PART VII Quartermaster Corps
1. Division Supply Operations
Lt.Col. Marcus E. Cooper, Quartermaster,
1st Cavalry Division
Throughout the first six months of 1950, the 1st Cavalry Division was so
scattered that it was difficult for its 15th Quartermaster Company to support
it. I recall that division headquarters, the 2d Battalion of the 7th Cavalry,
and service troops were at Camp Drake; the 8th Cavalry and the 1st Battalion of
the 7th were in Tokyo; the 5th Cavalry was at Camp McGill; Division Artillery
was at Camp Drew. Early in May the 8th Cavalry was shifted with elements going
to Camp Zama and Camp King.
About 25 January 1950, post quartermasters were assigned and army service
units began supplying each of those camps. This left the division quartermaster
with technical responsibility but no operational control of the division's
supply operations. The extent to which this separation of functions took place
is illustrated in the case of the quartermaster of Camp Drake. When the
executive officer of the 15th QM Company was assigned this task, he was
transferred to the 8013th Army Unit.
In 1950 the 1st Cavalry Division was emphasizing combat training of its
units. The 15th QM Company, relieved of most of its operational
responsibilities, spent most of its time learning combat principles. Little
practical training was possible for the class II and class IV supply sections,
but the class I and III groups were able to work in the maneuver area at Camp
McNair. My company commander (Capt. Jenis C. McMillan) and I were working on a
plan to train the quartermaster personnel by attaching them to the army service
units when the Korean action broke out.
I believe it was 1 July 1950 that the division was alerted for an amphibious
landing in Korea. Our original landing site was described only as "somewhere
along the west coast of Korea." The assault wave was to
outload by 14 July, the second wave on the 16th or 17th, and the third wave
several days later.
I had been taught at the Command and General Staff College that it required
sixty to ninety days to plan and outload a division for an assault landing. As
this operation was to be accomplished in eight to twelve days, it seemed to be a
tremendous task. It was.
The 1st Cavalry Division's strength was only 13,000 or 14,000, with a
T/O&E in proportion. Quartermaster requirements for the landing were 22 days
of class I (7 days operational, 15 days class B rations); 30 days maintenance
factor of class II and class IV supplies; and 30 days of class III.
Although there was short supply of the operational rations, class I presented
few problems. There were plenty of B rations available. Class II and class IV
were more difficult, but class III gave us the most trouble. There were two
problems: how many trucks we would have, and how far they would go. First our
tank company was taken from us, then our vehicle strength was changed from day
to day. We guessed that ten gallons per vehicle per day would be normal at first
and, fortunately, we guessed fairly accurately.
I was charged with transporting class II and the operational rations of class
I to shipside in the outloading. Army delivered the B rations. Class II and
class IV were to be loaded by my personnel coming in with the third wave.
I was allotted space for 65 officers and men and 28 vehicles in the assault
wave. I elected to go, and chose the purchasing and contract officer (Lt.
Charles Lambert) and 4 men from the division quartermaster's office; the 2d
Truck Platoon (Lt. James Evans); 28 men from the Supply Platoon (Lt. Albert N.
Abelson); and the Field Service Platoon officer (Lt. George M. Gibbs). In the
second wave my executive (Lt. Francis P. Cancelliere) and Captain McMillan were
to bring the bulk of the quartermaster troops, while the remainder were to come
in the third wave on D plus 5.
Space for class I and class III supplies was authorized on each of the three
waves, but class II and class IV supplies were all to come in the third wave.
Each individual was to carry two operational rations, two suits of fatigues, two
pairs of combat boots, and necessary underwear and toilet articles. Other
clothing was to be carried in duffel bags. Vehicles were fueled and carried
extra cans of gasoline.
On the morning of 18 July the first landings were made without opposition,
not on the west but on the east coast of Korea-near Pohangdong. The shore party
received class I and class III supplies and our supply section began to issue
them on D plus 1. All units were issued B rations to maintain the two-day level
per individual. Instructions were also given to use the B ration whenever
I anticipated that the division would remain in the beachhead area until the
second wave arrived. The urgent need for troops near Taejon, however, made
necessary the immediate commitment of our first wave. A typhoon delayed the
second wave, and the third was still in Japan waiting for ships.
On the afternoon of the 20th, the 5th Cavalry Regiment started for Taejon. At
about 2000 my truck platoon and a supply detachment followed. The trucks carried
90 per cent class III and 10 per cent class I supplies, since we were less
concerned with going hungry than with losing our mobility. I instructed
Lieutenant Lambert, who commanded this force, to establish a supply point in the
vicinity of Kumchon or Kwan-ni, the situation to determine which was the most
desirable. That night the supply platoon began loading class I and class III in
rail cars for shipment forward. I left the Pohang-dong area on the morning of
the 21st with division headquarters. Lieutenant Abelson kept a detachment to
finish the loading. At Kumchon I learned that Lieutenant Lambert had opened our
supply point at Kwan-ni, and I sent this information back to Abelson. By the 23d
we were receiving and issuing rations carried by rail from Pohang-dong.
On the 21st I placed my first order for class I and class III supplies
directly with the quartermaster of Eighth Army (Col. James M. Lamont). Although
we had fifteen days' B rations coming over the beach at Pohang-dong, these were
divided among the different waves and we dared not chance a shortage. Army told
me I could get B rations as I needed them, but few operational rations were
available. I made every effort to have our operational rations forwarded from
Pohang-dong in full car lots. These shipments were issued only to units whose
patrols, drivers, and men were normally away from their kitchens at mealtime. We
also had a heavy demand for the C ration because its greater variety of meat
items made it popular.
The quartermaster of Eighth Army told me I would receive little in class II
and class IV supplies, for his stocks were almost depleted. I didn't worry about
this because I knew I had a thirty-day maintenance factor coming in the third
wave, and I knew each man had been well equipped when he left Japan. I would not
have been so unconcerned had I known that the thirty-day supply would not
arrive, and that, because of confusion in shipment, 70 to 80 per cent of the
personnel of the regiments would not receive their duffel bags. The rocky hills
cut up a pair of boots in twelve to fourteen days, while the rain took its toll
of boots, fatigues, and ponchos. It was 1 August before we received much class
II and class IV assistance, and by then we needed clothing, shoes, stove parts,
and cleaning and preserving materials.
On the 22d, at Kwan-ni, we opened the first cemetery for the division. We had
no graves registration section or trained personnel, and our
few graves registration supplies were with the second wave. Eighth Army could
not evacuate bodies, and we had to provide for our own dead. Not only were we
short of experience in graves registration, but I had no manual covering the
subject. Fortunately, the division Gl had a manual with some information and the
division chaplain had a pamphlet. I sent Lieutenant Evans to Eighth Army
headquarters at Taegu and there he obtained a supply of burial bottles,
personal-effects bags, mattress covers, and burial forms.
I searched the Kwan-ni area for a cemetery site but most of the flat ground
consisted of unsuitable rice paddies. The most likely place for a cemetery was
400 or 500 yards from our class I and class II supply point, which was not
ideal. G4 approved our location, and the first interments occurred on 23 July.
We had no fingerprint kit, but we soon found that a regular stamp pad would
work. Every man buried in our cemeteries was fingerprinted, regardless of
whether he was identified or not. We made a careful note of all identifying
marks, scars, and tattoos. Some 32 or 33 bodies were interred at Kwan-ni, only 2
of which were unidentified. Some bodies were returned by the regiments, some by
the companies, others evacuated through medical channels, and occasionally a
driver would find a body along the road and bring it to us.
We had trouble with the personal effects. If the effects were still on the
body, we inventoried them. If the effects had already been inventoried, we
checked to see that all were present and then forwarded them to Eighth Army. But
army began to notice that our inventory of money sometimes did not tally with
the amounts it received. Several times there were shortages of five or ten
dollars, though never was the complete sum missing. We could not account for
this. After I left the division I heard that some of the men in the graves
registration section had been caught stealing.
We also had a case where a ring had been removed from the finger of a British
major, but this occurred before the body reached us. I had heard that the body
was being evacuated through medical channels, and was present when it arrived.
That night a friend inquired whether a signet ring was among the effects, for he
knew the major's family attached great sentimental value to it. The inventory
did not list the ring, so we disinterred the body to make sure it had not been
overlooked. It was obvious that the major had worn a ring a short time before,
but it was not on his body when it reached our cemetery.
It was in Kwan-ni that our ration first included fresh meat. By mistake a
carload of rations consigned to the 25th Division had been placed on our siding.
The car, containing frozen ground beef, was not refrigerated, and it was obvious
some spoilage had already occurred. I called army and received permission to
utilize whatever I could. Mr. Kummer and his food service personnel checked each
box, discarding all meat about which
there was the least doubt. The over-all loss was about 35 per cent. The
remainder would not feed the entire division, so we got in touch with the units'
S4s and told them, "first come, first served." We had no trouble clearing the
The bulk of the quartermaster company, coming in the second wave, joined us
in Kwan-ni during the night of the 24th. We selected a school building as a
billet but never occupied it. The order came to displace our class I and class
III supply points to Kumchon because the infantry was being pushed back.
Our evacuation was somewhat confused in this, our first experience in
withdrawal. We issued two days of B rations to every unit that would accept
them. This cut our load and at the same time insured against need if there were
any delay in opening our new supply point. We loaded both the railroad cars and
the trucks. There wasn't enough transportation, so we had to shuttle with the
trucks. We got all of the supplies out, but the last two trucks were still being
loaded after the infantry had cleared the area. Several rounds of mortar fire
landed nearby but caused no damage.
We opened our new supply point in Kumchon without delay. Everything at
Kumchon was kept mobile and, as much as we could, we left supplies in boxcars
until we actually issued them. Rations were coming to us direct from Pusan, but
carloads of supplies from Pohang-dong, which had been delayed or misshipped,
were still arriving.
In Kumchon I found that the quartermaster of the 25th Division (Major John
Pachomski) had his distribution point in the marshaling area. The desirability
of our companies working together was obvious, and my company moved next to his.
The 25th QM Company helped tremendously by giving us cleaning and preserving
materials, soaps, mops, brooms, and a few items of clothing.
While we were in Kumchon we began to receive our first shipments of fresh
vegetables. These were airlifted from the hydroponic farms in Japan. The
vegetables came in limited quantity every second day. Rather than issue a little
to each unit, we rotated the delivery and gave enough for an ample serving. We
had a standing priority on fresh foods for the hospital, then for the front-line
troops. These vegetables were a real morale-builder.
We opened our second cemetery in Kumchon on the 26th. It was our smallest,
for by now it was nearly impossible for the infantry to recover its dead as it
fell back. It was in Kumchon that the 1st Cavalry Division received Eighth
Army's famous "last stand" order which forbade us to fall back. This order was
rescinded, however, and on the 31st we moved to Poksong-dong for two days.
In late August, division ordered 100 men and 4 officers of the quartermaster
company to be held on five-minute alert. These men were part
of Task Force Allen-our last reserve. Fortunately, this force was never
The Eighth Army supply points in Taegu were located in the railroad area. We
got permission to locate our class I point nearby, and obtained the use of a
siding and shed area for our class III supplies. The II and IV area was six or
eight blocks away from the marshaling yards. Eighth Army had five large
warehouses for class II and class IV supplies, and it turned two of these over
to us. In these warehouses we stored PX supplies and beer-when they were
available. To save needless handling, our supplies came directly from Pusan by
rail instead of stopping off in the army depots.
The fighting came close to Taegu and several nights enemy tanks ineffectively
lobbed shells into town. It was a real convenience to have our warehouses near
those of army. Army moved its depot troops out of Taegu several times, and
turned its dumps directly over to me. In turn, I issued supplies to everyone in
the area. At one time or another I supplied the 9th Infantry (2d Infantry
Division), the 27th Infantry (25th Infantry Division), the 21st Infantry (24th
Infantry Division), and numerous nondivisional units.
Each time the depot troops pulled out of Taegu they would tell me
approximately how many troops I would be expected to supply. When I submitted
requisitions to Pusan they were honored without question -- even when I drew for
35,000 instead of 13,000. Class III items were usually in good supply except for
an occasional shortage of 80-octane aviation gasoline. Some components of the B
ration would build up and I returned flour and meat to Pusan whenever I feared
the surplus was great enough to embarrass me if we had to move quickly.
At Taegu we received our first bath trailers. The third wave leaving Japan
received these, though not in time to test them. We found that two of the four
did not work, and the diaphragms and other parts could be repaired only in
Japan. So back they went.
We used the civilian laundries in Taegu, but their capacity was insufficient.
We hired men, women, and children, furnished them soap, and had them washing
clothing by hand in the Sin-chon River. In September our first laundry unit was
in operation under the control of Capt. Carl D. Hennessy, who had recently
joined us. We continued to use the Taegu laundry, but now dispensed with the
Soon we received six ice-cream machines. These were much too bulky; two
2-1/2-ton trucks were required to move each machine. We turned them back to army
immediately. In 1951, the division received improved, portable machines which
supplied ice cream to the entire division on a once-a-week basis.
