Jessie R. Harper, Okinawa battle from start to finish. Served with the
4th provisional Rocket Platoon, Tientsin, (French Arsenal) outside Tientsin,
China. Played basketball, softball, volleyball and main duty.
from the university of Houston, 1946-June 1950. Played basketball for the
university. Married my present bride the day after I graduated on June
the 5th. The Korean War started on June 25th. I was flown to Korea and
landed at Kimpo Airfield. I was a Sgt. at the time and joined the
5th Regiment during the battle for Seoul.
taught physical education and coached all sports in junior high school
for 17 years. I was a high school administrator for 18 years in the Houston
independent school district.
about the second night after leaving Hagaru the lieutenant yelled back
to me, "fire a round at my voice , 60mm mortar at 200 yards"; A machine
gun was giving him hell, plus the machine gun was spraying our position
every few minutes. I had the Lt. tell me what he wanted as I used my compass
to zero in on him. I told him I would yell when to get down as soon
as my gunner and I set the 60 tube up. Then I yelled to the Lieutenant
, "get your men down! here it comes." Thunk, then BLAM. The Lt. yelled
back, "come down 50 yards, go to the right 50 yards and fire a willie peter
(white phosphorus) round soon as possible." We reset the sights and fired
the W. P. with the bullets spraying our position. The rest of my group
was under the hill. The W. P. hit the machine gun position and wiped it
never did get to tell that Lieutenant that he gave me a perfect firing
order. I don't even remember his name.
WHO WAS THERE
WRITE TO ME.
Jessie R. Harper
3rdBn, 5th Regiment
H-3-5 Newsletter (3-98)
Editor: Jim "RATs" Ratliff
C. K. Fisher
Some of the things
that happened to us knuckleheads in Korea; 17 years of age and still being
of small stature, light of weight and muscle even after using the Charles
Atlas dynamic tension program, I found myself looking at a Marine Corps
poster. On it was this tall muscular handsome devil and the sign read,
"join the Marine Corps and see the world," so I did.
Arriving at Parris
Island we were given a physial exam; next they shaved off my hair but not
my eyebrows, I looked like Frank Purdue. They then ran us through the showers
and then issued clothes and ran us out on the street still buck naked.
Standing out there was this short tobacco chewing hard case Gunny with
blood shot eyes. Boy what a way to start.
Somehow I made it
through the basic training and then asked to be assigned to Embassy duty.
The Sgt. looked at me and said, "how about Camp Lejeune?"
My next stop was
Quantico where I fell in with a bad bunch of old WWII combat veterans who
took me under their wings. They taught me how to drink cheap whisky, play
snooker and chase wild women; all this on fifty dollars a month, minus
$6.40 for NSI. When the pay went to seventy-five dollars a month , we lived
high on the hog.
After full pack inspections,
drills, field days, nights and days in the boondocks, all this came to
The lieutenant said
if I re-upped they would make me a corporal. I passed on that. He then
asked if I would join the USMCR; well why not!
So I am at home,
living the good life, when a letter arrives and it says report to the Brooklyn
Navy Yard. Next thing I know. it's late October I am back at Camp lejeune.
Come January 1951, Bingo, I land in Masan, Korea and man is it ever cold;
but at last I'm seeing the world.
The people all looked
alike: North-South Koreans, even the Chinese and you could not tell males
from females, and they spoke in a tongue I knew not. While at Masan I was
issued some gear, a sleeping bag, shoe paks, and there were times I was
The shoe paks were
fine once the bottom of your feet hardened up and were warm as long as
you were moving. If, however, your feet became real cold, you should take
off your shoe paks and place your feet in your buddies crotch. I did not
try this and you know why.When my parka was issued the guy said the lining
was silver fox, but I am sure it was possum because if it was wet and there
was a dog about, it would always try to get a nip or two.
Now, as for a weapon,
of course I was issued a BAR. All short skinny guys got them. Mine was
so old the projectile wobbled and turned end over end but it worked
just fine and I was only too happy to pull back and let her go. It
sure felt good to have it in the hole at night.
We left Masan and
went North, did some patrols to root out Chinese that were cut off behind
the lines, then went back on line. After a few months I had by then worn
my skivvies on both sides several times and my sock bottoms were hard from
dirt and sweat. They set up a shower point and boy it sure felt good
to was off the residue from that OLD BLUE OINTMENT traetment, and yes,
it does kill those little buggers.
We went into reserve
to regroup and take on replacements. The company mess was set up, and we
spent more time (at night) in the food supply tent than the cooks did.
On one night trip to the food tent, you could smell bananas and of course
we found them . Next day we were formed up and told we were to have banana
cream pie, but no longer. There were some bad feelings, but they passed.
