Katcoms, June(?) '53: Lee Min Bang and Kim Heung Koo

Good Lads


The title KATCOM was applied to Korean troops who were attached to the 1st. Commonwealth division. These soldiers were usually very young and very 'green', in other words; barely trained. Some of them had a slight knowledge of English, most had to learn by experience as they went along.

These men were scattered throughout the Division, serving with the assorted national units who made up 1 Com Div. They were deployed all the way along the line, from Div HQ through to the infantry sections.

The majority of these soldiers settled in well, despite living in a foreign environment trying to understand a foreign language, eating strange food, and putting up with strange people.

Many of these lads fought alongside the Australians, quite a few were killed; many were wounded in action. The majority conducted themselves as worthy soldiers, in the face of adversity and discomfort.

The general conduct of the KATCOMS could not be faulted. Once they learnt that their Australian comrades stood and fought, so did they. This gives the distinct impression that the panic retreats, so often encountered with early Korean divisions, had mostly to do with poor leadership and poor training, and the destruction of the ROK core divisions north of the Han during the initial NK surprise attacks. The quality of the men who became KATCOM soldiers left nothing to be desired.

In later years, these veteran KATCOM soldiers were so proud of whom they had become that they formed their own KATCOM association. They function to this very day, and still seek out old Australian comrades when the chance arises. The Diggers are proud to call them MATE.

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