Eighth Army took over operation of the Taegu ice plant. The medics approved
the plant for sanitation and the engineers chlorinated the
water. Ice was issued daily to every unit. An unusual use of the ice came
when the enemy surrounded a company of the British 27th Brigade (attached to the
1st Cavalry Division for logistical support as well as operations). The isolated
troops suffered from a water shortage. Attempts were made to airdrop water in
one-gallon canvas bags, but these split and the water ran out. One of my
officers (Lt. McGail C. Baker) suggested that we drop ice. We placed 15- to
20-pound blocks in barrack bags and dropped them with great success.
The truck platoon I had brought with me in the first wave was now
strengthened by the arrival of the other two. One platoon I did not control,
however, for it was attached to the 2d Battalion, 7th Cavalry. This battalion
was kept mobile as a part of the Eighth Army "fire brigade" system. Although we
were short of trucks, we were not hampered since we depended on rail to bring us
Early in August I discussed with the Eighth Army quartermaster the need for
winter clothing. Already it was cool at night in the hills where our infantry
was fighting. Eighth Army was aware of the need and had established a
three-phase program for issuing winter uniforms -- contingent upon delivery of
clothing from the United States on the dates requested. The first phase included
the delivery of winter underwear, M43 jackets, and gloves by 15 September. The
second phase was to bring wool clothing by 1 October. The last phase would
deliver sleeping bags, pile-lined jackets, overcoats, and wet-cold climate
clothing by 15 October.
The underwear, jackets, and gloves arrived about the middle of September and
we issued them as fast as possible. Unfortunately, before all our clothing could
be issued to the units, the breakout from the Pusan perimeter took place and we
had no chance to complete delivery for some weeks.
By 24 September, the 1st Cavalry Division's progress was such that we
believed it was time to push out class I and class III distribution points.
Lieutenant Cancelliere and one of our new arrivals (Lt. Earl W. Gallert) located
these at Chongju on the 25th. Our three truck platoons were with the infantry,
and army furnished us two truck companies to move supplies. I stayed with the
company in Taegu until 2 October.
It was about 130 miles to Chongju and bad roads made it a full-day trip each
way. On the 26th, the division advanced more than a hundred miles to make a
junction at Osan with the 7th Infantry Division, which had landed at Inchon. On
the 29th, Cancelliere established another class I and class III point at Ansong
to receive supplies that had been airlifted to Kimpo. I sent some B rations to
Ansong by truck, but army stopped this.
Division supply points were located at Taegu, Chongju, and Ansong,
with supplies furnished from both the north and south ends. I had no
communications faster than messenger, and I soon lost touch with the situation.
I hoped that class I and class III supplies were being issued, and I learned
later that they were. One of our truck platoons returned on 2 October, and I
moved the company to Suwon. I left enough personnel in Taegu to operate the
class II and class IV points, for I wanted to be sure these items got forward to
us. Small class I and class III distribution points remained in Taegu to supply
the division's rear-echelon troops, but had I known the situation forward I
would have arranged for the rear echelon to use army supply points in Taegu.
Driving north we carried enough winter underwear, M43 jackets, and gloves to
supply the units that had not drawn them in Taegu. We did not get to issue the
clothing until the troops were in Kaesong on 9 October. I found that on the
rapid march of the division those men who had received underwear and jackets
took care to hold on to them.
Our Suwon distribution points opened on 3 October. For about a week we were
issuing everything on hand and replacing nothing. Then we closed the I and III
points in Taegu but left the II and IV supply personnel there until they could
get the clothing forward. The shortage of both rail facilities and trucks kept
us from moving the clothing at this time, even though the weather was getting
In late September, 3d Logistical Command opened at Ascom City -- between Inchon
and Seoul. I opened a class III distribution point at Yongdungpo on 5 October.
On the 9th we started an all-class supply point at Kaesong, and here we opened
our fifth cemetery. When we moved from Kaesong on the 15th we began a series of
class I and class III supply operations that were little more than one-night
stands. Nothing was dumped on the ground, and we loaded from tail gate onto tail
gate. We opened at Hanpo-ri on the lath and closed on the 18th. We opened at
Sinmak on the 18th and closed on the 21st. Hwangju opened on the 19th and closed
on the 20th. On the 21st we opened a distribution point at Pyongyang and it
remained open until 4 December. On 30 October we were to establish a dump just
south of Unsan, but the men found the town in enemy hands, so they set up some
eight or ten miles to the south. On 31 October, we opened a dump at Anju to
receive airlifted supplies landed at Sinanju for I Corps. We later turned this
operation over to Eighth Army. On 2 November we opened a supply point at Pakchon
but we had to evacuate it hurriedly the next day. The quartermaster company did
not lose anything there. However, part of the 8th Cavalry, one company of the
tank battalion, and one company of the engineers came out light and fast. We had
to replace a thousand sleeping bags, two or three kitchens, most of the mess
gear, and a lot of clothing.
The bulk of the division's winter clothing was still in the Taegu
warehouses -- 400 to 500 miles away. As soon as the railroads began operating
as far north as Seoul, we moved several carloads of winter clothing to
that point. That meant the clothing was still 170 miles from us, but division G4
began to canvass all units for trucks we could borrow to make the trip to Seoul.
It was very cold now and everyone supplied trucks until it hurt. We sent 180
from Pyongyang to Seoul in convoys of 30 and 40. The roads were so bad that
there was about a 30 per cent truck casualty rate from broken springs.
Our boxcars had not been guarded on the railroad, and some pilfering had
taken place. But we had anticipated a strength of 18,000 U.S. and 8,500 KATUSA
personnel in our requisitions, whereas we now had 18,000 U.S. and only 3,500
KATUSA personnel. An officer in Pyongyang separated the clothing and issued it
in the priority: infantry, engineers, artillery, other units. In no case did a
service unit or headquarters draw anything out of sequence, but a fast-talking
division headquarters supply sergeant almost succeeded until I learned about it.
We outfitted U.S. and KATUSA personnel alike except that the OD7 overcoats went
to the U.S. soldiers and the men of KATUSA drew wool overcoats.
After the rail lines were open to South Pyongyang, we received the rest of
our own clothing from Taegu and also some from other sources. Soon we had an
overage in certain types of winter clothing. Instead of moving this clothing to
Eighth Army dumps we issued it to nondivisional units when directed by army. We
also issued some clothing to British and other UN troops.
In September a wet-cold climate instruction team arrived from the United
States. It consisted of Lt.Col. James P. Streetman and an enlisted man. We were
in Pyongyang before they were able to instruct the troops, but fortunately this
coincided with the issue of winter clothing. I believe their opportune lectures
did much to prevent nonbattle casualties.
In Pyongyang an attached platoon of the 549th Laundry Company (Lt. Upshaw
Sams) gave the division more laundry service than it could use. The tactical
situation was so fluid that regiments often could not return their dirty
clothing. In their free time we let the laundry platoon work for anyone -- after
they took care of the needs of the hospitals.
We opened class I and class III supply points at Sapyong-ni on 27 November
and closed them on the 29th. The 29th was the day Lieutenant Evans's truck
platoon got caught in a roadblock while carrying troops of the 5th Cavalry, and
the day we began our long withdrawal. On the 29th, we opened a supply point at
Sunchon, and hurriedly withdrew before we issued anything. At 1800 of that day
we were returning to Sainjang, and on 1 December our most advanced supply point
On 2 December we began to clear our class II and class IV supplies out of the
Pyongyang area. I got in touch with the assistant G4 of
Eighth Army and requested ten or twelve boxcars to evacuate supplies, but he
was unable to furnish them. I had two partly loaded boxcars at my siding, so I
filled them as quickly as I could and they were moved that night.
On the morning of the 3d, Colonel Streetman and Lt. W. T. Niedermeyer found 4
empty boxcars and 2 gondolas of empty gasoline drums on the freight yard. The
rail transportation officer agreed to let us unload the drums and use the cars
and gondolas. We loaded them with class II and class IV supplies.
At 2045, before our cars were removed, an ammunition dump several blocks from
our warehouse caught fire. When the shells began to explode, the locomotives
left our area. One or two of our warehouses burned and so did our gondolas. The
boxcars were spared.
On the morning of the 4th, the locomotives came to pull out our loaded cars.
Unfortunately, the ties had burned under the track and our cars were derailed.
We loaded all available trucks with class II and class IV supplies and I put a
man out on the road to offer units anything they would take. The only II and IV
supplies we lost were those that burned in the fire.
On the night of the 3d, and during the 4th, we hauled class I and class III
supplies from Pyongyang across the river. Again we stopped vehicles and offered
gasoline and food. At 1800 on 4 December we destroyed the surplus gasoline and
rations that we could not evacuate. This amounted to 15,000 to 30,000 gallons of
gas-all in drums. That was the first time in Korea our company had to destroy
anything to keep it out of enemy hands.
On the 5th we opened a supply point at Namchonjon; we closed it on the 8th.
On the morning of the 8th we moved to Kumchon (in North Korea) and sent all our
class II and class IV supplies to Ascom City.
On 8 December 1950 I was relieved of my assignment and returned to the United
States on emergency leave. Colonel Streetman was assigned in my place. After I
returned to Korea from my leave I spent eight months in the operations division
of Eighth Army's quartermaster section.
2. Quartermaster Problems and Services
Lt.Col. Homer P. Harris,
Quartermaster, 2d Infantry Division
Korea is a paradise for the artilleryman, but not for the quartermaster. I've
served with armored divisions and there the quartermaster
component is a battalion. I feel that an infantry division needs more than a
quartermaster company. The infantry division has been beefed up by the addition
of numerous automatic weapons, recoilless rifles, bazookas, and a tank company
for each regiment plus a tank battalion for the division. Our present ammunition
requirements are beyond the hauling capacity of the using organizations, even
when they are augmented by the trucks of the division's quartermaster company.
Artillery battalions are firing twelve thousand rounds a day, and the infantry
is firing mortars and recoilless rifles at a prodigious rate.
In the spring and summer of 1951, to meet the overload placed upon the 2d
Quartermaster Company, we had to have an overstrength unit. Instead of the
authorized 11 officers, 2 warrant officers and 216 enlisted men, the division G1
knowingly let me accumulate a strength of 19 officers, 3 warrant officers and
311 men. By this method we approached battalion strength.
Another way to support the division was to overload the equipment and
overwork the men. Overloading has to be supervised, for while a 2-1/2-ton truck
will easily carry a 100 per cent overload without injury, it does have
limitations. I caught people at an ammunition supply point trying to load 14
tons on a 2-1/2-ton truck! After that I made out a weight chart for various
types of truck loads, and made the drivers responsible for seeing that extreme
overloading did not occur.
The overworking of men also occurred in Korea. In spite of an occasional
movie or band concert, there was little release for the men, and no place to go.
As a result, the tendency was for soldiers to work around the clock. Even now
that I have returned, I find it difficult to break away from the habit of
sleeping three hours and then working eight or nine. But, under the stress of
operations like these at Heartbreak Ridge, we had to work our truck drivers so
constantly hauling ammunition that three or four accidents occurred in the
mountains when the drivers fell asleep. The overloading of equipment and the
overworking of 'men will not pay off in sustained operations. I have reported
this many times when I have recommended a quartermaster battalion for the
In addition to hauling huge quantities of ammunition in Korea, we were
responsible logistically for too many persons. Normally I drew rations for
35,000 troops and petroleum products for 44,000. Any way you figure it, that's
an army-size job. We supplied our own division, men of KATUSA, Korean laborers,
UN battalions of French, Dutch and Thailanders, and we were even saddled with
the job of drawing rations for the indigenous laborers of a Marine division
located fifty miles away. At one time, we supported two Marine artillery
battalions with class I and class III supplies. The marines liked our support
and were disappointed when they had to return to their own supply channels.
The problem of supplying bulk rations was further complicated by
the special rations and supplements we had to furnish the other UN troops.
This varied from additional bread and potatoes for the French and Dutch to
special spice supplements for the Thailanders.
Our food was the best any army in the field has ever received. One actually
got tired of so much steak, chicken, and turkey, and I occasionally longed for
stew. Fresh eggs, when on the menu, were issued 22S per 100 servings, with 5 per
cent allowance for breakage.
We served ice cream weekly to the troops. When the paper container supply was
exhausted, we distributed the ice cream in the regular insulated food
containers. I was always worried about the possibility of sickness should the
ice cream get contaminated, but we never had a case of this. My ice-cream man
improvised a device to sterilize our serving containers by using live steam, and
it was by this method that we eliminated bacteria. I steered VIPs away from the
ice-cream plant to avoid contamination and to avoid serving samples of our work.
News of that kind might cause a "run on the bank."
In the fall of 1951, Maj.Gen. Robert N. Young replaced Maj.Gen. Clark L.
Ruffner as commander of the 2d Infantry Division. General Young soon showed
evidence of his airborne training. We began experiments in airdropping supplies
and equipment to small detachments or units that had special needs. The flame
thrower is one example. It is very useful to the infantry in certain operations,
but is most often left behind because of its weight. General Young figured that
if we could airdrop a flame thrower to the right men at the right time, it would
be used. In addition, there was the need to air-supply patrols, outposts, and
other groups in mountains too steep to be reached any other way.
