back to that village and get my agents out?
I said sure. So, we did that.
I: What was the most difficult thing during your service in Korea?
D: Probably shouldn’t even talk about it. But there was so much brutality that went on. Our people didn’t do it. But I observed it.
I: Who did it?
D: South Korean Marines.
I: South Korean military.
D: You bet. They were tough. And they had a mission.
In fact, went on patrol with them. They didn’t have the support that we had. A Lieutenant was wounded in the arm and had his arm in a sling. The next day, he wanted to go. And he did. It should have been us taking him back to the hospital somewhere. That was probably the toughest part. Being young, you don’t really know, and
our world was so small. Actually, the world was, how far you could shoot was about the world.
I: How many survived out of your special unit? Actually, you said it was 120.
D: Well, I don’t have probably the numbers. But most survived. That was the incredible part.
I: That’s incredible.
D: Incredible. Most all of us survived. We didn’t have, we had a few casualties. But we really didn’t have,
we were in positions where we’d be wiped out. And I thought we were gonna be wiped out. But it didn’t happen.
I: Do you have a reunion of this special unit?
D: We had reunions. I hosted the first one in the year 2000 here in El Paso. And I hosted another one in 2006 or 7. The last reunion was in Knoxville, Tennessee in 2010, and only two or three
Raiders showed up. So, that’s the end of it.
I: Have you been back to Korea?
D: Yes. I went back in the year 2000 under the Revisit Program. And I was just astounded at what I was able to see there. They treated us royally. It was really wonderful. South Korea is the only country I know of that has shown appreciation for the blood and
tears and treasure that was sacrificed.
I: Why do you think that is the case? I mean, Americans fought for Europe during World War II, they are your brothers. They are the descendants, and that’s where you guys came from.
I: Why don’t they thank you?
D: That’s really hard to understand. I know a little bit of history about the beginning of World War II as far as Europe is concerned. And
we had, President Roosevelt was helping behind the scenes. We were isolationists then. Nobody wanted to fight that War. Of course, Pearl Harbor changed everything.
I: But why not Europeans?
D: And we, yeah. I will never, the fact is I used to, in Germany, I used to go back to France on duty
every six months or so for, and I traveled in France quite extensively. But they’re arrogant. I brought this because it was just, it was something that was put together for us by Special Forces.
And it just shows a little bit of history. There’s pictures of our unit all over the place in different places.
you were in Ando. Is that an area where the North Korean guerillas were concentrated?
I: I think. Yes. I want to thank you for your service. And because you fight for Korea, we are here now. Thank you again.
D: Well, thank you for your interest and trying to preserve it for our history. And Special Forces put out a complete article on us.
I: Um hm. Yeah.
D: In their quarterly magazine, Veritas, The Truth.
[END RECORDED MATERIAL]