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21st Infantry Reunions

If you have any photos in regards to the 21st Infantry please e-mail me.  If you found this site searching for someone who was in the Korean War please e-mail me.

I am attempting to restore some of the 21st Infantry Regiments OLD history.  Most has been forgotten or summarized to a few sentences in the history books.

Until I figure out how this blog site works, I have categorized the history on the right side of this blog.  I have many photos that are not uploaded yet.

The poem below was published in 1910 by the 21st Inf. former historian CELWYN E. HAMPTON.  I thought the poem was fitting for what I am doing.

♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦

THE SOUL OF OUR SAMURAI

The swords that once in battle rang,

And smote their way to glory,

Now hang, in silence, on our walls,

Scarce known to song or story.

The patriot hands that wielded them

Have long to clay been turning. 

But on our hearths their sturdy strength

Built  fires that yet are burning.

The flag that once our columns led

Is now but rags and tatters.

And, one by one, its silken threads,

In formless dust it scatters.

The men that bore it, long ago,

Beneath the sod are sleeping.

But yet they live, in us again;  

Our lives are in their keeping.

Oh! guard ye well what they have won.

Their  prizes, nobly given;

Their knightly souls still bid us on.

To strive as they have striven.

_________________________

21st Infantry Korean War Poet: Joe Langone

From Joe Langone: B Company 21st Inf. 1950-1951

I was telling a guy one day that I just returned from a reunion with a bunch of old Army buddies. He asked, “What do you guys do?, sit around and tell war stories? I never could tell why old soldiers go all the way across the country just to see someone just to shoot the bull. Me, I would use that money and go to Vegas”.

“You ever been in the military?”, I asked.

“Are you nuts? , put up with all that spit and polish and take a bunch of crap from some damn Sergeant”.

“You know what friend”, I said, “soldiering is more then that”, I continued, When you make friends with a soldier, it will last for a life time”.

“Oh I have heard that crap before”, he remarked, “I have friends that never were in the military, and we have been buddies since High School”.

“Were you ever ready to die for those friends?, did you ever almost freeze to death together? , did you ever attack a hill under murderous machine gun and mortar fire?, did you ever go with little food, a bath, or a cold drink for weeks at a time?, Did you ever lose one of your friends to where there was nothing to pick up except maybe a hand?”. I paused for a moment to get. his reaction.

“Well no, nothing like that ever happened to me”. The strength in his voice weakening.

I continued, “The night before you attack, you and your buddies sit quietly trying your damnedest to rest. You know that this time tomorrow night, some of you are not going to be here. You even find time to pray with these tough combat soldiers, none will laugh or walk away. Even on the coldest night sweat will be oozing from your body. Death of a combat soldier is very lonely, as more often then not, they’ll die alone. From all of this comes a bonding. When we old soldiers go to reunions, this is the reason why we go. We are actually ‘dead men walking’ for no one should ever be able to walk away from hard combat. When a battle is won, you look for your friends. When you spot each other, you punch, laugh, and just plain hug. Only those old soldiers who fought in battle together know the true meaning of a reunion.  Sharing months in combat with a fellow soldier is the foundation of a friendship that will last as long as the soldiers have breath”. “We don’t see old men at a reunion, we see young guys laughing like hell!!”.

Dedicated to you old soldiers who only attend a reunion to be with one another one more time.

Joe Langone

“B Co. 1st Bn. 21st., 24th Inf. Div

♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦

Bury Me Amonsgt The Soldiers

Bury me amonsgt the soldiers

On that land where the

Crosses stand in line and

perpetual care will

be given me

until the very end of time

Bury me amonsgt the soldiers

Where on Resurrection Day

I will be with my friends

Put all of us old soldiers

together and into Heaven

let us ascend

Bury me amonsgt the soldiers

for with them I died before

Let my grave be a peaceful place

away from the guns of war

Joe

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July 11, 1950

Gimlet4ever Notes:  Dill (C Co) and Glisson (B Co) were in TFS

_____________________________________________

Milwaukee   Journal                                            July 11, 1950

GI’s  Escape After Six Days Behind Lines

By
Jack James

Advanced  United States Headquarters, Korea

2nd  Lt. Harold E. Dill led four men to the safety of American lines Tuesday after six days behind North Korean lines.

The men who had been given up for lost, were resuced  by a South Korean patrol three days ago and guided through the lines.

Dill, from East Point, MD described the six days as “a  fox and hounds affair with the foxes way outnumbered.”

Pvt.  James Glisson, Pananma City FL. said many times there was only a ridge between them and the pursuing Reds.

