Colonel R.L. Murray's 5th
Marines fought many desperate battles, from the
Pusan Perimeter through the fight-out from the
Chosin Reservoir. Here, I Company takes heavy
casualties as 3rd Battalion captures the hill
positions overlooking the Han River, preparatory
to the Marines crossing it in their advance on
The dead Marine in the foreground
lies where he was dragged by his comrades, while
they cover the rescue of another wounded
I was on Wantuck, APD 125, when
we picked up I/3/5 at Pusan and took them into
the assault at Green Beach at Inchon. Several
years ago I ran across a book that gave me
insights into many questions I have had for 57
years: "Dark Horse Six: A Memoir of the
Korean War, 1950-1951" by Robert D Taplett,
CO of 3rd Bn, 5th Marines.
One thing that always bothered me
was why I/3/5 seemed to be conducting a little
Boot Camp during the 5 days we had them aboard.
Another was why, over the years, I've met
many veterans from G/3/5 and H/3/5, but never any
of the troops that I helped carry into the
assault on our LCVPs. I now realize I/3/5 badly
needed their basic weapons re-familiarization.
They had been in the reserves, driving buses or
pumping gas only two months before being thrown
into an infantry company and facing and defeating
NK veterans on Wolmi-do. And they continued to
face and defeat them at the Han and at Seoul. And
they went on to face 12 Chinese divisions at
About 76 days after we assaulted
Inchon, a bare 20 of those 200 Marines we
debarked were still standing.
Dark Horse Six gives similar
insights into the ordeal of G/3/5 and H/3/5; into
the battle for survival of Division Recon
Company; into the desperate seconds when Corsairs
flew just overhead, pouring supporting fire and
napalm on almost overwhelming enemy forces only
yards away; into the crisis moments when life or
death decisions were made and paid for by the
lives of ordinary men.
We are so fortunate that Col.
Taplett managed to get Dark Horse Six printed
before he died. If you care about our magnificent
Marine Corps, if you care about any of our sons
and brothers in any of our military services who
defend our nation with their lives, you will be
entranced by Dark Horse Six. If you can find a
Semper Fi and GO NAVY!