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"The mission of the combat outpost is to delay, disorganize, and deceive the enemy. It aids in securing the battle position, gains timely information of the enemy, and inflicts maximum casualties on the enemy without engaging in close combat."

FM 7-10, *Rifle Company, Infantry Regiment*, October 1949,

Years of Stalemate

Chapter 18

Outpost Eerie

* Outpost Eerie was about ten miles west of the rubble piles of Chorwon. It was a mile north of the United Nations' main line of resistance and a mile and a half south of the enemy's outpost line of resistance. [1]

In the zone of the 45th Infantry Division during March 1952, Outpost Eerie became the responsibility of Company K, 179th Infantry. Besides defending 1,400 yards of the main line, Company K kept two rifle squads, usually reinforced with a light machine gun and a light mortar, at the Eerie position. The squads had the mission of furnishing security for the main line of resistance and maintaining a base from which patrols could operate. Capt. Max Clark commanded Company K. He rotated among his rifle platoons the responsibility for manning the outpost, letting each occupy the position for a five-day period.

On the afternoon of 21 March 1952 twenty-six men of the 3d Platoon set out to take over Outpost Eerie for the next five days. These men made up two rifle squads, a light-machine-gun squad and a 60-mm mortar squad. Sleet, mixed with heavy, slanting rain, began falling as the men started down toward the valley that separated the main line of resistance and the outpost line of resistance. Once across the valley floor, which was laid out in the usual pattern of rice paddies, the single-file column started up the southern tip of a two-mile-long ridge. Outpost Eerie consisted of defensive installations encircling the point peak of this ridge tip, which rose about 120 feet above the rice paddies. A rocky hill dug up by shell bursts, it had a few scrub trees and bushes and patches of thin grass.

Fifty yards below the peak of the hill were three separate barbed-wire obstacles: first a coiled entanglement, then two double-apron fences all of which circled the hilltop. Passing through the wire entanglements by a gate entrance built across the trail, the riflemen continued to the top of the hill. It was a bald hilltop, dug up from the construction of bunkers and trenches. The yellow soil uncovered during the digging was prominent in contrast to the surrounding hills.

There were nine bunkers around the top. Constructed to accommodate two or three men each, they were made with a double layer of sandbags and logs on the sides and a triple layer of logs and sandbags on top. All were but a few yards below the peak of the hill, and were for shelter only. The firing positions were in a trench that encircled the hilltop adjacent to the bunkers. The egg-shaped area circumscribed by the communication trench was about 40 by 20 yards, with the longer axis extending from southeast to northwest. The trench ran through two of the nine bunkers and just in front of, or below, the others.

At the very southern tip of a T-shaped, two-mile-long ridge, Outpost Eerie was on ground that was lower than several other high points along the same ridgeline. The crossbar of the T, upon which the enemy had established his outpost line of resistance, was higher than the shank, and dominated the entire ridgeline.

Lt. Omer Manley commanded the 3d Platoon, which effected the relief. The men who were relieved after five days on the outpost started back toward their front lines.

Most of the men in Manley's group had been on Outpost Eerie before, and each already knew to which bunker he was assigned. The most important bunkers in the Outpost Eerie defenses were three that guarded the north end of the hill. To each of these Lieutenant Manley had assigned a three-man team armed with a light machine gun and two automatic rifles. Two of these bunkers were built so that they straddled the communication, or firing, trench. The command post bunker was immediately behind the three key positions. In three of the five bunkers on the southern end of the oval there were two-man teams, three men in another, and the five man 60-mm mortar squad in the southernmost bunker.

A sound-powered telephone system connected the nine bunkers. Communication with company and battalion headquarters was by SCR-300 radio and the regular telephone; both were in the command post bunker. There were four separate telephone wires between the MLR and the outpost, thus reducing the possibility of communications failure due to cut lines.

Using Eerie as a base, the 3d Battalion maintained nightly patrols on each side of the shank of the T, covering the most likely routes by which the enemy could approach the outpost. The battalion had scheduled two such patrols on the night of 21-22 March.

One of these, identified as Raider Patrol, was made up of volunteers who were operating with other battalions while their own 1st Battalion was in reserve. Raider, with the mission of capturing a prisoner, left Outpost Eerie at 1900 to establish an ambush point on the east side of the long ridge, six hundred yards north of Eerie. Raider had orders to remain at its ambush site until 0130 on the morning of 22 March, and then return to Eerie at 0200.