The division air officer (Major Linton S. Boatwright) worked with me on a
series of experimental drops. I soon realized that the problem was complicated,
so I suggested to General Young that two officers be sent to the 187th Airborne
RCT to learn about airdrop. This was done. We received fifty parachutes, and
after each drop we repacked them ourselves. Our cargo planes were the division's
own L-19s, and using six different packs, we loaded as much as 120 pounds under
each wing. At the division airstrip we maintained a quartermaster detachment and
a ready line consisting of priority supplies. When Eighth Army's air section
learned of what we were doing, it ordered us to stop, since our L-19s were not
properly braced to carry such a weight. When we received a group of new L-19s,
this prohibition was lifted. So far as I know, we pioneered this division
airdrop, but other divisions are using it now.
Along with General Young's airdrop idea came his plan for a daily laundering
of socks. Here the division's policy of performing the maximum service for the
individual soldier applied. Each company sent to the laundry a barrack bag
containing all the socks worn the previous day. We gave bundle service,
returning the same socks to the unit that delivered them.
I know that full use was not always made of this service, but
General Young insisted on a daily sock inspection and close attention to the
men's feet. We had only sixteen cases of frostbite in the division during the
winter of 1951-52 -- and most of those cases didn't involve feet. Every report of a
frostbite case was followed by an inspector general's investigation, and the
Our quartermaster company set up a fix-it shop along with its other services.
Weather, dust, and mistreatment took a heavy toll of typewriters, office
machines, fire units in field ranges, and Coleman stoves. We repaired all these
items and centralized all replacement parts at division for that purpose.
Unfortunately, we were often out of parts because our kits did not seem to
contain the parts we needed. Several investigations of this were made, but the
situation did not change. I did not evacuate any of our office machines, for
generally if we didn't have a spare part, neither did the army service center
We did call on the service centers for covers for typewriters and office
machines. When a machine came to us for repair it was returned with a cover-and
a strong suggestion that the cover be used. We pointed out that all machines
should be covered, even during the short period when operators knocked off for
The 2d Quartermaster Company in Korea gave an outstanding performance. It
supplied more men with more items and more service than our doctrine ever
3. Delivery by Air
Capt. William J. Dawson, Jr., 8081st Quartermaster
Airborne Air Supply and Packaging Company
The 8081st Quartermaster Airborne Air Supply and Packaging Company is the
most-decorated quartermaster company in the U.S. Army, and the only Army unit in
Japan to earn combat credit. But if you ever saw these men at work, with their
tails hanging out of the rear of a C-119 while they got their cargo ready to
drop, you'd know they earn their points, decorations, renown, and jump pay. We
drilled into our men this motto: "Lives of individuals in combat depend on the
supplies we deliver. Risk yours, if necessary, to get them there."
I reported to Ashiya Air Base, on Kyushu, on 14 February 1951. At that time
the company had 4 officers and approximately 88 men. Capt. Cecil W. Hospelhorn,
who organized the company, was in the United
States presenting his packaging and airdrop experiences in lectures and
demonstrations. The operational procedures I mention are sometimes modifications
of the methods he initiated.
At this time the company was commanded by Lt. Claude A. Jones, and I became
his executive officer. We had a company headquarters, a parachute maintenance
section, an air-supply section, a manifest section, and two air-delivery
The air-delivery platoons were responsible for loading the planes and
dropping the cargo. The 1st Air Delivery Platoon (Lt. Paul E. Smith), in
addition to its general duties, was responsible for all heavy drops. These men
were all old-timers and persons Captain Hospelhorn had known for a long time.
The 2d Platoon (Lt. Billy G. Bishop) repacked all parachutes as its secondary
job. Ashiya Air Base is on the beaches of the Sea of Japan, and the humidity
there is high. For this reason personnel chutes had to be repacked every thirty
days and cargo chutes every sixty days. We used Japanese employees to repack the
cargo chutes, but the personnel chutes were never turned over to anyone outside
When I arrived at Ashiya the company was working full-time. The men were
loading and dropping an average of 3S planes every day. That is beyond the
normal expected capability of an air-delivery company, but this rate continued
for six weeks. In February 1951, X Corps turned to airdrop to build a stockpile
of gasoline and rations, since land transportation was inadequate. We were
pushed to operate at this level and could not have maintained it had we not been
assisted by several hundred Japanese civilians. Later our load leveled off at
five to ten planes a day, four or five days a week.
The air-delivery platoons worked in shifts. One platoon would do all the
loading for a week while the other platoon had its men ride the planes and
discharge the cargo. Assignments changed every Sunday. During the time our work
was so heavy it was normal for our officers to spend their evenings in the
orderly room, where they could play cards while waiting for the loading orders
to arrive. We rarely bothered to go to the movies since we expected to be pulled
out before the first show was over.
Orders for an operation normally came to us between 2000 and 2400. Requests
came through G4 of Eighth Army, to 8247th Army Headquarters, Troop Movement
Section, and then to us. Our first alert would tell us the number of planes to
be loaded and the type of cargo. Our manifest section, which operated on a
24-hour basis, would receive the serial number of each plane, its capacity, the
amount and type of cargo it would carry, and the on-station time (an hour before
take-off). The capacity of planes varied greatly-largely because of fuel loads.
The manifest section worked with these data, broke down the loads, and
make a working manifest for each plane. They followed a few simple rules. For
example, gasoline and rations were not to be loaded in the same plane, but
gasoline and ammunition could go together.
While the manifest section was working, the commander of the loading platoon
would send out his alert squad to the planes to check the tie-down bolts and put
in the rollers. Either the company commander or the executive officer called the
motor pool and ordered the vehicles for hauling the cargo from the ready line to
the planes. We had available, on thirty-minute call, ten semitrailers and ninety
2- l/2 -ton trucks. The drivers were Japanese who worked on an around-the-clock
schedule. We always preferred the semis because they would carry more cargo, and
their higher beds made it possible to slide the cargo straight into the rear of
the plane. With the trucks we had about an 18-inch lift. It took four 2- 1/2
-ton trucks to carry the cargo to one plane, while it took one and a half semis
to do the same job. We never placed cargos for more than one plane on a truck
for fear of confusion. At the ready line the trucks were loaded by Japanese
laborers according to the working manifests.
While the trucks were being loaded and the alerted squad was placing the
rollers in the planes, the loading platoon was assembling. The loaders reported
to the hangars at the same time that the cargos arrived. From a central point
the loading officer (platoon leader) ordered two American soldiers and four
Japanese laborers to each plane, with the trucks and cargo. As each truck was
unloaded it was released. Before the loaders left the plane they made up a white
loading card giving all pertinent facts. They then returned to the hangar with
the last vehicle and reported to the loading officer to be assigned other trucks
and cargo for another plane. The loading officer sent his platoon sergeant to
inspect each loading job, and before leaving the field he personally checked
each plane. No one left the area until all inspections were finished. Normally a
platoon could load five or six planes an hour.
It was informally understood that if the loading crews finished their work
before 2400 they would not be called for training until 1300 the next day. If
they finished after 2400 they were off all day. Actually, however, it meant very
little to give them the day off, for most of their loading was done at night.
Finally, under the pressure of work the training schedule broke down anyway.
Shortly after we received an operations order we notified the consolidated
Air Force-Army mess of the number of in-flight lunches our men would need. The
hour of assembly for the platoon assigned to fly depended on the length of the
flight. The normal time from Japan to drop zone in Korea varied between two and
three hours. An hour before take-off all crews and quartermaster flight
personnel were due at the planes. An hour before on-station time the flight
platoon began drawing their parachutes, pistols, in-flight lunches, emergency rations, and
equipment. For example, if the drop were scheduled for 0800 and the flying time
consumed two hours, then take-off was at 0700, on-stations at 0500, and assembly
On arrival at their plane the quartermaster crew obtained the white loading
card, checked the cargo to be sure it was safe, and then notified the crew chief
they were ready. A copy of the manifest was turned over to the pilot, who had
the final responsibility for proper loading. By the time I arrived at Ashiya the
pilots had so much confidence in our men they rarely checked our work. I would
say the best pilots still checked and never took our word for it, but usually
the check was omitted. Our pilots were first-rate.
After take-off the dropmaster and his assistant continued to check the cargo.
While the plane was climbing they checked the front cables. When the plane
leveled off they checked the rear cables. Periodic checks were made if there was
any unusual motion while in flight.
Usually the flight was monotonous and often uncomfortable. The turnaround
time was four to six hours. The cabin of a C-119 contains only four seats, and
those are occupied by the crew. If the Army men moved forward, they had to sit
on the floor with their legs out straight -- and that is uncomfortable over a
period of time. Lots of times there wasn't room up front because of cameramen,
passengers, or flyers riding to get in their flight time. In the winter, or when
the planes flew at high altitude, it was cold in the back of the plane. And
looking out the open end of the plane always made me nervous in spite of my
being called "Ace" Dawson.
Twenty minutes before we came over the drop zone the crew chief gave us a
signal and our men moved to the rear of the plane to remove cables. The ties
between bundles were removed; then the forward cable safeties were severed but
remained taut against the bundles. When everything was ready the dropmaster and
his assistant moved to the front of the cargo compartment and waited for the
two-minute warning. At two minutes the bomb-shackle-release safety (a little red
disc) was removed, and the men returned forward to await the signal to drop.
Over the drop zone the plane came in at an altitude of about 800 feet and at
a speed of only 110 miles an hour. This is dangerous flying because of the low
altitude and near-stalling speed. When dropping right on the front lines the
plane makes an excellent target for small-arms fire. The planes approaching the
drop zone came in trail at about 1,000 feet apart. This increased their accuracy
but it also added to the danger of collision or other accident.
At the instant the bell rings the pilot pulls up the nose of the
plane and jams the throttle open. This lurch causes the load to move down the
rollers in the floor and out the open end of the plane. The dropmaster and his
assistant run to the rear of the plane and count the bundles as they open, so
they can figure the number of malfunctions. The rate normally ran to about 3 per
cent. After the count it was necessary to reach out of the open end of the plane
and pull in the static lines. If any of the cargo failed to clear from the plane
the dropmaster informed the crew chief, who told the pilot to make another run.
Then it was just a matter of flying home, checking in the equipment, and waiting
for the next day-unless there was a second flight.
These are the broad outlines of the air-delivery system, but of course there
were many ramifications and problems. To speed up operations we normally kept
all classes of supplies packaged and ready to drop on our ready line. The ready
line was actually a small dump with the supplies on skids and the ropes tied. We
ran out of containers and used rope to hold the items together. In fact, we used
nine million feet of rope-some 1,700 miles of it-in one year. Most of the
packaging was done by Japanese, and they were good at it. Without their help we
could have never packaged the loads we did.
Parachutes are expensive, the large G-11 costing $1,300. Some idea of the
cost of our operation can be obtained from these figures: we dropped 73,000 G-1
chutes (24 feet) which cost $43 each, and 70,000 G-9 chutes (18 feet), each
costing $25. Dealing in those numbers and costs, it was essential to get the
chutes returned from the drop zone whenever possible. Each division receiving a
drop was supposed to get the parachutes to the nearest air base, and from there
it was up to the Air Force to return them to Ashlya. No one really knows how
good our recovery rate was, but I'd guess perhaps 40 per cent.
Although the Air Force was given the drop-zone location, the exact spot was
marked on the ground with a T panel. Soon the Chinese got wise to this system,
and-they placed panels and received several of our drops. Then it became
customary to have an Air Force Mosquito plane meet the C-119s ten minutes away
from the drop zone and escort them in. On rear-area flights we sometimes dropped
cargo along the sides of airfields.
Our men tried to see how close the drop came to the T and sometimes they
could see that it went wide. When the unit being supplied was on the line this
sometimes meant they could not gather the supplies. They immediately notified
army G4, who passed the message to the 8247th, and then we got it. The
notification of a bad drop normally reached the company before the planes
returned. If it appeared to have resulted from a pilot failure, the Air Force
usually made the same crew fly the second mission and hit the drop zone. Usually
we sent our same
men along. But when a plane developed engine trouble and had to jettison its
cargo and limp home, we had someone else go on the replacement flight.
Sometimes the first effort to drop the cargo would be ineffective and the
plane would have to make several passes over the DZ. One officer normally flew
each day for morale purposes, and when an officer flew he took the place of an
enlisted man and carried out the same duties. In November 1951, CWO Byron
Kirkman and I were flying a mission together. We carried concertina wire for use
along the Imjin River. The coils were wide and the bundles overlapped in the
center of the plane. Just as the plane started to dump its load we hit an air
pocket and the wire jammed. Nothing went out on that pass, so we notified the
crew chief, then went to the rear to loosen the wire. The best we could do was
to drop one bundle from each side of the plane on each pass. It took five more
passes to complete the job.
On my last flight there were six planes in the flight and the drop was on the
front line. To hit the DZ we had to cross into enemy territory after the drop.
