Monday, March 7, 2011

Schuylkill County Korean War Stories

Sgt 1/C Daniel J. Connelly Awarded the Silver Star For Heroism In Combat

Sgt1/c Daniel J. Connelly, Branchdale has been awarded the Silver Star. August 8, 1951
Sgt Connelly, serving with Company G of the 17th Infantry in Korea, distinguished himself by gallantry in action near Kogai-Ri Korea on May 20, 1951. His company was assigned a mission of attacking and securing enemy held hill positions. With the 1st platoon acting as an assault point. The unit was temporally halted by heavy enemy automatic weapons and mortar fire, and Sgt Connelly’s platoon called forward to give supporting fire. When the platoon leader was became seriously wounded, Sgt Connelly assumed command and personally lead the group foreword, exposing himself to enemy observation and fire. In the midst of the firefight, he was wounded, but continued deploying his men in relief of the distressed platoon. His actions enabled his men and the assault platoon, to move forward and secure the objective.
The presentation of the Silver Star medal was made on the grounds of the 9041st Station hospital in Japan on July 27, by the Command of Major General Ferenbaugh of the 17th Infantry Division.

This is a Fantastic story about serving in the Korean War.

July 23, 1951
Pottsville Soldier One of 32 Who Survived Ambush

The Republicans own personal interest in the Korean “Police Action” has returned to the United States after spending six months in the cold and muck of Korea adding his own little bit to defend democracy against any aggressor.
Joseph (Joe) T. Cescon from Pottsville, up until nine months ago the rural circulation manger of the “Republican” has returned to Indiantown Gap where he is due for probable separation from the Army.
Right after WW2 Joe spent some 18 months in the American Occupation Forces in Japan. When he was discharged he joined the reserves. When the Chinese Communist began to act up last year. Joe received a letter from the War Department telling him that he was going right back into military service.
On October 15 he recev3ed orders to report to Fort Campbell, Ky. For refresher training. He then embarked for Camp Stoneman, Cal. And in little less than a week was on his way to Japan. And eventually a period of six months in a literal “hell” dodging bullets and always wondering if the next breath he’d take would be his last.
One week of his time was spent at Camp Drake, south of Tokyo, Japan and then he travelled through the central mountains of Japan by train, bound for Sasebo, a former Japanese Naval Base. On December 29, 1950 Cescon arrived in Sasebo and the next day departed for Pusan South Korea, and the beginning of the end of many of his buddies.
For nearly a month Cescon, after reaching Pusan, was sent to Andong, S. Korea where he joined the Second Infantry Division on January 7, this unit was the reserve for the next three weeks and then received orders to the central front on January 28, nears Wonju.
In less than a week Cescon and the patrol of which he was a member had their first taste of action. Advancing toward Wonju with one light tank and two jeeps the patrol ran into an ambush of from 250 to 300 “Reds” in a hill just around a curve. “Hitting the dirt” was the by word for the men in the jeeps while the tank began to blast the Chinese from their ambushed positions in the hills. No casualties resulted from the first bit of action for the men in the group, but they found that it was just criterion of things to come.
It didn’t take long for the Second Reconnaissance Company, with which Crescon was serving to get their first real taste of fighting at the worst. From February 12 to the 17 the company suffered it worst casualties of the war, but also accounted for the death and wounding of nearly 1000 Chinese Communists. Of 110 men who entered into battle with the company only 32 survived the tremendous onslaught of the Commies.
After that terrific pummeling, the second recon group was sent back 30 miles to Chechon for replacement, regrouping and new equipment. During the one mission, the recon group lost six tanks, three personnel carriers, and from 23 to 28 jeeps.
From that time until Crescon began his trip home on June 6, the outfits which he was serving with were engaged in patrol duty the greatest majority of the time. At one time the second recon group was the only protection for the supply route serving the 23rd Infantry Division which was trapped for two days near Wonju. After saving off the second communist offensive in the spring of the year, Crescon and his outfit advanced 10 miles into North Korea, reaching the Hwachon Reservoir. The last action in which he was engaged was at Inje, four miles north of the 38th parallel.
The Division left Inje on June 4 and went into reserve once again at Hoengsong. On June 25, Cescon and his group left Korea with bitter memories, and went to Japan via ferry, landing at Sasebo June 28. Three days later the group departed from Japan and arrived at Seattle, Washington on July 11.