A second patrol of nine men from Company K's 2d Platoon, and known as King Company Patrol, left Eerie at the same time to establish its ambush point in the vicinity of Hill 191 a spur ridge on the west side of the shank of the T. Hill 191 was about six hundred yards northwest of and slightly higher than Outpost Eerie. King was scheduled to man its position until 0215 the following morning and then return directly to Company K without passing through the outpost position.

Both patrols were to maintain communications by means of a sound-powered telephone tied into the outpost system.

Soon after arriving in its position, Lieutenant Manley's force test fired all its weapons. At about 1900, Korean Service Corps personnel brought rations, water, and fuel for the small stoves in the bunkers. At dusk the men took their guard positions one man from each bunker remaining in the trench while the others waited or slept in the bunker.

Darkness came early on the night of 21 March. It stopped raining at about 2000, soon after the two patrols had established their ambush points, but the night remained dark, misty, and cold. Since enemy patrols had probed Outpost Eerie on the two previous nights, Lieutenant Manley considered some enemy activity probable.

The infantrymen sat quietly, waiting until almost 2300 before anything unusual happened. Then King, which had set up its ambush on the western tip of the Hill 191 ridge finger, sighted and reported six enemy soldiers setting up a machine gun. The friendly patrol wanted to return to the outpost but could not because of the size and location of the enemy group.

At about the same time Raider, on the east side of the long ridge, sighted what appeared to be a platoon-sized enemy force moving south. As this column came within 150 yards of the friendly ambush point, men of Raider opened fire. The enemy group chose to ignore them, and without returning the fire continued on toward Lantern City the name given to a small burned-out village in which the Chinese frequently used lanterns to identify themselves and to light their way among the ruins. The patrol leader called the outpost by sound-powered telephone, informed Manley of the enemy contact, and said he was withdrawing his patrol.

Lieutenant Manley immediately called the commander of Company K (Captain Clark). "The Raiders have made contact with a large group of Chinks on their front, left, and right, but did not stop them," he reported. "The patrol has broken contact and is withdrawing to the MLR. We're cocked and primed and ready for anything."

The Raider leader, however, did not inform Manley of the route by which he planned to return to the MLR. Ten or fifteen minutes later, when men in Eerie's front bunkers heard movement outside the wire below them, they passed the information on to the outpost commander.

Lieutenant Manley telephoned Captain Clark of new developments and remarked, "I'd sure like to know where the hell they [the Raiders] are!"

Manley was uncertain whether the sounds at the wire were made by the friendly patrol, or by Chinese.

The attack came at 2330. Two trip flares went off beyond the lowest barbed-wire entanglement. Seconds later, two red flares appeared. Men at the outpost interpreted the latter as a Chinese signal to notify their outpost line that they had made contact, although on that night a single red-star cluster was a United Nations sign for the return of friendly elements to the line. SFC Calvin P. Jones (platoon sergeant of the 3d Platoon) and the other men at the northern end of the outpost opened fire with automatic weapons and small arms.

Lieutenant Manley, still in doubt about the identity of the men outside the wire, rushed over from the command post bunker, yelling not to fire.

"It's the Raider Patrol returning!" he shouted.

"Like hell it is!" answered Sergeant Jones. "They're not talking English. It's the Chinese! Come on, let's get it on!"

It was then that two enemy machine guns opened fire and began sweeping the outpost position. The two weapons, emplaced about eighty yards apart on the highest ground seven hundred yards northwest of Eerie, were just a few yards above Manley's position and hence able to place grazing fire across the Eerie position. Cpl. Nick J. Masiello, manning the machine gun, alternated his bursts between these weapons and the Chinese who were attempting to breach the wire below him. The enemy gunners replied by concentrating fire on Masiello's gun. Meanwhile, the Chinese opened fire with at least one more machine gun and several 50-mm grenade dischargers emplaced on the ridge to the north.

From his observation post atop Hill 418 on the MLR, Captain Clark watched the machine-gun duel. He could see tracers from Masiello's weapon apparently ricochet from the shields that protected the Chinese guns, and it appeared to him that tracers from both guns were hitting each other. When the fight broke out, he immediately signaled for prearranged supporting machine-gun and mortar concentrations. A caliber .50 machine gun, from a position on the forward slope of Hill 418 a few yardsin front of Clark's observation post, fired directly over the heads of the defenders and forced one of the enemy machine guns to displace.

The mortar fire was not accurate until Lieutenant Manley made corrections by telephone to Captain Clark.

"They're giving us a hell of a battle out here, but we're OK so far," Manley reported "Bring the mortars in closer.... That's too close! Move 'em out a little.... Now leave them right where they are."