The lead pilot did not give the signal to drop. Maybe the DZ wasn't marked,
because the other pilots followed his lead. We moved over enemy territory going
110 miles per hour at 800 feet. Enemy small arms cut up to thirty holes in each
plane. In my plane, the Plexiglas windshield was shattered and both pilots were
seriously cut in the face. The sergeant with mewas wounded, and only the chute
he wore saved his life. One other dropmaster was injured. In spite of the fire
and their wounds, the pilots turned, made another sweep over the DZ, dropped
their cargos, went again over the enemy, and flew back to Japan. When we reached
Ashiya Air Base all the emergency crews and ambulances were waiting and I felt
as though we had returned from a bombing mission.
While no one was killed on this flight, we did have two dropmasters killed in
May 1951, when a failure to stop our artillery fire allowed one C-119 to be hit.
A second plane crashed right behind the first. On this day, fortunately, we had
only one soldier in each plane. We had five other emergency free-fall drops when
our men bailed out of falling planes. We had three or four more men wounded on
flights, and of course we had the famous case of Sgt. Robert Hale and Corporal
Page who "just happened" to fall out of their plane right after they had dropped
a cargo to the 187th Airborne RCT. Page was back in two days, but Hale was
wounded by a sniper and did not return to duty for weeks. We took no
disciplinary action, but we never believed their story of their "fall."
Jumping wasn't much to these men, for all were rated. We did a lot of
jumping -- even on Saturdays and Sundays if business wasn't too heavy. We landed on
the beach along the ocean, and sometimes we alerted the air-sea rescue people
and jumped into the ocean for practice. We never
had any casualties in our unit, but one lieutenant colonel who got permission
to jump with us was killed on a water jump when he became confused and inflated
his Mae West before he got out of his harness.
We tested a lot of Japanese parachutes for G4, and some of them were pretty
good. We also ran a lot of tests to determine what items could be given a free
drop. Concertina wire was dropped free but broke its securing wires and
unraveled. What a mess! To counteract this we placed small chutes on the
wire-just enough to slow it down. Canned rations smashed badly when dropped
free. The new rubber containers for water landed in good shape, but they were
small and frequently were lost. Blankets and all types of clothing came through
the free-drop process very well.
One of our men (Sergeant Gordon) devised a bomb-shackle release that worked
well in loosening cargo. The load was emptied by nosing the plane up. This was
simpler than the standard practice of having the pilot operate the glider-tow
device and sending out a pilot chute to pull out the cargo. We showed the Gordon
device to one observer who came over from The Quartermaster School, and we even
gave him one, but it hasn't been adopted.
One thing our men were proud of was the magazine drops. Knowing that men on
the front appreciate any kind of reading, we used to tie bundles of magazines
into the cargoes we dropped. We heard from those men at times, and their
appreciation made us feel good. In spite of continuous hazards and combat
rating, we lived the Air Force life and came home to clean sheets, hot meals,
and movies. Helping the infantry out there made us feel more a part of it.
4. Service Company Runs Depot Lt. John Douthitt, 545th Quartermaster Service
The 545th Quartermaster Service Company was an integrated unit with
Negro and white officers and enlisted men. At various times men of both races
held the positions of company commander and first sergeant, but the whites held
a greater relative proportion of the noncommissioned ratings. There was no
problem of the men getting along, although some dissatisfaction existed among a
small minority of whites because they were serving in an integrated unit. We had
only one period of tension-after a fight-but it did not last long. At no time
did race antagonism impede our work.
The mission of a quartermaster service company is to provide a labor force
for attachment to depots and other installations. But from the
time the 545th withdrew from Pyongyang, it was assigned missions very
different from its intended one. For a year we operated major supply depots
ourselves. This difference was especially evident at Chunchon.
The company reached Chunchon on 23 July 1951, with instructions to open a
class I and class III supply point. When we arrived we found only a rice paddy.
We had just three days in which to receive our supplies, organize our depot, and
begin to issue rations. On the 26th we issued rations to 26,000 troops, and on
the next day to 50,000. During the fall of 1951 we were supplying 90,000 troops,
including three divisions and adjacent units.
As soon as we arrived at Chunchon, we received ninety rail cars of supplies,
and our battalion commander was yelling for the return of the empties. Little
local labor was available, so we put every man on the job, including the first
sergeant and the cooks. We cleared our siding in fortyeight hours!
On the 25th we received our first refrigerated supplies, and by the 26th we
had ten to twelve carloads of perishables. We had no refrigeration facilities or
additional ice, and this was the hottest part of the summer. We issued
perishables as fast as we could, and salvaged ice from every car unloaded.
Eventually we received a half car of ice, and that was a help. It was a close
race between issuance and spoilage, but we won. We kept a veterinarian busy
inspecting the food before we released it. A month later we received a number of
permanent refrigerators and an engineer to service the machinery.
We opened our Chunchon supply point with 3 officers 165 men. In the next few
months we received 3 additional officers while the enlisted strength varied
between 170 and 190. This becomes significant if two facts are kept in mind.
First, this company was doing a job not suited to its organization, training, or
strength. Secondly, 90,000 troops were being supplied by one company. At Wonju,
8,000 to 10,000 troops were supplied by a service company minus one platoon, a
subsistence company minus a platoon, a petroleum platoon, and a refrigeration
While we carried out our mission, our overload of work led to certain
problems. Security was one. We were augmented by a few Korean National Police,
but they controlled only Koreans and would not halt Americans who entered our
Our men also suffered from a lack of time off. They worked seven days a week
and had no other outlet for their energy. A leave in Japan every six months was
not enough. Some visited that inevitable Korean shack which was set up in the
neighborhood of our installations. There they found liquor and prostitutes. We
had several men ill from bad liquor and several cases of venereal disease. We
also had several cases of drug addiction.
A few men of the 545th were difficult to control. The working, living and
recreational facilities could not be improved, and Eighth Army would not allow
us to use confinement to enforce discipline. Company punishment meant nothing,
yet confinement was not authorized unless a dishonorable discharge or a
bad-conduct discharge followed. Our battalion tried to bring pressure on
offenders by ordering a delay in rotation for a man who committed a
court-martial offense. This was countermanded by Eighth Army, even though it
In Korea the 545th had no shortage of reports. The company commander, the
first sergeant, and two clerks were kept busy with paper work, and later an
administrative officer was assigned to us full-time. We had to prepare
twenty-one different monthly reports, and many daily and weekly reports.
Battalion finally had to send us a calendar each month showing the date on which
each report was due.
5. Testing Equipment in Korea
Capt. Fred C. Jacoby, Observer for The
I was sent to Korea with a detachment of enlisted men in March 1951 to
conduct a special series of on-the-spot tests of equipment for The Quartermaster
General and The Quartermaster Board. After I received my instructions in
Washington and Fort Lee, I entrained for Oakland, California.
At the Oakland Quartermaster Depot the equipment to be tested arrived direct
from the manufacturers. I received the following untested items: 130 unit
burners for field ranges, 5 cabinets for a new field range, 1,000 one-burner
stoves for small detachments, 5 cleaners for 55-gallon drums, and 150 rain
suits. All this material was loaded on board a cargo vessel.
My men accompanied the equipment but I flew to Japan to report to the
quartermaster of General Headquarters, Far East Command. In Tokyo I was told to
report to the quartermaster of Eighth Army and work out the details of the
testing program direct. Eighth Army designated the 7th Infantry Division as the
When the test equipment arrived at Yokohama it was transferred to a ship
sailing to Korea. At Pusan all of my equipment, except the drum cleaners and
field-range cabinets, was loaded on trucks and taken to the 7th Division.
The men of the 7th Division were pleased to have been selected to make the
test. The division commander personally assisted in the selection
of units to use the equipment. The burners for the field ranges (which
were installed in the standard-type range) and the one-burner stoves went
primarily to the infantry. The rain suits were issued to the engineers, military
police, and the reconnaissance company. I stayed most of the time in the
division's area, checking the users' opinions of the equipment and examining
items for evidence of wear.
The one-burner stoves, the burners for field ranges, and the rain suits were
well liked. I recommended one modification to the field-range burner as the
result of a fire. I left all the test items with the 7th Division when I
returned to the United States, except representative samples brought back for
The gasoline-drum cleaners had been distributed in Pusan and Osan and were
well liked except that they would not work on nonstandard drums manufactured in
Japan. I recommended a slight modification that would allow the cleaners to be
used with any drum. The cabinets for the field ranges were recalled for
modification before I finished my testing.
I feel that this testing program was quite successful. The realistic
conditions were the key to this. The trip overseas, with its transshipments,
demonstrated that the test items were capable of standing actual wear and tear.
The men who made the tests lived or worked with each item all the time and not
just during work hours. Troops in the field are always critical in their
judgment of equipment and most outspoken in expressing their likes and dislikes.
When they said they liked a fire-burner, I knew they weren't trying to spare my
feelings or hold onto their lobs.
One element of the testing program deserves some consideration. The men who
came into contact with the program felt that the United States Army was
sincerely interested in their welfare. They felt they were being consulted by
the high command about an item, and not being given something that looked good
to a desk soldier being pressured by a manufacturer's agent. The final seal of
approval of a product came when men from adjacent units asked me when each item
would be available for issue. I could only give the stock answer: "Soon, I
6. Rations in Korea
Major Lawrence Dobson, Observer for The
Quartermaster General. (From an oral report, 25 April 1951.)
To accomplish my subsistence and packaging mission, I visited the three corps
headquarters, all division headquarters, and units within
the divisions. In addition, I visited all the army supply points and the
I would like to start with a discussion of the operational ration since I
feel that was the major portion of my mission. As you have heard, the troops in
Korea are fed two hot meals a day whenever it is tactically possible. It is
desirable, of course, to have three hot meals, but we say a minimum of two:
normally, breakfast and supper. Noon meals are an operational ration. Hot meals
were started by necessity because of a shortage of operational rations. Today we
have plenty of rations, but the troops and the leaders appreciate the benefit of
kitchen-prepared meals. It is a terrific morale builder among the forward
First, I would like to discuss the 5-in-1 ration. During the last part of
February 1951, Eighth Army asked that no more 5-in-1 rations be sent to Korea.
That was quite a shock because we in the States had always considered the 5-in-1
our most acceptable ration.
Its military description said it would be used to serve small
detachments-tank crews, gun crews, isolated units. I found that Eighth Army did
not want the 5-in-1 ration because it was not satisfactory for the forward
units. The men of these units do not have their mess gear or heating equipment
with them; they travel as light as possible. Therefore, the 5-in-1 was difficult
to break down and eat. I found that the ration was unacceptable when consumed
cold. Still, that was the way it had to be consumed when it was issued to
I found that the armored battalions followed the same system of two hot meals
a day, so that a case of 5-in-1 rations would be the noon meal for three days
for the five men of a tank crew. The first day they cooked a pretty good meal;
on the second day it was fairly good; by the third day they had no food left.
The tankers had to draw another ration, and there we have a terrific waste.
Also, the men did not want to cook when they could take the C ration, open one
can, and be done with it.
The 5-in-1 was used in several cases as an emergency B ration. For example,
the 31st Infantry was well advanced when a thaw hit. Roads were impassable, the
regiment's kitchens were forward, and the men had to be supplied by air. So the
5-in-1 ration was dropped and used as a B ration. It was quite successful, but
the mess stewards complained that there were not enough vegetables.
Before its cancellation request, Eighth Army decided there was insufficient
food in a case for five men, and changed the basis of issue from 5-in-1 to
4-in-1. That again caused waste, since the accessory items -- candy, chewing gum,
cigarettes, peanuts-were put into the ration on the basis of five men. Still,
four men used it.
I said that the 5-in-1 was unacceptable cold. When heated, the men did not
care for the beef and gravy or the pork and gravy. They complained that there
was too much fat, too much gravy, and that the meat appeared
over-processed -- just a mess of shreds and nothing to chew on. As for
fruit and jam -- well, the best-accepted item is canned fruit. You can't give the
men too much of it and, if you ask which is the most acceptable, they will think
a while and then they might say "peaches," or they might say any of the other
fruits. Vegetables are the same as in the B ration, and are a matter of
preference. Canned puddings and desserts were well received. The precooked
cereal in the ration was rated very low to fair. If the men had to add hot water
to it themselves, it had poor acceptance. If the mess sergeants added milk and
heated the cereal, it had very high acceptance. If only cold milk was provided,
it had fair acceptance.
In addition to the use of the 5-in-1 as a B ration, and because there was a
surplus on hand, Eighth Army at present is making some forced issues of 5-in-1
to the troops, and is also utilizing it as the ration to feed troops on trains.
For troop-train feeding it again had very poor acceptance because of absence of
heating equipment and, in many cases, lack of mess kits.
I would therefore recommend that the 5-in-1 no longer be considered a combat
ration, but rather a ration to be used by small detachments in a semipermanent
location with ample cooking facilities available to them; and that the ration
also be considered an emergency B ration -- one that can be moved in as I have
When we started, we had the C-4 ration. We procured the C-6 ration and,
later, we had a C-7.
