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50 years ago today - 28 Sep 1950
Just south of Osan on the main highway an all-day battle developed between
the 31st Infantry, 7th Infantry Division and North Korean troops trying to
escape northeastward. This battle was fought mainly by artillery units and
with air strikes. By dark, the North Koreans had either been killed or
fled. Not a single American soldier was killed in this battle.
In the 25th Division area and just short of Namwon, several vehicles from
the 25th Reconnaissance Company, leading the advance, became stuck in the
river crossing south of the town. One tank, commanded by Sgt. Raymond N.
Reifers, was already across when this occurred so he continued on alone,
entering the town about noon, finding it full of enemy. The tank's
appearance apparently surprised the North Koreans, who fled in all
directions, scurrying across roof tops and jumping fences to get away. As
he was trying to withdraw his tank from this precarious situation, Sgt.
Reifers suddenly heard voices yelling from a wall-enclosed building, "GI's
in here.. Don't shoot." Reifers radioed for help saying, "Somebody get up
here quick. I'm all alone in the town. It's full of enemy and there are
American prisoners here." At this point, stuck vehicles were pushed into
deep water alongside the ford and tanks loaded with infantry made a dash
for the town. 86 Americans were liberated. That afternoon, after clearing
Namwon of enemy troops, advance units from the 25th Infantry Division moved
toward Chonju meeting scattered, but light, resistance.
That afternoon, the 2nd Division started the 38th Infantry moving toward
Chonju, on the west coastal plain some 73 miles away and over a mountain
range. Meeting only light and scattered resistance the 2nd Battalion, 38th
Infantry arrived at Chonju at 1:15 PM where it ran into more organized
resistance. In the ensuing firefight the regiment killed more than a
hundred North Koreans and captured another 170.
At 7 AM an airstike hit North Korean positions west of Okch'on. This was
followed by an attack by 2nd Battalion, 19th Infantry who found the enemy
had withdrawn during the night. Scouts from the 19th Infantry entered
Taejon at 4:30 PM. Meanwhile, the Air Force was having field day hitting
North Korean forces fleeing toward Choch'iwon.
Ed Evanhoe, PO Box 916, Antlers, OK, 74523
Author: DARKMOON: Eighth Army Special Operations in the Korean War
Member: American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA)
Life Member: Special Forces & Special Operations Associations
Web site: http://www.korean-war.com