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Assault on Blue Beach, Inchon, 9/15/50

Wantuck Control Ship for Blue Beach Assault

My Ship USS Wantuck, APD-125 Navy Special Forces, was Blue Beach Control. Positions 9/15/50.

1st Marines assault Blue Beach

We could have used a little more help

Bert Kortegaard

My ship Wantuck's LCVPs had carried I/3/5 1stMarDiv into the assault on Green Beach to help capture Wolmi-Do that morning. Most of Item Company had been in the reserves only three months earlier, driving buses or pumping gas, not even dreaming of being pulled back into an infantry company and facing and defeating NK veterans on Wolmi-do. But they did, and they continued to face and defeat them at the Han and at Seoul. And they went on to face 12 Chinese divisions at Chosin.

About 76 days after they hit Wolmi, a bare 20 of those 200 Item Company Marines we debarked were still standing. But that was in the future.

That afternoon Wantuck was Control Ship for 1st Marines' assault at Blue Beach that evening, when the tidal ebb and flow permitted the second part of the amphibious assault on Inchon.

There were 172 amtracs, formed in 25 boat waves, Blue Beach was downwind of burning Inchon, whose smoke combined with dusk and rain squalls to blanket boat lanes and beaches in near-impenetrable mustard-colored haze. PHIBPAC procedures call for 32 guide-boats for proper control of such an assault, but Wantuck had only 3 LCVPs and a gig!

The first three boat waves went smoothly, but after that confusion reigned although thankfully only moderate enemy small-arms fire was met on the beaches and also only occasional shellfire was faced by Wantuck and Gurke. Still, thanks to quick thinking by Marine officers and Wantuck's Cox'ns, veterans of bloody amphibious assaults in WW II, by H+30 each battalion had its respective assault companies ashore. For Wantuck's service that day we were awarded the Korean Presidential Unit Citation.

For a description of the desperate hours of those of us in the "infrastructure" of the actual assaults on the beaches, see Heinl's Victory at high tide

MacArthur's brilliant gamble was well on the way to success, with the help of a lot of Sailors, a lot of Airmen, "God, and a few Marines ..."

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