With the first adjustment some rounds fell inside the wire, but were not close enough to the communication trench to harm the defenders.

Lieutenant Manley then headed out of the bunker to consult with Sergeant Jones, but as he started for the entrance, several machine-gun bullets ripped through the shelter half covering it. They were high and hit no one in the command post bunker, but Lieutenant Manley ducked down and crawled out into the communication trench.

Fifteen minutes after the fire fight began, a burst from one of the enemy heavy machine guns hit Corporal Masiello. PFC Theodore Garvin (Masiello's ammunition bearer) picked up the sound-powered telephone at the position and shouted, "Medic!"

Though he was manning the telephone at the command post bunker, Cpl. Herman Godwin heard the loud cry without it. Corporal Godwin was a rifleman who doubled as platoon aid man since he preferred to carry arms rather than to carry or wear any of the insignia or cards by which some medical aid men are identified as protected persons. He hurried down the communication trench to the machine-gun position, where he did what he could to stop the flow of blood and administered morphine.

PFC William F. Kunz (assistant machine gunner), markedly affected by the sight of Corporal Masiello's wounds, continuously lamented, "Poor Nick, poor Nick! "

As the machine gunner died, Corporal Godwin tried to comfort his assistant, saying, "He's not feeling anything."

Kunz went to the bunker; Godwin remained at the machine-gun position to help Garvin get the weapon in action again. The two men rapidly straightened a twisted belt, and Garvin, as gunner, resumed firing. Corporal Godwin assisted him, and at the same time kept the soundpowered telephone near him in case anyone should call for aid. When only one belt of ammunition remained, Garvin told Godwin to take over the gun while he went for more. After calling for Kunz to come back and help him, Corporal Godwin took over the machine gun.

As far as anyone in the perimeter could determine, the Chinese were trying to break through the barbed wire at only two places, the attacks coming from the north and the northeast. For another three quarters of an hour the defenders held off both attacks without further casualties. Lieutenant Manley called the company's command post and asked the artillery forward observer to fire artillery concentration No. 304, which was plotted on the Hill 191 ridge finger. Harassing artillery fire had been falling on this area throughout the evening a few shells at intervals of about twenty minutes.

A little later, about half an hour after midnight, when Captain Clark telephoned to the outpost to ask how things were going, PFC Leroy Winans (platoon runner) replied, "Everything's OK, sir; they're not through the wire yet."

Meanwhile, both enemy assault groups steadily pressed their attempts to blow gaps in the circle of protective wire. At least one of the groups was using bangalore torpedoes.

Mortar and artillery illuminating flares contributed greatly to the defense, but whenever the illumination failed, the flash of the defenders' weapons betrayed-their positions to the enemy. When the supply of mortar illumination shells was exhausted, a 155-mm battery fired an illuminating mission. Most of these shells, however, burst too close to the ground to furnish effective light. Despite all efforts to adjust the height of burst, it was not corrected in time to help.

Effective illuminating fire ceased before 0100, 22 March. About this time PFC Robert L. Fiscus, an automatic rifleman in the bunker to the immediate right of the light machine gun, was wounded. Corporal Godwin, who had been assisting at the machine gun, crawled to his right through the communication trench and found Fiscus lying in the trench outside of the bunker. Carrying the wounded man inside, Godwin dressed the wound.

When Sergeant Jones learned that Fiscus was wounded, he sent Pvt. Elbert Goldston, Jr., to take the wounded man's place as automatic-rifle man. At the same time, he called over Pvt. Alphonso Gibbs, who had been Fiscus's assistant, to replace Goldston as assistant to Cpl. Carl F. Brittian, the automatic rifleman at Sergeant Jones's position the righthand one of the three key bunkers at the north end of the perimeter. Sergeant Jones made this shift because he considered Goldston to be the more experienced automatic-rifle man, and therefore of more value in the area closest to the threatened enemy breakthrough.

Pvt. Hugh Menzies, Jr. (A rifleman acting as Goldston's assistant) was the next man wounded. As Godwin came out of the bunker after dressing Fiscus's wound, he saw Menzies get hit by grenade fragments. Godwin pulled him into the bunker with Fiscus and administered first aid.

Officers at regimental headquarters were trying to obtain the use of a "firefly" a plane equipped to drop illuminating flares. None was immediately available. The only aircraft in the area at that time was a B-26, which later dropped its bombs on enemy positions at the north end of the ridgeline.