The C ration is the most acceptable ration we have in use in Korea. Everyone
likes it. The relative acceptance ratings of the meat items are: (1) beans and
frankfurters; (2) beans with pork; (3) meat and beans; (4) ham and lima beans;
(5) spaghetti and meat; (6) hamburgers with gravy; (7) pork sausage patties with
gravy; (8) meat and noodles; (9) chicken and vegetables; (10) beef stew; (11)
This ration is a combat ration, and one of its characteristics is its
capability of being consumed hot or cold. The reaction of the men was that the
only items acceptable cold were the three bean items. The principal complaints
were against the meat-and-spaghetti and the meat-and-noodle combinations. Both
items were too dry, and when heated they would burn. The hamburgers and the
sausage patties had too much fat and too much gravy. It is difficult to
determine the acceptance of the chicken and vegetables. In the C-4 and the C-6
we had a chicken-and-vegetables combination. The men disliked it. We had
previously received reports on this, and in the C-7 we have a product of the
same name but from a different formula. The men interviewed who have eaten the
C-7 reported that the acceptance on the chicken-and-vegetables was very high. It
is a very good product.
The corned-beef hash and the beef stew had very low acceptance
ratings. Part of this can be attributed to the fact that, when operations
started in Korea, we had a limited stock of meat items to be issued in the B
ration. Supply Bulletin 10-495 has the menus we had planned to use, but we
didn't have the items in stock. We had quantities of beef stew and corned-beef
hash on hand, so they were shipped. The men had corned-beef hash and beef stew;
beef stew and corned-beef hash. So the principal objection to the corned-beef
hash in the C ration is that it has become the Spam of the Korean campaign. Beef
stew-well, too much fat; very poor acceptance when cold.
It had been reported previously that there was too much meat in the C ration.
I found that for those men in the rear areas-those who used the ration only when
they were making a movement-there may be too much meat. But we must remember
that this ration was designed for the fighting man. He is a young man-old men
cannot climb hills. Fighters work hard. They will eat practically all you can
carry up to them.
When talking to them, I asked, "Is there too much meat?"
"Is there too much in the ration?"
"No; we will eat it ale"
Even to the cocoa disc and the coffee. If they cannot prepare them at the
time they are eating the ration, they will save them for later. An interesting
comment was that they liked the cocoa but sometimes do not have the fire to heat
the water. So the cocoa is being eaten as a chocolate bar. They wondered if we
could not improve the eating quality of the cocoa disc and still save its
quality for reconstituting it into cocoa.
The B units-that is, bread-type units in the C-7 -- were slightly different from
those in the C-4 and the C-6. In the C-7, we attempted to put in each can all
the components that would be required for a meal, so that a man would not have
to open a second can or open an accessory packet. As a result, the arrangement
of components within the C-7 was very well received and liked better than our
previous arrangement. Also, in the C-7 for the first time we had a soluble milk
product for coffee and that had high acceptance.
The chocolate and the starch-jelly discs are liked. Complaints were made of
the starch-jelly discs being too hard to eat during the cold months. Also, the
men got a little tired of having the same thing repeatedly, and requested
additional types of confection.
Before I went to Korea, complaints had been reported that there were not
enough crackers. I could not substantiate this. Colonel Jackson, of the
Quartermaster Section, Japan Logistical Command, stated that some of the men
wanted more crackers with the hamburgers and sausage patties. I heard one
medical officer say he wanted more crackers, and he didn't like the candy. He
was the exception to the rule. I would say the quantity of crackers we have is
just about right.
I would ask a soldier, "Do you want more crackers?"
"What would you want us to take out of the B units so that we can
put in crackers?"
"Don't take out a thing. Leave it all in and don't increase the
The most acceptable item is fruit. In the C-4 and in the
C-6 we had two 6-ounce cans of fruit. In the C-7 we had one 8-ounce can of
fruit. The first reaction soldiers have to the C-7 is: "What? Only one can of
fruit?" Mess sergeants, platoon leaders, and everyone else complained. It was
too difficult to divide the ration. They tell of fights among the men over who
is going to get the fruit. So I would recommend that in the future we change
from the one 8-ounce can back to our two 6-ounce cans.
When I asked, "What do you think of the individual combat ration?" the first
thing said was, "Where is the spoon in the C-6?" And the next thing: "The C-7 is
a lot better ration; it has a spoon."
As I mentioned before, the men carry nothing. Mess kits are kept in kitchen
trucks. Soldiers are stripped down-no packs-just the clothes they wear. We also
used to think a man would never lose his eating utensils. That is not so. They
lose them, and unit commanders cannot have them resupplied as fast as they are
needed. In many cases knives, forks and spoons are kept in the kitchen. At first
the C ration came without spoons, and we got reports of men eating beans with
their fingers. One Marine colonel cut his finger in trying to make a spoon from
the top of a can. I would say-and I am stating the opinion of everyone I
interviewed-that plastic spoons are a must in the operational rations.
In the past we included a can opener in each accessory packet. Every soldier
I saw had a can opener in his pocket or on his dogtag chain. He was afraid he
would not have a can opener when he wanted to eat. If he had a can opener and
got hold of another, he saved it. My prize example is a colonel who had one can
opener on his dogtag chain and nine in his pack. So my recommendation is that
the can openers be reduced to either two or three per case and that they no
longer be packed in the accessory pack, but be placed on top.
The condiment issue in Korea has been very poor. The troops did not have
enough spices, and those they did have arrived spasmodically. Condiments reached
Pusan in bulk, but there wasn't time to break them down. In Japan a spice pack
was made up-three thousand rations to a pack. I feel there is a definite need
for a spice pack. If we ship loose condiments, they will get lost at a depot.
They will not be broken down and sent forward. Supply points have difficulty in
issuing them to small units.
The cooks were doing a great deal of extra baking, but they were not getting
condiments. I found, in some companies, that when a soldier
was going on rest and recreation in Japan, his company commander would have
him report to the mess sergeant to determine what was needed. The company
commander then gave him money from the company fund and the soldier bought
condiments in Japan so the company's kitchen would have nutmeg, cinnamon,
cloves, vanilla, maple, and the like. I think this shows a definite requirement
for a spice pack.
The fire units actually are holding up well, but spare parts are a problem.
For instance, the 3d Infantry Division followed the book and issued all the
spare parts. As a result, spare parts were all over the division but not in the
place where they were needed. In the 24th and 25th Infantry Divisions, the
food-service supervisors set up equipment repair shops. Faulty field ranges,
Coleman lanterns, and one-burner stoves were turned in to the regimental supply
officer, taken to the quartermaster when the regiments drew their rations, and
exchanged for serviceable units at once. It was surprising how few unserviceable
units were in these divisions. The repair men are better mechanics and better at
improvising than the average cook.
The cooks in the forward areas appreciate their position. Part of that might
be attributed to the policy in some divisions that each cook must go forward
once a week and spend twenty-four hours with the riflemen of his company.
I found that the cooks are really doing more than I thought they would. Our
cooks are doing a marvelous job. They know how to prepare dehydrated eggs and
milk, and have made granular potatoes more acceptable when mashed than fresh
potatoes. I recommend we reduce the quantities of fresh potatoes and limit the
use of fresh potatoes to French fries and an occasional boiled potato. Cooks are
baking pastry and rolls far more often than the menu calls for. The men like the
I hope I have not left the impression that our cooks are perfect. Not all our
replacement cooks are adequately trained. They can cook, but some do not know
how to clean a field range. Others do not know how to light one. On care and
maintenance of field equipment, not all have the knowledge and training. Some do
not know how to put up a tent, and it is quite difficult for a person who has
never erected one himself to direct a crew of Korean laborers who don't know
either. Field sanitation is sometimes poor. The plea of the people in the field
to the food-service school is, "Give more field training."
The farther forward you go in Korea, the better you eat. In Pusan menus are
planned for three areas: Pusan, Taegu, and north of Taegu. In other words, north
of Taegu is the fighting front; Taegu includes Eighth Army headquarters and its
supporting units; and Pusan is the dock area. When any item is in short supply,
it is distributed first north of Taegu, then to Taegu, and finally to Pusan. If
the quartermaster had limited supplies of frankfurters and frozen turkey, the
frozen turkey would go
north of Taegu, the frankfurters to Taegu, and corned-beef hash to Pusan.
I am sure you have been told before of the method of feeding forward elements
in Korea. The meals are cooked in the battalion areas, then carried forward in
jeeps as far as possible, and finally packed by the Korean bearers using carrier
straps or A-frames. Now, there are problems involved. Bearers cannot carry water
up to the top of the hill except for drinking, and they cannot carry a stove to
heat mess-kit water, so no one on the hill keeps his mess kit. The kits are all
kept back in the kitchen and are carried forward with the food. This is a
problem, since the meat cans do not nest very well. Fifty mess kits to take care
of an average platoon will fill a foot locker, so the mess kits are carried
forward in foot lockers, boxes, or duffel bags. They are washed first in the
kitchen, but they become dusty on the trip forward.
Everyone asked: "What are we doing with the mess kit? It is no good. Throw it
out. Give us a tray."
All except one cavalry colonel who asked: "What would the men do if they
found some eggs? How would they cook them?"
When I inquired where his unit carried their meat cans, his reply was that
they kept the mess kits in the kitchen. I asked how they would cook the eggs
then, and he answered that they might have the meat can with them.
The bakeries are operating in the vicinity of the supply points. The bread is
very good and the bakeries are doing a fine job. They are having terrific
maintenance difficulties, but I found an additional problem. When I visited the
1st Cavalry Division, it was 93 miles from its supply point. Its infantry
regiments were 40 miles from the rest of the division. That meant the bread was
hauled about 130 miles over the dustiest roads I have ever seen. All the bakery
had to pack the bread in was kraft paper bags sealed with gummed tape. Well,
I'll grant the bags could have been handled a little more delicately, but it was
amazing to see the number of bags that became torn between the bakery and the
units. Several times the surgeon came along and condemned some of the bread.
There were a few people in Eighth Army who felt that the bakeries were not
far enough forward. In one sense I agree with them. The main problem was that
the road nets are so terrible and the bakery had to supply so many units that it
could not get close to one division, because the other divisions would have too
far to go.
The average age of bread was five days when it was consumed by the men and,
in some cases, it was running to seven days. Still, they liked it. To give you
an example of how well it is liked, the French and Belgians, when they first
came in, would not accept our bread, but would take bread ingredients and do
their own baking. They are either getting accustomed to our bread or their cooks
are getting lazy, because gradually
they are reducing the quantity of bread ingredients they are drawing and
increasing the quantity of bread baked by us.
7. UN Approval of U.S. Products
Capt. Richard A. Johnson, Observer for
The Quartermaster General. (From an oral report, 22 August 1951.)
My primary mission was to determine the degree of acceptance of Quartermaster
Corps clothing, equipment, and subsistence items by United Nations troops in the
Far East Command other than those of the United States. I visited troops from
Turkey, the Philippines, Thailand, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand,
Canada, India, Norway, Sweden, Belgium, and some forces of the Republic of
There is an expression in Korea that if anything is "tops" -- if it is really
good-it is called "Number One." When talking to UN soldiers, I asked how they
felt about U.S. clothing, equipment, and subsistence. They answered, "It is
Number One." But we know there is still room for improvement on everything we
First, I will talk about subsistence. The remark was made to me several times
that no army has been as well fed as Eighth Army in Korea. I think the
Quartermaster Corps deserves a hand for the amount of food being supplied and
the way it is prepared.
In my opinion, the U.S. rations are suitable for all UN troops with minor
changes, except for Oriental troops. The Turks will not eat pork, and the Greeks
delete sweet potatoes, corn, peas, and other items. Most European soldiers draw
additional bread, and those from Mediterranean areas draw vegetable oils and
olives. Some of the extra issues are made from U.S. stocks, and others are
shipped to them from their own countries. The Greek Government, for instance,
ships olive oil to Pusan. It is then forwarded with the regular rations to the
division supplying the Greeks. These supplementary foods are not a problem that
need worry us in the United States unless we feed a much larger number of UN
Our rations are not suitable for Oriental troops because their basic food is
rice. If they get rice they are happy. Anything else they draw merely
supplements the rice portion of the meal. If you give them a fine steak, they
cut it up and boil it with rice, so I don't see the necessity of issuing them
steak when they are going to cook it in that way. I feel some work should be
done to develop a menu for Oriental troops if we are to continue to supply them.
Start from scratch, find out what they like, and issue that instead of the U.S.
menu plus rice. In our present system a lot of items are wasted.
A special operational ration has been developed for the South Koreans called
the 12-in-1, or J. ration. It is made in Japan. The Korean soldiers like it;
however, like all combat rations; it becomes tiresome when eaten over long
No particular difficulty is found with the package marking. At first, when a
Turkish soldier got a can of U.S. food, he wouldn't know what was in it.