In his battle experiences, Joe found that on many occasions the Chinese Communists were very poorly equipped. On one banzai attack near Chipyong, a horde of Chinese swarmed over a hill. Only one half of the group had rifles, while the others were empty handed. When one of the men with a rifle would be wounded or killed, one of his buddies would take the rifle and continue the suicidal charge.
Others of the fanatical Chinese would carry a long stick on the end of which would be a box filled with ignited dynamite. This box they would hold under the tracks of a tank or Army truck, the explosion blowing up the truck or tank and also killing the fanatical soldier.
During the winter months the temperature averaged zero all day long, according to Cescon. During the night s the mercury would dip to far below zero, but during the days the temperature would climb to a warm “15 or 20” degrees above zero. It snowed practically every day thus adding to the hazards of the fighting in the mountainous central Korean front. At particular time during the winter months the group with which Cescon was serving did not see the sun for more than 21 days in a row.

Pottsville Flyer T/Sgt Frederick Bohr Few First Recon Missions Over North Korea
July 24, 1951

T/Sgt Frederick Bohr was spending a 30 day leave at his parent’s home in Pottsville. Sgt. Bohr is a radio operator on a B-29 super fortress in a strategic revc0on squadron, and has been overseas since October, 1949.
Boher was in Okinawa at the outbreak of the Korean invasion. He participated in the first mission over North Korea. Since then he has participated in many missions from bases in Japan. T/Sgt Bohe has over 600 hours flying combat missions to his credit and holds the air medal and four Oak leaf clusters.
He has two brothers also in the military Sgt. Joseph, with the air rescue Paratroops stationed in southern Japan and Jerry, QM 2 based aboard the destroyer U.S.S. Eversole.
T/sgt Bohr will be reassigned to Travis Air Force Base were he will be assigned to the B-36 bomber.

Brothers Crossed The 38th Parallel 13 Times
July 17, 1951

In most cases the number 13 is regarded as an omen of bad luck, but in the case of three Tremont brothers now home from Korea it means nothing but good lick.
The three veterans of the Korean War have crossed the 38th Parallel a total of thirteen times between them. In all the three youths have spent a combined total of more than 125 weeks in the major battles of the war.
They are Staff Sergeant Lamar Tobin, 25 who has gone past the parallel four times; Corporal Ralph Tobin, 20, who made three crossings; and the “Crown Prince” of the crossings PFC Clarence Tobin, 19 who has been back and forth six times.
The three battle wise veterans who have participated in practically every major engagement in the war are now home on a well earned 30 day furlough. After which they will report to Fort Indiantown Gap for reassignment. Of the three men only one is married Lamar. During WW2 he was stationed with the US Army in Germany and met a German lass, Charlotte Shober.
Ralph and Clarence each left the United States on August 5, 1950. Ralph serving with the 15th AAA Bn of the 7th Division while Clarence was attached to the 38th Infantry Bn of the 2nd Division. The third brother Lamar departed from the shores of his native land on August 29, 1950
After more than six months of action the three youths all arrived in the US on nearly the same day.
Clarence’s battle experiences are the most noteworthy. At one phase of the most bitter fighting of the entire war the group he was serving with was surrounded near Pohongdomg. The trap was maintained for 24 long hours one full day in which all the men were wondering if they would ever escape. Finally after two days of dodging bullets in the back of an Army vehicle a seven mile retreat was culminated when the group rejoined allied forces.
In addition to that narrow escape from the Chinese Communists. Clarence also was engaged in the battle of Wonju during the allied retreat to the Pusan beachhead, and also in the battle at the Naktong River where the tide of the enemy onslaught was eventually turned during the long allied retreat.
Ralph and Lamar also saw their share of major battle action during the period that they were overseas, Ralph was with the 15th AAA, Bn. In the evacuation of Ham hung, and also was engaged in the battle and was also engaged in the battle for Inchon. He was the brother who advanced farthest into enemy territory, however having been the only one to get as far north as the Yalu River near Manchuria-Korea border.
Lamar’s feats include action at the Ham Hung evacuation and also the battle for Inchon.
In addition Lamar participated in the battle which was valitaly fought to save the city of Seoul from the Communists.

Captain Bernard Reilley 3rd Bombardment Wing earns The Air Medal
July 19, 1951
Captain Bernard Reilley B-26 light bomber pilot from Main St. Cumbola earned the air Medal. Reilley a senior pilot was decorated for meritorious service while flying the B-26 in combat missions over Korea in the Fifth Air Force B-26 night intruders.

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