By 0100 the enemy had breached the wire in two places. Lieutenant Manley encouraged his men, calling out to them, "Get up and fight or we'll be wiped out! This isn't any movie!"

Goldston was the next man wounded. As the Chinese soldiers came through the breaks in the wire and up the hill toward the outpost, he was hit in both legs by burp-gun fire, and in the arm and head by shell fragments. Of the g men occupying the three bunkers facing the enemy attack, 4 were now out of action, 2 were dead.

Corporal Godwin dragged Goldston through the bunker where Fiscus and Menzies lay, into the trench on the other side. After Godwin administered first aid, Sergeant Jones and Private Gibbs carried Goldston over to their bunker the one on the right (east) which was empty. Corporal Brittian, the BAR man who had started out the night in Jones's bunker, had previously gone over to load BAR magazines for Goldston while he was firing at the Chinese making the attack on the left. When Goldston became a casualty, Brittian took over the BAR and fired it until the ammunition was gone.

Several minutes had elapsed since the enemy broke through the barbed wire and started crawling up toward the outpost defenses. Godwin now discovered that there were no grenades left in the center bunker. He grabbed his rifle and began firing into the advancing Chinese from a position in the communication trench. The enemy troops were very near the top. Godwin fired until his ammunition was gone, threw his rifle at the nearest Chinese and saw the butt hit him in the face, knocking him back down the hill. He then ducked into the bunker to look after the two wounded men and as he did so, noticed Corporal Brittian throwing BAR magazines at the approaching Chinese. Brittian was killed very soon afterward.

At this point, ten or fifteen minutes after 0100, Kunz and Garvin remained fighting in the easternmost of the three bunkers under the heaviest enemy fire. Corporal Godwin was the only able-bodied man in the center bunker. Jones, Gibbs and Goldston, in the next bunker to the right, heard the firing suddenly stop at the center bunker when Godwin ran out of ammunition, and decided that surely they were the only ones at that end of the perimeter still living. Then they spotted enemy soldiers on top of Godwin's bunker. The three men Jones and Gibbs helping the wounded Goldston climbed out of the trench and rolled down the eastern slope of the hill about halfway to the wire. Taking advantage of what cover was available, they lay quiet, and remained there without further trouble during the rest of the action.

Corporal Godwin, in the center bunker with Fiscus and Menzies, also had the feeling that he must be the only able-bodied man left. Stepping out of the bunker for a look, he spotted a Chinese soldier coming along the trench toward him. He stepped back against the bunker, waited until the Chinese was within point-blank range, and shot him in the head with a caliber .45 pistol. Knowing the report would attract attention, Godwin jumped back against the side of the trench. An enemy soldier standing onthe edge of the trench fired a burst from his burp gun, but then moved on without determining whether he had hit Godwin. With nothing but a dent in the lip of his helmet, Godwin went back into the bunker. Moments later an enemy soldier threw a concussion grenade through the entrance opposite the one by which Godwin had just entered, this being one of the bunkers straddling the communication trench. The explosion knocked Godwin unconscious and bent the metal cover of a small Bible which he carried in his left breast pocket.

While this action was taking place at the north end of the oval-shaped perimeter, other Chinese had moved around to the western side of the position. Sgt. Kenneth F. Ehlers (squad leader in a bunker in the leftrear sector of the perimeter) warned the platoon command post by telephone that the enemy was coming around to the west side and requested mortar fire from the outpost's one 60-mm mortar. However, there was only one round left, and it was decided to save it.

Ehlers then went to the bunker south of the one where Kunz and Garvin were still operating the machine gun. There Ehlers, Lieutenant Manley (who had also come over to that position), Cpl. Robert Hill and Cpl. Joel Ybarra, fought the Chinese with their automatic rifles, M1 rifles, and grenades. As the Chinese worked up close, both Ehlers and Hill were killed. At a critical moment Lieutenant Manley ran out of ammunition for his carbine, or it jammed. He threw it at the Chinese and then started throwing grenades at them. After only a few moments, however, all action at that bunker ended; the platoon leader and Corporal Ybarra disappeared.

From the firing position of the next bunker to the south, Pvt. Elmer Nock and Pvt. Edward Morrison moved to the rear through the communication trench when the enemy began coming into the trench toward their position. Cpl. Albert W. Hoog, covering their movement from his position in the next bunker southward, shot two Chinese who were following them.

Shortly after the Chinese broke through the wire, Private Winans (the platoon runner), who by this time was the only man left at the command post bunker, called Captain Clark.

