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  MUNSAN-NI, KOREA “1951”  
  A.B. Clark - RHQ-503rd  
  On June 25, 1950 the North Korean peoples army crossed the 38th Parallel and invaded South Korea.  The U.N. Council called for an immediate cease-fire.  The North Koreans ignored the U.N. protest and continued south.  They captured Seoul, the capitol of South Korea,  & Inchon on the 3rd of July and subsequently Taejon, which is located far to the south.  The fast advance of the North Koreans had split the U.N. forces.  After WWII, only a small token force had been left by the United States, and it was no match to the North Koreans.  To prevent a complete take over of South Korea, the U.N. forces (the 8th Army) formed a defensive perimeter, on the southern most tip of South Korea, north of the city of Pusan.  
  On September 15th, 1950, General MacArthur directed the landing of United Nation forces at Inchon, west of Seoul.  This bold move surprised the North Koreans, and the landing force, which was primarily made up of United States Marines, promptly captured Seoul and the Kimpo airfield.  The North Korean forces now collapsed at the Pusan perimeter and the U.N. forces made a breakout from the Pusan perimeter.  The North Koreans fall back in a rout to get back across the 38th parallel.  The U.N. forces did not stop driving northward until the arrived at the Yalu River (the border between North Korea and China.  
  China now claimed its border had been threatened and entered the war.  However the Chinese had been supporting the North Koreans all along, with arms and munitions.  The territorial gains, that had won by the U.N. forces, would be soon lost to a new adversary.  
  China’s premier, Chou En-Lai, through Mao’s urging threatened the U.N. with reprisal for crossing the 38th parallel and the threatening of their border.  Chou’s words to the U.N. General Assembly occurred on September 30th, 1950.  On October 26th, Chinese communist troops attacked south of the Yalu River and engaged the U.N. forces.  Korea’s natural barrier, mountains that run up the middle of the peninsula, would prevent the link up of the U.N. forces to collectively defend it.  The huge force of Chinese (sometimes estimated to be 20 to 1) rolled over the 8th Army in North Korea.    
  In January of 1951, the U.N. forces fell back to a line (just south of Seoul) between Poyongtaek and Wonju, where the Chinese drive was stopped.  General Ridgeway, the Eight Army Commander ordered a counter offensive on January 21, 1951, that drove the Chinese and North Koreans north of the Han River.  On March 7, 1951 another phase of the offensive was operation “Ripper” which liberated Seoul on March 14, 1951.  That was followed with operation “Tomahawk” which had the 187th Airborne Regimental Combat team jump in at Munsan-ni on March 23, 1951.  That operation would be a deciding factor in pushing the Chinese forces back above the 38th Parallel.  
  On February 28, 1951 the entire 187th ARCT closed in at our rear assembly area at K-2 airstrip near Taegu, South Korea.  I was told to report to the 8th Army HQ on March 3rd, by order of General Ridgeway and assigned to work with the 2nd and 4th Ranger companies in preparation for the first combat jump for an Army Ranger unit.  Over the next four days the Ranger companies made five training jumps, then on the 8th and 9th of March, they participated in mass tactical jumps in which over 4,000 paratroopers ran through their mission scenario.  One man was killed during the exercise.  
  Chinese and North Korean troops were establishing defense in depth positions near Munsan-ni.  On March 19, 1951, Troop Carrier Wings arrived from Brady and Ashyai Air Forces Bases.  U.S. tank units were to link up with the 187th ARCT, at Munsan-ni, (within 24 hours after the jump) as the anvil of the Airborne hammer.  The mission of the 2nd and 4th Ranger companies was to seize the village of Munsan-ni.    
  From Taegu, we flew out to sea for our rendezvous, then flew north in column.  Crossing the coast we could see C.C. Forces in trenches dug around the DZ.  Prior to the jump the Air Forces reported enemy groups of a thousand men moving in on Munsan-ni valley.  It was clear, sunny day and because of the large number of targets the USAF pilots called Munsan-ni “Holiday Valley.”  
  The jump was made from C-119 Flying Boxcars of the 314th Troop Carrier Group and C-46 Commandos of the Air Force Reserve’s 437th Trooper Carrier Wing.  Each man carried two cases of ammunition, strapped to pack boards, which were slung over our combat packs at the knees.  Light machine guns were jumped, tied to the individual parachutist.  I’d estimate the weight of all the equipment, plus main parachute and reserve chute, to be over 300 pounds.  Rounds were ripping past us, on our way to the ground and we were heavily engaged as we landed. We went into immediate attack and took the critical terrain to establish blocking positions to cut off any retreating Chinese and North Korean Forces.  Enemy dead littered the drop zone and there were Chinese all over the place.  I wondered if they might be killing each other, since they were in line of fire of each other in every direction, or were lousy shots as far as nailing the bold and daring paratroopers.  Mortar rounds were peppering the area as we fought toward our assembly point.  Once we assembled, we moved toward the village of Munsan-ni to complete our mission.  During the sweep of the village, a large number of Communist Chinese Forces surrendered, while many others retreated toward Uijongbu.   
  The enemy fought furiously during the daylight hours, but when darkness descended they withdrew to higher ground, if permitted.  We would then launch highly successful attacks against their night positions.  As the enemy retreated towards Uijongbu, we continued to meet fanatical resistance with our advances.  The enemy would often launch counter attacks, blowing horns and firing colored flares while being supported by accurate artillery fire.  Fanaticism, however was no match against the ferocity of the crazy paratroopers.  Chinese dead littered the wake of our advance.  Our aerial observers would inform us of enemy trenches, in which around ten Chinese were dug in, and we’d use the information to force the enemy to withdraw.  Our attacking force destroyed the 234th CCF Regiment on hill 507 and with this dominate terrain feature in our hands all organized resistance in the area collapsed on March 27, 1951.  
  Later reports revealed that the CCF had been in the Munsan-ni area for two or three days before our air assault landing and were digging in around Munsan-ni in a plan of withdrawing toward that sector to draw United Nations Forces north into well entrenched troops.  Then envelopment by enemy forces could be accomplished, thereby cutting off U.N. forces from friendly units.  
  Link up from the south with elements of the U.S. 3rd Division cleared the last vital approach north along the Uijongbu-Chapman axis on the 28th of March.  On the 29th of March, the 3rd Division took over our positions and General Bowen, 187th ARCT commander moved us back to Taegu.  
  Having just completed an audacious leap from aircraft into the jaws of death, five hundred feet above Munsan-ni, against a numerically superior and fanatical force, we were ready to return to K-2 Airstrip at Taegu.  After 6 days and nights of continuous and fierce battles and the knowledge that we would find another mission to “disrupt and destroy” whatever remaining elements of the once mighty juggernaut, General Ridgeway wanted us to annihilate.  That turned out to be “Operation Killer” at Bloody Inje.    
  Courtesy of “The Lt. Vincent J. McDonald Chapter” a quarterly published Newsletter  
  Editing provided by Leo Kocher  C-187th ARCT