East of the Imjin

MK note: The text on this page was culled from several emails sent to me by Leland, edited and re-arranged by me, and re-edited by Leland. MK.

Here, shortly after arriving to the east of and along the Imjin River site, I am digging  in the trench to my bunker because, when we first got to the site, the trench did not drain properly and there was about a foot of water in the trench. However, as Mervin says, it's much better work than digging a latrine.


Here is our 60 mm mortar squad which I was in before becoming Company clerk. Pictured (left to right) are: Paul Schmitt from California, Harou Sakata from Hawaii, me from Missouri, and Willie Kelly from Michigan. 

This photo probably was taken at the mess area to the rear of one of our Imjin river positions. Bunker guys will notice the presence of the Lister bags - a very welcome deal for keeping water cool by the process of evaporation.

Willie Kelly was one of 32 casualties in Item Co's raid of 15 Aug 1952. He was wounded in his upper right arm and evacuated. He may have lost his arm.

Here, between our spot on the MLR and the Imjin,  are Ito, on the left, and Wong, on the right. Ito was the Mail Clerk and Wong was a cook for Item Company. This picture must have been taken before the 15 Aug 1952 raid. After that, I was Company Clerk and did not see this site again.

This photo is of me right after I first took the job as Company Clerk for Item Company.

I was still in my mortar squad when we had gone through a couple of days of dry runs for the raid of 15 Aug 1952, and I was thinking I would have to go along for the raid.  The raid had been scheduled for an earlier date, but was then postponed because of a full moon.

On the day of the raid I was told to go to  the Item Company CP. When I got there, 1st Sgt Compton informed me that I would not be going on the raid.

Instead, I would have to go to the forward aid station and get the casualty reports.  I went. Sometime early in the morning of the 16th, the casualties began coming in. The doctors asked me to help in moving the wounded on litters and told me I would get all the help I needed to get my reports written within the required 24 hour period. I did as the doctors asked and got enough help to get the many reports filed on time.

My being made the Company Clerk, especially at the time it happened, was an answer to many prayers (not just mine).  It wasn't that I did not want to serve in whatever job I was assigned, but that I wanted to serve in a job for which I felt better qualified - and clerk typist was it. I think that 1st Sgt Compton realized this after interviewing and testing me as the replacement for Cpl Blackway, who was rotating home.

I recently learned on the internet that Willie Kelly was separated from the service with a disability from the wounds he received on the raid.

MK add-on: The shot of the Imjin particularly grabs me because it shows a stretch of the river that is well remembered by me and, I suspect, will be recalled by many in the Bunker - that is, if I have got the scene pegged right. If not, someone please tell me.

Some buddy in the 65th Inf Rgt or in the Belgian Battalion should be able to tell us if I've got the scene correct. If I have, elements of those units had been in the same spot on the Imjin as I/15/3 was at the time of the photo - see Corporal Key's Map for an indication of the Belgian location.

The river is flowing from right to left. Just across the river are the foothills leading up to Outpost Nori, which is barely out of view to the right. Further back on the right is the left half of Outpost Kelly. I wonder if the tallest hill in the very far distance is Hill 355 - help coming?

Along the left bank of the river, from the beginning of the bend you see and on for a short distance just across the next bend, which is to the left but is barely out of your view, is that part of the MLR where the 1st Bn of the 15th Inf Rgt made its home, off and on, for  most of the 1951-1952 winter and 1952 early spring.

Dan Wolfe (#59) told me that the 3rd Bn (M, I, L, and K Cos, M being the weapons company) returned to the Imjin in mid or late July 1952 and that his L Co was just to the left of I Co.

"Arc" Arculis (#6) told me that the 2nd Bn (E, F, G, and H Cos) returned to the Imjin about the same time (mid or late July 1952) and that his G Co had OP Kelly as its outpost.

The 1st Bn did not return to the Imjin until the night of 30-31 Jul 1952 for the assault to retake Kelly which, two or three days before, had been lost to the Chinese by G Co and not retaken by the 2nd Bn.

Dan's and Arc's stories about their lives on the Imjin (and elsewhere in Korea) have been and will be told elsewhere in the IBB. Check them out when you are through with Leland's pages.

There may be more comments coming to this page based on what I hear from other guys in the bunker. MK.

MK late add-on (29 Aug 2002). I was right. Here is an email I received only today from Daniel Wolfe (#59):

"Hi Mervino,

This is Dan Wolfe of Co L. I would like to orient you on the photo of the two I Co men near the shore of the Imjin.

If you look at the rise in the terrain at the far, far left, this was the position of Love Co on the MLR during late July, Aug, and Sep of 1952. We were directly opposite the Noris which rose above the Imjin.

As you can see in the photo, the terrain across the Imjin is flat. Look further left. It is hardly perceptible but you can see the beginnings of a continuous rise. It was further up on this rise that the Noris were located.

As Leland said by the photo, it is taken from the front of the Item Co position. I remember clearly that Item Co was on Love Co's right. Keep up the great work. Can Do! Dan.


Also, a Bunker Buddy blew up the "mail box" (?) in the river photo above; another one sent its enlarged photo to me; and, several Bunker Buddies rendered a guess as to what the hell it is. But, I ain't gonna give any credits to anyone until someone who knows will tell us what was the use of this whatever it is. MK.


MK late late add-on (01 Sep 2002): You can find out more about the exact location of I Co and the photographer by visiting Captain Pearson's Map - you'll even get map coordinates for that mysterious box and a tale about what happened once in its locality. MK

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