"They're coming through the wire, and it looks like a thousand! " Winans said. "It looks like we're going to have to surrender!"

"No; don't surrender!" the company commander replied. "Go get Lieutenant Manley."

This happened at about the same time the Chinese were overrunning the bunker on the opposite side of the hill where Lieutenant Manley had been.

Right after this an enemy shell probably one from a 57-mm recoilless rifle made a direct hit on the command post bunker. It killed Winans and cut all telephone lines to Company K. There was no more communication.

In the rearmost automatic-rifle position, manned by Cpl. Robert Shoham (BAR man), PFC David Juarez, and PFC Francis Douglas, there was not much action until the enemy had broken through the wire and was in and upon the outpost position itself. Before that time these men had fired at a few enemy troops who were on the outside of the wire near their position but had received no return fire apparently because the Chinese below them carried grenades but not rifles. When the enemy soldiers came over the top of the outpost toward the rear positions, Shoham opened fire with his automatic rifle, Douglas with his rifle, and Juarez busied himself loading magazines for the BAR. An enemy mortar shell made a direct hit on Juarez, but it was dud. He was quick to throw the shell out of the trench. Except for a bruise and a numbed leg, he was unhurt.

With the enemy on top of Eerie, there was a lull in his supporting fire. The time was about 0120. Corporal Godwin, lying in the bunker where he had been knocked out by the concussion grenade, was beginning to regain consciousness. Hazily, he saw an enemy soldier reach into the bunker for two BARs which were standing in the corner. The barrel of the one he first touched was too hot to handle. After a few harsh Chinese words, he took the cool weapon away with him. When Godwin fully regained consciousness, he discovered his hunting knife was missing. By this time, Menzies was dead.

Back at the company's observation post, Captain Clark told his artillery liaison officer (Lt. Anthony Cotroneo) to shift his artillery fire from two concentrations being fired at the time and to place it squarely on Outpost Eerie itself. In a few minutes, 105-mm proximity-fuze shells began bursting over the position. There followed the sound of a horn blown three times, and within a few minutes enemy activity stopped. The artillery shells fell, and the enemy's recall signal sounded before the Chinese troops had covered the entire outpost area. They had reached but had not searched the 60-mm mortar position on the right and the bunker defended by Nock and Morrison on the left. Without further search of the area, the Chinese withdrew, assembling near the break in the wire they had made at the northwest part of the perimeter. They left two of their dead in the position.

At 0130 the regimental commander (Col. Frederick A. Daugherty) ordered Captain Clark to move the rest of Company K up to the relief of the outpost. Thirty-five minutes later, after a platoon from Company A took over its position on the main line of resistance, Company K moved out.

On the way to the outpost, members of Company K found three seriously wounded men from the outpost near the creek that flowed past the base of the outpost. The men were evacuated. Farther on, the relief men met Raider Patrol, all members of which were safe. The patrol had been caught in the open when the fighting commenced and had been unable to take an effective part in the action. Captain Clark instructed the leader to keep his patrol in its present location until further notice. Later, he patrol tapped in on a telephone line to the main line of resistance and asked to be cleared for return to the main line. Receiving it, the patrol returned and reached the front lines at 0500.

The Company K patrol returned to the main line by going southwest from the Hill 191 ridge finger. At about 0245 it arrived in front of the

unit holding the main line of resistance on the left of Company K's previous position; it fired one red flare the recognition signal. The friendly unit honored the signal, and the patrol entered the front lines at 0330. When the fight had begun at 2330, the patrol had withdrawn to the southwest, beyond the impact area of the falling mortar and artillery hells.

Company K reached Eerie at 0400, about two hours after leaving he main line. One platoon (the 2d) went around to the east side of the position, then climbed up to the peak. The 1st Platoon, followed by the headquarters group, took the direct route, using the gate through the wire at the southeastern edge. Once on top, the men searched the area for casualties, and evacuated them as they were located. After an hour's search, Captain Clark had accounted for all men except Lieutenant Manley and Corporal Ybarra, both of whom had disappeared from the same bunker.

Of the 26 men who had defended Outpost Eerie, 8 were dead, 4 wounded, and 2 were missing in action. With one exception, all men killed had suffered head and chest wounds the parts of their bodies exposed above the firing positions in the communication trench. To the regimental commander this was significant proof of the effectiveness of the wellplaced enemy machine guns. Nine of the twelve unharmed men had either manned the rear positions of the outpost, or had moved to them during the course of the action. It was Captain Clark's opinion that the artillery fire which fell on the outpost after the Chinese had entered it had prevented further casualties. He felt that the air-bursts forced the Chinese to withdraw before they were able to cover the entire outpost area in a thorough search.