“And  many times there was not even that,” he added.

Six men started out for the American lines but one  was killed four days ago when the little party had to fight its way through an  open rice field.

Dill said his outfit was the first to see action  Wednesday.

“We just never had a chance,” he  said.  “They lined up some 30 tanks and went right through us.  We had  nothing to stop them with and had to get back the best we could.”

______________

Gimlet4ever Notes:  Colombe (B Co) and Bullman (B Co) were in TFS.

Continue reading

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Joe Langone

 

The Death Of A Friend

By:   

J.A. Langone 

 

At an Army camp in Japan

I first met my friend

We were just boys not old enough
to be called men
 
I never met a fella
quite like Paul before
We did everything together
we were always active and never bored
 
We both loved the Army
and were proud to be a part
 
We were both regular Army
and proud that in the draft

we were never caught

 We both loved our uniform
and proudly served the Flag
 And when it came time to shooting
both of us had room to brag

 

A peace time Army
is full of fun
 For never once in anger
did we ever fire our gun
 
We trained hard in the day
to learn how an Army fights
 But then when off duty
we headed to town to spend our night
 
We drank and laughed and had a really good time
We drank Japanese beer and whiskey
but never touched their Saki wine
 
I knew Paul better than anyone else in Japan
He was tall and handsome and a very sensitive man
 
He loved to smile and talk of home
But he,
like I,
got the yearning and started to roam
 
We became inseparable,
Paul and I
The bond between us,
man or woman could not untie
 
But on a warm summer night late in June
Our carefree attitude was soon to turn to gloom
 
Our unit was ordered to Korea as the communists wanted a fight
And our outfit moved out of Japan in the dead of night
 
In a matter of days we sat on two hills outside a town called Osan
Our beautiful Japan was gone and so were our pretty little Josans
 
Paul was on the high hill and I was to his flank
No matter where we were
we both were able to see their infantry led by Russian tanks
 
The battle started to escalate around 8 in the morning
Little did I know that by 10
I would be in deepest mourning
 
The Sergeant told us to leave as we could no longer hold
We made a dash to Paul’s hill our movements were fast and bold
 
As we climbed the hill under fire looking for a route to escape
I spied a soldier in a foxhole
and he was wearing Paul’s smiling face
 
We smiled and shook hands and in the ribs we gave each other a poke
I had one Phillip Morris cigarette that I broke in half for us to smoke
 
But soon we saw the mortar shells getting closer with each round
We leaped from that foxhole to seek safety on higher ground
 
We started shooting immediately as we saw the enemy reach the crest
In the flash of a moment Paul was mortally wounded in the head and in the chest
 
What a nightmare to see my friend dying such a horrible death
Oh Father,
why did I have to suffer through this awful gruesome test

 

For I was there from the start to his dying and tearful end
I hugged my dearest buddy
my companion
and closest friend
 
His ashen face took on the mask of death
I was there when my dearest friend took his final dying breath
 
Why you my friend?
and why not I?
Why were you chosen over me to die?
 
Oh how strong you were when you left with death
You my friend were really one of the best
 
My life ended too on that hill that hot July day
But I was thankful you had the chance to talk to God and pray

 

Oh Paul,
my dearest friend,
if I could sit down with you and drink a toast
I would touch your glass
and know that never again

to a man would I ever be as close

 

But one thing I’ll do for you that I promised after that fight,
I’ll pray for you forever my friend as long as God gives me the nights

 

Written in memory of my dearest friend Paul Larson,

who died in our first combat on July 05, 1950

By:    J.A. Langone June 1995

 
 
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Task Force Smith POW’s

This gallery contains 15 photos.

 Under Construction These TFS POW photos are from a scrapbook dedicated to Tiger Survivor POW Died Captured Art Books. This scrapbook has about 120 photos and clippings of POWs.   (will be adding a link to space ) I have divided … Continue reading

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Narratives

Under construction

Narratives:   How to make an OLD Gimlet Cry.

The Korean War has often been called “The Forgotten War.”

For those who were there, it was something that they wanted to forget and many refuse to talk about it and I can not blame them.

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Peter Kalisher Article

Gimlet4ever Notes:  There was only one newspaper correspondent at the TFS battle.
I also have a July 12, 1950 article stating that Lambert and Kalischer were banned from Korea.
 
