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Re: KATUSA Program
It seems that American soldiers experiences with the Koreans we had serving in our units varied enormously. The early comments from some of you that I read on this subject seemed so different from what happened in "Love" Company of the 21st Infantry that I've pasted a very accurate account by one of our "stand-out" soldiers to this. Please take it seriously. The author passed away this year as did a M/Sgt who served as his platoon sergeant. I know of one other NCO from their outfit who is still about who has strong feelings on the issue, and a still strong memory. This man, Leon Wilson, was with the Gimlets, our name for them from the Koreans' first days with us.
Two of us from the company were sent from our position on the Naktong to an assembly area near Taegu to train a number of just-drafted! Koreans (picked up on the street actually). We and others gave them detailed instructions on the uses, care, and cleaning of the M-1; cautions on hand grenades; knowledge of hand and arm signals; and how to dig in positions. As memory goes, we stayed with the group that was to be posted to us for almost a week getting to know, evaluate, and motivate them.
Love Company had been in country since early July. Our "delaying action," i.e., hold at all costs at Chochiwon on 11 July had cost us all but 17 men of the company. (I was the only officer left and Hugh Brown, an awol from the Division Headquarters was the only surviving NCO. My only previous infantry combat had been with Task Force Smith the week earlier. Hugh-easily the finest fighting man I've known-had been a squad leader with an I&R platoon in Merrell's Marauders in WWII.)
Our making an extra rifle platoon of our Gimlets cost us little compared to what these 40+ men brought to us. They were the platoon attacked head on by a Chinese regiment that wanted our position on 5 February, 1951. One of their American squad leaders, a Sgt Edward Rounds who had come with us from Japan was killed this day, along with a number of the Koreans. The platoon sergeant, Lester Studebaker, was hit hard. Their platoon leader, L.P. Henderson had been hit and evacuated the month before This fight was named "The Second Death of a Rifle Company" in the history produced by its survivors.
One of these Gimlets is working in a department store near Athens (?) Georgia. I will try to acquire any anything he has written on his three (!) years with Love Company and share it with you all.
It is evident to all of us that Love Company's attitudes toward, and use of these men was much more in their individual and Love Company's interest than the reports you have cited.
Keep the faith,