However, after using a particular item for a month or so he learned to associate
the writing on the can with its contents. So, if the troops are going to use an
item over an extended period, there will not be any particular difficulty with
Next, I will discuss clothing and equipment. I am not blowing the
Quartermaster Corps horn by saying everything the U.S. has is the best in the
world. But the U.S. items are generally of better design and of better quality
than those manufactured in other UN countries represented in Korea. For that
reason, the UN troops prefer the American items. The Turks, in speaking of many
items will say, "We like the U.S. item because it is more convenient to use." In
other words, our design is better.
The main difficulty with U.S. clothing for UN troops is sizing. The Turks and
Greeks are about the same size as American soldiers except that their feet are
quite a bit wider. Oriental troops are smaller than the average American soldier
and their feet are small but wide.
So far as equipment is concerned, many of the UN troops are not mechanically
inclined or have not worked with mechanical equipment. For example, Thai
officers say that many of their soldiers come from farms and have never used
anything mechanical. They probably have been following a plow all their
lives-and a wooden plow at that. So you will find they have difficulty with what
we consider simple mechanical items such as the immersion heater, the Coleman
lantern, and the fire unit. Rather than go through the ordeal of setting up the
immersion heater, they go down to the nearest stream and wash their mess gear.
Many UN troops do not understand the layer principle as we apply it to our
winter clothing or, if they do understand it, they don't agree with us. They
told me they like American equipment because of its lighness, but they felt that
for warmth they should have much heavier clothing-something that will keep out
the cold. They don't believe that two layers of light clothing keeps out the
cold much better than one heavy layer.
As much as the UN soldiers like to wear the U.S. uniform, when they go on
leave to Japan they want to be known as Turks, or Greeks, and not as U.S.
soldiers. They are, however, very proud of their association with a U.S.
division, and will wear the shoulder insignia of their own country on one
shoulder, and that of the U.S. division on the other.
I want to mention that I think the United States Army has forgotten that the
American soldier is also proud of the fact that he is an
American soldier. Many American soldiers in Korea remarked, "Why doesn't the
United States Army have a uniform of its own -- a uniform that every Tom, Dick and
Harry in the world isn't wearing?" So I believe some thought should be given to
esprit de corps in the U.S. Army, to give the American soldier a uniform he can
be proud of-and that only he will be wearing.
8. Wet-Cold Clothing Indoctrination
William F. Pounder, Civilian
Observer for The Quartermaster General. (From an oral report, 19 January 1951.)
The primary reason for my trip to the Far East was to establish and execute a
broad training program for all troops in Korea in the proper issuing, fitting,
use, and maintenance of the wet-cold and dry-cold climate clothing. I left the
United States for this mission on 22 September 1950, with 6 officers and 3
After arriving in Japan our party set about establishing a wet-cold training
program. Since we sent troops to Korea through the replacement training center
in Japan, we first had to set up a training program in Japan itself. At Camp
Drake we had our most experienced officer (Capt. James D. Norman) establish a
wet-cold training program. We worked in spurts-sometimes from 0600 until 2100 or
2200-then waited until new troops arrived. Sometimes we taught as many as three
thousand during two-day periods.
During the slack periods we trained new instructors, for we realized that six
teams would not be adequate in Korea. After the training team had its program
well under way in Japan, the remaining teams left for Korea.
There we established a training program within Eighth Army, and within every
corps, division and separate unit. We had training teams in the 1st Cavalry
Division, in the 2d, 3d, 7th, 24th, and 25th Infantry Divisions, and in the 1st
Marine Division. As we moved from division to division, the unit "next door"
would hear that we had trained instructors, and would immediately request a
team. We kept calling on the replacement training center for additional
instructors and assigned them permanently to divisions.
We also worked with the logistical commands because personnel were being
taken from rear-area units and sent into the combat zone. We didn't have enough
instructors for every unit, so we used "indirect training." We did this in a
large church in Pusan, where we spread the gospel
of wet-cold and dry-cold training to the 2d Logistical Command. At least two
persons came from each separate unit, and we trained 86 instructors. To help
them conduct training in their own units, we equipped each with complete issues
of clothing, an outline of his talk, and all his training aids.
As the training progressed we realized there would also be the problem of
instructing the other United Nations troops, so we began to expand even further.
The first UN troops we came in contact with were the South Koreans. To augment
U.S. units, there were as many as eight thousand ROKs interspersed in each of
our divisions. Only a few of these could speak English. We had to translate our
talks and our outlines into the Korean language and have them published. We also
had the talks distributed to the ROK divisions.
Later we got in touch with the British brigade, the Turkish brigade, the Thai
regiment, the Filipino battalion, and the French battalion. I have just received
a letter saying they are now working with the Canadians and New Zealanders. In
all, the wet-cold and dry-cold gospel has been translated into Korean, Turkish,
Spanish, and French.
I said that we had six teams. When I left Korea there were seventeen teams in
operation. We are proud that when the Chinese Communists attacked, we had teams
with the 7th Division at the Yalu River, with the 1st Marine Division in the
Changjin Reservoir area, with the 1st Cavalry Division in the northwest, and at
the front line with every one of our divisions.
It was difficult to operate a wet-cold indoctrination program in the field,
especially near the front lines, where we had to instruct units as they came
into reserve for an overnight rest. In Japan, where we could seat 700 or 800 men
in a theater and show our movie, it was far more satisfactory.
Our teams did more than just instruct the troops. Sometimes they helped the
quartermasters prepare requisitions. At other times they aided in locating and
expediting shipments of winter clothing. It was a terrific problem to haul all
this clothing long distances, over a disrupted transportation system, and a few
shipments did get lost. Sometimes a unit had the clothing but could not move it
forward because of the presence of guerrillas. Since the division quartermasters
were short of personnel, they gave our teams transportation and sent them
hundreds of miles to locate the shipments and bring the clothing forward.
We made physical inspections of clothing and equipment to separate superior
items from old or inferior ones. This was extremely important, because we had
several types of footwear and clothing. The old shoepac is not as good as the
new type, and our men made sure the best were issued to combat troops.
The teams made certain that circulars about the prevention of cold
injuries reached the company level. Then we made spot inspections, beginning
with the front-line private, to check on understanding and compliance with the
circular. When our teams found noncompliance, they reported it to Eighth Army.
We also checked to see that each company had a cold-injury prevention team of
Our teams checked the progress and adequacy of the sock-exchange system
within the combat elements. Clean, dry socks are important in preventing
cold-weather injury. It is not enough to put this in a circular. You must go
forward and actually see that the units have set up a sock exchange program. Our
teams assumed almost complete responsibility for getting changes of dry socks up
with the rations.
We worked hard to insure adequate numbers of warm-up and drying out tents and
rooms. Again, you must go up there and be sure there are tents or rooms, and
that there are stoves. When a soldier feels or sees that he is getting a
cold-weather injury, he needs a place to go where he can warm up and get a
change of socks.
The last function of our team was to report the cold-weather injuries that
occurred. The 24th Infantry (25th Infantry Division) in a two-week period had
169 cases of trench foot and frostbite, while a unit operating right next to it
had only 20! These units were in reserve. When this report arrived, it was
relayed to the surgeon of Eighth Army. A member of his office and one from the
quartermaster's office visited the regimental commander.
Now let's look at the results of the cold-weather indoctrination. We have
long been trying to get complete casualty reports from Korea, but it is
difficult and we are getting them only periodically. While I was there I made a
check into weather casualties and I found that from 28 November to 7 December
1950 -- the period of the Chinese Communist breakthrough -- there were 1,500 such
casualties. Of these casualties, 1,100 had to be evacuated to Osaka General
Hospital in Japan. We have another report on weather casualties after things
quieted down. For the week 22-29 December, we had 223 casualties, 184 of which
were frostbite cases.
At the time I left Japan, we estimated that weather casualties during the
worst of the fighting in Korea totaled about 4 per cent. In winter campaigns in
Europe and Italy during World War II, under conditions not so severe, we found
there had been an average of 8 per cent of such casualties. We like to think
that part of this reduction was due to our wet-cold indoctrination; not only by
team instruction, but by making sure that the sock-exchange system, the dry-out
tent, and proper care were forced on the individual soldier.
Now let's look at some causes of cold-weather injuries in Korea. First, I
feel that many staff officers are ignorant of proper clothing needs for
cold-weather warfare. In October 1950, at the time of our northern
push, the troops left Seoul, Taegu, and Pusan -- areas where the weather is
comparable to that of Washington or Baltimore -- and moved 150 or 200 miles north
into areas with the climate of Maine -- with only one layer of wool clothing. We
discussed this with the staff while I was there, and told them that cold weather
was coming soon. We explained that the supply of cold-weather clothing was a
complex affair. I was told that, at this time, ammunition, POL, and rations had
No. 1 priority, and that when the cold weather came the supply of overcoats
would be taken care of in due course. "The supply of overcoats"! The supply of
overcoats is not all that is concerned in cold-weather clothing.
The second cause of cold-weather injuries was ignorance and lack of
supervision by troop officers in the wearing of winter clothing. In some areas,
where the temperature was zero, the officers told the troops to wear the combat
boot in snow rather than the shoepac because it was lighter and would be better
for marching. They did not know that a leather boot will get wet and soon
freeze. No matter how many times you change your socks, you do not get a dry
change of footgear.
The third reason for injuries was that the temperature was extremely low at a
time when enemy pressure made it almost impossible for some men to take proper
care. We made a survey at Osaka General Hospital to find out how the patients
became casualties. We found three hundred of the weather casualties were men who
had been wounded and, in some cases, had been lying on the snow, ice, and frozen
ground for as long as two or three days. These men were in very serious
condition and some needed amputations.
We talked to others who had been wounded, and asked if they had had the
two-hour training. We found no one who had not been indoctrinated in proper
clothing. We asked why they didn't carry out their training and they gave
several reasons. First of all, they didn't know how close the enemy was to them
and they didn't dare take off their shoepacs for fear they might get caught in
their stocking feet and have to continue without footgear.
Others, in the Marine division, had to go through a river about sixty yards
wide and partially frozen over. One ten-yard section forced men to wade through
water almost up to their knees. Some of the men were fortunate enough to get on
vehicles and get through. Those who were well trained knew enough to take off
their footwear and walk barefoot through that water, dry their feet, and put on
their footwear at the far side. Others, who were not so well trained, walked
through the water with their footwear on. They might just as well have been hit
by machine-gun fire. To make it worse, some of those who walked through the
water got on vehicles and rode for several hours without giving their feet any
These were the main causes for the cold injuries, and it showed that
we needed training. Before Korea, our troops did not receive wet-cold
Most of the troops we are sending into arctic and wet-cold areas have been
trained in the South.
We visited the units that had trained in cold-climate areas. In the Marine
units that had trained in Greenland, the Id Infantry Division units that had
trained in the mountains of northwestern United States, and the 7th Infantry
Division units that had trained in northern Japan, not one man became a
cold-weather casualty! Think that over.
You cannot make clothing and equipment foolproof under all conditions, so we
must train our troops. That does not mean a two-hour instruction period. It
means living under actual wet-cold conditions. And living under those conditions
is an acquired skill you can get only through training.
9. Command Action in Korea
Prepared for the Army Field Forces Commanders
Preventive Maintenance Course, Aberdeen Proving Ground, 1952
Soldiers of the United States Army are issued large quantities of clothing
and equipment in accordance with existing tables of allowances. The soldier
stores some of them in his duffel bag, some in his cargo pack, and some in his
combat pack. When the time comes to shake down to minimum essential equipment
for his first combat, the average soldier is reluctant to part with many of the
articles he has been issued. As a result, he attempts to carry on his back
everything which will contribute to his comfort in the field.
The soldiers of the 7th Infantry Division were no exception, and they were
overburdened when they landed at Inchon in September 1950. The inevitable soon
happened: equipment was abandoned. The commanding officer of the 32d Infantry
(Col. Charles E. Beauchamp) determined to do something about it. During the
planning phase of a later amphibious operation in which his unit was to land at
Iwon, Colonel Beauchamp limited the items his men could wear and carry to:
helmet, complete with liner; cotton field cap, with visor; wool muffler; two
sets of winter underwear; high-neck sweater; pile field jacket; M43 field
jacket, with hood; a pair of wool field trousers; a pair of cotton field
trousers; four pairs of ski socks; a pair of combat boots, fitted over ski
socks; a pair of shoepacs, with two pairs of flat insoles; poncho; mountain
sleeping bag, with case; cargo and combat field pack; cartridge or pistol belt;
canteen, with cup and cover; first-aid packet, with pouch; toilet articles
and insecticides; individual arms and ammunition; C ration (three meals
Colonel Beauchamp compiled his list after a consideration of what a soldier
could carry and what was absolutely essential. Shelter halves, pins and poles,
and intrenching tools were eliminated because the frozen ground would make them
useless. Flannel shirts were omitted because of their binding qualities.