 

Articles combined from the following Newspapers:

 

ST. LOIUS POST-DISPATCH,   New York Herald, Fargo Forum

 

FRIDAY ,      JULY 7,  1950

 

REPORTER, Cut Off Behind Lines 2 ½ Days,

Tells How Tank-Led Reds Mauled G.I.s

 

          (For 2 ½ days United Press Correspondent Peter Kalischer and a group of American troops in defense outposts below Suwan were cut off from the rest of the American forces on the Korean front by Communist tanks and infantry.   The communist radio reported yesterday that the Red forces had captured Kalischer.  The broadcast was in error.  Kalischer got back to the American lines and this is his story.)

 

By PETER KALISCHER

         Advance U.S. Headquarters, Korea, July 7 (U.P.)  – I have just returned after 2 ½ days in No-Man’s Land, trapped with an American unit that narrowly escaped becoming the “Lost Battalion” of the Korean War.

         Cut off from the rest of the American forces in this area, we were besieged by tanks and thousands of well-equipped Communist troops.

         During hours of dodging Communist  gunfire we ran out of ammunition.  What we had bounced off the new, tough Soviet built tanks.  Our forces suffered casualties from Nazi-type guns.

         We escaped by fleeing through rice fields.  A South Korean guide led some of us back to safety.

         The battalion had barely maneuvered into position in the farthest American outpost some three miles north of Osan, 11 miles south of Suwon, at 8:15 a.m. Wednesday when the North Korean army launched its strongest tank attack of the war.

         American artillery a half-mile back opened up on the tanks just as I reported in to the battalion commander Lt. Col. Charles B. Smith of Lambertville, NJ.

         Ten minutes later from a foxhole I saw the first Russian- made tanks rumble over the road I had taken to the command post.

         First one, then 10, then 20 Communist tanks rumbled past.  They completely cut us off front our lines.  I lost count after that.

         The tanks began firing at the American artillery batteries which had range of the road.  But so far as I could tell they scored no hits.

         The Communist tanks were in single file, like ducks in a shooting gallery.  But they knew what they were about.  They would pause before the target spot, wait until American batteries fired, then spurt on ahead.

         The American battalion, only two companies strong, opened up with everything it had from dominating heights north, south, east and southeast of the road.

                          Tanks Withstand Shells

         The soldiers fired mortars, bazookas and new recoilless 75-millimeter rifles.  But for the most part missiles bounced off like ping-pong balls.

         In the next five terrible hours before the withdrawal order, only three tanks were crippled.  And it took daring bazooka teams running up within 50 yards of the Iron monsters to do it.  Four hits on the trends put them out of action.

         The gravity of the battalion”s position became evident an hour after the attack started.  By then, tanks backed by North Korean artillery were challenging the American big gun positions to the south.

         Officers told me the Communist tanks fired 88-millimeter guns the all – purpose guns with which the Nazis punished U.S. troops during World War II.  They said the tanks had new and tougher armor which made them virtually impervious to the American anti-tank equipment used that day.

         At 8:30 a.m., it began to rain. 

         My foxhole companion, Pfc. Robert J. Kahley, 20, of Garretts Hill, Penn., said jocularly:

         “Nice weather we’re having!”

         But an hour later, he no longer felt like joking.  We were completely cut off by the Communist tanks.  Kahley prayed.

         “Oh, God,” he said, “if you ever did anything, do it now.  If I ever get out of this, I’ll never miss a Sunday or a holy day as long as I live,”

         He turned to me and said:

“And you can print that in your paper.”

         But the tanks ignored our battalion at first in their push forward to Osan.

         As soon as the Red vanguard was around a bend in the road.  Capt. A.H. Nugent of Merrill, Wis., ordered a headquarters company to bring up ammunition cached on the side of the road.

         The men hesitated.  Then, by twos and threes, they slithered down the hill, grabbed an armful of ammunition and climbed up again.

         At 9:30 a.m. we were completely cut off by the communist tanks.  But the tanks ignored our battalion at first in their push towards Osan.   On the battalion telephone, Colonel Smith called for air support.  But with ceiling zero, he must have known he couldn’t get it.

         At  9:30 a.m., during a lull in the firing, Smith called on companies B and C to form a perimeter defense on the saddle of the hill.

         I left my foxhole and helped the medics dig a trench of their own.

         “You’ve got to dig,” Nugent told the men.  “Your lives depend on it.”

         Our holes filled with water up to the ankles within 25 minutes.

About the same time, we saw 3,000 to 4,000 North Korean troops debarking from trucks on the road north of the battalion hill.

         Smith ordered Capt. Will Corder of Carthage, Mo., an adviser to the Korean military group, and his sergeant to make a break for help down the east side of the hill.