In the same area
all the five-gallon water cans were busy making raisin jack. Happy days
were here again! In my time there I never dug up a previously used cat
All of the previous
is true and if you think about your days there you too had crazy things
happen along the with the bad ones.
At a party this past
year I was asked why were Marines so different from other branches. All
I said was, In the Marine Corps I had all these brothers that would and
did take care of you. When I was wounded by mortar fire they stayed with
me until I was carried off the hill.--if you went down for good you would
be sent home and your mom would not have to spend the rest her life
wondering where her boy was.
I left Korea on the
27th of November, 1951 for japan and then home. While on liberty in Japan
one day, this lovely woman, who looked like the Dragon Lady in Terry and
the Pirates comic strip, sidled up to me said, "Hi there soldier, is there
anything at all I can do for you?" Ahhh! maybe I should leave it
Because of Korea
and the reunions, I have met some very fine people and they have become
great friends to Helen and myself. If they allow me out of the home we
will meet again in Orlando.
God Bless America
C. K. Fisher
Formally a PFC
1st Platoon, 3rd
Squad, 3rd Fire Team.
Jim "RATs" Ratliff
Carson's Sweet Voice
Martin A. Kutz Sr.
hope you are not too surprised by hearing from me after all this time.
This is a little story that I know your readers ought to get a kick
out of. I know I do, because everytime I think about it, laugh,
but of course it wasn't funny at the time.
One morning in September,
1951, on the East coast of Korea (near the 38th parallel,) we were having
a problem! Each morning after the last watch before daylight, some of the
guys would heat water and make coffee and sit on top of their bunkers and
visit with the men in the next bunker. Well lately, that wasn't such a
good idea. The enemy had put a machine-gun in front of our lines , and
would take target practice at our men.
It didn't take long
for our Company Headquarters to send up word that our platoon ( 1st Plt.)
would have the honor of knocking it out.
At the time of the
jump-off, the weather was terrible, raining and lightning and wind and
everything else that could give the element of surprise. So we left out
at 0800 hours, (unusual time to jump off), but it worked! As we approached,
there were three Koreans sitting around talking, being very unsuspecting.
We opened up and they started showering us with hand-grenades, and since
they had the high ground, the grenades looked like rain-drops.
After the fire-fight
was over, and the confusion was gone, Charles K. Fisher and I seemed to
be the only two around. So we started to try and find our way back to friendly
lines. As we approached a woody area (3 trees), I sensed that we wern't
alone. I looked over to my left and saw a Korean soldier sitting
at the base of a tree with his weapon in his lap. and his eyes WIDE open.
At this time, both of us hit the ground, but he made no effort to move.
Someone had already shot him, (thank God).
We continued to move
slowly toward what we thought was our lines , and then, we heard two Koreans
talking! Had we gone the wrong way? About that time, we heard what was
the most beautiful voice in the world. It was Gunny Carson, and he was
saying something like this: "I don't care if the ammunition is low, my
coffee is getting cold." So we knew we were going the right way.
The two Koreans we
heard were the two interpreters that were assigned to our company. Needless
to say, the interpreters were told to speak English as long as troops were
Jim "RATs" Ratliff
To Captain Cox
Allison Leah Williams
fight -- to die -- to cry
give your all and be hated at home?
came back and all you do is roam.
said Marines were killers and yet you killed for them.
came back to find all the lights were dim-
Marine, scarred on the inside as well as the out
you got back on the plane to start it all again.
you never really knew what the fighting was about.
doin' my job" you tell me.
stood so tall and fought so brave--
52, 000 found only a grave.
fired-grenades launched-to stay alive was so very hard--
ones who hated you burned their cards.
second you were scared and no one in the states even cared.
was the real enemy, Capt. Cox? Them or you?
only did what you had to do.
stood in shock as your buddy beside you died.
saw so much even if you wanted to, you couldn't have cried.
prayed in the morning to make it through that night-
when nothing was going right.
CO goes home in just one week!
came and "got him" in the night while he was asleep.
been there two tours-your feet are covered in sores.
smell of fumes, musk and all the rain
now starting todrive you insane.
know your limit, and you've just barely passed.
time for you to go home at last.
say your prayers and now that's all done.
hope you make it till the morning sun.
board your plane and watch as you leave the beautiful,
place you now call home.
to go back to back to the States and do nothing but roam.
Frank A. Cox, USMC (ret) 1948-1971
The above writing, reflecting deep thought, was written by the sixteen
year old step-daughter of Capt. Frank Cox, as a result of her conversations
with him about his Vietnam experience. My thanks to them both.