In a showdown inspection, Colonel Beauchamp collected all items in excess of
his list and turned them over to his S4. With the concurrence of the division
quartermaster, quantities of some items were retained. Among these were 2,000
suits of woolen underwear, 4,000 pairs of ski socks, and 2,000 pairs of woolen
A standing operating procedure was developed that established the various
articles and combinations of articles to be worn. Experience had demonstrated
that the combat boot was better than the shoepac for marching and climbing the
rugged terrain; therefore, Colonel Beauchamp directed that combat boots be worn
under these conditions. When the march ended, or a static situation developed,
the shoepacs, with two pairs of ski socks and a pair of felt insoles, were
substituted for combat boots.
The regiment initiated a training program to insure that all troops
understood the layer principle of insulation. This was conducted by a wet-cold
climate instruction team assigned to the 7th Infantry Division.
Finally, Colonel Beauchamp directed that officers and NCOs make frequent
inspections of their men to make certain his instructions were strictly obeyed.
He placed particular emphasis upon the importance of foot care, including
changing of socks at the conclusion of each march, and massaging the feet to
restore circulation. Troops were also required to change underwear after each
period of exertion, when the situation permitted.
The results obtained in the 32d Infantry were noteworthy. Wanton abandonment
of equipment was practically eliminated; care and maintenance of clothing and
individual equipment improved. The incidence of frostbite, frozen feet, trench
foot, and other cold injuries was extremely light. Through experience, the
regimental S4 further reduced his clothing stocks. In time, other commanders in
the division adopted Colonel Beauchamp's methods.
10. Clothing Exchange
Lt.Col. Kenneth O. Schellberg, Quartermaster, 7th
We learned that the quartermaster's shower and clothing exchange was a great
economy in spite of the additional equipment necessary to allow the men to bathe
and to launder their clothing.
The 7th Infantry Division began its clothing exchange in February 1951.
Before that each man wore and carried two sets of clothing, and reserve supplies
in the division held at least one other complete uniform per man. When the
clothing exchange began, we collected all the duffel bags and limited each
soldier to the clothing on his back plus a change of underclothing and socks.
Clothing at the shower points and laundry equaled one half uniform per soldier.
Thus the total number of uniforms per man dropped from three sets to one and a
Our quartermaster company drew its four shower units in Japan just before
embarking for Korea, but we didn't establish a clothing exchange for six months.
This delay was caused partly by inadequate laundry facilities. It was also a
matter of selling the idea to regimental commanders.
There were many advantages to the clothing exchange system. It cut down the
weight the soldier had to carry; it also eliminated duffel bags and the
thirty-man detail in each regiment to guard and handle them. This increased our
mobility. The cleaner clothing improved the hygiene of the troops, and the
automatic exchange of clothing eliminated all requisitions below division.
Exchange made possible early repair before shirts and trousers became
unsalvageable, and it eliminated the old practice of mutilating Government
property in order to get the supply sergeant to issue a new item. Reduced stocks
also lessened the possibility of the enemy's capturing valuable supplies.
We learned that in combat there is no need to publish a shower schedule
because company commanders preferred to send men to get showers whenever the
tactical situation permitted. From experience we learned that the shower units
should not be moved farther forward than regiment. Some regimental commanders
tried parceling out the showers for several days at a time to each battalion.
This made for time lost in moving, wear on equipment, and irregular treatment of
the operators. Moving the shower into a battalion zone made it unavailable to
most of the regiment; yet it was not always busy at battalion. It was easier to
transport the men than to move the equipment.
The shower and clothing exchange was a great morale builder for the men.
After an attack in which a regiment was unable to release men to get showers, we
would augment its bathing facilities and see that every
man could bathe and change within four days. Normally, however, the men had a
shower once a week.
Company commanders watched their men for signs of excessive fatigue and sent
them to the showers when a relief seemed necessary. Often a shower and a hot
meal at regiment were enough to restore a soldier's efficiency. If the fatigue
were dangerous, the soldier could be sent to the regimental rest camp for a day
or two of sleep, hot meals, and regular baths. This was an excellent way to
prevent combat fatigue.
11. QM Service Center No. 3
Lt. Bevan R. Alexander, 5th Historical
Detachment. (Narrative based on interviews of the following personnel of Service
Center No. 3: Capt. Alfred G. Rollins, Capt. Henry L. Cody, Lt. Dewey
Washington, Jr., and Sgt. Carrol L. Veach.)
During World War II, U.S. Fifth Army in Italy developed what became known as
the quartermaster service center. The service center is a grouping, in one area,
of separate quartermaster units that provide related services. After World War
II, no service center was established until the spring of 1951, when Eighth Army
activated one for each of its corps.
The first to begin operations was Quartermaster Service Center No. 3, serving
X Corps. From Eighth Army were assembled two and one half platoons of the 549th
Quartermaster Laundry Company; one platoon of the 505th Quartermaster
Reclamation and Maintenance Company; one section of the 821st Quartermaster Bath
Company; and the 580th Quartermaster Office Machine Repair Detachment. Officers
of the several units took over duties in the service center, with the commander
of the laundry company (Capt. Alfred G. Rollins) as officer in charge. The
officers and men of each unit cooperated so successfully that, to all intents
and purposes, the service center became a regularly constituted unit.
The service center was laid out in a compact area near a stream. The laundry
was close to the repair and maintenance platoon. The clothing exchange of the
bath company was near the laundry. Mess facilities were centralized but apart
from the operations area.
The most important service of a center is laundering. During the first
nineteen weeks of our operations (1 May to 8 September 1951), the laundry
averaged 13,617 pounds of wash daily, for a total of 1,968,730 pounds. Thus,
1,462,890 individual items were cleaned.
The wash is normally received in bulk, laundered, put in stock, and reissued.
When a unit or individual brings dirty clothing to the laundry, an exchange is
made from the company's stocks.
Trucks bringing soiled clothing arrive at the laundry's check point. Here a
checker counts the individual pieces. The agent receives a turn-in slip which he
takes to the nearby stock tent and exchanges for an equal number of items of
The clothing is exchanged rather than returned because of the time lag and
accounting. Since all clothing is of the same design and material, sizing is the
only problem. In addition to the bulk laundry, a small amount of bundle work is
provided for units or individuals near the service center.
At the laundry there are five separate washing machines. Each section
contains a washing machine and a dryer, which are individually mounted on
trailers. Dirty clothing is sorted and placed in front of each of the washers.
After loading, it goes through a nineteen-minute cycle, during which it is
completely washed and 75 per cent dried. Then the clothing is placed in a tumble
dryer for eight to ten minutes. The entire laundering process lasts less than a
The dry clothing is next taken to a nearby inspection tent. Here each item is
checked to determine whether it should be placed in stock, repaired, or
discarded. If a piece of clothing needs repair, it is sent to the reclamation
and maintenance platoon.
The reclamation and maintenance platoon repairs clothing, canvas and heavy
textiles, and shoes. A secondary function of office-machine repair is handled in
conjunction with the center's office-machine repair detachment.
The clothing section is equipped with fourteen standard textile sewing
machines for use in repairing uniforms. All clothing received is inspected to
determine if it can be repaired. Most of the clothing received comes from the
laundry, but some repair work is submitted directly by units.
The textile section is equipped to repair tentage and other heavy textiles.
The section uses two heavy-duty textile-sewing machines and tent-repair kits,
which contain rubber cement, glue, and patches. .
The shoe-repair section is equipped to repair all types of service footwear.
This section repaired 9,926 pairs of shoes and boots in nineteen weeks. Footwear
is delivered to the section by the agents who bring laundry to the center. If
the boots and shoes can be repaired, they are processed and returned. If they
cannot be repaired, they are returned to the sender for salvage through the
regular supply channels.
The office-machine repair detachment repairs all types of office machinery.
The typewriter is the machine most frequently repaired because it is the most
widely used. However, almost anything may come in for repair -- adding machines,
calculators, mimeograph machines -- and the detachment has even repaired a time
The greatest problem has been replacement of parts. Until the fall
of 1951 the typewriter-repair kits received from the Zone of the Interior
were not much use. Often only two or three parts of any of the kits were needed.
For example, in one manufacturer's kit only the variable linespace clutch and
the line-space-wheel assembly could be used, although the kit contained a
hundred separate typewriter parts. This was more or less true of other kits. A
change in the method of procuring replacement parts has been instituted, and all
replacement parts are now requisitioned individually. Typewriter platens have
never been available in Korea, however.
Expediency has proved the best way to obtain parts for office machines.
Damaged machines have been cannibalized, and the machine shop of the reclamation
and maintenance platoon has manufactured some unobtainable parts.
The heavy dust, the high humidity, and the extremes of temperature have
reduced the effective operation of office machines, but the greatest unkeep
problem has been neglect.
"People just don't take care of their machines," said Sgt. Carrol L. Veach.
"Sometimes I'll clean up a machine and tell the person who comes for it to keep
it covered. They often reply, 'Why should I worry about it? It's not mine."'
Another problem for the repairmen has been the misguided effort of the novice
repair mechanic. This character, when his machine begins to work improperly,
takes it apart. He usually has it entirely disassembled before it dawns on him
that he cannot fix it. Then, in its still disassembled condition, he brings it
to the detachment, losing about half the parts along the way. Sometimes such a
machine can be repaired, but often it can only be used as a source of parts.
Showers and clothing exchange are provided for troops near the service
center. The single shower unit is capable of serving 4,400 men in a tenhour day.
A man who wants a bath need bring only himself. The exchange provides clean
clothing, hot water, free towels, soap, and even shaving cream and razor blades.
12. Pukehon Cemetery
Major Jacob W. Kurtz, Graves Registration Officer,
7th Infantry Division
The 7th Infantry Division did not have a graves registration section in
Japan, and one had to be created before we made our assault landing at Inchon. I
received ten men from various sections of the quartermaster
company -- none of whom had had any burial experience. I organized the
section with a section chief, two clerks, four body processors, two supervisors
of Korean labor, and a driver. Although these men developed competence in their
work, one sergeant was disinterested and one other soldier was an Army misfit.
Before leaving Japan I assumed that casualties might be high and that burial
items might not be supplied for several months. I requisitioned five thousand
mattress covers and large quantities of identification tags, burial forms,
temporary grave markers, personal-effects bags, burial bottles, a fingerprint
kit, and an addressing machine. The supplies were carried jointly by the
infantry regiments (as evacuators of bodies) and the quartermaster company.
At Inchon the graves registration section learned how to receive and process
bodies. No channel existed for evacuating bodies beyond division, so we shared a
cemetery opened by the Marine Corps. Our large stock of burial items came in
handy here, for the marines exhausted their supply and called on us for more.
At Inchon we learned not only from our own mistakes, but also from those of
the marines. The cemetery was located only 250 yards off the main supply road
and in view of all who passed. In the first days it was not possible even to
screen off the bodies awaiting burial. I believe this affected many who passed.
In October 1950 the 7th Division made its landing at Iwon. Here the
division's casualties were evacuated directly to Navy craft and the graves
registration section did not operate until the division headquarters was
established at Pukchon. Our section contained seven of the ten men who had been
at Inchon, and we were familiar with our duties. We remained at Pukchon, even
though division headquarters moved to Pungsan, and the infantry regiments were
scattered from the Yalu River to Chosin Reservoir.
Whenever possible, a division evacuates its dead to an army graves
registration detachment. At Pukchon we did not have this army support. On
approval of the division quartermaster (Lt.Col. Kenneth O. Schellberg) we
established a division cemetery. I reconnoitered the Pukchon area and quickly
found an adequate site, a half mile south of town and a half mile from the MSR.
The dry, rocky soil had good drainage, and the area was not under cultivation.
In Pukchon my section was quartered with the other quartermaster troops. We
had a clerical office with the quartermaster company and an obscure building
nearby for processing the bodies. Our operation was so quiet that few people
When a body arrived we encased it in a mattress cover, if this had not
already been done. We checked to see that each body had an emergency medical
tag, and, if it did not, that the unit of the deceased supplied one.
Fortunately, every American body received at Pukchon was
identified. We then checked the personal-effects inventory to see that
everything listed was present, and made an additional search to be sure no
effects had been overlooked.
We hired a dozen laborers to dig graves. While a ten-man section is adequate
for operating a division graves registration point, it is inadequate for
operating a cemetery. The Koreans were employed voluntarily and worked
faithfully at a wage of two canteen cups of polished rice daily.
We opened our cemetery on 4 November 1950. Four or five open graves were
maintained at all times, and no body was taken from the processing building to
the cemetery until all preparations were complete. At the cemetery we maintained
a pyramidal tent to protect the crews against the weather, and to screen the
bodies during the brief period between their arrival and burial. No equipment
was ever left in the tent and no guard was left in the area at night.
When a body arrived it was lowered into the open grave, face up. Then one of
my men would reach into the mattress cover and place the burial bottle,
containing a report of interment, under the left arm. The grave was closed and a
temporary marker placed.
Unless a chaplain happened to be present when the body was interred, there
was no ceremony at that time. Sometime during the day of interment, however, a
chaplain of the soldier's faith came to the grave for a short service. If the
soldier's faith was unknown, chaplains of all faiths visited the site. Several
times we had a ceremony in honor of an individual, but in each case it was after
the grave was closed. A memorial ceremony was held each Sunday.
