~~Forty-Three~~

Raymond Reilley

7th Cavalry Regiment

1st Cavalry Division

U.S. Army

I come from the small town of Byrnesville, Pennsylvania, which consisted of thirty homes. Due to the underground coal mine fire in Centralia, the town is now gone.

I was inducted into the U.S. Army on January 3, 1951. After arriving at Fort Dix, New Jersey my first order of business was a little white lie. I told them that I was raised by my grandparents, so I received a three day pass to attend my grandfather’s funeral. However, upon my return, I found that all my friends had been sent to Virginia and I ended up staying at Fort Dix for my basic training.

When it was time for me to head west—to Korea—I arrived in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania two hours early and had already missed the train. Since this was a troop train, its schedule was never announced. An M.P. was able to get me a seat on a civilian train bound for Chicago. However, when the troop train arrived, I was sitting on some railroad sills waiting for it. Somehow we had passed the troop train along the way.

Arriving in California, we boarded a ship headed for Japan. Fourteen days later we finally docked in Japan, and I must have puked halfway there. From here we sailed overnight to Korea.

Upon arriving in Korea we spent a few days resting, and then we headed north. Even though the train was full of bullet holes, I wasn’t afraid. On our way up we picked up a flat car that had a few .50 caliber machine guns on it; we placed this car in front of the train. All the tunnels were guarded on each end, and we were issued real bullets—now I was scared!

I would be assigned to the Medical Company, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, as an ambulance driver—right. I never saw an ambulance, so I became a battalion aid man.

* * * * * *

I was a medic in the fourth platoon and we were attacking a hill. There was an awful lot of shooting and we were told “medics move up front.” I replied that I was with the fourth platoon. I was told, “They don’t need a medic back here. Get your ass up front.” So I did. On the way up I passed a lot of wounded waiting for litter bearers to take them down the hill. A medic asked me if I needed help; he was shot dead, right next to me.

The enemy overran the hill and pushed us back. The wounded that were waiting for the litter bearers soon found their own transportation—they got up and ran. Killed or wounded, we lost 65 percent of our company. When I got back to the aid station, a seriously wounded soldier was crying “The Our Father”; this bothered me for a long time.

We were moved to the rear for a rest and every time we dug a nice foxhole, someone would yell, “Saddle up. We’re moving out.” Boy, did I hear that a lot! Then we were issued shoe polish! Why?

Bob Hope was coming and he always brought girls with him. Guess what? We heard those immortal words, “Saddle up. We’re moving out.”

We were transferred to the Munsani Peace Camp, which is where the peacemakers and their families lived during the negotiations in Panmunjom. Here everything was Pomp and Circumstance. If it didn’t move, you saluted it, painted it, or picked it up. There was a hole in the ground large enough that you could have parked a small truck in it. Even though it was nice and level at the bottom, we were told not to pitch our tent there. We had to set up our tent on the side of the hill. Later that night we would find out why they told us not to pitch our tent in that nice, level hole; it turned into a nice little river.

Of all things, we had reveille. The following morning, two guys didn’t hear it and for their punishment they had to bail out the water in the large hole. We laughed at them with their bucket brigade—it was funny. The next day Fred Stidd, my buddy from Compton, California, and myself missed reveille. You guessed it! Now they got to laugh at us.

Thanksgiving of 1951 was my first Thanksgiving away from home. As the cooks were milling around in the kitchen tent there was a small explosion from one of the stoves, burning the tent to the ground. Talking about burning the Thanksgiving turkey! So, we were farmed out to other companies. The company we went to had a baker and we had a special treat, a delicious cake.

The 1st Cavalry was going to Japan and to get to go along, one had to have six months in Korea—I just made it. As we were getting ready to move out, we were sent into the hills to look for any enemy hiding there. We didn’t find any, but a truck ran away—backwards down the hill—and several GI’s were killed. Unfortunately, there’s more than one way to be killed in war; and they were so close to leaving this hellhole.

During our five day voyage to Hokkaido, Japan, I puked during four and a half of them. It was a good thing I didn’t join the Navy.

Douglas Voss. Photo provided by Douglas Voss

This photo is Tom Enos posing with a statue of Captain Sitter. 

Photo was provided by Tom Enos.

Front Row L to R: Charlie Hudson, Joe Barbarese, Bong Cup Chong, ____ Perry

Standing L to R: Tony Faiello, _____ Christopopelus, Joe Ackerman, Lester Hinderman.

This picture was taken at Yungchung, Korea on January 27, 1951. Photo provided by Tony Faiello.

Photo of Joseph Marlett was taken in Osaka, Japan in October 1950, while on R&R. Photo provided by Joseph Marlett.

Ernest Everett Edge. Photo provided by Edge Family.

L to R: Sgt. Marvin Barkley, SFC Delbert Rice, Lt. Norman McLaughlin, Sgt. Lawrence Saunders, SFC Albert Norman, PFC Hugh Hart, and PFC Jesse Adams. Photo provided by Rexford Glass.

Sitting by the mortar tube is Delbert Rice. The other two are unknown. Photo provided by Delbert Rice.

Photo of Howard Camp taken at Camp Haugen, Japan in 1952. 

Photo provided by Howard Camp.

L to R: Bill Turner, Ivan D. Brown, and Stanley Grogan. Photo provided by Stanley Grogan.

Raymond Reilley. Photo provided by Raymond Reilley.

Eating his chow is Leroy Rogers. Photo provided by Leroy Rogers.

L to R: George DeSha and John Donohue. Photo provided by George DeSha.

To the far right is Chuck Gibbs. The young girls are from nearby village, looking for food. The temperature was zero when this picture was taken. Photo provided by Chuck Gibbs.

The Marine on the far right, looking at the camera is John Rick Kennedy. Photo provided by John Rick Kennedy.

Posing with his 57mm recoilless rifle is Clyde Corsaro. Photo provided by Clyde Corsaro.

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