         By 11 a.m., five tanks had returned to support the North Korean infantry.

         The hill began rocking with artillery hits, mortar shells and the wheep, wheep of small arms bullets.

         Four times the call went out for  “medics” and wounded brought in.

         The battalion’s .50 caliber machine-gun ran out of ammunition.  The sergeant manning it blew out the bolt with his .45 automatic.

         A group of Americans began yelling,  “Here they come!” and fired their carbines down the north slope of the hill.

         I crawled out of my foxhole to take a look.  I saw perhaps a hundred North Korean soldiers inching forward about 100 yards down the slope.  They wore green and brown uniforms and conductor – like caps.

         I went back to the medics section and wondered whether it was unpatriotic of me to want to get out as much as I did.

         A blond sergeant, wounded in the arm, walked over.  He said, he had just crippled a tank with a bazooka when one of the Koreans jumped out of the tank and shot him in the arm.

         “He had his hands up, too, the  _________  “ the sergeant said.

         At one o’clock the enemy began flanking the hill to the east of our one escape route.  Smith gave the withdrawal order half an hour later.

         I grabbed a helmet and started to run down along a slope over looking a rice paddy.  A Mortar shell burst about 75 yards away and in hitting the dirt I dislocated my trick shoulder. 

         I reset it on the run.

         Men were stumbling and sobbing as they struggled to get over the crest of the slope as the North Koreans began laying down fire from the hill we had just evacuated.

         Up ahead I ran into Captain Corder, and he told me he and his sergeant had only gone 800 yards on the rescue mission before being pinned down by small arms fire for 4 ½ hours.  His hands were swollen from rice paddy leeches.

         Soon the battalion was strung out in a single, irregular file marching south through pouring rain.  Corder asked a company commander to slow the pace since some of the wounded couldn’t keep up.  The acting battalion commander refused.

“Well, this is where we part company,” Corder said,  “I’m waiting for my first sergeant.”

Pretty soon Sgt. Allen Palmer of Mendon, Ill., staggered up exhausted.  He was supported by another man, Sgt. Gordon York of Tremonton, Utah.

I decided to stick with Corder and the other two because I knew admired Corder’s decision, because I knew him personally and because he had a compass.

It developed Palmer was not wounded. He was ill.  He got sick from eating green cucumbers on the march.”

         “It’s just my luck,” I said to Corder, “to get caught because a guy ate too many cucumbers and can’t walk fast.”

Later it developed Palmer was worse off than we thought. 

We passed through several Korean ghost villages.  All the inhabitants had fled south to join the long columns of refugees. 

Palmer was close to collapse. We saw tanks and infantry in the rice fields.  We pulled up at a small village where in pidgin Japanese I acquired a Korean guide named Kim. 

Kim said he would lead us on a southeast course past the farthest North Korean advance.

We proceeded only a short way, after dark and then took a chance and holed up in a small Korean farmhouse, where six fleeing South Korean soldiers also were taking refuge.

We started out the next morning after a few spoonfuls of rice, but     Palmer was sicker than ever.  He groaned and vomited.

At a slow pace slogged steadly southeast through gumbo-thick rice field clay, over hills, and through flooded roads with York and Corder hauling Palmer, kidding him and cursing him to hurry.

We received information on the military situation from the villagers.  Some of the information sent us miles out of the way.  Among the rumors we heard were reports that the North Koreans were in Pyongtaek, that the Americans, had Pyongtaek, but were pulling out, ect. ect.

         We made contact briefly with a south Korean army unit which was not going our direction and then continued on without it.

         Around noon Palmer collapsed.

         Corder ordered a couple of villagers to make a stretcher of poles and rice mats.  We dragooned four Korean bearers and started off again.

By this time, my socks had rotted off and my oxford shoes were a pulp.

Corder kept us going in what turned out to be the right direction for two days and two nights and about fifty miles.

At 4 p.m. Thursday, we got definite word that there were many Americans and South Koreans in Itchang, a small village 18 miles southeast of Osan.

We got to Itchang at 7 p.m. for the worst disappointment of the march.  Both the American and South Korean troops had pulled out the day before for Chonan.

Halfway to Chonan, we saw an ominous sign—refugees coming back.  A terrific explosion from the direction of Chonan lighted the night.  We decided not to try to get into Chonan that night.

Again we hid in a farmhouse.  The next morning Corder reconnoitered in the town.  It was  a No-Man’s-Land, but mostly ours.

Staggering and lifting Palmer’s litter, we hiked 500 yards down the main street and at 10 a.m. contacted the first American – an artillery observer.

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