As division cemeteries are temporary, regulations do not provide for any
beautification. In digging graves our laborers turned up many stones. With these
we built a cemetery wall. Three flags flew over the cemetery: the United Nations
color at the front entrance, the United States color in the center of the
cemetery, and the Republic of Korea color toward the rear.
We closed our cemetery about 1 December 1950, as the division began its march
toward Hungnam. During November we had buried 50 Americans and 24 ROKs. Sketches
of the location of the cemetery and a register of those interred were forwarded
to the Eighth Army's graves registration section.
13. Repatriation of American Dead
Lt. Bevan R. Alexander,
5th Historical Detachment. (Condensed from an article based on information
supplied by Lt. William F. Wurz, Sgt. James H. Deisenroth, and Cpl. Paul R.
Imwalle, Id Quartermaster Company.)
[For more complete information, see the
actual manuscript prepared by 1Lt Bevan Alexander, "Quartermaster
Field Service Platoon in Action"]
The evacuation of the dead resembles other quartermaster operations -- in
reverse. Bodies of the dead are brought from their units to a division graves
registration point, then evacuated through corps, army, and theater
installations to the United States.
The remains are processed at a division collecting point and forwarded within
twenty-four hours to a corps collecting point. Accompanying each body is an
emergency medical tag, and with each shipment is an evacuation list. The list
serves as a letter of transmittal.
At corps the remains are forwarded to the army's collecting point. Here the
fingertips of the dead are embalmed and fingerprints are taken. The bodies are
then packed in ice and shipped to Pusan, then to Japan.
In Japan, unidentified bodies are examined by experts in anthropology,
chemistry, and dentistry. Careful records are kept in hope that identification
can be made. The bodies are totally embalmed, placed in military caskets, and
shipped to the United States for burial either in a U.S. military cemetery or
near the soldier's home. Under present policy, no bodies are being permanently
interred either in Korea or in Japan.
Personal effects follow a similar path. The property of persons killed,
wounded, or missing in action, those who die of natural causes, and those who
are evacuated through medical channels, is divided into two classes. Class I
includes trophies, keepsakes, and items of sentimental value. Class II items are
those of specific value.
An inventory of the property of each casualty is made by his commanding
officer or some other officer. Every item is listed -- even if it consists of only
two pennies or fifteen pictures. If the money belonging to the individual is
worth $4.99 or less, it is sent with his effects, regardless of whether it is in
dollars, scrip, Avon, or yen. If the money is worth $5.00 or more, it is
converted into a U.S. Government check.
The effects of a person killed in action must be forwarded to his division's
personal effects section, usually within eight days. For a person missing in
action, the time is twenty to thirty days. From the division's personal effects
section the articles follow channels to the rear until they reach the Effects
Center at Kansas City, Missouri. Here they are checked again and arrangements
are made for transmission to the next of kin.
14. Supply Lessons
Lt.Col. Charles R. Scherer, Assistant G4, 7th
Korea made several things very obvious. We had forgotten many of the lessons
of mobility and small detachment operations learned in World War II, and we had
to relearn them. We found that units must expect to serve more troops and work
with less corps and army support than Quartermaster Corps doctrine prescribes.
Above all, we learned about distance.
The occupation of Japan prevented normal training. Understrength battalions
and regiments were scattered in small garrisons around the islands. Regiments
maintained separate posts and S4s operated the combined technical services.
Commanders forgot that division would normally provide most of their supplies
and services. Once the dependence on S4s was formed, it was hard to break.
In Japan some of our technical services were performed by Japanese civilians.
This was necessary because of troop shortages and the lack of qualified Army
technicians. Our own men were thus prevented from getting the necessary training
and experience. This, coupled with inadequate SOPs and field training, prevented
the technical service troops on occupation duty from being ready for combat.
The 7th Infantry Division was the last of the occupation divisions to leave
for Korea. As the other divisions left, we were levied for personnel and lost
many of our key officers and NCOs. This didn't hurt the service troops as much
as it hurt the infantry and artillery, but it did lower the efficiency of our
division. We were preparing to go to Korea with a strength of about 9,000 when,
about three weeks before our departure, we received 10,000 American and 8,000
Korean replacements to integrate into our division.
The Koreans we received looked as though they had been herded together to get
them off the streets of Pusan. They spent their first week in Japan in
quarantine, since they had to be deloused and cleaned. Then we had to equip them
completely. Japan Logistical Command did a wonderful job of getting the articles
of clothing and equipment to us, but it was a real problem to teach the Koreans
how to live in a camp.
They could not speak English and we had few interpreters. Our instruction was
given primarily by sign language and making simple motions for them to watch and
imitate. We had a long way to go in two weeks. These men had no idea of
sanitation, let alone the more complicated activities of military life. Yet
high-level policy dictated that we treat them as our equals in every respect.
They were to receive the same
clothing and equipment, the same treatment, the same rations. Later, they
even had to have chocolate bars and "comic" books!
We Americans have much to learn about handling troops of the so-called
backward nations who may come under our control. They do not understand
democracy, our ideals, our methods of discipline, and the forces that motivate
our actions. The Koreans have not lived as we have, and our easy-going
discipline did not work with them. In their own army discipline was strict,
arbitrary, and often brutal. They had been reared under such discipline and
seemed to understand no other kind.
The integration of Koreans was unsatisfactory. They ate our rations, rode our
trucks, used our supplies. But except for menial tasks, they were a performance
We lost a great deal of mobility because of our overload of supplies. Our men
had too much equipment in Japan and they did not strip down to prepare for
combat. Regiments committed the same error. Used to depending on their own S4
sections for garrison supplies, they continued to carry large stocks of clothing
and equipment in their own trains. S4s made "deals" in Pusan and carried their
acquisitions around in their trucks. At Pukchon we found one regiment hiding
three hundred cases of C rations among the men's duffel bags, while the division
quartermaster was trying unsuccessfully to obtain operational rations! When the
31st Infantry was overrun near Chosin Reservoir, it lost ten to twenty
truckloads of clothing. Critical types of ammunition would be concealed by one
unit while greatly needed by another.
During our first six months in Korea, the infantry regiments did not trust
the ability of their divisional service units to keep them adequately supplied.
Occasionally a regimental commander would test our ability to produce. One
regimental commander, while advancing to the Yalu River against moderate
resistance, insisted on 50 tons of 4.2-inch mortar ammunition. We figured he
didn't need that much, but we piled it right in his front yard so he could see
we could deliver it. Unfortunately, we could not evacuate it when we withdrew,
and it had to be destroyed. The artillery battalions near the Yalu River
requested two extra basic loads of fire to be stored in a division ammunition
supply point, and they gave strong arguments for it. I had mental reservations
about getting so much heavy ammunition so far forward when resistance was light.
When the fighting around Chosin Reservoir forced us to leave our exposed
position on the Yalu River, this ammunition too had to be destroyed.
All the hoarding and all the demands for extra supplies took extra
transportation at the very time such great operating distances put vehicles in
shorter supply. When we first came to Korea, division headquarters could move in
25 trucks, but soon it took 50. Everyone had acquired a
Korean desk and chair. Regiments called for 200 additional trucks when they
made a move, although movement tables show they should have been able to
motorize themselves with a 90-truck augmentation.
Lest it seem our regiments alone were guilty of poor supply discipline, I
will point out that some of the patterns of waste were established at the top.
Higher headquarters sometimes caused us to overload our units. Once, while
inspecting a unit, a general officer found a man who had only two pairs of
socks. He ordered that every man in the division carry six pairs! We had to
issue these over the protest of commanders who knew that their men would soon
throw away the extra pairs. Colonel S. L. A. Marshall (in The Soldier's Load and
the Mobility of a Nation) is right in his statement that when you overload a
soldier you decrease his efficiency. Yet we had pressure in 1950 to draw every
piece of impedimenta that the Army designed.
In Korea there were some increases in our loads that were very necessary and
justifiable, such as tents and stoves. The extreme cold of northern Korea made
it absolutely essential to have shelter throughout the division. It was
necessary that each infantry platoon have a squad tent and stove so it could
rotate its men and allow them to get warm. But enough tents for a division
certainly complicated our transportation situation.
The distance from army supply dumps to us made it necessary for
quartermasters to carry more clothing, shoes, mess gear, stove parts, and other
supplies than normal. We tried to get permission to store these stocks in
boxcars on sidings, but this was refused.
We usually think of the company or platoon as being the smallest work unit
among service troops. In Korea we learned the need to operate in smaller
detachments. The quartermasters often had to maintain four or five class I and
class III supply points, and maybe two II and IV points. It took a lot of
detachments to accomplish this. Typically, one officer and a composite squad
would run a small distributing point. The ordnance company sent semipermanent
detachments to the regiments because of the distances separating them. Here was
a place where leadership was necessary on the part of junior officers and NCOs.
We often hear of the need for leadership among combat troops. It is no less
necessary among service troops.
The rations in Korea were out of this world. I had more fresh meat in Korea
in a month's time than I received in three and a half years of Pacific service
in World War II. We also had fresh vegetables in limited quantities. The food
was so good that we got few complaints from commanders except about an
occasional shortage in Worcestershire sauce, catsup, or black pepper! I doubt if
we could have maintained this quality of food were we operating on the scale of
World War II.
15. The Failure of Support
Major James W. Spellman, Executive Officer to
the Quartermaster, 24th Infantry Division. (Condensed from a statement written
on 15 November 1950.)
From the first day they spent in Korea, members of the 24th Division's
quartermaster section have had mixed feelings about quartermaster support. We
remember with pride the difficult being done immediately, and the impossible
taking a little longer. Then we shudder as we recall how often we failed in
those hectic days of defeat, victory, and stalemate. We don't like to remember
how many times we have had to turn down requests. "How about the mantle for my
Coleman lantern?" "How about a generator for my field range?" "How about . . ."
stencil paper, GI soap, trousers, tent poles, paper clips, underwear,
We seldom had to make excuses for lack of rations or gasoline. But yeast,
baking powder, shoestrings, toilet paper, and forks were not available. It has
been weeks since many of the small but very important items have been received.
Shoes are tied with scraps of cord and kitchens are using toilet soap received
from home by mail. I do not doubt that hundreds of soldiers are writing home for
items of quartermaster issue because they are not available, or because they
come more quickly by mail. After all, our requisitions are often still unfilled
after a month of waiting.
From the tragic days in Tacjon we have sensed a passive indifference to our
requirements for individual and unit equipment. In the heat of summer we begged
for even salvaged fatigue jackets and trousers to be shipped from Japan to cover
our semi-naked soldiers, for salt tablets, and for mess kits to replace those
lost by our troops as they withdrew over the mountains, carrying only their
It was understandable that supply confusion should exist at first. But I do
not understand why the supply authorities should resist our legitimate requests
with criticisms that we were using too much. How were we using too much? What
known yardstick of modern U.S. logistics could be applied to this long series of
defeats and withdrawals?
From the first telephone request -- ignored -- for minimum clothing and equipment,
through the present requirement of six copies of every requisition, we have felt
the antagonistic, unsympathetic reaction on the part of Eighth Army's minor
quartermaster personnel. They have minutely questioned every item of even
emergency requirements, and deliberately delayed supplies while they checked and
rechecked requests against noncombat-type statistical status reports. There has
been an almost comical questioning of requirements, delving into the microscopic
details of why a company, outnumbered 30 to 1, did not evacuate kitchen
equipment under small-arms fire. A directive stated that when damaged equipment
was not submitted for exchange, a formal certificate must be submitted giving
all details of loss.
So long as Pusan remained within truck distance, it was possible to bypass
approving authorities and go directly to the mountains of supplies in the port.
Often we obtained supplies in Pusan that were impossible to get through the
red-tape maze of proper channels. Personnel in charge of warehouse operations
frequently begged us to take supplies so they could make room for those being
unloaded from ships.
After we crossed the Naktong River, efforts of the army quartermaster to
supply class II and class IV items to the 24th Division were conspicuous by
their absence. It is true that great efforts were made to supply class I and
class III items, but it only made the indifference to II and IV more apparent.
Even now, if a unit is willing to send its trucks 230 miles to Ascom City, or
400 miles to Pusan, supplies can be obtained. But the price in broken springs
and deadlined trucks is prohibitive.
As the drive passed Kaesong, Pyongyang, and points north, frantically worded
requests to Pusan awaited the opening of a shaky rail system for delivery. On 10
November, the 24th Division had just completed a forty-mile withdrawal of its
forward elements. The quartermaster section, then at Sukchon, received a placid
notification of a boxcar of class II and class IV supplies -- complete with car,
engine and train numbers, and hour of departure from Pusan on 9
November -- destined for "24th Division, Waegwan." Our rear echelons had cleared
Waegwan nearly two months earlier.
A long time would be required to list the major deficiencies in our supply
line. In the prosecution of a war the lack of a generator for a field range is
not vital. But the result of poor meals is lowered morale -- which is vital. When
repeated supply failures occur, when indifference is shown, troops often become
discouraged and indifferent. Supply failures at this level cost men their lives.
Causes of the Korean Tragedy ... Failure of Leadership, Intelligence and Preparation