The Division's artillery fired 2,614 rounds during the enemy attack. Of this number, 2,464 rounds were equipped with proximity fuzes for airburst effect; the remaining 150 rounds were 155-mm illuminating shells. Together, the regimental Mortar Company and the 3d Battalion's heavyweapons company (M) fired 914 mortar shells, of which all were highexplosive except 10 that were white phosphorus and one a 4.2-inch illuminating the only illuminating shell the company had ever had on hand.

Company K searched the outpost area after daylight, going as far north along the ridgeline as possible in the face of enemy fire. The men found only 2 enemy dead within the barbed wire surrounding the outpost, but found 29 other bodies to the north and northwest along the enemy's route of withdrawal. Artillery fire had been placed along the probable withdrawal routes, and it is possible this fire caused additional casualties and also influenced the Chinese to abandon bodies which they had been attempting to carry away.

Captain Clark's men also found a wounded Chinese. He had been hit in both legs by his own supporting machine guns, he believed. This man later explained that he had been a member of the enemy force that had attacked along the west side of the long ridge a force that apparently consisted of two platoons. On the night of 21 March, the prisoner's squad had eaten the evening meal just before dark, as usual. He and the other men of his squad had then gone to sleep. Some time between 1900 and 2000, the squad leader awakened them and told them to prepare for a patrol. After "running" for an hour or longer along the west slope of the ridge, these enemy soldiers reached the foot of the first hill north of the Eerie peak. After standing in the dark for a short while, each squad present reported its strength. There were 3 rifle squads, 2 machine-gun squads, and 1 grenade-discharger squad, having a combined total of about 60 men, according to the count.

The Chinese patrol leader then delivered a pep talk, telling his men their mission was to capture some U.S. soldiers, and that they should go out and fight gallantly. When the talk was finished, the enemy soldiers moved out to emplace their supporting weapons and prepare to attack The three rifle squads, moving in a column with one and a half yards between men, followed their leader over the Hill 191 ridge toward the outpost position. A similar enemy force was moving along the opposite side : of the ridge. Thirty minutes later the fight began.

Lieutenant Manley's platoon lost some of its weapons during the fight. As the Chinese withdrew they apparently took with them a few M1 rifles and automatic rifles they had picked up as they searched the position. However, they left more American weapons than they took. A later check of these weapons proved nothing except that they did not belong to Company K.

After completing its search of the area, Captain Clark's entire company returned to the main line of resistance. And for several months, Outpost Eerie was not again permanently manned.


FM 7-10, *Rifle Company, Infantry Regiment*, October 1949, says: "The mission of the combat outpost is to delay, disorganize, and deceive the enemy. It aids in securing the battle position, gains timely information of the enemy, and inflicts maximum casualties on the enemy without engaging in close combat."

Note the words *without engaging in close combat*. The situation in Korea in 1952 was not clearly envisioned in 1949, when this manual was published. The Korean battle ground in March 1952 was but a strip across the peninsula between the main defensive positions of the United Nations forces and those of the Communists. While both forces had offensive capabilities, they remained in a state of static defense. Under these conditions the mission of combat outposts had to change. In order to gain timely information or to delay and disorganize an enemy attack, outposts had to be maintained. In order to have an outpost system, terrain suitable for outposting had to be denied the enemy. Had each outpost withdrawn without engaging in close combat, the enemy soon would have had all the advantages of a security system and the UN forces would have had none.

Too often when war breaks out situations develop that have not been foreseen by writers of military textbooks. Minor discrepancies quickly become apparent. And on all sides the cry is heard, "Throw away the book!" As the war progresses and commanders accumulate experience there soon is a reverse swing to the book and the best units are those that follow the rules modified to fit the particular situation.

The 3d Platoon of Company K, 179th Infantry, was a good unit. It knew what it was to do, and it did the job well. With the advantage of hindsight we can see that it might have done better had it demanded a clearer message from Raider Patrol. If a message can be misunderstood, it will be. When Raider Patrol reported it was withdrawing to the main line of resistance, the message did not indicate whether or not the patrol would return through Outpost Eerie. This apparently small oversight permitted the enemy patrols to approach Outpost Eerie almost unmolested.


1. The narrative of this action is based upon a thorough study, prepared in Korea by Major B. C. Mossman and Lt. Edgar Denton, of the defense of Outpost Eerie.

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